Experimental characterization of a 1 kW Helicon Plasma Thruster Articles uri icon

published in

publication date

  • March 2018

start page

  • 69

end page

  • 73


  • 149

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0042-207X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-2715


  • A Helicon Plasma Thruster has been tested in the 500-1000 W radio-frequency power range, at 13.56 MHz. In order to determine its propulsive performances, a parametric study of some operational parameters has been carried out, including the exploration of the magnetic field topology and strength, the mass flow rate, and different propellants. The plasma plume has been characterized by means of intrusive plasma diagnostics, which allow an indirect estimation of the thrust, 2-6.6 mN, and thrust efficiency, about 2.9%. The structure of the plasma expansion is compared against a theoretical model showing a good agreement


  • Aeronautics
  • Biology and Biomedicine


  • space propulsion; helicon plasma thruster; experimental plasmas