Optimized Magnetic Nozzles for MPD Thrusters

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$69,922.00
Award Year:
2005
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNC05CA62C
Agency Tracking Number:
040366
Solicitation Year:
2004
Solicitation Topic Code:
X6.06
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Tethers Unlimited
11807 North Creek Parkway South, Suite B-102, Bothell, WA, 98011-9803
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
877425330
Principal Investigator:
Robert Hoyt
Principal Investigator
(425) 744-0400
hoyt@tethers.com
Business Contact:
Robert Hoyt
Business Official
(425) 744-0400
hoyt@tethers.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters can provide the high-specific impulse, high-power propulsion required to enable ambitious human and robotic exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and outer planets. Whereas the thrust and power densities of Hall and Ion thrusters are limited by space charge effects, MPD thrusters can process very high power levels while providing high specific impulse thrust. MPD thrusters, however, have traditionally been plagued by poor thrust efficiencies. These inefficiencies are due primarily to power lost into the anode caused by the Hall effect. TUI proposes to apply innovative techniques for using applied magnetic nozzles to eliminate these anode power losses and dramatically improve the performance of MPD thrusters. In the proposed Phase I effort, TUI will develop magnetic nozzle designs optimized to maximize the thrust efficiency of MPD thruster systems, minimizing anode fall power losses and maximizing the efficiency of plasma detachment from the magnetic nozzle. In the Phase II effort, we will build and test prototypes of these magnetic nozzles, and obtain definitive measurements of their enhancement of MPD thruster efficiencies.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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