Until the last century, solid rockets provided the only means of reliable rocket propulsion. However, while SRM’s have been in use for centuries, modeling SRM performance is still a relatively new area. Specifically of interest is predicting the radiative heat transfer from an SRM plume. Current computational models are either not accurate enough or very computationally expensive. The goal is to develop a modified discrete ordinates model (DOM) to improve the accuracy of predictions while simultaneously increasing model efficiency for a given level of precision.
Liquid propellant rocket propulsion systems are tremendously efficient but do not offer the best possible thrust-to-weight ratio of current propulsion technology options. Solid propellant rockets provide tremendous thrust-to-weight, but do not use the solid fuel as efficient as liquid engines utilize liquid fuel. A hybrid propulsion system takes advantage of the best of both by using a combination of liquid and solid propellants together to form a propulsion system that is both efficient and provides tremendous thrust-to-weight ratio.
The design of spacecraft, satellites, planetary landers and their missions is becoming ever more complex and challenging. At the heart of this design process is Systems Engineering. New methods, techniques and tools that can be used for spacecraft design from a Systems Engineering perspective are being developed and tested at Florida Institute of Technology. Florida Tech researchers and students are closely teaming with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop a ‘Mission Observer CubeSat’ using the new Systems Engineering tools and techniques.
Oxygen-enriched combustion (OEC) has shown the ability to improve the fuel efficiency and power density of burner-based power systems and diesel engines. By minimizing problems with flame quenching, OEC is also expected to greatly improve the performance of MEMS-based micro-combustors needed for micro-power generation. Oxygen-enriched micro-combustors have the potential for compatibility with logistics fuels and of eliminating the need for expensive catalysts. If successful, these devices would represent a significant improvement over existing micro-combustors.
With NASA's recent emphasis on returning to the Moon, there is a growing need to understand a number of technical issues associated with the lunar environment. A rocket thruster from a landing or launching vehicle directed toward the surface could cause a crater to develop, potentially preventing a safe landing or making the site unsuitable for future vehicle operations. Dust and rock particles will be expelled at high velocities that could damage nearby equipment, structures, or the vehicle itself.
The SABOL International Space Station experiment has several important scientific elements dedicated specifically to (i) developing an improved understanding of the origin of life on our planet, (ii) increasing our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, and (iii) providing an opportunity to apply this new understanding for the betterment of h