NASA SBIR SUCCESS STORY Glenn Research Center
1998 Phase II

MicroNewton Thruster (MNT)

Busek Co., Inc.

Natick, MA

INNOVATION
    A stable and controllable microNewton colloid thruster that generates and accelerates a stream of nanometer-size charged droplets
First prototype 20 microNewton colloid thruster system which includes enough propellant to operate for 3000 hours
First prototype 20 microNewton colloid
thruster system which includes enough propellant to
operate for 3000 hours

Optional Powerpoint file

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
    • Demonstrated the first prototype of the MNT system with the assistance of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University
    • First use of the carbon nanotube (CNT) based electron field emission (FE) neutralizer in electric propulsion
    • Demonstration of extremely low noise thrust, of the order of 10-8 Newton, feed system with no moving parts and the CNT FE neutralizer
    • A set of microthrusters will control spacecraft position with nanometer precision
COMMERCIALIZATION
    • Busek was selected to provide a set of microNewton thrusters for the Space Technology 7 project (ST7) project as part of the Disturbance Reduction System. Busek will receive $9.9M for this effort
    • The space market for the MNTís could reach several tens of millions of dollars over the next decade
GOVERNMENT/SCIENCE APPLICATIONS
    • Will deliver to JPL 3/05 to fly on the NASA New Millennium Space Technology Demonstration Mission (ST7). This project will fly on the NASA/ESA European Spacecraft Smart 2 scheduled for 6/06
    • The MNTs will enable future scientific missions such as NASA's Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) gravitational wave observatory and the Micro-Arcsecond X-ray Imaging Mission (MAXIM) x-ray interferometer  
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Curator: SBIR/STTR Support