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Government Programs

Through direct and small business funds, Sierra has worked with NASA (MSFC, GRC, and JSC), USAF, Navy, MDA (Missile Defense Agency), and OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) on propulsion technology. A partial list of current and past programs is provided below:


Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Advanced Materials and Cooling Schemes for Rocket Engine Combustion Chambers, SBIR Phase I & II.

Purpose:  Further the development of transpiration cooling materials, technology, and performance.
High Aspect Ratio Coolant Channels for Regeneratively Cooled Combustion Chambers (HARCC), SBIR Phase I

Purpose:  Utilize CFD analysis to solve 3-D fluid dynamics and conjugate heat transfer within the cooling channels at a variety of cooling passage aspect ratios and coolant conditions.  Design an experimental facility to test different aspect ratios.
5KThrust Chamber Assembly Design and Analysis, SBIR (HARCC) Phase II.

Purpose:  Design and fabricate a TCA with ablative and an instrumented heat sink combustion chamber to evaluate dual point RP-1 film cooling for combustion chamber cooling.
  Propulsion Analysis and computational fluid dynamics tools on the internet (ROCKETWEBSM), SBIR Phase I and II.

Purpose:  Allow engineers to access propulsion analysis tools and computational servers through the internet.

Missile Defense Agency

PERCORP Enhancement For Improved Soot Modeling, Phase I & II.

Purpose:  Improve the accuracy and usability of existing engineering tools for plume signature generation by incorporating state-of-the-art soot modeling.
Application of Response Surface Methodology (RSM) and Optimization to Plume Signature Analysis, SBIR Phase I.

Purpose:  Using RSM and Optimization techniques, match current analysis software to existing data.
Compact, Transportable JP-8 Reformer, Phase I.

Purpose:  Develop a compact, transportable JP-8 reformer system design.
  Thermal Decomposer for Peroxide, STTR Phase I & II.

Purpose:  Determine the test conditions and peroxide concentrations required to initiate and sustain thermal decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide.
Emission Reduction Through Chemical Kinetic Modeling of Real Engine Effects (REE), SBIR Phase I & II.

Purpose:  1) Develop a combustor, including a new injector element, to test alternative hydrocarbon fuels; 2) creating a rocket plume near field diagnostic instrument to study mixing within the combustor; 3) tailoring a plume signature to meet predetermined infrared intensity requirements; and 4) improving combustion analysis techniques using three-dimensional (3D) computation fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses and analytical analyses.


Triaxial Swirler Liquid Injector Development, Phase I & II.

Purpose: 1)  Demonstrate the operating characteristics of the tri-axial swirl injector at a modest scale through hardware design, fabrication, and test; 2) show adequate analytical tools for the design, and subsequent scale-up, of tri-axial swirl injectors by anchoring analytical and CFD analyses; and 3) develop conceptual design of a large-scale tri-axial swirl injector, for a possible Phase III testing program.
Rocket Combustor Validation Data for Advanced Combustion Models, STTR, Phase I.

Purpose:  Collection of hot-fire test data for CFD model validation on dual point RP-1 fuel film cooling.
Non-Axisymmetric Infrared Plume Tomography for Rocket Plume Species and Temperature Distribution, STTR Phase I.

Purpose: Develop IR tomographic reconstruction capability for emission absorption plume measurements.
Sierra Diagnostic System (SDS): Plume Diagnostics for Combustion Stability, STTR Phase I/II.

Purpose: Develop instrumentation to characterize rocket combustion stability from plume optical signature.

Office of the Secretary of Defense

Longitudinal Stability Testing (LST):  Advanced Injector Designs for Hydrocarbon Liquid Rocket Engine Components, SBIR Phase I & II.

Purpose:  Design, build, and test a hot fire device that tests, characterizes, and screens new injection elements