Energy Conservation and Sustainability, Technologies for Propellant Conservation

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CI45P
Agency Tracking Number: 100048
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: T10.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
350 Wynn Drive, Huntsville, AL, -
DUNS: 031994218
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 William West
 Principal Investigator
 (601) 268-2681
Business Contact
 Brad Atkins
Title: Business Official
Phone: (256) 489-8584
Research Institution
 The University of Southern Mississippi
 Denis Wiesenburg
 118 College Drive #5157
Hattiesburg, MS, 39406-0001
 () -
 Nonprofit college or university
NASA Stennis Space Center (SSC) is one of the largest consumers of gaseous helium in the world through its engine testing operations. Because helium is a nonrenewable resource, it is desirable to conserve the gas when possible. For safety purposes, helium is used to purge an engine following a test that utilizes cryogenic liquid hydrogen fuel (e.g. a Space Shuttle Main Engine test). This proposal is another important step toward enabling helium conservation through real-time measurement of the H2 concentration in the purge gas. The STTR will continue the characterization of a commercial H2 detector for use as a real-time sensor for determining the concentration of H2 in the helium purge gas. The H2 concentration can be used as an indicator that the liquid hydrogen has been purged from the engine, allowing the helium purge to be of shorter duration, thereby conserving this resource. Significant analysis of sensor capabilities as well as experimental characterization of the sensor performance in a simulated test-stand environment will be performed. A sensor configuration will be recommended with the goal of identifying the best installation option that avoids pumps, mechanical actuators, or the need to vent or pipe a sample if possible.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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