Advanced Composite Thrust Chambers for the Altair Lunar Lander

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX10CB51C
Agency Tracking Number: 084674
Amount: $600,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: X4.06
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
4914 Moores Mill Road, Huntsville, AL, 35811-1558
DUNS: 799114574
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Angela Hattaway
 Principal Investigator
 (256) 256-7653
Business Contact
 Timothy McKechnie
Title: President
Phone: (256) 851-7653
Research Institution
Radiation-cooled, bipropellant thrusters are being considered for the Ascent Module main engine of the Altair Lunar Lander. Currently, iridium-lined rhenium combustion chambers are the state-of-the-art for radiatively cooled thrusters. To increase the performance of radiation-cooled engines, improved chamber materials are needed that will allow higher operating temperatures, better resistance to oxidation, and reduce mass. During this effort, an innovative composite thrust chamber is being developed that will incorporate advanced ceramic oxide and iridium liner techniques as well as replacing the expensive, high density rhenium with a low mass carbon-carbon composite. The Phase I results have demonstrated the potential of combining innovative fabrication techniques to produce an advanced ceramic-Ir lined C-C thrust chamber. Hot gas testing has shown the ability of the ceramic oxide coating to reduce the exterior temperature of the C-C jacket, which will enable the use of higher temperature propellants for improved performance. No damage was observed in the ceramic-Ir liner as a result of hot gas testing. During Phase II, the techniques will be optimized to allow fabrication of a 3000 lbf chamber that will be delivered to NASA-MSFC for hot-fire testing.

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

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