Optimized Magnetic Nozzles for MPD Thrusters

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNC05CA62C
Agency Tracking Number: 040366
Amount: $69,922.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
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
DUNS: 877425330
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Hoyt
 Principal Investigator
 (425) 744-0400
Business Contact
 Robert Hoyt
Title: Business Official
Phone: (425) 744-0400
Email: hoyt@tethers.com
Research Institution
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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