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Fullerene Hall Thruster Development

Award Information

Department of Defense
Missile Defense Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
1992 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Busek Co. Inc.
11 Tech Circle Natick, MA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 1992
Title: Fullerene Hall Thruster Development
Agency / Branch: DOD / MDA
Contract: N/A
Award Amount: $79,838.00


A Hall thruster (HT) using C60 fullerene as the propellant is currently being developed. The HT is a magnetized neutral plasma electrostatic thruster that has been successfully deployed by the Russians. Efficiencies of 50-70 % at Isp up to 3000 second were achieved, and lifetimes in thousands of hours were demonstrated. The HT performance may be improved by replacing the current propellant of choice (Xe) with C60. With C60, the HT can achieve 90% efficiency without decreasing thrust density which is already ten times larger than in conventional ion thrusters. The effort will start with the design and construction of the C60 feed system and experiments related to C60 vapor generation, flow control, and fragmentation. Later, a prototype HT will be built, and its performance with C60 will be compared with Xe. The final objective is a commercial HT with C60 propellant resulting in a high efficiency, long life, economical electric space propulsion unit.

Principal Investigator:

V.j. Hruby

Business Contact:

Small Business Information at Submission:

Busek Co., Inc.
19 Kearney Road Needham, MA 02194

Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No