Cluster of electric thrusters for astronautic and robotic INPPS flagship space flights to Mars and Europa moon
DLR Institute of Space Systems, Robert-Hooke-Str. 7, 28359, Bremen, Germany
2 SITAEL S.p.A., Via A. Gherardesca, 5, 56121, Pisa, Italy
3 Institute of Space Systems, University of Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 29, 70569, Stuttgart, Germany
4 JAXA/ISAS, Tokyo, Japan
5 Centre National d’Etudes Spatiale CNES, rue Jacques Hillairet 52, 75612, Paris, France
6 ENPULSION, Viktor Kaplan-Str. 2, 2700, Vienna, Austria
7 1. Physical Institute, Justus Liebig University Gießen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 16, 35392, Gießen, Germany
Accepted: 22 March 2023
Published online: 17 April 2023
This review deals with the selection of the electric propulsion system (EPS) for the internationally developed and designed, primary nuclear-electric space tug International Nuclear Power and Propulsion System (INPPS). INPPS is scheduled for interplanetary missions to Mars and Jupiter moon Europa missions by the end of decade 2020. Regarding specific technical and mission parameters preselected electric thruster (ET) types, developed by international companies and institutions, are analysed, evaluated and investigated for a possible application as propulsion system (PS), the so-called CET (Cluster of Electric Thrusters). It is analysed whether solely electric thrusters, combined in an adequate CET, enable the envisaged interplanetary missions—robotic and astronautic/crewed with the INPPS flagship.
Thruster clusters with strategic consortium considerations are analysed as a feasible PS of the INPPS. The studied CET consists of the following: (a) only European ETs, (b) combination of German and European ETs, (c) Japanese and European ETs or at least (d) Japanese, European and US thrusters. The main results are (1) Robotic and crewed INPPS mission to Mars/Europa are realizable with EPS only (no chemical propulsion is needed), (2) that every CET, except (c) of only Japanese and part of European thrusters, is capable to perform the main part of envisaged INPPS flagship mission orbit to Mars, back to Earth and to Jupiter/Europa moon.
Key words: INPPS flagship / Electric Propulsion System / Cluster of Electric Thruster / Electric Thruster Diagnostics
© The Author(s) 2023
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