[simpits-chat] Advance Space Propulsion Lab

Chris Woodul simpits-chat@simpits.org
Thu, 27 Feb 2003 22:13:53 -0600

That is a great description of your lab and the process.....sorry you had to
answer the vacuum question twice, but I figured before I read your other
reply, that a "space" environment would be a neccesity.
I would love to see the data that you guys get out of that stuff. I like
interesting and new technologies.
As for the T-37 sims, I dont know what they will go for, I dont think it is
actually too much. I know I am going to dispose of the original mainframe
computers that drive them, and replace it using PC and epic via the master
Matt Wietlespach.......and yes Sean, I laughed at your LED comment refering
back to my sinister remark when I came back here....LOL... ; )
Ill be sure to send out some pictures of this stuff as soon as it hits.
My F-16 cockpit trainer and the Two new ACES II seats will be in, in about 1
1/2 weeks. I will post pictures of them as well. I know that Crease Guard is
gonna come by and take some measurements.

Take care ..... and Solder on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian Sikkema" <hangr18@hotmail.com>
To: <simpits-chat@simpits.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 9:57 PM
Subject: Re: [simpits-chat] Advance Space Propulsion Lab

> >Cool lab, tell me more about Ion Thrusters. How does one work?
> Well this is going to be a very simplified explenation, because I only
> understand it very simply ;) But basically what it does is this:
> The thruster consists of 2 parts, the anode and the cathode. In the pics
> anode is the larger box-shaped part on the bottom, and the cathode is the
> little cylander mounted on the top. The thruster takes the fuel, in our
> Krypton, and barrages it with a field of electrons, which ionizes the
> Krypton, giving it a negative charge. When the Krypton has a negative
> charge, it is repelled from the field of electrons, and by propelling it
> the back thrust is produced.
> Again, just a very simple explenation, but I'm learning much of this
> And I'm just an undergrad wrench monkey, so I'm not required to have as
> in-depth an understanding as the grad students who are doing the research.
> >Does your lab maintain a vacuum or near vacuum in the test cell?
> Yes, when we want to run the thruster we have to have it in as close to a
> perfect vacuum as we can get, to the point where we're basically counting
> the number of particles left in the tank. We bring it down to vacuum using
> mechanical pump, until it can't pump anymore, at which point we turn on
> cryopump. That isn't really a pump in the traditional sense of the word,
> just a set of liquid nitrogen-cooled vanes, so that when we cool them
> any remaining particles in the tank will eventually bounce around and hit
> them, freezing to the vanes instantly and therefore stop bouncing around
> chamber, which is of course the definition of a vacuum, no particles
> bouncing around.
> And when I say counting particles, I mean it. We get to the point where
> traditional pressure sensors dont do squat. In the picture of the back of
> the tank, you may notice something that kinda looks like a vacuum tube
> sticking off the side. That's our very-low pressure sensor. The way it
> (if I remember correctly) is it shoots a beam into the tank, and senses
> the beam is broken. In this way we can figure out how much "stuff" is left
> in the tank.
> >By the way, I am getting a complete T-37 simulator and have to dispose of
> >four more for a friend of mine. Know any one who wants/needs one?
> *pout* I want one! :( Define "dispose." If you mean "Throw at" I might be
> able to talk the detachment cadre into taking one. Maybe. If you mean
> well, I dunno. Not us. I'd really love one, though, its a beautiful plane.
> Brian
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