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 250 km respectively. Above 30 km, an aircraft's propulsion system encounters combustion limits and below 250 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. Experiments performed in Phase I under conditions that approximate upper edges of theatmosphere, have confirmed that the electric propulsion is feasible. The experiments were very successful and the expected performance was measured. In Phase II we plan to develop the next prototype and test in our existing facility. The resulting datawill be used to design a larger prototype that will be built and tested in an enhanced Phase II or Phase III.
Small Business Information at Submission:
BUSEK CO., INC.
11 Tech Circle Natick, MA 01760
Number of Employees: