Ultra-Light High-Thrust Electric Propulsion with Magnetic Thrust Vectoring

Period of Performance: 12/15/2011 - 09/17/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Msnw LLC
851 154th Ave NE
Redmond, WA -
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: MSNW s Electrodeless Lorentz Force (ELF) thruster will address the demanding combined requirements of light weight, high efficiency, and high thrust-to-power electric propulsion in a single device. As spacecraft power systems get lighter, traditional electric propulsion thruster, PPU, and gimbal masses become dominant. Moreover, the increase in available power enables efficient, rapid orbital transfers with sufficient T/P. The ELF thruster technology has demonstrated a wide range of specific impulse at high efficiency. The high plasma and power density of the ELF thruster, coupled with magnetic isolation of the plasma from thruster walls yields an ultra-compact and lightweight thruster package that is scalable to high powers. In addition to a lightweight thruster body, a new plasmoid Magnetic Thrust Vectoring (MTV) system will demonstrate +/- 30 degrees of low-weight, low-power gimbaling. The RMF-formed FRC thruster will be operated with a low-mass, high temperature pulsed inductive charging PPU (PCPPU) that eliminates DC-DC transformers and temperature sensitive components and operates up to 100 kW. Proposed is a program to design, test, and optimize a full-scale, 10 kg, 50-100 kW ELF-200 thruster operating at 1,400-3,500 seconds specific impulse with a low mass Pulse Charging PPU and Magnetic Thrust Vectoring system. BENEFIT: The ELF thruster is a highly-scalable, low specific mass (