NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Precision Spacecraft Formations for Advanced Telescope Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:Control Valve for Miniature Xenon Ion Thruster

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mide Technology Corporation
200 Boston Avenue Suite 1000
Medford, MA 02155-4243
(781) 306-0609

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Marthinus C. van Schoor
200 Boston Avenue, Suite 1000
Medford, MA  02155-4243
(781) 306-0609

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA is continuing its development of electric propulsion engines for various applications. Efforts have been directed toward both large and small thrusters, depending on the end use. A current program is focused on the development of a miniature thruster. Development of a Miniature Xenon Ion (MiXI) thruster will enable precision spacecraft positioning and formation maneuvers for formation-flying spacecraft. The current MiXI thruster prototype will provide 0.5 ? 3 mN thrust at 3000 sec specific impulse and efficiencies around 50% or better. The MiXI thruster will use Xenon propellant, a noble gas, minimizing spacecraft contamination. One of the challenges of such a thruster is to be able to accurately control the flow of propellant. The required flow rates are on the order of 0.1 sccm of Xenon. To this end Midé proposes to develop a small flow control valve based on piezoelectric technology. Midé is a world leader in this technology, demonstrated by its existing patented packaged actuator product line and past valve experience. Aerojet will provide electric propulsion expertise for the duration of the program and serve as a technology integration and transition path.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
One focus area of late in satellite design is a push for multiple, smaller satellites that are maintained in tight formations. This allows for larger aperture space telescopes without the need to build one large spacecraft. A key ingredient to the success of these formation flying spacecraft are the thrusters needed to maintain the tight distances from spacecraft to spacecraft. The station keeping thrusters of these small spacecraft must provide a sufficiently small impulse bit to actively and accurately control their position. The proposed piezo based valves can easily meet these requirements for all small scale thruster station keeping needs.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Midé is involved with a commercial partner to optimize oxygen respirator usage though the use of accurately controlled low powered piezo valve. The military also maintains a presence in space that can require accurate precision positioning of their assets. A small valve can also find application in tight process control in the manufacturing industry and in the medical field for accurately controlling small amounts of fluids or gasses.

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
Feed System Components
Micro Thrusters

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19