Non-emissive electrodes and ceramic spacers placed along the Hall thruster channel are shown to affect the plasma potential distribution and the thruster operation. These effects are associated with physical properties of the electrode material and depend on the electrode configuration and geometry and the magnetic field distribution. An emissive segmented electrode was able to maintain thruster operation by supplying an additional electron flux to sustain the plasma discharge between the anode and cathode neutralizer. These results indicate the possibility of new configurations for segmented electrode Hall thruster. © 2002 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.