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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Howe Industries LLC
  • Troy M Howe
  • (480) 250-6820
Award Date:12/13/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 224,966
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 249,966
  • FY 2020=$249,966
Start Date:12/15/2019
End Date:11/30/2020
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:SBIR Phase I: ThermaSat - A Solar Thermal CubeSat Propulsion System
Federal Award ID Number:1936152
DUNS ID:079226342
Program:SBIR Phase I
Program Officer:
  • Muralidharan Nair
  • (703) 292-7059

Awardee Location

Street:1435 E University Dr Ste C-108
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Howe Industries
Street:1435 E University Dr. Ste C-108
Cong. District:09

Abstract at Time of Award

The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Project addresses the need for small, low-cost satellites in space to have on-board propulsion capabilities. The advent of small satellites is opening space to entrepreneurs and researchers to improve telecommunications, monitor climate patterns, and conduct other activities. Unfortunately, many of these small satellites have no method of maneuvering in space, and so their capabilities are limited. Satellite propulsion allows for small satellites to achieve three major goals. First, they can reach their preferred orbit without diverting the launching spacecraft. Second, they can make minor adjustments to their orbits for many years, ensuring they do not re-enter the atmosphere prematurely. And third, at the end of the mission they can de-orbit themselves and avoid becoming dangerous space debris. An onboard propulsion system will be necessary for the satellite infrastructure of the future. By developing this technology now, we can overcome a major obstacle in space exploration and assist humanity in expanding to the stars. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Project is to develop a green, inexpensive, and effective small satellite propulsion system. Equipping CubeSats and other small spacecraft with onboard propulsion will drastically improve their technological capabilities and ensure they deploy, function, and de-orbit safely. The system functions by selectively filtering sunlight to heat water to high temperatures by limiting radiative heat emissions. The high-temperature steam is exhausted through a nozzle and can control the satellite with high efficiency. The major goal of this effort will be to experimentally and computationally model optical system performance. Other goals will be to validate that the thermal and structural systems are suitable for ground launch and operation in space. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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