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Introduction to Plasmas and Plasma Dynamics by Haibin Tang, Thomas M. York

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Plasma Thrusters

Introduction

The development of devices for plasma propulsion in space has been of interest for more than 50 years (Choueiri, 2004). For a thruster in space, we can express the thrust as: T=m˙·ueximage, which is the product of propellant mass flow rate and exhaust velocity relative to the rocket.
The promise of high specific impulse (Isp = uex/g0, g0 is Earth gravity) provides the possibility of deep space missions that are otherwise unattainable. This can most easily be seen in the mission equation:

mfmi=eΔvuex,

image

where the final spacecraft ...

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