|Towards Improved Computational Tools for Electric Propulsion|
|Applied Vehicle Technology|
Electric Propulsion, Modeling, Plasma Physics, Simulation, Space Environment, Spacecraft, Survivability, Threat Identification
The work of both the exploratory team (NATO-AVT-ET-152, Assessment of Capabilities for First-Principles Simulation of Spacecraft Electric Propulsion Systems and Plasma Spacecraft Environment) and research workshop (NATO-AVT-271-RWS, Research Directions for First-Principles Simulation of Spacecraft Electric Propulsion Systems and Plasma Spacecraft Environment) has identified a realistic path towards the development of engineering design tools for understanding plasma propulsion devices and their interactions with the space environment. If computationally practical and sufficiently predictive, such simulations can be used not only to extend the lifetime and usefulness of the orbital assets, but also to help identify the source of malfunctions, and potentially provide real-time or forensic evidence of hostile actions, as opposed to natural effects from the self-generated or ambient environment.
The objective for this RTG are: (1) Physics Model Development / Advanced Theory to develop new theoretical models for cross-field electron transport (2) High Fidelity Simulation to push limits of computational simulation and low-diffusion kinetic methods to generate “truth” simulations and (3) RBM and UQ to accelerate code and quantify uncertainty to deliver enhanced systems engineering impact.
1.) NUMERICAL SIMULATION / ADVANCED THEORY: Utilize advanced computational capability to perform high-fidelity DNS-type simulations for reduced-dimensional / simplified BC conditions. Use advanced theory to develop new theoretical models to avoid the need to model the smallest lengthscales of cross-field electron transport.
2.) HIGH FIDELITY SIMULATION: Push the limits of computational simulation and low-diffusion kinetic methods to push up the fidelity of both engineering and scientific code capability for HETs to move the community towards the development of high-fidelity engineering codes for eventual integration into spacecraft-thruster plume codes and a high-fidelity scientific code for generation numerical “truth” simulations.
3.) RBM and UQ: Research in further code sensitivity and model reduction techniques open the potential to embed computational tools deeper into the systems engineering process and eventually into the on-orbit decision making process to assess real-time impacts of space weather and other external phenomena.