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A Solid Expellant Plasma Source/Contactor for Electrodynamic Tethers

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS8-02105
Agency Tracking Number: 012546
Amount: $596,253.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2002
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
500 Discovery Drive
Huntsville, AL 35806
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Dr Nobie H. Stone
 Principal Investigator
 (256) 971-7029
Business Contact
 B. Carte Bryant
Title: Director, Program Control
Phone: (256) 971-7812
Research Institution

The Solid Expellant Plasma Source/Contactor (SOLEX) is a new technological development that considerably simplifies the plasma generation and electron emission process. Under the Phase-1 effort, the preliminary work to demonstrate the feasibility of the SOLEX concept was accomplished. The intent of the proposed Phase-II effort is to develop a flight-level design for a SOLEX plasma generator, for electrodynamic tether systems, and fabricate an Engineering Unit test device that is appropriate for flight validation. The SOLEX will operate directly off of the tether-generated high-voltage (requiring no conditioned power or control electronics) and will eliminate the need for high-pressure gas containers, pressure regulators, plumbing and valves?required by present state-of-the-art Hollow Cathode devices. These are significant improvements over current state-of-the-art contactors that impinge heavily on spacecraft resources. Based on available flight data and Phase-I tests, current capacity can range from a few milli-amps to several amps. By nature of its design, the SOLEX should not be sensitive to contamination and should have essentially unlimited restart capability?both are issues with state-of-the-art contactors. Moreover, the simplicity of the design concept suggests that flight devices will be relatively inexpensive.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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