The central thrust of this program is to provide NASA with higher performance components that can engender large advances in performance of satellite thruster systems while also introducing large SWaP savings and improved reliability as to meet the needs of the rapidly increasing smaller satellite market. QorTek is proposing a revolutionary design of a subcompact solid-state (textured ceramic actuated) flow control systems for electric propulsion system thrusters (cathode tubes) such as envisaged Xe, Ar, Kr, He, or I. At under 12 cu-cm volume, and operating at under 2mW, these new flow control components will introduce large power savings for most EP thruster systems being designed for small satellites and other mission equipment (included landed equipment). Designed to be the first ever EP flow controllers that can function to high temperatures (> 300°C) opening a new design where the controller is directly mated to the thruster as to reduce downstream tubing, reduce propellant waste, and accelerate acceptance testing as well as they are readily amenable to radhard implementation – including their subcompact drive/control electronics employing recent advances at QorTek. Although the initial system is targeted toward NASA Class D missions, the extremely high reliability of our solid-state drive technology will enable all many NASA and commercial space missions to benefit from its use. Because this is a direct drive solution, the first such for propulsion flow control on spacecraft, these can apply fast valve open/close rates (estimated >1.2KHz) and deliver true linear proportional flow control. The large reduction in power cost and mass, combined with ability for radhard implementation would make these new components and ideal selection for on-board prop. systems and other equipment for small spacecraft are now envisaged for Moon-Mars (Artemis) and other deep space missions that will have immediate applications to the booming market in LEO/GEO small satellites.
The proposed technology targets Electric Propulsion systems, that are becoming foundational to many key NASA mission goals, in particular Moon-Mars (Artemis) and other Deep Space missions. Compared to legacy solenoid-based systems, the proposed solid-state valves will drastically reduce power, size/weight, and also provide multi-use, and enable elevated operating temperatures, which will enable this technology to be integrated close to the thruster. Integrated components are expected to be rapidly fielded to drastically decrease mission costs.
“New Space”, is looking for simplified system for cost reduction and to open up more space for fuel for extended operation period. Phase I demonstrated high pressure valve is very attractive to eliminate pressure regulator. The compact, high-pressure direct-drive valves are in direct interest of low-cost propulsion and feed-system developers for the fleet of light and agile vehicles.