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Mars Ascent Vehicle Hybrid Propulsion DevelopmentHybrid propulsion is being investigated as a propulsion method for a possible Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) application. MAV is part of a proposed larger Mars Sample Return (MSR) campaign plan to bring samples from Mars to earth for examination. The Mars Ascent Vehicle would launch Mars surface samples found and packaged by the Mars 2020 mission to orbit around Mars. This version of hybrid propulsion is based on a wax based solid fuel, called SP7A, and a Mixed Oxides of Nitrogen oxidizer, MON-25. SP7 is a new fuel formulation developed by Space Propulsion Group and was modified for this application to be resistant to Mars temperature extremes and modified again to lower the regression rate to become SP7A. MON-25 was chosen for its low freezing temperature. Due to cost constraints, MON-3 was the oxidizer used during testing through 2018. In 2019, full scale hybrid testing with MON-25 commenced in Mojave, CA by Whittinghill Aerospace. One flight motor will be subjected to thermal cycling in a vacuum and later fired in a vacuum to demonstrate the proposed Liquid Injection Thrust Vector Control system performance at White Sands Test Facility (WSTF). In addition, there will be MON-25 characterization work done at Purdue University and WSTF. Additional testing of subscale and full scale motors will be conducted with MON-3 with fuel grain stress, fuel grain support and case design test objectives by Space Propulsion Group Inc. of Butte, MT. This paper documents some of the testing, issues and accomplishments with the MAV hybrid propulsion option that is being considered (along with a two-stage solid propulsion option).
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Story, G. T.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Karp, A. C.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Nakazono, B.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Whittinghill, G.
(Whittinghill Aerospace LLC Camarillo, CA)
Zilliac, G. G.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
July 17, 2019
Publication Date
June 3, 2019
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Airbreathing Propulsion Subcommittee (APS)
Location: Dayton, OH
Country: United States
Start Date: June 3, 2019
End Date: June 7, 2019
Sponsors: Department of the Army, NASA Headquarters, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Navy
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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