NASA SBIR 01-1 Solicitation

FORM 9B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: A6.02-9783 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 012216 )
PROPOSAL TITLE:
A Plasma Source for Generation and Inflation of Large Scale Magnetospheres

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Magnetospheric plasma propulsion is a novel propulsion scheme that makes use of the ambient energy of the solar wind by coupling to the solar wind through a large-scale (~ 10 km) magnetic bubble or mini-magnetosphere. The magnetosphere is produced by the injection of plasma on to the magnetic field of a small (< 1 m) dipole coil tethered to the spacecraft. By intercepting the solar wind, it is possible for a spacecraft to attain unprecedented speeds for minimal energy and mass requirements. The challenge is having a plasma source that can supply the necessary high energy density to rapidly inflate the small dipole field. A much more powerful and efficient method for plasma generation and magnetic inflation has been developed. The source plasma, as well as dipole magnetic field, are simultaneously generated by Hall currents driven by a rotating magnetic dipole field (RMF). The RMF source generates plasmas with plasma beta > 1, so that field expansion is immediate. The RMF assures inflation by driving currents throughout the magnetosphere, and is virtually propellantless as it sweeps in the intercepted solar wind to build and sustain the magnetosphere. Under phase I, a prototype source would be built and tested.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
There is clearly a significant potential for any device that can generate megawatts of thrust power with minimal, kilowatt level, on-board power, and minimal fuel requirements. Not only does it enable fast interplanetary scientific payload missions, the rotating magnetic field plasma source (RMF) has the potential to make manned interplanetary travel possible. There is also the much less spectacular, but important role for a large field magnetosphere, that is as a shield that protects spacecraft (and passengers) from solar storms and high energy particles much as the earth?s magnetosphere does. The use of an RMF source for inflating magnetospheres inside the earth?s magnetosphere could be used for orbit raising and lowering depending on the direction and coupling to the Van Allen belts, and could thus be important for commercial satellite applications as well

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
John Slough
MSNW
16436 SE 39th Place
Bellevue , WA   98008 - 5858

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
MSNW
16436 SE 39th Place
Bellevue , WA   98008 - 5858


Form Printed on 06-19-01 15:44