Fuels and Space Propellants for Reusable Launch Vehicles
The NASA Glenn Research Center supports and promotes research in advanced propulsion and propellants. This research encompasses both air-breathing fuels and space flight rocket propulsion and propellants. The air-breathing fuel research is addressed with pulsed detonation engine fuels and the majority of the content below addresses our work in metallized gelled fuels, gelled hydrogen, atomic propellants, and very advanced rocket propulsion, including nuclear electric and nuclear thermal propulsion.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Summary
Fuels and Space Propellants
This focused SBIR topic is designed to foster the development of higher density, higher Isp, and more operable propellants. In the development of aeronautics and space technology, there have been limits to vehicle performance imposed by traditionally used propellants and fuels. Increases in performance are possible with either increased propellant specific impulse, increased density, or both. Safety of flight systems will also be increased by using denser, more viscous propellants and fuels.
Many challenges have been overcome recently in the discovery and synthesis of propellants which can have higher performance than traditional O2/H2, O2/RP-1, and aircraft fuels. This focused SBIR topic provides a substantial infusion of resources that can enable the commercialization of these fuels and propellants for aeronautics and space applications.
The space flight applications of the higher performing propellants include high density monopropellants for upper stages and the on-board propulsion for small spacecraft.
Higher energy fuels, such as N4, N6, BH4 or others would be more applicable to launch vehicles. Aeronautical uses are directed toward improving the storage density over typical JP type fuels and related research in endothermic fuels. These fuels and their commercialization will be the major products of the SBIR topic.
This SBIR topic will promote development and demonstration of propellants with NTO/MMH performance, which are self pressurizing, and less toxic. Examples include mixtures of nitromethane, nitrous oxide (N2O), hydroxyl ammonium nitrate (HAN), ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3), aluminum, water, and/or other species (this list is not all inclusive). Gelled monopropellants are also of interest for safety enhancements.
It will also promote development of high energy density species, whether monopropellant or bipropellant, which offer the performance of O2/H2 while offering significantly higher system density. Possible examples include cubane, strained-ring compounds, polymeric oxygen (O4, O6, O8 … ), polymeric nitrogen (N4, N6, N8 … ), and and B-N analogs of prismane (B3N3H6), among others.
Managers and Related NASA Centers
1) Title – Monopropellant Fuel Development
Subtopic Manager – Bryan Palaszewski
Field Center – NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC)
2) Title – Propellant Operations and Safety
Subtopic Manager – William Boyd
Field Center – NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC)
3) Title – Hypersonic Fuel Development
Subtopic Managers – Gerald Pellett (LaRC) and Chris Snyder (GRC)
Field Center – NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) and NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) (rotating leadership)
4) Title – High Energy Density Propellant Formulations
Subtopic Manager – Steve Langhoff
Field Center – NASA Ames Research Center (ARC)
5) Title – Large Scale Booster Applications
Subtopic Manager – Bryan Palaszewski (GRC) and Charles Schafer (MSFC)
Field Center – NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) (rotating leadership)
The Space Show
Listen to Bryan Palaszewski on “The Space Show”
|Atmospheric Mining in the Outer Solar System: Outer Planet Resource Processing, Moon Base Propulsion,and Vehicle Design Issues||Palaszewski, Bryan A.||AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition||Conference Paper||2019||NTRS|
|Solar System Exploration Augmented by Lunar and Outer Planet Resource Utilization: Historical Perspectives and Future Possibilities||Palaszewski, Bryan||SciTech 2014||Technical Memorandum||2014||NTRS|
|Atmospheric Mining in the Outer Solar System: Outer Planet In-Space Bases and Moon Bases for Resource Processing||Palaszewski, Bryan||AIAA Propulsion & Energy 2017 Conference||Conference Paper||2017||NTRS|
|Atmospheric Mining in the Outer Solar System||Palaszewski, Bryan||AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference||Conference Paper||2014||NTRS|
|Metallized Gelled Propellants Combustion Experiments in a Pulse Detonation Engine||Palaszewski, Bryan, Jurns, John, Breisacher, Kevin, Kearns, Kim||AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference||Technical Memorandum||2006||NTRS|
|Launch Vehicle Performance for Bipropellant Propulsion Using Atomic Propellants With Oxygen||Palaszewski, Bryan||Joint Propulsion||Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)||2000||NTRS|
|Launch Vehicle Performance With Solid Particle Feed Systems for Atomic Propellants||Palaszewski, Bryan||34th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference||Conference Paper||1998||DOI|
|Preliminary Assessment of Using Gelled and Hybrid Propellant Propulsion for VTOL/SSTO Launch Systems||Palaszewski, Bryan, Pelaccio, Dennis G., OLeary, Robert||Reprint (Version printed in journal)||1998||NTRS|
|Solid Hydrogen Experiments for Atomic Propellants||Palaszewski, Bryan||36th Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit||Technical Memorandum||2001||NTRS|
|Solid Hydrogen Experiments for Atomic Propellants: Image Analyses||Palaszewski, Bryan||37th Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit||Technical Memorandum||2002||NTRS|
|Solid Hydrogen Experiments for Atomic Propellants: Particle Formation Energy and Imaging Analyses||Palaszewski, Bryan||39th Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit||Technical Memorandum||2005||NTRS|
|Metallized Gelled Propellants: Oxygen/RP-1/Aluminum Rocket Engine Calorimeter Heat Transfer Measurements and Analysis||Palaszewski, Bryan||Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit||Conference Paper||1997||NTRS|
|Propellant Technologies: A Persuasive Wave of Future Propulsion Benefits||Palaszewski, Bryan, Ianovski, Leonid S., Carrick, Patrick||International Symposium on Space Propulsion||Technical Memorandum||1997||NTRS|
Improving Fuels with Higher Density, Energy, and Safety. A Focused Topic for Small Business Innovation Research. Briefing to the SBIR Convocation at the Ohio Aerospace Institute and the NASA Lewis Research Center.
Nanotechnology and Gelled Cryogenic Fuels