Science and Technology of Energetic Materials

Vol.80, No.5 (2020)

Research paper

Strand test characteristics of non-self-combustible solid propellants in burning control with N2O supply
Kosei Fukuda, Yohji Yamamoto, and Takeshi Tachibana


To cope with the increasing number of diverse small satellite missions, development of new propulsion systems that can meet the demand of "rapid motion change" missions is a key issue in space programs. Electric thrusters, which are used almost exclusively now, cannot match the intrinsically high thrust of solid propellant motors. Hence, if solid propellant motors could be modified and equipped with the capability of burning control at will, such motors would be able to meet the increasing demand of rapid motion change; moreover, their simplicity and reliability would enable them to be used as effective reaction control systems. We have been conducting studies on methods to provide burning control features to solid propellants used for small/micro thrusters. Herein, we have proposed the use of an original fuel-rich solid propellant coupled with a flowing subsidiary oxidizer, such as nitrous oxide (N2O). Experiments with a modified strand burner revealed that the flow of N2O can control the burning of solid propellants used with a burning rate of 5-10 mm s-1, increasing with the pressure value of up to 0.4 MPa. The results suggest that a reaction control motor using solid propellants with the proposed concept could achieve higher thrust than that is possible with electric propulsion.

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solid propellants, non-self-combustible, combustion control, nitrous oxide, strand test

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