NASA STTR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 T3.01-9881
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Technologies for Space Power and Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Power High Thrust ion Thruster (HPHTion): 50 CM Ion Thruster for Near-Earth Applications

NAME: ElectroDynamic Applications, Inc. NAME: University of Michigan, Division of Research, Development, and Ad
STREET: P.O. Box 131460 STREET: Room 1058; 3003 South State Street
CITY: Ann Arbor CITY: Ann Arbor
STATE/ZIP: MI  48113 - 1460 STATE/ZIP: MI  48109 - 1274
PHONE: (734) 786-1434 PHONE: (734) 764-1976

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Peter Y Peterson
P.O. Box 131460
Ann Arbor, MI 48113 - 1460
(734) 786-1434

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Advances in high power, photovoltaic technology has enabled the possibility of reasonably sized, high specific power, high power, solar arrays. New thin film solar arrays have demonstrated specific powers of over 4000 W/kg (exceeding the current SOA of ~130 W/kg). At high specific powers, power levels ranging from 50 to several hundred kW are feasible for communication satellites. Coupled with gridded ion thruster technology, this power technology can be mission enabling for a wide range of missions ranging from ambitious near Earth NASA missions to those missions involving other customers as well such as DOD and commercial satellite interests. The appeal of the ion thrusters stems from their overall high efficiency, typically >70%. At present, the most advanced and mature gridded ion thruster technology is that embodied in the 7-kW NEXT ion thruster. The proposed Phase I effort seeks to design and fabricate a ion thruster discharge chamber with an equivalent beam area of a 50-cm-diameter cylindrical ion thruster with the capacity to fill the 7 to 25-kW void that currently exist for ion thrusters. The overall effort (Phases I and II) will advance the TRL level of the discharge chamber for the 50-cm thruster by understanding and optimizing the discharge chamber.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
EDA is committed to developing spacecraft propulsion related systems such as the 50 cm ion thruster. EDA is uniquely qualified to advance this technology rapidly through initial prototype development and qualification due to its experience in flight hardware. The PIs of this proposed project have first-hand experience with commercial EP devices having assisted three major aerospace engineering firms with thruster (and associated electronics) qualification and one in the design of a new flight engine. EDA also a solid relationship with the spacecraft propulsion divisions at Aerojet and Busek, all of whom have developed flight-ready EP engines. The technology under development here has numerous applications in the area of electric propulsion, supporting those current and future NASA missions with high power requirements.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
High power ion thruster propulsion technology is also enabling for DOD customers as well as commercial satellite interests for orbital transfer applications. The appeal of the system to non-NASA customers has been heightened through the availability of high power solar arrays. The coupling of such arrays with high power, efficient gridded ion is indeed mission enabling. In this respect, there would be likely benefits for both government satellites as well as commercial satellite markets.

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
Fundamental Propulsion Physics

Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14