Realization of a solid-propellant based microthruster using low temperature co-fired ceramics
The introduction of micro-spacecrafts in the space industry has led to the development of various micro-propulsion techniques. Microthrusters are micropropulsion devices used in a microspacecraft for precise station keeping, orbit adjustment, attitude control, drag compensation and apogee kicking. The principle of operation of a solid propellant thruster is based on the combustion of a solid energetic material stored in a microfabricated chamber. In the current work, Low-Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) technology has been used for the realization of a solid propellant based microthruster structure. Hydroxyl Terminated Poly-Butadiene/Ammonium Perchlorate (HTPB/AP) is used as the propellant. It is shown that geometric and dimensional variations in design, depending on the application requirements, can be easily implemented. Preliminary testing for micro-combustion has been done to verify the basic operation of the microthruster. A thrust value of 19.5 mN has been measured.