NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-1 S3.03-8640
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Throughput Hall Thruster for Small Spacecraft

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

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James Szabo
jszabo@busek.com
11 Tech Circle
Natick, MA 01760 - 1023
(508) 655-5565

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Judy Budny
judy@busek.com
11 Tech Circle
Natick, MA 01760 - 1023
(508) 655-5565

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Propulsion Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?
No

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Busek Co. Inc. proposes to develop a high throughput, nominal 100 W Hall Effect Thruster (HET). This HET will be sized for small spacecraft (< 180 kg), including nano-spacecraft (<20 kg). An Edison small satellite demonstration mission could feature this thruster fueled by iodine or xenon.
The Phase I program has five technical tasks. In the first task, we will determine the throttling capabilities of an improved version of our flight model 200 W thruster. The improved thruster includes permanent magnets and a modified magnetic circuit. Based upon test results, the basic dimensions of the new 100 W thruster will be determined. In the second task, the mechanical design will be created. In the third task, the magnetic circuit will be modeled using Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) tools. In the fourth task, the plasma discharge will be modeled using existing simulation tools. In the final technical task, the design will be modeled thermally using COTS tools. The third, fourth, and fifth tasks will feed back into the design, which will be tailored to balance efficiency against lifetime, operating temperature, mass, volume, and other considerations.
In Phase II, the high throughput low power thruster will be manufactured, tested, and improved. Performance, lifetime, and plume properties will be evaluated. Testing will include both xenon and iodine. Recent testing of a BHT-200 fueled by iodine vapor yielded stability and performance comparable to that observed with xenon, along with lower beam divergence. Iodine also offers many system level benefits including much higher stored density and much lower stored pressure than xenon.
This proposal responds to topic S3.03, "Propulsion Systems." Both the "Electric Propulsion" and "Micro-Propulsion" sub-topics are relevant. The proposal also addresses several of NASA's Grand Challenges, including Efficient In-Space Transportation, Space Debris Hazard Mitigation, and Economical Space Access.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The HET is an efficient form of electric propulsion that is typically used in space for orbit-raising and orbit maintenance. The size, low alpha (kg/kW), and simplicity of Hall thrusters make them ideal for many NASA applications including deep space exploration. The proposed device will be well sized for spacecraft < 180 kg. Integration with nano-spacecraft (<20 kg) is also feasible. Continuous thrust functions for small, power-limited spacecraft would include orbit insertion and maintenance, in-space maneuvering, orbit raising, and de-orbiting. In pulsed mode, the thruster could also provide high precision impulse bits for station-keeping and attitude control, precision positioning, and constellation maintenance of small and micro-satellites.
The first NASA application of this technology could be a small satellite demonstration mission. Such a system could use xenon or iodine propellant. Subsequent science missions that could utilize thruster technology include NASA Flagship, Frontier, Discovery class missions to Asteroids, comets, dwarf planets, outer planets. Depending on the destination and capabilities of the spacecraft, thruster could function either by itself or in conjunction with a larger Hall thruster. The ability to thrust efficiently at multiple power levels is critical for an interplanetary system. Other applications could include an upper stage for NASA's Nano/Micro Satellite Launch Vehicle (NMSLV), described under topic E1.02.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Hall thrusters are attractive for commercial and military spacecraft due to their high performance, small size, low mass, and relatively low cost. Continuous thrust functions for small, power-limited spacecraft in LEO would include orbit insertion and maintenance, in-space maneuvering, orbit raising, and de-orbiting. The thruster is appropriate for spacecraft as small as 5-10 U in size. Applications for geosynchronous spacecraft would include station-keeping and repositioning. In pulsed mode, the thruster could provide high precision impulse bits for station-keeping and attitude control, precision positioning, and constellation maintenance of small and micro-satellites. A system fueled by dense, low maintenance iodine could provide a literal off the shelf option for Air Force spacecraft, greatly enhancing operational readiness.

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.)
Ceramics
Fuels/Propellants
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Passive Systems
Simulation & Modeling
Spacecraft Main Engine


Form Generated on 03-28-13 15:21