Variable Thrust/Specific Impulse Electrospray Propulsion

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-11-C-0027
Agency Tracking Number: F08B-T09-0141
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: AF08-BT09
Solicitation Number: 2008.B
Small Business Information
3077 Teagarden Street, San Leandro, CA, 94577-
DUNS: 836439968
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Mahadevan Krishnan
 (510) 483-4156
Business Contact
 Mahadevan Krishnan
Title: President
Phone: (510) 483-4156
Research Institution
 Yale University
 Nadira Clarke
 Grant/Contract Administration
155 Whitney Avenue, suite 214
New Haven 06520 8337, CT, 06520-
 (203) 432-2460
 Nonprofit college or university
ABSTRACT: Future Department of Defense space missions require precise, fine-positioning capabilities combined with large maneuvrability requirements. The purpose of this STTR is to: a) identify propellants for electrospray propulsion able to cover, at high propulsion efficiency, an unusually wide range of specific impulses, from several hundred seconds, typical today of colloidal propulsion up to values of thousands of seconds, typical today of only purely ionic propulsion; and b) meet thrust requirements by microfabricated multiplexed electrosprays. The challenge will be met with a fixed thruster and propellant. No electrostatic ion thruster based on ions of fixed mass/charge is suitable to span such a wide specific impulse range at high propulsion efficiency and full power. Electrospray propulsion, on the other hand, has this useful characteristic, since it admits a wide range of mass/charge values at relatively constant beam power. One can therefore use the full power available over the whole range of specific impulse with a single propellant. This STTR collaboration aims to validate this exciting new approach to micro-electric propulsion for military and civilian nano-satellite applications, capitalizing on the unique combination of expertise of the Yale-AASC team. BENEFIT: This project will develop innovative, on orbit propulsion methods that provide variable high thrust and high specific impulse at high efficiency, and enable system orbit agility or new orbit regimes. The high efficiency over an unprecedented range of specific impulse makes the electrospray micro-thruster a key enabling technology for all future nano-satellites.

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

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