The radio frequency Ion thruster uses a high-frequency electromagnetic field to ionize xenon gas atoms to form a plasma containing free ‘light’ electrons and ‘heavy’ positive ions. The heavy positive ions are then accelerated by an electrostatic field before being ejected to cause thrust.
After the ions have been ejected from the thruster, electrons are added from a neutralizer. The plasma is thereby neutralized which prevents the satellite from becoming charged.
The RIT 2X series consists of the largest Radiofrequency Ion Thrusters of the electric propulsion portfolio of ArianeGroup. An electric propulsion system based on a RIT 2X thruster has various advantages like the highest possible thrust efficiency which results in excellent specific impulse over wide thrust ranges and very efficient use of electrical energy.