NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X10.01-8573
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Long-Life Validation and Flight Qualification of Nuclear Space Systems Hardware Prior to Flight Use
PROPOSAL TITLE:High Efficiency Three Phase Resonant Conversion for Standardized Architecture Power System Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Colorado Power Electronics, Inc.
120 Commerce Drive, Unit 3
Fort Collins ,CO 80524 - 4731
(970) 482 - 0191

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Geoff   Drummond
120 Commerce Drive, Unit 3
Fort Collins, CO  80524 -4731
(970) 482 - 0191

A low-cost, standardized-architecture power system is proposed for NASA electric propulsion (EP) applications. Three approaches are combined to develop a system that will meet current and future NASA needs and exceed currently available power processor unit (PPU) performance in terms of electrical efficiency, specific mass (kg/kW), and cost. The approaches include the use of (a) high-efficiency, 3-phase, dc-dc converters to minimize cooling requirements, mass, and parts count and maximize reliability and efficiency, (b) modularized and standardized sub-system design and fabrication techniques to accommodate power output scaling and re-configuration for specific ion thruster designs without the need to re-qualify hardware, and (c) attention to cost and manufacturability issues that will allow the implementation of electric propulsion systems on future NASA missions without the hidden costs of "hard-to-build" and "hard-to-scale" designs that are currently available. The innovations proposed herein will allow NASA to obtain the flexibility and performance it needs in power processors for electric propulsion systems while ensuring that their cost and difficulty of fabrication is low.

The primary market for this technology is for space power conversion were low cost power processing is required. Present technology includes PPU designs with real costs that are much greater than $200k per kilo watt of power. The previous designs show poor reuse of modules and power hardware. Additionally the present PPU designs fail to provide a base structure that can accommodate growth and change in module power. The new design will use lower loss elements to simplify fabrication and reduce cost. The proposed "next generation design" will accommodate the addition and subtraction of modules while conserving PPU mass. The extraordinary wide output impedance range of the converter will increase utility by allowing one PPU design to power several different thruster types. A successfully completed Phase II program will result in Phase III programs where brass-board PPUs will be provided for NASA missions utilizing NSTAR and possibly NEXT thrusters. A Phase III brass-board program will be used to flush out all remaining issues related to 3PRC flight use. Once complete, CPE and its sub-contractor Aerojet will be set to fabricate high quality flight hardware at the minimum cost.

Non-NASA uses for the proposed idea are commercial applications for space power were low cost and high efficiency are desired. Again the same advantages apply here. The most notable being the wide utility and range. This wide range converter will reduce the number of different model types required to satisfy current and future EP thruster needs. One immediate non-NASA application is for Aerojet thrusters that are being developed for geosynchronous satellite use.

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.

Electrostatic Thrusters
Power Management and Distribution
Ultra-High Density/Low Power

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12