Saturday, 21 July 2007

ASLI Rocket Team VaPak Propulsion Update

A critical milestone in for the Pathfinder 01 development program was scheduled to take place July 24th, when the newly designed liquid propellant motor was to undergo qualification firings. However last minute logistical issues required that our team postpone the planned firing, pending a new safety review.

The term VaPak has been applied to propulsion systems that utilise the vapor pressure of one or more volatile propellants, to deliver said propellants to the rocket motor. Thus negating the need for separate high pressure feed or pump systems to deliver propellants to the rocket motor, leading to greater overall simplicity and reduced cost.

Our innovative design uses a high vapor pressure liquid oxidizer (Nitrous Oxide) and standard Methylated Spirits (95% Ethanol), to provide a simple, safe and efficient propulsion system. And is based on the proven heritage of Nitrous Oxide based hybrid rocket developments of the last 10 years.

Potential hazards associated with other forms of propulsion are largely eliminated due to the following.

1/ Nitrous Oxide is loaded remotely with operators more than 50 meters from loaded flight tank.

2/ There is no explosive or toxic agents used, and ignition is only possible via the introduction of oxygen gas and high voltage spark. This is again facilitated remotely from a safe distance.

3/ Nitrous Oxide is non-toxic except for slight narcotic effect (Laughing Gas), as to is Ethanol.

Above is the motor hardware showing the outer casing, injector, phenolic chamber liner and nozzle housing closure.

The team did complete critical testing of the Nitrous Oxide Fill & fire system and the static test stand assembly, and are ready for rescheduling of qualification trials.

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