Skip Navigation
Space Technology Research Grants

Electrostatic and Electrochemical Optimization of Electrospray Thrusters

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Interest in small-satellite missions has grown recently, however there has been no propulsion technology capable of scaling down to meet mission needs. Electrospray thrusters have this scalability in thrust, size, and mass, but achieving increased electrospray thrust density requires micro- and nano-scale component engineering. Recent work has produced thrusters operating at promising levels for near-future small-satellite missions. Improvements in performance must occur at the level of the propellant emission sites where physical properties can be optimized for specific mission requirements. An integrated model of electrospray emission for prediction of propulsive performance will be developed and tested. With a working model, various combinations of thruster properties can be examined to determine configurations which lead to desired performance regimes. Additionally, the application of electrospray thrusters to example mission architectures (station-keeping, orbital transfer, long-duration operation, etc.) will be investigated to determine the impact development in this area will have upon future space exploration. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Share this Project

Organizational Responsibility

Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

Light bulb

Suggest an Edit

Recommend changes and additions to this project record.
^