A High Performance Cathode Heater for Hall Thrusters

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sienna Technologies, Inc.
19501 144th Avenue NE Array
Woodinville, WA 98072
Principal Investigator

Abstract

High current hollow cathodes are the baseline electron source for next generation high power Hall thrusters. Currently for electron sources providing current levels >50 A and cathodes utilizing LaB6 emitters, the only viable, long life heater technology is a low reliability, low producibility, multi-element heater constructed from MgO insulated coaxial heater cable. In the Phase I project we will develop novel insulator materials to replace MgO that can provide high temperature capability, with good thermal conductivity and electrical isolation. We will design, fabricate, and test prototype swaged coaxial heaters incorporating the novel insulators, in collaboration with a heater manufacturer and an end user aerospace company.