Accession Number:

ADA409326

Title:

AFRPL Solar-Thermal Rocket Activities

Descriptive Note:

Technical paper

Corporate Author:

AIR FORCE ROCKET PROPULSION LAB EDWARDSAFB CA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1984-03-01

Pagination or Media Count:

11.0

Abstract:

Earth orbital maneuvers, particularly orbit raising, provide the most important and extensive propulsion tasks in space and are not ideally served by either chemical rockets with their comparatively low lsp or electric rockets with their low thrust. For several years the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory AFRPL has investigated solar thermal propulsion as a potential way of filling this gap in propulsion capability. The concept makes use of concentrated sunlight to heat hydrogen to temperatures approaching 5000 deg R for expansion through a converging-diverging nozzle. The payload advantages which accrue from the high lsp over 800 seconds in various mission scenarios were determined analytically and a combined in-house and contractual investigation was launched to provide a demonstration and evaluation of the concept within the limits of a ground test facility. The design and fabrication of a nominal one pound thrust solar rocket was contracted out, and an in-house project was initiated to design and build a facility for testing the solar engine. In addition the analysis of alternative thruster concepts has been accomplished.

Subject Categories:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Rocket Engines

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE