Innovative Modular Propulsion for Multi-Mission Space Vehicles

Award Information
Department of Defense
Solitcitation Year:
Solicitation Number:
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
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Small Business Information
PnP Innovations, Inc
2017 Yale SE, Albuquerque, NM, -
Hubzone Owned:
Woman Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Principal Investigator
 Don Fronterhouse
 Principal Investigator
 (505) 503-1563
Business Contact
 Don Fronterhouse
Title: President
Phone: (505) 503-1563
Research Institution
ABSTRACT: Early spacecraft were very expensive and took many years to painstakingly develop. The high cost and infrequency of space launches fostered a culture of exquisite performance at exquisite prices. With space access and usage becoming more prevalent, the modern metrics of development speed and cost and agility of performance outweigh exquisite performance. The"good enough"paradigm promoted by ORS allows risk management rather than risk avoidance to participate in the cost equation. The ability to add a SPA compatible, modular propulsion capability to exising spacecraft designs provides significant improvement in operational capability at moderate cost. By utilizing envionmentally safe fuels (as opposed to highly toxic hydrazine for example), the ability to pre-fuel satellites can save significant time during launch vehicle integration. Phase I will develop the initial mechanical and structural designs including spacecraft & propulsion module coupled loads analyses; a SPA compliant Propulsion Activity Agent; implementation of a SPA-S Propulsion Control ASIM; and a demo test bed to evaluate the resulting design. The result of Phase I will be a feasibility demonstration of a modular propulsion system useable for ORS Tier 2 and Tier 3 programs. BENEFIT: The use of propulsion on small platforms can be prohibitive because of overall cost and propellant handling restrictions. The combination of a modular approach coupled with higher energy density and green aspects of HPGP can address both of these issues making propulsion enabled small satellites more viable for a wider user and mission type base, e.g., DoD, NASA, commercial space (both domestic and international), university sponsored programs. Additionally, such a product type complements rideshare opportunities such as ESPA. For example, ESPA-class satellites will be able to take advantage of lower cost access to space, but can have the ability to modify their orbits since they are enabled with meaningful propulsion capability. We feel that a much broader market exists for this type of modular propulsion than just the ORS tactical satellite domain, so we expect to provide systems for other DoD agencies, NASA, and a growing number of commercial customers. The combination of modularity, non-toxic high performance green fuel, SPA compatibility, and demonstrated space hardware will be a compelling argument for future systems.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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