Tech Briefs

Oxygen-Methane Thruster

An oxygen-methane thruster was conceived with integrated igniter/injector capable of nominal operation on either gaseous or liquid propellants. The thruster was designed to develop 100 lbf (≈445 N) thrust at vacuum conditions and use oxygen and methane as propellants. This continued development included refining the design of the thruster to minimize part count and manufacturing difficulties/cost, refining the modeling tools and capabilities that support system design and analysis, demonstrating the performance of the igniter and full thruster assembly with both gaseous and liquid propellants, and acquiring data from this testing in order to verify the design and operational parameters of the thruster.

Thruster testing was conducted with gaseous propellants used for the igniter and thruster. The thruster was demonstrated to work with all types of propellant conditions, and provided the desired performance. Both the thruster and igniter were tested, as well as gaseous propellants, and found to provide the desired performance using the various propellant conditions. The engine also served as an injector testbed for MSFCdesigned refractory combustion chambers made of rhenium.

This work was done by Tim Pickens of Orion Propulsion, Inc. for Marshall Space Flight Center. For more information, contact Sammy Nabors, MSFC Commercialization Assistance Lead, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . MFS-32776-1