On the Operational Status of the ISS Plasma Contactor Hollow Cathodes

 
9781287268284: On the Operational Status of the ISS Plasma Contactor Hollow Cathodes

The Plasma Contactor Unit (PCU) was developed by the Rocketdyne division of The Boeing Company to control charging of the International Space Station (ISS). Each PCU contains a Hollow Cathode Assembly (HCA), which emits the charge control electrons. The HCAs were designed and fabricated at NASA s Glenn Research Center (GRC). GRC's HCA development program included manufacture of engineering, qualification, and flight model HCAs as well as qualification and wear tests. GRC tracks the on-orbit data for the flight HCAs in order to ascertain their overall health. As of April 5, 2004, 43 ignitions and over 6000 hours have been accumulated on a single unit. The flight HCAs continue to operate flawlessly. This paper will discuss the operation of the HCAs during ground tests and on-orbit operation from initial startup to April 30, 2004.

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