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Paper_final_TUD.doc - DEVELOPMENT OF A HYDROGEN...

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DEVELOPMENT OF A HYDROGEN PEROXIDE/ETHANOL THRUSTER FOR THE ADVANCED RE-ENTRY VEHICLE W.P.W. Wieling 1,2 , B.T.C. Zandbergen 1 , A.E.H.J.Mayer 2 , F.F.J. Schrijer 1 1 Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft, the Netherlands 2 TNO Technical Sciences, Department of Energetic Materials, Rijswijk, the Netherlands ABSTRACT This paper presents the first steps in the development of a novel hydrogen peroxide/ethanol thruster for the re-entry module of the Advanced Re-entry Vehicle. The thruster makes use of the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide with the subsequent com- bustion of ethanol fuel. This technology is considered a green alternative for currently used hypergolic propellants like MMH, UDMH and NTO, which are highly toxic and carcinogenic. A preliminary design of the thruster is presented, as well as the design method itself. One of the most critical elements in the design is the cooling of the combustion chamber close to the interface with the catalytic bed. Therefore, special attention is given to the cooling of the thruster, fuel injection and the mixing of the fuel with the decomposed hydrogen peroxide. A special test setup has been developed to characterize the dispersion of four liquid sprays in a cross flow of gas under non reacting flow conditions. The test results indicate that no combustible mixture exists at the chamber wall near the catalytic bed and that no cooling is required at this location. It was also demonstrated that the combustion chamber is too short to obtain a homogeneous propellant mixture. As a consequence, there is a risk that not all propellants will be combusted before they leave the combustion chamber, leading to a decreased engine performance. The work was performed at TNO and was part of a student Master thesis from the Delft University of Technology. 1. INTRODUCTION Under the authority of the European Space Agency (ESA), EADS Astrium started preparations for the development of a spacecraft capable of returning payload from the International Space Station back to Earth: the Advanced Re-entry Vehicle (ARV). The ARV will be based on the highly successful Auto- mated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). Unlike the ATV, the ARV will have a cargo transportation and re-entry capsule with its own propulsion system. This re-entry module will be based on the Atmospheric Re-entry Demonstrator (ARD), which flew suc- cessfully in 1998. The initial design of the propulsion system for the re-entry module consisted of seven 400N hydrazine re- action control thrusters. 1 Most propellants commonly used in reaction control thrusters (e.g. hydrazine, or hypergolic propellants like MMH, UDMH and NTO) are highly toxic and are subject to strict safety pre- cautions. It would be favorable to replace these propellants by a “green” alternative . Advantages are that has a minimal envi- ronmental impact and is associated with relatively simple han- dling proce - dures, both of which drive towards lower costs.
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