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Hall Thruster for Small, Low Power Satellites

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
1996 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Busek Co. Inc.
11 Tech Circle Natick, MA 01760-1023
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 1996
Title: Hall Thruster for Small, Low Power Satellites
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: N/A
Award Amount: $741,256.00


Low power electric thrusters appear to be well suited for on-board propulsion of LightSats. Several types are being considered and some already are under development such as the pulsed plasma thruster and the low power arcjet. Herein we propose the development of a nominally 200 Watt, Xe fueled Hall thruster. This requires an innovative magnetic structure design that differs from the Russian SPT designs which typically operate at a minimum power level several times greater than that appropriate for LightSats. In Phase I we propose to design the Hall thruster, fabricate and test it in our existing vacuum facility. The preliminary objective is to demonstrate a stable discharge at the appropriate voltage. Parameters to be measured discharge current and voltage. The data will be used in concurrent analysis to estimate its thrust, Isp and efficiency. The Phase I results will prove the feasibility of the low power Hall thruster, removing risk from the Phase II program. In Phase II, the Hall thruster will be fully characterized including measurement of thrust. A flight weight version will be designed, fabricated and tested. Integrated propulsion system demonstration will be initiated and continued with private funding in the Phase III.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. V. 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