Microwave Plasma Propulsion Systems for Defensive Counter-Space
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Due to the proliferation of inexpensive nano-satellites, space situational awareness and object detection/negation are high priorities for protecting US space-borne assets. Starfire Industries is proposing a novel microwave plasma thruster employing electron cyclotron resonance techniques for simultaneous high-power high-efficiency electric propulsion and multiple secondary "dual-use" applications for object detection, illumination and imaging, and space negation. Electron cyclotron resonance offers the potential for very high ionization efficiency and propellant utilization for high thruster efficiency. In addition, this integrated approach could prove valuable for next-generation satellite design with inherent defensive counter space capability. Phase I will demonstrate plasma acceleration with microwave heating in a small experiment coupled with analytical and computational simulations to examine the potential defensive aspects of the overall approach. This effort will provide a foundation for higher-power and defensive application testing in subsequent phases.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
STARFIRE INDUSTRIES, LLC
60 Hazelwood Drive Champaign, IL 61820
Number of Employees:
UNIV. OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA
103 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
David N. Ruzic
Nonprofit college or university