PurposeThis paper aims to provide an overview of current and historical arcjet development. The reviewed arcjets are considered with respect to both design and thruster relevant parameters. Correspondingly, the paper enables the identification of adequate design criteria and of the probable thruster parameters.Design/methodology/approachThe approach consists of a database for thruster relevant parameters in conjunction with relevant operational requirements (such as type of propellant) and specific design criteria (such as e.g. propellant injection systems).FindingsThe synopsis of both operational parameter and respectively assigned design allows for the derivation of development approaches for arcjets under given high level requirements such as power regime.Research limitations/implicationsThe paper is a general review. However, its strength is in the synthesis of the arcjet classification, the functional evidence of design criteria and the application scenario.Practical implicationsNot only basic but also specific design criteria are analyzed and evaluated leading to a recommendation feature of the paper with respect to the overall design of adequate arcjets.Social implicationsWithin the scope of the Clean Space initiative, new applications and scenarios from the operation of arcjets arise enabling EOL phases of spacecraft that fulfill respective levels of debris mitigation and, in addition, the requirements concerning the adequately adapted re-entry of spacecrafts that are at end of life.Originality/valueThe paper is a general review. However, its strength is in the synthesis of the arcjet classification, the functional evidence of design criteria and the application scenario.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 5, 2018
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