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Low Mass 20 kW Hall Thruster

Award Information

Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2004 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Busek Co. Inc.
11 Tech Circle Natick, MA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2004
Title: Low Mass 20 kW Hall Thruster
Agency / Branch: DOD / OSD
Contract: FA8650-04-C-2470
Award Amount: $746,287.00


To meet emerging requirements for high power Hall thruster technologies that significantly enhance the transportation of DoD space assets, Busek proposes to complete development of a low mass 20 kW class Hall thruster. The design benefits from a unique magnetic circuit. The predicted mass of the magnetic structure and coil is about half that of a conventional design. Thrust efficiency of 70% is predicted. The proposed magnetic arrangement is especially suitable for close proximity operation (clustering). In the Phase I program, Busek designed, built and performed initial performance characterization of a 20 kW thruster design based on our nominal magnetic arrangement. The maximum efficiency obtained was 67% at 400 V at the discharge. Power input up to 16 kW was demonstrated. Also during Phase I the preliminary design of the low mass magnetic circuit was completed. The two designs have nearly identical magnetic field distribution and use the same discharge dimensions ensuring similar performance. In Phase II, Busek will generate mechanical drawings and build a 20 kW low mass prototype, measure its magnetic field on the bench, and measure the thrust it produces over a range of operating conditions. In the first half of Phase II, the nominal prototype will be subjected to a more extensive series of tests to demonstrate bimodal capabilities over 1000-3000 sec Isp operating range. Plasma simulations and erosion measurements will be developed to predict lifetime, which is > 10,000 hours. At the end of Phase II, an optimized low mass design will be tested and delivered.

Principal Investigator:

James Szabo
Research Scientist

Business Contact:

Judy 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