Charge-Exchange Plasma Contamination on SMART-1: First Measurements and Model Verification
Publication date: 11 Jul 2004
Authors: Tajmar, M., et al.
SMART-1, launched in fall 2003, is Europe's first moon satellite. It shall demonstrate Solar-Electric Propulsion using a PPS-1350 hall thruster. One of the main mission investigations is the characterization of the thruster's charge-exchange ion environment. Two instruments support this analysis: EPDP, consisting of a Langmuir probe, RPA analyser and a solar cell sample, and SPEDE, consisting of two current collection spheres supported by two short booms. ARC Seibersdorf research developed a Particle-In-Cell plasma simulation to support and predict the thruster's induced plasma environment around SMART-1.
This paper will give an overview of the modeling approach and a comparison of the model will test results gained during the STENTOR ground test campaign using a similar thruster. We will also report a first interpretation of the measurements from EPDP and SPEDE on SMART-1 and will compare them with the actual model predictions. This analysis shall be used to actually validate the simulation tool to reliably predict charge exchange plasma environments on future missions using electric propulsion.