Magnesium Based Rockets for Martian Exploration

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$99,993.00
Award Year:
2010
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNX10CC62P
Award Id:
95323
Agency Tracking Number:
095688
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
S3
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA, 01760
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
185739591
Principal Investigator:
JamesSzabo
Principal Investigator
(508) 655-5565
jszabo@busek.com
Business Contact:
JudyBudny
Business Official
(508) 655-5565
judy@busek.com
Research Institute:
n/a
Abstract
We propose to develop Mg rockets for Martian ascent vehicle applications. The propellant can be acquired in-situ from MgO in the Martian regolith (5.1% Mg by mass) and combusted with H20 that exists at the poles and below the surface. The vacuum Isp of a Mg-H20 rocket would be ~300 s. Mg can also be combusted with CO2 condensed from the Martian atmosphere to yield Isp ~215 s. The technology can also be used on the Moon, where regolith is 5.5% Mg. Al-H20 rockets would also be enabled; like Mg, Al is present in Martian and Lunar regolith. In Phase I, we will prove the feasibility of Mg rockets. Chemical Equilibrium Analysis codes will be used to predict rocket performance at various operating conditions and O/F ratios. Combustion with CO2, H20, and pure O2 will be considered. Experiments will focus on developing and characterizing delivery, ignition and combustion systems, starting with ARL's existing Mg combustion system. Ways to achieve low temperature, electrolytic ignition and stable combustion will be studied. Drawing upon both experimental and theoretical results, we will then design a 5-10 N metal-water rocket system to be built and tested in Phase II.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites


SBA logo

Department of Agriculture logo

Department of Commerce logo

Department of Defense logo

Department of Education logo

Department of Energy logo

Department of Health and Human Services logo

Department of Homeland Security logo

Department of Transportation logo

Enviromental Protection Agency logo

National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo

National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government