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Center Innovation Fund: SSC CIF

Hot Hydrogen Heat Source Development

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The purpose of this project is to develop a  hot hydrogen heat source that would produce  a high temperature hydrogen flow which would be comparable to that produced by the Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) engine,  without actually using a nuclear engine, in order to simulate nuclear rocket engine exhaust temperatures (between 3,000 to 5,000 °F).   Therefore, the goal of this study is to conduct a site assessment, and evaluate the potential development of  ground testing facility (GTF) of non-nuclear thermal propulsion (NNTP) sub-scale rocket engine at Stennis Space Center (SSC).  The facility system requirements and configuration are in the conceptual stage; however, the basic facility characteristics and overarching technology development needs for a GTF will be defined.

The proposed project technology need is evaluating the potential development to provide a capability that will produce high temperature hydrogen, in excess of 2500 Rankine (~2000°F) at a flowrate as high as 5 lb/sec to simulate a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engine exhaust stream without use of a nuclear reactor as a heat source.  Preliminary investigations indicate that the two most feasible options relative to system development and test operations cost are as follows: (1) develop a specific purpose heat exchanger or (2) utilize an existing hot gas generator (GG) fixture presently stored in SSC’s component warehouse to heat ambient temperature gaseous hydrogen for test use.   

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