NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 X6.01-7813
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Earth-to-Orbit Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Vortex Hybrid Rocket Engine (AVHRE)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Orbital Technologies Corp
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI 53717-1961
(608)827-5000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ronald R Teeter
teeterr@orbitec.com
1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI 53717-1961
(608)827-5000

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) proposes to develop a unique Advanced Vortex Hybrid Rocket Engine (AVHRE) to achieve a highly-reliable, low-cost and extremely versatile propulsion technology. The benefits of AVHRE result from the combination of ORBITEC's patented vortex injection technique; high-regression rate, paraffin solid fuels; and a new fuel formulation innovation to control the solid fuel regression characteristics and provide improved structural integrity of the grain. A vortex injector generates a coaxial vortex pair, driving high solid-fuel regression rates and improved combustion efficiency. In addition, paraffin also regresses very rapidly, further enhancing the systems flexibility. The rapid regression rates and many design degrees of freedom offered by AVHRE offers the potential for: (1) increased propellant mass fractions; (2) the ability to tailor and optimize a hybrid propulsion system for a specific application; (3) increased ISP efficiency; (4) a reduction or elimination of residual fuel; (5) improved grain structural integrity and increased melting temperature; (6) reduced need for thermal insulation. Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility and merit of AVHRE through design, analysis, laboratory testing, and hot firings of up to 1,000 lbf thrust.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The AVHRE is designed to address key operational challenges of traditional hybrid rocket engine systems. If successful, this could catapult hybrid rocket systems into a highly competitive position for many Earth-to-orbit propulsion applications, where their inherent safety, simplicity, and low-cost could be competitively harnessed. AVHRE is expected to have application to reusable and expendable launch vehicles, sounding rockets, and upper stage propulsion systems. This technology is closely related to ORBITEC's vortex combustion cold-wall (VCCW) chamber technology for liquid bi-propellant applications. The next generation launch vehicles can benefit from these technologies.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
AVHRE is expected to have application to reusable and expendable launch vehicles, sounding rockets, and upper stage propulsion systems. This technology is closely related to ORBITEC's vortex combustion cold-wall (VCCW) chamber technology for liquid bi-propellant applications, and has the potential to significantly improve liquid rocket lifetime, reusability, and thrust-to-weight ratio. Potential military applications include: kinetic energy boost-phase interceptors, high-speed and/or high altitude target drones, and cruise missile propulsion. A new market is also emerging to provide suborbital launch vehicles for space tourists as well as the entertainment market for amusement rides and rocket car demonstrations at air shows.