NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 20.02-8560 (Chron: 001441 )
PROJECT TITLE
Xenon Fueled, Electric Micro-Thruster



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Microspacecraft, weighing 100 kg or less, with less than 100 W on-board are projected to become ubiquitous within the next decade. Fleets of such spacecraft are envisioned to fly in formation, requiring on-board propulsion that can initialize their orbit after a drop-off from shared launch vehicle, keep them in precise relative position and propel them out of formation upon fault detection, followed by insertion of a spare. These maneuvers will require high deltaV propulsion, pointing toward electric, high Isp thrusters. These include PPTís, FEEPís, colloids and Xe fueled micro-ion thrusters and micro-Hall thrusters (less than or equal to 50 W). The first three devices use non-volatile propellants and therefore have a significant potential for spacecraft contamination. The Xe fueled micro-thrusters have poor performance. We are therefore proposing an alternative, Xe fueled electric thruster, that obviates contamination issues and offers lower cost system with potentially superior performance.

In Phase I we will model and test the concept in our existing facilities. Based on the results, we will design a new set of hardware to be constructed and tested in Phase II. If successful, this concept will have no difficulty competing against the above listed alternatives in all missions except for those that require micro-Newton, high resolution propulsion.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The novel concept has the potential to fulfill all microsatellite propulsion needs including the primary, station keeping and ACS roles, all with the same device, which none of the alternatives are likely to provide. Additionally, the concept is ideal for ACS on large satellites that already have Xe on-board for their large, Hall or ion thrusters. This facilitates fuel commonality which greatly simplifies the propulsion system.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Bruce Pote
Busek Co. Inc.
11 Tech Circle
Natick , MA   01760 - 1023



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Busek Co. Inc.
11 Tech Circle
Natick , MA   01760 - 1023