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I invented a new type of thruster for satellites. I would like to know where can I send the report I made.

The report was reviewed by several physicists and engineers in my environment, but I would like it to be evaluated by professionals in the space area.

To check the feasibility, I did several simulations as well as the mechanical design, so there are several files. They do not fit into a paper.

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    $\begingroup$ What do you want to do with your idea in the first place? Claim authorship, sell it to an established business, develop yourself a business around it? $\endgroup$
    – fraxinus
    Oct 10, 2021 at 15:16
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    $\begingroup$ And where are you from? A good answer will inevitably be country-specific. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ The reviewers did not have experience with thrusters for satellites? $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Oct 10, 2021 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ Recommendation: Be sure to avoid phrases like "I wanna" when submitting your report. Stay professional, and good luck! $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 23:09

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There is a federal program for funding of small business research concepts. It is called the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR). Each agency puts out a procurement document each year with desired topics of interest, i.e., army, navy, air force, nasa, and all the other agencies. Novel propulsion topics are always a topic of interest. Look up this program on the internet and get on the list for the procurement docs.

Write up your idea in a proposal format and submit it. You can submit the same proposal to many different agencies interested in new propulsion concepts. Your proposal will be reviewed by propulsion experts from every service. If successful, you could receive a Phase I grant to expand the work and you also would know of the merit of your idea. Phase II follow on efforts are 10x the phase 1 grants.

If unsuccessful, you can request copies of the evaluations to see where the experts disagreed with your idea.

This is a relatively easy way to get your idea in front of dozens of propulsion specialists. Better than hustling a dozen different aerospace companies.

Also a paper at a major scientific meeting like the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) could generate some interest if you circulate around the meeting.

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    $\begingroup$ An SBIR proposal has to fit within the bounds of the SBIR solicitation. If a US government organization that funds SBIRs is not interested in a new type of thruster, a proposal for a new type of thruster shoe-horned into one of the topic areas in the solicitation will likely be rejected out of hand, without the desired analysis. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 7:11
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    $\begingroup$ We do not know where the questioner is from. If the questioner is not from the US / their environment is not in the US, or the questioner's environment is not a for-profit US-based company, the SBIR program will reject the proposal out of hand. If the questioner is from the US and is associated with a non-profit US organization such as a college or university, there is an alternative route related to the SBIR program, the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. This is even trickier than winning an SBIR grant. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 8:10
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    $\begingroup$ Downvoted for the claim that "Novel propulsion topics are always a topic of interest." This is not the case. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 8:12
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    $\begingroup$ As of the years when I was writing SBIR proposals, I know that propulsion topics were always included in the solicitations as those were the ones I was responding to. Over at least a 10 year period there were always propulsion topics where a new thruster concept could have been legitimately submitted. If that has changed, I stand corrected. All you have to do is look at the solicitations and see if propulsion ideas are in the lists of proposal topics. Other commenter is right, you do have to have a US business address but not necessary to be US citizen. Originator did not say. $\endgroup$
    – tckosvic
    Oct 10, 2021 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ Propulsion topics are always there, but they tend to be rather specific. From my reading, a new type of thruster has not been on-topic in the last several years. When one tries to shoe-horn in a proposal that is not directly on-topic the odds are high that the proposal will be rejected without the type of review the questioner wants. I have worked on multiple SBIR projects and have even won one. I have also lost on a few. The feedback on the losing proposals typically were not of the quality that the questioner wants. And we don't even know if the questioner qualifies for the program. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 16:16
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A viable answer to your question will be highly dependent on where you live, which you did not specify.

Every technically savvy country will inevitably have a patent office. Thruster designs are patentable. If your proposal has any validity you should talk with people in your environment who deal with intellectual property (IP). Getting a provisional patent is the first thing you should do. This is not cheap. In the US, IP lawyers charge about \$1000 per hour. Your organization may have in-house lawyers who don't charge that much, but they still are not cheap. At a bare minimum, you should write up your idea in patent office legalese and submit that writeup to your country's patent office so you can claim "patent pending".

From there, you can take your idea to governmental agencies in your country that might be interested in your idea. How you do that depends very much on where you are from. Be prepared for a response along the lines of "thanks, but no thanks." You can also pitch your idea to companies that manufacture thrusters. (They too might 'say thanks, but no thanks.") You can also ask for an independent evaluation by companies that do not manufacture thrusters but nonetheless do have the technical savvy to analyze your concept. This too will not be cheap.

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  • $\begingroup$ Notably, if you pitch your invention to a tech company without having a patent, they're likely to say "yeah, that's not novel" and then steal your idea. $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Oct 10, 2021 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Richard A patent (or patent-pending) plus a rock solid non-disclosure agreement (NDA) are essential when dealing with a tech company. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, if you've got pockets deep enough to defend yourself. $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Oct 10, 2021 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Richard From my experience, space technology companies tend to operate on good faith -- so long as all interested parties follow the standard rules, which admittedly are not exactly specified. As an explicit example, I am currently being asked to evaluate another company's concept for a rocket. I have 32 work hours to provide an answer. I cannot give any details as I'm covered by an NDA. I cannot and will not steal their ideas. My employer has a good relationship with others because we do not steal technologies and we do not talk about technologies covered by NDAs. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ We firewall ourselves internally so we can provide advice and services to multiple competing companies. When a bunch of us go out to lunch, topics such as how the Houston Astros are doing (or whether the Astros should be banned from baseball): Totally on-topic. Details about what we're working on: Very, very off-topic $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 16:46
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Related to the comment re: propulsion topics not being in SBIR topic of interest, a very brief look at the 2021 NASA SBIR solicitation shows the topic below. This was a 2 minute look.

Focus Area 1 In-Space Propulsion Technologies Lead MD: STMD

Participating MD(s): STTR

NASA is interested in technologies for advanced in-space propulsion systems to reduce travel time, increase payload mass, reduce acquisition costs, reduce operational costs, and enable new science capabilities for exploration and science spacecraft. The future will require demanding propulsive performance and flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles, more challenging environmental conditions, and extended operation. This focus area seeks innovations for NASA propulsion systems in chemical, electric, nuclear thermal and advanced propulsion systems related to human exploration and science missions. Propulsion technologies will focus on a number of mission applications including ascent, descent, orbit transfer, rendezvous, station keeping, proximity operations and deep space exploration.

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    $\begingroup$ That's an STTR, not an SBIR. We do not yet know whether the questioner is an American, which is a huge prerequisite. And where did you get your hands on the 2021 solicitation? That is not supposed to come out until 30 November 2021. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ HomeSolicitationsNASA SBIR/STTR 2021 Program Solicitation and page: sbir.nasa.gov/solicit/66886/detail?data=ch9 A two minute internet search for above. I don't know if solicitation is active or deadline has passed but it shows NASA interest in novel propulsion concepts. $\endgroup$
    – tckosvic
    Oct 10, 2021 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ The solicitation is in work and will be officially released on 30 November 2021. When you look at the details of that topic, a new thruster design is not on-topic. The closest match is "Z10.04 Materials, Processes, and Technologies for Advancing In-Space Electric Propulsion Thrusters." But when you read what NASA wants, it is not new thruster designs. It is instead "Structurally Robust Magnetic Circuit Materials for Hall-Effect Thrusters." $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ It's for the originator to look as to where to submit his topic and how to slant his proposal. I never had any intention to find the topic for him only to make him aware of the program. This was just a cursory look at NASA propulsion topics based upon your unknowledgable challenge. Additionally, there are other agencies probably new ones that I don't even know about where new thruster concepts might be of interest. $\endgroup$
    – tckosvic
    Oct 10, 2021 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ With regard to my use of "American", I stand corrected. For thruster proposals, the PI almost certainly needs to be a "US person," which is not the same as a US citizen. While there are no rules stating that this is the case, a US agency that will frown upon an SBIR or STTR proposal where the PI is not a US person as almost all of thruster technology is covered by ITAR and/or EAR. The purpose of both the SBIR and STTR projects is to improve domestic US technology. The rules are very strict regarding the employer. The rules are not quite so strict regarding the PI. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2021 at 17:31

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