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Low Power, Low Cost Igniter for Nonhypergolic Mars Ascent Vehicle

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CD69P
Agency Tracking Number: 104281
Amount: $99,995.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: S3.08
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2011
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2011-02-18
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2011-09-29
Small Business Information
Huntsville, AL 35806-3200
United States
DUNS: 839422763
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Joe Sims
 Principal Investigator
 (256) 562-2191
Business Contact
 Jared Austin
Title: Business Official
Phone: (256) 562-2134
Research Institution

Decomposing monopropellant hydrazine across a spontaneous catalyst bed is the gold standard for small propulsion systems responsible for attitude control on satellites and spacecraft. Such a propulsion system is both simple and reliable, and offers reasonable performance. However, the simplicity and reliability enjoyed today is the result of a nearly two-decade effort designed to identify and perfect a spontaneous catalyst. Modern hydrazine replacements generally do not work well with hydrazine catalysts, so the enormous costs associated with a new catalyst development effort have stalled the widespread acceptance of potential hydrazine replacements.Our proposed effort will explore the use of an alternative ignition source that eliminates the need for a catalyst bed entirely. It achieves the same simplicity enjoyed by traditional monopropellant propulsion systems, but dramatically increases thruster response time on both startup and especially shutdown. It requires low power because it exploits a unique property of most of the propellants often cited as the future replacement for hydrazine. It is also low cost because it requires a very low part count and development issues will be trivial.

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

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