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Vol. 64 (2016) No. 2 p. 131-138




We propose thrust vector management by correctly positioning the thruster on a spacecraft by thrust vector measurement to decrease unwanted torque of thrust vector misalignment. A ground test was performed to measure 2-dimensional ion current distribution of 10W-class miniature ion thruster by electrostatic probe. The thrust vector measurement test showed that the thrust vector inclining angle was 1.4º from the geometrically symmetric axis of the thruster. The thruster was positioned on the first interplanetary micro-spacecraft: PROCYON after redesigning thruster bracket. Thrust vector estimation in the initial on-orbit operation of 6.5 hours showed that thrust vector passes through within 5mm of the PROCYON's center of gravity.

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