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Position, Tactical Technology Office
Darpa and Tto
Head of Pratt
Seattle Aerosciences Center
Tom Bussing This year's featured keynote talk will be "Technology Development: One Project at a Time. It will be presented by Dr. Tom Bussing. Dr. Bussing is currently working as a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the Tactical Technology Office (TTO). Dr. Bussing is the keynote speaker for the 35th Dayton-Cincinnati Aerospace Sciences Symposium. His presentation is titled "Technology Development: One Project at a Time."
Dr. Bussing is currently working as a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the Tactical Technology Office (TTO).
Tom Bussing Dr. Tom Bussing graduated with a Ph.D. in Aero/Astro Engineering from MIT in 1985 and is currently working as a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the Tactical Technology Office (TTO). Prior to this assignment, Tom worked as a manager at Boeing, Adroit Systems Inc., and Pratt & Whitney. He also served as a consultant to many venture capital firms. During his illustrious career, Tom performed business/technical due diligence on over 150 new ideas and system concepts. He was responsible for conceiving, developing, managing, raising money, financial management, program execution, negotiating deals and transitioning key technologies/products to the Department of Defense. At DARPA, Tom's responsibilities include but are not limited to Vulcan 1 (Novel Marine Turbine Engine) and Vulcan 2 (Novel High Mach Engine, HyFly, AreLight, MoTr, and others). Tom was awarded 14 US Patents with 1 Pending, 30+ International Patents, has authored/co-authored 30+ journal/technical Publications, and is featured in 10 Newspaper/Magazine Articles.
Tom Bussing, founder of the Bellevue unit and former Adroit vice president, declined to disclose the terms of the cash purchase other than to call it "a significant amount."The money went to Bussing, to other members of the Bellevue team and to the former parent company.His new title is general manager. A former Boeing engineer, 43-year-old Bussing started developing the new "pulse detonation" engine eight years ago, after reading an article about detonation technology in a journal.Since then he has won nine patents for the technology, all of which he has now sold to Pratt & Whitney.He holds a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bussing believes the engine's combination of low cost, efficiency and simplicity means that in its various versions it could replace many jet turbine and rocket engines. "We had propellers in the '50s, we had jet engines in the late 20th century, and this technology is the future of propulsion," Bussing said.While others around the world also are researching the concept, Bussing's group has taken the lead, and has locked in its advances with an array of broad patents.While the first application is likely to be in cruise missiles, Bussing envisions other variants that could cost-effectively power outer-space launch vehicles as well as commercial jet aircraft. "We are the first to harness that power in a pulse detonation device," he said. Bussing claims his engine would cost 75 percent less than a supersonic-capable turbine engine, and would be tougher and more fuel efficient. It's that possibility which has attracted a total of $22 million in funding from NASA, the Department of Defense and Congress since Bussing started developing the technology in 1992. Bussing has a strong entrepreneurial side, which is at the root of why he decided to leave Boeing in 1992 to join Adroit.A turning point came during a conversation with Boeing executive Alan Mulally in 1991, during which Mulally told Bussing he probably wouldn't get a chance to really manage a major program for 15 years.Nine months later Bussing left Boeing for "a high-risk position" at Adroit, where he would be responsible for developing the pulsed detonation technology and raising funds for it. "At Boeing I felt I was using only 10 percent of my mental capacity," Bussing said."I moved to Adroit and was using 110 percent." While he was directly involved in the pulse detonation technology in his early years with Adroit, most of Bussing's energy has gone into building the company, finding funding and cultivating the eventual sale to Pratt during the last few years. "I see myself as an entrepreneur, so this is a great opportunity to do it," Bussing said, adding that he expects to look for a new opportunity once the pulse detonation technology is more developed. "Briefing two-star generals, getting patents - it was all a rush," he said.
Besides simplifying systems, pulse detonation technology also could lead to reductions in emissions because of its characteristic short bum times, said Tom Bussing, general manager at Pratt & Whitney Seattle AeroSciences Center, the company's lead site for pulse detonation work.
Five-tube integrated test rig was run at the Navy's China Lake, Calif., facility. Bussing believes that a pure PDE for a Navy missile project could be ready for flight as early as 2010, but he's quick to point out that timing depends on the Navy's needs and budgets. This article has been republished with the permission of Aviation Week.
"Each step is critical," says Pratt & Whitney Seattle Aerosciences Center division manager Tom Bussing.
Overall test results to date are on track, says Bussing. "Performance is very close to what our analysis predicted." Key parameters include measurements of thrust, fuel flow, pressures inside the tubes, and temperatures in the tubes and exhaust nozzles, he says. Initial tests of operability involved perfecting the timing of fuel injection, ignition sparks and scheduling of the bowtie-like rotary valve, which spins at 1,800RPM to match the 60Hz operating frequency of each of the five tubes. The fuel mixture of ethylene, oxygen and compressed air is ignited by a Formula 1 racing car spark plug, with each tube firing every 16.6ms. Divided by five, this results in an overall engine firing rate of 3.5ms. Initial thrust levels with unheated "cold" flow were close to 600lb (2.7kN) in each .07s-long firing test, although higher thrust levels are thought to be within reach with the revised nozzles. Earlier tests with a compound nozzle show that they work, says Bussing. "The state-of-the-art of the PDE is relatively low, mostly 3-4 TRL, with some subsystem levels higher at around six," says Bussing.