The Nitrous Oxide - Propane Rocket Engine
Final rept. 30 Jun 2000-16 Aug 2001
MICRO CRAFT INC HUNTSVILLE AL
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This work, in response to DARPA BAA 99-22, topic title Small Scale Propulsion Systems, focused on the development of a nitrous oxide N2o propane C3H8 rocket engine NOP, that utilizes catalytic decomposition of N20 as an ignition system for propane. This propellant combination is proposed as an alternative to the present space propulsion systems that use hypergolic or cryogenic liquids, or solid propellants. Phase I work has resulted in a successful demonstration of the key technologies associated with the development of such a propulsion system. In particular, rocket performance for the NOP propellants and catalytic decomposition of nitrous oxide were demonstrated. The work began with two parallel efforts the experimental evaluation of rocket performance using nitrous oxide and propane as propellants, and an experimental evaluation of various catalysts for the decomposition of nitrous oxide. The development of a catalytic reactor to efficiently decompose N20 for propane autoignition was central to this research effort.
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Rocket Engines
- Unmanned Spacecraft