FLIGHT WORKS AWARDED SUBCONTRACT TO DEVELOP HIGH-PERFORMANCE "GREEN" PROPULSION SYSTEM FOR CUBESATS (UNDER AIR FORCE PHASE I SBIR)Subcontract awarded by Ogden Engineering & Associates (OE&A) of Tucson, AZ
October 22, 2015
Flight Works, Inc. (FW) of Irvine, California has been awarded a subcontract by Ogden Engineering & Associates (OE&A) of Tucson to develop a high performance, “green” propulsion system for CubeSats.
Flight Works, Inc. (FW) of Irvine, California has been awarded a subcontract by Ogden Engineering & Associates (OE&A) of Tucson to develop a high performance, “green” propulsion system for CubeSats. The team, working under an Air Force Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract, aims to design the propulsion technology. The system will incorporate a low-pressure feed system and micro-pump fed thruster for use in power-constrained applications.
Successful demonstration of OE&A’s green monopropellants, with their high density and reduced toxicity, will reduce the industry’s dependence on hydrazine-based monopropellants. This will reduce environmental and health risks to operations and maintenance personnel, and allow CubeSat users to plan for missions requiring greater maneuverability - including orbit insertion, maintenance, and disposal.
FLIGHT WORKS QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM CERTIFIED TO TOP STANDARDS (AS9100 & ISO 9001)
June 3, 2015
As part of an ever increasing pursuit of industry-leading quality and customer satisfaction, Flight Works recently underwent and passed their AS9100 and ISO 9001 quality management system (QMS) audits, receiving certification to both standards in early July.
As part of an ever increasing pursuit of industry-leading quality and customer satisfaction, Flight Works recently underwent and passed their AS9100 and ISO 9001 quality management system (QMS) audits, receiving certification to both standards in early July. The audits were performed by DNV, the world’s largest classification society, and spanned two and a half days of process review and effectiveness measurement. Every section of the QMS was evaluated for conformity, including items like risk management in the design process, comprehensive instrument calibration, and component traceability throughout the manufacturing and assembly process.
Both AS9100 and ISO 9001 are internationally recognized as top quality system standards, and are often considered a required condition for business by major manufacturers and suppliers worldwide. AS9100 in particular, as the leading quality standard for the aerospace industry, demands extremely high levels of process control and improvement planning. For more information on the quality standards visit the SAE or ISO websites.
FLIGHT WORKS AWARDED NEW NASA PHASE I SBIR - "Micropump for MON-25/mmh propulsion and attitude control (for robotic science missions)"Project managed by NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC)
April 23, 2015
Flight Works is proposing to expand its work in micro-gear pumps for hypergolic and "green" propellants and team with Aerojet-Rocketdyne in order to develop and demonstrate a micropump for MON-25 and mono methyl hydrazine (MMH) bipropellant thrusters.
Flight Works is proposing to expand its work in micro-gear-pumps for hypergolic and "green" propellants and team with Aerojet-Rocketdyne in order to develop and demonstrate a micropump for MON-25 and mono methyl hydrazine (MMH) bipropellant thrusters. MON-25, with 25% of nitric oxide (NO) and 75% nitrogen tetroxide (NTO, N2O4), allows lowering the oxidizer freezing point to -55 C, which is a close match to that of the fuel, MMH (which is around -51 C). While toxic, this propellant combination is hypergolic and allows operations over a wide range of temperatures, particularly in extremely cold environments as those envisioned for many future missions. The introduction of a micropump in the propulsion system provides many benefits, including the elimination of the pressurization systems; lighter, cheaper, and conformal tanks; improved system packaging; removal of propellant cross-contamination in the pressurization system; and long term storage for extended duration missions (since the loss of helium is no longer a concern). Under a Phase I SBIR, Flight Works Inc. is prepared to develop and characterize a micropump suitable for both MMH and MON-25, initially sized for 22-30 N (5-7 lbf) class thrusters with approximately 2.5 MPa (365 psi) inlet pressure, with the goal of demonstrating the technology with pump-fed MMH/MON-25 hot fire tests by the end of Phase II.
Flight Works Awarded NASA Phase I SBIR - "Highly Capable Micropump-Fed Propulsion System for Proximity Operations, Landing and Ascent"Project managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
June 20, 2014
Flight Works will expand its work in micro gear pumps for propulsion applications in order to provide a highly capable propulsion and attitude control system (ACS) for asteroid proximity operations, landers and return capsules.
Flight Works is proposing to expand its work in micro gear pumps for propulsion applications in order to provide a highly capable propulsion and attitude control system (ACS) for asteroid proximity operations, landers and return capsules. In traditional systems, larger thrusters, specific to each mission, must be employed to counter the gravity field of the target. Also, throttling these larger thrusters for proximity operations and landing is not a trivial task. With the pump, the need for these larger, more expensive thrusters is eliminated. Instead the pump allows increasing (or decreasing) and controlling the thrust of the attitude control thrusters to the levels required for operating in the target's gravity field by modulating the pump RPM/power. Typically, only a few tens of watts are needed for pump operations. Flight Works is prepared to develop and demonstrate a low cost micro pump capable of significantly increasing pressure and flow rate to the thrusters, to define a roadmap for larger increases if warranted, and to plan Phase II activities in order to reach a TRL 7 by the end of that phase. The technology builds on Aerojet Rocketdyne's work for NASA's on-going Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) and use the non-toxic hydroxyl ammonium-nitrate (HAN) -based propellant AF-M315E which provides 50% greater density-ISP than hydrazine. The micro pump leverages the Air Force Research Lab's (AFRL) investments in pump-fed technologies for small spacecraft propulsion applications, which have led to steady state and pulsed hot fire tests with hydrazine and demonstrations with other propellants.
Flight Works Launches New Ultra-Low Flow Pump Models
February 4, 2014
Flight Works releases a family of ultra-low flow pumps capable of controlling flow rates under 1 mL/min.
Flight Works releases a new family of ultra-low flow pumps capable of maintaining accurate flow rates under 1 mL/min. Using the smallest internal components yet entered into production at Flight Works, this design facilitates high-speed and high-torque operation without excess flow rate, allowing for nominal motor operation and relatively high differential pressures. With testing conducted into the microliters, and as high as 10 bars of differential pressure with low viscosity fluids, Flight Works has verified this configuration as an excellent solution for a wide range of low-flow requirements.
Though Flight Works already excelled in the low-flow sector, these new models are an improved fit for a number of uses. Primary target markets include:
- Analytical instrumentation
- Flow cytometry
- Flow chemistry
- Pharmaceutical and medical applications
- Dosing, sampling, and metering technology
- Minimum volume lubrication
Flight Works, Inc. Prototype Pump Paves the Way to Future In-space Use with Hydrazine, MMH, and NTO
December 12, 2012
A series of tests conducted at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) demonstrates the ability of a Flight Works micro pump prototype to increase nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) pressures to those typically used in a spacecraft propulsion system.
The pump, developed with NASA funding, is operated for several hours with NTO and is also compatible with hydrazine and mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH). The pump represents an evolution from Flight Works’ line of micro-pumps and is a subscale prototype of what could be used in future spaceflight applications.
Flight Works, Inc. Launches New Magnetic Drive Pump Models for High-Life Applications
April 27, 2012
After extensive design, development, and testing, Flight Works launches the M-Series, a family of magnetically-coupled micro gear pumps adding a level of quality, reliability, and performance capabilities to the Flight Works product line.
Originally envisioned as a solution for long-life pumping applications, the magnetic drive series offers several other improvements over the standard sealed gear pump, including:
- Extended run time capabilities due to the elimination of a dynamic seal AND the reduction of side load on motor bearings
- Highly reduced risk of leaks, especially under extreme operating conditions
- Elimination of risks of fluid contamination from dynamic seal abrasion
- Expanded fluid and environmental compatibility, including extreme temperatures (both hot and cold)
- Design permits easy replacement of pump section in the field
- Increased differential pressure capabilities, over the 20 bar (300 psi) threshold of dynamically sealed pumps
- Increased maximum allowable pressures (600 psi and higher depending on fluids and configurations)
Flight Works, Inc. Awarded Air Force Phase II SBIR - "Pump-fed Micropropulsion System for High Performance Nanosats"
June 1, 2010
Under the Phase II effort, Flight Works will refine the propulsion system design and develop a prototype of the system.
Miniaturization of propulsion systems for nanosats presents unique challenges which, to date, have rendered such small spacecraft unable to have significant orbit change/control and attitude control capabilities. Under a Phase I SBIR, Flight Work Inc. conducted the preliminary design of a pump-fed micropropulsion system and demonstrated the potential of the technology by developing and characterizing a low cost micro pump for HAN-based propellants (TRL of 4). The system has a dry mass less than 1 kg (for 4 kg of propellant), uses less than 25 W of power, and generates more than 3.4 N of thrust at a predicted ISP greater than 240 s. The introduction of the pump in the system allows eliminating relatively heavy valves, regulators and lines while using plastic tanks for propellant storage. Under the Phase II effort, Flight Works proposes to refine the propulsion system design and develop a prototype of the system. Also included in the work plan is the development of a pump for hydrazine monopropellant, a pump which will then be integrated into a complete micropropulsion system and static fire tested in a vacuum chamber. This demonstration will pave the way towards an in-flight application of the technology onboard nanosats and microsats.
Whether used with hydrazine, HAN-based propellants or in bipropellant mode (MMH/NTO), the technology is particularly relevant for nanosat and microsat missions requiring high propellant mass fractions. It can also be an enabler of future missions where it might be more cost effective to send a fleet of nanosats rather than a single, larger, highly reliable and expensive spacecraft. In all these applications, eliminating several hard-to-miniaturize components (such as high pressure valves, tanks and regulators) reduces system cost and mass, while also allowing for more compact and lighter propellant tanks. As such, the technology is not only applicable to all DoD very small spacecraft programs with significant mission ∆V, but it also enables the more demanding ones of these missions as long as the thrust requirements can be matched with the power available on the spacecraft. In summary, applications include all small spacecraft and small landers (where the pump provides a simple throttling mechanism). The technology could also be applied to large spacecraft attitude control systems by reducing storage tank and feed-line mass.
Flight Works, Inc. Awarded Air Force Phase I SBIR - "Pump-fed Micropropulsion System for High Performance Nanosats"
April 8, 2008
Flight Works will design a HAN-based pump-fed micropopulsion system and demonstrate the potential of the technology by developing and characterizing a low cost micro-pump for HAN-based propellants.
Miniaturization of propulsion systems for small spacecraft presents unique challenges which, to date, have rendered such small spacecraft unable to have significant orbit change/control and attitude control capabilities. Under a Phase I SBIR, Flight Work Inc. will design a HAN-based pump-fed micropropulsion system and demonstrate the potential of the technology by developing and characterizing a low cost micro pump for HAN-based propellants. The goal is to develop a system with dry mass less than 1 kg (for 4 kg of propellant), less than 25 W of power, more than 0.1 N thrust, and ISP greater than 240 s. The introduction of the pump in the system allows eliminating relatively heavy valves, regulators and lines while using plastic tanks/bags for propellant storage. This reduction in system complexity and mass will allow nanosats to conduct missions with ∆V s similar to those of today’s larger spacecraft. The pumps are based on proven recently-developed high performance gear pumps driven by DC motors and developed for small turbojets, UAV’s gasoline engines, methanol fuel cells and other applications. Also, because the power to the pump can be modulated, thrust is easily controlled and adjusted to best match mission needs.