Digital Solid State Propulsion Inc. (DSSP) has won a new contract with NASA, its fourth with the national space agency and its first Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) contract. This was the only NASA Phase II awarded in the state of Nevada in 2015.
Using DSSP’s new multi-pulse solid rocket motors, NASA will be able to desaturate reaction wheels on small satellites beyond Earth’s magnetic field. Reaction wheels spin rapidly to keep satellites oriented, but must be slowed periodically to continue functioning properly. DSSP’s motors will allow smaller, cheaper satellites to perform high-value, low-cost scientific missions around the moon and other planets. The thrusters developed by DSSP yield higher performance than state-of-the-art systems of its size (6U and 12U CubeSats) and at a lower mass.
The company’s electric solid propellants are so safe and insensitive to accidental ignition that NASA now allows storage and routine deployment from the International Space Station, which occurred for the first time with the launch of SpinSat during Expedition 42 launched in September 2014.
Beginning in 2018, NASA will be able to utilize DSSP’s thrusters in proposed missions such as iiSat of MSFC, LWADI of Goddard, and Biosentinel of Ames, among others. Outside of NASA, these developments can be used for private deep space missions, such as those proposed by the asteroid miners Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries.
Digital Solid State Propulsion was founded in 2005 by CEO Dr. Wayne Sawka. Starting as a two-person company, DSSP has grown to 25 employees. Its initial focus on aerospace engineering has expanded into military simulation training, entertainment, and oil and gas applications. Most recently, the company won “2015 Aerospace Company of the Year” at the annual NCET Tech Awards event in Reno. For more information, visit dsspropulsion.com.