Lowest Lifecycle Cost (LLC) Propulsion System

Period of Performance: 09/22/2015 - 12/22/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Science and Technology Applications, LLC
530 New Los Angeles Avenue, Suite115 # 122
Moorpark, CA 93021
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT:Future military and commercial spacelift systems will utilize reusable systems, consisting of liquid oxygen/hydrocarbon staged combustion engines, in order to increase the military utility by both enhancing current missions, enabling new missions and reducing cost. One innovative approach to reduce both non-recurring and recurring costs is through an innovative modular Aerospike engine through the use of common annular thrust chambers. At the conclusion of this program, we will have improved insight to performance sensitivities and engine cycle configurations to achieve the lowest lifecycle cost that can potentially transition into future systems. Through subsequent phases and/or parallel, complimenting programs, sub-scale hot fire test data will mitigate risks and improve computational fluid dynamics mixing models and enhance design fidelity of full-scale systems.BENEFIT:The proposed program will perform high-fidelity analysis and trades on a booster class annular aerospike engine using common thrusters. This program is a natural extension of the 3GRB program with focus on the following areas: 1) TCA ERE and regen delta-P; 2) combining our expertise with Aerojet Rocketdyne, we will perform nozzle sensitivity analyses including percent plug, altitude compensation, thrust chamber exit Mach number, and base bleed estimates; 3) key trades including ox-rich vs. fuel-rich preburner; 4) chamber pressure ranging from sub-critical to super-critical; 4) throttling and thrust magnitude control; 5) integration issues including leak paths. All findings will be compiled for comprehensive power balance analysis with multi-constraint optimization. The proposed program will provide key insight to basis of design for future sub-scale hardware and testing programs.