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Coaxial High Energy Thruster for Rapid Maneuvering of Space Assets

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2006 / STTR
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: 2006
Title: Coaxial High Energy Thruster for Rapid Maneuvering of Space Assets
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA9550-06-C-0059
Award Amount: $99,873.00


Busek Co. Inc. and Stanford University propose to jointly develop and test a high power plasma propulsion concept called the Coaxial High EnerGy (CHENG) thruster. This high efficiency (> 85%) pulsed system will be capable of average thrust levels commensurate to chemical propulsion (10^4 N/m^2), but with an Isp comparable to electrostatic propulsion (4000-50,000 s). Both thrust and Isp will be variable. The concept was originally demonstrated in the early 1970s, but was never fully characterized. Subsequent developments in high speed pulsed gas valves and pulsed power technology implore revisiting the concept. In Phase I, we will demonstrate a 12 kW thruster at firing rate of 4 Hz, producing an average thrust density of 103 N/m^2. In the process, we will identify key requirements for validating the technology, develop our approach to Phase II, and identify dual-use and commercialization potential. In Phase II, 12 kW performance will be measured on a thrust stand. Then the thrust density will be extended to 10^4 N/m^2. This will entail building a 50 kW, 100 Hz thruster. Throughout both phases, numerical simulations will be used to study the physics of the discharge and its impact on thruster erosion rates, believed to be very low.

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
Research Institution Information:
320 Panama Street
Stanford, CA 94305
Contact: Meredith O'Connor
Contact Phone: (650) 723-5854
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university