Propellant and rocket motor research

Ground testing a K600 motor. Ground testing a K600 (I150) motor.

The aim of this activity is to develop composite rocket motors for non-professional use. The reason to develop our own rocket motors was the launch of our first rocket. The French motor exploded. The NAVRO then decided to develop its own motor's. The motors had to be safe, reliable, easily made and they had to be officially tested and certified by the authorities. Eventually Kalinitrox was developed. This propellant is a mixture of potassium nitrate, potassium perchlorate, catalyst and epoxy resin. Individual members have developed Kalinidex, which is a potassium nitrate and sugar based propellant. The Kalinitrox and Kalinidex composite propellants and the igniters that our association have developed are officially classified by TNO/PML in Rijswijk (Dutch classification institute). For transportation, testing and using these composite rocket motors and igniters, the NAVRO has an exemption.

Currently two Kalinitrox motors have been fully developed. The first was the K600, with total impulse of 600Ns (comparable with an I150). The first launch of a K600 and Kalinitrox for that matter in the N3 rocket (see picture) was in 1993 and was a great success. A few years later the K1800 was developed, which has a total impulse of 1800Ns (comparable with a K330). After the first flight the K1800's were called K2000 due to their supposed total impulse of 2000Ns, but in fact still had a total impulse of 1800Ns.

The launch of Kalinitrox powered rockets is spectacular, because the motor slowly builds up pressure and then lifts off the rockets. Meanwhile the motor produces a lot of dark grey smoke. Due to the smoke the rocket can easily been followed in flight. The slow build up of pressure is also the motor's weak spot, so our Hercules series rockets left the tower at a speed which was too low. Studies have shown that altering the percentages of the Kalinitrox's ingredients the Kalitrox will burn faster and the total impulse will be higher. The new version of Kalinitrox has been named Kalinitrox +. The shape of the Kalinitrox + grains is also changed. The current line of research is develop a new flight motor of similar size as the K2000, but with a total impulse of 2300Ns.

Launch of the N3.The launch of the N3, the first rocket to fly with the K600 Kalinitrox motor. Note the very dark grey smoke.