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A Homogeneously Catalyzed Micro-chemical Thruster
Published 2003 · Chemistry
Abstract An advanced chemical thruster is proposed for the post-launch propulsion system of small satellites or other micro-spacecrafts, in which the homogeneously catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is used. The water solution of ferrous chloride (FeCl2) is chosen as the homogeneous catalyst. The core component of the thruster is the thrust chamber including the catalytic reaction tank and nozzle. Two kinds of thrust chamber prototypes have been fabricated by precision machining and silicon process, respectively. The former prototype has a conical nozzle with a throat diameter (φ) of 0.3 mm, while the latter has a planar nozzle with a throat section of 0.04 mm ×0.2 mm. Controlled by two miniature electromagnetic valves, the thruster system can work in either continuous or pulse mode. Preliminary experiments on these prototypes have been carried out, and a smallest impulse per controlling pulse of less than 80 μN s is obtained.