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SBIR Phase I:Air-Breathing Electric Propulsion

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2223063
Agency Tracking Number: 2223063
Amount: $274,951.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: SP
Solicitation Number: NSF 22-551
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-08-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-03-31
Small Business Information
5005 Showboat Pl
Culver City, CA 90230
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Rostislav Spektor
 (323) 513-8214
Business Contact
 Rostislav Spektor
Phone: (323) 513-8214
Research Institution

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to create reusable satellites that can refuel directly from the Earth’s atmosphere. These satellites will have two key advantages over the existing satellites. First, they will fly significantly lower than current satellites providing superior Earth Observation and satellite broadband communication quality. Second, they will enable refuellable space tugs that can perform a servicing mission and then descend into the atmosphere to refuel. Furthermore, by flying in these low orbits, satellites will naturally de-orbit at the end of life and leave orbits uncluttered. Finally, the proposed space tugs will reduce the need for powerful chemical rockets (for both launch and in-space maneuvers). _x000D_
This SBIR Phase I project proposes to investigate satellite air-breathing electric propulsion. While technologies necessary to enable air-breathing electric propulsion have been maturing for the last few decades, a viable system has not yet been demonstrated. This project will address the last remaining technological gap to enable a viable air-breathing electric propulsion system that will unlock access to ultra-low Earth orbits (ULEO), between 200 km and 300 km. The propulsion system consists of an electric propulsion thruster, such as a Hall Effect Thruster (HET) and an air-scoop that collects atmospheric air. This proposed project presents the first step in developing such a system._x000D_
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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