NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 X10.01-8636
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic and Non-Toxic Storable Propellant Space Engines
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low-Cost, High-Performance Combustion Chamber for LOX/CH4 Propulsion

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
12173 Montague Street
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Arthur J. Fortini
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236 Extension :118

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Ultramet will design and fabricate a lightweight, high temperature 5-lbf combustion chamber for use with cryogenic liquid oxygen/methane (LOX/CH4) propellant that will deliver a specific impulse of ~355 seconds, an increase over the current 320-sec baseline that will result in a propellant mass decrease of 55 lbm. The material system will be based on Ultramet's proven oxide-iridium/rhenium architecture, which has been successfully hot-fire tested with stoichiometric oxygen/hydrogen for hours. Instead of rhenium, however, the structural material will be a niobium alloy that has excellent high temperature yield strength. With a yield strength-to-weight ratio over 33% greater than that of rhenium at elevated temperature, this niobium alloy will significantly reduce chamber weight. The starting materials are two orders of magnitude less expensive than rhenium and are less expensive than the C103 alloy commonly used in low-performance engines. Aerojet will design the chamber in Phase I and will perform hot-fire testing in Phase II. Phase II will include scaleup of the process and testing of a chamber in the 25- to 500-lbf thrust class, which would be suitable for a reaction control system engine on a lunar ascent/descent vehicle.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
For cryogenic LOX/CH4 engines in the 25- to 500-lbf thrust class, potential NASA applications include reaction control system engines for lunar or Martian ascent/descent vehicles, lunar or Martian sample return vehicles, and main engines for interplanetary spacecraft and spacecraft being placed into geostationary orbit. In addition to spacecraft applications, the technology can also be applied to launch vehicles for pitch and roll control. Smaller versions of the engine can be used for attitude control applications on any of these vehicles. The material technology can also be used with Earth-storable propellants such as NTO/MMH.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercial applications include apogee topping motors for commercial satellites as well as pitch and roll control motors for launch vehicles. Military applications include both primary propulsion and divert and attitude control system functions for missiles and missile defense. Because the proposed chambers can be used with storable propellants such as NTO/MMH, they can be used as drop-in replacements for iridium/rhenium engines being manufactured and flown.

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.


Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14