NASA’S OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Arrives at Asteroid Bennu

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft completed its 1.2 billion-mile (2 billion-kilometer) journey to arrive at the asteroid Bennu Monday. The spacecraft executed a maneuver that transitioned it from flying toward Bennu to operating around the asteroid.

Now, at about 11.8 miles (19 kilometers) from Bennu’s Sun-facing surface, OSIRIS-REx will begin a preliminary survey of the asteroid. The spacecraft will commence flyovers of Bennu’s north pole, equatorial region, and south pole, getting as close as nearly 4 miles (7 kilometers) above Bennu during each flyover. Continue reading “NASA’S OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Arrives at Asteroid Bennu”

Hydrogen Peroxide Hypergolic Propellant – Where It Began

This is what started our investigation of hypergolic propellants based on hydrogen peroxide. After realizing that silver catalyst beds were too expensive and unreliable for orbital launch vehicles, historical research led to the work performed at Sandia National Labs early this century. They investigated blending the catalyst within the fuel itself to create a hypergolic bi-propellant. This research served as the foundation for our partner Aphelion Orbitals’ work on a full-scale propulsion system using this concept.

Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Propulsion and Power Systems

Investigation of Hyperbolic Fuels with Hydrogen Peroxide

Successful Main Propulsion System Test Fire

“It isn’t rocket science,” except when it is. On November 8, ARES Institute’s partner Aphelion Orbitals, Inc. successfully conducted a demonstration test fire of a flight-scale storable, non-toxic and hypergolic propulsion system for the first time. The test proved the viability of the technology that will power the first and second stages of the company’s Helios nanosatellite launch vehicle. The test occurred at Schuylkill County Airport in eastern Pennsylvania.

“This is a game-changing milestone in the propulsion industry,” said Matthew Travis, Aphelion Orbitals Chief Operating Officer after the test. “Never before has a propulsion system of this type been fired at the scale we demonstrated today and we couldn’t be happier with the result.”

Continue reading “Successful Main Propulsion System Test Fire”