The proposed thruster innovations are applicable to a number of proposed future NASA missions such as Mars exploration as well as NASA next generation launch vehicle upper stages. Future launch vehicles utilizing LOx/methane as their main propulsion system can utilize the proposed innovation as complementary reaction control system thrusters. The technology could also be a key enabler for all deep space manned missions where the need to service and repair or replace components in transit could be critical to mission success. Additionally, the technology can be scaled for use as a kick stage or orbital insertion engine.
LOx/methane is an attractive propellant combination for commercial launch vehicles. Potential customers for a LOx/methane RCS engine include United Launch Alliance (ULA), SpaceX, Blue Origin, XCOR, Armadillo Aerospace, Northrup Grumman, Aerojet and Firefly, among others. Each of these organizations has propulsion systems that utilize the LOx/methane propellant combination in development. Beyond LOx/methane, the technology developed in this proposal could also be developed into products that could exploit the entire range of bi-propellant combinations, opening the range of applications to include most launch vehicles currently in development.