Future Energy eNews

Integrity Research Institute January 6, 2003

1) Spies That Fly & Next Generation X-Plane. These PBS NOVA programs promise to reveal a little more than normal about the advancement of US military "things to come" including the newest UAV (unmanned air vehicles) called the X-47A. The first is Tuesday night Jan 7 at 8 PM.

2) X-47A Unveiled. Attached are two photos which introduce the most unusual UAV that has been produced, which has no vertical rudder stabilizer. After seeing two posters of this almost square UAV in the Reagan National Airport baggage claim, this past summer, with lines drawn that connected it to all of the air, land, and sea vehicles BELOW it, I started to comprehend the "integrated communication" that is supposed to be within its capability. (Presumably, the advertizing strategy is to impress the Pentagon chiefs when they pick up their baggage.)

3) Chronology of Unusual Aerial Vehicles. Forwarded email with AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), LVCM and UK reference links. May provide a broader context for the NOVA program report.

4) History of Advanced Aerial Vehicles. Fascinating but perhaps the most controversial report of this eNews, this report delves into the suppression issue and includes a number of historical references.

5) Possible Electric Propulsion Systems for Flying Triangles. A comprehensive report on triangular vehicle propulsion methods from peer-reviewed, AIAA journal papers.

1) Spies That Fly http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/schedule.html

Tuesday, January 7 at 8 p.m.
A new generation of pilotless planes fly, spy, and bomb in places too risky for human pilots.
Go to the companion
Web Site Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) NOVA one hour program (tomorrow Jan. 7, at 8 PM) on UAVs. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/spiesfly/ The show also includes the newest UAV, a square-shaped X-47A that looks almost non-aerodynamic. (My prediction is that we are watching a slow evolutionary trend toward a circular craft that will finally be declassified.)

Also see: Battle of the X-Planes
Tuesday, February 4 from 8 to 10 p.m.
Two aviation giants, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, compete to build the next-generation fighter jet. Go to the companion
Web Site

2)) X- 47A Unveiled

We have attached a couple of pictures obtained courtesy of the Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, One Hornet Way, El Segundo, CA 90245. Here is the July, 2002 description of the X-47A Pegasus issued by the military contractor:

Congress has mandated that unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) will become a greater percentage of the airborne fleets in the coming years for both the US Air Force and Navy. Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk and Fire Scout are already leading the way in the development of UAVs to satisfy this requirement.

Northrup Grumman unveiled its design for an unmanned aircraft to demonstrate some of the technologies emanating from its new Advanced Systems Development Center (ASDC) in El Segundo, California. Pegasus, an internally funded program, will perform a proof-of-concept demonstration with flight tests scheduled to being later this year. The Pegasus unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) demonstrator received an 'X' designation in June. The US Air Force establishes 'X' designations for experimental aviation programs.

Pegasus is being designed and built to demonstrate aerodynamic flying qualities suitable for aircraft carrier operations. Specific objectives include:

Designed with stealth features and shaped like a kite, Pegasus is built largely with composite materials. The aircraft measures 27.9 feet long and has a nearly equal wingspan of 27.8 feet. First flight is planned for early this year at the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, Calif. One ofthe first tasks of the Pegasus flight program will be to demonstrate the aerodynamic qualities of an autonomous UAV that would allow it to operate from an aircraft carrier, thus reducing the risk for carrier operations of a Naval UCAV (unmanned combat air vehicle).

The goal of the UCAV Navy program is to demonstrate the technical feasibility for an unmanned system to effectively and affordably conduct sea-based surveillance, strike and suppression of enemy air defenses missions within the emerging global command and control architecture.

(Underlines added by IRI for emphasis. - TV)

3) Chronology of Unusual Aerial Vehicles

Forwarded email, published on the Internet:

--- In greenglow@yahoo.com, "hizlimurat" <hizlimurat@yahoo.com> wrote:

Boeing started cooperation with Cargolifter nearby Berlin.
Some friends are working there. In the past we worked on concepts for
ion engine airships at TU Berlin. I led the team which cooperates
with the Institute of Bionics where I work on electroaerodynamics in
my freetime. Now I am more interested in ion engines for heavier than
air flying vehicles. Here is an interesting paper partly about
atmospheric ion engines for unmanned aerial vehicles.



The following info might also interest you.

Untitled Document- [Diese Seite übersetzen ]
... DOE sponsored test of the XEM-1 at Nellis AFB August 1977. ...
1997, Successful PTO
rebuttal of Dr. A. Wong's Corona Ion Engine application for Sky
Stations ...
http://www.lvcm.com/walden/history.html - 23k - Im Archiv - Ähnliche

1976 XEM-1 initial flight test program and filming of model flights
at the C.C.C.C. Solar lab.

University of Oregon Innovation Center evaluation of patentability
and marketability, patent search and market analysis.

Recommendation to energy related inventions programs division
Department Of Energy

Initial DOE/DOD contacts

1977 Development of patent figures and additional LTAS systems and
Initial patent application filing date. Patent processing begins. DOE
sponsored test of the XEM-1 at Nellis AFB August 1977. Feature story
on test in premier issue of C.C.C.C. newspaper. Dec. 1977.

1978 Construction of XEM-2 8' diameter Radio Controlled Solar
Saucer flight tests
of XEM-2 in Solar Lab at C.C.C.C. during spring
of 1978. Flight duration of 3 months, 3 days obtained. Testing of
lenticular form flight parameters, vectored thrust unit placement
refinements to software tools, SIZ-2, POWER and MANUFACT. American
Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics LTA technologies
conference, issuance of U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Airship Demonstrator
R-FP. Designed the LTAS PAD 222 demonstrator in answer to the R-FP.

Initial contact with Mario Sanchez-Roldan from SPACIAL of Mexico.
Initial design and sizing done for the geodesic hull form for MLA-24-A

1979 U.S. Patent office patent application receipt and pending form

Completed mission studies for USCG PAD unit for US border patrol and
high seas interdiction of illicit cargos. Completed mission study for
Mexico integrated transport system. Completed mission study for bulk
foodstuffs transport from gulf coast-Hawaii/Central California to

1980 Constructed XEM-3 radio controlled model 12 foot diameter
lenticular ship.

This was the first ship to use a true foam laminate hull structure
and density control buoyancy system. Test flights were conducted in
December 1980 and January 1981.

Engineering agreement with SPACIAL of Mexico to do sizing for their
units in return for result data from flights. Mr. Walden made US
representative for SPACIAL.

1981 Re-determination of lift parameters in sizing program SIZ-2 from
XEM-2 and XEM-3 test flights. Construction of the XEM-4 RC model of
the MLA-24. Start of construction of the MLA-24-A full scale

1982 Acquired "artist's concept" renderings of LTAS craft PAD 222,
Heavy Lifter and Logger

Designed systems for MLA-24-A

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' LTA Technologies
Conference MLA series proclaimed "THE" airship design of the future
by attendees after Video of XEM-4 test flights showing full aerobatic
capacities shown.

Continued construction of the MLA-24-A

Destruction of the facility and ship by hurricane that struck Mexico


1997 Successful PTO rebuttal of Dr. A. Wong's Corona Ion Engine
application for Sky Stations International. Considered by SSI as one
of the "key technologies" to make stratospheric telecommunications
platforms possible. Dr. Wong removed from position as SSI's "chief scientist".

Lindstrand Balloons brought on as SSI's new platform subcontractor.

SkySat Communications asks LTAS for a "platform comparison study"
between their Skyworm design and the LTAS SOSCS platform design.

4) Known History of Advanced Aerial Vehicles

Toward a Typology of Advanced Unidentified Vehicles, Dec. 2002 http://www.ttauv.freeserve.co.uk



The theory of terrestrial origin is the simplest theory, once the existence of the vehicles has been accepted, and an attractive one.

However, there is no easy explanation for the early craft. Apart from 'flying shields' of the classical era and German woodcuts showing cigars, crosses and spheres from the Seventeenth century, there is no convincing evidence for advanced vehicles that we are aware of before the Nineteenth century. These reports do warrant further scrutiny, but could be explained as word of mouth re-tellings of mirages, optical phenomena and other natural phenomena - or simply not true.

The earliest advanced craft seem to be the discs, ovals, spheres, cigars, triangles, and the Desert Center 1950 type (Adamski's 'scout craft'). They seem to appear in the late Nineteenth century, possibly as early as 1876 (?) in the USA, and certainly by the 1920s over the Himalayas. The Desert Center 1950 craft could, in design terms, originate as early as the 1850s. Although all known photographs and films purporting to show the craft appear to us to be obvious fakes, it would seem that the Desert Center 1950 craft was real, and looked much like the models seen in the various photos. In addition, elements of the US Government were in control of the craft and went to great lengths to hide it 'in plain sight'. The true origin and propulsion of all these craft remain a matter for speculation.

There evidently have been serious and successful attempts to fly saucer shaped craft by the US military at least. In the 1940s the USAAF had a propellor driven, twin-engined circular wing aircraft, known as the 'Flying Flapjack'. This had two fins and tailplanes. This was revealed in 1949. At the same time Northrop's flying wing projects were started and, in 1949, apparently, dropped despite seemingly excellent results. In the early 1950s, acording to a reports shown on Channel 4 in 2000, the USAF had jet powered two-and-four engined circular wing aircraft. These had central cockpits, a fuselage, fins and aelerons. In 1955, according to contemporary reports, Canada abandoned attempts to build a large flying disc and gave its results to the USA. In the late 1950s the US contracted Avro to build the 'Avrocar', a small, twin cockpit aircraft with a central vertical axis turbine to provide lift. This was a secret project revealed accidentally, then abandoned in the early 1960s.

If Kenneth Arnold was right, the US had a flight of nine all-wing aircraft operating by 1947, which have never been acknowledged. Discs with fins were operating over the USA in 1947 and England by 1952. Discs with fins include Cascade Mountains USA, 1947 http://www.ttauv.freeserve.co.uk/2000known history.htmhttp://www.ttauv.freeserve.co.uk/4000mountranier47.htm (single tail, formation of at least 5), (1) Phoenix, Arizona, USA, 1947 http://www.ttauv.freeserve.co.uk/2000known history.htmhttp://www.ttauv.freeserve.co.uk/4000phoenix47.html, McMinnville, USA, 1947 http://www.ttauv.freeserve.co.uk/2000known history.htmhttp://www.ttauv.freeserve.co.uk/5000mcminnville 50.htm (single tail), and Salisbury Plain, UK, 1952 (twin tails) (2).

The US spent about 36 billion dollars in 1998 on declared black budget aircraft research, testing and procurement, more than either healthcare or education (3). With further funds probably buried in other programmes, there would appear to be a huge amount of finance available in the US for secret aircraft, but whether it is enough to account for the fleets of discs, triangles and cigars apparently operational since WW2 is still uncertain.

Incomplete List of Relevant 'Secret' Aircraft


Delta I. Lippisch design. Pure delta wing, straight trailing edge (3).


P.11 / Delta VI. Lippisch design for very fast bomber. Pure delta wing, straight trailing edge, 7.4m x 10m span (24.5 x 33ft), 1040kph (3). Vertical rudder (?).

P.13 Lippisch design. Vertical rudder (?) (3).

HoIX / Gotha 229 / T-2-490 (US). Horten designed flying wing. Flew 1945. Turbojets. Plywood/sawdust/charcoal/glue construction - low RCS (3).

HoX. Horten designed supersonic delta. No vertical tail (3).

Gotha P.60A heavy fighter, 40.5 ft (12.4m) span, seep back 46 degrees. Crew prone position (3).

Arado long range bomber flying wing (3).

Arado triangular high speed fighter (3).

Me AS6 (V1) circular wing aircraft (3).

Chance-Vought V-173 'flying flapjack'. Zimmerman design for Navy carrier aircraft. 1942. Flew.

Chance-Vought XF-5U1, more advanced 'flying flapjack'. Allegedly flew in jet powered version at Muroc Field in 1947 (3).

Schriever disc. Was this the alleged 'Klein' 14 February 1945 test, in which a 'ray guided' saucer reached 30,000ft (9150m) in 3 minutes and a 1250mph?. Schriever may have been pilot. First Nazi disc built said to have diameter of 45 yards (135ft, 41m) (Jungk, via 3).

Miethe disc. Dr Walter (or Richard) Miethe went to AV Roe. His was a 138m (42m) diameter disc powered by vectorable jets (3).

Habermohl disc. Klaus Habermohl went to Russians. His was a radial flow design using adjustable nozzles, and used the 'Coanda' effect. Footage exists of tests of an approx. 75ft (23m) disc, not very sleek and contoured, flying overhead (3).

Schreiver/Habermohl disc. Large area disc rotating around central cupola-like cockpit. Disc made up of adjustable wing surfaces which could be positioned for take off or level flight (3).

Belluzo disc. Worked on Miethe team.

Dr Werner von Braun disc.


Project Y/P724. Version of Silverbug probably tested by 1954. Small Canadian-British-US research VTO aircraft, probably by AVRO Canada. Designed for speeds up to 1500mph (2415kph) (3).

Project Y2. Version of Silverbug designed by 1955. Small Canadian-British-US research VTO aircraft (3).

Turner disc. Republic Aviation Corporation designer's 'deflected jet' saucer, similar to Silverbug. Large gas turbine acts as stabilising gyroscope. Pilot prone (3).



Aeron 3: cigar shaped hybrid airship (3).


Aeron 26: 'deltoid pumpkin seed' shaped hybrid airship, test flown in 1971 over Atlantic City, NJ, USA. Craft was 12ft (8.25m) long 1200lb (545kg). Used helium cells integrated in aircraft hull (3).

Aeron 340: flying triangle 340ft (104m) long and 256ft (78m) wide. Proposed design. Powered by four turboprops. Helium LTA craft (3).

Dynairship: proposed flying triangle 600ft (183m) long. Helium LTA craft for oceanic surveillance (3).

XEM-1:solar powered LTA craft built by Michael Walden in 1974. Disc shaped. Still classified in 1997 (3).

MLA-32B: disc shaped, vectored thrust airship by Michael Walden and Mexican team. 105ft (32m) diameter. Flew in 35 knot crosswind (3).

Howden charged-disc craft: proposed by Patrick F. Howden, this craft is briefly described as a disc craft with charge. An electron or positve ion gun leaves the bottom of the craft with the same charge as the atmosphere, lifting the craft. The accompanying sketch shows something reminiscent of Rogue River 1947 http://www.ttauv.freeserve.co.uk/5000rogueriver.htm, and has a circular central portion to the underside similar in size to Mount Ranier 1947 http://www.ttauv.freeserve.co.uk/4000mountranier47.htm, whilst the electron or ion gun mounted on top seems to propel the craft forward.


Radio controlled FT: triangular, about ten lights underneath. Slight hissing sound. Seen near Staincross and Wooley, West Yorkshire (?), UK, on night of 20 April 1988. Controlled by man in car (3).


BAE UAV 1: 30-40ft (9-12m) UAV. Possible decoy, possible target designator (3, p 13)

Michael Walden hypothetical FT: Modified 'deltoid pumpkin seed' for waverider aerodynamics. 400-600ft long, 200-300ft wide. Ionic airflow engines show blue coronal discharge and create charged flow of air. Slight hum. Pulsing laser ignites hydrogen fuel at higher altitudes for high speed: if ring combustion chamber, results in donuts-on-a-string trail and rumbling sound. Mach 6-10 (3).

LoFlyte: NASA Low Observable Flight Test Experiment concept. Triangular, might use waverider approach, hypersonic (3).

Tier 3: UAV, possible 'smart skin'. Possible adapted Northrop B-2 design. Phase conjuncted pulse radar stealth system. Possibly boomerang shaped, can fly at near walking speeds. Flown in UK.


(1) Nicholas Redfern, 'The FBI Files', London 1998 p. 30
(2) Timothy Good, 'Above Top Secret', London 1988
(3) Tim Matthews, 'UFO Revelation', London 1999
(4) Nurflugel Flying Wing Web site
(5) UFO Online Web site
(6) Patrick F. Howden, 'Eco-logistics', Truro, UK 1980

5) Possible Electric Propulsion Systems for Flying Triangles

Richard Alexander and Adam Whaley, 1997


The information for this section is taken from several sources including Dr John F. Santarius (University of Wisconsin) Lecture 30: Charge!; Capt. James Szabo's paper "Solar Electric Propulsion Systems"; University of Michigan's College of Engineering Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory Web Site; Air Force Office of Scientific Research - Electronic Propulsion Web Site; sundry other Internet sources.

Our research into the Flying Triangle "UFO" (which we are becoming convinced is actually a family of such vehicles, and which do not all necessarily use identical propulsion systems or have similar uses) has lead us to believe that the most likely main propulsion system that is employed by craft, similar to that seen in West Wales in November 1996, is of an electrical nature. This is based on the lack of obvious propulsion features seen (or not seen) on the craft as reported by witnesses. Nobody has observed propellers or air intakes and exhausts. Also there is the lack of normal aeroengine noise - although we are aware that the technology does exist to mask such noises. Similarly the extremely bright flashes of light emitted by the craft when in "burst mode" seem to indicate that microwave or laser beam technology is used to propel the craft at these times, whereas the less powerful electric propulsion methods listed below seem the most likely candidates for the "cruise mode" propulsion methods, despite many of them seemingly being designed for use outside of earth atmosphere. We shall deal with the microwave and laser propulsion technologies in another article.

Another problem posed by the previous FT Report was why would a presumed US experimental craft be flown over Wales. Whilst we are not privvy to the secrets of the Pentagon, we would point out that the Captain James Szabo in his Web pages for the USAF Office of Scientific Research states that " The AeroSpace Corporation currently supports a project between the US Dept of Defense and the UK Ministry of Defence for exchanging information on requirements, concepts, R+D, technologies and experiments related to systems such as space-based radar. Electric Propulsion is among the above mentioned technologies."

Electric Propulsion has been designated as a prefered technology for US MilSatCom space vehicles for the 21st Century, based on existing research and experience. Some of these technologies are more hypothetical than others as will become clear. Others, such as the Hall effect thrusters have been operational for nearly 20 years.

We shall leave it to our more technologically / scientifically qualified readers to decide which if any of these technologies could possibly be used on the FT craft. We would remind readers that we are looking for something that involves the creation of a plasma around the hull of the craft, whereas it would appear that most of the systems below appear to be more traditional engine designs using the generation of a beam of some sort emiited through a nozzle or similar channel.

The three main types of electric propulsion systems are: ElectroThermal, ElectroStatic and ElectroMagnetic and we will deal with each of these in turn, first in general theoretical terms then looking at specific examples and more detailed technical performance related detail.

ElectroThermal Thrusters

This class of thrusters does not achieve particularly high exhaust velocities. These are divided into arcjets, resistojets and RF-heated thrusters. The resistojet uses a filament to heat a propellant gas (not plasma), while the arcjet passes propellant through a current arc. The RF-heated thruster uses radio-frequency waves to heat a plasma in a chamber and potentially could reach somewhat higher exhaust velocities.


No information currently available.

Hydrazine Arcjet

This electrothermal thruster has an arc discharge which is sustained between an internal cathode and an anode that also serves as an expansion nozzle. a 1.8kW. 500s arcjet and power processor is already available for use on commercial satellites, including the AT&T NSSK ComSat. This form of thruster is considered to be fuel efficient and the radiated emissions from the arcjet and power processor are within accepted limits at frequencies above 500MHz, indicating that conventional GHz class communications (radar etc) would not be affected by the kW class arcjet system.

Hydrogen Arcjet

Arcjets for medium power (3 - 10 kW) and high-power (10 - 30 kW) applications have been explored by USAF and NASA. The Phillips Lab ESEX program will fly a 26 kW ammonia arcjet.

Hydrazine Resistojet

This electrothermal thruster uses a propellant that is fed through a resistive heat exchange prior to expansion through a nozzle. Specific impulse is 300s for 0.5 kW thrusters. Characterised by an absence of plume ionization, meaning that the interaction of a resistojet with spacecraft subsystems is similar to that of a small hydrazine chemical thruster.

Hydrogen Resistojet

During the 1960's high-powered hydrogen resistojets achieved impressive performances in testing, e.g. 850 sec specific impulse, 85% thrust efficiency at 1 kW to 30 kW input power. Thrust to input power ration (200 mN/kW) is several times greater than for other electric propulsion systems.

RF-Heated Thrusters

No information currently available.

ElectroStatic Thrusters (Ion Thrusters)

The key principle is that a voltage difference between two conductors sets up an electrostatic difference that can accelerate ions to produce thrust. The ions must be neutralised - often by electrons emitted by a hot filament. The three main stages of an ion-thruster are: ion production, acceleration and neutralization.

Xenon Ion Engine

This thruster uses a Xenon plasma discharge from which an ion beam is extracted using grid-plates perforated with holes. They have been produced by the USA, Europe and Japan. Ion engines use propellant very efficiently. Specific impulse is 3000s at 0.5 kW input power at 55% thrust efficiency. US MilSatCom is currently sponsoring a laboratory investigation of the British UK-10 ion engine. NASA's NSTAR program is intended to test a high power (approx 5 kW) ion thruster for primary propulsion applications. Performance is comparable to the Russian TAL (> 2500 sec specific impulse at > 60% efficiency) and proven. Beam divergence is much less than Hall-Effect thrusters, which alleviates concerns about plume inpingement.

ElectroDynamic Thrusters

There are four main categories of Electrodynamic thrusters: Magnetoplasmadynamic, Hall-effect, Pulsed-plasma and Helicon. Each will be described in turn.

Magnetoplasmadynamic Thrusters

In MPD thrusters a current along a conducting bar creates an azimuthal magnetic field that interacts with the current of an arc that runs from the point of the bar to a conducting wall. The resulting Lorentz force has two components: Pumping, a radially inward force that constricts the flow and Blowing, a force along the axis that produces the directed thrust. Note that erosion at the point of contact between the current and the electrodes is generally a problem area for this class of thrusters. A pulsed propulsion system requires many components including a pulse applied-field MPD thruster, a pulse-forming network, a charge control unit, a cathode heater heater and high-speed valves.

MagnetoPlasmaDynamic Thrusters

MPD thrusters use the Lorentz force arising from the interaction of discharge current with self-induced and / or applied magnetic field. Both steady state and plasma MPDs have been developed. Demonstrated performance of steady state MPD thrusters is 20 - 30% at 1000 - 7000s specific impulse and 10 - 60 kW power. Megawatt pulsed MPDs have demonstrated efficiencies above 50% with hydrogen propellant. Pulsed MPDs thrusters can reduce launch mass by between 1000 and 2500 kg over those achievable with hydrogen arcjets. Noble gas propellants could also be used but with lower specific impulses. An MPD thruster does not yet exist at laboratory level which is suitable for orbital transfer appliactions.

The first major MPD thruster flight test occurred in 1980 on the Japanese MS-T4 spacecraft. The instananaeous thruster performance was 22% efficiency at 2500s specific impulse. Each discharge lasted 1.5ms. During the flight the MPD thruster was successfully operated for over 5 hours and accumulated over 400 discharges.

Hall-Effect Thruster

With these thrusters perpendicular elelctric and magnetic fields lead to an ExB drift. For a suitably chosen magnetic field magnetitude and chamber dimensions, the ion gyroradius is so large that ions hit the wall while electrons are contained. The resulting current, interacting with the magnetic field, leads to a JxB Lorentz force, which causes a plasma flow and produces thrust. The most common current Hall-effect thruster is the Russian Stationary Plasma Thruster (SPT).

Xenon Plasma Thruster

This device is analogous to a gridless ion engine with very high thrust density. It is sometimes refered to as a Hall-Effect thruster because of the electron motion in the crossed electric and magnetic fields. Specific impulse is 1600s at 1.4 kW input power with 48% thrust efficiency. Following the 1995 Moscow International Electric Propulsion Conference the US SMC and Aerospcace Corpaoration submitted a proposal to evaluate the Russian SPT-100 for use in US satellites. High power Hall thrusters have been lab tested in Russia, e.g. the 50 kW TsNIIMASh TAL (Thruster with Anode Layer), which has a performance ranging from 3000 - 7000 sec specific impulse and 70 - 75% thrust efficiency.

Pulsed-Plasma Thruster

In a pulsed-plasma accelerator a circuit is completed through an arc whose interaction with the magnetic field of the rest causes a JxB force that moves the arc along a conductor.

Teflon Pulsed Plasma Thruster

This is an electromagnetic device in which a high-current discharge ablates the surface of a Teflon bar and accelerates plasma through a discharge channel. PPTs have been used for autonomous orbit correction on NOVA navigation satellites. The use of solid-state Teflon simplifies the propellant feed system and allows for compact packaging.

Helicon Thruster

The principle of the helicon thruster is similar to the pulsed-plasma thruster: a travelling electromagnetic wave interacts with a current sheet to maintan a high JxB force on a plasma moving along an axis. This circumvents the pulsed-plasma thruster's problem of the force falling off as the current loop gets larger. The travlling wave can be created in a variety of ways, and a helical coil is often used.

No examples available.


The following texts are metioned in the sources as being very useful in fully understanding this area of physics:

Akhiezer, A.I. et al. Plasma Electrodynamics. Volume 1: Linear Theory. (Pergamon, 1975).

Bateman, G. MHD Instabilities. (MIT Press, 1978).

Biskamp, D. Nonlinear Magnetohydrodynamics. (Cambridge, 1993)

Chen, Francis F. Introduction to Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion (Plenum, New York, 1983).

D'haeseleer, W.D. et al. Flux Co-ordinates and Magnetic Field Structure. (Springer-Verlag, 1991).

Freidberg, J.P. Ideal Magnetohydrodynamics. (Plenum, 1987).

Goedbloed, J.R. Lecture Notes on Ideal Magnetohydrodynamics. Rijjnhuizen Report 83-145, 1983.

Jahn, Robert G. Physics of Electric Propulsion (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1968).

Krall, N.A. and Trivelpiece, A.W. Principles of Plasma Physics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1973).

Polovin, and Demutskii, . Fundamentals of Magnetohydrodynamics (Plenum, 1990).

Priest, E.R. Solar Magnetohydrodynamics. (D.Reidel Publ, 1982).

Schmidt, G. Physics of High Temperature Plasmas. 2nd edn. (Academic Press, 1979).

Stuhlinger, Ernst. Ion Propulsion for Space Flight (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1964).


The following Journals and Conferences are important for those wishing to access more recent developments.

AIAA/SAE/ASME/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference http://www.aiaa.org/events/jpc02

Journal of Propulsion and Power.

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science.

NASA workshops on specific types of thrusters.

The AFOSR - EP WWW Server willl eventually contain links to the 8 main research sites, an electronic search engine and a Bulletin Board. Currently there is an impressive list of abstracts of papers spublished relating to this area of research.

Copyright Richard Alexander and Adam Whaley 2001

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