Ceramic Microthruster Clusters for Nano- and Microsatellites

Period of Performance: 06/07/2008 - 03/10/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sienna Technologies, Inc.
19501 144th Avenue NE Array
Woodinville, WA 98072
Principal Investigator


In this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, a high throughput chemical micropropulsion system for nano- and microsatellites will be developed. The microthruster will use an all-ceramic construction to withstand the high temperatures associated with the high Isp, clean burning, high-energy-density, non-toxic liquid monopropellant. The developed high throughput propulsion system will enable micro- and nano-satellites to execute precision orbital transfer and rendezvous missions, allow precision pointing of the spacecraft and its sensors, and make incremental orbital adjustments. In Phase I, modeling and simulation will be carried out to select propellant composition, i.e., oxidizer/fuel ratio, and microthruster geometry to maximize the Isp. Catalysts evaluation for decomposition of the liquid monopropellant, and materials selection for microthruster construction will be completed. Microthruster fabrication techniques will also be identified for construction and testing of a fully functional microthruster in Phase II.