Masten Space Systems Selected for NASA SBIR Award

Mojave’s Masten Space Systems has been selected for a NASA contract to continue development of technology that will improve the 3-D manufacturing of rocket engine injectors.

Masten work on its PermiAM system will be funded under a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award. The contract is worth up to $750,000.

“Masten is currently focusing on the propulsion elements of PermiAM with direct applicability to small satellite launch vehicles, upper stage engines, and planetary landers in support of the NASA [Commercial Lunar Payload Services] program,” the company said in its proposal summary.

“For aviation it may be used to improve the performance and reliability of commercial jet engines. Current jet engine combustion chamber designs use bypass air and baffles to keep components from overheating,” the summary added. “PermiAM would allow the more even application of cooling air, better boundary layer performance, and damp instabilities. Masten is also selling PermiAM to other rocket engine manufacturers.”

The proposal summary follows.

Masten Space Systems, Inc.
Mojave, Calif.

PermiAM: Engineered Porosity In-Situ with Fully Dense AM Structure
Subtopic Title: Small Launch Vehicle Technologies and Demonstrations

Principal Investigator

Matthew Kuhns

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL):
Begin: 5
End: 6

Technical Abstract

This work answers the questions and needs of Focus Area 21 Subtopic Z9.01 for small launch vehicle technologies by providing affordable launch architecture, as propulsion systems are the highest cost subsystem for rocket development and PermiAM will enable a large savings for main propulsion system engine development.

PermiAM will enable increased design simplicity for AM injectors and reduced development costs through improved face cooling and improved combustion stability. Phase I demonstrated successful use of PermiAM in multiple materials for rocket engine injectors. A full scale proof of concept ground test will be demonstrated by the end of Phase II.

Potential NASA Applications

PermiAM material is aligned with NASA Technology Roadmap needs TA1.2, TA2.1, and TA12. Masten is currently focusing on the propulsion elements of PermiAM with direct applicability to small satellite launch vehicles, upper stage engines, and planetary landers in support of the NASA CLPS program. For SLS, the RS-25 and RL10 use a coaxial injector with Rigimesh face. As AM build volumes increase it will be possible to replace the expensive and complex rigimesh injector with an AM version to lower the cost of heavy lift space access.

Potential Non-NASA Applications

For aviation it may be used to improve the performance and reliability of commercial jet engines. Current jet engine combustion chamber designs use bypass air and baffles to keep components from overheating. PermiAM would allow the more even application of cooling air, better boundary layer performance, and damp instabilities. Masten is also selling PermiAM to other rocket engine manufacturers.

Duration: 12 months