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NASA NextSTEP advanced project awards

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DocM    16,442

NASA NextSTEP

 

15-054.jpg

 

NASA article....

 

Short version,

 

A partnership to develop next generation capabilities. The below are not the only groups involved, and some may work together (ex: Bigelow, ORBITEC and Boeing, who have previously worked together on habitats). Awards this round,

 

ADVANCED PROPULSION:

 

50- to 300 kW electric propulsion. $400,000 to $3.5 million/year for a max of 3 years.

 

Ad Astra Rocket: likely the VASIMR plasma rocket

 

MSNW: with MSNW it could be the EM plasmoid or Electrode-less Lorentz Force (ELF) thruster, or even the Fusion Powered Rocket they had 2 NIAC awards for.

 

http://msnwllc.com/space-propulsion

 

AeroJet Rocketdyne: likely advanced Hall Effect thrusters

 

HABITATION:

 

Sustain a crew of 4 for up to 60 days in cis-lunar space, with the ability to scale up to Mars missions. $400,000 to $1 million for up to 12 months.

 

Bigelow Aerospace (duh!!)

Boeing Company

Dynetics

Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems

Lockheed Martin

Orbital-ATK

Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC, a subsidiary of Sierra Nevada Corp.)

 

CUBESAT

 

2 CubeSat projects will have fixed-price contracts with performance milestones and values of $1.4 million to $7.9 million per award.

 

Lockheed Martin

Morehead State University, Kentucky

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DocM    16,442

MSNW says they're working on the ELF-250, a 100 kW class pulsed electromagnetic thruster, and a 300+ kW power processing unit for Mars cargo missions.

ISTM they're talking about this,

http://msnwllc.com/Papers/EMPT_JANNAF_2011.pdf

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+warwagon    12,954

NeXTSTEP_desktop.png

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DocM    16,442

And it appears the ELF can be used in thin atmospheres like high altitudes on Earth or on Mars using beamed power,

The Electrodeless Lorentz Force Thruster

The ELF thruster, funded by the Department of Defense, utilizes Rotating Magnetic Field (RMF) and pulsed-inductive technologies that promise radical advances in space propulsion. The ELF creates, forms, and accelerates field-reversed plasma toroids to high velocity. It has demonstrated the ability to efficiently utilize complex propellants such as Martian Air, Liquid Water, and Hydrazine.

The ELF enables a broad range of high-power propulsion missions. Fundamentally, this technology has significantly greater thrust and power densities than any realizable propulsion technology. The ability to operate on in situ propellants will enable very eccentric orbit propulsion, re-fuelable orbital transfer vehicles, deep space return missions, and even direct drag makeup for extremely low orbits. At current power levels, this thruster technology minimizes system mass, size, and cost, while increasing overall mission flexibility. Finally, extending this technology to higher densities and powers that have been demonstrated in the laboratory, there are mission applications in high-altitude, air-breathing, hypersonic flight and beamed-energy upper stage propulsion that are not feasible with traditional technologies. Please see technical publications below for a complete description of experiments, thruster specifications, and results.

Mars use paper

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/pnwmsnw/ELF_JPC_2012.pdf

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DocM    16,442

The AeroJet entry isn't a Hall Effect thruster - it's finishing up NASA's NEXT-C gridded ion thruster.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 6, 2015 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, has been awarded a contract worth approximately $18 million from NASA Glenn Research Center to complete the development of NASAs Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial (NEXT-C) Gridded Ion Thruster System. The NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System is designed to power government and commercial spacecraft to deep-space destinations faster, farther and more fuel efficiently than any other propulsion technology currently available.

The high performance of the NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System will enable dramatically expanded planetary science and commercial missions as never seen before, said Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of Advanced Space and Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. It is truly the next step in the worlds robotic exploration of the solar system, and we are honored to provide the advanced propulsion system to make it happen.

The NEXT-C program builds on our extensive development experience with arcjet, Hall and ion thruster systems, and will enable new space transportation systems and architectures, said Roger Myers, executive director for Advanced In-Space Programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne. The Aerojet Rocketdyne team is very excited about the opportunities that the NEXT-C program creates.

Under the contract, Aerojet Rocketdyne will complete the development of both the NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System and power processing units (PPUs), and deliver two complete flight systems to NASA. The PPUs convert the electrical power generated by the solar arrays into the power needed for each component of the thruster.

According to NASA, the NEXT System is capable of performing a variety of missions to deep-space destinations such as Mars and the outer planets while reducing cost and trip time. In 2013, NASA completed a record-setting 50,000-hour lifetest of the NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System, establishing the performance and lifetime capabilities required for a wide range of demanding missions. Operating at three times the power level of the current low-power NASA systems, the NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System produces three times the thrust level. This higher-power operating capability enables commercial applications in addition to science missions.

>

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DocM    16,442

MSNW paper about their ELF  (electrode-less Lorentz force) thruster work (PDF on Adobe cloud),

https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/99706634-80b9-41e3-999d-d8c348ea56f5

and an image of ELF running using  its numerous propellant options, many of which are ISRU candidates,

d3b48cc9bf35aff63c8cbb513a957eb6.jpg

High thrust for a plasma engine, ELF can use scooped upper atmosphere or asteroid mined compounds as propellants. That could explain why the USAF was interested well before NASA.

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Draggendrop    5,747

wow...look's like I have some reading....too much candy at once can cause an overdose......Thank's Doc...I think....:D

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DocM    16,442

Yeah. I've been dreaming up all kinds of possibilities. 

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DocM    16,442

wow...look's like I have some reading....too much candy at once can cause an overdose......Thank's Doc...I think....:D

 

More reading: the ELF patent

http://www.google.com/patents/US20120031070

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Draggendrop    5,747

Excellent...got it saved and will start reading tonight...Thanks.....:D

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DocM    16,442

A tidbit

The rotating magnetic field thruster 

100

 has the capability to address the demanding combined requirements of high specific power, high efficiency, a large Isp range, and required T/P. Based on the current laboratory results, an exemplary embodiment of a rotating magnetic field thruster 

100

 would enable a range of high-power propulsion missions in the 10-100 kW class. This example rotating magnetic field thruster 

100

 has successfully demonstrated expected heating and acceleration of magnetized plasma toroids at both high efficiency and high velocity.

The rotating magnetic field thruster 100 entrains neutral particles in a FRC and add momentum through lossless charge-exchange collisions. Via this neutral entrainment process, a high-density FRC is formed and accelerated without incurring the large ionization energy loss. This high-density FRC then interacts with a slow moving neutral population and, instead of ionizing more gas, charge exchange collisions occur, exchanging the charge of a particle but no momentum. When this exchange occurs in an acceleration field, a slow moving charged particle is accelerated, while a fast-moving neutral particle leaves the device unhindered. Fundamentally, neutral entrainment utilizes the physical fact that the charge-exchange collision frequency is much greater than the ionization frequency. In this manner two (or more) particles can be accelerated with only one ionizing collision and excitation, drastically reducing total system ionization loss. Neutral entrainment is applicable to all high-density plasma devices, including Pulsed Inductive Thrusters.

Embodiments of the rotating magnetic field thruster 100 herald a new era of smaller, more efficient electric propulsion thrusters that could utilize cost-effective, readily available, propellants. In addition to radically improving performance of thrusters in traditional applications, embodiments using neutral entrainment would open the door to new high-power electric propulsion missions.

Embodiments of the rotating magnetic field thruster 100 that employ RMF-formed FRC propulsion have much lower ionization costs, and operate at higher plasma and energy density (reduced size and mass). Embodiments provide an advanced acceleration technique in an FRC device, neutral entrainment, which has the potential to dramatically reduce overall ionization losses by creating high-velocity neutrals through charge exchange. Neutral Entrainment Enables: truly variable specific impulse 500-5000 s, theoretical efficiencies near 100%, correspondingly high T/P>200 mN/kW, vast power ranges 10 kW-10 MW, and operation on light-weight propellants (e.g.: Air, water, AF315, hydrazine, etc.)

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Draggendrop    5,747

Get back to you shortly...only had 3 hours sleep....patent required a bit of analysis time...few more things to iron out and will post...quite the unit alright....:D 

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Draggendrop    5,747

I have been trying to figure out what to post, for the last half hour, without making a 20 page report, on what I think...so I won't. The reason...my entire professional background has evolved around electromagnetic radiation, in avionics and my "outside" interest has been very keen on magnetic containment for extremely hot fusion products......and, like you already knew....it is the "heart" of this puppy. As you already know, the US Navy in the 50's pioneered the initial work, Los Alamos took over for a few decades and several universities have carried out "specific" research niche's...all geared to magnetic fusion containment for a functioning "hot" natural fusion reactor. It would be safe to say, 1000's have worked on it, massive man hour's and probably over a billion dollars put in it over the last 60 years, by the US government. Massive strides have been made, a massive knowledge base is available, and containment comes in many defined useable forms.

Next...my opinion only....Ion thrusters are the easy preferred choice of technology at the present for "electric thrust", due to lower complexity and proven ion technology...even cube sat sizes...which took a bit of time, to reduce the prices. Ion thrusters are a  limited propulsion mechanism due to constraints of physics, but they do have a generic niche and price range which will do fine for now...definitely not the future high tech propulsion giant.

Next thing that bothers me is the use of certain descriptors, such as "Hall Effect", "Lorentz Force", "EMP" and "electrodeless". The first three are generally seen, in some form, when dealing with most magnetic coupling and triggered circuits. The last term is meaningless, in such, as an improvement was made and we got rid of wooden car rims.

MSNW has a technology that takes us past "ion thrusters", into one of the many directions that we can venture into. They have added to a huge resource library, mentioned above, and added a new twist. When reading a patent, in a field you are familiar with, one will note...the secret is never let out of the bag. In stages, one will describe general processes, show the most relevant equations, without real working numbers or precise dimensions, but merely provide a descriptor to protect your "puppy" from future encroachment. You "need" to be able to read between the lines, to get a better grasp, even then, full operation is never known without having all the variables, that the owner guards. Those in the field will have a very good idea of exactly what they are doing, but not have the exact variables, which would take an extremely long R and D time to find.

One can view this approach as.....A MF (medium frequency) RF (radio frequency) RMF (rotating magnetic field) FRC (field reversed configuration) entrainment CEX (charge exchange ion collisions) toroidal magnetically pulsed plasma engine.....layman's terms...this is an "ejected plasma core"  impulse engine.

This is an extremely sophisticated, reduced packaged, throttleable, very powerful, real multi fueled, and extremely efficient impulse engine. It is highly configurable and will damn near run on any ambient (cold) "neutral" ionizable fuel source.....hence in situ resources...this is the real deal. This is what I want to follow up on...this is an impulse engine.

:)

Edited by Draggendrop
spelling and editor headaches.....
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Draggendrop    5,747

To not leave others hanging on operation...here is a general idea to help you. The system operates at 220 Khz, pulsed at 1Khz intervals. The rotating magnetic field is set up by 2 coils, 90 degrees apart and 90 degrees out of phase, sine and cosine. These saddle antenna coils cause a fast rotating magnetic field. The core of the device also has trimmer field, bias fields (which also are used for magnetic gradient expulsion of the core) and auxiliary gas manifold for post injection of "cold" neutral "matter" fuel. The magnetic field speed is chosen with a purpose, to move "cold" fuel atoms axially, in the engine core, up to a speed where a plasma current is rapidly developed, which then, due to driven and axial magnetic cross products, creates an extremely high plasma current, which creates it's own magnetic field, which locks out and reacts against the rotating magnetic field, also causing extreme field compression and plasma compression. This reaches a point, where, due to core design and built up cross product magnetic forces, the plasma leaves the "transient chamber" at high velocity, and accelerated, by multiple venues such as expansion and cooling of plasma toroid, field gradient acceleration from bias coils and trimmers, injection of additional "cold" neutral fuel atoms and impulse shot from antennae. Every 1 Khz, a " toroidal plasma core" is magnetically ejected and thrust is realized. The really big deal, is very low ionization radiation losses, and the ability to generate non ionized neutral carriers, in a ratio as high as 8 to 1, in relation to ionized carriers. The outlet after the core is developed, resembles a "rocket bell" for good reason, it act's like one, but not just for expansion of plasma, but for accelerated magnetic gradient, which accelerates the core even more. The power supply for the unit, is able to capture the back emf for recharging the trigger capacitors, which can capture most of the energy used, and a low power supply duty cycle, enable a power supply source, such as solar cells, to not be loaded down on average...1.5 % duty cycle as described in the patent test case. This thing runs great on methane and carbon dioxide......even water vapor...

Hope that helps a bit....but this was a gross oversimplification of a very complex process....:)

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DocM    16,442

And they are also using these techs to develop an inductive plasmoid accelerator for a fusion reactor project, and a fusion rocket. The fusion rocket has gone to phase 2 in NASA's NIAC program.

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Draggendrop    5,747

And they are also using these techs to develop an inductive plasmoid accelerator for a fusion reactor project, and a fusion rocket. The fusion rocket has gone to phase 2 in NASA's NIAC program.


I have just downloaded some of their data for analysis...neat stuff going on. One item of interest was their "magnetoshell"...magnetic braking for arrival at destination...or, as soon to be tested on a cube sat....magnetic sheild around the cube sat, in an experiment as a heat sheild.....the magnetic field will definitely work...issue is power consumption...if power consumption can be brought down to acceptable levels...no more Pica.......scifi ship protection...
:woot:

http://msnwllc.com/
https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/pnwmsnw/Kirtley_MSNW_NIAC_12MAR_final.pdf 
https://www.nasa.gov/content/magnetoshell-aerocapture-for-manned-missions-and-planetary-deep-space-orbiters/#.ViJ8n_mrQ1I

 mg22329763.100-1_800.thumb.jpg.e0b2b2989
Bubble wrap deployed (Image: MSNW)

article from last year....

Magnetic bubble may give space probes a soft landing

Last month, aerospace firm MSNW of Redmond, Washington, won a NASA grant to demonstrate the technique on a CubeSat. The small, boxy satellite should be delivered to the International Space Station in 2015. It will then be deployed and attempt to enter Earth’s atmosphere without burning up.

The satellite will carry a copper coil, powered by a lithium-ion battery, that generates a magnetic field around the probe. As it descends, the spacecraft will eject a small amount of plasma. This gets trapped in the magnetic field, creating a protective bubble that stops air molecules colliding with the craft and producing heat.

The air molecules flow into the plasma bubble and absorb electrons from it, becoming ionised. The newly ionised air becomes trapped in the magnetic field, and the craft ends up dragging a patch of atmosphere with it, effectively creating a parachute of gas.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329763-100-magnetic-bubble-may-give-space-probes-a-soft-landing/

This method is a start towards a full shield in the future....hope they keep up with this....:)

 

  

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DocM    16,442

Last year they built plasma injectors, magnet systems and a power supply sized for a 6U cubesat. IIRC the plan was to send one up on a CRS flight and deploy it from the ISS airlock. Attached image is of the simulator powered up in a vacuum chamber.

IMG_7716.jpg

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

This will be a great experiment...hopefully it is only delayed till next year, then we will be able to see it ejected from ISS and begin re-entry...much more fun than watching lettuce grow........:)

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DocM    16,442

The recent NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate / Advanced Exploration Systems status update includes progress on the contracts for the NextSTEP advanced propulsion projects (VASIMR, MSNW's Electrodeless Lorentz Force (ELF) thruster and Aerojet's advanced Hall Effect thruster), among other things. 

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/3-Status_of_AES.pdf

21814857938f08fbefa076870ec94b38.jpg

77d3f8abc42444414b3e80259d419906.jpg

f43f7623f9f6f11c0ea35e6187a3ca00.jpg

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Draggendrop    5,747

Good choices......here is an article about the awards and progress as stated above in Doc's post...

NASA awards contracts for deep-space advanced propulsion systems

 

Z2SSFF-350x139.thumb.jpg.b75ec1943c2426f
 

NASA has awarded contracts to three American propulsion companies to aid the U.S. federal space agency with the development of advanced deep-space Electric Propulsion systems – including VASIMR – needed to one day transport astronauts to destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO).


New Propulsion elements for deep-space exploration:

As part of NASA’s phased approach to the development of technology and systems needed to carry astronauts on long-duration, deep-space missions, the agency’s Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate’s (HEOMD’s) Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) division has committed to the “rapid development and testing of prototype systems and validation of operational concepts to reduce risk and cost of future exploration missions.”

Much more at the link....
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/11/nasa-awards-contracts-deep-space-advanced-propulsion-systems/ 

:)

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T3X4S    4,532

Anyone else have the problem where whenever I click on any link in the forums, it just reopens this same page in another tab ?

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Draggendrop    5,747

I am using Win 10, chrome 64...I tried the above link for nasaspaceflight and it opened properly...but I have noticed that older links were doing what you said...seems only newer ones redirect properly......I had assumed it was the upgrade in progress...real messed up :)

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DocM    16,442

Works great in Android 5+ or Linux (Debian) and Chrome. 

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Unobscured Vision    2,658

Good grief, how did I miss this?! Ugh. I must be slipping.

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DocM    16,442

 

 

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