Modular EP Diagnostic Instrumentation Cluster (MEDIC)

Modular EP Diagnostic Instrumentation Cluster (MEDIC)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-17-P-0006
Agency Tracking Number: F161-004-1913
Amount: $149,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2017
Solicitation Year: 2016
Solicitation Topic Code: AF161-004
Solicitation Number: 2016.1
Small Business Information
8551 154th Ave NE, Redmond, WA, 98052
DUNS: 044381445
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Justin Little
 Research Scientist
 (425) 867-8900
 jml@msnwllc.com
Business Contact
 John Slough
Phone: (425) 867-8900
Email: sloughj@msnwllc.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
ABSTRACT: The Modular EP Diagnostic Instrumentation Cluster (MEDIC) is a self-contained plasma diagnostic instrument suite uniquely suited to the task of characterizing and comparing thruster operation in ground test and on-orbit environments. Of paramount importance to the qualification of electric propulsion (EP) systems is the measurable influence of the ground testing and evaluation (T&E) facility background pressure and walls on the behavior and performance of electric thrusters. The complexity of these facility effects has prevented predictive models from extrapolating the measured performance of an electric thruster to in-space conditions. The discord between flight, ground T&E, and predictive modeling capabilities requires a novel state-of-health (SOH) diagnostic system that can monitor thruster behavior both in space and in different vacuum test chambers providing a direct comparison between the different environments. MEDIC accomplishes this task through the combination of advanced EP plasma diagnostics, such as high-speed (100 kHz) Langmuir probes, ion energy analyzers, and UV emission spectroscopy, with remote measurement capabilities - all within a self-contained 1U CubeSat unit. At the end of this program a fully operational MEDIC system will have been developed and characterized, and the measurement capabilities of MEDIC demonstrated on an operating xenon Hall thruster at multiple US facilities.; BENEFIT: A protoflight MEDIC system will be demonstrated and delivered to the Air Force with fast (up to 100 kHz) measurement capabilities, low power (<10 W) requirements, high survivability (>15 year lifetime), and unprecedented versatility. This novel diagnostic will be capable of operating advanced plasma diagnostics in terrestrial T&E facilities and on-obit, thus giving the EP industry a critical tool to correlate in-flight and ground test data in support of thruster qualification. The in-situ measurements enabled by MEDIC may lead to much longer lived thrusters, accurate prediction of on-orbit capabilities, higher efficiency thruster systems, and on-orbit real-time monitoring of thruster behavior. In addition to providing a valuable tool for the EP industry, the low-cost, modular design of MEDIC gives it the flexibility to operate with a diverse array of plasma diagnostics that would be of interest to in-space scientific endeavors, such as characterization of Earths magnetosphere, the Heliosphere, and different planetary atmospheres.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government