NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X7.02-9183
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Chemical Propulsion Components
PROPOSAL TITLE:Resonating Nitrous Oxide Thruster

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
AeroAstro, Inc.
20145 Ashbrook Place
Ashburn ,VA 20147 - 3373
(703) 723 - 9800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joshua E Elvander
josh.elvander@aeroastro.com
12 Farnsworth Street, Fourth Floor
Boston, MA  20147 -3373
(617) 451 - 8630

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
AeroAstro proposes decomposing nitrous oxide (N2O) as an alternative propellant to existing spacecraft propellants. Decomposing N2O can be used as either a high Isp, hot-gas monopropellant or as a low Isp, cold gas for ACS thrusters. AeroAstro further proposes to use an innovative technique to achieve N2O decomposition: gasdynamic resonance. Gasdynamic resonance will elevate the N2O to the activation temperatures required for exothermic decomposition, allowing monopropellant operation without the difficulties of a catalyst. One of the challenges of long-duration space exploration systems is finding a propellant for microspacecraft that is safe, reliable, robust, and performs better than current propulsion systems. N2O can replace both hot-gas propellants such as hydrazine and cold-gas ACS systems such as nitrogen or isobutane. N2O is non-toxic, has a low freezing point (-91oC), and stores as a liquid. N2O is also a byproduct of the catalysis of ammonia, a main effluent of waste-water recycling systems for long-duration manned space missions. The anticipated results of this effort are data demonstrating the operating parameters of resonating N2O, and a dual-mode thruster design capable of both hot-gas and cold-gas operation. Phase II activity will evolve the design of the dual-mode thruster and demonstrate operation over a range of conditions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
A microspacecraft propulsion system based on decomposing nitrous oxide (N2O) could support long-duration, manned space exploration by providing inspection and diagnostic services to the space station, crew exploration vehicle and other long-duration space transportation systems. The storable, non-toxic, stable nature of the propellant and its exhaust products reduce risk to crew and hardware and allow for easy handling and transfer. N2O has potential as a pseudo-ISRU propellant because it is the byproduct of the catalysis of ammonia, which is isolated during wastewater recycling. N2O can operate as either a hot-gas or cold-gas propellant, expanding system capability while reducing mass.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
AeroAstro expects that decomposing nitrous oxide (N2O) thrusters can replace hydrazine monopropellant thrusters and several types of traditional cold gas thrusters. Such N2O systems would drive down propulsion system costs and reduce overall system mass by removing the need for tank/line heaters and separate systems for cold and hot propellants. This could enable a new class of microspacecraft that can afford the propellant to perform a variety of missions, such as monitoring high-value geosynchronous communications satellites for anomalies, assist in on-orbit testing of communications payloads, imagery for marketing purposes, docking and refueling, responsive rendezvous, etc.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Chemical
Micro Thrusters
Mobility
Monopropellants


Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12