NASA SBIR 2020-II Solicitation

Proposal Summary

Proposal Information

Proposal Number:
20-2- Z10.04-6073
Phase 1 Contract #:
80NSSC20C0599
Subtopic Title:
Manufacturing processes enabling lower-cost, in-space electric propulsion thrusters
Proposal Title:
BN Ceramics for Hall-Effect Thruster Discharge Channels

Small Business Concern

   
Firm:
          
Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing
          
   
Address:
          
7800 South Nogales Highway, Tucson, AZ 85756
          
   
Phone:
          
(520) 547-0850                                                                                                                                                                                
          

Principal Investigator:

   
Name:
          
Zachary Wing
          
   
E-mail:
          
zwing@acmtucson.com
          
   
Address:
          
7800 South Nogales Highway, AZ 85756 - 9645
          
   
Phone:
          
(520) 547-0861                                                                                                                                                                                
          

Business Official:

   
Name:
          
Mark Angier
          
   
E-mail:
          
mangier@acmtucson.com
          
   
Address:
          
7800 South Nogales Highway, AZ 85756 - 9645
          
   
Phone:
          
(520) 547-0850                                                                                                                                                                                
          

Summary Details:

   
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :                                                                                                                                                          
Begin: 3
End: 6
          
          
     
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words):

Both NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) need spacecraft with demanding propulsive performance and greater flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles and extended operations under challenging environmental conditions. Planetary spacecraft need the ability to rendezvous with, orbit, and conduct in situ exploration of planets, moons, and other small bodies.  For these applications, Hall Effect thrusters are being designed to meet the propulsion need. 

 

Current Hall effect thrusters make use of hexagonal boron nitride (BN) for the discharge channel in which plasma is generated and accelerated. However, the BN materials have exhibited substantial lot-to-lot variability. Such material property inconsistencies have thus necessitated costly thruster design features to improve survivability margins against mechanical and thermal shock.

 

ACM has developed PAL BN materials that will reduce the causes of variability and offer predictable performance. ACM’s PAL technology produces a highly uniform microstructure with significant improvements in mechanical properties.

          
          
     
Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words):

The proposed technology may find use in NASA missions // applications like in HERMES, lunar Gateway, and Psyche propulsion systems.  Other applications would be in manned Mars missions, future deep space missions, and for station keeping of near Earth research satellites.

          
          
     
Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words):

The proposed technology will find primary use in commercial satellite propulsion systems. The materials will also find dual use in the area of machinable ceramics.

          
          
     
Duration:     24
          
          

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