Non-pyrotechnic Separation and Deployment Mechanisms

Currently, separation of stages, shrouds, and boosters is most often accomplished with the use of pyrotechnic devices.  Small low cost launch vehicle would benefit from non-pyrotechnic separation and deployment systems in both the development and operational phases.  This challenge is aimed at addressing that need.  Participants must design, build, and demonstrate a launch vehicle interstage that utilizes a non-pyrotechnic separation device.

Launch Vehicle Interstage Demonstration Requirements

The interstage demonstrator shall:

  • connect a 4 inch diameter stage to a 3 inch diameter stage
  • withstand an axial compressive load of 2,000 lbf
  • survive a 500 lb-ft bending moment
  • separate the 4 inch stage from the 3 inch stage with a remotely/programmed actuator
  • separation must occur in a 10 ft drop test
  • no component of the interstage or separation mechanism shall recontact the 3 inch stage before contacting the floor

In addition the following factors will be considered:

  • weight of the interstage and separation mechanisms (lower is better)
  • ability to scale up to a 20 inch diameter stage
  • costs including manufacturing, test, and operations

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