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Unified In-Space Propulsion Framework for Prediction of Plume-Induced Spacecraft Environments

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX16CM38P
Agency Tracking Number: 150180
Amount: $124,952.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T1.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-06-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2017-06-09
Small Business Information
701 McMillian Way Northwest, Suite D
Huntsville, AL 35806-2923
United States
DUNS: 000000000
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Ranjan Mehta
 Senior Principal Engineer
 (256) 726-4800
Business Contact
 Silvia Harvey
Title: Business Official
Phone: (256) 726-4858
Research Institution
 Mississippi State University
 Angela Templeton
133 Etheredge Hall 449 Hardy Rd. P.O. Box 6156
Mississippi State, MS 39762-6156
United States

 (662) 325-7404
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

Chemical contamination of spacecraft components as well as thermal and force loading from firing liquid propellant thrusters are critical concerns for in-space propulsion applications. Gas molecular contamination and liquid droplet deposition due to incomplete combustion threaten to damage surface materials, sensitive instruments and optical sensors, and poses major risks for mission success. Liquid propellant thrusters operate in space at near-vacuum conditions, and contaminants traverse a complex mixed continuum-rarefied environment upon exiting the thruster nozzle. Current CFD modeling capabilities for in-space propulsion analysis have made great strides, but fall short of providing the fidelity required to simulate the contaminant transport around the spacecraft with sufficient efficiency and accuracy. This STTR will develop and deliver an innovative computational architecture for prediction of plume flow impingement and contaminant dispersal through mixed flow environments for in-space propulsion analysis. CFDRC will supplement the massively parallel Loci framework with a highly accurate unified solver for prediction of mixed continuum-rarefied flows with contaminant dispersal. This will enable better understanding and prediction of thermal and force loading and contamination of spacecraft components, and enable design of a new era of safer next-generation in-space propulsion systems. Phase I will demonstrate improved modeling fidelity and provide great insight into in-space thruster plume contaminant environments. Phase II will bring the complete predictive capabilities to production for detailed investigations into contaminant environments for full spacecraft configurations.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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