NASA STTR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 T3.01-9881
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Technologies for Space Power and Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Power High Thrust Ion Thruster (HPHTion): 50 CM Ion Thruster for Near-Earth Applications

NAME: ElectroDynamic Applications, Inc. NAME: University of Michigan
STREET: P.O. Box 131460 STREET: 3003 South State St
CITY: Ann Arbor CITY: Ann Arbor
STATE/ZIP: MI  48113 - 1460 STATE/ZIP: MI  48109 - 1274
PHONE: (734) 786-1434 PHONE: (734) 764-7250

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Peter Y Peterson
3600 Green Court, Suite 300
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 - 1570
(734) 734-1434

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Advances in high power, photovoltaic technology has enabled the possibility of reasonably sized, high specific power, high power, solar arrays. At high specific powers, power levels ranging from 50 to several hundred kW are feasible. Coupled with gridded ion thruster technology, this power technology can be mission enabling for a wide range of missions ranging from ambitious near Earth NASA missions to those missions involving other customers as well such as DOD and commercial satellite interests. Indeed the HEFT clearly identified the need for high power electric. The appeal of the ion thrusters for such applications stems from their overall high efficiency, typically >70% and long life. In response to the need for a single, high powered engine to fill the gulf between the 7 kW NEXT system and a notional 25 kW engine, a Phase I activity to build a 25 kW, 50 cm ion thruster discharge chamber was completed with a laboratory model fabricated. The proposed Phase II effort aims to mature the laboratory model into a proto-engineering model ion thruster. The proposed effort involves the evolution of the discharge chamber to a high performance thruster by performance testing and characterization via simulated and full beam extraction testing. Through such testing the design will be optimized leading ultimately to the proposed design, build and preliminary checkout of a proto-engineering model thruster, thereby advancing the TRL level to 4-5 range. Deliverables include the thruster, a design package, and a performance data document.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Successful development of a 25 kW thruster would support NASA cargo propulsion requirements such as those addressed in the HEFT report which described SEP needs with power levels extending from 30 kW to 300 kW. A single high power engine such as the proposed HPHTion would reduce system complexity by reducing engine count required to process the power. The engine would also support NASA space science endeavors. Operating at high thrust to power (~50mN/kW), the engine with the added bonus of long lifetime could also support DoD as well as commercial orbit transfer needs. In this regard, impact of the proposed activity would be broad with cross governmental agency applicability in addition to its relevance to commercial satellite interests from the private sector.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
EDA's plan to pursue this technology beyond Phase II, in collaboration with UM and Aerojet, is to develop production of flight hardware for NASA, DoD, and commercial vendors. Aerojet has also expressed significant interest in transitioning the technology into their propulsion system lineup as detailed in their letter of support for this technology development.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Electrostatic Thrusters
Fundamental Propulsion Physics

Form Generated on 02-01-11 15:25