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Dr. Steven Berg will give a talk titled “A New Paradigm in Spacecraft Propulsion” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the loft at Public House Brewing Co. in Rolla.
Berg is co-founder and chief executive officer of Froberg Aerospace LLC, in Rolla. The company focuses on providing unique propulsion solutions for the emerging small satellite market. Before founding the company, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Missouri S&T in the Aerospace Plasma Lab following an industry stint at SpaceX as a propulsion and test engineer on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. He earned his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Missouri S&T in 2015 for his research specializing in multi-mode spacecraft propulsion systems. He also earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering at S&T.
Berg will provide an overview of traditional chemical and electric rockets, present the multi-mode system currently under development and discuss perspectives on the emerging small-satellite market.
In-space rocket propulsion options currently consist of two types: chemical and electric. Chemical rocket propulsion is capable of producing high thrust and rapid orbit changes but suffers from low fuel efficiency. Electric propulsion is capable of high fuel efficiency but cannot produce high thrust, resulting in lengthy orbital transfer times. Traditionally, spacecraft designers choose one or the other depending on what the requirements dictate. If both could be used, it would significantly enhance spacecraft capabilities. Froberg Aerospace is currently developing a system that can operate as either a chemical thruster or an electric thruster.