This paper will discuss the development of Electric Propulsion technology in the U.S. from the 1960's to the present. It will summarize the various activities related to arcjets, resistojets, pulsed plasma thrustors, magneto-plasma-dynamic thrustors, ion engines, and more recently the evaluation of Hall effect thrustors of the SPT or Anode Layer type developed in Russia. Also, demonstration test flight and actual mission applications will be summarized. Finally, the future application of electric propulsion to near-term commercial communications satellites and planetary missions will be projected. This history is rich in diversity, and has involved a succession of types of thrustors, propellants, and electric power sources. With the recent use of arcjets on commercial communication satellites and the flight tests of ion engines for this application, it appears that electric propulsion is finally on the verge of wide spread application.
Communications and Radar