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INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION 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 (Glenn). Glenn's HCA development program included manufacture of engineering, qualification, and flight model HCAs as well as qualification and wear tests. Glenn 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.

HCA Operating in Life Test at Glenn
HCA Operating in Life Test at Glenn

Flight HCAs ready for installation in PCUs
Flight HCAs Ready for Installation in PCUs

PCU assembled at KSC
PCU Assembled at KSC

Z1 Truss with PCUs installed
Z1 Truss with PCUs Installed

PCUs installed on the ISS
PCUs Installed on the ISS

Publications
+ AIAA-2003-5145 Comparison of On-Orbit and Ground Based Hollow Cathode Operation
+ AIAA-2002-4098 Comparison of On-Orbit and Ground Based Hollow Cathode Operation
 





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Last Updated: 04/21/2009 1:37 PM