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Powdered Magnesium-Carbon Dioxide Rocket Combustion Technology for In Situ Mars PropulsionPowdered magnesium (Mg) carbon dioxide (CO2) combustion is examined as a potential in situ propellant combination for Mars propulsion. Although this particular combination has relatively low performance in comparison to traditional bipropellants, it remains attractive as a potential basis for future martian mobility systems, since it could be partially or wholly manufactured from indigenous planetary resources. As a means of achieving high mobility during long-duration Mars exploration missions, the poorer performing in situ combination can, in fact, become a superior alternative to conventional storable propellants, which would need to be entirely transported from Earth. Thus, the engineering aspects of powdered metal combustion devices are discussed including transport/injection of compacted powder, ignition, combustion efficiency, combustion stability, dilution effects, lean burn limits, and slag formation issues. It is suggested that these technological issues could be effectively addressed through a multiphase research and development effort beginning with basic feasibility tests using an existing dump configured atmospheric pressure burner. Follow-on phases would involve the development and testing of a pressurized research combustor and technology demonstration tests of a prototypical rocket configuration.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Publication (TP)
Foote, J. P.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Litchford, R. J.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 2007
Subject Category
Propellants And Fuels
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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NameType 20080002287.pdf STI