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Published June 1987 | Published
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Electron-Cyclotron-Resonance (ECR) Plasma Acceleration


A research effort directed at analytically and experimentally investigating Electron-Cyclotron-Resonance (ECR) plasma acceleration is outlined. In addition, relevant past research is reviewed. Also, the prospects for application of ECR plasma acceleration to spacecraft propulsion are described. It is shown that previously unexplained losses in converting microwave power to directed kinetic power via ECR plasma acceleration can be understood in terms of diffusion of energized plasma to the physical walls of the accelerator. It is also argued that line radiation losses due to electron-ion and electron-atom inelastic collisions should be less than estimated in past research. Based on this new understanding, the expectation now exists that very efficient ECR plasma accelerators can be designed for application to high specific impulse spacecraft propulsion.

Additional Information

© 1987 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. This paper is declared work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in Ihe United States. The research reported in this paper was performed, in part, by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology as part of its Innovative Space Technology Center, which is sponsored by the Strategic Defence Initiative Organization/Innovative Science and Technology Office through agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The author acknowledges the contributions of his academic advisor, Prof. F. E. C. Culick, and Mr. F. Linoya of the California Institute of Technology. The author also acknowledges discussion and critical review of this work by several engineers from the Propulsion Systems Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Published - 299_Sercel_jc_1987.pdf


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