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SBIR/STTR

Micro Pulsed Inductive Thruster with Solid Fuel Option (uPIT_SF), Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Micro Pulsed Inductive Thruster with Solid Fuel Option (uPIT_SF), Phase I
The Micro Pulsed Inductive Thruster with Solid Fuel Option (µPIT_SF) is a high-precision impulse bit electromagnetic plasma micro-thruster. The µPIT prototype is a small (< 230 g) thruster that produces and accelerates plasma. In the solid fuel mode, µPIT_SF is able to substantially extend the performance of standard PPT systems by ionization and heating of the high density neutral gas produced after the arc. A small power-processing unit (PPU) is attached directly to the thruster which isolates the high voltage igniter section from the main spacecraft bus. Further development of the µPIT has implications that could include dramatic weight reductions of onboard station keeping and attitude control systems for miniature spacecraft and increased thruster efficiencies. Anticipated development of the µPIT in Phase 1 of the proposed work would lead to a 2nd generation prototype at or near the NASA TRL 5. Anticipated results from a Phase 2 program would be to produce a prototype at NASA TRL 6 with a corresponding experimental determination of the thruster's Isp levels and operational characteristics including a thrust measurement. More »

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