Helicon Hall Thruster

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9300-05-M-3008
Agency Tracking Number: F051-204-3148
Amount: $99,997.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: AF05-204
Solicitation Number: 2005.1
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 131460, Ann Arbor, MI, 48113
DUNS: 610511334
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 David Morris
 Senior Engineer
 (734) 786-1434
Business Contact
 David Morris
Title: Senior Engineers
Phone: (734) 786-1434
Email: morris@edapplications.com
Research Institution
The Hall thruster has great potential in satisfying many of the spacecraft propulsion needs of the United States Air Force for the next several decades due to its combination of high specific impulse, high thrust efficiency, and high thrust density. The USAF has recently concluded that bi-modal Hall thrusters (i.e., high thrust-to-power and high specific impulse) are attractive for future missions such as LEO-to-GEO orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs). To that end, the USAF has recently issued a contract to an Aerojet-led team to develop a 20-kW xenon-propellant Hall thruster that adheres to IHPRPT Phase III goals. Our proposal seeks to develop a new, two-stage Hall thruster that can achieve IHPRPT Phase III goals by using a helicon ionization, first-stage coupled to a state-of-the-art Hall accelerator stage. Use of the helicon ionization source, which is one of the world's most efficient, will allow high Hall thruster efficiency at low discharge voltages by reducing the ion production cost. Moreover, given the helicon source affinity for noble gases, it may be possible to develop an efficient Hall thruster that operates with propellants that are cheaper than xenon, such as argon.

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

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