Pulsed plasma propulsion for a small satellite: Mission COMPASS P3OINT

J. K. Ziemer, E. A. Cubbin, E. Y. Choueiri, V. Oraevsky, V. Dokukin

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Pre-launch characterization and preparation of a Lincoln Experimental Satellite (LES 8/9) ablative pulsed plasma thruster (APPT) module for the COMPASS P3OINT Mission are described. COMPASS P3OINT is a joint project between the Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Lab (EPPDyL) of Princeton University and the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation of the Russian Academy of Science (IZMIRAN) to carry inorbit investigations with an ablative pulsed plasma thruster onboard COMPASS, an IZMIRAN scientific microsatellite to be launched in October, 1996. The unmodified LES 8/9 APPT module produces impulse bits of 285 juN-s at an l^ of 836 s using 25 W of power on average. The APPT module will be used to conduct in-orbit investigations of pulsed plasma propulsion as well as to provide attitude control of the satellite and a source of plasma for active space experiments. Details of the power, command, and telemetry signals required to operate the device on the COMPASS satellite are presented. Thermal control and various operational modes are also outlined. Operational modes include a combination of right and left nozzle pulse sequences for determining the performance and impulse bit of the APPT module in space. Documented pre-flight experiments include a temporary hardware addition that simulates the plasma discharge necessary for the pre-flight atmospheric integration test at IZMIRAN. Also described are the experimental measurements of the thrust efficiency, center of mass, and moments of inertia of the module.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 1996
Event32nd Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 1996 - Lake Buena Vista, United States
Duration: Jul 1 1996Jul 3 1996


Other32nd Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 1996
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering


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