Throughout most of the twentieth century, electric propulsion was considered the technology of the future. Now, the future has arrived. This important new book explains the fundamentals of electric propulsion for spacecraft and describes in detail the physics and characteristics of the two major electric thrusters in use today, ion and Hall thrusters. The authors provide an introduction to plasma physics in order to allow readers to understand the models and derivations used in determining electric thruster performance. They then go on to present detailed explanations of: Thruster principles Ion thruster plasma generators and accelerator grids Hollow cathodes Hall thrusters Ion and Hall thruster plumes Flight ion and Hall thrusters Based largely on research and development performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and complemented with scores of tables, figures, homework problems, and references, Fundamentals of Electric Propulsion: Ion and Hall Thrusters is an indispensable textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate students who are preparing to enter the aerospace industry.
It also serves as an equally valuable resource for professional engineers already at work in the field.