This review presents the basics of plasma discharges applied to electric spacecraft propulsion. It briefly reports on the mature and flown technologies of gridded ion thrusters and Hall thrusters before exploring the recent yet immature technology of plasma thrusters based on expansion from low pressure high density inductively coupled and wave-excited plasma sources, e.g. the radiofrequency helicon source. Prototype development of plasma engines for future space travel is discussed using the...[Show more]
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