NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S3.08-9719
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Planetary Ascent Vehicles
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low Power, Low Cost Igniter for Nonhypergolic Mars Ascent Vehicle

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Analytical Services, Inc. (ASI)
350 Voyager Way
Huntsville, AL 35806 - 3200
(256) 562-2134

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joe Sims
350 Voyager Way
Huntsville, AL 35806 - 3200
(256) 562-2191

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Decomposing monopropellant hydrazine across a spontaneous catalyst bed is the gold standard for small propulsion systems responsible for attitude control on satellites and spacecraft. Such a propulsion system is both simple and reliable, and offers reasonable performance. However, the simplicity and reliability enjoyed today is the result of a nearly two-decade effort designed to identify and perfect a spontaneous catalyst. Modern hydrazine replacements generally do not work well with hydrazine catalysts, so the enormous costs associated with a new catalyst development effort have stalled the widespread acceptance of potential hydrazine replacements.

Our proposed effort will explore the use of an alternative ignition source that eliminates the need for a catalyst bed entirely. It achieves the same simplicity enjoyed by traditional monopropellant propulsion systems, but dramatically increases thruster response time on both startup and especially shutdown. It requires low power because it exploits a unique property of most of the propellants often cited as the future replacement for hydrazine. It is also low cost because it requires a very low part count and development issues will be trivial.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Hydrazine monopropellant systems have been used on a number of satellites and spacecraft, including the Deep Space Climate Observatory, the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, the New Horizons satellite, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Mars Phoenix Lander, and the Advanced Composition Explorer. Adopting a green, safe monopropellant that does not require a catalyst bed will find use throughout the Agency's inventory of future spacecraft and satellites that otherwise would have used hydrazine. As a non-catalyst based ignition system is developed and flown, acceptance of a safe, green monopropellant will be rapid across the civil space community.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
As with NASA applications, the primary non-NASA applications must necessarily include commercial satellites, a huge commercial market. In addition, future missile defense kill vehicles will use divert and attitude control systems that operate with green propellants to eliminate hazards of shipping, using, and de-militarizing systems. They also must comply with strict insensitive munitions requirements, which hydrazine cannot meet. Auxiliary power units on ships and aircraft are an additional commercial use for a safe, green hydrazine replacement.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Launch Engine/Booster
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Spacecraft Main Engine
Surface Propulsion

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12