Sierra Nevada’s New VORTEX Upper Stage Engine Closer to Reality

VORTEX engine test (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., October 11, 2018 (SNC PR) – With its patented VORTEX™ engine technology, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is one step closer to testing a brand new version of its low-cost, high-performance upper stage rocket engine. The VR35K-A, developed in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is a commercialized version of the VORTEX engine system. The team will provide a fully integrated engine, leveraging technologies initially developed under Small Business Innovation Research programs.

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ORBITEC Expands Vortex Engine With New Propellant Demo

Thrust vortex engine test (Credit: ORBITEC/SNC)
Thrust vortex engine test (Credit: ORBITEC/SNC)

MADISON, Wis. (Nov. 10, 2015) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) wholly-owned subsidiary Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) recently completed successful testing and demonstration of three different propellant combinations for its existing 30,000-pound thrust vortex rocket engine. Completing this advancement in less than a year, ORBITEC is rapidly progressing its offering of engines for orbital maneuvering, upper-stage engines that ignite at high altitude, and small-to-medium-scale air and ground launch stage engines.

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ORBITEC Selected for 3 SBIR and 1 STTR Phase I Awards

ORBITEC vortex propulsion technology. (Credit: ORBITEC)
ORBITEC vortex propulsion technology. (Credit: ORBITEC)

NASA has selected Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) for three Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and one Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I awards for a high performance nano-launcher, miniature CubeSat propulsion, vortex propulsion technology, and a waste compactor.

The OBITEC proposals that NASA selected for negotiations include:

  • High Performance Nanolauncher (STTR with Penn State University)
  • Miniature Nontoxic Nitrous Oxide-Propane (MINNOP) Propulsion
  • VTX HyHeat — vortex propulsion technology
  • Plastic Melt Waste Compactor Flight Demonstrator Payload (PFDP)

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ORBITEC Set to Test New Vortex Engine

ORBITEC's Vortex engine. (Credit: ORBITEC)

An interesting item from the Wisconsin State Journal on a new rocket engine design:

Orbital Technologies Corp. received the first of two rockets that could someday send the Madison company’s fortunes sky high — or at least fulfill the dreams of its rocket scientists. The rockets — built by Garvey Spacecraft Corp., of Long Beach, Calif., and California State University at Long Beach — will incorporate a vortex rocket engine designed by Orbitec.

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