NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 H2.03-8803
SUBTOPIC TITLE: High Power Electric Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: Integrated Energetic Ion Mitigation for High Power Plasma Cathodes

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ElectroDynamic Applications, Inc.
P.O. Box 131460
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 - 1570
(734) 786-1434

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Christopher Davis
davis@edapplications.com
P.O. Box 131460
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 - 1570
(734) 786-1434

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr Jonathan Zagel
zagel@edapplications.com
P.O. Box 131460
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 - 1570
(734) 786-1434

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
High Power Electric Propulsion is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?
No

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The innovation proposed is a hollow cathode that integrates mitigation methods to suppress wear to the keeper. Recent advances in the magnetic topology in Hall thrusters has eliminated erosion of the thruster walls. As such the life limiting component of Hall thrusters has shifted to the cathode lifetime.

Under a previous investigation aimed at understanding the impact of high energy ions in high current hollow cathodes, we mapped the energy spectra of cathode derived ions for both a barium oxide hollow cathode and a LaB6 hollow cathode. Energetic ions were clearly present and their intensity and peak energy tended to increase with increasing discharge current. Preliminary mitigations experiments showed promise in the use of an externally applied magnetic field as a way to reduce the peak energy of the emitted ion flux.

The overall goal of this proposal is to produce a hollow cathode with integrated energetic ion mitigation technology. This cathode will be tested in magnetic field environments characteristic of Hall and gridded ion engines. It will provide a good body of experimental evidence of how to successfully mitigate cathode erosion for the high powered thrusters currently under development. Additionally, an energetic ion mitigation method could be directly integrated into the cathode design for the recently proposed Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM) which is currently baselined to use 4-5 10 kW class magnetically shielded Hall thrusters.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The direct application of long life, high current hollow cathodes is that of supporting NASA missions involving high power electric propulsion. This includes those high power missions, which are envisioned to support human operations in space as well as aggressive space science mission. For example, an energetic ion mitigation method could be directly integrated into the cathode design for the recently proposed Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM) which is currently baselined to use 4-5 10 kW Hall thrusters. It should be pointed out that the presence of energetic ions is not germane to high current cathodes though as was observed in the NSTAR long duration test. In this regard, the technology developed from this effort would also eliminate this failure mechanism for cathodes presumably over essentially all operating ranges.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The cathode mitigation technology is generally applicable to Hall and ion thrusters used for both government and commercial satellite orbit raising, orbit transfer, and station keeping. In particular, the mitigation technology supports Air Force and other DoD onboard electric propulsion interests. The technology would also be a life extender for commercial sector satellite makers. Commercial GSO market expects to launch of order 21 satellites per year and commercial NGSO of order 13 launches per year over the next 10 years. Electric propulsion is an onboard propulsion option for these vehicles and in this regard there is a stable market for this cathode life extension technology. The approach investigated here does not constitute a significant modification to the cathode rather it's essentially a retrofit featuring a novel, adaptable technology. This would in turn save costs to satellite venders by reducing development time of long life cathodes based on this technology proposed.

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.)
Space Transportation & Safety
Spacecraft Design, Construction, Testing, & Performance (see also Engineering; Testing & Evaluation)
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37