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Rapidly Starting Cathode for Electric Propulsion

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Missile Defense Agency
Contract: F04611-02-M-0028
Agency Tracking Number: 02-0831
Amount: $69,980.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2002
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
11 Tech Circle
Natick, MA 01760
United States
DUNS: 184629491
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Lawrence Byrne
 Research Engineer
 (508) 655-5565
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Contracts Administrator
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Research Institution

"Busek's tandem Hall thruster can deliver precisely controllable, repetitive or single impulse bits of arbitrary magnitude, the latter dictated by the duration of the discharge pulse. To fully capitalize on the pulsed operation of a Hall thruster requiresa cathode capable of rapid starting to minimize the time from the command for thrust to the time the discharge pulse can be initiated. The most significant delay occurs during the time required to heat the cathode emitter and the time to establishexpellant within the cathode.In the Phase I program Busek will evaluate several methods and approaches to rapidly starting an electron source for the thruster. Approaches to be analytically and experimentally characterized include a derivative of our standard hollow cathode designedfor rapid heating of the emitter insert and novel approaches for heaterless style cathodes.Proof of concept and preliminary experiments will be conducted to determine methods for rapid starting and characteristic turn-on times. The most promising approaches will be further investigated for thermal and discharge cycle capability.In Phase II prototype cathodes will be designed and fabricated for integrated testing with a Hall thruster in the pulsed and steady state operating modes. Busek's low power propulsion system can fulfill all the propulsion requirements of missions requiring orbit raising, repositioning and close proximity formation flying. A rapidly star

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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