Solid Hydrogen Particle Propulsion (SHPP)

Period of Performance: 01/01/2002 - 12/31/2002

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Orbital Technologies Corp.(orbitec)
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI 53717
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

ORBITEC proposes to develop a new class of fuels consisting of solid hydrogen particles in a liquid helium carrier fluid. These particles would be ideal carriers for various High-Energy Density Materials (HEDM?s), including high-energy metals or atomic free radicals. To demonstrate and test the new fuels, ORBITEC also proposes to develop a new bi-propellant engine. HEDM fuels using these metal and atomic hydrogen additives have theoretical specific impulse values that can significantly exceed those of conventional propellants. Development of clean burning, high Isp fuels will enable SSTO vehicles and advanced, low-cost launch vehicle systems in the 21st century. Phase I work will experimentally demonstrate the particle formation techniques, and produce LHe/H2 slurries. In addition, a preliminary design of a 20 lbf thrust bi-propellant engine for use with slurry fuels will be developed. Phase II work will continue this development, fabricating and firing a 20 lbf thrust LHe/SH2 slurry - GOX engine, as we evaluate techniques to add HEDM?s to the SH2/LHe slurry.