NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 03.02-8064 (Chron: 001937 )
PROJECT TITLE
Carbon-based Mars ISRU Rocket Technology (CMIRT)



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The innovation is a unique Carbon-based Mars ISRU Rocket Technology (CMIRT) that can greatly reduce vehicle size, complexity, support systems, and Earth launch mass requirements for a variety of human and robotic Mars missions, where propulsion systems use propellants from indigenous materials on Mars. CMIRT propellants are simply derived from the CO2 or H2O in the Mars atmosphere or from H2O found in the Mars soil or subsurface. The CMIRT innova-tion consists of efficiently packaged solid carbon-based fuel (with various percentages of hydrogen)/liquid oxygen inte-grated into ORBITEC's cryogenic hybrid with a vortex feed system. The ISRU-based propellant family and the unique vortex-fed hybrid propulsion system approach proposed here has many advantages over other Earth-derived propellants and conventional propulsion systems. ORBITEC's experience and capability in advanced propulsion and ISRU sys-tems will allow much to be accomplished during the Phase I effort. During Phase, I ORBITEC proposes to: (1) conduct test firings in the ORBITEC Mark II hybrid engine to measure regression rates of the carbon-based propellants, (2) de-sign the vortex advanced cryogenic hybrid engine that will integrate into the MarkII system, (3) construct/fabricate and test the vortex advanced cryogenic hybrid engine, (4) conduct test firings in the vortex engine, and (5) analyze test firing results and recommend Phase II propellant selection and flexible propulsion systems that can use many of the carbon-based fuels with oxygen. Phase II will result in the final designs, construction, parametric testing, and larger-scale test firings of selected CMIRT propellant systems.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The results of this effort are applicable to future NASA Solar System unmanned and manned exploration missions to Mars. This activity is a part of NASA's overall strategic plan. Totally Mars-produced fuels and oxidizers will enhance and/or enable a variety of Mars exploration missions by providing a very cost-effective supply of propellants. The unique hardware proposed will also provide a low-cost and efficient/simple approach to reusable rocket propulsion on Mars. The establishment of practical feasibility could absolutely result in significant savings to our exploration pro-grams. These engines could be used for efficient planetary ascent/descent, orbit transfer, launch boost, intercept, etc. The storage aspects could lead to developments in lunar, Mars-based or on-orbit cryogenic fluid storage applications. This propellant/propulsion concept can meet the requirements of a number of manned and robotic ISRU Mars missions, especially a sample return mission. The proposed project could spinoff into revolutionary high-performance, low-cost, advanced cryogenic engines, of various sizes, that could significantly enhance a wide variety of Earth-based military and civil space missions and enable others.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Dr. Eric E. Rice
Orbital Technologies Corporation
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison , WI 53717 - 1961



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Orbital Technologies Corporation
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison , WI 53717 - 1961