Garvey Spacecraft Corporation recently conducted a successful static test on a nanosat launch vehicle (NLV) engine at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) range near Koehn Lake in California.
The three-second burn conducted on March 23 was the first time the company had used liquid oxygen with propylene in place of ethanol on its 5,000 lbf-thrust NLV main engine, Founder John Garvey tells Parabolic Arc.
“Only 3 seconds, but got through the ignition sequence, which is always the big question at this phase,” Garvey said in an email. “Used techniques previously developed with our 500 lbf LOX/propylene engine. Also continued to evaluate thrust vector control.
“The work plan still is to conduct additional testing this spring / summer (more ignition cycles, extend the duration), followed eventually by a flight test featuring this engine,” Garvey wrote.
The company is developing the engine under a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract awarded last year. The award was for a total of up $700,000 for work over a period of two years.
Garvey’s initial goal is to deliver 10 kg payloads into a 250-km orbit. A larger version of the booster will be designed to place satellites weighing up to 20 kg into a 450-km orbit.