NASA has selected Firestar for an award under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The Mojave-based company will use the funding to improve its NOFBX propulsion system, a green engine which is set for testing aboard the International Space Station late next year.
NASA announced the selection on Tuesday. No amount was provided, but SBIR agreements are usually made over a six-month period for amounts of up to $125,000. The award is contingent successful negotiation of terms.
A full description of Firestar’s proposal follows after the break.
We propose to develop a miniature, low RF noise ignition module for NOFBX propulsion systems. This ignition module is designed utilizing unique properties of the NOFBX propellant to enable a potential 2-3 order magnitude reduction in spark ignition energy, voltage, current, and power under a very special set of condition realized only in an NOFBX combustion chamber.
POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The NOFBX technology is currently being developed under a NASA BAA for flight on the International Space Station as a commercial flight experiment. The proposed activity would upgrade the ignition element of this flight system reducing mass, volume, and power of the device as well as conductive and radiative emission characteristics. Given the commercial interest in the NOFBX propulsion technology, we anticipate this block upgrade ignition module to be readily integrated into the NOFBX product line being developed by Innovation Space Propulsion Systems, the licensee of NOFBX technology.
POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The unique characteristics of N2O are similar to NOFBX. Low energy ignition systems for race car applications and low specific fuel emission vehicles employing N2O based fuels (another Firestar spin-off technology) may be derived from this development effort.
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract: