A report presents an overview of continuing efforts to develop an advanced propulsion system for a spacecraft that would ascend from Mars to bring samples to Earth. The system is required to be smaller and to weigh and cost less, in comparison with a conventionally designed system of equal capability. The development efforts include research on several topics, including the following, which are discussed in the report: (1) warm-gas pressurization subsystems for pushing liquid propellants from supply tanks to engines, (2) lightweight, high-performance rocket engines that burn propellant fluids supplied at temperatures below 0°C, (3) lightweight tanks for propellants and pressurants, and (4) lightweight flow-control components. Finally, the report describes the latest version of the system, which features a two-stage design with pyrotechnic separation.

This work was done by Carl Guernsey, Barry Nakanzo, Hartwell Long, and Andre Yavrouian of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-20428


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Mars ascent propulsion system

(reference NPO20428) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

Don't have an account? Sign up here.



NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 1999 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from the archives here.