High Power Helicon Plasma Propulsion

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNC04CA99C
Agency Tracking Number: 030068
Amount: $99,968.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: T3.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
MSNW Inc
16436 SE 39th Place, Bellevue, WA, 98008-5858
DUNS: 044381445
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 John Slough
 Principal Investigator
 (425) 644-2321
 sloughj@comcast.net
Business Contact
 John Slough
Title: President
Phone: (425) 644-2321
Email: sloughj@comcast.net
Research Institution
 University of Washington
 Not Available
 3935 University Way Box 355754
Seattle, WA, 98015
 (206) 685-7165
 Domestic nonprofit research organization
Abstract
The proposed work seeks to develop and optimize an electrode-less plasma propulsion system that is based on a high power helicon (HPH) that is being developed collaboratively between MSNW and the University of Washington. The helicon is well suited for this task, as it is known for efficient production of high-density plasmas. The proposed system takes helicon research into an entirely unexplored regime of high power, moving from the traditional kW level discharges to tens and hundreds of kW. Preliminary results indicate that it has excellent potential for making an efficient propulsion system with an estimated thrust of about 1 N for 50 kWe. Higher thrust levels are expected with optimization of its operational characteristics, particularly the addition of a magnetic nozzle that will facilitate conversion of thermal energy into directed flow. Numerical modeling will be employed to understand the relevant physics, and help determine the optimal thruster configuration. Scaling studies will determine the power levels where HPH is competitive or surpasses other systems under consideration for NASA?s higher power missions. Based on results, a plan for the complete system design and test demonstration of the HPH to be realized in Phase II will be detailed.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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