System level design of a novel miniaturized bipropellant delta-v engine

Juan Jose Licon Pedraza, University of Texas at El Paso


A miniature bipropellant propulsion system for delta-v and attitude control is presented. A system of this type offers the best performance and versatility; specific impulse (Isp) greater than 290 sec, pulsing, restart, and variable thrust. This provides higher effectiveness, better range, maneuverability, and excellent performance to miniaturized satellites. This proposed system has a 4-thruster configuration in order to supply a delta-v greater than 500 m/s using a combination of RP-1 and gaseous oxygen as propellants. This scalable system operates in a thrust range of 1-75 N. Other propellant alternatives such as ethanol and nitrogen tetroxide, acting as fuel and oxidizer respectively, are also taken into consideration in the first analysis phase of this design project. However, these types of propellants are discarded since one of the main objectives was to take advantage of "green propellants". By doing this, the ground handling and engine development costs associated with toxic and carcinogenic propellants are drastically reduced. In addition to that, green propellants are compatible with MEMS manufactured injectors and valves. Kilogram class satellite's technology will significantly benefit from the design of this propulsion system. For a mission of this nature, the divert and attitude control system plays the most important role since DACS not only provides maneuvering capabilities to the vehicle, but also maintains its stability by keeping it from spinning.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering|Aerospace materials

Recommended Citation

Licon Pedraza, Juan Jose, "System level design of a novel miniaturized bipropellant delta-v engine" (2005). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1430218.