NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 Z8.01-9758
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Small Spacecraft Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Fiber Fed Advanced Pulsed Plasma Thruster (APPT)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CU Aerospace, LLC
301 North Neil Street, Suite 502
Champaign, IL 61820 - 3169
(217) 239-1703

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Curtis Woodruff
301 N. Neil St.-Suite 502
Champaign, IL 61820 - 3169
(309) 255-8442

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. David Carroll
301 North Neil Street, Suite 502
Champaign, IL 61820 - 3169
(217) 239-1703

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Small Spacecraft 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?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
CU Aerospace (CUA) proposes the development of the Advanced Pulsed Plasma Thruster (APPT) that will enable cis-lunar and deep space missions for small satellites. While classic PPT technology is mature, it has historically been limited by its size and propellant load to small Delta-V applications. A recent advancement by CUA, Monofilament Vaporization Propulsion (MVP), uses extrusion 3D printing technology to provide polymer propellant to an electrothermal thruster. APPT will leverage this advancement, using PTFE fiber to allow for class-leading propellant capacity and more reliable feed than previous PPT designs. APPT is inherently safe, containing no pressurants or hazardous materials, significantly reducing range safety concerns. A 1U APPT, operating at 1200 seconds Isp, will provide 10,400 N-s total impulse, allowing for 1,400 m/s Delta-V for an 8 kg CubeSat. Increasing to a 2U form factor increases total impulse to 30,000 N-s, allowing for a Delta-V exceeding 4 km/s. CUA anticipates delivering to NASA an integrated system by the end of Phase II which includes the advanced thruster head, PTFE filament feed system, and an ACS subsystem.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Historically, pulsed plasma systems have targeted small Delta-V applications. With the demonstrated high performance of CUAs PPT-11 (Isp > 1200 seconds) and the innovative propellant feed and storage system of the recently developed CUA Monofilament Vaporization Propulsion (MVP) thruster, APPT exceeds the goals of the Z8.01 topic and outperforms previous state of the art PPT systems, as well as newer technologies such as electrospray and helicon thrusters. With an anticipated 10,400 N-s total impulse from a 1U system, large orbit transfers and even inclination changes of tens of degrees are now available to smaller satellites. The intrinsic safety of APPT and its inert, unpressurized propellant position it as a prime candidate for secondary payload missions where costs and logistics are dominated by range safety concerns. The solid propellant has no handling, storage, or operational restrictions. The ease of handling and storage for the solid propellant can extend operation to planetary missions with no additional monitoring or controls.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercial interest in very small satellites continues to grow. In the 1-50 kg satellite sector, launches have shifted from a fairly balanced distribution between civil, government, commercial, and defense (2009-2015) to a distribution dominated by commercial interests. Moving forward, it is more important than ever that these satellites have access to propulsion systems to extend their asset time on orbit. The proposed thruster offers CubeSats and other small satellites a significant propulsion capability with high total impulse per unit volume. The APPT thruster will provide a compact, light-weight, non-hazardous propulsion technology solution that will be made available in a family of sizes that can meet the differing needs of users in DOD, industry, and academia for CubeSat and small-satellite missions. APPT will require no safety equipment for storage, transportation, integration, and testing, and place no demanding requirements on the launch provider, making it an ideal low-cost solution for industry, research, and academic small-satellite propulsion needs.

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.)
Ablative Propulsion
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Relative Navigation (Interception, Docking, Formation Flying; see also Control & Monitoring; Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Spacecraft Design, Construction, Testing, & Performance (see also Engineering; Testing & Evaluation)
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59