Throttleable Vacuum Arc Thruster for Precision Positioning

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS3-02047
Agency Tracking Number: 013789
Amount: $69,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2002
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
2235 Polvorosa Avenue, Suite 230, San Leandro, CA, 94577
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jochen Schein
 Senior Scientist
 (510) 483-4156
Business Contact
 Mahadevan Krishnan
Title: President
Phone: (510) 483-4156
Research Institution
Alameda Applied Sciences Corporation proposes to develop a new type of electric propulsion device dubbed the Throttleable Vacuum Arc Thruster (TVAT). This thruster is itself a variant on an earlier thruster (the Vacuum Arc micro-Thruster (VA?-T)) that has been demonstrated via a recently concluded Phase I SBIR contract from BMDO (NASA/GRC contract NAS300129). The VA?T was verified to be a low mass (100g) high efficiency (13% measured), high Isp (1000-3000s) electric propulsion device. By combining the simple technology of an inductive energy storage circuit PPU with powerful electronics control, we will develop a thruster that can be remotely adjusted to deliver individual impulse bits from 0.25?Ns to 50?Ns with repetition rates varying from 1?1000 Hz while all the time providing an Isp of >1000s. The throttleable VAT proposed here is a pulsed device and hence can provide a wide range of impulse bits and a variety of repetition rates, which could satisfy coarse and ultra-fine control demands integrated in the same simple system. This thruster will be well suited to provide precision control for spacecraft constellations including optical interferometry, while offering low mass (<300g including the PPU), simplicity (no moving parts), high efficiency (?15%) and low cost of manufacturing.

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

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