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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Neptune modular rockets for breakthrough low-cost space access

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Neptune modular rockets for breakthrough low-cost space access
Interorbital Systems is developing a new generation of modular, low-cost, rapid-response space launch vehicles. Interorbital modular rockets core element is the Common Propulsion Module (CPM).The CPM is a liquid rocket engine, propellant and pressurization section and aerodynamic faring integrated into a self-contained module. The liquid rocket engine is ablatively cooled and operates in a blowdown pressurization mode using low-cost, storable hypergolic propellants. Interorbital has successfully static test fired a 4,500lb thrust CPM main engine demonstrating combustion stability and throttling capability. Interorbital modular rocket systems were developed under the Minimum Cost Design paradigm and will deliver breakthrough cost reductions in space access. Cost reductions in propulsion are achieved by elimination of complex pressurization, ignition components, cooling, and propellant infrastructure normally associated with typical liquid rocket technology. Further cost reductions in the space launch value chain are attained by utilizing commercially available components and developing simplified manufacturing and operations minimizing need for capital intensive infrastructure and highly skilled labor. These unprecedented reductions in space access costs do not sacrifice performance or reliabiliy.CPM technology is scalable and readily configurable to suit numerous suborbital or orbital mission profiles. CPMs may be arrayed as launch vehicle first stage boosters or as unitary elements for sustainer and upper stages. Interorbital modular rockets are uniquely suited to support the emerging nanosatellite market while offering an American alternative for existing public and private sector space access requirements. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.