Integral Superconducting Electrical Power

Period of Performance: 04/30/1999 - 01/31/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Heston Consulting Co., Inc.
430 Lebanon Road
West Mifflin, PA 15122
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Existing rocket engines use multiple auxiliary power systems (electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic) to provide power for valves, actuators, flight controls, propellant pumps and electrical systems. The size, weight and complexity of these systems detracts from many aspects of rocket performance. A lightweight source of abundant electrical power could allow us to replace these multiple hydraulic and pneumatic systems with a lightweight electrical generator driving electrically operated valves, actuators and other devices. Recent advances in superconductor technology combined with the unique environment aboard rockets with cryogenic propellants may make it possible to build a lightweight cryogenic generator to provide abundant electrical power needed to "electrify" conventional rocket systems. The generator would become an intergal part of the cryogenic boost pump and would be driven by the existing turbine. Such a system could significantly reduce the size, weight and complexity of traditional auxiliary systems, resulting in higher reliability, lower cost and easier control, monitoring and maintenance. In this SBIR program we will work with engine and vehicle and superconductor manufacturers to develop the preliminary design of a 300 kelowatt cryogenic generator that is integrated into a LH2 turbopump. The generator will be built and tested in Phase II.