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Hall effect thruster

Hall effect thrusters, also known simply as plasma thrusters, HETs use the Hall effect to accelerate ions to produce thrust. A variant called stationary plasma thruster (SPT) has been used by the Russians for stationkeeping for many years and will be used on Western satellites soon. This technology will also be used on the European lunar mission SMART-1.

One problem with HETs is that their plumes diverge quickly and thus can impinge on other spacecraft parts leading to thermal and contamination problems.

Example: Hall thrusters typically operate at over 50% thrust efficiency, provide specific impulse from 1200-1800 seconds, and thrust to power ratios of 50-70 mN/kW.

The plasma gas is typically xenon because of its high molecular weight and low ionization potential.

See also: spacecraft propulsion