NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 X10.01-9134
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic and Non-Toxic Storable Propellant Space Engines
PROPOSAL TITLE: Propellant Flow Actuated Piezoelectric Rocket Engine Igniter

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Innovative Engineering Solutions
26200 Adams Ave
Murrieta, CA 92562 - 7060
(951) 304-7600

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mark Wollen
340 Vernon Way
El Cajon, CA 92020 - 1950
(619) 593-7750

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Spark ignition of a bi-propellant rocket engine is a classic, proven, and generally reliable process. However, timing can be critical, and the control logic, additional electronic components and wiring adds complexity, cost and weight. These factors can be especially undesirable for small attitude or reaction control engines. The proposed innovation uses a novel method to excite a piezo-ceramic crystal using the initiation of propellant flow to the engine. When the propellant valves are opened, the precise timing of the spark relative to propellant flow, as well as the flow start transient, are governed by the geometry of the device. Hence, precise, repeatable start conditions should be achieved with no additional control logic or complexity. Furthermore, the piezo-ceramic crystal is integral to (and embedded in) the igniter body, thereby completely eliminating external wiring and associated complexity. A bench-top demonstration of one manifestation of the device (incorporating only one very simple moving part) has already demonstrated basic feasibility. Other manifestations with no moving parts what-so-ever (at the macroscopic scale) may also be viable, and will be investigated. Phase 1 TLR advancement goal is from 3 to 5, with Phase 2 goal of 7.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Reliable and simplified ignition sources are critical for virtually all bi-propellant rocket engines. The proposed innovation has the potential to provide a reliable, properly timed ignition source for new rocket engines, as well as being a potential retrofit option to replace costly or complex igniters on currently operational engines. The technology is applicable to virtually any size engine, from attitude control to main booster engine scale. For small RCS engines, it is particularly suitable due to its simplicity, potentially very small size, and ability to repetitively generate a reliable, well timed ignition source.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The igniter proposed is applicable to virtually any non-NASA rocket engine application, as well as having application as an ignition source for commercial or military gas turbine engines, or anywhere that an ignition source is required to coincide with the initiation of fuel flow (e.g. flame throwers, flare stacks, industrial gas heaters).

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.

Control Instrumentation
Fluid Storage and Handling
Micro Thrusters
Propellant Storage

Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14