Integrated Composite Rocket Nozzle Extension

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


ORBITEC proposes to develop and demonstrate an Integrated Composite Rocket Nozzle Extension (ICRNE) for use in rocket thrust chambers. The ICRNE will utilize an innovative bonding approach to join a high-temperature composite nozzle extension to a regeneratively cooled metallic nozzle. The ICRNE technology will allow high-temperature composite materials to be directly integrated into a regeneratively-cooled nozzle section or thrust chamber made out of high-strength metallic alloys, thereby eliminating the heavy bolted flange joint that is currently used to attach high-temperature nozzle extensions. The resulting weight reduction will increase the thrust-to-weight ratio of the rocket engine. The ICRNE will also eliminate the need for multiple seals in the bolted flange joints, thus increasing reliability. The focus of the proposed Phase 1 effort will be to demonstrate the ICRNE technology by manufacturing and evaluating test specimens. A prototype ICRNE will also be designed and analyzed. In Phase 2, a prototype ICRNE unit will be fabricated, installed, and hot fire tested on an existing rocket engine. This proposal responds to Subtopic H2.02 In-Space Propulsion Systems, specifically "high temperature materials, coatings and/or ablatives or injectors, combustion chambers, nozzles, and nozzle extensions" for non-toxic, cryogenic, and nuclear thermal propulsion systems.