Date of Award:

8-2018

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee

Stephen Whitmore

Committee

Geordie Richards

Committee

David Geller

Abstract

This thesis examines the impact of the physical contamination on optical surfaces of spacecraft by an ABS/GOX thruster. Plume contamination presents a significant operational hazard for spacecraft solar arrays and thermal control surfaces can lead to decreased power production and increased spacecraft temperatures. Historically, due to the lack of a reliable, on-demand, and multiple-use ignition methodology, hybrid rockets have never been previously considered for in-space propulsion. Recent advancements in hybrid rocket technologies, have made hybrid systems feasible for in space propulsion. However, prior to this study no research had ever been performed with regard to plume contamination effects due to hybrid rockets. This paper presents the results from a set of preliminary plume contamination measurements on a prototype small spacecraft hybrid rocket system, collected under both ambient and vacuum chamber conditions.

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