Iodine Hall Thruster for Space Exploration Project

Metadata Updated: July 8, 2015

In the Phase I program, Busek Co. Inc. tested an existing Hall thruster, the BHT-8000, on iodine propellant. The thruster was fed by a high flow iodine feed system, and supported by an existing Busek hollow cathode flowing xenon gas. The Phase I propellant feed system was evolved from a previously demonstrated laboratory feed system. Throttling of the thruster between 2 and 11 kW at 200-600V was demonstrated. Testing has shown that the efficiency of iodine fueled BHT-8000 is the same as with xenon, with iodine delivering slightly higher thrust to power (T/P).

Plume current was also measured at a variety of operating conditions. Preliminary design work for a new thruster to be built in Phase II was also completed.

In Phase II a complete iodine fueled system will be developed including the thruster, hollow cathode, and iodine propellant feed system. The nominal power of the Phase II system is 8 kW. However, it can be deeply throttled as well as clustered to much higher power levels. The technology can also be scaled to [HTML_REMOVED]100 kW per thruster to support MW-class missions. The target thruster efficiency for the full scale system is 65[HTML_REMOVED] at high Isp (~3000 s) and 60[HTML_REMOVED] at high thrust (Isp~2000 s). These projections are based on Phase I testing and prior testing of higher power thrusters.

Iodine enables dramatic mass and cost savings for lunar and Mars cargo missions, including Earth escape and near-Earth space maneuvers. High purity iodine is available commercially in large quantities at much lower cost than xenon. Iodine stores at 2 to 3 times greater density than xenon and at approximately one thousandth of the pressure and may be stored in low mass, low cost propellant tanks instead. Passive, long term storage of a fully fueled system is feasible including storage in conformal tanks which may be used to shield internal components against some types of space radiation.

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Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: U.S. Government Work

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Metadata Created Date April 9, 2015
Metadata Updated Date July 8, 2015

Metadata Source

Harvested from NASA Data.json

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Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date April 9, 2015
Metadata Updated Date July 8, 2015
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_16720
Gary Jahns
Maintainer Email
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Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 026:00
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Harvest Source Id 39e4ad2a-47ca-4507-8258-852babd0fd99
Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2013-07-01T00:00:00Z
Homepage URL
Language en-US
Data Last Modified 2015-03-12
Program Code 026:027
Publisher Hierarchy National Aeronautics and Space Administration > Space Technology Mission Directorate
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Source Hash 6525d7054f23e9557bec4ec08d30788d3e840a04
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Temporal 2013-07-01T00:00:00Z/2015-01-01T00:00:00Z

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