Innovative Modular Propulsion for Multi-Mission Space Vehicles

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-13-C-0007
Agency Tracking Number: F112-071-1567
Amount: $739,902.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: AF112-071
Solicitation Number: 2011.2
Small Business Information
2017 Yale SE, Albuquerque, NM, -
DUNS: 828367883
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Don Fronterhouse
 Sr. Scientist
 (505) 503-1563
Business Contact
 Don Fronterhouse
Title: President
Phone: (505) 503-1563
Research Institution
ABSTRACT: This program develops a Modular Propulsion system design and demonstration test bed that continues the efforts of the Phase I program that established the feasibility of a green propellant based modular propulsion system. Two reduced toxicity propellants will be considered: LMP-103S and AFM-315E. The mission type and the spacecraft size strongly impact the details of the modular propulsions design such as the number and size of thrusters to be used. Small 1-N thrusters best suited for attitude control activities while thrusters like the 5-N and 22-N thrusters with their more efficient use of propellant are better suited for high delta-V maneuvers. A modular propulsion housing will provide a stable mounting platform for tanks, valves, thrusters, plumbing, etc. A Gen 3 ASIM will be developed that allows the whole propulsion system to be commanded as a single device. The ASIM will be commanded by a Propulsion Activity Agent that can take a time referenced position and velocity command and compute the thrust vector and total impulse required. A brassboard test bed will be created that incorporates the structure, ASIM, Propulsion Activity Agent, our spacecraft simulation with HWIL capability, associated xTEDS, and propulsion components such as valves, transducers, piping, and tanks. BENEFIT: Development of a green modular system provides the small satellite industry with more capable missions. 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 either HPGP or AFM-315E 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.

* 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