MODULAR COMBUSTOR ALTITUDE-COMPENSATING (MCAC) LIQUID ROCKET ENGINES

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9300-04-M-3012
Agency Tracking Number: F041-199-2196
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: AF04-199
Solicitation Number: 2004.1
Small Business Information
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive, Madison, WI, 53717
DUNS: 196894869
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 William Knuth
 Chief Engineer
 (608) 827-5000
 knuthw@orbitec.com
Business Contact
 Eric Rice
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Phone: (608) 827-5000
Email: ricee@orbitec.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
A LOX/Hydrocarbon rocket engine using an array of self-sufficient independent propulsion units (IPU's) or modular combustors, clustered in an altitude-compensating nozzle offers a promising avenue for reliable low-cost access to space. Combustor redundancy provides high fault-tolerance, achieving robust mission assurance. Combustors include integral feed systems, and are capable of independent operation. Combustors can be shut down individually or in opposing pairs in case of an impending malfunction and the mission completed with the remaining units. Identical combustors maximize commonality and allow component development in small sizes. Development progress applies to all elements. Maintenance is simplified by changing out modules. Altitude-compensation permits modest chamber pressures with attendant service life benefits, without undue performance penalty. A phased program with clear milestones minimizes programmatic risk, while providing progress visibility. ORBITEC will lead the work as the propulsion system integrator, supported by WASK Engineering, and Concepts NREC for combustion devices and propellant feed system elements respectively. Subscale components, and the full-scale IPU combustion modules will be developed and tested at ORBITEC. The integrated propulsion system, nominally rated at 1M lb thrust, will be tested in a Government test stand. This effort will lead to a new family of reliable rocket propulsion for boosters and upper stages providing safe, low-cost space access.

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

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