When the USAF X-51A completed its six minute, Mach 5.1 flight test in 2013, and made history for the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight, the viability of scramjet powered propulsion was conclusively proven. We are proud to have contributed to X-51A, and to the other historic steps that led to it including NASA’s X-43A scramjet powered research flights at Mach 7 and 10 in 2004, and DARPA/ONR’s successful FASTT flights in 2005. Our heritage in hypersonic propulsion system development spans ramjets, dual mode scramjets, and hypervelocity scramjets, at speeds from Mach 2 to 18. We bring these capabilities to new challenges in advanced air-breathing propulsion for military and commercial applications.
There is growing demand in the space community for green propellants that address the environmental concerns of the more traditional hydrazine propellants. Green propellants allow for reduced toxicity, reduced storage and handling costs and increased safety. We have developed and tested alternative bipropellant rocket engines including gaseous nitrous oxide/propane and cryogenic liquid Oxygen/Methane. We continue to pursue partnerships to develop these non-toxic propulsion solutions for government and commercial applications.
The increasing cost-benefit and mission risk reduction attributes of micro-satellites will drive the demand for micro-space propulsion. Our capabilities include the design, analysis and testing of electric propulsion systems such as magetoplasmadynamic and electrothermal arcjets as well as bi-propellant systems. We are currently designing a competitive MEMS based, chemical micro-propulsion system for Cubesats/micro-satellites that will greatly increase their mission capabilities.
Development of new propulsion systems from concept through operational status requires extensive ground and flight testing. Our ground testing heritage spans the subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic flight regime, having built or run test programs in blowdown tunnels, combustion-air heaters, shock tunnels, expansion tubes, Ludwieg tubes, and gun tunnels. We design, integrate and build test articles, subsystems, and entire test facilities, or plan and execute test programs that let you “test like you fly.”
Affordably acquiring flight data on hypersonic propulsion systems is a recurring challenge for developers. The cost and complexity of hitching a ride on a guided rocket booster severely limits the number and frequency of tests that can be run. We pioneered the concept of low-cost flight testing using unguided sounding rockets in the US with the DARPA/ONR FASTT flights in 2005, gathering performance data on the JP-10 fuelled Dual Combustor Ramjet (DCR) at Mach 5+. Our proven track record and affordable flight testing capabilities can help you get early flight data and advance your system’s Technology Readiness Level.