A Hall Thruster Array for Very High Power Propulsion Applications
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Hall thrusters in the 50 - 100 kW class are an enabling technology for affordable methods of on-board propulsion for a number of orbit transfer and space tug applications. Studies of advanced propulsion options for deployment of payloads from a drop-offaltitude to an operating orbit can be best achieved by high power Hall thrusters. These studies show a substantial payload mass increase per launch vehicle compared with all chemical propulsion systems. In the proposed Phase I program, Busek willdemonstrate an array of thrusters operating as an integrated high power system. The viability and scalability of the proposed approach will be evaluated using a cluster of 600 W thrusters. The Phase I program is a subscale system demonstration for anarray of 10 - 20 kW class engines envisioned as the building blocks for the 50 -100 kW system. Through a combination of direct experimental measurements, analysis and modeling activities, we will develop a definitive understanding and basis for amulti-thruster array as opposed to a single engine system. In Phase II we will continue with system development and testing and deliver to the Air Force a prototype high power cluster for testing in AFRL's propulsion and diagnostic test facilities.A highpower Hall thruster propulsion system configured from standardized thruster modules will result in a lower cost, higher reliability propulsion system compared to a single high power engine. Configuring a customized high power system from lower powerbuilding blocks provides immediate dual use commercial applications because the standardized individual thruster has a viable market on commercial, military and government satellites. In addition, the multi-thruster array can be used to produce uniformhigh current, broad area ion beams and find terrestrial applications in etching and film deposition using reactive gas precursors.
Small Business Information at Submission:
BUSEK CO., INC.
11 Tech Circle Natick, MA 01760
Number of Employees: