USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Advanced Near-Net Shape Metallurgy of Liquid Rocket Engine Components

Award Information

Department of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
1212 FOURIER DR Madison, WI 53717-1961
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Advanced Near-Net Shape Metallurgy of Liquid Rocket Engine Components
Agency: DOD
Contract: FA9300-11-M-2016
Award Amount: $100,000.00


ABSTRACT: ORBITEC proposes to develop and demonstrate a family of Low-Cost Thrust Chambers (LCTC) for use in future NASA exploration systems. Substantial cost savings will be realized in the production of the LCTCs with ORBITEC"s innovative hybrid fabrication technique. Hybrid fabrication (HF) allows for the rapid casting of near-net shape metallic thruster components, including regeneratively-cooled nozzles, propellant injectors, manifolds, and faceplates. The new manufacturing process provides increased design flexibility and reduced lead times for rocket components, resulting in a compressed design-build-test cycle. To further ease component fabrication concerns, the LCTCs will employ ORBITEC"s patented vortex-cooled thrust chamber approach. During Phase I, a cryogenic flight-like thruster in the 300-lbf thrust class will be fabricated and tested in a hot-fire test campaign. The design and fabrication of cryogenic LCTCs in the 3k-lbf thrust class will be demonstrated during Phase II to show that this process scales readily. BENEFIT: The primary focus of this activity is to develop a low-cost manufacturing process for engine systems to support NASA"s Exploration Vision. An operational earth-to-orbit engine system developed with the hybrid fabrication process will be developed during the Phase III program for a cryogenic space engine. The same low-cost fabrication technology could be used in other NASA engine applications including large-scale boosters, reaction control thrusters, and other in-space thrust chambers. Furthermore, this technology could expand to other propulsion sub-systems including gas generators, pre-burners, turbopump assemblies, and hot gas valves. It is anticipated that the cost benefits of hybrid fabrication will provide a strong incentive for NASA"s propulsion system designers and fabricators to integrate this technology into their hardware design/fab process.

Principal Investigator:

J. A. Sauer
Aerospace Engineer
(608) 229-2752

Business Contact:

Eric E. Rice
(608) 229-2730
Small Business Information at Submission:

Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC)
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI -

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