TECHNOLOGY:  

RF Plasma Thruster for Small Satellites

AFFILIATION:   Phase Four, Inc., El Segundo, California, United States

TECHNOLOGY SUMMARY

Track: Defense Systems
Area: Other
Tech Readiness: TRL 5

Tech Brief: Our thruster works by creating a plasma using radio waves, and controlling the expansion of the plasma using magnetic fields, creating high levels of thrust at low power levels. The thruster has a compact form factor that allows for use on satellites as small as a bottle of wine.

FIGURES OF MERIT

Value Proposition: Spacecraft with large delta-V capability will lead to increased space situational awareness by enhancing spacecraft-to-spacecraft proximity operations, formation flying, increased ground coverage from satellite constellations deployed from single launch vehicles, long-lived low altitude flying, and the ability to incapacitate targets without causing debris fields. Furthermore, Integration of the Phase Four RF Plasma Thruster into solar electric mission will enable: 1. Rapid response orbit changes 2. Mobile nano- and micro-satellite swarms 3. Significantly decreased over-flight predictability of spacecraft 4. Global mesh networks for on-the-ground-awareness

SHOWCASE SUMMARY

Org Type: Early-stage Startup (Seed)