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Water-Based Thrusters for Space Propulsion

Award Information

Department of Defense
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2002 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Research Support Instruments, Inc.
4325-B Forbes Blvd. Lanham, MD 20706-4854
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2002
Title: Water-Based Thrusters for Space Propulsion
Agency / Branch: DOD / DARPA
Contract: DAAH0102CR157
Award Amount: $98,972.00


"Research Support Instruments proposes to develop an innovative electric propulsion (EP) system which will utilize water (or its constituent gases) as its working fluid. This device, the MET-100, is an electrothermal thruster design which utilizesmicrowave energy at a nominal power output of 100 W. The performance of this device is projected to fill the thrust/specific impulse gap between conventional chemical thrusters which obtain thrust through the combustion of a fuel/oxidizer mixture and thehigh specific impulse electrostatic (ion-thruster) and electromagnetic (Hall-effect) EP thruster systems. One of the most significant goals of Phase I of this program is the collection of accurate thrust, specific impulse, and efficiency data. Also ofcritical interest for this stage of the program is a demonstration that the MET-100 does not experience any significant erosion problems either during startup or during long periods of operation as is the case with both arcjets and resistojets. Efficientwater-based propulsion systems provide a promising solution for space propulsion missions that require storable, non-toxic propellants and are ideal for mission profiles which consider on-station refueling. This EP system fills a required niche in a suiteof water based propulsion systems for orbital maneuvering. RSI will sell the MET-100 thruster as a complete propulsion module for station-keeping and orbit-raising onboard a growing number of

Principal Investigator:

Daniel J. Sullivan
Principal Scientist

Business Contact:

Michael Corson
Vice President
Small Business Information at Submission:

Research Support Instruments
4325-B Forbes Blvd Lanham, MD 20706

EIN/Tax ID: 521700379
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No