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Green Fuels Viable for Commercial Space with Alphaport’s New Ignition System


Cleveland, OH July 21, 2010—Alphaport, a Cleveland-based provider of engineering services, applied technology, knowledge management and professional development services, recently announced the successful development of a combined Exciter-Igniter ignition system. The innovative ignition system, a product of Alphaport’s partnership with NASA, bolsters the viability of environmentally responsible, non-toxic propellants in rocket engines used for space transportation.

The compact Exciter-Igniter system, initially developed for potential use in NASA space vehicles, such as the Orion Crew Vehicle and Altair lunar lander, presents an opportunity for the commercial space transportation industry. Testing at NASA’s Glenn Research Center and Alphaport facilities with a safer, less volatile, methane-oxygen mixture demonstrates a ground-breaking opportunity: using green fuels in space transportation.

Handling of toxic fuel, traditionally used in space rocket engines, prompted NASA to turn its attention to using safer and operationally less expensive fuel sources. Through a NASA funded SBIR Phase II program, Alphaport delivered the high-performance Exciter-Igniter capable of igniting methane-oxygen mixtures. In addition, the igniter reduces engine complexity, increasing consistency and reliability.

The Exciter-Igniter was recently featured as a NASA Glenn Research Center Success Story. The release highlighted the igniter’s reduced environmental impact and improved performance capabilities.

Although Alphaport’s hermetically sealed Exciter-Igniter is designed to reduce the risks of high-voltage pulse degradation cause by corona in ignition cables designed for space operation, the device can be used in any engine that requires a spark ignition. Terrestrial applications include aircraft engines, power turbines, and even land vehicles and watercraft.

While multiple applications are possible, Alphaport’s initial interest is in commercial space transportation. “With the potential of a competitive and burgeoning commercial space transportation industry, we have found our market [for the igniter],” says Alphaport President, Anthony J. Miranda.

About Alphaport

Alphaport provides a full spectrum of advanced engineering services, space exploration technologies, and product development programs for the aerospace industry.

Alphaport has a rapidly growing team of experienced research scientists, engineers and project managers focused on applying their knowledge to the development of innovative technologies. The company provides technical expertise for commercial space systems, aerospace and government organizations with specialization in power propulsion, and emerging space technologies.

Other areas of expertise include comprehensive knowledge management training programs that help organizations capture and retain knowledge, and then apply intellectual property for technology innovation or workforce development.

Alphaport has received multiple business and technology awards, including the Inc. 500 Award for America’s fastest growing private companies.

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 commercial space
 green fuels
 rocket ignition system
 exciter igniter

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