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# Viability of Dual Propellant with Dual Mode Electric

## AE8900 MS Special Problems Report

Space Systems Design Lab (SSDL)
Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA

Author:
Marius Popescu
Prof. Alan W. Wilhite
October 1, 2015

Signature: _________________________
Date: ______________________________

POPESCU

## Viability of Dual Propellant with Dual Mode Electric

Propulsion for Geostationary Insertion
Marius D Popescu 1

## Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30332

It has been known that dual modes in chemical propulsions systems provide a benefit to
overall inert mass fraction and can reduce cost. Electric Propulsion is growing in popularity for orbit
raising, station keeping, and other orbital maneuvers in order to reduce propellant usage. It is
considered that perhaps similar results may be obtained for these low thrust -long duration
maneuvers by using dual mode.

Nomenclature
g
G
0
kb
h

a
r
v
v eff
vi
m
m0
mf
mGEO
mp

Mi
T
Isp
P
V
E
I
j
Vb
Ib
Vd
Id
xa
N
AG

## =nominal gravitational acceleration, 9.81m/s 2

=gravitational constant 6.6738e-11 m3/(kg s 2)
=permittivity of free space ()
=boltzmanns constant
=Plancks constant
=gravitational parameter (km2/s 2)
=semi-major axis (km)
=distance from earth center (km)
=velocity (km/s)
=effective exhaust velocity (m/s)
=ion speed (m/s)
=current mass (kg)
=initial mass (kg)
=final mass (kg)
=mass delivered to geo (kg)
=mass of propellant (kg)
=mass flow rate (kg/s)
=molecule mass (kg/ion)
=thrust (N)
=specific impules (s)
=power (kW)
=Voltage or Electric Potential (V)
=Electric Field strength (V/m)
=Current (amps)
=current/area (amps/m 2)
=beam Voltage
=beam Current
=discharge Voltage
=discharge Current
=grid distance (m)
=number of ions
=Grid Area (m2)

e
q

+
c
p

## =electron charge (1.6021766e-19 Coulumb)

=charge (coulomb)
=mass utilization
=single ionization energy (eV/ion)
=cosine of yaw angle
=pressure

I. Introduction

## ROPELLANT mass fraction is an important

consideration for most space vehicles and is
significant driving factor in the overall price of the
vehicle and mission. A lower propellant mass fraction can
mean one of two things: either a larger payload can be
delivered to the same destination or the size of the launch
vehicle can be reduced. The first case directly affects cost
per kilogram delivered but only if it is useful to deliver
more payload to the desired orbit. On the other hand, the
latter case may result in a large reduction in overall mission
cost. Choice of propellant influences the propulsion
performance and therefore change the propellant mass
fraction. Of particular importance, choice of propellant can
influence the specific impulse of a propulsion system: a
measure of the momentum imparted by a unit of
propellant.
Propellant mass fraction is a very important driver
of cost. In addition, there are many other factors that affect
cost when it comes to propulsion and, in particular,
propellant choices. Propellant cost per kilogram for
instance is an obvious consideration. Other factors include:
propellant density, corrosiveness, temperature, pressure,
toxicity, stability, viscosity, and development costs. These
factors may affect the overall cost of the propulsion and
propellant storage system as well. This is for instance likely

POPESCU
the reason private space ventures prefer hydrocarbon
chemical propulsion systems, like kerosene, although
sacrificing specific impulse.
Currently, Xenon is the preferred propellant of
choice for electric propulsion. Mercury and Cesium were
early favorites due to low first ionization energies and
heavy molecular masses. Xenon was chosen later as the
propellant of choice because of its non-toxicity and easier
storage. Xenons cost however becomes a fairly substantial
portion of operational costs. Other propellants such as
Iodine, Krypton, and Argon are cheaper, but may not be as
desirable for performance and testing concerns. However,
one should not consider these issues as deal breakers, as in
fact Iodine is a manageable chemical to store, and may offer
slight performance benefits to Xenon.
Electric propulsion and chemical propulsion
operate very differently however. Unlike chemical
propulsion the energy needed to create thrust is not stored
in the propellant but from a separate electrical power
source. This means that vehicles using electric propulsion
are inherently limited by the power supply and the power
supply is often not cheap nor light. Thrust available is also
related to power available and the specific impulse. Electric
propulsion (EP) devices are also able to achieve higher
vacuum specific impulse values than chemical rockets:
typically above 1000s while chemical specific impulses
typically range between 250 and 450. This advantage
comes with some consequences however. As mentioned
earlier, higher specific impulses also tend to lower the
thrust available for a given power, this along with trying to
limit the overall size of the power supply typically results
in a very low overall thrust to weight ratio for EP vehicles.
Low thrust to weight ratios are generally undesirable,
resulting in longer trip times and additional steering,
gravitational, and drag losses.
Unfortunately, substantial improvements in
power supplies will be necessary to minimize these losses;
however, the very high specific impulse often overcomes
the downsides. Nonetheless, slight improvements in
thrusting could provide benefit. In general, slightly higher
thrust provides substantial benefit at the nodes for
inclination changes, lower altitude orbit raising, and
reducing transit time, while higher specific impulse is more
important for high altitude maneuvers and station keeping.
As mentioned, choice of propellants provide a tradeoff
between thrust and specific impulse. The goal of this
research is to demonstrate that a combination of cheaper,
less established choices for propellants can possibly be
superior to Xenon.

## II. Literature Review

It is known that varying specific impulse and
thrust to weight on a vehicle can be advantageou s .
Historically this has generally been done by staging, but is
advantageous even if only one stage is used. In chemical
propulsion, multiple fuels are often used to vary thrust to
weight and impulse between stages; it has also been shown
to be beneficial in a single stage due to the tradeoff between
specific impulse which considers the efficiency of the fuel
to impart momentum and density impulse which takes into
consideration the density of the fuel, which drives tank and
structure weight. Furthermore there is more benefit in
having a single engine than separate engines burning in
parallel [1] which led to a few conceptual designs in dual
fuel dual expander rocket engines, which burned both
hydrocarbon and hydrogen fuel within concentric
combustion chambers and expanded through a shared
nozzle. In addition, using multiple propellants may
increase thrust efficiency, benefit the propellant tank
system design, and reduce cost impulse (that is that one
fuel may be cheaper to provide the same V). Its possible
similar advantageous could be applied to electric
propulsion, and be even more effective. An electric
propulsion device that can vary its impulse and thrust over
a large range means it could be in a more optimal specific
impulse regime for different parts of the mission, ie,
planetary orbital maneuvers and interplanetary travel.
Even a small range can increase performance; it also
benefits from better flexibility and management of power
levels throughout a mission. For instance, as mass
decreases during a mission, the optimal Isp increases, and
changes in power level or large gravity or drag losses may
optimize Isp lower. Being able to vary modes also may make
it possible to burn continuously which further reduces trip
times. It has been shown that varying specific impulse in
any propulsion device and electric propulsion in particular
can provide significant reduction in propellant cost and
mass and/or trip time for interplanetary missions as
shown in the figure below. [2] It is therefore of interest to
develop an electric propulsion device that can vary its
impulse aka Variable Specific Impulse Electric Propulsion
(VSI EP). This is precisely the reasoning behind the
development of VASIMR.

POPESCU

3
range to 2000-10000s and found that there would be
significant savings to an optimized constant specific
impulse and that this effect tended to be more dramatic at
higher power levels (shorter transit times), as seen in the
figures below. [4]

## The above table shows that despite additional

gravitational losses and not being able to utilize the Oberth
effect, low thrust NEP can reduce the amount of propellant
needed, ignoring time constraints. As shown in Figure 1,
adding variable impulse to the device can further improve
mass fraction. Furthermore the same paper by Acta
Astronautica states:
It is quite interesting to notice how the variable-Isp
thruster permits a 10% mean reduction of the propellant
consumption. This value is slightly lower (about 9%) if the
unavoidable upper and lower limits for the Isp are imposed
at reasonable levels, but it can double in special cases (like
for long missions with gravity assist and low total
propellant mass). It has to be recognized that up to 80% of
the achieved propellant mass savings could be obtained
using dualmode thrusters, considerably simpler to develop
and qualify. [2]
There has been some research done exactly as to
what range of specific impulse is necessary and optimal for
a given mission or vehicle. Unfortunately, the referenced
paper does not explicitly state the bounds, but one can infer
the range to be about 2800-3500s for the mission to Mars,
furthermore the paper is not clear on what the maximum
and minimum specific impulse they found when the
bounds were not imposed.[2] A similar study conducted by
the company that created VASIMR, Ad Astra, found that on
a mission to Mars allowing the specific impulse to vary
between 4000s and 30000s vs a constant specific impulse
of 5000s given a power input and initial mass allowed them
to save about 15% of propellant. [3] It is worth noting that
the paper did not state whether or not the constant specific
impulse value was an optimized value or chosen
arbitrarily, and that this range of specific impulse is not
particularly close to the currently realized range of 200010000. An earlier paper did constrain the specific impulse

## These studies focus on Earth to Mars missions. The

effect of variable specific impulse is expected to be more
exaggerated in interplanetary travel as compared to
missions within the Earths sphere of influence such as LEO
to GEO transfer. Indeed, a few papers have been published
on the subject. A paper discussing an improvements to
analytical technique called Edelbaums approach found
that even from a simplified analytical approach there were
positive results for variable specific impulse as seen in the
figure below. [5]

POPESCU

4
medium term technologies being pursued. The same paper
from Acta-Astronautica mentions some of these: Hybrid
electrostatic systems like HET/GIE (ex. QinetiQ) which
combines the two propulsion systems either in parallel or
as an integrated system (much the same principle as the
chemical rockets), and double stage hall-effect thrusters
(ex. SPT-MAG and LABEN-ALTA DSHET), which separates
the ionization and acceleration regions of hall effect
propulsion. Shorter term Nested Hall Thrusters (NHT)
have a big potential in covering a broad range of specific
impulses and thrust levels. Of course, there are also longer
term and more novel technologies such as the VASIMR, PIT
and HIIPER concepts to approach the goal of VSI EP.

[5]
Another earlier paper discussing a more specific
example of a LEO and GTO to GEO transfer with variable
specific impulse claiming a almost 15% increase in
payload spacecraft mass while preserving delivery
times[6]. The results from all of these papers demonstrate
some significant predicted propellant savings.
Considering the above results, there is currentl y
some amount of work being done on variable specific
impulse or multi-mode EP devices. Currently, specific
impulse is principally varied by modulating electrical or
heating parameters in devices. Hall effect thrusters can
vary their specific impulse by increasing or decreasing the
discharge voltage and beam current. The range between
minimum and maximum specific impulse for currentl y
available hall thrusters is approximately 500 to 1000s with
the typical maximum specific impulse around 3000s. Hall
thrusters are currently the most commonly studied
potential bimodal electric propulsion device and most
already have some specific impulse flexibility over a small
range. Ion thrusters might in theory derive the most benefit
from dual propellants, they suffer from inefficiencies at
lower specific impulse operation and scalability making
them not as practical for LEO-GEO orbit raising. There are
attempts modifying ion engines to be partially bimodal, the
GIE NEXT attempts to improve upon throttle-ability and
specific impulse, but over a large range of power and
suffers technical issues. Although no other flown models
have been specifically designed for variable specific
impulse, there are some models being tested and designed,
including the T-220HT-HET currently being developed and
tested in Georgia Techs HPEPL. In addition to more
conventional Hall thrusters, there are other short and

## Currently the most prominent design considering

variable specific impulse for electrically powered mars
transit vehicles is VASIMR. VASIMR stands for VAriable
Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket and is being
developed by the Ad Astra Company founded and led by
former astronaut Chang Diaz. Simply stated, VASIMR
essentially develops thrust by heating a gas and converting
its perpendicular
motion into parallel motion,
fundamentally similar to chemical rockets. It consists of
three stages which comprise three main subsystems: the
plasma injection stage utilizing a helicon antenna, the
heating stage utilizing an Ion Cyclotron Resonance Heating
(ICRH) antenna, and the expanding stage utilizing a
magnetic nozzle. The design is electrode less, meaning that
the high temperature plasma does not erode the device and
can handle high power densities. This is achieved by
magnetic confinement which ties all three stages together
and using RF power to produce and heat the plasma. Thrust
and specific impulse is varied primarily by selectively
partitioning the RF power to the helicon or ICRH systems,
along with adjusting the propellant mass flow.
VASIMR experiences
a few technological
challenges at the moment. Contributing many of issues are
the large and strong magnetic fields it requires. This
presents 4 main issues: charged particles remaining
attached to field lines causing greater beam divergence,
losses, and charging of the spacecraft, the powerful
superconducting magnets required are both complex and
heavy, the shielding that would be required for both
communication and health considerations, and induced
torques or movement of charges due to electromagneti c
interactions. In addition to this, VASIMR suffers from
significant thermal management considerations, requiring
rather large and potentially heavy radiators. The latter
issue is only more profound when the power systems are
taken into account, which represents the most important
consideration with any electric propulsion device. VASIMR
gets significant benefits from increasing power levels, and

POPESCU

## since its proposed roles are primarily interplanetary

and/or large payload coupled with fast transit, it is
generally advocated that the VASIMR operates in MWs of
power. Due to this Dr. Chang Diaz has suggested nuclear
power, which additionally needs significant thermal
management, and is likely heavier than solar power.
VASIMR has also yet to demonstrate long term firing over
the ambitioned specific impulse range. As of today the VX200 can only be fired for less than a 60 seconds with 1.2
seconds being the average firing length and needs to be
cooled down over an extensive period of time, and the
specific impulse has only been optimized and controlled
between 780s 4900s, far less than the ambition range of
3000 30000s [6][7].
So far, the demonstrated VX-200 has been able to
achieve maximum 51mN/kW at 1660s and 35 mN/kW at
the maximum thrust level, and thrust efficiencies varied
from around 10% to 72% at the highest thrust level with
around 30% thrust efficiency around the maximum thrust
to input power, for short periods of time. [7] On the other
hand Hall effect thrusters have demonstrated levels of
90mN/kW at similar efficiencies or better over a similar
range. NASAs 457Mv2 Hall thruster has demonstrated
76.4 mN/kW at low power and 46.1mN/kW at max power,
with anode efficiencies between about 55 to 70%. [8]
Furthermore the specific power of VASIMR is projected to
only come down to about 1.6kg/kW for a 1MW case,
3kg/kW for 250kW case. [9] Whereas the hall effect
thrusters have demonstrated 1.3 kg/kW and below at 6kW
which improves with scaling. [10] Nested hall effect
thrusters are expected to improve those values even
further to perhaps 0.5kg/kW for MW levels and be able to
vary impulse between 1000-5000s.[11] It should be also
considered that Hall effect thrusters have been flown and
tested extensively, and can be fired for 1000s of hours.
They have also been shown to be fuel flexible with the
400M model operated on both krypton and xenon. Benefits
for dual propellants can benefit any electric propulsion
device including VASIMR, which can virtually run on any
propellant and has considered propellants such as
deuterium and krypton. However, until VASIMR has
demonstrated to be more competitive with current and
shorter term technologies, the focus of the research will be
more focused on demonstrated propulsion devices such as
Hall Effect thrusters and electrostatic ion engines.

III. Methodology
Engine Modeling
The first task in evaluating the performance of the
system is to determine the performance characteristics for
the propulsion system. For either an electrostatically

## accelerated ion engines such as gridded ion engine or hall

effect thrusters a particle will be accelerated through an
electric potential. The speed of a charged particle is given
by Equation 1 where x is the distance downstream of the
thruster.

() =

2(0 ())

Eq. 1

## 0 () is the potential change from an initial

reference. In the case of Hall Effect thrusters an drop
average potential must be used since not all the particles
will be ionized from the same potential in the thrusters. In
the case of the gridded ion engines the net potential drop
through the grids should be used. The net potential drop of
the beam overall in either scenario is known as the beam
voltage and this generally summarizes 0 ( ) as .
Thrust is simply given by
=

Eq. 2

## Where is some correction value. The mass flow

rate is found from the beam current:
=

Eq. 3

## In the case of ion engines there is a maximum

current that can be drawn between two grids that is
dictated by Childs Law. It is derived from the Poissons
relation.
2 () =

()
0

0 ()

Eq. 4

## Substituting equation 1 in equation 4, integrati ng

twice and substituting V = 0 at x = xa leads to Child
Langmuir law.
3/2

40 0
9

Eq. 5

## It is important to note that this is the maximum

current that can be drawn between any two grids spaced xa
distance apart.
The correction factor is primarily determined
from the beam divergence angle which accounts for the fact
that the ions may not leave the device perfectly parallel.
This factor depends a lot on the design of the device but are
typically on the order of 5-10 degrees for ion engines and
10-20 degrees for Hall Effect thrusters. In addition, the

POPESCU

## correction factor may include a correction for double

charged ions and neutral particles. This leads to a simple
generalized formula.
cos

Eq. 6

## Where is the mass utilization efficiency which

is the ratio of ions to neutrals that leave the thruster,
typically on the order of 90%. is the divergence angle in
degrees. is the correction for current from double
charged ions. These are summarized below.
=

= cos ( ) =

2 () cos ( )
0

Eq. 7
a,b,c,d

1 ++

2
+ + ++

+ +
=

Where + + ++ = and =
This also leads to the relation for specific impulse.

## performance values will vary for each propellant and some

will have to be approximated by other means if not enough
values were found. In order to approximate these,
parameters for Xenon and other propellants (if they were
available) were found for both thrusters from various
sources, and a representative value was chosen for the
model in this paper. The tables below summarize these.
Gridded Ion Thruster Parameters
Table 1. Operating Power Range (kW)
SOURCE
NSTAR [12]
25-cm XIPS [12]
13-cm XIPS [12]
T-5 [12]
RIT-10 [12]
10 ECR [12]
ETS-8 [12]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]
BIT-3 [16]
NASA DERATED [17]
NASA 1984 [18]

VALUE
0.52-2.3
2-4.3
0.42
0.476
0.46
0.34
0.541-0.611
0.54-6.9
10-40
2.5-4.5
0.06
0.5-5.5
~1.5

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Iodine
Krypton & Xenon
Argon&Krypton
&Xenon

Eq. 8
Table 2. Typical Operating Beam Voltage (V)

## Two other important values for analysis later are

the electrical efficiency and thruster efficiency. The
electrical efficiency is defined as the power input vs the
beam power.
=

Eq. 9

## And the thruster efficiency is defined as the power

of the jet vs the input power.
=

2
2

Eq. 10

SOURCE
NSTAR [12]
25-cm XIPS [12]
13-cm XIPS [12]
T-5 [12]
RIT-10 [12]
10 ECR [12]
ETS-8 [12]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]
BIT-3 [16]
NASA DERATED [17]
NASA 1984 [18]

VALUE
1100
1215
750
1100
1500
1500
996
1800
~5000
1850
2000
~1000
~1000

## With some simple substitution from equation 2,6

and 8 the thruster efficiency can be generalized as:
= 2

Eq. 11

## These values are unfortunately difficult to predict

analytically, and would require far more in depth analysis
or powerful software than is necessary to the provide
approximation needed in this paper. Instead, values are
pulled from existing models to provide the representati v e
model necessary here. Unfortunately, in order to capture
some of the effects of alternative propellants some of the

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Iodine
Krypton&Xenon
Argon&Krypton
&Xenon

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [12]
13-cm XIPS [12]
T-5 [12]
RIT-10 [12]
10 ECR [12]
ETS-8 [12]

VALUE
0.51-1.76
1.4-3.05
0.4
0.329
0.234
0.136
0.43-0.48

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

POPESCU

NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]
BIT-3 [16]
NASA DERATED [17]

3.52
~4.8
2.14
0.021
3.2

Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Iodine
Krypton & Xenon

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [20]
13-cm XIPS [21]
T-5 [22]
RIT-10 [23]
10 ECR [24]
ETS-8 [25]
NEXT [26]
HIPEP [27]
T-6 [15]

VALUE
-180
-375
-300
-250
-180
-350
-479
-210
-700
-265

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

## Table 5. Active Grid Area [~beam diameter] (m 2 )

SOURCE
NSTAR [12]
25-cm XIPS [12]
13-cm XIPS [12]
T-5 [12]
RIT-10 [12]
10 [12]
ETS-8 [12]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]
BIT-3 [16]
NASA DERATED [17]
NASA 1984 [18]

VALUE
0.0642
0.0491
0.0133
0.00785
0.00785
0.00785
0.0113
0.102
0.373
0.038
0.00237
0.0707
0.0113

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Iodine
Krypton
Argon&Krypton
&Xenon

SOURCE
NSTAR [26]
NEXT [26]
HIPEP [28]

VALUE
80-88
78-90
~74-82

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [20]
13-cm XIPS [21]
T-5 [22]
ETS-8 [25]
NEXT [13]

VALUE
25
25
30
42
32.5
25

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]

28
30

Xenon
Xenon

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [20]
13-cm XIPS [21]
T-5 [22]
ETS-8 [25]
NEXT [29]
HIPEP [27]
T-6 [15]

VALUE
14.2
18
3.4
2
4
18.2
26.9
18

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

SOURCE
NSTAR [12]
25-cm XIPS [12]
13-cm XIPS [12]
T-5 [12]
RIT-10 [12]
10 [12]
ETS-8 [12]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]
BIT-3 [16]

VALUE
20.7-92.7
80-166
17.2
18
15
8.1
20.9-23.2
25.5-243
240-~800
73.8-142.7
1.4

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Iodine

SOURCE
NSTAR [12]
25-cm XIPS [12]
13-cm XIPS [12]
T-5 [12]
RIT-10 [12]
10 [12]
ETS-8 [12]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]
BIT-3 [16]

VALUE
1980-3196
3420-3550
2507
3200
3400
3090
2404-2665
1400-4190
~6000-9600
3710-4120
3500

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Iodine

SOURCE
25-cm XIPS [20]
T-5 [12]

VALUE
~0
-50

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon

POPESCU

SOURCE
25-cm XIPS [12]
13-cm XIPS [12]
T-5 [12]
RIT-10 [12]
10 [12]
ETS-8 [12]
NEXT [32]
HIPEP [14]
BIT-3 [16]

VALUE
87
71.3
76.6
76.5
60
78.2-79.5
~127 (W/A)*
~200 (W/A)*
62

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Iodine

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [12]
13-cm XIPS [12]
T-5 [12]
RIT-10 [12]
10 [12]
ETS-8 [12]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]
BIT-3 [16]

VALUE
88?
80-82.5
77.7
76.5
69.3
70
66.2-73.5
89-93
~90-92
69.3-75.3
68

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Iodine

SOURCE
NSTAR [12]
25-cm XIPS [12]
13-cm XIPS [12]
T-5 [12]
RIT-10 [12]
10 [12]
ETS-8 [12]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]

VALUE
63
68.8
50
55
52
36
49.7
71
~80
65.7

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

## * The efficiency can also be described as ion production cost in W/A.

Although it is not always clear if this exactly the definition for electrical
efficiency.

SOURCE
NSTAR [30]
13-cm XIPS [21]
T-5 [31]
NEXT [32]
HIPEP [34]
T-6 [15]

VALUE
0.97
0.97
0.988
0.96-0.98
0.99
0.986

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
T-5 [35]
NEXT [29]
T-6 [15]

VALUE
0.18
~0.20
0.045
0.13-0.21

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [33]
13-cm XIPS [21]
T-5 [22]
ETS-8 [25]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]**
T-6 [15]

VALUE
1.5?
1
1
1
0.5
6-12
0.23
1

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [33]
13-cm XIPS [21]
T-5 [22]
ETS-8 [25]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]**
T-6 [15]

VALUE
3
9
19
12
4.2
25?
35
42

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

## Table 19 Nominal Neutralizer Current (A)

SOURCE
VALUE
PROPELLANT
NSTAR [19]
1.5
Xenon
25-cm XIPS [33]
0.5
Xenon
13-cm XIPS [21]
1
Xenon
T-5 [22]
22
Xenon
RIT-10 [36]
0.6
Xenon
10 [37]
0.5
Xenon
ETS-8 [25]
0.51
Xenon
NEXT [13]
3
Xenon
HIPEP [14]
3
Xenon
T-6 [15]
1.75
Xenon
Table 20 Nominal Neutralizer Voltage (V)
SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [33]
13-cm XIPS [21]
T-5 [22]
RIT-10 [36]
10 [37]
ETS-8 [25]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]

VALUE
13.5
16
19
0.66
15
16
~16
12
10.6
25

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

POPESCU

9
RATIO OF DOUBLE TO TOTAL IONIZATION
CROSS SECTION

0.08

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [20]
13-cm XIPS [21]
T-5 [22]
RIT-10 [23]
ETS-8 [25]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]

VALUE

<1.1

<15
<15.7

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

## Table 22 Screen Current (mA)

SOURCE
NSTAR [19]
25-cm XIPS [20]
13-cm XIPS [21]
T-5 [22]
RIT-10 [23]
ETS-8 [25]
NEXT [13]
HIPEP [14]
T-6 [15]

VALUE

Table 25 Krypton
PARAMETERS
MOLECULAR WEIGHT
FIRST IONIZATION ENERGY
SECOND IONIZATION ENERGY
MAX TOTAL IONIZATION CROSS SECTION
ELECTRION ENERGY AT MAXIMUM
RATIO OF DOUBLE TO TOTAL IONIZATION
CROSS SECTION

VALUE
83.798
13.93 eV
26.4 eV
4.2-5.5 2
80 eV
0.12

Table 26 Xenon

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon
Xenon

PARAMETERS
MOLECULAR WEIGHT
FIRST IONIZATION ENERGY
SECOND IONIZATION ENERGY
MAX TOTAL IONIZATION CROSS SECTION
ELECTRION ENERGY AT MAXIMUM
RATIO OF DOUBLE TO TOTAL IONIZATION
CROSS SECTION

VALUE
131.293
12.08 eV
21.1 eV
5.5-7.9 2
100 eV
0.13

Table 27 Iodine
Table 23 Decel Current (mA)
SOURCE
25-cm XIPS [20]
T-5 [12]

VALUE
<1.5

PROPELLANT
Xenon
Xenon

## *Discharge cathodes may not be utilized in ECR and RF discharges.

**HiPEP uses both methods, it is unclear which is related to the ion
production cost, although DC discharge is tested.
Paper just mentions 8W since the neutralizer is a microwave discharge. For
this is not so important for future calculation so an estimate of the current

## Propellant Parameters for Model

The parameters for the noble gases were found
from the NASA technical paper by David C. Byers and Paul
D. Reader and iodine from the paper in the Physical Review
Volume 35, Number 2.
Table 24 Argon
PARAMETERS
MOLECULAR WEIGHT
FIRST IONIZATION ENERGY
SECOND IONIZATION ENERGY
MAX TOTAL IONIZATION CROSS SECTION
ELECTRION ENERGY AT MAXIMUM

VALUE
39.948
15.68 eV
27.78 eV
2.9-3.6 2
91 eV

PARAMETERS
MOLECULAR WEIGHT
FIRST IONIZATION ENERGY
SECOND IONIZATION ENERGY
MAX TOTAL IONIZATION CROSS SECTION
ELECTRION ENERGY AT MAXIMUM
RATIO OF DOUBLE TO TOTAL IONIZATION
CROSS SECTION

VALUE
126.904
10.45 eV
19.13 eV
6.8-7.2 2
100 eV
0.117

## Gridded Ion Thruster Modeling

The engine model will have various parameters
for the different propellants. What will be held constant is
the input power and physical parameters such as grid
spacing, beam area, channel length, etc. Starting with the
gridded ion engine, the physical parameters are set for the
gridlets, grid area sizing will be saved for later. For the
gridded ion engine a 3 grid system will be used, even
though this is not as common as the 2 grid system. 3 Grid
systems are typically used when life of the thruster is an
important requirement, it typically can provide mildly
better performance than 2 grid systems especially at lower
beam voltages. The reason for this choice for this study;
however, is the ability to vary the grid voltages more

POPESCU

10

## appropriately for variances of the perveance for the

different propellants. Unfortunately optimum grid spacing
and hole diameter is an analysis that will not be discussed
for this paper. The values used here were approximated
based on the on the XIPS-25.
Table 28 Gridlet sizing
PARAMETERS
SCREEN VOLTAGE (V1 )
ACLLERATOR VOLTAGE (VACC)
DECELERATOR VOLTAGE (VDEC)
BEAM VOLTAGE (Vb)
SCREEN TO ACCEL GRID SPACING (G1 )
SCREEN TO ACCEL GRID SPACING (G2 )
SCREEN HOLE DIAMETER (dS)
ACCEL HOLE DIAMETER (dA)
DECEL HOLD DIAMETER (dD)
SCREEN THICKNESS (t S)
ACCEL THICKNESS (t S)
DECEL THICKNESS (t S)

VALUE
1100 V
-450 V
-15 V
1100 V
2.5mm
2mm
3mm
2.4mm
3mm
1.6mm
2.5mm
1.6mm

## The beam divergence will be computed from

equation 15, coming from a paper on beam optics in acceldecel systems. [39]
=

## The Child Langmuir law should be modified to

account for a non-planar sheath and screen thickness. This
change accounts for the effective sheath thickness e and
that the maximum current that can be drawn is determined
by the difference between the screen voltage and
accelerator voltage.

=
2

40 ( 1 ) 3/2
9

= ( G1 +

)2

+ 2 /4

/2
1.67G1

( ) [(1 +

Eq. 13

G1
1

) (1

G2
2

1 =

4G2 12

Eq. 15

Eq. 16
a,b

12 13

## Where V12 and V13 are the absolute values of the

difference from the accelerator grid and decelerator grid
respectively. Unfortunately, double ion fraction and
propellant utilization is harder to predict without choosing
a specific thruster or with very rigorous computational
analysis. The Saha equation could be used with both single
and double charged ion (Eq.17 modified from Ref. 41)
where the temperature is electron temperature in the
discharge.
2

=
2

3

Where
=
= /

## There is a constraint that the power level must

remain the same regardless of propellant, but it can be seen
that lighter propellants will drive the current higher which
in turn will drive the power requirement up if the voltage
is not adjusted. Lowering the beam voltage would be

G1

3G1
G1
) (12 13 )/12
1 + 0.75 (
G2
2 =

Eq. 14

## Where P is the current perveance and P0 is the

perveance as computed with Child-Langmuir law with the
grid gap instead of the effective length. f 1 and f2 are the
focus lengths of the ion optics.

Eq. 12

## Where g is the grid gap spacing, ts is the screen

thickness and ds is the screen hole diameter. The maximum
electric field is still limited by the grid gap spacing. The goal
of the study is to demonstrate the ability to switch between
a high thrust lower specific impulse mode and a low thrust
high specific impulse mode, while operating at the highest
thrust to power ratio, but remaining at a constant high
power level. The beam power required per area is given by:
PB
=

40 ( 1 ) 3/2 2
=

9
2

## counter-productive since the beam voltage drives the ion

exit speed. Instead the extraction voltage between the
screen and acceleration grid can be altered. Since the
screen voltage and the beam voltage are generally within
50V of each other, so the acceleration voltage grid should
be varied. Regarding perveance, it is assumed in this paper
that the ion optics can be operated close to the ChildLangmuir limit for each propellant given the grid geometry .
[38] This is also typically the most electrically efficient
mode of operation. However, the issue of perveance limits
for the gridded ion engine and multiple propellants is
interesting and may be a future topic.

/
+ = +

Eq. 17

POPESCU

11

## However, the Saha equations are limited in accuracy

in the highly ionized gas of the discharge chamber. This
method is nonetheless tested and compared. Fortunately
however, there is a paper from 1971 that analyzed the use of
different noble gases in an ion thruster. [42] Using Table 2
from this source and holding the magnetic field constant
these operating points were chosen for the noble gases. The
Operating magnetic field for the values were 3.7e-3 and
4.8e-3 Tesla for krypton and xenon respectively. Argon
however used the reference provided in ref. 42, the paper on
SERT II operating on argon [43], since ref. 42 used a modified
thruster for argon, which seemed to skew the results fairly
heavily.
Table 29. Propellant operating points
GAS

XENON
KRYPTON
ARGON

DISCH.
LOSS
eV/ION

MASS
UTIL. m

248
263
~275

0.9
0.86
~0.73

DISCH.
VOLTAGE
37
37
~65

DISCH/
BEAM
CURRENT
RATIO
8
8.11
n/a

## Another paper referenced in Ref. 42 describes the

double to singles ratio, provided below. [44]

= + 0
1

0 =

XENON
0.05

KRYPTON
0.04

DISCH. LOSS
eV/ION
~230

MASS UTIL.
m
0.89

DISCH.
VOLTAGE
36

DOUBLES TO
SINGLE RATIO
~0.01

## Where the performance values are calculated from

the equations in Ref 18, Ref 20, and Ref 47.

Where

= [1 0

( 1 ) 1

Eq. 20

Eq. 21

## Where C0 is the primary electron utilization factor,

is the current equivalent flow rate, p* is the baseline
plasma ion energy cost, determined by the mean energy it
would be to produce an ion if all primary electrons would
have an inelastic collision with an atom (thus resulting in
ionization or excitation).
0 is the neutral grid
transparency, ie is the total electron-atom cross section, Ag
is the total grid area exposed to discharge chamber, v 0 is
the atom thermal velocity,
0 = 8 0 /( )

Eq. 22

= 2 /

Eq. 23

## p is the average confinement time of the primary

electrons which can be approximated by

ARGON
0.09

## Unfortunately, SERT II was never tested with

iodine. An extensive literature search revealed that almost
no testing has been done on iodine gridded ion thrusters ,
only very recent interest has led to the development of the
Busek BIT-3, which can run on iodine. Unfortunatel y ,
Busek has released very little information regarding the
performance comparison between the two. However, using
values in Ref. 45 and Ref. 46, which is actually regardi ng
iodine use in Hall thrusters, an estimate of a comparabl e

0 0

0 =

GAS
RATIO

Eq. 19

Eq. 24

## Where Ap is the average loss area for the primaries

which can be given by

= 2 =

2
0

Eq. 25

## Where B0 and T0 are the surface magnetic field and

chamber averaged neutral temperature, rp is the Larmor
radius of the primary electrons, and Lc is the magnetic cusp
length. Assuming a cylindrical chamber, it is possible to
also make the approximation that the chamber volume is
approximately Lc times the grid area Ag so that Eq. 24
becomes

2 2

Eq. 26

Rewriting
Eq. 18
p =

0 =

4 p
0

POPESCU

12
(
)
= [1 0 1 / ]

Eq. 27

## From Ref 44, an electron discharge voltage of 36

eV is assume. While not at the absolute highest ionization
cross section, this also reduces the doubles ionization cross
section, so that the single ionization cross section is 5.93 2
and a double ionization cross section of 0.032 2. Using this
electron temperature and the operating magnetic field of
4.8e-3 Tesla, the Larmor radius is 4.273 mm. Assuming a
neutral temperature of about 400K and neutral grid
transparency of 50% and using the Xenon data for SERT II
from Ref 42, an average confinement time estimate of 13s
is used. To find the baseline plasma ion energy cost for
iodine is found by solving for simultaneously using
[from Ref 18]

+ ) (+ + )

+ + +

2(
+ + + )

=
1 ( + )/
(

Eq. 28

## multiple charged current fraction of ~0.05 the equivalent

for Iodine would be approximately 0.01 (since charged I 2
provides additional mass which reduces the impact of
multiple charged ions).
Ignoring scaling effects the appropriate thruster
efficiencies are calculated for each propellant below at the
given design point.
Table 32. Summary of Propellant Performance
GAS
IODINE
XENON
KRYPTON
ARGON

0.985
0.972
0.978
0.987

e
0.827
0.816
0.807
0.8

m
0.89
0.9
0.86
0.73

T
0.714
0.694
0.664
0.57

Isp
3655
3586
4315
5354

## Note that the total efficiency for the propulsion

system will also include the PPU efficiency which is
assumed to be 94% across the board since input power to
thruster will not vary during operation. PPU efficiency will
likely be higher than other models since thrust will be
varied by propellant not by voltage.

And
0 /+
=

1 + +
+

Eq. 29

## Thus finding the appropriate

primary ratio as well. Where
= 8 /( )
=

4
3

Maxwellian to

Eq. 30

Eq. 31

+ =

( ) = (

+ ( ) ( )
0

0 ( )

3/2

4 2

Eq. 32

Eq. 33

## Where + is the cross section for single ionization,

+ is the cross section for single ionization at primary
electron energy, is the cross section for excitation, is
the energy lost to the anode from Maxwellian electrons, +
is the single ionization energy, is the lowest excitation
state, TM is the Maxwellian temperature, and VA is the
anode sheath potential taken as 2V.
The doubles and singles current could also be
determined using the equation in the Brophy text;
however, Ref 46 seems to suggest that with a Xenon

## The first task is to find the performance

requirements for the low earth orbit to geostationary orbit
transfer. Specifically, it is important to determine the delta
V requirement and power requirement for trip time. As
seen in Figure 1, thrust to weight can impact the total delta
V requirement for the transfer. Low thrust to weight ratios
suffer from steering and gravitational losses: the optimal
transfer being an impulsive transfer. Also as can be
observed in the figure, there is a region of little change in
either the high thrust or low thrust to weight ratios.
Fortunately, there are appropriate approximations for

POPESCU

13

Figure 1. Altitude and thrust to weight ratio effect on Delta-V requirement. From [41]
both of these regimes. However, the middle region, where
there is a clear dependence on thrust to weight ratio,
requires a more rigorous trajectory analysis typically a
computational orbital trajectory optimization tool is used.
It was found that this region will not likely be needed for
the focus of this study.
Electric propulsion systems utilizes generated
electrical energy instead of stored chemical energy to
produce thrust, which results in a far heavier propulsion
system for the same amount of thrust, at least with current
technology. A given thrust and specific impulse results in a
jet power, which with a thruster efficiency from the above
section can be used to compute the electrical power system
requirement for the propulsion system. Power systems are
often described in specific mass, sp, which is the mass in
kg per kW of electrical power demand of the propulsion
system. Using this value we can use the relationships below
to compute the delivered mass, or the mass that represents
everything besides the propulsion system, ie. Structure,

1
2

Eq. 34

= + +
=

+ (1

=
=

Eq. 36

= (1
=

Eq. 35

Eq. 37
)
Eq. 38

) +

Eq. 39

2
2

Eq. 40

14

## For the LEO-GEO transfer, a low thrust

approximation for delta V and trip time may be used. In
particular, the Edelbaum approximation is used. The
Edelbaum approximation reduces the delta-V requirement
to a simple formula from the change in speed. The method
is explained in good detail in reference 48, but summarized
here. For low thrust - low eccentricity approximation the
following can be assumed.

Eq. 41

4000

3000

1500

1000

500

1
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
0.00001

0.0001

2000

0.001

0.01

## Figure 2. Thrust to weight ratio sensitivity to specific

impulse. sp = 10 kg/kW, delta-V = 5km/s.
0.5

1
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
0.00001

0.0001

0.001

12

0.01

20

0.1

## Figure 3. Thrust to weight ratio sensitivity to specific mass.

Isp = 4000, delta-V = 5km/s
It follows from the cost function that

Eq. 42

Eq. 43

tan

]=0

Eq. 46

2

/2

/2

c
Eq. 44

## Where ft and fh are the tangential and out of plane

acceleration determined by the yaw angle . Using only
these basic assumptions the necessary condition is simply
given by.
=

5000

## Using this equation and representative delta-Vs

and specific impulses for the orbital transfers seen in this
paper, figure 2 and 3 show the dependence of the mass
delivered on the initial thrust to weight ratio. The knee in
figure 1 where thrust to weight starts showing appreciabl e
benefit is around 0.01. Current technology for state of the
art solar panels have specific masses at approximatel y
5kg/kW and thruster systems including PPU can be as low
as 2kg/kW leading to an appoximate best case 7kg/kW
total propulsion alpha. [40 and citations needed]
Unfortunately, even the ambitious propulsion specific
mass of 0.5kg/kW cannot deliver any mass, or hence close
a design, for a delta-V requirement of 5km/s, which is close
to a LEO-GEO transfer. Thus for current technology and the
LEO-GEO transfer, thrust to weight ratio will not play a
significant role in the analysis. In reality, most satellites are
delivered to a Geo-Transfer-Orbit (GTO) instead of LEO. In
this scenario, thrust to weight plays a bigger role in the
delta-V requirement and because there is also generally
much less delta-V required, picking a higher thrust to
weight system may be more feasible, and possibly provide
some benefit. This will be discussed in a later section.

POPESCU

tan

Eq. 45

2
= ( ) = = 0 0

Eq. 47

## This can be plugged into equation 45 and

integrated and squared to yield
2 = 02 + 2 20 0

Eq. 48

## In order to determine the initial yaw angle,

equation 48 can be plugged into equation 46 and
integrated

POPESCU

15
For a given specific impulse this reduces to

2
= ( ) ( 0 ) < /2

2
= 2 ( ) ( + 0 ) > /2

Eq. 49

## Using some trig identities and the steering law,

Edelbaums original constant-acceleration circle to
inclined circle transfer delta V equation can be derived.
[48]

= 02 20 cos (

) + 2

Eq. 50

## The major limitation by this approximation is that

acceleration is assumed to be constant, this approximati on
is generally valid for most electric propulsion even if the
acceleration increases significantly as the mass of the
vehicle decreases, since the term truly depends on the
vehicles orbital velocity change from initial as can be seen
in equation 50. However, this precludes any firing
strategies that would take advantage of multiple modes. In
particular, it is advantageous to use higher thrust on the
nodes to maximize inclination change, while the lower
thrust better specific impulse could be fired with less yaw
angle to reduce steering losses. There is a slightly better
method that was formulated by a paper by Lorenzo
Casalino and Guido Colasurdo that addresses this issue
[49] and even better approximation discussed in the
introduction that includes variable Isp during a revolution
[5]. If Edelbaums original equations are used; however,
only starting and final orbital radius and inclination matter
for delta V calculation. A plot for a 200km starting orbit is
shown below.

Eq. 52

## The transfer time is the driving factor for the

power required by determining the necessary propellant
rate, as shown in equation 53.
=

1
2

Eq. 53

## Noting that this is the required average propulsive

power. With the simple Edelbaum equation, dual mode is
easily characterized by a fraction of delta V for each mode,
1 =

Eq. 54
a,b

2 = (1 )

1

= 1

1
1

2
1

= 1

2
2

Eq. 55
a,b

1 + 2 =

Eq. 56

Where
1 =

0 1

2 =

1 2
2

Eq. 57

1 =

21

2 =

2
1

22
2
2

Eq. 58

## Where is the total efficiency from the power

supply to the jet power. This leads to the relationship for
the power required from the time required with dual
modes:

12
10

Delta V in km/s

8
6
4

2
0
0

20

40

60

80

100

120

0
2
1
+ 1

1
1

(1

2
2 )

2
2

Eq. 59

21 2

2 (1

1 )

Eq. 51

## The distribution of the time is arbitrary, only the

fraction of time spent by each mode matters for the
equations; however, in reality, the higher thrust mode
should be used deeper in the gravity well to reduce
potential gravitational losses. Another note is that for now
this assumes 100% duty cycle, most operations run 90-

POPESCU

16

## 98% duty cycles. It is fairly reasonable to assume the

power required is = ,100% /( /100).
Finally, it is also important to recognize that this is the
thruster input power required, and that the propulsion
system includes the PPU and its associated efficiency.
referenced in the rest of the paper is propulsive system
requirement, which is from Eq. 59 divided by .
When considering geostationary satellites there is
an additional delta V cost associated with station keeping.
This amounts to roughly 50 m/s a year for the duration of
the satellite lifetime. Unlike orbital raising, there is no
appreciable power requirement. Smaller low thrust
systems are considered to reduce weight; in addition,
higher specific impulse is desired to reduce propellant
weight as long as reduced weight overcomes any increased
mass in the propulsion system. This has been the initial
reason for using electric propulsion in geostationary
satellites. In addition, a 7% margin on delta V is added to
account for any errors in steering or orbit insertion.

System Sizing
The final and most important step is determini ng
the mass of the vehicle. This was broken down into
subsystems: propulsion, tanks, attitude control, structure,
include GN&C, Communications, and data handling.
Propulsion Sizing
As shown in the orbital mechanics section,
propulsion system size is typically determined by the
propulsive power requirement and the specific mass. The
power required is driven by the delta V and the transfer
time requirement. The specific mass is difficult to predict
analytically, instead a best fit curve based on data is used

## to predict the specific mass for a given power requirement.

A propulsion system, however, consists of a thruster, a
power processing unit (PPU), a propellant management
system (PMS), and sometimes requires a digital controller
interface unit (DCIU). In contemporary designs, the PPU
and DCIU are often combined into one unit. Unfortunatel y ,
it is not always clear what is included in the electrical
design from some thrusters, so unless otherwise specified,
it is assumed that the mass for the thruster electrical
subsystem includes both the PPU and DCIU although this
may have led to slightly poorer curve fit.
Once the propulsive power requirement is
determined from equation 59 and the thruster efficiency
from table 32, the specific mass of the propulsion
subsystems can be easily determined from the plot. Once
the specific mass is found, it may be multiplied by the
power as in equation 36, to find the overall mass of the
propulsion system and power conditioning. Where not
explicitly stated, it was assumed the mass of the engine did
not include a gimbal. Therefore, an additional 20% of the
mass is added to include a gimbal, which agrees with most
gimbal systems.
Propellant Feed Sizing
The Propellant management system (PMS) begins
from the high pressure feed from the propellant tanks and
ends at the thruster. The PMS does not depend on the
power requirement as much as it depends on the pressure
drop and mass flow rate requirement of the thruster.
For the noble gases the PMS typically consists of
two parts called the Pressure Regulation Module (PRM)
and the Flow Control Modules (FCM or XFS for Xenon),
where the PRM is multiple string and is mostly a pressure
drop assembly, propellant filter, and distribution system

18
16
engines

alpha (kg/kW)

14
12

ppu

10
y = 2.9514x-0.211
R = 0.6446

Engine
alpha curve

y = 9.5913x-0.368
R = 0.9455

PPU alpha
curve

2
0

0.01

0.1

## Figure 5. Specific Mass Curve Fits

100

1000

POPESCU

17
Table 33. Error in Tank Mass Predictions Compared to Psi-Pci Models

NAME
80386-101
80412-1
80458-201
80458-101
80458-1

EMPTY CALCULATED
CALCULATED %ERROR %ERROR %ERROR
MASS
MASS
VOLUME VOLUME
MASS
VOLUME MASS/VOLE
6.4
9.034516
0.0321
0.05 41.16431 55.76324
-9.37251
7
7.629832
0.05
0.052281 8.997603 4.562314
4.241766
12.2
13.07574
0.0541
0.058966 7.178174 8.995033
-1.66692
19.05
19.8328
0.1197
0.123185 4.109187 2.911687
1.163619
20.4
21.19244
0.1328
0.137404 3.884491 3.467047
0.403456

## across multiple strings and the PFS is a single string unit

for distribution and fine control of flow to individual
components of a thruster. Plenum tanks are often used in
between the two stages, most often each FCM contains its
own plenum tank. Some models, especially newer ones,
combine the two stages into one unit, which makes more
sense if only one thruster is being used. For convenience
and due to lack of enough models and predictive behavior
for multiple propellants, an available model is chosen for
the PMA and PFS, and scaled holding the mass to max
propellant flow constant. Using the values from reference
50 on the NEXT propellant feed system, the HPA (PMA) and
LPA (FCM) are 1.9 kg and 3.1kg respectively. The total
propellant rate is approximately 62 sccm or about 6.1
mg/s. Thus the feed system is approximately 0.82
kg/(mg/s) of propellant flow for a single string, but could
be slightly less if multiple strings are used. The HPA may be
slightly heavier if a higher pressure propellant is used. This
scaling factor is simply the ratio of the pressure compared
to 18.6MPa which is used on the NEXT.
For Iodine, the container is not pressurized but the
propellant needs to be heated to be vaporized and fed into
the thruster through heated lines. Fortunately, this does
not require too much energy especially since the tanks may
be stored next to propulsion elements that will emit heat
and the propellant sublimes with a reasonable vapor
pressures at temperatures under 100C. The plumbing and
propellant feed systems for Iodine are more complicated
because oxidization and deposition must be considered.
Unfortunately, no information could be found on any
existing iodine feed systems. For this reason the same mass
approximation is used; however, it should be noted that
this is likely a slight overestimation.
Propellant Storage and Plumbing Sizing
Composite overwrapped tanks (COPV) are a
popular choice for highly pressurized and supercritical
stored propellants such as Xenon. COPV tanks are assumed
for the noble gases. Iodine is stored as a solid and will be
discussed later.

## The propellant tank weight is driven largely by the

volume and pressure of the propellant. The empty weight
of the tank is calculated using the material properties for
Titanium, specifically sheet TI-6Al-4Va-AMS-4911, and
Carbon fiber, specifically Torayca T1000G with Epon Resin
826, and a safety factor. The following equations were used
to estimate the weight and the table of values and
constants.
=

Eq. 60

= + (
+
)
cos ( )
2

Eq. 61

= (1 + + % /% )

Eq. 62

= 0.16

Eq. 63

Eq. 64

Eq. 65

= +
+ +

Eq. 66

= ( + )

Eq. 67

## Table 34. Material Properties and Constants

PROPERTY
TITANIUM YIELD STRENGTH
TITANIUM DENSITY
TITANIUM LINER PERCENT
STRENGTH THICKNESS %t
CARBON FIBER YIELD STRENGTH
CARBON FIBER DENSITY (60% FIBER)
CARBON FIBER OVERWRAP %t
SAFETY FACTOR f
WIND ANGLE W
OVERWRAP WIND FACTOR
PORT AND MOUNT FACTOR
PLUMBING FRACTION
STRUCTURE FRACTION

Value
910 MPa
4430 kg/m3
13% (Xe), 11%
(Kr), 9% (Ar)
3040 MPa
1550 kg/m3
1-%tTi
1.5
15
3/2
2.5
0.002
0.02

POPESCU

18

## A cap eccentricity of 0.707 is used. Table 33

demonstrates the closeness in prediction of actual weight
of xenon tanks. The first tank is slightly more off in
prediction, but that is likely because of its irregular shape.
In order to find the surface area the volume of the tank
must be figured out. Then surface area can be found from
the following relation using the aspect ratio [ARcyl = length
of cylindrical section as multiple of diameter]:

1.1
0.97( )

Eq. 72

## No boiloff volume is assumed since no cryogenic

tanks are used. The mass of the actual plumbing is ignored
and considered part of the structural mass. The noble gas
storage conditions that are used are below.
Table 35. Summary of Propellant Performance

2
= 0.5 1

Eq. 68

24
( )

=
2
6[ ] + 4 1

Eq. 69

1+
= 2 [ ] +

2
1
atanh

Eq. 70

## A cylinder aspect ratio of 1 is assumed for the

tanks. In order to determine the volume of the tank, the
mass and density of the propellant must be known. Since a
pressurant such as Helium shouldnt be used, the minimum
the tank must also be known. From ref 50, it was estimated
that the minimum pressure the HPA could operate was
around 300 kPa. Using this we get the relation:
=

( , ) ( , )

Eq. 71

## Since the initial pressure is very high, the density

can no longer be considered ideal (the final pressure,
however, may be assumed ideal) the density should be
found from a table or real gas law. The temperature is
assumed to remain the approximately the same unless the
propellant is cooled initially, as letting the temperature
raise will increase the amount of propellant that is able to
be extracted.
The mass of the propellant must include a margin
for errors such as missed thrust, fill error, and startup. This
margin is chosen to be 10% as recommended by JPL in
their paper in ref 51. In addition to this, there is ullage
volume and trapped flow associated with the propellant
feed system. This is approximated as 2% and 1%
respectively of the total volume as the middle of range
recommended in the Space Propulsion Analysis and
Design text. Thus Eq. 71 becomes:

GAS
MEOP (MPa)
DENSITY (kg/m 3 )

Xenon
18.6
1680

Krypton
22
1013

Argon
24
491

## Noting that argon must be insulated and kept at a

temperature of 262K instead of the approximated 300K for
the other two, this only adds marginal mass to the tanks if
only a matter of placement in the satellite. For iodine the
container does not need to be pressurized, thus eliminating
significant mass in the tank. Indeed, the propellant feed
system also does not require a depressurization, but
requires a heating element. Iodine also has the advantage
that is far denser than noble gases at 4900 kg/m 3 and as a
solid does not require much structural support. To
estimate the mass for the container is very simply
approximated as 3% of the mass of the propellant.
Power Sizing
The mass of the power system can be found in a
similar fashion as the propulsion system, using the power
requirement and specific mass the mass of the power
subsystem can be found. The overall power requirement
includes all subsystems: propulsion, propellant feed,
GN&C, and payload. Thermal management is assumed to be
passive or at least not contribute much power requirement
to avoid an iterative sizing process, but this is a reasonabl e
approximation to make. It is clear that solar power will be
used. As such battery power must also be considered for
when the satellite is in the shade.
For the solar panel size, the solar panels must
provide enough power for all the subsystems and enough
excess power to charge the batteries for operation in the
dark. Time of the year and inclination make a difference in
the time spent in shadow. At geostationary orbit for
instance, at solstice the orbit may never be in the earths
shadow, while at equinox it may spend up to 1.2 hours in
Time spent in the shade of the earth is
approximately:
sin1 (

) /

Eq. 73

POPESCU

19

## Where is the orbit period. This is an

underestimation usually particularly at lower altitudes due
to atmosphere but a safety factor of 10% on the battery
requirement provides a conservative estimate for the
battery size; likewise a 10% safety factor is applied for the
power requirement as recommended in ref 51 and a 95%
efficient electrical bus. Thus the total power required is
= (

## 40% DOD is assumed (DOD is lower throughout most of the

mission resulting to allow longer lifetime). The specific
energy mass for the battery is the inverse of energy
density (Wh/kg), which for Li-ion is variable and depends
on the power requirement. The minimum battery specific
power will be given by:
, = 1.1/

) 1.1/0.95

Eq. 74

## This ratio is largest closer to earth, and for a 400

km circular orbit for instance this ratio is about 1.64
decreasing to about 1.05 at geostationary orbit. This is a
nice fact, as this decrease is larger than the degradation of
the solar panels. This is also a very large multiplier on the
power required, resulting in much larger solar panels and
batteries than if the spacecraft was to thrust only when in
sunlight, especially at lower altitudes. However, for worst
case scenario and convenience it is considered here.
Since the spacecraft will not change its relative
distance from the sun very much, it can be assumed that the
solar irradiance is constant. Often times the specific mass
of solar panels is also given at 1 AU. In this case, the specific
mass for solar panels is chosen to be 6.6 kg/kW which is
close enough to the ATK UltraFlexs achieved 175W/kg and
accounts for some degradation and the electrical bus. It is
noteworthy that this is a rapidly developing technology
and that specific masses of 2-3kg/kW may be achievable in
the near future.
For the type of batteries, Li-ion is chosen as the
primary battery for LEO-GEO transfer. Although nickel
hydrogen batteries have been popular in the past, they
have up to 30 times higher self-discharge rates and require
up to 10 times more thermal rejection. In addition, Li-ion
improve significantly the energy density, both in mass and
volume advantage and have no memory effect like NiH2.
[53] NiH2 batteries were popular for their long lifetime,
relatively light weight, tolerance to abuse and deep
discharge, and ease of charge monitoring. However, Li-ion
technology has improved significantly, extending the life
time. However, this requires the depth of discharge (DOD)
to be limited to around 40% for the application for GEO.
[54] This is also levels out the voltage over the discharge.
Indeed Li-ion has been successfully implemented on a
multitude of contemporary geostationary satellites. The
mass of the battery system can be estimated as
= 1.1 1.2/0.4

Eq. 75

## As 1.2 hours is approximately the longest time

spent in shadow, there is a 10% margin on power, and a

Eq. 76

equation.
=

0.4
1.2

= 1/3 =

Eq. 77

## It is of course desirable to maximize energy

density. Given this constraint the values can be looked up
on a ragone plot of available li-ion batteries. The point
chosen is 150 W h/kg and 50W/kg.
A note on the power requirement for
communications: while this consumes power it is often that
this accounted for by a duty cycle.
Thermal Management Sizing
A simple model for radiator, heat pipe, and heater
sizing was initially considered, but it would probably be
not significantly more accurate than lumping the thermal
control elements and simply stating:
=
and choosing the specific mass to be 0.2kg/kW as
suggested in the Spacecraft Propulsion Analysis and
Design. The power that must be dissipated can be easily
approximated by:

= (1 )

Eq. 78

=1

## Or the summation of each subsystems input

power times its difference from 100% efficiency. Assuming
that the solar panels dissipate its own heat, only the bus
must be considered. If only the propulsion string is
considered and the other components rejected heat
considered negligible and the battery power is used
instead of solar. Then this is simply:
= (1 )

Eq. 79

=

Eq. 80

POPESCU

20

## This is also conservative as this does not include

the ionization energy that leaves with the propellant, albeit
small, and assumes that all thermal energy must be
rejected by the thermal management system. The power
required for the thermal management system is simply
estimated as 1% of the energy rejected.

as:

## As suggested in reference 56. 53m/s per year is

recommended in the Space Propulsion Analysis and
Design book and these values agree for 10 year service.
this requirement if necessary, although the main thrusters
could be used in part, so the added mass is not considered
for now. The bare minimum acceleration to be provided is
1.5E-06 m/s 2 for N-S axis and 1.6E-07 m/s 2 for E-W axis
although at least 5 times as much is practical.

## The attitude control system normally consists of a

few small lightweight thrusters. Often times, this same
system also serves the role of station keeping and electric
propulsion suits both of these applications well. The main
propulsion system can participate in this role if 2 or 3
thrusters are used. This reduces the overall size of the
attitude and station keeping system easily overcoming any
propulsion string. For the most part this is almost sufficient
for steering, but it is likely a couple small thrusters such as
resistojets or arcjets may be necessary. Steering loss and
missed thrust is included in the 10% total propellant
margin for orbit raising. Using values from chapter 10 in
the Space Propulsion Analysis And Design book, the
accumulated momentum control impulse of 1200Ns per
roughly 3 tons per year of payload needed by the attitude
control system. The attitude thrusters can very well be
small RF ion thrusters as the absolute minimum thrust
BIT-3 thruster can use any of the propellants and provides
the thrust necessary at only 200 grams and 60W which is
essentially negligible mass and power even considering
that each thruster still requires a PPU and feed system [16].
Station keeping can be accomplished by the primary
thrusters. Both of these systems would use the higher
specific impulse propellant if available. The approximate
specific impulse for the BIT-3 on different propellants is
below.

## Table 37. ACS Additional Requirements per 5.8 Years

V (m/s)

NSSK
272.6

EWSK
29

Structural Sizing
A simple 7% of the dry mass of the satellite is
assumed to be structure. This includes the plumbing and
RCS thrusters.

IV. Results
For initial consideration, a Delta IV Medium to LEO
is around 8200 kg assuming a 600kg attach fitting at 400
km circular orbit. Initially consider a 160 day transit and
the inclination to be 0 and 12 year service life.

GAS
ISP

Xenon
3500

Iodine
3550

Krypton
4000

Argon
4850

## It turns out the formula to compute the propellant

required is quite simple for this requirement.
, =

1200
3000

Eq. 81

## Where years is the lifetime of the satellite in years

in geostationary orbit, and the m final once placed in the
geostationary orbit. These thrusters have an additional
requirement for North South and East West Station

De Orbit
10

POPESCU

21

## Figure 9. 100% Iodine

160 day transit is chosen in particular because this
transit time is associated with an opportunity to perform
the transit without being eclipsed. Therefore the battery
and power requirement can be drastically reduced.
Repeating the same cases, it can be seen that the lower
specific impulse propellants no longer have as much
advantage. Only 3 minutes of max power battery life is
provide.

POPESCU

22

## Figure 13. 100% Iodine

Figure 11. 100% Krypton

## Below are the results for the different

combinations of propellants for 160 day transfers.

POPESCU

23

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

## showed benefit. If the transit time is allowed to be

increased to 1 year a few more points show benefit.

0.72
0.71
Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.78

0.69

0.775

0.68
0.77

0.67

0.7

0.66
0.65
0.64
0.63

0.765
0.76
0.755
0.75

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

1
0.745
0.74

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

Xe-I

0.66

Xe-Ar

0.64

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.62
0.72
0.6

0.73

0.58

0.56

0.54

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

0.7

0.69

0.68

0.67

Xe-Ar

0.71

I-Ar

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

Xe-I

0.58
0.56

Xe-Ar

0.52

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.65

0.5
0.64

0.48

Xe-Kr

0.66

0.54

0.46
0.44
0.42
0.4
0

0.63
0.62
0.61

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.6
0.59

## Figure 16. 52 degrees inclination

Power drives much of the trends. Only one case:
the Xenon Krypton with a small amount of krypton mode

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

POPESCU

24

## Extending this time to 1.5 years shows that as the

transit requirement reduces and hence the power, the
benefit of dual mode increases.

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.695
0.69

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I
0.685

0.824
0.822
0.82

0.818
0.816

0.68
0.675
0.67

0.814
0.665
0.812
0.66

0.81

0.1

0.2

0.808

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.806
0.804

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

## The 1 year cases are repeated with a 90% duty cycle

and worst case eclipsed time, and 15 year service life, and 28
degree launch with various power systems specific mass.

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

Xe-Ar

0.79

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.725
0.72
0.715
0.71

0.78

0.785

0.775

0.77

0.705
0.7
0.695
0.69
0.685

0.765

0.68
0.76
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.675

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

I-Ar

Xe-Ar

Xe-I

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.74

0.73

0.735
0.725

0.72

0.73

0.715

0.71

0.725
0.72
0.715
0.71
0.705

0.705
0.7
0.7
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.695

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

POPESCU

25

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

Xe-Ar

0.754

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.65

0.752

0.64

0.75
0.63

0.748
0.746
0.744
0.742

0.62
0.61
0.6

0.74
0.59
0.738
0.58

0.736
0.734

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.1

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

Xe-I

Xe-Ar

0.765

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.65
0.64

0.76

0.63
0.755

0.75

0.62
0.61
0.6
0.59

0.745
0.58
0.74

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

## To assess the scalability of this concept the mass is

varied from 100 kg to 100000 kg. The transit is 1 year and
launched from Kodiak Island, 15 year service life, 200km
LEO, 92% duty cycle.

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.63
0.62

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.65

0.64

0.61
Xe-Ar

0.6
0.59
0.58
0.57

0.63

0.56
0.62

0.55
0.61

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.6

0.59

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

## Figure 28. LEO Mass = 53000 kg

0.9

0.9

POPESCU

26

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

Xe-Ar

0.62

0.048

0.61

0.046

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.044
Propulsion Fraction

0.6

Xe-Kr

0.59
0.58
0.57
0.56
0.55

0.042
0.04
0.038
0.036
0.034
0.032

0.54

0.03

0.53

0.028

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.1

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

I-Ar

Xe-I

Xe-Ar

0.59

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.25

0.58
0.2

0.56

Prop 2 Fraction

0.57

0.55
0.54
0.53
0.52

0.15

0.1

0.05

0.51
0.5

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

I-Ar

Xe-I

Xe-Ar

0.58

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.25

0.56
0.2

Prop 1 Fraction

0.54
0.52
0.5
0.48

0.15

0.1

0.46
0.05
0.44
0.42

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

## Figure 34. LEO Mass = 110kg

Mass breakdown for 8200kg payload, 28.5
inclination change 1 year transit, and 15 year service.

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

POPESCU

27

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-Ar

Xe-I

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.69

0.2

0.685

0.18

0.68

Dry Fraction

0.16
0.14
0.12

0.675
0.67
0.665
0.66

0.1
0.655
0.08
0.06

0.65
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.645

0.1

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Xe-Ar

Kr-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

T
0.63
0.613
0.582
0.5
I-Ar

Isp
2792
2750
3307
4090
I-Ar

0.57
0.56
0.55
0.54
0.53

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

Xe-I

0.745

0.74

0.735

0.73
0.725

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.69

0.72
0.68

0.715
0.71

0.67

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.59

m
0.89
0.9
0.86
0.73

0.9

0.58

e
0.739
0.724
0.712
0.702

0.8

0.6

0.979
0.97
0.975
0.981

0.7

## For the sake of interest, the beam voltage was

reduced to 650V (closer to a hall thruster). The
corresponding propellant performance is below. 8200kg
initial mass at 200km LEO, 92% duty cycle, 1 year transit,

GAS
IODINE
XENON
KRYPTON
ARGON

0.2

0.66
0.65
0.64
0.63
0.62
0.61
0.6

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

POPESCU

28

V. Conclusion
Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.62

0.6

0.58

0.56

0.54

0.52

0.5

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.54
0.52

0.5

## Of course this simplified delta V calculation does

not represent all the benefit dual mode can provide. In fact,
dual mode trajectories can be much further optimized by
strategic thrusting. Such thrust strategies include using
higher thrust at nodes to increase the effectivity of
inclination changes, or perigee and apogee burns to
increase the effect of orbit raising, or even both. In addition,
the GTO to GEO transit would be of interest for a dual mode
vehicle. These would be an excellent areas to pursue in
further research for better payload and dry mass fractions.

0.48
0.46
0.44
0.42
0.4
0.38
0.36
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

0.7

0.8

0.9

## Figure 44. 57 degree inclination

Repeated with power systems alpha of 2kg/kW and
1 year transit.

Xe-Ar

Xe-Kr

Kr-Ar

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
Mode DV Fraction

I-Ar

I-Ar

Xe-I

0.625
0.62
0.615

## From this analysis it can be concluded that dual

mode electric propulsion can result in a slightly larger
payload to geostationary orbit, up to roughly 2% more than
Xenon alone in some cases. This is not very impressive, but
a result nonetheless. One of the reasons for this, is that any
benefit gained in propellant mass and tank mass is offset
by an increasing power system requirement. This is the
reason why the effect is more pronounced when the power
system sizing is less important: lower specific mass or
longer transit times.

0.61
0.605
0.6
0.595
0.59

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.8

0.9

## Lastly, this research has not entirely taken into

account the cost of dual mode. It is true that most of these
alternative propellants are significantly cheaper. In some
cases it can be seen that 100% Argon or 100% Krypton
have higher payload fractions, however, the subsequent
increase in power, propulsion, and tank subsystems may
It should be noted that Iodine significantly out
performs in this simplified study. While this may not be
completely reflected in a more extensive study, it
nonetheless demonstrates that Iodine holds much promise
as an alternative propellant to Xenon.

POPESCU

29

POPESCU

30

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