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February 24, 2011

Increasing the overall VASIMR® system efficiency

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Ad Astra Rocket Company has published recently a new paper concerning the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR®). An ambipolar ion acceleration has been identified on the helicon plasma stage in the VASIMR® VX-200i prototype device, that is an ambipolar electric field produced by an electron pressure gradient, resulting in a local axial ion speed of Mach 4 downstream of the magnetic nozzle. This ambipolar ion acceleration would provide added increase in ion velocity during all phases of VASIMR® operation. This result allows to improve more efficient VASIMR® protypes, especially in the high thrust–low Isp operating range.

VASIMR® VX-200i prototype - ©Ad Astra Rocket Company

Paper is available @Ad Adstra Rocket Company

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