NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 04.03-0540

PROJECT TITLE: Variable Reluctance Motor Drive for Spacecraft Electric Auxiliary Power

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

An electric auxiliary power unit (APU) forms an attractive, more flexible alternative to the present hydrazine APU on today's spacecraft. With no impact to spacecraft structure, and with substantial system simplification and significant weight reduction, an electric APU meets NASA's mandates for the creation of aerospace and commercial partnerships and can provide considerable cost, safety, operational and technological benefits. The choice of an appropriate motor drive for driving the hydrazine pump is constrained by weight and electromagnetic interference considerations, and today's technological advancements offer a number of options. In this Phase I program, a variable reluctance motor drive is proposed that will form a higher power density, lower cost, simpler alternative to the hydrazine APU, without sacrificing safety and system reliability. By incorporating the latest and on-going commercial developments in motor and power electronics technologies, the proposed drive can allow for the deletion of individual power assist elements with no impact to overall system weight. The Phase I work will provide the final design and drawings for the drive, configured for direct deployment in an electric APU. Under a Phase II program, SatCon will assemble the motor drive and perform all tests necessary to ensure that the new system meets NASA specifications and the Phase I performance predictions.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

The research proposed here has direct commercial application in a number of cost-sensitive electric motor markets, such as electric and hybrid vehicles, aerospace, and the utility power markets, where safety, performance, reliability and cost are the primary needs and product drivers.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Mary Tolikas, Ph.D.
SatCon Technology Corporation
161 First Street
Cambridge , MA 02142-1221

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

SatCon Technology Corporation
161 First Street
Cambridge , MA 02142-1221