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FEM analysis of the inflation process of Magnetoplasma Sails

A. Alemany2 - R. Forcinetti1 - F. Masson3 - A. Montisci1

1 DIEE, University of Cagliari, Piazza d'Armi, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
2 SIMAP/Domaine Universitaire, BP 75 -- 38402 Saint Martin d'Héres, France
3 Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, CNES, launcher directorate, 52 rue Jacques Hillairet, 75612 Paris Cedex, France

This paper deals with the simulation of the Magneto Plasma Sail (MPS), or Mini Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion system M2P2. This system, by using a very small coil of current, is able to generate a very wide magnetosphere, which is able to exploit the solar wind to thrust a spacecraft, exactly as a sailing boat works. In order to obtain such effect, a plasma is ejected in the Space and magnetized by the coil in such a way that the current ring is enormously enlarged without the need of a correspondingly big solid support. In this work, a preliminary 2D finite element analysis is presented, aiming to demonstrate the occurrence of the phenomena on which the M2P2 system is based on, namely, the inflation of the magnetic sail produced by the injection of plasma and the interaction of the sail with the solar wind. Tables 3, Figs 7, Refs 24.

Magnetohydrodynamics 53, No. 2, 329-340, 2017 [PDF, 1.07 Mb]

Copyright: Institute of Physics, University of Latvia
Electronic edition ISSN 1574-0579
Printed edition ISSN 0024-998X