NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-1 S3.03-9304
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Microsatellite Direct Drive SEP Module for Interplanetary Exploration via Rideshare

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ExoTerra Resource LLC
9754 Las Colinas Dr
Lone Tree, CO 80124 - 4206
(303) 565-6898

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Paul Wilbur
7921 Southpark Plaza
Littleton, CO 80120 - 4506
(970) 484-5940

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael VanWoerkom
9754 Las Colinas Dr
Lone Tree, CO 80124 - 4206
(303) 565-6898

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Propulsion Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Solar Electric Propulsion drives down the cost of space missions by using its high propulsion efficiency to step down from one launch class to another. As launch costs can be up to a third of total mission costs, stepping down to a smaller rocket can be a mission enabling technology in today's budget constrained environment.

While missions such as Dawn have used this to visit multiple asteroids after launch from a small launch vehicle, ExoTerra's SolRider Direct Drive (DD) SEP module allows interplanetary missions to take the next step down in launch cost to package within standard rideshare envelope and mass contraints. Our module integrates multiple technologies to provide up to 8.6 km/s within an Atlas Aft Bulkhead Carrier rideshare or 14.6 km/s of delta-V within a standard ESPA. This can enable launch costs below $5M.

Our integrated DD SEP module uses a combination of SEP technologies to create a highly efficient system to package within the rideshare envelope. We use a 175 W/kg and 60kW/m3 rolled composite tube solar array deployment system to package within the tight volume. This provides 300 V power to the thruster through a direct drive system, eliminating the cost, mass and electrical losses of the traditional power processing unit. A Hall Thruster uses the high voltage power to efficiently propel the craft with over 1600 s of Isp. The thruster receives the propellant from a cryogenic Xenon feed system, allowing an order of magnitude drop in tank mass. When coupled to Microsatellite electronics, the system can deliver up to 5.5 kg of payload instruments to Mars orbit.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Microsatellite DD SEP Module enables multiple missions for NASA such as asteroid surveying, interplanetary exploration, sample return systems and technology demonstrations.

NASA has identified over a dozen potential asteroids for human exploration. Using low cost microsatellites to fly past these objects and determine their composition ahead of a manned mission provides a means for mission planners to select a destination with the highest chance of mission success.

Additionally, the low cost of the satellites enables small, low cost missions to be flown to the Moon, Mars or Venus. While the payload capability of each mission is reduced, a series of missions can be performed at fraction of the cost of a single large mission.

Similarly, the high delta V system can be used to return small samples from distant bodies such as the Moon, Mars, Mars' moons or asteroids. These missions typically require large delta-Vs and small packaging to be financialy viable.

Lastly, the system enables technology demonstrations identified by NASA such as SEP spiral-out from LEO, DD plasma/array interaction, and radiation belt measurement to be performed at low cost.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to NASA, the technology provides capabilities to many other users. In particular, there is a growing number of small/micro launch vehicles such as ALASA being developed. The DD SEP module provides a means to boost these payloads from LEO to as far as GEO, enabling longer orbit lifetimes and mission possibilities for commercial and government operators.

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.)
Cryogenic/Fluid Systems
Spacecraft Design, Construction, Testing, & Performance (see also Engineering; Testing & Evaluation)
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 03-28-13 15:21