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 July 31, 2015

News: Carter: Military leaders could arm more troops at home – Following the recent fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Tennessee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering the military services to consider new policies that would enhance security for troops at home, including potentially arming more personnel.   Business: DOD weighs supplier base,...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

U.S. delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a July 30 statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin successfully tests design changes for Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system

Lockheed Martin photograph A protective panel for Orion’s service module is jettisoned during testing at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California facility. This test series evaluated design changes to the spacecraft’s fair...
 

 

Australian company to provide parts for initial production of Triton UAS

Northrop Grumman has awarded the first Australian supplier contract for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system initial production lot to Ferra Engineering. Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering will manufacture mechanical sub-assemblies for the first four Triton air vehicles including structural components. “At Northrop Grumman it’s very important to not only develop...
 
 
Boeing photograph

CH-46 ‘Phrog’ makes its last hop

Boeing photograph The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog,” is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a med...
 
 

Insitu awarded LRIP Lot IV RQ-21A Blackjack Systems contract

Under the terms of its latest contract, Insitu will build six RQ-21A Blackjack systems for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The $78-million Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Lot IV Low Rate Initial Production contract is the latest event in the program’s progression toward the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase.   “This award will...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>