Session

Technical Session VII: Propulsion

SSC13-VII-7.pdf (582 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

The monopropellant community has been actively pursuing low toxicity, "green" monopropellants for the past two decades. Of the large number of formulations developed, AF-M315E has received the most attention in the U.S. In comparison with hydrazine, AF-M315E offers improved Isp and density-Isp while being extremely stable and easy to handle. Despite the potential benefits, development of AF-M315E thrusters has been slow due to the lack of suitable catalysts. Busek is pioneering an alternative catalytic reactor to address such issue. Busek has developed a 0.5N-class AF-M315E thruster that has demonstrated 20+ minutes of cumulative life and consistently performs at a c* efficiency in the range of 89-93%. A piezoelectric microvalve for the 0.5N thruster has also been developed. It is superior to state-of-the-art solenoid valves of similar flow level as it requires only 0.5W of power and weighs a mere 67 gram. Potential commercial applications for the 0.5N thruster are abundant, including but not limited to primary propulsion for NanoSats and ACS propulsion for SmallSats. Scaling up the thruster is feasible and will create more opportunities to compete with legacy hydrazine thruster systems in the future.

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Aug 14th, 9:15 AM

Development of Busek 0.5N Green Monopropellant Thruster

The monopropellant community has been actively pursuing low toxicity, "green" monopropellants for the past two decades. Of the large number of formulations developed, AF-M315E has received the most attention in the U.S. In comparison with hydrazine, AF-M315E offers improved Isp and density-Isp while being extremely stable and easy to handle. Despite the potential benefits, development of AF-M315E thrusters has been slow due to the lack of suitable catalysts. Busek is pioneering an alternative catalytic reactor to address such issue. Busek has developed a 0.5N-class AF-M315E thruster that has demonstrated 20+ minutes of cumulative life and consistently performs at a c* efficiency in the range of 89-93%. A piezoelectric microvalve for the 0.5N thruster has also been developed. It is superior to state-of-the-art solenoid valves of similar flow level as it requires only 0.5W of power and weighs a mere 67 gram. Potential commercial applications for the 0.5N thruster are abundant, including but not limited to primary propulsion for NanoSats and ACS propulsion for SmallSats. Scaling up the thruster is feasible and will create more opportunities to compete with legacy hydrazine thruster systems in the future.