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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.149 SNIP: 0.16 CiteScore™: 0.29

ISSN Imprimer: 2150-766X
ISSN En ligne: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.2015011152
pages 197-220


Dan Michaels
Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel
Alon Gany
Sylvia and David IA Fine Rocket Propulsion Center and the Aerothermodynamics Lab, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 3200003, Israel


This study investigates a propulsion system that is based on a combustion chamber that ejects a traveling propellant charge through an exhaust tube. This concept is considered as a possible enhancement of the previously published study of a thruster expelling a solid weight by the adoption of unique propellants that were developed for the traveling propellant gun application. The unburned propellant of the traveling charge plays the role of the ejected weight, and the calculations show that it is a good way of reducing the overall weight of the system and increasing the generated impulse. The research includes developing an interior ballistics model, validation of the model by comparison to experimental results from traveling charge gun firings, and theoretical investigation of the proposed thruster performance. The study revealed that a specific impulse of slightly above 300 s, based on the propellant mass, can be obtained. By utilizing the traveling charge concept the solid ejected weight can be minimized and possibly eliminated. Such a thruster appears to be beneficial for trajectory corrections and attitude control of space vehicles, and as divert and attitude control system (DACS). The system's main advantages are the possibility of high specific impulse, the usage of only solid materials, and the ability to generate many discrete and accurate impulses.