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Variable Thrust Liquid or Gel Propulsion for Mission Flexibility

Award Information

Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2008 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITE
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2008
Title: Variable Thrust Liquid or Gel Propulsion for Mission Flexibility
Agency / Branch: DOD / OSD
Contract: FA9300-08-M-3113
Award Amount: $100,000.00


ORBITEC proposes to develop a family of liquid/gel propellant, variable thrust propulsion systems to provide increased mission flexibility to battle planners to enhance warfighting strategies and enemy engagement capabilities. Variable thrust capability with non-toxic, space-storable propellants is also paramount for in-space applications such as rendezvous and docking Effective variable thrust capability is ideally achieved without loss of propulsion performance so mission efficiency is retained, and without loss of mixture ratio so that a propellant residual is not a consequence of throttled operation. In the proposed ORBITEC approach, which builds upon their evolution of Vortex Combustion Cold Wall (VCCW) chambers, performance and mixture ratio are essentially retained over the throttle range. A goal of 10:1 throttle range appears feasible. ORBITEC proposes to include both liquid and gel propellants in their program, and to undertake the development of the complete propulsion system including propellant tankage and pressurization. The resulting system is a self-contained autonomous propulsion package that needs only thrust level commands from the missile guidance package to perform its operations. In Phase I, the system will be defined and the lead system sized and analyzed. Key elements of the system will be demonstrated in laboratory testing. The conceptual design for the system to be proposed for Phase II will be prepared. In Phase II, a breadboard system will be hot fired to demonstrate operation and throttle range.

Principal Investigator:

William Knuth
Chief Engineer

Business Contact:

Eric E. Rice
President and CEO
Small Business Information at Submission:

Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI 53717

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