One promising trend in small-spacecraft development is the development of small electric propulsion systems (EPSs) based on ablative pulsed plasma thrusters (APPTs). The problem of optimal discharge energy in APPT that provides a minimal total mass of the EPSs has been considered. It has been shown that, at a given total impulse, discharge energy of an APPT has an optimal value that depends on the specific energy intensity of power capacitors, the specific thrust impulse of the engine, mass of electronic units, and other elements of the propulsion system circuit. It has been concluded that the calculation of the optimal discharge energy allows reducing the total mass of the propulsion system during the design of an APPT-based EPSs.
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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Translated by M. Chubarova
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Bogatyi, A.V., Dyakonov, G.A., Lyubinskaya, N.V. et al. The Problem of Optimal Discharge Energy in an Ablative Pulsed Plasma Thruster. Cosmic Res 61, 412–417 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0010952523700363