Parabilis Space Technologies, Inc. has successfully demonstrated a liquid injection thrust vector control (LITVC) system as part of a development contract with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). LITVC functions by injecting a fluid, in this case nitrous oxide, into the expansion cone of a rocket motor nozzle, which sets up a system of shocks to divert the primary exhaust off-axis. Using multiple injection points, multi-directional steering is achieved with no moving parts within the nozzle itself. This technology is being investigated as a steering method for the hybrid rocket powered Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) that is under development at NASA JPL. Its mission will be to lift Martian samples off the surface of the planet for eventual return to Earth.
Parabilis leveraged its additive manufacturing (3D printing) expertise to design, develop, and test a subscale LITVC system with regenerative cooling and multiple temperature sensing channels. According to Chris Grainger, VP of Engineering at Parabilis and Principal Investigator for this program, “This demonstration will contribute substantially to the design and development of a flight-ready steering system.”
Parabilis CEO Dave Streich said “Sample return from extraterrestrial bodies is critical to the advancement of human understanding of the solar system and is a core part of the NASA Science Plan, and Parabilis is proud to have contributed to this effort.”
Parabilis Space Technologies designs, develops, tests, and flies affordable propulsion, launch vehicle, and spacecraft solutions. Parabilis is located in San Marcos, CA. The hotfire tests for this program were performed on the vertical test stand at Parabilis’ Lakeside Test Facility located in eastern San Diego county.