Busek Company Selected for NASA Funding to Develop Spacecraft Advanced Propulsion

Busek Company will develop advanced CubeSat propulsion and Hall Effect thrusters (HETs) with the help of NASA funding.

The space agency has selected the Massachusetts-based company for five Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 awards. The contracts are worth up to $125,000 apiece over 13 months.

The three proposals focused on CubeSats and small satellites include:

  • a low impulse bit electrospray thruster control system;
  • a compact high performance plasma propulsion system (CHPPPS); and,
  • an iodine-compatible photocathode for RF ion thrusters.

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NASA Selects In-Space Propulsion Projects for SBIR Funding

NASA has selected six in-space propulsion projects for funding under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The phase II contracts last for two years and are worth up to $750,000.

The awards include:

e beam, Inc.
Beaverton, OR
Cathode for Electric Space Propulsion Utilizing Iodine as Propellant

Plasma Controls, LLC
Fort Collins, CO
Iodine Hollow Cathode

Quest Thermal Group
Arvada, CO
Multi-Environment MLI: Novel Multi-Functional Insulation for Mars Missions

Streamline Automation, LLC
Huntsville, AL
Hybrid Propulsion Technology for Robotic Science Missions

TDA Research, Inc.
Wheat Ridge, CO
Novel Sorbent to Remove Radioactive Halogens and Noble Gases from NTP Engine Exhaust

WASK Engineering, Inc.
Cameron Park, CA
High Response Control Valve

Summaries of the proposals follow.

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Thruster for Mars Mission Breaks Records

A side shot of the X3 firing at 50 kilowatts. (Credit: NASA)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (University of Michigan PR) — An advanced space engine in the running to propel humans to Mars has broken the records for operating current, power and thrust for a device of its kind, known as a Hall thruster.

The development of the thruster was led by Alec Gallimore, University of Michigan professor of aerospace engineering and the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering.

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NASA Seeks Information from Potential Partners for a Solar Electric Propulsion Flight Demonstration

Advanced solar electric propulsion will be needed for future human expeditions into deep space, including to Mars. Shown here is a 13-kilowatt Hall thruster being evaluated at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Hall thrusters trap electrons in a magnetic field and use them to ionize the onboard propellant. It uses 10 times less propellant than equivalent chemical rockets. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate released a Request for Information (RFI) to potential partners for a technology demonstration of advanced solar electric propulsion (SEP) technology on Aug. 8, with responses due by Sept. 8, 2017.

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NASA Space Technology Year in Review

Mars 2020 Lander Vision System flight tested aboard a Masten “Xombie” up to 1,066 feet on December 9, 2014 at Mojave Air and Space Port in California. (Credits: NASA Photo / Tom Tschida)
Mars 2020 Lander Vision System flight tested aboard a Masten “Xombie” up to 1,066 feet on December 9, 2014 at Mojave Air and Space Port in California. (Credits: NASA Photo / Tom Tschida)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is dedicated to pushing the technological envelope, taking on challenges not only to further space agency missions near Earth, but also to sustain future deep space exploration activities.

“In 2016, we completed several major program milestones,” explains Steve Jurczyk, NASA associate administrator for STMD.

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NASA Awards $67 Million Contract for Advance Electric Propulsion System

Advanced solar electric propulsion will be needed for future human expeditions into deep space, including to Mars. Shown here is a 13-kilowatt Hall thruster being evaluated at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Hall thrusters trap electrons in a magnetic field and use them to ionize the onboard propellant. It uses 10 times less propellant than equivalent chemical rockets. (Credit: NASA)
Advanced solar electric propulsion will be needed for future human expeditions into deep space, including to Mars. Shown here is a 13-kilowatt Hall thruster being evaluated at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Hall thrusters trap electrons in a magnetic field and use them to ionize the onboard propellant. It uses 10 times less propellant than equivalent chemical rockets. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. of Redmond, Washington, to design and develop an advanced electric propulsion system that will significantly advance the nation’s commercial space capabilities, and enable deep space exploration missions, including the robotic portion of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) and its Journey to Mars.

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SSL Advances Solar Electric Propulsion With Busek

SSL concept for solar electric propulsion spacecraft (Credit: SSL)
SSL concept for solar electric propulsion spacecraft (Credit: SSL)

PALO ALTO, CA, Feb. 10, 2016 (SSL PR) – Space Systems Loral (SSL), a leading provider of commercial satellites, today announced that it is collaborating with a U.S. technology innovator, Busek Co, Inc. to advance the current capability of solar electric propulsion systems. SSL and Busek plan to build on the current collaboration specifically to address the future needs of NASA and other U.S. government agencies.

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European Space Propulsion Completes Testing of Five-Kilowatt Hall Thruster with Thales Alenia Space

European Space Propulsion successfully completed testing of a five-kilowatt Hall Thruster with a Power Processing Unit supplied by Thales Alenia Space Belgium. (Credit: European Space Propulsion)
European Space Propulsion successfully completed testing of a five-kilowatt Hall Thruster with a Power Processing Unit supplied by Thales Alenia Space Belgium. (Credit: European Space Propulsion)

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Dec 23, 2015 – European Space Propulsion (ESP), a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AJRD), successfully completed testing of a five-kilowatt Hall Thruster with a Power Processing Unit (PPU) supplied by Thales Alenia Space (TAS) Belgium. The test programme was successfully conducted in the UK, and marks the first time a flight-proven five-kilowatt class Hall Thruster has been tested with a European-manufactured PPU. The achievement of this test being completed in less time than allocated was a reflection on the robustness of the design and the understanding and expertise of the team.

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NASA Selects Aerojet Rocketdyne for Advanced Deep Space Propulsion

aerojet_rocketdyne
SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 23, 2015 (Aeojet Rocketdyne PR) – Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, has been selected by the NASA Advanced Exploration Systems Division to start negotiations for a contract to design and demonstrate an advanced propulsion system that would enable human spaceflight to cislunar space and beyond to Mars.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Extends Hall Thrusters Teaming Agreement with Russian Company

aerojet_rocketdyneSACRAMENTO, Calif., June 18, 2013 (Aerojet Rocketydyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (GY) company, and Experimental Design Bureau (EDB) Fakel of Kaliningrad, Russia, announced today at the Paris Air Show the signing of an extension to the teaming agreement between the two companies.

The agreement provides Aerojet Rocketdyne with the right to market and sell Fakel’s low-power Hall thrusters.

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