DoD SBIR 23.3 BAA

Active
No
Status
Closed
Release Date
August 23rd, 2023
Open Date
September 20th, 2023
Due Date(s)
October 18th, 2023
Close Date
October 18th, 2023
Topic No.
SF233-0019

Topic

Suborbital Hover Vehicle-Reusable Rocket

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2023

Summary

The Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking proposals for the development of a Suborbital Hover Vehicle-Reusable Rocket (SHVRR). The objective of this solicitation is to develop an innovative concept, manufacturing implementation, and system hardware for the SHVRR. The technology being solicited is the Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine (RDRE), which has the potential to significantly improve the size, performance, stability, and unit cost of liquid rocket engines. The SHVRR will be used for various DoD applications, including Tactically Responsive Space Access (TRSA) orbital launch, small point-to-point delivery, and rocket-powered Hypersonic Testbed Vehicles. The project will involve multiple tethered vertical hover flights of the propulsion pathfinder airframe using a flight weight RDRE and engine controller provided by the government. The project duration will include Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III, with specific tasks such as assessing technical merit, completing design and manufacturing, conducting hover tests, and finalizing reporting/documentation. The funding specifics and performance goals will be provided in the solicitation document. The application due date for this solicitation is October 18, 2023. For more information, visit the DoD SBIR 23.3 BAA on grants.gov.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Technology;Hypersonics

 

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

 

OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative concept, manufacturing implementation, and system hardware for a Suborbital Hover Vehicle-Reusable Rocket (SHVRR). Demonstrate multiple tethered vertical hover flights (or equivalent) of delivered propulsion pathfinder airframe using Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) of a flight weight Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine and engine controller. The delivered pathfinder vehicle under this topic consists of structure, propellant tanks, feedlines, pressurant, communications, control, and electrical power systems to test propellant fill/drain, engine ignition, vertical transition to hover, landing, engine shutdown, and safety system operations sufficient at a selected test facility at the completion of a Phase II award.

 

DESCRIPTION: Rotating Detonation Rocket Engines (RDRE) are a disruptive new rocket engine technology under development by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Aerospace Systems Directorate Rocket Propulsion Division at Edwards AFB California since 2017. The technology has the potential to significantly improve the size, performance, stability, and unit cost of liquid rocket engines over the existing state of the art constant pressure rocket engine technology in use throughout the space industry. To quickly mature the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of RDREs, development of an innovative minimally viable propulsion system pathfinder is desired. The pathfinder mitigates propulsion development risk for a follow-on full flight demonstration of RDREs for several DoD applications, including, but no limited to: 1) Tactically Responsive Space Access (TRSA) orbital launch, 2) TRSA small point-to-point delivery, and 3) rocket-powered Hypersonic Testbed Vehicles. Mitigating the key propulsion system risks for this engine technology requires repeated testing of a flight weight RDRE in a representative environment for the range of intended DoD capabilities 1-3 above. Addressing the key technical challenges can best be evaluated at reasonable cost to the government using a tethered propulsion pathfinder capable of physically constrained vertical hover/throttling. 

Tasks required include:

• Assess technical merit of hover pathfinder for at ≥ two (2) of three (3) TRSA/Hypersonic Testbed capabilities listed above.

• Report budget/schedule feasibility of completing pathfinder design/manufacture/test under SBIR Phase II constraints. 

• Complete workplan/schedule/budget.

• Evaluate candidate DoD/non-DoD hover test sites; Rank top two (2) sites with justification.

• In coordination with customer, perform assessment of all safety/flight test/airworthiness requirements for recommended test sites.

• Complete design of pathfinder systems meeting baseline requirements.

• Manufacture pathfinder.

• Complete pathfinder/engine Interface Control Document (ICD).

• Document Pathfinder Hover Test plan.

• Conduct Pathfinder Hover Tests.

• Complete conceptual/preliminary design of Phase III suborbital RDRE flight test vehicle.

• Complete reporting.  Key Performance Parameters (KPP) include Parameter / Threshold Goal / Objective Goal Propellant Feed cycle / Pressure-fed / Pump-fed RDRE Chamber Pressure (Pc) / ≥ 300 psi / ≥ 400 psi Propellant Tank Pressurization / Blowdown / Regulated pressurant RDRE Thrust (F) / ≥ 1000 lbf / ≥ 5000 lbf Thrust Vector Control (ƟTVC) / none / ≥ 5 degrees Fuel / Liquid hydrocarbon / RP-2 Oxidizer /Liquid O2 / Liquid O2 RDRE min operation time (tb) / ≥ 10 seconds / ≥ 10 seconds RDRE min specific impulse (Isp) /≥ 215 seconds / ≥ 215 seconds RDRE min throttle /

 

PHASE I: Phase I efforts shall document the scientific/technical suitability and merit of a SHVRR propulsion pathfinder for at least 2/3 of the proposed DoD TRSA/Hypersonic Testbed capabilities as well as assess the feasibility of completing the design, manufacture, and testing of SHVRR within the budget/schedule of a SBIR Phase I/II. If completion of the baseline requirements under Phase II constraints is judged as infeasible, then recommendations shall be made on how the customer can modify baseline requirements or provide additional specific pathfinder systems, beyond the RDRE, as Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) to allow completion under a Phase II.

Specific deliverables under a Phase I include: 

• Assess technical merit of hover pathfinder for at ≥ two (2) of three (3) TRSA/Hypersonic Testbed capabilities listed above.

• Report budget/schedule feasibility of completing pathfinder design/manufacture/test under SBIR Phase II constraints. 

• Complete preliminary workplan/schedule/budget.

• Complete conceptual design of pathfinder systems meeting baseline requirements.

• Evaluate candidate DoD/non-DoD hover test sites; Rank top two (2) sites with justification.

• In coordination with customer, perform assessment of safety/flight test/airworthiness requirements for recommended test sites.

• Finalize propulsion pathfinder Hover Test plan.

• Draft propulsion pathfinder/engine Interface Control Document (ICD).

• Complete conceptual design of Phase III Prototype Flight Mothership-Reusable Rocket and its traceability to SHVRR design.

• Complete reporting/documentation.

 

PHASE II: Phase II work should include completion of the design, manufacture, test planning, and test operations of the SHVRR pathfinder using the GFE provided RDRE.

Task during Phase II include: 

• Complete final workplan/schedule/budget/requirements.

• Complete preliminary/critical design of pathfinder systems meeting final requirements.

• Finalize pathfinder/engine Interface Control Document (ICD).

• Manufacture SHVRR propulsion pathfinder and integrate GFE RDRE systems.

• Complete safety & test requirements for selected test site.

• Finalize propulsion pathfinder Hover Test plan.

• Complete preliminary design of Phase III Prototype Flight Mothership-Reusable Rocket.

• Conduct SHVRR Hover Test operations.

• Complete reporting/documentation.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III consists of conducting the military utility analysis, design, manufacture, and testing of an integrated capability Prototype Flight Mothership-Reusable Rocket for one of the specified DoD TRSA or Hypersonic Testbed capabilities discussed in the Topic Description above. Manufacture and flight test of the integrated capability prototype may be executed under a SBIR Phase III, Other Transactional Authority (OTA), AFRL S&T Seedling for Disruptive Capabilities program (SDCP), or other flight funding mechanism. It’s expected that RDRE propulsion system will be at a TRL=6 at entry into a Phase III effort. A successful completion of Phase II of this topic is envisioned to allow the technology to be included in the trade space for a follow-on for either a TRSA upper/high energy orbit insertion launch program of record, or a prototype program for hypersonic testbed vehicle or TRSA point-to-point delivery.

 

REFERENCES:

https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2018-4876 ;
https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2023-0358 ; 
http://doi.org/10.2514/6.2020-3873 ; 
https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2021-3682 ; 
AFRLi-61-601 AFRL Airworthiness; 
AFRLi 61-103 vol 1 AFRL Flight Test and Evaluation;
https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/feature/nasa-validates-revolutionary-propulsion-design-for-deep-space-missions; 
AFRLi 61-103 vol 1 AFRL Flight Test and Evaluation; 
AFRLi 61-601 AFRL Airworthiness; 
AFi 62-601 USAF Airworthiness

 

KEYWORDS: RDRE; VTVL; Hoveroc; Delta Clipper;