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Kayser N2O4/MMH rocket engine. Satellite orientation. Tangential Injection and Rotational Combustion, the world's smallest thruster burning monomethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide.

Date: Early 1960's. Thrust: 1.00 N (0.20 lbf). Unfuelled mass: 0.0800 kg (0.1760 lb). Specific impulse: 303 s. Burn time: 1,000,000 s. Height: 0.0600 m (0.1960 ft). Diameter: 0.0200 m (0.0650 ft).

Lutz Kayser invented, developed, and tested the TIROC rocket engine (Tangential Injection and Rotational Combustion). It was the world's smallest thruster burning Monomethylhydrazine and Nitrogen tetroxide. It delivered 1 newton thrust (0.2 lbf) with a minimum burning time of 1 milliseconds and a demonstrated maximum burning time of 1 million seconds (11 days). The valves had response times of under 1 millisecond and were capable of more than 1 million cycles at a 6 sigma confidence level. Kayser also developed one of the first capillary action gas-liquid separation systems. This guaranteed positive liquid flow from propellant tanks to the rocket engines in zero-gravity. Future applications were high performance satellite and space vehicle attitude control systems.

The TIROC was licensed by unknown US manufacturers and used in classified US DoD satellites. Characteristics were:

  • Propellants: N2O4/MMH
  • Thrust: 1 to 10 Newton
  • Tmin: 10^-3 Seconds
  • Tmax:>10^6 Seconds
  • ISP: 303 Seconds at 100 expansion ratio into vacuum
  • Valve response:10^-3 Seconds
  • Propellant inlet pressure: 40 bar to 10 bar range (600 psi)
  • Chamber material: Pt90-Rh10 or Be for the larger thrust
  • Dimensions incl. magnetic valves: 2x2x6 cm
  • Mass: 80 gram
  • Voltage: 24 VDC @ .5 A opening, .1 A holding current
  • Injector type: purely tangential leading to a rotating combustion with Bessel-function gas liquid separation.

This propulsion system was human-rated because the combustion chamber was unexplodable and could be fired handheld.

Because of the low thrust acceleration capillary action gas-liquid separation in the propellant was recommended

Bipropellant rocket engine (thruster) applications included: Satellite attitude and position control, re-entry systems, intra-orbit propulsion, docking, astronaut EVA, momentum gyro discharge.

Engine: 0.0800 kg (0.1760 lb). Area Ratio: 100. Restarts: 1000.

Family: Storable liquid. Country: USA. Propellants: N2O4/MMH. Agency: Kayser-Threde. Bibliography: 2000.

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