As early as end of 1999, Snecma Moteurs and Alcatel/ETCA started activities on a high power Hall-effect thruster solution. In addition, with CNES and ESA support, a technological demonstrator thruster called PPS®X000 and a Bread Board HPPU anode supply have been manufactured and tested.
In a first part of the activity, PPS®X000 characterization tests were extended up to 1000 V and over 6 kW of discharge voltage and power, respectively. A thrust level of 340 mN was measured, as well as a specific impulse in excess of 3200 s. A short-duration endurance test at 700 V was also carried out, and was followed by a successful 1000-hr endurance test at 550 V, a world-record discharge voltage for an endurance test on a Hall thruster.
The two HPPU anode supply modules have been tested up to 800 V / 6 kW, with a measured efficiency of 95% at 700 V / 5 kW. A joint test between the PPSÃ’X000 and the HPPU anode supply Bread Board was also successfully conducted in October 2004. This test served as a validation of the coupling between the anode supply and the technology demonstrator thruster.
The PPSÃ’5000 is the flight-design, 1:1 scale version of the PPS®X000 technology demonstrator. The PPS®5000 Preliminary Design Review (PDR) was held at beginning of September 2004, and will be followed by a PDR closing beginning of December 2004 when the HPPU design and breadboard were also completed.