Quantification of the Lifetime and Reliability of Dual-Mode Ion Thrusters

Xueer Zhang, Tianping Zhang, Detian Li


An approach to quantify the lifetime and reliability of dual-mode ion thruster is presented based on coupling analyses of thruster failure modes, throttle levels, life models, input uncertainties, and throttle profiles. This approach involves lifetime characterization based on each failure mode, a conservative life margin assessment followed by a failure mode reduction and a quantification of life margins and uncertainties which gives a further reduction of the failure modes, Weibull fitting of the sampled lifetimes based on each of the remained failure modes to obtain their reliability functions, and derivation of a combined reliability function according to the throttle profile. The results for LIPS-200E completing a 13 kh mission show that the lifetime distribution and mission reliability strongly depend on the throttle profile.

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