A Coaxial High Energy Thruster for Defensive Space Applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-09-C-0099
Agency Tracking Number: F074-036-0415
Amount: $499,985.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solitcitation Year: 2007
Solitcitation Topic Code: AF07-T036
Solitcitation 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
 Chief Scientist for Hall Thrusters
 (508) 655-5565
 jszabo@busek.com
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Contracts Administrator
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Email: judy@busek.com
Research Institution
 Stanford University
 Catherine Boxwell
 320 Panama Street
Stanford, CA, 94305
 (650) 725-6864
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
Busek Co. Inc. and Stanford University propose to develop and test an advanced high power plasma propulsion concept referred to here as a Coaxial High EnerGy Thruster, or CHENG thruster.  The thruster is first and foremost a propulsive device.  However, because the device is pulsed, compact, and efficient the plasma beam is highly condensed and energetic. For this reason, the thruster may also be useful as a deterrent against space debris or other objects with potentially hostile intent. In Phase II, Busek and Stanford will jointly design and test a sub-scale, dual-use thruster. The nominal power level will be 1 kW. The thruster would be built and fully characterized.  By appropriately scaling the device, we expect that operation in a high Isp deflagration mode and a high thrust detonation mode will be possible.  Numerical modeling of the discharge and beam will be carried out by both Busek and Stanford.  MHD and PIC modeling will help optimize and understand the subscale design. These models will aid in understanding what controls the deflagration-detonation transition.  Modeling will also help develop methods to focus and defocus the beam.  This high degree of control is required to use the device to both propel and defend DoD space assets. BENEFIT: The Air Force and commercial satellite manufacturers need highly throttle-able, high efficiency, long lived thrusters for large (high power) military/communication satellites and future Orbit Transfer Vehicles (OTVs). The Air Force specifically called for a high efficiency (> 70%) propulsion system capable of thrust levels commensurate to chemical propulsion (1N to1kN), but with an Isp that is an order of magnitude better (at least > 3000 sec, preferably > 5000 sec). If the CHENG it works as well as analysis and experiments have shown it will meet and exceed these and IHPRPT dual mode requirements. The device also has prospective space-based weapons and missile defense applications, as discussed in this proposal.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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