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Launch Vehicle Performance for Bipropellant Propulsion Using Atomic Propellants With OxygenAtomic propellants for bipropellant launch vehicles using atomic boron, carbon, and hydrogen were analyzed. The gross liftoff weights (GLOW) and dry masses of the vehicles were estimated, and the 'best' design points for atomic propellants were identified. Engine performance was estimated for a wide range of oxidizer to fuel (O/F) ratios, atom loadings in the solid hydrogen particles, and amounts of helium carrier fluid. Rocket vehicle GLOW was minimized by operating at an O/F ratio of 1.0 to 3.0 for the atomic boron and carbon cases. For the atomic hydrogen cases, a minimum GLOW occurred when using the fuel as a monopropellant (O/F = 0.0). The atomic vehicle dry masses are also presented, and these data exhibit minimum values at the same or similar O/F ratios as those for the vehicle GLOW. A technology assessment of atomic propellants has shown that atomic boron and carbon rocket analyses are considered to be much more near term options than the atomic hydrogen rockets. The technology for storing atomic boron and carbon has shown significant progress, while atomic hydrogen is not able to be stored at the high densities needed for effective propulsion. The GLOW and dry mass data can be used to estimate the cost of future vehicles and their atomic propellant production facilities. The lower the propellant's mass, the lower the overall investment for the specially manufactured atomic propellants.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Palaszewski, Bryan
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2000
Subject Category
Launch Vehicles And Launch Operations
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:209443
Meeting Information
Joint Propulsion(Los Angeles, CA)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 713-74-10
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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