Direct Drive Unit with Autonomous Cathode Current Regulation

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch:
N/A
Amount:
$199,916.00
Award Year:
2013
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNX13CP40C
Agency Tracking Number:
124935
Solicitation Year:
2012
Solicitation Topic Code:
E1.01
Solicitation Number:
N/A
Small Business Information
Busek Company, Inc.
MA, Natick, MA, 01760-1023
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
185739591
Principal Investigator
 Eric Ehrbar
 Senior Electrical Engineer
 (508) 655-5565
 eric@busek.com
Business Contact
 Judy Budny
Title: Business Official
Phone: (508) 655-5565
Email: judy@busek.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
An approach for maximizing Hall thruster electrical system efficiency is to power the thruster directly from a high voltage solar array by a method commonly referred to as direct-drive. These direct drive system designs eliminate the power processing unit (PPU) and therefore have a substantial advantage in terms of overall electrical efficiency and mass savings.This Phase I/II proposal effort is comprised of the development of a Hall thruster direct drive unit (DDU). The DDU will include a method for cathode current sharing such that multiple thrusters can be operated in parallel from a single power source. In Phase I cathode current sharing approaches will be experimentally investigated. Approaches to be evaluated include passive and active methods of cathode current control. Active approaches involves independently controlled voltage sources placed in series with each cathode while passive approaches involve controlling cathode emission using heater and keeper power. In Phase II we will develop a nominal 15kW proto-flight brassboard level DDU and deliver it to NASA for additional characterization testing. The DDU unit will include the balance of PPU per specifications provided by NASA for thruster magnets, cathode heater and keeper etc. operation.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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