Air Breathing Electric Propulsion for Aerospace Vehicles
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
"All aerospace vehicles, aircraft and spacecraft, are designed to function at an altitude below 30 km or above 150 km respectively. Above 30 km, an aircraft's propulsion system encounters combustion limits and below 150 km a spacecraft encountersatmospheric drag that leads to rapid reentry. A propulsion system that could function adequately in at least a portion of the intervening altitudes would enable new type of aerospace vehicles capable of performing missions inaccessible with the presentstate of the art technology. To avoid the combustion limit and the need to carry propellant we propose the development of an air-breathing, electric thruster (ABET). Proof of concept experiments performed under conditions that approximate upper edges ofthe atmosphere, have confirmed that the ABET propulsion is feasible. In Phase I we propose to establish performance and operating requirements for such propulsion system and a thruster, based on representative aerospace vehicle requirements. Theserequirements and data, from additional experiments, will be used to design a new ABET to be built and tested in Phase II in our existing facilities. Aerospace Corporation will support Busek by developing the ABET performance requirements based onhypothetical mission scenarios. Successful development of a propulsion system that can maintain an aerospace vehicle at an altitude of 100 km for extended period of time would revolutionize, communications a
Small Business Information at Submission:
Busek Co., Inc.
11 Tech Circle Natick, MA 01760
Number of Employees: