NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:In-Space Propulsion (Chemical/Thermal)
PROPOSAL TITLE:High Energy, Low Temperature Gelled Bi-Propellant Formulation for Long-Duration In-Space Propulsion

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CFD Research Corporation
215 Wynn Dr.
Huntsville ,AL 35805 - 1926
(256) 726 - 4884

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert   DiSalvo
215 Wynn Dr., 5th Floor
Huntsville, AL  35805 -1926
(256) 726 - 4839

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The use of gelled propellants for deep space planetary missions may enable adoption of high performance (Isp-vac>360 sec) propellant combinations that do not require power-intensive heating and stirring cycles before firings, and whose handling and safety characteristics are close to stated goals of "green" propellants.

Phase I focused on the ability to gel both halves of the propellant combination of liquid propane and MON-30 (GLP/GMON-30). This combination was selected to provide extended low-temperature capability. Both components were successfully gelled and preliminary rheological data was taken. To allow system-wide studies of the impact of gelled propellant adoption, non-Newtonian gel rheology models were added to NASA's flow network system analysis code, Generalized Fluid System Simulation Program (GFSSP). These models were validated with experimental gel data. Preliminary two-fluid CFD simulations were performed to understand the flow of gelled propellants in microgravity environments.

Phase II will culminate in a hot-fire demonstration of a GLP/GMON-30 rocket chamber, to be performed at AMRDEC facilities. To support this, hardware for gelling of the propellants will be fabricated and delivered to NASA. Suitable quantities of the gelled propellants will be prepared and fundamental data, including rheological and freezing point behavior will be determined. Expanded system-level assessments will be performed, using both GFSSP and CFD tools.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed low-storage temperature bipropellant combination provides NASA the capability to engage in planetary missions with reduced power budgets devoted to propellant warming and reduced risk of propellant freezing in case of malfunction. It offers significant improvement in safety operations with without sacrificing high performance. This will enable missions to the outer planets on the more reduced budgets available today and still allow NASA scientists to collect vast amounts of data. This propellant technology will also be applicable for upper stage orbital maneuvering and long-term on-orbit propellant storage depots.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
CFDRC's expertise in propulsion controls, controllable bi-propellant engines and working relationships with Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Aerojet, and Alliant TechSystems assures rapid Phase III transition of the Phase I and II results. Many of these companies are interested in high-performance, low temperature bi-propellants for various military applications and commercial application such as: airbag inflators for automobiles, emergency escape systems for aircraft, underwater propulsion, demolition of unwanted structures such as buildings, bridges, towers, etc., and high-performance upper stage and Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS) applications.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52