High Specific Power Electric Propulsion

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Amount:
$98,999.00
Award Year:
2010
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
N10PC20224
Award Id:
96759
Agency Tracking Number:
10SB1-0381
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
DARPA 10-012
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
8551 154th Ave NE, Redmond, WA, 98052
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
044381445
Principal Investigator:
David Kirtley
Propulsion Scientist
(425) 867-8900
dkirtley@msnwllc.com
Business Contact:
John Slough
President
(425) 867-8900
sloughj@comcast.net
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
A new thruster technology, the Electrodeless Lorentz Force (ELF) thruster, has been designed and tested at MSNW that has the capability to address the demanding combined requirements of high specific power, high efficiency, a large Isp range, and T/P in a single, lightweight device. The ELF thruster creates a high-density, magnetized plasma known as a Field Reversed Configuration using Rotating Magnetic Field formation. Coupled with an applied bias field gradient, the resulting JxB force accelerates the propellant to high velocity. The program goal of the ELF research was to characterize a thruster concept possessing the potential to surpass all current electric propulsion systems in efficiency, power, and operational variability. Based on current laboratory results, ELF would enable a range of high-power propulsion missions in the 10-100 kW class. The ELF thruster technology has been demonstrated to have a wide range of specific impulse (1,000-6,000) at high efficiency and operate on many propellants. Additionally, its pulsed nature inherently enables dramatic (expected up to 1000:1) power throttling while maintaining the optimal specific impulse, efficiency, and operational conditions. Proposed is a program to design, test, and optimize a highly-throttleable, full-scale 30-50 kW ELF thruster operating in a steady-state configuration.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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