Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 51 / Number 2T / February 2007 / Pages 226-228
Technical Paper / Open Magnetic Systems for Plasma Confinement
Magnetic sail (MagSail) is a next-generation deep space propulsion system, which uses the energy of the solar wind. The MagSail produces an artificial magnetic field and captures the energy of the solar wind plasma to propell a spacecraft in the direction of the solar wind. In order to conduct a scale-model experiment of the plasma flow of a MagSail, we developed a solar wind simulator based on a magnetoplasmadynamic arcjet, which obtained a high density (~1018 m-3) and high velocity (~60 km/s) plasma flow in a quasi-steady mode of about 1 ms duration. Based on scaling considerations, a solenoidal coil (18 mm in diameter and the magnetic flux density at the coil center ~ 1.9 T) was designed and was immersed into the plasma flow. A magnetic cavity, which is very similar to that of the geomagnetic field, was observed, although the magnetic cavity of MagSail is usually much smaller than the geomagnetic cavity of the Earth.