NASA STTR 2014 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 14-1 T1.01-9949
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Affordable Nano-Launcher Upper Stage Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Performance Nanolauncher

NAME: Orbital Technologies Corporation NAME: Pennsylvania State University
STREET: Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive STREET: 110 Technology Center Building
CITY: Madison CITY: University Park
STATE/ZIP: WI  53717 - 1961 STATE/ZIP: PA  16802 - 7000
PHONE: (608) 827-5000 PHONE: (814) 865-1372

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jonathan McCabe
1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI 53717 - 1961
(608) 229-2832

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Eric Rice
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI 53717 - 1961
(608) 229-2804

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 5
End: 7

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Affordable Nano-Launcher Upper Stage Propulsion is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The proposed Low Cost Nanolauncher (LCN) is an upper stage using a new, inexpensive propulsion system. The Phase I program will combine several technologies with a simple design strategy to produce a flight-weight propulsion system that is easy to fabricate and operate. Self pressurizing propellants will minimize complexity of the propulsion system and vortex cold-wall technology will be used to simplify the combustion chamber. An inexpensive, light weight nozzle is being developed by Pennsylvania State University using carbon phenolics. Commercially available components will be use where possible to further minimize costs.
The Phase I LNC will demonstrate these technologies through ground testing of a flight-like propulsion system. A small launch vehicle second stage will be designed based on the experimental performance characteristics. This work will form the basis for a family of vehicle stages from smaller upper stages to a main booster stage. The low cost technologies and design methods employed in the LNC will reduce the cost of launching nanosatellites into orbit.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Low Cost Nanolauncher will have a variety of applications within NASA. The direct result of Phase I will be a design for an upper stage propulsion system that has been validated by subscale testing. It will be inexpensive to fabricate and operate, costing an estimated $70,000 per launch. This upper stage will compliment the Nano Launch 1200 project at NASA, Marshall. This vehicle is destined to allow NASA to deploy small payloads to orbit without the restrictions and delays associated with piggybacking on larger vehicles.
The Low Cost Nanolauncher propulsion system is applicable to many vehicle sizes both smaller and larger than the proposed stage. The simplicity and low cost of the vortex engine, ablative nozzle, and self pressurizing propellants make it ideal for small rockets with small budgets. The propellants are also storable and relatively benign, which gives the system a huge advantage over some of the higher performance alternatives. These qualities may be useful in other NASA programs such as the NASA Launch Services Enabling eXploration & Technology (NEXT) program.

The propulsion system developed in Phase I is sized appropriately for a sounding rocket. With the addition of an airframe and parachutes the Low Cost Nanolauncher will become an inexpensive sounding rocket for use in atmospheric and near space research. It will also provide a means of flight testing thrusters, nano-satellites, and small components to increase their TRL level.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The propulsion system developed in Phase I will easily be transitioned to a sounding rocket. This sounding rocket would be low cost, reusable, and available on a flexible schedule. It will allow commercial customers fly payloads (5-10kg) on sub-orbital launches to 120km. This vehicle is expected to provide sub-orbital trips to space for $5,000/kg. Small businesses and research institutions would use this service to fly high altitude research equipment and test experimental hardware on sub-orbital launches to increase the TRL of their products. The educational system would be a new market made possible by low costs. From elementary school to college, educators and student groups could afford to make small payloads and have them launched. Such an experience would be an unparalleled tool for inspiring interest in applied math and science. All of these markets will benefit from flexible schedules and lower launch costs.

During Phase II and Phase III a family of stages for an orbital vehicle will be developed. Such a vehicle will have a broad application. As a dedicated nanosatellite launch vehicle the Orbital Nanolauncher will be ideally suited to meeting expanding market demands. Without being tied to the launch of larger rockets, as most launches currently are, the Orbital Nanolauncher will provide flexible schedules and on-demand launch. The low vehicle cost and simple fabrication means production will easily scale to meet demand.

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.)
Avionics (see also Control and Monitoring)
Spacecraft Design, Construction, Testing, & Performance (see also Engineering; Testing & Evaluation)
Spacecraft Main Engine
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)

Form Generated on 04-23-14 17:37