Two-Phase Ammonia Pump for Mono-Propellant Warm Gas Pressurization
ABSTRACT: An integrated warm gas pressurization of the main and ACS propulsion system offers simpler, more efficient propellant management than existing designs. The most operationally versatile system is based on a unique pump that forces liquid through a gasifier thus creating both the pressurant gas and warm gas for ACS thrusters. All components of such a system are COTS with the exception of the pump which is the focus of this program. The proposed pump uses no motors or mechanisms and has only one slowly moving part. In addition to mass and volume reduction, the system offers benefits such as launching the entire propulsion system unpressurized and a constant tank pressure operation which improves thruster performance. Furthermore, the warm gas can be used in place of cold gas for attitude control thrusters, providing increased specific impulse. In Phase I we built and demonstrated a proof of concept pump and modeled the dynamics of the entire propellant storage and management system. In Phase II we will produce and characterize the entire system and investigate its dynamics. The goals will be more than a factor of two reduction in pressurization system mass and a greater than 10% increase in thruster performance. BENEFIT: Successful demonstration of the proposed technique will enable use of warm gas pressurization on any spacecraft using mono-propellants, significantly improving propulsion system performance while reducing the system mass and volume. Warm gas pressurization could also possibly be used for bi-propellant systems. A majority of spacecraft have one or the other, so significant impact is expected.
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Busek Co. Inc.
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