Integrated Thruster Technology for Lightweight, High Performance, Compact LDACS
Ultramet recently demonstrated rapid, reliable, and repeated ignition of hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN)-hydroxyethylhydrazinium nitrate (HEHN) monopropellant mixtures. HAN-HEHN green monopropellants offer many improvements over monopropellant hydrazine and NTO/MMH bipropellant, including increased specific impulse and density specific impulse, as well as greater safety in terms of toxicity and insensitivity, which will significantly decrease overall propulsion volume, mass, and cost. Before this milestone was achieved, the feasibility of using advanced ionic liquid monopropellants was distant. The goal of the proposed project is to integrate the ignition system and thruster into a single component that will eliminate the need for an injector, thereby reducing the system part count, cost, mass, and length vs. L*. Based on existing technologies, in Phase I Ultramet will design and build an engine appropriate for a kinetic kill vehicle divert and attitude control system. In Phase II, this engine would undergo hot-fire testing using AF-315e monopropellant at Aerojet or AMPAC-ISP, both of which have expressed interest in the technology. Because the thermal bed is non-discriminate to the propellant, a different formulation or propellant type may be substituted. For example, the technology could be used with hydrazine or another monopropellant to increase performance and minimize thruster length.
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