PSI develops airbreathing engines, liquid rocket engines, and solid rocket motors
PSI has a suite of thrust chambers that are used for propellant tests, experimental data collection, system development, and technology demonstrations. PSI’s engines and motors have a range of capabilities to suit the needs of different customers. Past projects include hybrid rocket motors and solid fuel ramjets. Current projects include airbreathing engines/combustors, liquid bipropellant engines, monopropellant thrusters, and solid rocket motors.
Liquid Rocket Engines
Our commitment to high risk / high payoff propulsion system development has resulted in new technologies for green monopropellant thrusters, rotating detonation rocket engines, and feed system components
Capability Description: A core focus within liquid propellant/engine research is the development and demonstration of critical system components to enhance mission performance, safety and sustainability of strategic and tactical systems. PSI has continued to solve complex system problems with multi-dimensional technologies that have shown to augment both missile and aircraft performance. Our research capabilities capture a broad spectrum of the components used in liquid propulsion systems, including fuel ingredient refinements, plume signatures, igniters, nozzle geometries, regenerative cooling systems, injectors, catalysts, and surge pressure mitigation devices.
Benefit to Warfighter/Customer
Liquid rocket engines offer a combination of high performance, control, and adaptability that makes them ideal for many spaceflight applications, including launching payloads into orbit and exploring the solar system. Some additional benefits include:
- High thrust-to-weight ratio: Liquid rocket engines have a high thrust-to-weight ratio, making them ideal for spacecraft and launch vehicles that need to accelerate quickly.
- Throttleability: Liquid rocket engines can be throttled or shut down quickly, which gives operators greater control over the rocket’s performance.
- High efficiency: Liquid rocket engines are highly efficient, meaning they produce more thrust per unit of fuel than other types of engines.
- Reusability: Liquid rocket engines can be designed for multiple uses and can be refurbished and reused, reducing the cost of spaceflight.
- Adaptability: Liquid rocket engines can be adapted to a wide range of missions and be optimized for specific performance characteristics
Solid Rocket Motors
PSI is answering the call for rapid development of solid rocket motors
Capability Description: A core focus within solid rocket motor research is the development and demonstration of critical system components to enhance mission performance, safety and sustainability of tactical systems. We have continued to lead in developing innovative solutions to complex system problems with multi-dimensional constraints that have shown to augment missile performance and their insensitive munition (IM) compliancy. Our core technologies include motor cases, health monitoring sensors, energetic ingredient refinements, plume signature diagnostics, formulation development, igniters, and measurements for validation of modeling and simulation tools.
Key Features: PSI evaluates solid rocket motors using four different test cells at our New Hampshire location, including:
- 2×4 Solid Rocket Motor Test Cell
- 5”-8” Solid Rocket Motor Test Cell
- Divert and Attitude Control Systems (DACS) Test Stand
- Experimental 2-D Solid Rocket Motor – 500 lbf Thrust
Benefit to Warfighter/Customer
Solid rocket motors offer a combination of simplicity, reliability, and high thrust that makes them ideal for certain applications such as military missiles and launch vehicles. Some additional benefits they provide include:
- Simplicity: Solid rocket motors are relatively simple in design and construction, which makes them easier and less expensive to produce than liquid rocket engines.
- Reliability: Solid rocket motors use a limited number of components and controls, reducing complexity and increasing reliability.
- High thrust at launch: Solid rocket motors can provide high thrust at launch, making them ideal for applications such as missile launches and rocket boosters.
- Storage: Solid rocket motors are storable and ready for implementation without filling operations.
Airbreathing Engines and Combustors
PSI engineers novel airbreathing propulsion concepts at full scale
Capability Description: New demand for supersonic and high speed propulsion systems is driving a need to rapidly iterate within the design-build-test development cycle. PSI is meeting this demand with in-house test cells with high temperature, high flow air capability. PSI’s airbreathing test cell is used for PSI technology development for rotating detonation engines, high temperature combustor materials, and additively manufactured wall cooling designs. This test cell also provides test services for the defense and aerospace propulsion community.
Key Features: PSI evaluates airbreathing propulsion systems using a variety of propulsion test cells at our New Hampshire location including:
- Calibrated Thrust Measurement System (TMS) – 100-3000 lbf
- Total Air Mass Flow Rate – 16 lbm/s
- Liquid Fuel Feed Systems – JP-5, JP-10
Benefit to Warfighter/Customer
The future battlefield requires more versatile propulsion systems without increasing cost. Airbreathing systems have the potential to be revolutionized by the advent of pressure gain combustion, offering a replacement for combustor pilots and main combustors. Rotating detonation combustors can replace main combustors in ramjets and gas turbine engine augmentors. A transition to these applications provides:
- Reduced Length: Detonation combustion reduces the reaction time relative to deflagration.
- Stability: Rotating detonation engines can operate with a lower inlet pressure, offering operational stability at a wider range of flight conditions.
Reduced Development Cycle: Rotating detonation combustors set a dominant mode within the chamber, eliminating the risk of chug or screeching mode instabilities in the device.
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