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PEGASES: Plasma Propulsion with Electronegative Gases

Gary Leray
Abstract : The PEGASES thruster is a new plasma thruster concept. In a classical thruster, the thrust is produced by accelerating positive ions from an electron-positive ion plasma. In the PEGASES concept, an electronegative plasma is used, with electrons, positive and negative ions. Both positive and negative ions are used to create the thrust. Several advantages follow from this design. The PEGASES thruster can be divided into three stages: the ionization stage, the magnetic electron filtering stage, and the extraction and acceleration stage. In the first stage, the electronegative plasma is excited by a radiofrequency wave. In the second stage, electrons are spatially filtered to obtain an ion-ion plasma (electron free). In the third stage, both ion species are extracted and accelerated. This is made possible by the obtainment of an ion-ion plasma in the previous stage. The first two stages were investigated experimentally in the first PEGASES thruster prototype using electrostatic probes and retarding-field energy analyzers. The last two stages were investigated theoretically with fluid and kinetic models. With the results from all stages, a better understanding of the PEGASES concept stages was achieved. This allowed the design of the second PEGASES thruster prototype.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 8:00:00 AM
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Gary Leray. PEGASES: Plasma Propulsion with Electronegative Gases. Physics [physics]. Ecole Polytechnique X, 2009. English. ⟨pastel-00005935⟩

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