Till Frieler

The INGA IV thruster is the next generation arcjet thruster of the „INGA“ (Ionized Noble Gas Accelerator) thruster series developed, build and operated at Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM).

Basic components of the INGA IV thruster are a tungsten cathode, a tungsten de Laval nozzle, which also acts as anode, body parts made of stainless steel and sintered boron nitride insulators. The new highly modular design of the nozzle mounting allows easy and quick changes of the nozzle-module to investigate a great variety of de Laval nozzle geometries. In addition, several inflow situations of the propellant can be investigated through the change of the „injector“ called module. The mounting of the tungsten cathode had also been redesigned to offer a better adjustability of the gap between anode and cathode, which now can be set by a screwed pipe joint.

The INGA IV thruster can be operated with different noble gases such as Argon (Ar), Neon (Ne) or Krypton (Kr) and volumetric flows up to 20 cm³/s of the propellant. To ignite and operate the thruster a power regulated power supply is used.

One of the main benefits from the new design is the high flexibility of the INGA IV thruster. Because it is not mounted to the housing of the vacuum chamber as INGA III is, it now is possible to freely mount the thruster to a variety of experimental platforms within the vacuum chamber, for example to directly measure thrust forces.