Tullahoma, TN – NASA has awarded a contract to Gloyer-Taylor Laboratories (dba GTL Company) to develop the “Disruptor” suborbital rocket. Disruptor is a high-performance liquid rocket that incorporates a suite of strategic technology breakthroughs providing dramatic reductions in weight, parts count, complexity, and cost that GTL has developed for NASA, DARPA, Air Force, and MDA. The goal of the Disruptor is to demonstrate these technologies in flight to advance their Technology Readiness Level (TRL) as a trigger point for integration into space systems such as satellites, moon/mars landers (ascent, descent, and transfer) and orbital/suborbital launch vehicles. These technology demonstrations further support GTL’s development of the ACE™ (Advanced Cryogenic Expendable™) launch vehicle with game-changing improvements in performance, cost, and reliability.
“We are honored that NASA would select GTL for this opportunity” said Paul Gloyer, president of GTL, “This project is the culmination of numerous efforts and will allow us to rapidly advance the Technology Readiness Level of our disruptive technologies.”
The Disruptor rocket is powered by the high-performance Superior Stability Engine™ (SSE™), which was developed by GTL in a NASA Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) effort and hot fire tested in an Air Force Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) project. The liquid propellant, flex-fuel SSE design includes features that mitigate combustion instability risk (one of the most critical issues in rocket engine development), enabling engine scaling and allowing fast and low-cost development of high-performance rocket engines.
The liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellants of Disruptor are stored in ultra-lightweight BHL™ composite cryotanks. The breakthrough BHL™ technology has been demonstrated in DARPA and NASA SBIR efforts to reduce cryotank mass by 75% while remaining leak-tight after repeated cryo-thermal pressure cycles. The mass savings provided by BHL technology could double the payload mass that a launch vehicle can deliver to orbit. BHL technology is also being used in Disruptor to reduce the mass of the propellant feed system by replacing traditional steel tubing with BHL composite lines and fittings.
The Disruptor will incorporate a Structural Nervous System™ (SNS™) to transmit data and power throughout the vehicle while also providing vehicle health monitoring. The SNS technology, being validated in a NASA Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) effort, fuses a conductive wiring network into the load-bearing composite structure. This technology eliminates the need for heavy, complex wiring harnesses and allows electrical components (sensors, computers) to be plugged directly into the structure.
“GTL is excited to continue working with NASA on these breakthrough and disruptive technologies that, once flight validated, have the potential to dramatically reduce space launch costs by more than ten times,” said Tim Lewis, GTL VP Business Development.
Following the successful development and flight of the technology demonstration prototype vehicle, GTL will offer Disruptor flight services to government and commercial customers. Disruptor is baselined to be capable of providing more than 5 minutes of micro-gravity in a suborbital flight for a 50 kg (110 lb) payload, with a maximum payload capacity of 110 kg (250 lb).
The technologies validated on Disruptor will also be used by GTL in our ACE family of launch and space vehicles. The Micro-ACE vehicle is capable of delivering 100 kg (220 lb) to low earth orbit (LEO), while the Small-ACE vehicle delivers 450 kg (1,000 lb) to LEO. GTL is also developing the Hyperion Space Vehicle capable of transferring to the Moon from LEO, landing on the moon, and returning to earth all in one space vehicle.
For more information on GTL’s technologies and launch vehicles, visit our website at https://www.gtlcompany.com/what-we-do/space-systems/
Formed in 2004, GTL is headquartered in Tullahoma, TN, with additional offices in California and Utah. GTL is a high-technology company that specializes in providing transformational technologies to the aerospace industry such as composite cryogenic tanks, integrated airframes, specialty structural composites, aerospace system design and analysis, combustion stability analysis, and launch vehicle technologies.