Minimizing Plume Contamination Production in Bipropellant Thrusters,
ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL CANOGA PARK CA ROCKETDYNE DIV
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Under a 1-year funded by the International Telecommunication Satellite Organization, the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International designed, fabricated, and tested a full-scale, advanced, storable, pressure-fed thruster for blowdown operation in the 1-lbf thrust range. The purpose of the program was a full-scale technology demonstration of an engine appropriate for use as a satellite station-keeping and attitude-control thruster. The primary features of the thruster are high performance, reduced plume contaminant production, and long life. Using nitrogen tetroxide and monomethyl-hydrazine, the thruster operates at 50 psia chamber pressure and produces a nominal vacuum specific impulse of 300 seconds with a 1501 nozzle expansion ratio. The thruster chamber is made of beryllium and is radiation cooled. Reduction of the plume contaminant is accomplished by providing improved propellant evaporation for high combustion efficiency and by reduction of thruster propellant dribble volumes.