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Improved Rhenium Thrust Chambers for In-Space Propulsion

Award Information

Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch:
N/A
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
104787
Solicitation Year:
2010
Solicitation Topic Code:
S3.04
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Plasma Processes, LLC
4914 Moores Mill Road Huntsville, AL 35811-1558
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
 
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Improved Rhenium Thrust Chambers for In-Space Propulsion
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CE22P
Award Amount: $100,000.00
 

Abstract:

Radiation-cooled, bipropellant thrust chambers are being considered for the ascent/descent engines and reaction control systems (RCS) for future NASA missions such as Mars Sample Return. Currently, iridium-lined rhenium combustion chambers are the state-of-the-art for in-space engines. NASA's Advanced Materials Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) engine, a 150-lbf rhenium-iridium chamber produced by Plasma Processes, Inc. (PPI) and Aerojet, recently set a hydrazine specific impulse record of 333.5 seconds. To withstand the high loads during terrestrial launch, rhenium chambers with improved mechanical properties are needed, i.e., 40ksi yield strength and 10% elongation at room temperature. Recent electrochemical forming (EL-Form) work has shown considerable promise for improving the mechanical properties of rhenium by producing a multi-layered deposit comprised of a tailored microstructure, i.e., Engineered Re. In addition, the multi-component processing ability of the EL-Form process has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of producing advanced rhenium-iridium thrust chambers. Therefore, PPI and its industry partner, Aerojet, will work together to develop rhenium based in-space engines with improved mechanical properties at a reduced cost.

Principal Investigator:

John S. O'Dell
Principal Investigator
2568517653
scottodell@plasmapros.com

Business Contact:

Timothy N. McKechnie
President
2568517653
timmck@plasmapros.com
Small Business Information at Submission:

Plasma Processes, LLC.
4914 Moores Mill Road Huntsville, AL -

EIN/Tax ID: 273812665
DUNS: N/A
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No