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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Transfer Stage

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

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A new class of liquid oxygen and natural gas (LOX/LNG) rocket enables a high-performance Orbit Transfer Stage suitable for launch on Venture Class launch vehicles. The engine, called Mjölnir, is being developed by New Frontier Aerospace. Mjölnir uses a Full Flow Staged Combustion (FFSC) cycle in an innovative design enabling rapid Hohmann transfers between orbits. The use of LNG dramatically reduces cost and carbon emissions, with NEGATIVE greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when sourced from the burgeoning renewable natural gas industry. The high thrust, light weight engine has a specific impulse higher than any of today’s rocket engines other than hydrogen fueled rockets making it ideal for an Orbital Transfer Stage (OTS). Moreover, because the density of LNG is over 6X hydrogen the resulting OTS size is significantly smaller, with a much lower dry mass than a hydrogen fueled OTS. The engine can support OTS gross weights from 3,000 to 20,000 lbs while still supporting very fast Hohmann transfers between orbits. These are reasonable sizes that can be launched by a wide range of emerging commercial launch vehicles in the Venture Class. More »

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