Encyclopedia Astronautica
SBIR Hybrid

SpaceDev N2O/Solid hybrid rocket engine. 1100 kN. First stage. Upper-stage hybrid propulsion system, part of 2004 Phase 2 of SBIR contract from AFRL for a hybrid rocket motor-based small launch vehicle project.

In October 2004, SpaceDev was awarded about $1.5 million to proceed with Phase 2 of its SBIR contract from the AFRL to continue its hybrid rocket motor-based small launch vehicle project. The company was presently in the fabrication phase of the first test article for this upper-stage hybrid propulsion system. Hybrid motors of the 1.1-million-newton thrust class were being studied for possible use on current and future launch vehicles. Funding for the hybrid team came from the DoD Technology Reinvestment Program, NASA monetary and in-kind support, and contributions of industry team members.

Application: First stage.


Propellant Formulation: N2O/HTPB.

Status: Study 2005.
Thrust: 1,100.00 kN (247,200 lbf).
First Launch: 2001-2004.

More... - Chronology...

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Associated Propellants
  • N2O/Solid Liquid nitrous oxide (N2O / dinitrogen monoxide / 'laughing gas') is the oxidiser of choice for hybrid rocket motors because it is benign, storable, and self-pressurising to 48 atmospheres at 17 deg C. Solid propellants have the fuel and oxidiser embedded in a rubbery matrix. They were developed to a high degree of perfection in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's. In Russia, development was slower, due to a lack of technical leadership in the area and rail handling problems. More...

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