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A Hall Thruster Array for Very High Power Propulsion Applications

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2001 / 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 1
Fiscal Year: 2001
Title: A Hall Thruster Array for Very High Power Propulsion Applications
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: F04611-01-C-0032
Award Amount: $99,991.00


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.

Principal Investigator:

B. Pote

Business Contact:

J. Budny
Contracts Administrator
Small Business Information at Submission:

11 Tech Circle Natick, MA 01760

EIN/Tax ID: 042881247
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No