Prof. Dr.-Ing.
Stefanos Fasoulas


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sabine Klinkner

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Alfred Krabbe

Prof. Fasoulas

Sheyla Fröhler-Valdez

Prof. Klinkner

Annegret Möller

Prof. Krabbe

Barbara Klett


Dr. Thomas Wegmann


Institut für Raumfahrtsysteme
Pfaffenwaldring 29
70569 Stuttgart

Tel. +49 711 685-69604
Fax +49 711 685-63596

Directly to



TIHTUS (Thermal-Induktives Hybrid-Triebwerk der Universität Stuttgart)

A hybrid-heated plasma generator increases the effective exit velocity of the fuel.

More thrust for the journey to Mars

By heating the plasma jet of a thermal arc drive by means of inductive power coupling, the average combustion chamber temperature and thus the effective output speed of the engine is to be increased.

TIHTUS im November 2005

Thermal arc drives (TLT) produce a plasma with a very energetic core beam (T ~ 10,000K) and a high output speed. However, the plasma around the core is relatively "cold" (T ~ 2,000K). The exit velocity of the plasma from the engine is dependent on the temperature and molecular mass of the propellant gas
Inductive plasma generators (IPG) produce a plasma beam, which is energy-efficient at the edge. This makes it possible to couple more energy into the plasma generated by the arc burner. This increases the effective temperature and thus the effective exit velocity.
Plasma jet of the TLT HIPARC in operation with hydrogen
Plasma jet of the inductively heated plasma generator IPG3 in operation with hydrogen

TIHTUS is a so-called "hybrid" plasma drive:

Through more effective power coupling:
- Higher exit speed

By relieving the electrodes:
- Higher service life

By higher energy supply:
- Higher thrust

Application as a space travel drive

It is important to achieve both high discharge speeds and high thrust. Prerequisite for a trip to Mars: 30 km / s exit speed and 100 N thrust. If, after the first stage of TIHTUS, not only additional power but also additional mass flow is added, the concept of TIHTUS becomes a drive with a variable specific impulse.

Flugbahnen von 550 Reisetagen und 60 Aufenthaltstagen für bemannte Marsmissionen
(Masse des Systems 180 t) [T. Schmidt]

Measuring methods

For the indirect thrust measurement, a baffle plate is suspended in the plasma jet. It is useful for complex superstructures such as TIHTUS, in which feed lines absorb forces and a pendulum weighing machine is not suitable. Due to the high heat loads, a water-cooled baffle plate is used.