2020 Volume 63 Issue 4 Pages 183-188
The microwave discharge plasma sources contributed to the reciprocating powered flight between Earth and the asteroids as the main propulsion system of the Hayabusa and Hayabusa2 asteroid explorers, and showed its high performance. The electron cyclotron resonance discharge only heats the electrons and does not induce ion sputtering damage. The reasons of high performance and long life are derived and proved theoretically, experimentally, and in practical use in space. In addition to further space applications, efforts are also being made for industrial applications.