An investigation on pulsing performance of mN class bi-propellant thrusters

Carlos F Gomez, University of Texas at El Paso


With the advancement of technology and machining methods, considerable attention has been focused in manufacturing micro thrusters for micro spacecraft applications (Yetter et al, 2003). Micro propulsion systems are currently being investigated for Miniature Kill Vehicles (MKV) and Micro Satellite Systems (MSS) with an emphasis in reducing weight and cost but without affecting performance. Reducing the weight seems practical when reducing the size of the propulsion system, but problems are encountered with system design. In addition, propulsion requirements strongly influence choice in propellant and complexity. A thorough understanding of stabilizing thrust levels and the ability to control the propulsion system is important in order to meet the requirements of the specific propulsion application. Certain applications might require long thrust durations, while others require small thrust pulses. Choice in propellant can influence hardware selection needed to achieve reliable thrust levels. Various micro propulsion systems have be proposed but only a few have been investigated. This paper investigates the pulsing characteristics of a mN Bi-propellant thruster for small spacecraft applications. The thruster was completely design to have its own pressure and valve control system in order to control thrust levels and pulse lengths. The propellants tested where gaseous Methane/Oxygen and Hydrogen/Oxygen which allowed the system be simple. Each individual component of the thruster was fabricated in-house with materials available to the public.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering|Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Gomez, Carlos F, "An investigation on pulsing performance of mN class bi-propellant thrusters" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1482108.