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N2O/Solid
N2O/Solid propellant. Liquid nitrous oxide (N2O / dinitrogen monoxide / 'laughing gas') is the oxidizer of choice for hybrid rocket motors because it is storable, and self-pressurizing to 48 atmospheres at 17 deg C. The combination of HTPB or PMMA solid fuel and N2O is benign, non-toxic, and non-explosive.

It is difficult to find a rocket motor safer than one using rubber/plastic and laughing gas. It is non-explosive. The rubber / LOX combination has been rated by the Vandenberg range as a 0 lb of TNT equivalent (i.e. non-explosive), and N2O is even safer (it is used as a pressurant for whipped cream). The fuel has to be vaporized in the presence of an atomized oxidizer with a high temperature igniter in order for it to burn. Even in failure mode, it's safe. Flow oxidizer without vaporized fuel and nothing happens. Vaporize fuel without oxidizer and nothing happens. Ignition only occurs when fuel is vaporized in the presence of an atomized oxidizer with a high temperature igniter. Principal uses are as an anesthetic in short-duration surgical operations (prolonged inhalation can cause death) and as a propellant for food aerosols. It is most commonly produced by decomposition of ammonium nitrate.



Subtopics

Hyperion engine eAc hybrid N2O/Solid rocket engine.

MTV Motor SpaceDev N2O/Solid hybrid rocket engine. Upper stages. Small hybrid rocket motor designed for use in the Maneuver and Transfer Vehicle, an upper stage orbital transfer motor. Tested 2001.

SBIR Hybrid SpaceDev N2O/Solid hybrid rocket engine. First stage. Upper-stage hybrid propulsion system, part of 2004 Phase 2 of SBIR contract from AFRL for a hybrid rocket motor-based small launch vehicle project.

SpaceDev Hybrid SpaceDev N2O/Solid hybrid rocket engine. Rocketplane boost. Out of production. Used on Tier One launch vehicle. First flight 2002.

SpaceShip One Manned spacecraft component of the Tier One suborbital launch system. N2O/Solid propellant rocket stage. Wing area 15 sq. m.

Tier One Burt Rutan's Tier One was the second manned reusable suborbital launch system (after the B-52/X-15). But it was developed privately at a small fraction of the cost, and won the X-Prize in 2004 as the first privately-developed reusable manned suborbital spacecraft. The design was greatly enlarged to produce SpaceShipTwo, the first commercial spaceplane.

Tier Two American manned spaceplane. Development of the much larger SpaceShipTwo suborbital commercial manned spacecraft was announced in July 2005.

Engines: Hyperion engine, MTV Motor, SBIR Hybrid, SpaceDev Hybrid. Spacecraft: Tier Two. Launch Vehicles: Tier One. Stages: SpaceShip One.

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