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High Current Cathode Development

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2005 / 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: 2005
Title: High Current Cathode Development
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA9300-05-M-3007
Award Amount: $99,961.00


High power dual mode electric propulsion systems are an enabling technology for the orbit transport of DoD space assets. In the Phase I program Busek Co. will design, fabricate and test a high current center mounted cathode. The cathode will be designed to deliver electron current to a 20 kW thruster capable of both high thrust to power and high Isp operation. The proposed high current cathode will be scaled from well established hollow cathode technology, but incorporate design innovations that address challenges with discharge current scaling and lifetime requirements. In Phase I we will fabricate a prototype cathode and demonstrate high sustained current operation. Additional testing with our existing 20 kW thruster will be performed to characterize integrated performance. Our subcontractor, Boeing EDD will model the cathode design and operation using a proprietary model and make first order lifetime predictions. In Phase II, an advanced engineering model prototype will be fabricated. An extensive test program with our 20 kW thruster will be performed to verify thruster/cathode operation over the dual mode thruster operating envelope. The Hall thruster system, of which the cathode is an integral component will demonstrate the capability to exceed Phase III IHPRPT goals for electrostatic propulsion.

Principal Investigator:

Lawrence Byrne
Research Engineer

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