Status Report

NASA JSC: Green Propulsion Technology for Spacecraft

By SpaceRef Editor
January 13, 2014
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Jan 13, 2014

Statement of Interest Form – Posted on Jan 13, 2014 

General Information

    Solicitation Number: NNJ14ZBH024L

    Posted Date: Jan 13, 2014

    FedBizOpps Posted Date: Jan 13, 2014

    Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No

    Original Response Date: Mar 17, 2014

    Current Response Date: Apr 11, 2014

    Classification Code: A — Research and Development

    NAICS Code: 336415

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas, 77058-3696, Mail Code: BH


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC) is seeking parties interested in collaborative development and mature technologies required for NASA’s future missions and to enhance life on Earth. JSC is looking to partner on the development of broadly applicable technologies as a means to accelerate technology development and strengthen commercialization of federally-funded research and development.


JSC is seeking co-development partners with similar interest in developing and demonstrating relevant technologies associated with “Green Propulsion”.

NASA is currently developing “Green Propulsion” technologies including, but not limited to: main and reaction control engine development, integrated systems testing including use of the Morpheus vertical test bed, innovative low mass/volume pressurant storage and distribution solutions, low mass/thermally efficient composite propellant tanks and structures, and advanced materials and manufacturing for low cost component production. “Green Propulsion” technologies are of great interest to the aerospace industry. These technologies also have relevance to any entity that desires the ability to generate environmentally friendly power and propulsion.


NASA JSC has a long history in the development of propulsion systems for human-rated in-space vehicles and landers. Traditionally, these systems have used earth storable propellants that provide adequate performance but are encumbered by significant test and operational impacts associated with their high toxicity. Additionally, earth storable propellants are not compatible with in-situ propellant production/in-situ resource utilization (ISPP/ISRU), which is considered enabling for human missions to Mars. LO2/CH4 propulsion offers the advantage of increased performance, low toxicity, and ISRU compatibility and has been identified by NASA as an enabling technology for Mars human mission architecture. The propellant combination supports a high degree of integration between Propulsion, Power, and the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) enabling common vehicle fluids and storage solutions. By minimizing the number of fluids on the spacecraft and consolidating tankage, the integrated spacecraft fluid storage architecture could realize significant mass reductions and systems packaging efficiency at the vehicle level.

R&D Status:

JSC has been working in collaboration with the Morpheus Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) project, the University of Texas El Paso Center for Space Exploration Technology Research, and Penn State University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to further the development and demonstration of key technologies necessary to enable a LO2/CH4 spacecraft and/or lander propulsion system.

As part of the Morpheus AES project, JSC has developed and is operating a versatile platform to support integrated vehicle-level test and demonstration of spacecraft systems including non-toxic propellant technologies, integrated propulsion/avionics/Guidance, Navigation and Control (GN&C) architectures, and Autonomous Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT). The Morpheus vertical test bed has the ability to fly analog trajectories such as Lunar descent using LO2/Methane propulsion for low-cost testing with rapid recycle time.

Intellectual Property (IP):

* “Thermodynamic Vent System for On-Orbit Cryogenic Reaction Control Engine”, NASA Tech Briefs, May 2012.

* “Regeneratively Cooled Combustor Equilibrium Tool for Matlab (RCCET-M) Version 1”, NASA Technology Report, May 11 2012.

* Automated, Real-Time Targeting and Guidance (ARTGUID) Software for Lunar-Descent and Precision Landing

Reference Papers:

* AIAA 2013-5310, “Project Morpheus: Lessons Learned in Lander Technology Development”

* Global Exploration Conference, May 2012, GLEX-2012.05.2.4×12761, “Morpheus: Advancing Technologies for Human Exploration”

* JANNAF, 2011-0015LV, “2-Inch Piezoelectric Isolation Valve Tested on an Integrated Cryogenic Feed System”

* AIAA-2011-5775, “Characterization of Propellant Distribution for a Cryogenic Attitude Control System”

* AIAA-2011-5633, “Slosh Baffle Design and Test for Spherical Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Methane Propellant Tank for a Lander”

* AIAA-2011-6113, “Advanced Development of a Compact 5-15 lbf LOX/Methane Thruster for an Integrated Reaction Control and Main Engine Propulsion System”

* AIAA-2011-5927, “Project Morpheus Main Engine Development and Preliminary Flight Testing”

Detailed information for the above mentioned technologies furnished upon request.

This co-development project may produce new IP that could be jointly owned by NASA and the partner or may become the property of the partner.

This announcement is not to be construed as a Request for Proposal and is not a commitment by the government, nor will the government pay for any information provided. Since this is an Announcement, no evaluation letters or results will be issued to the respondents.

Please submit the attached Statement of Interest Form to Mark Dillard

To view all Co-Development and Partnering Opportunities with the NASA Johnson Space Center please visit our website

Point of Contact

    Name: Mark A. Dillard

    Title: Lead Partnership Development Office Integration

    Phone: 281-244-8460

    Fax: 281-483-4146


    Name: Dana Altmon-Cary

    Title: Contracting Officer

    Phone: 281-483-8228

    Fax: 281-483-4066


SpaceRef staff editor.