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SBIR/STTR

Hot Gas TVC For Planetary Ascent Vehicle, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Hot Gas TVC For Planetary Ascent Vehicle, Phase I
A Mars ascent vehicle (MAV) uses solid rocket motors to propel soil samples into orbit, but the motors cannot provide steering. Cold gas thrusters are used for initial steering and spin stabilization for the final stage of flight. This approach is heavy and results in a spinning sample container in orbit, which is difficult to recover. Wickman Spacecraft & Propulsion Company (WSPC) proposes innovative hot gas thrusters for steering that use the gases from the solid rocket combustion chambers. This approach reduces weight and provides a non-spinning orbiting container to increase mission success probability. WSPC is the only company with hot, metalized gas valve technology. The MAV valves must handle metalized gases at 5,600 F. Minuteman motor experience and WSPC tests indicate that thin layers of tungsten in discrete valve locations would work for this application. WSPC will create a layout of a MAV hot gas TVC system to ensure the weight is less than the baseline cold gas system. Valve materials will be tested with the MAV propellant to ensure the valve operates properly. Phase II will be the testing of the TVC system with the first stage MAV solid rocket motor to simulate a MAV ascent into orbit. More »

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