Space Plasma Generator for Artificial Control of Ionosphere

Period of Performance: 07/10/2015 - 04/10/2016

$150K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Enig Assoc., Inc.
4600 East West Hwy Array
Bethesda, MD 20814
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Maryland
3112 Lee Building
College Park, MD 20742
Institution POC

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Enig Associates, Inc., a small business providing advanced modeling and simulation capabilities to the DoD and DoE, is proposing an innovative and novel electrical approach, using explosive-driven flux compression generators (FCG) to convert explosive chemical energy to electromagnetic energy with very high current output and superb energy conversion efficiency and then Joule heat light metal load in sub millisecond time scale to heat up load from solid metal state to first ionization plasma state going through multi-phase transitions to generate artificial man-made plasma cloud in the ionosphere. ?The target plasma cloud will be composed of 1025 ion-electron pairs of a few eV temperature propagating initially as hemispherical shell, cylindrical shell, or plasma jet depending on the choice of load material and geometry. ?The proposed STTR program will have University of Maryland, Space Plasma Physics (SPP) group as our university partner. ?SPP will perform analytical/computational studies of the generated plasma and plasma cloud interacting with the ionosphere and the geomagnetic field. ?Both theoretical and computational tools will be utilized in designing an integrated generator device whose form factor fits inside a sounding rocket.; BENEFIT: The developed technology will be tested and demonstrated in the 2nd Phase of the STTR program in a high-altitude magnetized vacuum chamber with detailed diagnostics to validate plasma parameters. ?A sounding rocket can be utilized to demonstrate the device performance in actual test environments. ?Once proven successful, the space plasma generator can be used to smooth out ionosphere disturbances to assure reliable communications and navigation in theater, or to provide novel capabilities for RF systems. Advanced plasma generators could also replace civilian systems used as tracers in various upper atmospheric research areas.