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Autonomous Cryogenic Propellent Depot Design

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2002 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Michigan Aerospace Corporation
1777 Highland Drive Suite B Ann Arbor, MI 48108-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2002
Title: Autonomous Cryogenic Propellent Depot Design
Agency: NASA
Contract: NAS8-01172
Award Amount: $69,942.00


The cost of building and launching satellites limits the number of assets that can be placed in orbit. This makes it critical for the asset to have as long a lifetime as possible to reduce the replacement rate. A propellent depot has become an integral part of most plans for providing on-orbit refueling. The effort proposed here is for an analysis of several very promising fluid storage, transfer and management techniques as well as the autonomous requirements involved with operating a cryogenic propellent depot on orbit. Based on this analysis, a conceptual design for an autonomous cryogenic fluid storage and transfer system will be generated along with a development and testing plan for Phase II. The advantages of an on-orbit propellant depot have been identified, most recently for the Orbital Express program. For example, there is a growing requirement to give satellites the ability to maneuver to new orbits on a regular basis. The ability of a satellite to change orbits on a regular basis makes it less vulnerable to attack, allows it to be repositioned to observe new crisis areas, and reduces the need for multiple-satellite constellations to provide global coverage.

Principal Investigator:

Peter Tchoryk,
Director of Business Developme

Business Contact:

Carl Nardell
Vice President
Small Business Information at Submission:

Michigan Aerospace Corporation
1050 Highland Drive, Suite E Ann Arbor, MI 48108

EIN/Tax ID: 383323642
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No