Advanced Near-Net Shape Metallurgy of Liquid Rocket Engine Components

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9300-11-M-2016
Agency Tracking Number: F103-215-0255
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: AF103-215
Solicitation Number: 2010.3
Small Business Information
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive, Madison, WI, -
DUNS: 196894869
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 J. Sauer
 Aerospace Engineer
 (608) 229-2752
Business Contact
 Eric Rice
Title: CEO
Phone: (608) 229-2730
Research Institution
ABSTRACT: ORBITEC proposes to develop and demonstrate a family of Low-Cost Thrust Chambers (LCTC) for use in future NASA exploration systems. Substantial cost savings will be realized in the production of the LCTCs with ORBITEC"s innovative hybrid fabrication technique. Hybrid fabrication (HF) allows for the rapid casting of near-net shape metallic thruster components, including regeneratively-cooled nozzles, propellant injectors, manifolds, and faceplates. The new manufacturing process provides increased design flexibility and reduced lead times for rocket components, resulting in a compressed design-build-test cycle. To further ease component fabrication concerns, the LCTCs will employ ORBITEC"s patented vortex-cooled thrust chamber approach. During Phase I, a cryogenic flight-like thruster in the 300-lbf thrust class will be fabricated and tested in a hot-fire test campaign. The design and fabrication of cryogenic LCTCs in the 3k-lbf thrust class will be demonstrated during Phase II to show that this process scales readily. BENEFIT: The primary focus of this activity is to develop a low-cost manufacturing process for engine systems to support NASA"s Exploration Vision. An operational earth-to-orbit engine system developed with the hybrid fabrication process will be developed during the Phase III program for a cryogenic space engine. The same low-cost fabrication technology could be used in other NASA engine applications including large-scale boosters, reaction control thrusters, and other in-space thrust chambers. Furthermore, this technology could expand to other propulsion sub-systems including gas generators, pre-burners, turbopump assemblies, and hot gas valves. It is anticipated that the cost benefits of hybrid fabrication will provide a strong incentive for NASA"s propulsion system designers and fabricators to integrate this technology into their hardware design/fab process.

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

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