The Affordable Upper Stage Enginer (AUSE) is our primary NASA application. The upper stage engine, which will replace the RL10, will benefit from our SLM-manufactured MCC in three ways. First, SLM is known to reduce the cost of component manufacture by 50-70%, which will help satisfy affordability requirements. Second, the pressure drop penalty incurred by using our advanced cooling approach is reduced by about an order of magnitude over current state of the art, which will reduce turbompump requirements, which will also contribute to lower cost. Third, our approach provides a dramatic increase in heat flux to the regenerative propellant, which will enable an increase in expander cycle engine performance, by increasing its potential for doing work across the turbine. The Space Launch System (SLS) Program is another opportunity, particularly since the core stage will use the RS-25 engine, a staged combustion cycle that will likewise benefit from reductions in cooling jacket pressure drop. The Altair ascent and descent engines would also both benefit from our technology.
We are already actively pursuing a non-NASA opportunity with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), which is forced to fly very expensive foreign missile systems as targets for interept missions. Today, these targets cost about $40M per mission. We have identified a low cost target that we can upgrade with a version of our SLM-manufactured advanced combustion chamber that will improve the range of that target, such that it can be used instead of the expensive foreign systems. If we are successful with the design, development and testing, MDA could fly our targets and save a massive $39M per intercept test.