Water-Based Thrusters for Space Propulsion

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Amount:
$98,972.00
Award Year:
2002
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
DAAH0102CR157
Agency Tracking Number:
02SB1-0296
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
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
082602590
Principal Investigator:
Daniel Sullivan
Principal Scientist
(609) 580-0080
dsullivan@researchsupport.com
Business Contact:
Michael Corson
Vice President
(301) 306-0010
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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