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STTR Phase I: Advanced Reaction Control System (RCS) for CubeSat and Microsatellite Platforms

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2026179
Agency Tracking Number: 2026179
Amount: $255,973.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: SP
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-08-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-05-31
Small Business Information
1330 Van Beurden Dr Ste 103
Los Osos, CA 93402
United States
DUNS: 116996739
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 David Hobbs
 (618) 698-8762
Business Contact
 David Hobbs
Phone: (618) 698-8762
Research Institution
 California Polytechnic State University Foundation
 Pauline Faure
One Grand Ave
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project is to open new orbital flight regimes to CubeSat and microsatellite vehicles. Vehicles of these size classes are currently constrained by the lack of suitable propulsion options or additional regulatory burdens that most propulsion systems levy on rideshare vehicles. Most small satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) would benefit from propulsion systems and all missions beyond LEO require on-board propulsion. The proposed Reaction Control System (RCS) architecture would enable new beyond-LEO missions for small satellites and enhance the on-orbit lifetime and utility of LEO missions at lower costs. This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project ties satellite propulsion performance to the ever-increasing capabilities of small satellite Electrical and Power Systems (EPS) with a novel, miniaturized resistojet design and benign green propellant. While other technologies (batteries, solar panels, power distribution systems) have improved satellite EPS, propulsion systems have lagged. The use of a miniature resistojet in the RCS design allows the performance of the propulsion system to be decoupled from the chemical properties of propellant (largely fixed due to chemistry limitations), and instead links performance to improved EPS systems. Additionally, the proposed RCS uses a novel non-gaseous pressurization system and a benign green propellant for improved safety on ridesharing satellites. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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

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