Water-Based Thrusters for Space Propulsion
Small Business Information
Research Support Instruments
4325-B Forbes Blvd, Lanham, MD, 20706
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.