NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 S1.02-8854
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Deep Space Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: Shared Magnetics Hall Thruster

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Busek Co. Inc.
11 Tech Circle
Natick, MA 01760-2213
(508)655-5565

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
In the proposed Phase I program, Busek Co. will demonstrate an innovative methodology for clustering Hall thrusters into a high performance, very high power propulsion system. The concept uses multiple thruster discharge assemblies with a common (shared) magnetic structure. The concept combines the benefits of clustering that include modularity, reliability, reduced beam divergence and throttleability with the cost, mass savings and power loss reduction of a shared magnetic structure. In Phase I, Busek will conduct a sub-scale demonstration of a shared magnetics cluster based on our existing BHT-600 (nominally 600 W input power) Hall thruster.

A methodology for shared magnetics clustering will be developed that can be applied to the full range of Hall thruster power requirements (100 kW ? 1 MW) envisioned by NASA for obit insertion, planetary transfers and manned exploration. In Phase II a 200 ? 400 kW shared magnetics thruster based on NASA's existing high power Hall thruster technology will be designed and built.

Busek is uniquely positioned to implement the proposed program having expertise in both the clustering of Hall thrusters and shared magnetics thruster development.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The cluster will enable cargo and propellant transport, pre-positioning missions for lunar and Mars exploration, and enable a reusable orbital tug. The cluster's redundancy is a benefit over a single, large thruster.
Moreover, the cluster can be throttled to run at high Isp or high T/P and can grow or shrink to fit different missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
As communication satellites evolve to use all electric propulsion, there is a need for larger power thrusters for orbit raising. The shared magnetic Hall thruster clusters, in principle, can be applied across the spectrum of thruster sizes. The Air Force anticipates a need for very high clusters of Hall thrusters in the 100kW to 150kW range for orbit transfer vehicles, space tugs, and re-supply vessels.