Non-toxic monopropellants have been developed that provide better performance than toxic hydrazine. Formulations based on hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN) have superior performance as compared to hydrazine with Isp (261 seconds, 12% greater), higher density and volumetric impulse (60% greater density-impulse), lower melting point, and much lower toxicity (No self contained breathing apparatus required). HAN based monopropellants require higher chamber temperatures (2083K vs 883K) to combust. Current hydrazine based combustion chamber technology (Inconel or niobium C103 and silicide coating) and catalyst (Shell 405) are inadequate. However, current state of the art iridium lined rhenium chambers and innovative new foam catalyst were demonstrated in pulse and 10 second firings in the Phase I. The goal of the SBIR project is develop and test a flight weight thruster for an environmentally "green" monopropellant.
Potential NASA Commercial Applications: Mars Ascent Vehicle, lunar landers, reaction control systems, in-space propulsion, attitude control, orbit maintenance, repositioning of satellites/spacecraft, and descent/ascent engines, nuclear power/propulsion, microgravity containment crucibles and cartridges.