Propellant Flow Control

Xenon Flow Control.png

Designed specifically for CubeSats, the ExoTerra Xenon Flow Control (XFC) Module provides a wide throttle range with small size and low weight, power, and cost. Originally developed for use with xenon (as the name implies), the XFC has also been demonstrated to work as-is with lower-cost krypton propellant.

The XFC uses a modern, simplified control architecture to achieve completely independent control of anode, cathode, and startup flow lines. For inlet pressure of 50 psia, the anode control line can meter up to 5 mg/s of xenon in precise increments as small as 0.05 mg/s. Similarly, the independently controlled cathode control line can meter up to 0.8 mg/s allowing for adjustment of cathode/anode flow fraction on orbit if desired. The startup control line can deliver continuous or short bursts of up to 10 mg/s of xenon gas to ignite the Hall thruster hollow cathode. These flow rate ranges cover the entire power operating range of of ExoTerra's Halo and Halo12 thrusters.

 

This compact XFC unit fits within a 10 x 5.5 x 4cm envelope. The additional propellant management components needed for tank pressure management up to 3,000 psia can be packaged alongside the XFC into a total volume of less than 1U.