Advanced Microwave Electrothermal Thruster (AMET)

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$100,000.00
Award Year:
2009
Program:
STTR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNX09CF59P
Award Id:
90856
Agency Tracking Number:
080024
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive, Madison, WI, 53717
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
196894869
Principal Investigator:
Chris St. Clair
Principal Investigator
() -
stclairc@orbitec.com
Business Contact:
Eric Rice
President and CEO
(608) 827-5000
Research Institute:
University of Alabama Huntsville

301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL, 35899
(800) 824-2255
Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) and the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) propose to develop the Advanced Microwave Electrothermal Thruster (AMET), a high-efficiency thruster which will use water propellant to enable various Lunar and Mars missions. The proposed AMET will incorporate a number of innovations to dramatically improve upon existing designs, including the use of a lower microwave frequency (915 MHz) to permit the achievement of very high microwave generation efficiency with commercially-available magnetrons. The AMET is a particularly attractive option for this class of missions because it provides specific impulse (~800 seconds) well beyond the reach of chemical propulsion, it provides high thrust per unit power to keep transit times acceptably short, and it permits the use of an easily-storable propellant (water) which is known to be available on both the Moon and Mars. ORBITEC staff has experience operating microwave electrothermal thrusters with water vapor as propellant. In Phase I, the AMET will be demonstrated with water vapor propellant to demonstrate feasibility, reaching TRL 4. In Phase II, a flight-like AMET will be developed and demonstrated and a design will be prepared for an entire AMET flight propulsion system, reaching TRL 6.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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