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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Hot Gas TVC For Planetary Ascent Vehicle

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Hot Gas TVC For Planetary Ascent Vehicle
A Mars ascent vehicle (MAV) uses solid rocket motors to propel soil samples into orbit, but the motors cannot provide steering. Flexseal TVC control is planned for the first stage while hydrazine thrusters will be used for spin stabilization of the second stage. 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 is lighter, improves orbit insertion accuracy and provides a non-spinning orbiting container to increase mission success probability. The MAV valves must handle metalized gases at 3,093 C. During Phase I, WSPC demonstrated a hot gas valve operating above 3,093 C with the same propellant to be used in MAV. Valves from all other companies must operate at 2,760 C or below with little metal in the exhaust gas. During Phase II, WSPC will demonstrate a MAV first stage thruster and multiple MAV first stage thrusters operating from a single solid rocket motor using MAV solid propellant. This final demonstration test will simulate a typical MAV first stage TVC duty cycle. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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