Ultra-Compact Advanced Micro Pulsed Plasma Thruster for CubeSats

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W9113M-12-C-0010
Agency Tracking Number: A2-4540
Amount: $723,057.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: A10-031
Solicitation Number: 2010.1
Small Business Information
11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA, -
DUNS: 184629491
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jurg Zwahlen
 Senior Engineer
 (508) 655-5565
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Contracts Administrator
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Email: judy@busek.com
Research Institution
Busek proposes to complete development and deliver a 500cm^3, 500g, micro pulsed plasma thruster system consisting of primary and ACS propulsion capability with 300N-s minimum total impulse and 4W minimum power requirement. Feasibility of such a system was demonstrated in the Phase I, where novel electronics architecture for high voltage switching enabled greatly improved sharing of common components for more efficient propellant stick multiplexing. Key elements of the Phase II effort include: adoption of a simple propellant feed mechanism for improving thruster specific impulse; development of low-cost approaches for power and DCIU electronics design; and fabrication and qualification testing of a protoflight device. The micro pulsed plasma thruster is uniquely suited for nanosatellite propulsion, with its solid, inert propellant requiring no storage tanks or valve-based feedsystems; its low power requirements; its newly improved and highly favorable wet mass vs. dry mass ratio; and its significant opportunities for economies of scale. Delta-V capability exceeds similar competing cold-gas type systems by a factor of five to ten.

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

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