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Vortex Combustion Ramjet

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2000 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
NAS3 00010
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITE
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI -
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2000
Title: Vortex Combustion Ramjet
Agency: NASA
Contract: NAS3 00010
Award Amount: $600,000.00


ORBITEC proposes an advanced vortex combustion ramjet (VCRJ) featuring an innovative, vortex-flow, wall surface burning combustor, having improved combustion efficiency with cleaner burning and an extended operating range. Full-wall, liquid-fuel injection is expected to permit wide throttling without flame holders because the combustion is anchored at the wall as in a hybrid rocket engine. ORBITEC has been developing a similar device as a hybrid rocket engine with solid fuel walls. The unique co-axial vortex promotes combustion, with an extended flow path and thorough mixing. Benefits include: simplicity, low cost, and improved combustion to provide enhanced performance, with extended range and flight ceiling for the vehicle. In Phase I, a small prototype ramjet will be designed, built and tested. In Phase II, a larger engine will be flown in an RPV. NASA applications may include a research RPV, providing design and operational data for SST propulsion. Early commercial applications include RPVs to be used in forest fire surveillance, traffic and accident viewing, search and rescue and weather observations, government use may include RPVs for border surveillance, cruise weapon systems, target drones, and forward observation aircraft. These uses also support continued development of the engine cycle for SST applications, including fractional orbit vehicles.

Principal Investigator:

William H. Knuth
Chief Engineer

Business Contact:

Eric E. Rice
President & CEO
(608) 827-5000
Small Business Information at Submission:

Orbital Technologies Corporation
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI 53717-

EIN/Tax ID: 391628664
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No