Solid Polymer Propellant
CUA has developed an electrothermal thruster which consumes an inert polymer propellant fiber. This patented technology retains performance characteristics competitive with other warm gas systems, but enables more accessibility to micropropulsion via dramatically reduced cost and the elimination of range safety concerns. CUA’s Monofilament Vaporization Propulsion (MVP) draws from extrusion 3D printer technology to feed and melt polymer propellant in preparation for evaporation and heating up to 750K using CUA’s compact resistojet technology. Despite undergoing depolymerization and two separate phase changes, the system power requirements are manageable, demonstrating average specific thrusts of 0.10 mN/W, and a maximum specific impulse in excess of 100 s for short duration burns. System performance contained in a 1U package is 271 N-s total impulse from 419 g of Delrin monofilament propellant, operating at 13.5W average duty-cycled power (45 W peak), 4.5 mN, and 66 s Isp.
Simplicity and safety with solid inert polymer propellant
Low-cost propulsion option
Propellant is spooled inside package and easily expanded as needed
No pressure vessel required for propellant
Compact package size as small as 1U
Well-suited for 3U or larger CubeSats
Propellant Options: Delrin fiber (range safety not required)
Status: Available as 1U dual fault tolerant unit w/ < 9-month lead time
Variations: Alternate form factors available w/ additional cost and lead time
MVP is being integrated for flight on CUA’s NASA-funded Dual Propulsion Experiment (DUPLEX) CubeSat, presently scheduled for launch in mid-2022.
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