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Improved Rhenium Thrust Chambers for In-Space Propulsion

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CE22P
Agency Tracking Number: 104787
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: S3.04
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2011
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2011-02-18
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2011-09-29
Small Business Information
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811-1558
United States
DUNS: 799114574
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 John O'Dell
 Principal Investigator
 (256) 851-7653
 scottodell@plasmapros.com
Business Contact
 Timothy McKechnie
Title: President
Phone: (256) 851-7653
Email: timmck@plasmapros.com
Research Institution
 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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