The thruster is available in three specific impulse classes, i.e. 547s, 2500s and 3500s. The higher the specific impulse of the thruster, the less propellant mass is needed to achieve a certain delta-V. When the thruster operates at 3500s specific impulse, the reaction mass (charged spray) mainly consists of individual ions. In that case, the thruster is highly efficient in terms of propellant mass, but the thrust to electrical power ratio is relatively low. Therefore, a thruster in the 3500s specific impulse class is characterized by low thrust levels and long flight times.
If a higher thrust level (i.e. a shorter flight time) is required, a thruster in a lower specific impulse class could be more attractive. A thruster in the 2500s specific impulse class can produce higher thrust levels at a certain electrical power than a thruster in the 3500s specific impulse class. However, because of the lower specific impulse, the thruster is less efficient in terms of propllant mass. The reaction mass in the 2500s specific impulse class consists of a combination of individual ions and small charged droplets.
Even higher thrust levels can be obtained with a thruster in the 547s specific impulse class. Such a thruster could produce roughly 6 times higher thrust level than a thruster in the 3500s specific impulse class, using the same electrical power. Again, this comes with a penelty in terms of propellant mass. The reaction mass of this thruster mainly consists of charged droplets.
A single thruster unit can be used on satellites with a mass up to approximately 25kg. For heavier satellites, multiple thruster units could be used. When pressing "SUBMIT" an impression of the propulsion system in a 3-unit cube-sat is given.
This tool is based on the results of the first development phase. The data produced by this tool may not represent the performance of the most current thruster design. As soon as more accurate data becomes available, the tool will be updated. Microthrust and its partners will not accept any liability for the results produced by this tool. Use of the results is solely the responsibility of the user.