NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S3.04-8134
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Dual Mode Low Power Hall Thruster

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Busek Co., Inc.
11 Tech Circle
Natick, MA 01760 - 1023
(508) 655-5565

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Vlad Hruby
11 Tech Circle
Natick, MA 01760 - 1023
(508) 655-5565

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Sample and return missions desire and missions like Saturn Observer require a low power Hall thruster that can operate at high thrust to power as well as high specific impulse in order to close mission time, mass and delta velocity requirements. This type of thruster is commonly referred to as a dual mode Hall thruster. While the traditional geometry commonly used in a Hall thruster can achieve relatively high Isp operation, they are limited in their ability to achieve much better than 80mN/kW thrust to power. While values of 90-100 mN/kW have been reported they are achieve at by running the thruster at significantly reduce input power. A true dual mode thruster, one that delivers maximum thrust at the thruster design power, must depart from conventional Hall thruster design approaches.

In Phase I SBIR Busek will demonstrate a true dual mode thruster that capitalizes on innovative scaling of the plasma discharge and a number of technologies unique to Busek. Our baseline approach is a double discharge cavity 600W thruster with high Isp inner thruster nested inside a high T/P outer thruster the latter capable of 100mN/kW.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A study conducted by the SMD ISPT Project confirmed the significant potential of REP for space science, especially with recent advancements in enabling, high specific-power RPS technology (from 3 to over 8 We/kg). The study also concluded that REP would be ready for near-term NASA science missions if an electric propulsion thruster with the appropriate specific impulse throttle ability and propellant throughput capability could be developed. Following are the Trojan Asteroid, Jupiter Polar Orbiter with probes and Comet Surface Sample Return (Tempel 1) were three of the missions examined by this study.

Other evaluations and assessments performed over the last decade have confirmed the benefits of REP for a variety of potential missions, including orbiters about Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus; rendezvous and Centaurs, Kuiper Belt Objects and primitive bodies in the outer Solar System; and extensive surveys of major asteroid groups. In general, REP offers the benefits of nuclear electric propulsion without the need for an excessively large spacecraft and power system.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Electric propulsion systems have been identified as a key technology for transportation of DoD space assets. The AFRL IHPRPT Program is investing in the development of a dual-mode HET system. The DARPA FAST Program is considering high power HETs as part of their in-space technology demonstration of an all electric very high power space tug and GEO servicing vehicle. The unique HET design methodology to be implemented in this program could be applied across the thruster power spectrum giving it broad commercial applicability.

Hall thruster systems in the 1-20 kW range are envisioned to assume both the orbit transfer and station keeping requirements for GEO communication satellites. The wide thrust-Isp capability of the proposed thruster is an essential feature for the dual mode requirement of high thrust for orbit raising and high Isp for station keeping. Commercial satellite manufacturers; SS/L, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Orbital Sciences have all shown a strong interest in throttleable HET systems for their GEOSats.

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.)
Lifetime Testing
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12