NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 H2.01-8906
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In-Space Chemical Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low-Cost, Lightweight Transpiration-Cooled LOX/CH4 Engine

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
12173 Montague Street
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Arthur J. Fortini
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236 Extension :118

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Craig N. Ward
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236 Extension :127

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In-Space Chemical Propulsion is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The specific impulse of a rocket engine increases as the chamber pressure increases, but so does the heat flux to the chamber wall. Ultimately, this defines the maximum operating pressure for the engine. For regeneratively cooled engines, even those using film cooling, the practical limit has been reached, and further increases in chamber pressure are simply not possible. Transpiration cooling does not have this limitation. Furthermore, because a transpiration-cooled engine pumps only a tiny fraction of the fuel through the wall, a smaller and hence lighter pump can be used, which will significantly reduce the dry mass. Finally, because transpiration cooling can keep the wall much cooler than regenerative cooling with film cooling, a transpiration-cooled engine can use less refractory (i.e., lighter weight) materials, thereby achieving additional reductions in dry mass. The net results are significant increases in the thrust-to-weight ratio and specific impulse and a significant decrease in the dry mass of the system. The perceived limitation of transpiration cooling with a porous wall is coking and blockage of the pores if a carbon-based fuel such as methane is used. In previous work using LOX/H2 propellant, Ultramet showed that with minimal transpiration flow, the wall temperature can be kept well below the point at which methane would form coke. In this project, Ultramet will work with Purdue University to build on previous success with transpiration cooling in LOX/H2 engines and design a lightweight LOX/LCH4 engine in the 10,000- to 25,000-lbf thrust range. The transpiration model will be physics-based and applicable to both LOX/LCH4 and LOX/H2. Key component demonstrators will be fabricated and used to collect empirical data on the thermal, structural, and hydraulic characteristics of the wall architecture. Transpiration rates on subscale hardware will be verified through flow testing, and empirical data will be used to verify the predicted lack of coking.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The primary NASA applications will be for high-performance, high-thrust O2/CH4 rocket engines in the 10,000- to 25,000-lbf thrust class, which can be used on booster upper stages, as well as for ascent/descent engines for Mars and lunar landers. Smaller engines in the 1000-lbf thrust class can be used for Earth departure stages and orbital maneuvers of large spacecraft. Larger engines in the 500,000-lbf thrust class can be used for lower stages on heavy-lift launch vehicles. This technology can be applied to LOX/H2, LOX/LCH4, and LOX/RP-1 engines.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA applications for this technology include upper stage booster engines, main engines for smaller commercial or military launch vehicles, and main engines on air-launched vehicles for delivering payloads to low Earth orbit. Larger engines in the 500,000-lbf thrust class can be used for lower stages on commercial and military heavy-lift vehicles. Because the technology is not propellant-specific, it can also be applied to LOX/LH2 and LOX/RP-1 engines in addition to LOX/LCH4.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Launch Engine/Booster
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Processing Methods
Simulation & Modeling
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37