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SBIR/STTR

Balanced Electric Spacecraft Thruster System, Phase I

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

To address the NASA need for high-thrust electric propulsion technologies that enable/enhance mission capabilities such as attitude control and dual manifest launch opportunities, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Balanced Electric Spacecraft Thruster (BEST) system, which is based on a novel thruster design and a new system integration. Specifically, the innovation in the propellant accelerator and a design with no charge neutralization will enable the device to fully use the potential of any ionic liquid monopropellant, including the advanced energetic monopropellant AF-M315E, the "green propellant." As a result, this technology offers balanced and throttled high thrust and variable impulse per unit of volume, which allows for the control of attitude and high efficiency, which directly address NASA's Small Spacecraft Technology Program. In Phase I, POC will demonstrate the feasibility of the BEST approach by the combination of proof-of-concept analysis and experiments with the BEST conceptual prototype to reach TRL-3. In Phase II, POC will design and build a BEST prototype, measure its performance and plume characteristics, demonstrate and deliver it to NASA to achieve TRL-6 at the end of Phase II activities. More »

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