NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 S3.04-8649
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: A High Performance Cathode Heater for Hall Thrusters

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Sienna Technologies, Inc
19501 144th Avenue NE, Suite F-500
Woodinville, WA 98072 - 4423
(425) 485-7272

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ender Savrun
19501 144th Ave NE Ste F-500
Woodinville, WA 98072 - 4423
(425) 485-7272

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The current state-of-the-art co-axial swaged tantalum (Ta) heaters use magnesium oxide (MgO) insulators, which limits their operation to temperatures well below 1300ºC to prevent undesirable chemical reactions between Mg and Ta and heater failure. This program will develop a new ceramic insulator that is chemically compatibility with Ta and has high thermal stability at temperatures of 1300ºC-1600ºC for swaged heaters for BaO-impregnated and LaB6 hollow cathodes. In Phase I, we demonstrated the new ceramic insulators can be used in swaged Ta heaters for BaO-impregnated cathodes that operate at 1100ºC-1300ºC. In Phase II, we will further develop the new ceramic insulator for use in LaB6 hollow cathode heaters that operate at 1600ºC. We will develop an extrusion process to fabricate ceramic insulators with high dimensional tolerances at low cost and fabricate a prototype swaged coaxial heaters in collaboration with a heater manufacturer. Performance mapping and heater testing will be carried out in collaboration with an end-user aerospace company.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Swaged coaxial heaters for hollow cathodes have applications in space as components of ion propulsion systems and spacecraft charging/charge-control systems, including ATS-6, SERT-II, SCATHA, and SCSR-1 flight experiments. Hollow cathodes have also been used on spacecraft, including an Agena vehicle, on communication satellites, on the space shuttle, the electrodynamic tether, and space station structure and other space environments that include those of low-earth orbits, sun-synchronous high inclination orbits, and geosynchronous orbits.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The United States Air Force has many missions in the design stage that would benefit from small, low-cost satellites operating either autonomously or as an element in a cluster of such vehicles flying in formation with carefully controlled distances and orientations to each other. The ion and Hall thrusters provide an enabling technology for microsatellites, which are proposed for many military and commercial applications. The commercial applications include communications and imaging satellites, companions to large satellites to provide surveillance and close-up inspection capabilities, such as to monitor and assure proper deployment of solar panels, antennae and other appendages.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Electromagnetic Thrusters
Electrostatic Thrusters

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