Water-Based Thrusters for Space Propulsion

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: DAAH0102CR157
Agency Tracking Number: 02SB1-0296
Amount: $98,972.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2002
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Research Support Instruments
4325-B Forbes Blvd, Lanham, MD, 20706
DUNS: 082602590
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Daniel Sullivan
 Principal Scientist
 (609) 580-0080
 dsullivan@researchsupport.com
Business Contact
 Michael Corson
Title: Vice President
Phone: (301) 306-0010
Email: corson@researchsupport.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
"Research Support Instruments proposes to develop an innovative electric propulsion (EP) system which will utilize water (or its constituent gases) as its working fluid. This device, the MET-100, is an electrothermal thruster design which utilizesmicrowave energy at a nominal power output of 100 W. The performance of this device is projected to fill the thrust/specific impulse gap between conventional chemical thrusters which obtain thrust through the combustion of a fuel/oxidizer mixture and thehigh specific impulse electrostatic (ion-thruster) and electromagnetic (Hall-effect) EP thruster systems. One of the most significant goals of Phase I of this program is the collection of accurate thrust, specific impulse, and efficiency data. Also ofcritical interest for this stage of the program is a demonstration that the MET-100 does not experience any significant erosion problems either during startup or during long periods of operation as is the case with both arcjets and resistojets. Efficientwater-based propulsion systems provide a promising solution for space propulsion missions that require storable, non-toxic propellants and are ideal for mission profiles which consider on-station refueling. This EP system fills a required niche in a suiteof water based propulsion systems for orbital maneuvering. RSI will sell the MET-100 thruster as a complete propulsion module for station-keeping and orbit-raising onboard a growing number of

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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