Ultra-Compact Advanced Micro Pulsed Plasma Thruster for CubeSats

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W9113M-10-C-0045
Agency Tracking Number: A101-031-0655
Amount: $119,905.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: A10-031
Solicitation Number: 2010.1
Small Business Information
Busek Co. Inc.
11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA, 01760
DUNS: 184629491
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jurg Zwahlen
 Senior Engineer
 (508) 655-5565
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Senior Engineer
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Email: gedrew@poc.com
Research Institution
Busek Co. Inc. proposes to develop a compact fully integrated primary and ACS propulsion system for CubeSats. The propulsion system will fit into 1/2U and will deliver 100m/s deltaV to a 3U CubeSat. It is based on the on-orbit proven microPPT architecture, which is an electromagnetic thruster that has no moving parts and delivers thrust by accelerating Teflon vapor plasma by Lorentz force. The Teflon is stored as a solid; there are no propellant tanks or valves in the system. Thrust is directly proportional to input power and Isp typically exceeds 800s. The proposed system is a third generation microPPT built by Busek, with each generation having higher wet mass fraction achieved primarily through reduction in the mass and volume of the power processing/ electronics unit (PPU). The dramatic reduction in the PPU mass of the proposed configuration is possible due to a novel and imaginative circuit topology and newly available high voltage semiconductor switches. The Phase 1 goal is a demonstration of the novel PPU architecture and optimization of the stored energy per ablation surface area yielding thruster geometry most suitable for CubeSat applications. The Phase1 Option will include a demonstration of the integrated breadboard system. A TRL-6 flight prototype of the system will be built and delivered in Phase 2.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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