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Low-Cost, Scalable, Hybrid Launch Propulsion Technology

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX16CD17P
Agency Tracking Number: 150225
Amount: $124,983.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T1.01
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
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810-1077
United States
DUNS: 000000000
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Prakash Joshi
 Area Mgr,Advanced Systems Tech
 (978) 738-8202
Business Contact
 David Green
Title: President and CEO
Phone: (978) 738-8146
Research Institution
 Purdue University
 Jenny Siemers
155 S. Grant Street
West Lafayette, IN 47908-2114
United States

 (765) 494-6204
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), in collaboration Purdue University, proposes to develop a novel launch propulsion technology for rapid insertion of nano/micro satellites (~ 5-50 kg scale) into low earth orbit, with the potential to lower the current state-of-the-art launch stage cost by a factor of two. The technology employs a propulsion scheme comprising a storable liquid oxidizer and a unique solid fuel with excellent mechanical and thermochemical properties. The propulsion scheme was initially developed by PSI under DARPA programs for applications to in-space thrusters integrated in a consumable-structure spacecraft. The proposed application of this scheme to launch vehicle stage technology will result in low-cost, mass-efficient launch systems and will reduce the technical development risk for NASA. The fuel used is commercially available as an inexpensive engineering material. The oxidizer is commercially available as a low-cost, industrial chemical. Both have high density, are green (halogen and nitrogen free), and their chemical reaction has a high specific impulse. The oxidizer storage, handling, transportation, and loading operations are simpler and safer compared to cryogenic or toxic propellants. These attributes of the fuel and oxidizer enable our proposed concept of a low-cost launch vehicle stage. The specific objective of Phase I is to develop and analyze low-cost launch stage and thruster design concepts, and to develop and build a scaled prototype thruster hardware that will be used in both Phases I and II to characterize thruster design and to obtain performance data for use in the launch stage and propulsion system design/analysis studies. At the end of Phase I, we will have demonstrated the operation of the subscale thruster system and measured its performance. A plan for Phase II work, involving approaches to subscale ground testing or sub-orbital flight testing, will also be developed.

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

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