NASA STTR 2017 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 T2.01-9966
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Nuclear Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Efficiency RF Heating for Small Nuclear Fusion Rocket Engines

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC): RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):
NAME: Princeton Satellite Systems NAME: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
STREET: 6 Market Street, Suite 926 STREET: P.O. Box 451
CITY: Plainsboro CITY: Princeton
STATE/ZIP: NJ  08536 - 2096 STATE/ZIP: NJ  08543 - 0451
PHONE: (609) 275-9606 PHONE: (609) 243-3532

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Michael Paluszek
map@psatellite.com
6 Market Street, Suite 926
Plainsboro, NJ 08536 - 2096
(609) 275-9606

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Michael Paluszek
map@psatellite.com
6 Market Street, Suite 926
Plainsboro, NJ 08536 - 2096
(609) 275-9606

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Advanced Nuclear 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)
High power nuclear fusion propulsion systems will require high efficiency radio-frequency heating systems in the MHz range for plasma heating. This proposal is for a novel scalable solid state Class E amplifier using Silicon Carbide switching transistors for plasma heating. This system is potentially 100% efficient compared to 40% for linear amplifiers and can be scaled to any desired size by adding additional segments in parallel. The system includes a novel closed loop feedback control system at the antenna and from the plasma. This eliminates the need for lossy transformers and other non-ideal components. The RF amplifier will be prototyped in Phase I in preparation for a plasma heating experiment in Phase II.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This technology is applicable to all radio-frequency applications for NASA. This includes microwave-heated thrusters, such as Ad Astra's VASIMR. VASIMR is a revolutionary new in-space propulsion system that heats a plasma with two types of microwave radiation. It can provide high thrust and high specific impulse in the 100 kW+ range.

The technology is also applicable to scientific experiments using radio-frequency technology. Current RF applications use tubes or Solid State Power Amplifier (SSPAs). These are typically linear amplifiers and only 40% efficient. Communication systems up to S-band will also be applications of this technology

Laboratory research and aerospace manufacturing using radio-frequency radiation done by NASA will also benefit. It will reduce costs of RF equipment and reduce power consumption.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This technology is applicable to a wide variety of commercial applications. These include:

HF band radars for coastal and over horizon systems (OTH)
Medium (MF) and High Frequency (HF) Radio (ITU Bands 5 and 6)
Communications channels up to S-band
Materials processing
Plasma heating for terrestrial fusion reactors
RF heating for manufacturing

Current RF systems use tubes, such as Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTAs) and Solid State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs). These are less efficient than the switching amplifiers in this proposal.

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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Amplifiers/Repeaters/Translators
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Processing Methods
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:45