Propulsion

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on propulsion, from engineering experts at NASA and government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Briefs: Aerospace
Variable Bypass Turbofan Engine

Many aircraft need to operate efficiently at more than one flight regime; for example, certain airframes are expected to perform in relatively high-speed cruise modes, as well as slower loitering scenarios. Unfortunately, an engine operates most efficiently when the exit velocity closely matches the speed of the...

Briefs: Aerospace
New Methods in Preparing and Purifying Nanomaterials

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have made several breakthroughs in treating hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) nanomaterials, improving their properties to supplant carbon nanotubes in many applications. These inventors have greatly enhanced the processes of intercalation and...

Briefs: Propulsion

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a novel aircraft design that can carry 150+ passengers over a range of 3,500 nautical miles. Key features include a turboelectric propulsion system, twin...

Briefs: Energy

Batteries and combustion engines each have distinctive benefits and limitations. Batteries have simple construction and operate silently; however, their energy density (i.e., the energy per unit volume) is poor, and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The robotic gripper was developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as part of a robotic satellite servicing mission. The gripping device can be used to autonomously or remotely grasp and...

Briefs: Propulsion
Thruster-Based Attitude and Translation Control with Minimum Pulse-Count Disturbance Rejection

Thruster-based control typically requires a substantial engineering effort in order to mitigate an important issue: the control system tends to use many thruster pulses to accomplish what a single thruster pulse could do instead. This fundamental...

Briefs: Motion Control
Axial Magnetic Flux Airflow Integrated Compressor-Generator-Motor Turbojet Design

Innovators at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a compressor-generator-motor turbojet design concept that integrates the generator with the aerodynamic blade structures of the compression section of turbomachinery. This reduces weight and...

Briefs: Energy

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a variable-frequency, alternating current (AC) power system to enable turbo-electric and hybrid electric...

Briefs: Propulsion
Non-Catalytic Ignition System for High-Performance Advanced Monopropellant Thrusters

Anon-catalytic pyrotechnic ignition system was developed for advanced green monopropellant systems operating with hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN)-based monopropellant AF-M315E. This technology will provide increased performance and new operating regimes for...

Briefs: Propulsion

The advent of cryocooler technology ushers in an era where a cryogenic environment is created and maintained locally. It is no longer necessary to transport cryogen from a factory where it is produced to the...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is building a small CubeSat that uses an 85-m2 solar sail deployed from a central location to capture the push of photons...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

NASA is preparing for the next generation of CubeSats that are propelled and will make directional maneuvers. The new gimbal mount provides a seat for the motor, and controls the position of the...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

The SolidSense sensor platform measures all EPA-regulated gas emissions (nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons), in addition to ammonia, with high accuracy and sensitivity. The chip-scale gas...

Briefs: Propulsion
Wireless Ultrasonic Inspection Propulsion System

During inspection of pressure vessels and other large structures, an industry-accepted fixture is used to hold the search unit a predetermined distance from the area of interest under inspection. This fixture is then moved manually around the area of interest so that data can be collected and...

Briefs: Propulsion

Putting a satellite into low Earth orbit requires a lot of energy, with ground-launched rockets expending two-thirds of their propellant fighting to get...

Briefs: Propulsion
Multi-Pulse Motor (MPM) for Use with Electric Solid Propellants (ESP)

The purpose of this work was to create a safe, green, controllable solid rocket motor that can be pulsed a number of times with electricity to control the ignition and extinguishment times to produce a required thrust or impulse bit. The innovation features an Electric Solid...

Briefs: Propulsion
Rotary Piston Engine

There are many applications where a high power-to-weight engine is either necessary or helpful. Uses for this type of engine range from handheld power equipment, to motorcycles and aircraft — uses multiply when fuel efficiency, compactness, and versatility are added. Currently, there are few viable options available to...

Briefs: Propulsion
Green Liquid Monopropellant Thruster for In-Space Propulsion

Hydrazine has been the standard baseline liquid monopropellant for space propulsion over many decades since replacing hydrogen peroxide. Hydrazine was preferred over peroxide due to its easier storability and higher performance. Like peroxide, hydrazine can be readily decomposed by...

Briefs: Propulsion
Green Monopropellant Secondary Payload Propulsion System

Small satellites, launched as secondary payloads, are increasingly being fielded. Advances in liquid rocket propulsion that enhance the on-orbit maneuverability, increase the on-orbit life, and decrease the time between identified need for and deployment of such spacecraft are of great...

Briefs: Propulsion

NASA's Langley Research Center is seeking to improve upon stock stainless steel flame holders. Researchers at NASA Langley have developed a new ceramic design with a service temperature of 4000 °F. The combination of...

Briefs: Propulsion
Magnetically Conformed, Variable-Area Discharge Chamber for Hall Thruster, and Method

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has developed a Hall thruster with a variable-area discharge chamber that improves the performance and lifetime of the thruster. Conventional Hall thrusters have poor ionization efficiency, which limits the thrust-to-power ratio...

Briefs: Propulsion
Multi-Thruster Propulsion Apparatus

Two different types of electrostatic thrusters are used to propel spacecraft: ion thrusters and Hall-effect thrusters. Ion thrusters have the benefit of relatively high exhaust velocities with higher overall thrust efficiencies. Hall-effect thrusters typically offer higher thrust-to-power ratios, but they...

Briefs: Propulsion
Propellant Distributor for a Thruster

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed several new technological innovations to improve the capability of Hall-effect thrusters, which are used primarily on Earth-orbiting satellites and can also be used for deep-space robotic vehicles. Hall thrusters are susceptible to discharge channel...

Briefs: Aerospace
High Speed Idle Engine Control Mode

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed an engine control mode that improves an engine's responsiveness to throttle commands during emergency landing conditions. The high speed idle (HSI) control mode increases the speed of the engine's fan and core shafts, allowing faster response and...

Briefs: Aerospace

Turbine film cooling flows typically are subject to jet detachment and reduced cooling effectiveness for high blowing rates. Current concepts to improve jet attachment involve impractical or overly complex hole designs...

Briefs: Aerospace

An advanced Lean-Direct-Injection (LDI) turbine engine combustor was developed. Named LDI-II, which stands for second-generation LDI, this technology has vastly improved and expanded the...

Briefs: Aerospace

As powered flight expands to include electric propulsion technologies, aeronautics designers need to understand the electrical, aerodynamic, and structural...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

The Hall effect thruster (HET) was designed for long-duration operation with gaseous iodine as the propellant. Iodine is an alternative to the state-of-the-art propellant xenon. Compared to xenon,...

Briefs: Propulsion
Burnable-Poison-Operated Reactor Using Gadolinium Loaded Alloy

The problem to be resolved in this work was the use of radial control drums as the sole active reactivity control system for nuclear thermal propulsion, which results in significant rocket performance changes during full-power operation. This can result in large inefficiencies in...

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