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Metal Vapor Ionospheric Control System (MVICS)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-15-M-0507
Agency Tracking Number: F15A-T22-0010
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF15-AT22
Solicitation Number: 2015.1
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-06-05
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-04-10
Small Business Information
4 Fourth Avenue
Burlington, MA 01803-3304
United States
DUNS: 47627732
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Rainer Dressler
 Principal Scientist
 (781) 273-4770
Business Contact
 Robert Sundberg
Phone: (781) 273-4770
Research Institution
 Sandia National Laboratories
 Scott Holswade
P.O. Box 5800
Albuqueque, NM 87185-1451
United States

 (505) 844-8560
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

ABSTRACT: Spectral Sciences, Inc. and Sandia National Laboratories propose a Metal Vapor Ionospheric Control System (MVICS) for on-demand turbulence suppression and control of ionospheric RF propagation. The system uses a lightweight, throttleable directional mechanism for controlled production and dispersal of artificial plasma into the space environment. MVICS relies on three innovations: a novel dispersal method, laboratory experiments to verify the dispersal, and computational fluid dynamic simulations of the evolving artificial plasma to optimize plasma effects. The controlled, high-efficiency dispersal method, which will be designed for a standardized miniaturized payload such as a CubeSat, is based on a novel high performance energetic material produced by state-of-the-art nanoscale mechanical activation techniques. Detailed laboratory experiments will provide proof-of-principle and optimize the trade space for the dispersal. To further optimize the dispersal, MVICS will use three-dimensional, time-dependent computational fluid modeling with plasma chemistry to compute the early evolution of the plasma cloud. The results of the model will interface to AFRL ambient ionospheric plasma dynamics models. The combination of energetic material engineering, laboratory experiments, and ionospheric enhancement modeling will provide the Phase I feasibility demonstration of MVICS, and will result in a conceptual design of the plasma generator.; BENEFIT: The anticipated results of a successful MVICS project will be the development of an efficient plasma generator device that produces artificial plasmas in the ionosphere with controlled shape. The development of a three-dimensional plasma chemistry model interfaced to an AFRL ionospheric dynamics model, will guide the development of an MVICS release strategy that optimizes the ionospheric enhancement for RF systems of interest. The MVICS plasma generator device will be a key enabling technology for a practical, on-demand ionospheric control system. The MVICS plasma generator device will be designed for emerging small satellite technology such as CubeSats. A successful MVICS project will result in the development of a large constellation of LEO plasma generator vehicles providing both horizontal and vertical coverage for on-demand ionospheric control. The technology will benefit all commercial entities relying on ionospheric RF propagation, such as companies requiring reliable GPS service.

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

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