Hello there! My name is Célian Boyé, one of the PhD students working in the ZARATHUSTRA project. Let me tell you what I am currently working on, and explain the exciting results that we hope to get to soon. My thesis is about the development and testing of the prototypes of the new Magnetic Arch Thruster (MARCH).
Through the past months of this year, I have worked on the design of the very first prototype of this technology, aimed to proof its concept of operation. This has implied various activities, from computer-aided design (CAD) to coding, or from adscititious procuring to assembling. For example, I have modeled the magnetic coils of the device and simulated them in MATLAB in order to assess the best configuration of the magnetic field inside the thruster. Following this, geometry details, dimensions and materials of the prototype have been selected, and preliminary electromagnetic simulations (in vacuum) have been used to begin to understand the EM power flow inside the thruster ionization chamber.
CAD has remained one of the most important steps through this prototype’s design & development process. After several iterations, keeping interesting ideas and discarding others, I am now producing and assembling of our first prototype. We aim to test it in the EP2 laboratory as soon as possible, in order to assess the ignition and several key aspects of the MARCH thruster.
A good first prototype is crucial for any new space technology, and we are looking forward to learn more about it. It is also key to obtain experimental measurements that will eventually help validate the assumptions of our models and simulations.
Since my moving from French research centers, I have had the opportunity to involve myself in these great team and project. I aim to develop my skills upon EPTs development, and I look forward to move to the next steps of the project with the testing of the MARCH first prototype. ZARATHUSTRA team wish to contribute to the exceptional electric propulsion field by developing state-of-the-art technologies to unravel space propulsion.