Accurate and Reliable Rocket Thruster Technology

Period of Performance: 11/04/2008 - 05/04/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Analytical Services, Inc.
Huntsville, AL 35806
Principal Investigator


In this SBIR project, a preliminary design of a highly accurate, highly repeatable impulse thruster will be completed. ASI, together with ATK, proposes to complete the preliminary design in parallel with the development of a comprehensive thruster model in a Monte Carlo environment that will account for every contributor to repeatability in the final product. Using modern uncertainty analysis techniques, we will identify the top contributors to a lack of repeatability, taking the actual manufacturing processes into account, and devise process control limits to achieve the requirements for the thruster. Our thruster concept includes an innovative approach for IM compliance, by using a passively venting, two-piece motor case. We also propose to use a modern semiconductor bridge (SCB) initiator for motor ignition, which will help us achieve the ignition delay requirements in a compact package. In Phase II, we will continue to revise the Monte Carlo simulation for greater fidelity estimates and produce flight weight motors for performance and IM testing. Important innovations include (1) a passively venting motor case that will provide IM compliance without resorting to explosive cutters and (2) a comprehensive model that will account for both systematic and random sources of error in thruster performance.