RCI is developing high-performance Hybrid Rocket Engines (HRE’s) for integration with Intrepid-1’s 1st and 2nd stages. Additionally, RCI plans to develop, manufacture, and sell custom HRE’s to the U.S. Government and its contractors as well as to non-competitive U.S. commercial flight vehicle/guided missile original equipment manufacturers.
The heart of any launch vehicle, and its most expensive sub-system, is its propulsion system. For space launch, this means high-thrust chemical rockets. There are three basic types of high-performance chemical rockets: Solid, Liquid, and Hybrid. Each type offers different safety, cost, and performance advantages and disadvantages. Hybrid rockets are less developed than either Solid or Liquid rockets.
A Hybrid rocket, as the name implies, incorporates features and capabilities of both Solid and Liquid rockets. In a Hybrid rocket, the oxidizer and fuel are stored in two different states of matter, i.e., liquid oxidizer and solid fuel; making them almost immune to accidental detonation. Compared to a Liquid Bi-propellant rocket, a Hybrid rocket is less mechanically complex, often featuring only one or two moving parts. Like a Liquid rocket, a Hybrid rocket can be designed to be throttled, stopped, and restarted in flight. However, traditionally designed and manufactured Hybrid rockets are not consistent in their performance, and are less efficient than Liquid bi-propellant rockets. The consensus in the rocketry field is that if Hybrid rockets can be made to be high thrust, consistent, and efficient, they would offer an attractive alternative to both Solid and Liquid rockets.
RCI owns several patents that are currently filed and pending or being filed that enable RCI to manufacture and operate high performing, smooth burning hybrid rocket engines. This rocket technology represents a true paradigm shift in the Rocketry field. It is the first hybrid rocket system that exhibits the consistency needed to be clustered, offering launch vehicle, missile, and spacecraft designers expanded flexibility. Unlike Liquid Bi-propellant systems that may take years and sometimes a billion dollars to develop, RCI’s throttle-able and restart capable rocket engines can be scaled and tailored quickly and affordably to meet the most stringent thrust profile and mission requirements.