Plasma Diagnostics for Applications in Space Propulsion
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The single largest stumbling block in the present endeavor to explore space is the simple dollar-per-pound cost necessary to put spacecraft in orbit. While many initiatives to design better, faster, cheaper rockets and lifting bodies are already underway, Earth to orbit costs are being further reduced by the replacement of chemical reaction control systems with electric and plasma propulsion systems. While working as an intern at the University of Alabama in Huntsville's Propulsion Research Center Advanced Propulsion Lab, I assisted in the application of three plasma diagnostic techniques toward the development of new concepts in electric propulsion for space vehicles.