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Propellant Management Device for Monopropellant


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms 

OBJECTIVE: Design an optimized flight weight spacecraft propellant management device for relatively small thrust levels (1N - 22N) which will possess low inert mass, strong reliability, and good compatibility with USAF developed monopropellants. 

DESCRIPTION: Current state of the art approaches to propellant management device (PMD) configurations within flight vehicle propellant tanks optimized for straight hydrazine (N2H4) have not been validated for use with advanced USAF developed high performance Hydroxyammonium Nitrate (HAN) based monopropellants. The wetting behavior of HAN-based propellants are significantly different from hydrazine and will require new PMD designs. Repeatable and reliable propellant delivery under a variety of conditions from launch, high-g and zero-g environments are to be considered. Typical thrust levels envisioned are from 1 to 22N. Typical feed pressure ranges to be considered range from 200 to 1000 psi. Additionally, material compatibilities must be considered, as reliable and predictable performance over long service lifetimes up to 20 years is desired. Manufacturability and maintainability are to be considered, as these are the largest impacts to an overall system cost. We seek novel exploitation of concepts to reduce to common practice USAF developed high-performance HAN based monopropellants in rocket propulsion systems. 

PHASE I: Detail a list of design requirements and a design configuration that can be realistically produced for a flight weight system based upon the monopropellant wetting properties and mission requirements. The effort should clearly address and estimate propulsion system inert weight impact, compatibility, as well as overall flight system impacts. 

PHASE II: Complete a performance analysis with flight scaled components and perform all possible ground-based testing. Propulsion system inert weight and flight system impacts shall be optimized from those estimated in Phase I. 

PHASE III: The Offeror shall develop viable demonstration cases in collaboration with the government or the private sector. Follow-on activities are to be sought aggressively throughout all mission applications within DoD, NASA, and commercial space platforms by Offeror. 


1: Jaekle, D.E., "Propellant Management Device Conceptual Design and Analysis: Vanes", AIAA 91-2172, 27th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, Sacramento, CA, June 24- 26, 1991.

2:  Hawkins, T. W., Brand, A. J., McKay. M. B., and Tinnirello, M., "Reduced Toxicity, High Performance Monopropellant", Proceedings of the 4th International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, Huntsville AL (May 2010).

3:  Jaekle, D.E., "Propellant Management Device Conceptual Design and Analysis: Traps and Troughs", AIAA 95-2531, 31st AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, San Diego, CA, July 10-12, 1995.

KEYWORDS: Propellant Management Device (PMD), HAN-Based Monopropellant, Surface Tension, Tank 


Adam Brand 

(661) 275-5787 

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