PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 03.02-8730 (Chron: 001271 )
Carbon dioxide Oxidizer Rocket

The Carbon dioxide Oxidizer Rocket (COR) is a novel propulsion system concept that can enable global mobility for Mars exploration. In this concept a fuel, such as B2H6, B5H9, SiH4, LiBH4, Al(BH4)3, H2, Mg, NH3 or N2H4 is transported to Mars and burned in the COR engine using native Martian CO2 as the oxidizer. Specific impulses for these propellant combinations range from 200 to 320 s. Because the majority of the propellant mass is CO2, which can be replenished from Martian air with a simple pump, the effective specific impulse of the fuel transported from Earth can exceed 1600 s. The COR could be used to power a Mars hopper vehicle, which replenishes itself with CO2 oxidizer each times it lands, allowing one Mars mission to explore a large number of widely dispersed sites. COR rockets could also be used to support NASA's planned Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission by eliminating the need to transport to Mars most of the propellant needed by the Mars ascent vehicle. As a result the MSR mission could both reduce the size of its required launch vehicle and increase the sample size returned to Earth, greatly increasing mission cost-effectiveness.

The primary application of the COR system is to enable Mars global mobility systems and to greatly increase the cost effectiveness of NASA's planned Mars Sample Return mission. However, other commercial applications potential of the COR are important and manifest. CO2 is a safe, non-cryogenic, non-toxic oxidizer. If rocket engines can be developed employing it, they will find broad application for use in space storable upper stages, sounding rockets, and easy to integrate satellite RCS systems. Current spacecraft RCS systems employ hydrazine, which is dangerous, toxic, explosive, expensive to integrate into a spacecraft, and low-performing (220 s Isp). COR rockets would be a cheap, safe, easy-to-integrate space storable alternative with superior performance. COR propulsion for sounding rockets for use in the university environment are particularly attractive, as alternative oxidizers in current use are either cryogenic (LOX) or toxic (NTO) or explosive (H2O2), all of which faults are of significant concern to educators who desire student involvement in sounding rocket launch or related propulsion projects.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Robert Zubrin
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Avenue, Unit A
Lakewood , CO   80215 - 5516

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Ave., Unit A
Lakewood , CO   80215 - 5516