LOX Olefin Rocket Propulsion for Deep Space

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS8-03031
Agency Tracking Number: 024081
Amount: $69,984.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
11111 W. 8th Ave., Unit A, Lakewood, CO, 80215
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Mark Caviezel
 Principal Investigator
 (303) 984-9653
Business Contact
 Robert Zubrin
Title: Buisness Offical
Phone: (303) 980-0890
Email: zubrin@aol.com
Research Institution
The LOX Olefin engine (LOXO or LOX/LC2H4 or LOX/LC3H6) is a proposed technology designed to provide interplanetary spacecraft with high specific impulse, space storable propulsion. With the LOXO engine, the combination of liquid oxygen with sub-cooled liquid ethylene or liquid propylene as a rocket propellant enables development of compact lightweight high performance stages with isothermal common bulkhead propellant tanks. This could enable energetic deep space delta-V maneuvers. Currently, space missions requiring energetic delta V maneuvers weeks or months after launch are limited to use of moderate Isp conventional stored hypergolic propellants, typically achieving performance of 310-320 seconds. The much more energetic LOX/LH2 combination has the decided disadvantage of low density, and is not considered suitable for long term storage in space because of thermal management issues with the extremely cold (20K) LH2. The LOXO propulsion system represents an important midway step that combines the advantages and avoids the major flaws of both of these extremes. Theoretical Isp for this propellant combination over 390 seconds has been calculated using AFALS chemical equilibrium code. With an achievable in-space thermal management system, LOXO is a good candidate for deep space propulsion, with performance greatly surpassing current options for mission planners.

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

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