A Monopropellant Driven LOx-Methane Engine for Space Propulsion

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G. Philoux et al (2017), JBIS, 70, pp.278-282

Refcode: 2017.70.278
Keywords: liquid oxygen-methane rocket engines, monopropellant selection, turbopumps, "green propellants"

Liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellants are of interest for future spacecraft and upper stage propulsion in the 4 8 kN thrust range, having equal volumes (common propellant tanks) at an O/F ratio of 2.66, and a common storage temperature range. However, the absence of suitable propellant management devices makes the combination unsuitable for use in freefall for any secondary reaction control system (RCS). It is proposed to use a suitable monopropellant to provide RCS and for propellant settling, and at the same time to use the monopropellant to drive the pumps for the main LOx-methane engine when required. The most common monopropellant hydrazine is toxic and difficult to handle, and so-called "green" propellants are currently being investigated to replace it. This paper reviews existing and prospective monopropellants currently being developed in the context of driving a pump-fed LOx-methane engine in the 4 8 kN range.

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