Remaining useful life prediction and reliability analysis for an individual ion thruster

Jun Xing Li, Zhi Hua Wang*, Yong Bo Zhang, Hui Min Fu, Cheng Rui Liu, Sridhar Krishnaswamy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ion thrusters play an important role in ensuring the success of future deep-space missions. Based on a ground-life test, a proper failure mechanism analysis was conducted, and the groove depth of the centerline accelerator grid aperture can be considered as the key lifetime metric. A nonstationary independent increment degradation model including both deterministic and stochastic parameters was proposed. The maximum likelihood estimation of the model parameters was derived by incorporating the product-level degradation data and the component-level degradation data. A Bayesian method to update the stochastic parameters describing the individual ion thruster characteristics based on product-level degradation data was developed. Then, the remaining useful life and the mean time-to-failure can be estimated and updated once a new online performance measurement is obtained. Finally, an illustrative example is given to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)948-957
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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