Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force to develop and optimize a pilot scale system for on-demand production of ASCENT monopropellant.
ASCENT is a green fuel that improves satellite thruster performance by 15%-50% in total maneuver capability. However, there is no domestic capability to manufacture key ingredients. In a previous program, the PSI team demonstrated the feasibility of using microreactor and microseparator technologies to generate ASCENT monopropellant on-demand using domestically available precursors. The team produced all key intermediates and the final ASCENT formulation using a continuous process and confirmed the chemical composition. Under the new contract, PSI will focus on developing and optimizing a pilot system with throughput specific to spacecraft fueling needs.
PSI will develop a safe and reliable monopropellant manufacturing system by applying small-scale continuous microreactors help AFRL and commercial stakeholders accomplish their goals of on-demand monopropellant production. Successful scale-up of the modular and portable microreactor system will have applications in both commercial and military technologies ranging from in-space propulsion to expandable and reusable launch vehicles and small tactical missiles. Commercial implementation of an effective reactor system for continuously and safely producing green monopropellants, replacing toxic hydrazine, is a critical requirement for both strategic defense and space exploration. PSI’s modular, portable microreactor system will provide operational flexibility, enhanced product selectivity, increased safety, reduced waste, and lower capital and operating costs.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Peter Warren
Vice President, Applied Technologies
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 738-8172