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Carbon-Carbon Nozzle Extension Development in Support of In-Space and Upper-Stage Liquid Rocket EnginesUpper stage and in-space liquid rocket engines are optimized for performance through the use of high area ratio nozzles to fully expand combustion gases to low exit pressures, increasing exhaust velocities. Due to the large size of such nozzles, and the related engine performance requirements, carbon-carbon (C-C) composite nozzle extensions are being considered to reduce weight impacts. Currently, the state-of-the-art is represented by the metallic and foreign composite nozzle extensions limited to approximately 2000 degrees F. used on the Atlas V, Delta IV, Falcon 9, and Ariane 5 launch vehicles. NASA and industry partners are working towards advancing the domestic supply chain for C-C composite nozzle extensions. These development efforts are primarily being conducted through the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in addition to other low level internal research efforts. This has allowed for the initial material development and characterization, subscale hardware fabrication, and completion of hot-fire testing in relevant environments. NASA and industry partners have designed, fabricated and hot-fire tested several subscale domestically produced C-C extensions to advance the material and coatings fabrication technology for use with a variety of liquid rocket and scramjet engines. Testing at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) evaluated heritage and state-of-the-art C-C materials and coatings, demonstrating the initial capabilities of the high temperature materials and their fabrication methods. This paper discusses the initial material development, design and fabrication of the subscale carbon-carbon nozzle extensions, provides an overview of the test campaign, presents results of the hot fire testing, and discusses potential follow-on development work. The follow on work includes the fabrication of ultra-high temperature materials, larger C-C nozzle extensions, material characterization, sub-element testing and hot-fire testing at larger scale.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Gradl, Paul R.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Valentine, Peter G.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 22, 2017
Publication Date
July 10, 2017
Subject Category
Composite Materials
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Launch Vehicles And Launch Operations
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Annual AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference 2017
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Country: United States
Start Date: July 10, 2017
End Date: July 12, 2017
Sponsors: American Society for Electrical Engineers, American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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