Space

July 15, 2013

NASA picks small spacecraft propulsion systems for development

NASA has selected three proposals for the development of lightweight micro-thruster propulsion technologies that are small in size but have big potential.

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate selected the miniaturized electrospray propulsion technologies to perform stabilization, station keeping and pointing for small spacecraft. NASA hopes these technology demonstrations may lead to similar position control systems for larger spacecraft and satellites as well.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., sponsored this solicitation and will oversee the first phase of this technology development.

The three awards selected for contract negotiations are:

  • “Microfluidic Electrospray Propulsion (MEP),” by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
  • “Miniature ElectroSpray Thrusters Based on Porous Surface Emission,” by Busek Company, Inc., Natick, Mass.
  • “Scalable ion Electrospray Propulsion System (S-iEPS),” by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge

Proposals for this solicitation were received from NASA centers, federally funded research and development centers, universities and industry. At least one electrospray technology will be selected for further development as an in-space flight demonstration through NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program during Phase II, which will be made through a separate solicitation.

One of NASA’s priorities is to seek and develop new technologies that will radically change the capabilities for small satellites. There currently is a lack of efficient propulsion for a class of low cost, nanosatellite research spacecraft called “Cubesats,” which measure about 4 inches on each side and weigh less than 3 pounds. The successful development and demonstration of these miniaturized systems will offer low mass, low-power propulsion for these small spacecraft and potentially revolutionize the future of Cubesats.

Miniaturized electrospray propulsion technologies also signal a revolutionary alternative for position control systems for larger satellites. Several studies have shown that micro-thrusters could replace currently accepted systems on large spacecraft, saving weight and space while significantly increasing mission reliability and lifetimes. This technology also could enable other game changing propulsion capabilities from micro-scale to large, deployable spacecraft structures.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

NASA airborne campaigns tackle climate questions from Africa to Arctic

NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into how different aspects of the interconnected Earth system influence climate change. NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into...
 
 
NASA photograph by Aubrey Gemignani

New crew arrives at space station to continue scientific research

NASA photograph by Aubrey Gemignani The Soyuz TMA-15M rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Nov. 24, 2014 carrying Expedition 42 Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosm...
 
 
nasa-cube

NASA opens Cube Quest Challenge for largest-ever prize of $5 million

Registration now is open for NASA’s Cube Quest Challenge, the agency’s first in-space competition that offers the agency’s largest-ever prize purse. Competitors have a shot at a share of $5 million in prize money and ...
 

 
Lockheed Martin image

Ball Aerospace equips Orion mission with key avionics, antenna hardware

Lockheed Martin image Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is providing the phased array antennas and flight test cameras to prime contractor Lockheed Martin for Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), which is an u...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA announces new opportunities for public participation in asteroid grand challenge

NASA photograph Team NOVA Took the Winning Hackathon Prize.   Ten new projects are providing opportunities for the public to participate in NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge, which accelerates the agency’s astero...
 
 
XCOR Aerospace photograph by Mike Massee

XCOR Aerospace announces latest milestone in ULA program

XCOR Aerospace photograph by Mike Massee The XCOR-ULA XR-5H25 LOX-Hydrogen Rocket Engine, fed by XCOR’s proprietary rocket propellant piston pump technology. MOJAVE, Calif. XCOR Aerospace announced Nov. 20 it has complete...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>