A novel numerical analysis of Hall Effect Thruster and its application in simultaneous design of thruster and optimal low-thrust trajectory
MetadataShow full item record
Hall Effect Thrusters (HETs) are a form of electric propulsion device which uses external electrical energy to produce thrust. When compared to various other electric propulsion devices, HETs are excellent candidates for future orbit transfer and interplanetary missions due to their relatively simple configuration, moderate thrust capability, higher thrust to power ratio, and lower thruster mass to power ratio. Due to the short history of HETs, the current design process of a new HET is a largely empirical and experimental science, and this has resulted in previous designs being developed in a narrow design space based on experimental data without systematic investigations of parameter correlations. In addition, current preliminary low-thrust trajectory optimizations, due to inherent difficulties in solution procedure, often assume constant or linear performances with available power in their applications of electric thrusters. The main obstacles come from the complex physics involved in HET technology and relatively small amounts of experimental data. Although physical theories and numerical simulations can provide a valuable tool for design space exploration at the inception of a new HET design and preliminary low-thrust trajectory optimization, the complex physics makes theoretical and numerical solutions difficult to obtain. Numerical implementations have been quite extensively conducted in the last two decades. An investigation of current methodologies reveals that to date, none provide a proper methodology for a new HET design at the conceptual design stage and the coupled low-thrust trajectory optimization. Thus, in the first half of this work, an efficient, robust, and self-consistent numerical method for the analysis of HETs is developed with a new approach. The key idea is to divide the analysis region into two regions in terms of electron dynamics based on physical intuition. Intensive validations are conducted for existing HETs from 1 kW to 50 kW classes. The second half of this work aims to construct a simultaneous design optimization environment though collaboration with experts in low-thrust trajectory optimization where a new HET and associated optimal low-thrust trajectory can be designed simultaneously. A demonstration for an orbit raising mission shows that the constructed simultaneous design optimization environment can be used effectively and synergistically for space missions involving HETs. It is expected that the present work will aid and ease the current expensive experimental HET design process and reduce preliminary space mission design cycles involving HETs.