Solid rocket motors are today the most cost effective, competitive and reliable propulsion technology for space launch systems. State of the art solid rocket propellants are based on the oxidizer ammonium perchlorate, AP, and aluminum powder, embedded in a polymer binder matrix. AP has been used since the 1950s and is in many ways an excellent oxidizer. Unfortunately, there are environment and health concerns with AP.
Sustainable Development has become a top priority on the European and international agendas. With ever increasing environmental concerns, industries in Europe need to adapt to more restrictive environmental legislation in order to stay competitive and to enhance social acceptance. The space industry is in this case no exception, which is emphasized by the ESA Clean Space Initiative.
The objective of the GRAIL project is to determine if it is feasible to replace AP by using a mixture of the new high energy density green oxidizer ammonium dinitramide, ADN, and the low cost green oxidizer ammonium nitrate, AN.
The high energy density green solid propellant developed will be compared with state of the art solid propellants with respect to:
to determine if replacing AP with ADN/AN is a feasible option. The results will serve as important input for decision makers when considering development of future European launch systems.
Successful development of a high energy green propellant will lead to a breakthrough in solid rocket propulsion technology with respect to performance, competitiveness and environmental impact.
FOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 638719.