NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X7.02-9590
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Chemical Propulsion Components
PROPOSAL TITLE:Mars McLOX Rocket Propulsion System

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Ave., Unit A
Lakewood ,CO 80215 - 5516
(303) 980 - 0890

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert   Zubrin
zubrin@aol.com
11111 W. 8th Ave., Unit A
Lakewood, CO  80215 -5516
(303) 980 - 0890

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The Methane and Carbon Monoxide/LOX rocket (MCLOX) is a technology for accomplishing ascent from Mars. Current Mars in-situ propellant production (ISPP) technologies produce methane and carbon monoxide in various combinations, but with neither generally produced in pure form. While separation and purification of methane fuel is possible, it adds complexity to the propellant production process and discards an otherwise useful fuel product. The MCLOX makes such complex and wasteful processes unnecessary by burning the methane/CO mixtures produced by Mars ISPP systems without further refinement. Despite the decrease in rocket specific impulse caused by CO admixture, the improvement offered by concomitant increased propellant density provides a net improvement in stage performance, and this mission advantage is amplified further by the increase of the total amount of propellant produced and the decrease in mass and complexity of the required ISPP plant. For these reasons the development of the MCLOX rocket is important to achieve maximum benefit from Mars ISPP systems.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
MCLOX propulsion would be uniquely suitable for a Mars sample return or a manned Mars mission using indigenous propellant. Because it can use the mixtures of methane and CO that are produced by the most readily available ISPP systems without further distillation, it minimizes the mass and complexity of such systems and maximizes their useful propellant leverage. MCLOX engines could also be used to take off from the Moon or asteroids, and can be used to fulfill any function required for high-energy space storable propulsion.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The MCLOX has many commercial applications, since it can also work with pure methane fuel. An upper stage driven by such LOX/methane propulsion would be non-toxic, space storable, and offer the highest specific impulse of any chemical stage other than the much more expensive and bulkier LOX/H2 systems. As such, the MCLOX upper stage would find many customers among commercial, military, and scientific satellites, upper stages, and launch vehicles who would value it as a cost-effective alternative to the current choice of toxic hypergol, lower performing LOX/RP, or cryogenic LOX/H2 propulsion.

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
Fluid Storage and Handling
In-situ Resource Utilization


Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12