In the last years low-toxicity “green” storable liquid propellants have become considerably more attractive as possible substitutes for nitrogen oxides and hydrazines. The main advantage of “green” propellants is represented by the significant cost savings associated with the drastic simplification of the health and safety protection procedures necessary during propellant production, storage and handling. Fuel Vapor Pressurization (FVP) technology of “green” bipropellant rocket engines potentially offers very significant additional advantages in terms of system cost, complexity, reliability, safety and mass, with practically no penalty in propulsive performance compared to traditional storable propellants such as mixed nitrogen oxides and hydrazines. Pioneering FVP experiments were carried out by Goddard, Wyld and others. Detailed studies have been conducted and several tests have been successfully performed since 1994 in the US, but no such experience is presently available in Europe, nor FVP has ever attained flight readiness anywhere in the world. The main characteristics of the FVP system examined in this work consist in the use of storable, non-toxic, inexpensive, non hypergolic, high-energy propellants such as hydrogen peroxide (HP, H2O2) and ethane (C2H6) and in the storage of these propellants in a single lightweight tank, using a flexible diaphragm or a bladder to separate the fuel from the oxidizer and a catalytic reactor to decompose the hydrogen peroxide before mixing and combustion with ethane. This configuration therefore yields a very simple and yet highly efficient and reliable propulsion system by eliminating the cost, the weight and complexity of propellant tanks and pressurization bottles, pressure and flow regulators and ignition systems. These advantages are of special relevance in low- or mediumthrust rocket engines for the rapidly expanding market of “small” space missions and led the authors to focus on the analysis and assessment of propulsion systems operating according to this concept. The present paper reports therefore the preliminary evaluation of fuel vapor pressurized H2O2-C2H6 rocket propulsion systems. The results of the analysis confirm that the development of FVP technology may represent a significant contribution to the containment of the propulsion cost of small- and medium-size spacecrafts.
|Titolo:||Assessment of the Propulsive Performance of Fuel Vapor Pressurized Hydrogen Peroxide-Ethane Rocket Engines|
|Anno del prodotto:||2005|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.1 Contributo in Atti di convegno|