A Throttling Solid Propellant Rocket Motor with Adaptive Thrust Control

Period of Performance: 04/12/2006 - 04/30/2008


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Propulsion Research, Inc.
651 Southview Court, Unit H
Culpeper, VA 22701
Principal Investigator


This proposal outlines a Phase II SBIR program to define and develop a throttling solid rocket motor with enhanced performance capability and minimum 15:1 thrust turndown that will provide total thrust management capability for tactical missile applications. This program phase will focus primarily on pintle motor testing. The adaptive control techniques to be used will interface with a variable area pintle nozzle system to provide closed loop control capability with the built in intelligence necessary to provide "on-demand" thrust control to the missile. PRI will use its "smart-thrust" adaptive control technology to achieve optimal control during the ignition transient phase as well as all other areas of motor operation. All available means will be implemented to maximize the performance of the pintle motor and demonstrate this performance in multiple pintle motor static tests using class 1.3, IM, minimum-smoke, high-performance solid propellants. Insensitive munitions, structural properties, aging, stop-start, smoldering, and minimum smoke operation are all important propellant aspects to be demonstrated. Consensus will be sought between the sponsor, prime missile contractor, solid rocket motor manufacturer, and PRI to arrive at the test objectives to be demonstrated that will best benefit future tactical missile systems. These test objectives will be structured to be increasingly difficult as the pintle motor testing progresses.