Reservoir Cathode for Electric Space Propulsion

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$99,958.00
Award Year:
2011
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNX11CF69P
Award Id:
n/a
Agency Tracking Number:
104137
Solicitation Year:
2010
Solicitation Topic Code:
X2.04
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
OR, Beaverton, OR, 97007-8739
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
192000149
Principal Investigator:
Bernard Vancil
Principal Investigator
(503) 628-0703
bernie@ebeaminc.com
Business Contact:
Bernard Vancil
Business Official
(503) 628-0703
bernie@ebeaminc.com
Research Institution:
Stub




Abstract
We propose a reservoir cathode to improve performance in both ion and Hall-effect thrusters. We propose to adapt our existing reservoir cathode technology to this purpose. Reservoir cathodes are the only emission sources that are capable of providing the necessary current density (>5.0 A/cm2) and life (>100,000 hours) for next generation high-power thrusters. More powerful thrusters are needed for interplanetary and lunar missions, including earth escape and near-earth space maneuvers. Reservoir cathodes are able to provide sufficient new barium to the cathode surface to overcome the high barium removal rates in ion engines. We have many years' experience developing reservoir cathodes. The key challenge is the stresses exerted on the cathode tube due to differential expansion and large temperature excursions. These lead to fracturing and weld failure. Our innovation solves this problem. In Phase I, a prototype is built and tested. In Phase II, we optimize for specific ion engines.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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