Nammo, has successfully completed the long term exposure and compatibility tests of their newly developed aluminum propellant tank for their hydrogen peroxide based propulsion system. With these tests completed, Nammo has now available all necessary components to offer a complete green propulsion subsystem ready for spacecraft integration.
“Currently, most spacecraft thrusters are powered by hydrazine, a toxic and corrosive fuel that is dangerous to handle and store. Nammo’s propulsion system is based on a safe, non-toxic and low cost propellant, which also helps lowering overall cost by eliminating expensive infrastructure needed for the handling of highly toxic fuels. This will reduce launch cost by making it safer and easier to launch the spacecraft,” Frank Møller, Executive Vice President in Nammo’s Missile Products Division explains.
In 2013, Nammo was selected for the development and delivery of the secondary propulsion system onboard the Ariane 5 ME second stage. The mono-propellant propulsion subsystem offered by Nammo is based on hydrogen peroxide as the propellant and was selected as a green propulsion alternative to replace hydrazine. After Ariane 5 ME was cancelled in favor of Ariane 6, the development contract of the system was annulled in preparation of renewed requirements to be released by the Prime Contractor during 2015 for Ariane 6. With the support from ESA, the European Space Agency, Nammo continued with a comprehensive test program of the complete secondary propulsion subsystem to be ready for insertion into Ariane 6 or Vega in the near future. With the finalization of the test program on the positive expulsion storage tanks for hydrogen peroxide, Nammo has now available all necessary components.
Earlier in 2015, Nammo has done extensive testing of the environmentally friendly propulsion system under in-vacuum conditions at DLR Lampoldshausen’s high-altitude simulation facilities in Germany. The system functioned flawlessly for both short pulses, long duration burning at nominal thrust level of 200N as well as throttling between 50N and 230N. Heat soak and chill down under vacuum conditions were the main focus during these vacuum test firings. Throttling is achieved through a newly developed Flow Control Valve from Moog Ireland Ltd. The Nammo developed secondary propulsion system has demonstrated excellent properties in throttling, pulsing, multiple restarts without igniter and excellent cold start capabilities. Long duration burns result in relatively moderate structural temperatures, which ease integration with the spacecraft. During the different tests performed, it was also demonstrated that the technology is easily scalable, providing a design flexibility which existing systems lack.
The test program, now finished with the long term storage and compatibility tests of the flight weight storage tank, has proven the many advantages with the Nammo developed green propulsion system. An expulsion factor of more than 99% was achieved for the tank. Clean Space initiatives have made aluminum tanks for In-Space use also attractive for satellite systems which need to come apart easily during re-entry to avoid fragments reaching the surface of the Earth.