Planar nozzles for controllable microthrusters
Lauretta, Juan Ricardo
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"Orbital maneuvering of microsatellite and nanosatellite requirements can be efficiently addressed by planar nozzles, in which realtime thrust control is gained actuating on the nozzle throat area. In the present work, the method of characteristics is used to design a hypersonic contour; then, the resulting profile is laser cut, assembled, and built into a propulsion system to finally perform tests in a vacuum chamber under several working conditions. Results are used to validate the profile and modeling assumptions and investigate overall behavior. Tests showed that thrust-inlet pressure ratio is a linear function of separation between nozzle contours and that no additional losses are introduced in the system. The corresponding design/manufacture/assembly tools can be used to a provide low-cost/low-weight controllable propulsion systems to the small-satellite industry with no efficiency loss."