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Thermally Stable Catalytic Combustors for Very High Altitude Airbreathing…

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Thermally Stable Catalytic Combustors for Very High Altitude Airbreathing Propulsion
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CG65P
Award Amount: $99,964.00


Aerospace vehicles operating at high altitudes have the potential to be less expensive and more versatile alternatives to space based systems for earth/space science, communications, and surveillance. However, the operational flexibility of these vehicles is limited by the performance of the propulsion system. In gas turbine systems low temperatures and pressures at the combustor inlet are of concern for combustion stability and efficiency at high altitudes. The overall objective of the proposed work is to assess the feasibility of developing a high performance airbreathing combustor for hydrogen-fueled very high altitude aircraft by promoting stable combustion using thermally stable catalytic reactor technology. Our combustor concept baselines the use of strontium-substituted hexaaluminate catalyst supports, which are resilient to temperatures greater than 1500 K. In Phase I an active catalyst that provides high reactivity with hydrogen at representative conditions will be identified through laboratory testing. An empirical model of catalyst reactivity will be developed and integrated with a reactor model to produce a conceptual design of a full scale combustor for a defined very high altitude gas turbine system. The catalytic rector that will be developed through this effort represents a new, enabling technology that will dramatically increase the flexibility of aerospace vehicles.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. James Sisco
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Scott Hart
Financial Analyst
Small Business Information at Submission:

Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
MA Cambridge, MA 02142-1189

EIN/Tax ID: 541502935
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No