Fri, Feb 11, 2011 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars
Speaker: Jay Polk, Ph.D., Principal Engineer, Propulsion and Materials Engineering Section, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Talk Title: High Power Electric Propulsion for Human Exploration Missions
Abstract: The use of high specific impulse electric propulsion offers dramatic cost savings for human missions as part of the flexible path for deep space exploration. Near-term solar array and electric thruster technologies incorporated in a 300 kWe solar electric propulsion (SEP) stage could enable human exploration of many scientifically interesting near-Earth objects in the 2020 time frame with a factor of two or more reduction in the total mass that must be launched to low earth orbit compared to conventional chemical propulsion. Similar performance can be achieved for human missions to Phobos or Deimos with vehicle power levels of about 600 kWe and missions to explore the surface of Mars could be accomplished with MWe-class vehicles. In this talk, the âElectric Path,â a new architecture exploiting the fuel efficiency of high specific impulse electric propulsion, and the required high power Hall thruster technologies will be described. Current research focuses on thruster lifetime issues, and the physics of two key life-limiting phenomena, Hall thruster discharge channel erosion and barium depletion in hollow cathodes, will be discussed.
Biography: Dr. Polk received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has over 20 years experience in electric propulsion research and development, and had led many electric propulsion projects at JPL.
Host: Department of Astronautical Engineering
Location: Seaver Science Library (SSL) - 150
Audiences: Everyone Is Invited
Contact: Marrietta Penoliar