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Flometrics - Rocket Pump and Student Rocket Update

Published by Rob Goldsmith on Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:14 pm via: source
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Flometrics launched a rocket on a renewable JP-8 developed for DARPA by the EERC. The fuel has been tested at the AFRL, and it worked well in turbine engines, so they tried it in a rocket. It worked much better than expected and it made an awesome sound when it went up and they observed less coking than usual on the injector plate.

They finished up there NASA SBIR on the Rocket Pump, meeting the key objectives:

  • Designing a pump that could work in space to pump liquid oxygen or methane and testing it under zero gee and simulated vacuum conditions.
  • Demonstrating a pump pumping Liquid Nitrogen at 400 psi and 2 gpm with less than 3% pressure variations
  • Calculating that it could increase the payload mass up to 28% for missions like Cassini.
  • They are proposing that they test the pump with a LOX/Methane RCS thruster for a phase two contract.


Flometrics: At UCSD, we launched another 6 rockets and measured various parameters thanks to funding from MSFC and technical assistance from George Story. The best rocket was a tie this year, There was one that measured the pressure of the nitrous oxide and flew very well and generated a beautiful pressure vs time graph, and there was another that measured the separation rate of the rocket and the nosecone with a string potentiometer.

One of the groups was flying a spinning hybrid wherein the spin rate was controlled via fin able to prevent early propellant dropout, and this is exactly what George Story from MSFC had worked on. (SOREX-2 booster) so he was able to give the students some tips. Unfortunately, due to low thrust, it only made one revolution. In the future we will test the engines before flight

I will be at the Joint Propulsion Conference in Denver on Sunday night through Tuesday afternoon. We had hoped to have a booth pumping margaritas, but flaky customers and the economy have conspired to make it too expensive at this time, maybe next year.

We are still looking for more engineering services work, product development, problem solving, aerospace, medical, consumer etc. Your problem may not need a rocket scientist to solve it, but it can’t hurt.

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