bluShift Aerospace is developing fully modular hybrid rocket motors, referred to as MAREVLs (Modular Adaptable Rocket Engine for Vehicle Launch). Having a modular hybrid rocket motor will allow bluShift and other organizations to rapidly develop various launch vehicles for a micro satellite (CubeSat) launch fleet. There are two innovative fundamental ideas behind bluShift’s MAREVL: Modularity and Hybrid Rocket Motor Technology. By only perfecting and using a single simple modular motor bluShift will lower development costs (only one motor is designed for a whole class of vehicles), lower manufacturing costs (only one set of parts that are made in a higher quantity), increase adaptability by making developing new vehicles easier, increase launch cadence by building an inventory of building blocks.
Hybrid rocket motors have several advantages that made bluShift choose them for the MAREVL. Simpler: Compared to liquid engines hybrids only have one liquid system to handle (the oxidizer) therefore there is half as much weight and complexity from plumbing and valving. Safer: Hybrid rocket motors are safer than most liquid and solid propellant motors. The fuel is inert and will not pose hazardous risks during storage or handling; the nitrous oxide bluShift is using is safer than liquid oxygen. Throttle Capability: Unlike solid propellant motors, hybrids can be throttled to optimize performance, and can throttle individually in a cluster to eliminate the need for an entire gimbaling system.
Over the last 5 years bluShift has been developing a very specific hybrid rocket motor that has some particular advantages. Carbon Neutral: The proprietary hybrid fuel bluShift has been testing is 100% bio-derived, it is carbon neutral and will not contribute to a net gain in greenhouse gases. Higher Fuel Regression Rates: The wax-based fuel bluShift uses has a high enough regression rate that fuel grains can be left with a simple single fuel port, increasing simplicity and lowering waste.
bluShift Aerospace, Inc. will position its business as a potential launch service provider for the NASA Launch Services Program under the Venture Class Launch Services Contract. It will be able to offer the program launch services at a lower cost than its currently paying and to operate at a higher launch frequency. MAREVLs can also be used by NASA as a standalone, self-contained, simple, low-cost and robust propulsion option.
bluShift expects that MAREVLs can be used DoD or other organizations as a standalone, self-contained, simple, low-cost and robust propulsion option. bluShift will make its launch vehicles based on the MAREVL technology available to commercial launch industry, enabling private companies and educational institutions to launch CubeSats at a less than $25k/kg cost.