Improved Rhenium Thrust Chambers for In-Space Propulsion

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$100,000.00
Award Year:
2011
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNX11CE22P
Award Id:
n/a
Agency Tracking Number:
104787
Solicitation Year:
2010
Solicitation Topic Code:
S3.04
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
4914 Moores Mill Road, Huntsville, AL, 35811-1558
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
799114574
Principal Investigator:
JohnO'Dell
Principal Investigator
(256) 851-7653
scottodell@plasmapros.com
Business Contact:
TimothyMcKechnie
President
(256) 851-7653
timmck@plasmapros.com
Research Institute:
Stub




Abstract
Radiation-cooled, bipropellant thrust chambers are being considered for the ascent/descent engines and reaction control systems (RCS) for future NASA missions such as Mars Sample Return. Currently, iridium-lined rhenium combustion chambers are the state-of-the-art for in-space engines. NASA's Advanced Materials Bipropellant Rocket (AMBR) engine, a 150-lbf rhenium-iridium chamber produced by Plasma Processes, Inc. (PPI) and Aerojet, recently set a hydrazine specific impulse record of 333.5 seconds. To withstand the high loads during terrestrial launch, rhenium chambers with improved mechanical properties are needed, i.e., 40ksi yield strength and 10% elongation at room temperature. Recent electrochemical forming (EL-Form) work has shown considerable promise for improving the mechanical properties of rhenium by producing a multi-layered deposit comprised of a tailored microstructure, i.e., Engineered Re. In addition, the multi-component processing ability of the EL-Form process has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of producing advanced rhenium-iridium thrust chambers. Therefore, PPI and its industry partner, Aerojet, will work together to develop rhenium based in-space engines with improved mechanical properties at a reduced cost.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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