NASA SBIR 2020-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 20-1- Z7.04-5610
 Lander Systems Technologies
 Advanced rocket nozzle for planetary landers and reusable space vehicles
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
STOKE Space Technologies, Inc
18628 SE 180TH ST
Renton, WA 98058
(206) 240-7647

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Dr. Andrew Lapsa
18628 SE 180TH ST Renton, WA 98058 - 0617
(206) 240-7647

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Dr. Andrew Lapsa
18628 SE 180TH ST Renton, WA 98058 - 0617
(206) 240-7647
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 2
End: 3
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

A novel rocket engine configuration is proposed in response to NASA SBIR Focus Area 12 Topic Z7.04, which seeks Lander Systems Technologies that alleviate the plume-surface interaction environment through novel propulsion cluster placements and surface ejecta damage tolerant systems, and which “improve the mass efficiency of in-space stages and landers, …reduce integration complexity, …enable reusable landing systems, …achieve multifunctional components, …and reduce operating complexity.”

The proposed configuration offers significant system-level advantages in planetary landers and/or reusable second stage applications. The engine uses a novel rocket nozzle geometry that has not been previously considered, and which is the focus of this Phase I effort. The nozzle achieves high area ratio gas expansion within a form factor ten times shorter than traditional bell nozzles, while also accommodating deep throttle operation in the presence of atmospheric pressure. The reduced form factor alleviates the plume-surface interaction by increasing the clearance between the base of a lander vehicle and the target surface, or for equivalent ground clearance, the nozzle decreases the size and mass of the requisite landing gear. When strategically integrated into the vehicle base, the engine nozzle serves as an actively cooled metallic heat shield during atmospheric entry maneuvers. The same surface creates a robust barrier, protecting the rest of the vehicle from surface ejecta during terminal descent on unprepared landing sites such as on the Moon or Mars. Phase I completes at TRL 3 by leveraging existing experimental data, developing the nozzle design methodology, generating nozzle performance predictions, and producing hardware for future parametric testing. If this project proceeds to Phase II it will focus on breadboard testing at NASA MSFC’s Nozzle Test Facility to anchor analytical results in preparation for follow-on commercialization, completing at TRL 5.

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
  • Lunar Lander vehicles
  • Mars Lander vehicles
  • Planetary Lander vehicles
  • Earth return vehicles
  • Compact high performance thrusters for RCS or OMS in space vehicles
Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

-Reusable second stages of launch vehicles

-RCS for spacecraft and satellites

-OMS for spacecraft and satellites

-Compact missile systems

-Hypersonic vehicles 

-Air-augmented rockets


Duration: 6

Form Generated on 07/22/2020 13:55:02