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.


 
 

 

Headlines September 17, 2014

News: Pentagon open to U.S. ground troops in fight against Islamic State - The Pentagon’s top general opened the door Sept. 16 to the possibility that U.S. combat troops would be needed in Iraq, as he publicly laid out President Obama’s still-developing plans to combat Islamic State insurgents through U.S. air power and relying on an...
 
 

News Briefs September 17, 2014

U.S. to assign 3,000 troops to fight Ebola The Obama administration is preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to combat the Ebola outbreak that has overwhelmed local health care systems and drawn appeals for help from the region and aid organizations. The troops will supply medical and logistical support and boost...
 
 
Navy photograph

Future USNS Fall River delivered

Navy photograph The joint high speed vessel USNS Fall River (JHSV 4) completes acceptance trials testing and evaluations in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship’s trials included dockside testing to clear the ship for sea and at-...
 

 
University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen

NASA airborne campaigns focus on climate impacts in Arctic

University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen Changes in more than 130 Alaskan glaciers are being surveyed by scientists at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in a DHC-3 Otter as part of NASA’s multi-year Oper...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory finds planet that makes star act deceptively old

Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss A new study from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that a giant exoplanet, WASP-18b, is making the star that it orbits very closely act much older than it actually is. This artist&...
 




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>