The AIS-ADAMANT Series Sublimation Fuel Delivery System (SFDS) sublimates and delivers Adamantane fuel directly into the highly modular plasma and ion thrusters that attach to the SFDS. Adamantane is a unique solid hydrocarbon diamandoid that exhibits direct sublimation at low temperatures.
The ADAMANT Series aims to tackle scaling for conventional plasma and ion propulsion systems such as gridded ion, Hall, and RF plasma down to the smallest levels of nanosats by focusing on a highly experimental fuel source to eliminate complex valving, metering, and pressurized tanks. Unlike Iodine, which is currently one of the top candidates for alternative fuels for EP, Adamantane does not exhibit serious material corrosion issues, and is not nearly as toxic to handle, while having a larger ionization cross-section (easier to ionize) as well as having nearly identical performance to Xenon, Krypton, and Iodine propellants.
The ultra-modular design of the ADAMANT Series SFDS allows for ease of expanded fuel capacity and customization. In addition, all other ADAMANT Series thrusters will be directly compatible to the SFDS, interfacing directly to the tank. The ADAMANT Series will offer unprecedented access to normally exorbitantly cost-prohibitive technologies such as gridded ion, Hall effect, and RF plasma that are currently on the market, reducing cost from competitor systems by over an order of magnitude, and scaling down in size and power for compatibility with small Cubesat platforms, allowing for any nanosat team to access advanced plasma and ion propulsion technologies.
UPDATE – AS OF 06/29/2021 THE FIRST GEN SFDS HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY RETIRED FOR IMPROVED ITERATIONS FOR FUTURE THRUSTER DEVELOPMENTS.
- System Type: Fuel delivery
- Fuel Delivery Method: Direct sublimation
- Fuel: Adamantane
- Fuel Storage: Solid
- Tank Pressure: Unpressurized
- Rated Power: 1W to 19W
- Fuel Capacity: 3 grams
- Test Readiness Level (TRL): 6
- Status: RETIRED
VACUUM TEST PLATFORM
- 12/12/2020 – First conceptual CAD models of the ADAMANT Series fuel tank design and experimental anode layer ion thruster concept revealed.
- 12/28/2020 – First prototype design for the SFDS tank completed, along with initial preliminary thermal modeling.
- 12/29/2020 – Finalized CAD render for the first prototype SFDS tank revealed. Files sent out for manufacturing.
- 01/01/2021 – Final CAD renders of the SFDS Series showing various system fuel capacities.
- 01/06/2021 – 3D printed housing for the SFDS-3 arrived from Xometry
- 01/14/2021 – Heated fuel cartridge for SFDS-3 arrived from Xometry
- 01/16/2021 – Laser cut plates for the SFDS arrived from OSH Cut
- 01/21/2021 – First preliminary assembly of the SFDS-3
- 02/08/2021 – Successful preliminary integration assembly with the AIS-EHT1 Micro End-Hall Thruster
- 02/14/2021 – First validation run of the SFDS, successfully sublimating and delivering Adamantane fuel to the AIS-EHT1 Micro End-Hall Thruster, allowing for sustained beam and ignition of the thruster.
- 03/20/2021 – SFDS successfully run for the first full system ignition test of the EHT1.
- 03/27/2021 – SFDS successfully run for the second full system ignition test of the EHT1.
- 04/03/2021 – SFDS successfully run for the third full system ignition test of the EHT1.
- 06/24/2021 – Vacuum leak testing performed on the Ultem 3D printed SFDS. Tests determined that permeation and leakage was too high, and redesign with different material is needed.
- 06/28/2021 – Second vacuum leak check performed on the new Somos PerFORM resin printed tank. Leaks were an order of magnitude less than the Ultem tank.
- 06/29/2021 – Third vacuum leak check performed on the new Somos PerFORM resin printed tank and Lee Co LHL Series valve. Leaking was significant, and the system failed to pass. AS OF NOW, THIS VERSION OF THE SFDS HAS BEEN RETIRED FOR THE NEXT GEN DESIGNS.