U.S. Air Force Selects ENIG’s Space Plasma Generator (SpacePG) for Space Payload Development
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles (RV) Directorate (Kirtland AFB, NM) completed its source selection earlier this year and awarded ENIG an STTR Phase II contract for a two-year payload development of ENIG’s Space Plasma Generator (SpacePG) technology. After a one-year Phase I feasibility competition between three candidate technologies and/or approaches, AFRL/RV selected ENIG’s innovative and novel magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) technology to advance for a possible FY18 risk-reduction space launch.
“Recent approaches to generate large quantities of plasma in the Earth’s ionosphere are based on chemical ionization methods that have low ionization efficiency and require large amounts of chemicals. Our approach drastically improves plasma generation efficiency by an order of magnitude compared to previous technology,” said ENIG president, Eric N. Enig, adding that “ENIG’s SpacePG payload development and fabrication will be taking place, in part, at ENIG’s new Space Vehicle and Pulsed Power assembly facility in Rockville, Maryland.”
Rejoining ENIG on the SpacePG effort is lead subcontractor University of Maryland’s Department of Physics, which will be providing theoretical support in the analysis and design of ENIG’s SpacePG payload, leading to an optimized plasma output. “We’re excited to be working again with the University’s leading minds on ionospheric research,” said Enig.
Additionally, ENIG has added ASTRA Space (Boulder, CO) as a team member on the Phase II program. “ASTRA, a fellow 2015 AFRL SBIR Technology Acceleration Project (TAP) inductee, was a natural fit to provide ENIG with assistance in areas including appropriate bus design, launch vehicle interface trades, launch options for both sub-orbital and orbital scenarios, and power, mass, and size budgeting,” noted Enig. ASTRA has extensive experience with system requirements and architecture design for CubeSats and miniaturized sensors, including successful flight experience of CubeSat platforms.
Also supporting ENIG is Lockheed Martin ATC (Palo Alto, CA), providing ENIG with Phase III commercialization support. “We’re looking forward to working with ATC on payload integration,” said Enig, adding that ATC has been actively engaged in missile system integration, packaging, and development for various United States Air Force (USAF) and Department of Defense (DoD) weapon systems. “For its part, ATC will provide consultative assistance during our Phase II and subsequent Phase III, helping ENIG commercialize its SpacePG technology,” noted Enig.
ENIG is a leading developer of MHD solutions for the DoD, DOE, and other U.S. Government agencies.
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