PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 20.02-8728 (Chron: 001273 )
Nitrous Oxide-Organic Liquid Monopropellant Rocket

The Nitrous Oxide-Organic Liquid Monopropellant Rocket (NOOLMR) is a new rocket concept using nitrous oxide mixed with a small amount of a liquid organic fuel, such as an alcohol or hydrocarbon, as a monopropellant. Liquid monopropellants are often used in propulsion systems where simplicity of design, restartability/control on demand, and repeatability is desired, such as in spacecraft reaction control systems (RCS), which exhibit modest performance. Unfortunately, even the best performing monopropellants offer only modest specific impulse (Isp), are extremely toxic, and difficult and expensive to store and handle. Other monopropellants, such as hydrogen peroxide, are safer, but tend to be associated with even lower Isp. A NOOLMR system, however, would have a much higher specific impulse than any current monopropellant rocket systems, and would use a much less toxic propellant than other high specific impulse monopropellants. Replacing current liquid monopropellant propulsion systems with NOOLMR-based systems would provide much greater performance than current systems, while greatly reducing ground processing time and costs.

The Nitrous Oxide-Organic Liquid Monopropellant Rocket has the potential of promoting use of liquid monopropellant rockets. Currently, even the best performing monopellants offer only limited specific impulse and are difficult and costly to safely store and handle for extended periods. For example, hydrazine is commonly used as a monopropellant in attitude control thrusters in spacecraft. Unfortunately, hydrazine only offers an Isp of about 230 s, and is extremely toxic, so great care and expense must be incurred in its handling and containment for only modest performance. NOOLMRs, however, use a relatively benign high-performance monopropellant, and so are cheaper and easier to use. NOOLMRs, with an Isp of over 300 s, would be much more profitable and attractive to use than current common monopropellant rockets systems, and should be able to dominate the market for liquid monopropellant propulsion systems, such as are used in attitude control of spacecraft. Very low cost, safe, sounding rockets could also be available, with many potential applications in the educational and amateur rocket communities.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Robert Zubrin
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Ave, 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