Alphaport develops integrated exciter-igniter for space propulsion

  • 21-Jan-2010 03:23 EST

Alphaport's rocket ignition system ignites air-methane gas for green fuel propulsion.

Alphaport recently completed development of an integrated exciter-igniter ignition system for rocket and jet engine propulsion under a two-year NASA SBIR Phase II program. The integrated exciter-igniter packages both the exciter electronics and the ignition coil inside a single, hermetically sealed stainless steel enclosure that produces high-voltage sparking needed for ignition of LOx methane or other green fuels. The unit offers an advantage over current ignition systems, which have the exciter electronics separated from the igniter by a cable as long as 4 ft. Alphaport's rocket ignition system provides spark voltages of up to 20 kV and controlled energies up to 50 mj. The spark rate is fixed and can be set within the range of 200-300 Hz. The unit was successfully hot-fire tested at Alphaport facilities using an air-methane fuel mixture. The unit was also verified to maintain internal atmospheric pressure while being exposed to a vacuum. Alphaport is currently near completion of a second prototype exciter-igniter.

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