20mN, Variable Specific Impulse Colloid Thruster

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CE20P
Agency Tracking Number: 105122
Amount: $99,993.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: S3.04
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Busek Co., Inc.
MA, Natick, MA, 01760-1023
DUNS: 185739591
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Nathaniel Demmons
 Principal Investigator
 (508) 655-5565
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Business Official
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Email: judy@busek.com
Research Institution
Colloid thrusters have long been known for their exceptional thrust efficiency and ability to operate over a range of specific impulse due to easily variable charge-to-mass ratio of emitted particles. They have also been considered limited to only very low thrust levels, able to produce few microNewtons from individual emission sites. This has motivated significant research into developing large microfabricated arrays of emitters in order to achieve greater thrust. Busek, using an alternate approach, avoids the complications of large emitter arrays while obtaining about 2.5 milliNewtons/cm2 and about 13,000 emission sites/cm2, and has proven this at the 0.1mN thrust level for over 450 operating hours. Combined with colloids' variable Isp capabilities and thrust/power superior to other electric propulsion devices, these new, high thrust colloid thrusters promise to enable new classes of missions benefiting from variable Isp of 200-5000s (or greater) and variable thrusts up to and exceeding 20mN.For the Phase I effort, Busek shall perform a proof-of-concept demonstrating scalability of its proven 0.1mN, cylindrical emitter into a swept linear or annular configuration (to increase emission area while preserving the cross-section), resulting in a 5mN prototype. For the subsequent Phase II, the emitter will be scaled up to 20mN and packaged and tested with fully integrated propellant storage/feedsystem and electronics.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government