Bimodal Bismuth Vapor Hall Thruster

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Air Force
Amount:
$744,354.00
Award Year:
2004
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
FA8650-04-C-2473
Agency Tracking Number:
O031-0057
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
BUSEK CO., INC.
11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA, 01760
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
184629491
Principal Investigator:
James Szabo
Research Scientist
(508) 655-5565
jszabo@busek.com
Business Contact:
Judy Budny
Contracts Administrator
(508) 655-5565
judy@busek.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
Busek is developing bismuth vapor Hall thruster systems for bimodal and high thrust missions. In Phase I, Busek designed and analyzed a bismuth thruster system. An extensive series of experiments led to a pressure regulated liquid bismuth feed system design. Bismuth will be stored as a compact solid on the spacecraft. Most significant feed system elements were tested. Numerical modeling showed the bismuth discharge to be highly efficient; bismuth thrusters will outperform similar xenon thrusters. Maximum thrust to power (T/P) and thrust to system mass (T/M) will both increase substantially. Bimodal capabilities benefit; high T/P is possible throughout the range 1000 sec < Isp < 3000 sec. The tenuous bismuth charge exchange plasma leads to less thruster erosion than observed in a xenon system; this means high total impulse (longer lifetime), and helps mitigate spacecraft interactions, which were scoped out by Aerospace Corporation under subcontract. In Phase II, Busek will design, and build a complete bismuth Hall thruster system. Performance and plume testing will lead to an optimized, deliverable prototype system. A cooled beam condenser will facilitate testing in modest facilities. Busek will also design a full-scale thruster to be built in a follow-on program.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government