BLOODHOUND's rocket partner Nammo tests the first in a series of large hybrid rocket motors at their Norwegean test site.
The BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car will use one Nammo hybrid rocket in high speed testing scheduled for 2015 and a cluster of three rockets in its 1,000mph (1,609 km/h) campaign in 2016.
The design of the motor tested represents the latest in the evolution of hybrid rocket motor technology. Nammo’s hybrid technology is based on a rocket propellant combination of hydrogen peroxide as the oxidiser and synthetic rubber as the fuel.
Hybrid rockets are a safe, controllable, low-cost and green alternative for rocket propulsion.
The test firing of the rocket was an unprecedented success. The firing lasted for a predefined 16 seconds, producing a maximum thrust of 30 kN (or 3 tons). The engine started instantly after ignition and the firing was terminated in a controlled manner by closing the main oxidizer valve. Normally a full burn would have lasted 25 seconds, but on this occasion the test was terminated after 16 seconds for a full inspection. Full integrity of the motor was conserved, meaning that the engine could have been started again to burn for the remaining 9 seconds, if so desired.
Nammo’s work with hybrid technology has been supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) since 2010, notably under its Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP). Nammo’s work fits perfectly with ESA’s objective to foster new promising technologies for future European Launchers and to include green propulsion solutions in their existing systems.
The hybrid rocket motor tested on October 7th is not only interesting from a new technology development perspective; it is also the first building block for the North Star Rocket Family. This family of affordable sounding rockets and small launchers, is developed to launch small satellites into orbit from Andøya Space Center in Northern Norway.