Rocket Nozzle Thrust Diverter
ABSTRACT: Exquadrum proposes a rocket nozzle thrust diverter to achieve an additional 2:1 throttle reduction above and beyond the throttle capability of the engine. The innovative thrust diverter operates separate from the engine and engine cycle, and therefore has no performance effect on the turbomachinery, thrust chamber, or nozzle. It is stowed away from the engine exhaust stream for re-usability and long-life, and is deployed using a single actuator, synchronization ring, and linkages. In Phase I, Exquadrum will document the requirements, use modeling and simulation to conduct design trade studies, generate a general arrangement drawing to document the resulting configuration, and perform a proof-of-concept sub-scale hot fire demonstration test. This test will also generate the initial data regarding loads, temperatures, and performance that will be useful in identifying risks for the modeling, simulation, and development efforts planned for Phase II. BENEFIT: Anticipated benefits of this research includes the successful demonstration of the rocket nozzle thrust diverter system through a proof-of-concept hot fire test conducted at the completion of Phase I. This test will demonstrate the ability of the rocket nozzle thrust diverter to reduce the measured thrust 50 percent, hence demonstrating the 2:1 throttle requirement. Additional benefits of the rocket nozzle thrust diverter include using it as an uncooled nozzle extension for increased performance, as well as using its actuation capability to provide altitude compensation for improved off-design performance. These performance improvements have the potential to offset the added weight of the thrust diverter system. The rocket nozzle thrust diverter enables greater throttle range beyond the rocket engine throttle capability. Moving the throttling capability from the engine to the diverter reduces the operating range of the engine, which improves performance and reliability. Having an overall increased throttle range enables significantly lower thrust during stage separation for a booster engine and provides deeper throttling capability for upper stage engines. The technology is applicable to booster and upperstage with either bell, conical, or aerospike nozzles for Air Force, NASA, and the growing commercial space launch industry.
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