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Contracts - Awards | Design Innovations | Launch Vehicles | New Systems Tech | Other Corporation | R&D - Contracted | USA

$24.9M to Develop Vortex Rocket Engine Technology

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Vortex rocket engine(click to view full) Orbital Technologies Corp. (Orbitec) in Madison, WI received a $24.9 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity with cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to help develop and commercialize Orbitec’s unique vortex rocket engine technology. It’s all part of the US Air Force integrated high payoff rocket propulsion technology program, and the space-based infrared system III (SBIRS III) program will attempt to integrate vortex engine propulsion technology with state-of-the art tank and feed system technology to demonstrate a cohesive universal small launch vehicle capability. When most of us think of vortex technology, we think of vacuum cleaners. So why are vortex rocket engines so great, and what progress has been made so far? “Normal” rocket engines channel an explosive reaction through a heat-shielded combustion chamber and then out a nozzle, creating thrust from the opposite reaction to the plasma’s rapid escape. Controlling this process without crisping the rocket requires either a lot of heavy shielding, or regenerative cooling systems that use a lot of complex machinery. This contributes weight and/or more potential points of failure, driving efficiency down and costs up. On the other hand, what if you could keep the fuel confined to a vortex like the one in your vacuum […]

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