Hyperion I

In 1996, eAc developed the Hyperion I series of sounding rockets, which became the first hybrids to be flown from a NASA facility. A total of four Hyperions were flown from the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. Two of these were fully fueled flights that reached 119,800 ft. and 110,000 ft. as confirmed by radar skin track; one with full recovery. All the flights used N2O/HTPB hybrid propulsion.

Hybrid propulsion

The hybrid technology developed by eAc typically uses a cast or molded polymer fuel grain coupled with Nitrous Oxide as an oxidizer. The burn rate is controlled by the geometry and composition of the fuel grain and the flow rate of the oxidizer as controlled through fixed or adjustable orifices. Extensive ground testing was performed to optimize fuel geometry and type, oxidizer flow rate, injector design, and maximum operational flux levels.

eAc's experience with hybrid propulsion in the development of the Hyperion I sounding rocket earned them an invitation to participate in the Hybrid Propulsion Demonstration Program (HPDP). The HPDP was conducted by a government/industry consortium consisting of NASA-Marshall, Lockheed Martin, Thiokol, Pratt & Whitney's Chemical Systems Division, Rocketdyne, Allied Signal and eAc. The program consisted of the development and testing of 11-inch and 24-inch diameter hybrid motors, four flight demonstrations of eAc's hybrid-powered Hyperionš sounding rockets, and the development and static firing of several 250,000 pound (lbf) thrust motors. The only flight element of HPDP was eAc's Hyperion launch vehicle.

Two low altitude check out flights reaching 25,000 feet altitude verified oxidizer loading, launch and abort procedures and transonic stability. Both rockets were flown off the same pad within 90 minutes and demonstrated simple, safe launch pad operations of hybrid launch vehicles. The third flight in January 1997 reached an altitude of 119,800 feet. In April 1997, a fourth flight demonstrated a parachute recovery system. The rocket was successfully recovered 17 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean after reaching an altitude of 110,000 feet and demonstrated a 99% fuel utilization.

eAc has formed a strategic alliance with Cesaroni Technology Incorporated (CTI) in order to utilize advanced polymer and composite technologies in the Hyperion 1C hybrid propulsion system demonstration launch vehicles. The eAc/CTI alliance has been formed to commercialize Hyperion launch vehicle technology into a viable sounding rocket product.

Hyperion 1C Rocket Program

CTI has successfully designed and fabricated a lightweight airframe for the Hyperion 1C program. The Hyperion 1C program will continue the success of the Hyperion 1A program. The airframe, motor casing and oxidizer tank are based solely on composite structures. This technology has reduced the inert mass from 102 pounds to 48 pounds improving the theoretical performance from the demonstrated 120k feet to over 300k feet with a 10 lb payload. This platform is the technology demonstrator for the 5,000-lb thrust Hyperion 2 program that will be based on a 12" diameter motor capable of lifting 100 pounds, 100 miles. Several universities in the United States have expressed an interest in utilizing the Hyperion 1C for atmospheric research in their respective aerospace engineering departments. Hyperion 1C is currently undergoing structural and pressure testing; 3 rockets are in final production at CTI and are due to be completed and ready for flight testing soon.

For sales of the Hyperion rocket system please contact us at sales@hybrids.com
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