The video about the iFACT Advanced Cusp Field Thruster firing with xenon is now online on our youtube channel! Watch it at this link or below!
The video presents the Advanced Cusp Field Thruster firing with xenon during one of the acceptance tests that were conducted within the iFACT research project.
The test ensures that the thruster performance and operation are nominal before switching to iodine as a propellant. The video is a 180° turn round. The bluish light in the middle is the plasma discharge which forms a bright glowing tube or cylinder in the middle of the discharge chamber, a very characteristic feature of the cusp field thruster. At the thruster exit, where the ion acceleration occurs, the plasma becomes wide and forms a divergent ion beam. The shape of the plasma strongly depends on the magnetic field caused by the permanent magnets that are part of the thruster. At the left side of the thruster, a cathode can be observed as a red spot. This cathode delivers the electrons required to maintain the plasma discharge and is also used for the beam's neutralization.