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NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Tri-gas Thruster Performance CharacterizationHistorically, spacecraft reaction control systems have primarily utilized cold gas thrusters because of their inherent simplicity and reliability. However, cold gas thrusters typically have a low specific impulse. It has been determined that a higher specific impulse can be achieved by passing a monopropellant fluid mixture through a catalyst bed prior to expulsion through the thruster nozzle. This research analyzes the potential efficiency improvements from using tri-gas, a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, and an inert gas, which in this case is helium. Passing tri-gas through a catalyst causes the hydrogen and oxygen to react and form water vapor, ultimately heating the exiting fluid and generating a higher specific impulse. The goal of this project was to optimize the thruster performance by characterizing the effects of varying several system components including catalyst types, catalyst lengths, and initial catalyst temperatures.
Document ID
20140002697
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Dorado, Vanessa (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Grunder, Zachary (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Schaefer, Bryce (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Sung, Meagan (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Pedersen, Kevin (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
April 4, 2014
Publication Date
July 15, 2013
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Report/Patent Number
M13-2761
Meeting Information
AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference(San Jose, CA)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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