About the project
Electric propulsion has been identified by European actors as a strategic technology for improving the European competitiveness in different space areas such as in-space operations and transportation. The European Commission has set up the “In-space Electrical Propulsion and Station-Keeping” Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) in Horizon 2020 with the goal of enabling major advances in Electric Propulsion for in-space operations and transportation, in order to guarantee the leadership of European capabilities in electric propulsion at world level within the 2020-2030 timeframe. To achieve so, CHEOPS is developing three different Hall Effect electric propulsion systems (EPS): 1) a low power EPS for Low Earth Orbit (LEO); 2) a dual mode EPS for Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO); 3) a high thrust EPS for Space Exploration & Transportation.
HOW HALL EFFECT THRUSTER WORKS?
Hall Effect Thruster (HET) uses electrical energy to change the velocity of a spacecraft. It uses much less propellant than chemical rockets because they have a higher exhaust speed than chemical rockets. Due to limited electric power the thrust is much weaker compared to chemical rockets, but HET can provide a small thrust for a long time. HET can achieve high speeds over long periods and thus can work better than chemical rockets for some deep space missions.
An EP thruster is composed by: 1) a Cathode; 2) an Anode; 3) a Discharge Channel; 4) Coils.
Electron Emission & Ionization
Ejection & Neutralization