NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 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, Phase II

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: 4
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In this project, Ultramet is designing and fabricating a lightweight, high temperature 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 is 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 or tantalum alloy that has excellent yield strength at both ambient and elevated temperature. Phase I demonstrated alloys with yield strength-to-weight ratios more than three times that of rhenium, which will significantly reduce chamber weight. The starting materials are also two orders of magnitude less expensive than rhenium and are less expensive than the C103 niobium alloy commonly used in low-performance engines. Phase II will focus on the design, fabrication, and hot-fire testing of a small (5-25 lbf thrust class) chamber with LOX/CH4, and will culminate in the design and fabrication of a 100-lbf chamber that can be mated and tested with an existing LOX/CH4 injector. Throughout the project, Ultramet will work closely with Aerojet, which will perform the hot-fire testing.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
For cryogenic LOX/CH4 engines in the 5- to 100-lbf thrust class, potential NASA applications include reaction control systems 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. The material technology can also be used with Earth-storable propellants such as nitrogen tetroxide/monomethyl hydrazine (NTO/MMH), where the primary application would be apogee topping engines and attitude control systems for Earth-orbiting satellites. The technology can be applied to launch vehicles for attitude control as well.

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

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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 08-06-10 17:29