Light Weight Thrust Chambers for Advanced Interceptor Axial Propulsion

Period of Performance: 02/29/2008 - 08/28/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Plasma Processes, Inc.
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811
Principal Investigator


The Network Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCADE) is an affordable boost- and ascent- phase ballistic missile interceptor system. NCADE has the same form, fit and interface as the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM ). The boost- and ascent-phase capability of NCADE is enabled by high-altitude launch and a high performance two-stage propulsion system. The second stage uses a hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN) based monopropellant for all upper stage propulsion, including axial, divert and attitude control system, to provide endo- and exoatmospheric flight. The combustion environment of high-performance HAN formulations is both high temperature (>1700°C) and corrosive (nitric acid, steam, carbon dioxide). The biggest technical challenge for HAN based propulsion systems is developing low-cost, lightweight thrusters and hot gas valves to withstand the extreme temperature environment of combustion products. Lining carbon-carbon chambers with a thin layer of rhenium or iridium is an innovative way to both economically use refractory metals and improve the performance of high temperature composite chambers. This proposal will evaluate using iridium-lined carbon-carbon to form a composite structure for HAN axial thrusters and DACS gas generator components.