Coaxial High Energy Thruster for Rapid Maneuvering of Space Assets

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-06-C-0059
Agency Tracking Number: F064-001-0115
Amount: $99,873.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: AF06-T001
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
BUSEK CO. INC.
11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA, 01760
DUNS: 184629491
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 James Szabo
 Research Scientist
 (508) 655-5565
 jszabo@busek.com
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Contracts Administrator
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Email: judy@busek.com
Research Institution
 STANFORD UNIV.
 Meredith O'Connor
 320 Panama Street
Stanford, CA, 94305
 (650) 723-5854
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
Busek Co. Inc. and Stanford University propose to jointly develop and test a high power plasma propulsion concept called the Coaxial High EnerGy (CHENG) thruster. This high efficiency (> 85%) pulsed system will be capable of average thrust levels commensurate to chemical propulsion (10^4 N/m^2), but with an Isp comparable to electrostatic propulsion (4000-50,000 s). Both thrust and Isp will be variable. The concept was originally demonstrated in the early 1970s, but was never fully characterized. Subsequent developments in high speed pulsed gas valves and pulsed power technology implore revisiting the concept. In Phase I, we will demonstrate a 12 kW thruster at firing rate of 4 Hz, producing an average thrust density of 103 N/m^2. In the process, we will identify key requirements for validating the technology, develop our approach to Phase II, and identify dual-use and commercialization potential. In Phase II, 12 kW performance will be measured on a thrust stand. Then the thrust density will be extended to 10^4 N/m^2. This will entail building a 50 kW, 100 Hz thruster. Throughout both phases, numerical simulations will be used to study the physics of the discharge and its impact on thruster erosion rates, believed to be very low.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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