Simple Colloid Thruster for Generating Precise Impulse Thrust
Small Business Information
11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA, 01760
AbstractFor this Phase I SBIR, we propose to design, fabricate, and test a colloid thruster integrated with an on/off microvalve. The design leverages Busek's accumulated expertise in colloid thruster development, gained through NASA's ST7 project, toward developing a general-purpose, flexible, and miniaturized micropropulsion system. Busek has already demonstrated a flight-viable colloid thruster architecture with Isp of ~500s, efficiencies of up to 70% (depending upon operating mode), thrust ratio greater than 20:1, minimum thrust of 0.15 microNewtons, 0.001 microNewton controllable thrust resolution, and lifetime of 2500 hours with no deterioration in performance. We shall develop the prototype design with an eye toward modularity and scalability, with the objective of providing a single thruster system with large dynamic thrust range, up to milliNewtons, while maintaining micro- and nano- Newton thrust resolution. Our Phase I effort shall focus primarily upon a simplified system of a single colloid thruster and valve, focusing upon integration of valve and thruster into a single package. Performance testing on a thrust stand shall be performed to verify the design as well as demonstrate and measure operation in an `impulse bit' mode.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.