he research presented here represents the first efforts to operate
and quantify the performance of a three-axis Hall effect thruster.
This thruster is based on the Busek BHT-200 and used a novel
construction with three orthogonal faces and a common magnetic core
to reduce size and weight. Operating procedures for the thruster
were developed and thrust and current density measurements were
performed and compared with the baseline BHT-200. The three-axis
thruster was successfully operated in single, double and triple
face configurations. Distinct jet plume and ball plume modes were
observed. Inverted pendulum thrust stand readings in the single
face mode indicated that the three-axis thruster produced
considerably lower thrust, specific impulse and thrust efficiencies
than the BHT-200. Beam current density measurements conducted using
a guarded Faraday probe showed significant differences in plume
divergence angle, total beam current and current density
distributions between the different faces and different operating
modes. Results showed three-axis thruster efficiency and stability
improved with more operating faces. Improvements to the three-axis
thruster design and thrust stand configuration for use with the
thruster were enumerated. Suggestions for refinement to
experimental methodologies to optimize testing with the three-axis
thruster were made and additional diagnostic techniques were
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