Improvement of the lifetime of Electric Propulsion Thrusters using different propellant by reducing sputtering effects on materials

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jochen Schein, who holds the Professorship of Plasma Technology and Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering, has acquired funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) for the project “Improvement of the lifetime of electric propulsion thrusters using different propellants by reducing sputtering effects on materials”.

Current electrical propulsion (EP) systems use high-purity xenon as fuel. Due to the increasing number of EP applications and, in particular, the growing interest in large constellations of low-cost small satellites (e.g. CubeSats), with the high costs of xenon potentially becoming a decisive technological criterion, there is a growing requirement for alternative fuels. The aim of this research project is to study the effects of alternative fuels on the service life and performance of EP systems. In this context, the main focus is on radio-frequency ion engines.


Project period: 1 October 2018 to 1 July 2023

Funding by: European Space Agency (ESA)



Lead image: © Michal Szulc, LPT, Universität der Bundeswehr München

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