Guest Seminar - Dr. Kristof Holste / Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany: "New Propellants for Ion Thrusters – Iodine and Other Alternatives"
Ionthrusters are nowadays routinely used onsatellites for attitude control and fordedicated space missions, such as GOCE andDawn. The commonly used propellant for ionthrusters is the noble-gas xenon, whichcomprise some advantages such as highatomic mass, no chemical reactivity, andefficient ionization. One disadvantage ofxenon is the high price, which leads tohigh costs for testing and qualificationof thrusters. Potential candidates foralternative propellants are currentlyunder investigation in the electricpropulsion community. An interestingmaterial is iodine, which has a high mass, a high ionization efficiency and a highdensity due to its solid nature atstandard temperature. It can be evaporatedwith moderate heating power and wassuccessfully tested recently at Giessenuniversity with a radiofrequency ionthruster. The talk will presentperformance results of iodine and gives anoverview about alternative propellants ingeneral.