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Center Independent Research & Development: JPL IRAD

Hybrid Rockets for CubeSats (HRC)

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

This task will develop the first interplanetary 12U CubeSat hybrid rocket propulsion system. The hybrid rocket propulsion system will utilize green propellants, enjoy high performance (goal of Isp >300 s) and be capable of relatively large delta velocities (~1km/s) representative of planetary orbit insertions. This second year will enable flight-like testing of the system components including the longest duration burn (>60 s) of a hybrid using oxygen. This will be the most capable CubeSat propulsion system to date and will enable several conceptual Planetary Science missions such as the Venus and Phobos Explorers.

The goal of this effort is to develop a prototype hybrid rocket motor that will be ready for infusion into a flight project at the end of this 3-year task. Toward achieving this goal, two crucial research objectives were completed in year 1 (FY16) of this 3-year effort.

Objective 1: Quantify hybrid rocket performance for CubeSat-sized motors.
Objective 2: Size a hybrid rocket motor with 300s, Isp and ~1km delta-V that fits within a 12U CubeSat form factor.  

The quantitative goal of this effort represents a substantial increase in CubeSat propulsion capability and is the following: demonstrate an Isp of >300 s for a CubeSat-sized hybrid motor.

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