High Performance, Electrically-Assisted Ionic Monopropellant Thruster

Period of Performance: 07/11/2016 - 05/10/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Sciences, Inc.
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Physical Sciences Inc. proposes to develop a unique ionic monopropellant thruster for next generation DACS that uses an electrically-assisted ignition technique to generate rapid thrust impulses with short ignition delay times. The thruster will produce these short delay times with low power consumption using a novel monopropellant decomposition strategy and a high performance electrode arrangement. The ignition technique is particularly suited for thrusters on vehicles with volume- and power-limited envelopes. In Phase I, we will optimize the thruster design and measure key performance metrics in combustion tests. The Phase I will conclude with a 25 lbf thruster design. In Phase II, we would test the Phase I design to show that low power consumption is feasible for a wide range of thrust requirements, and that the materials selected can survive the high-temperature, corrosive conditions of repeated long-duration burns. Upon successful technology development under the SBIR program, full-scale protoflight systems and SM-3 DACS systems will be developed in technology transition programs.