Stability of in-space cryogenic systems

PI: Boris Khusid, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Stephanie Protz (Co-I), North Bergen High School STEM Academy

The Stability of In-Space Cryogenic Systems experiment will study the stability of spacecraft propellant during refueling as it relates to temperature and mechanical disturbances,which are important measurements for preventing flow control failure and equipment damage. Testing on parabolic flights will assess the threshold of heat pulses and vibration at which flow oscillations are triggered. Tests will also evaluate the factors controlling liquid nitrogen flow stability and, if successful, result in a strategy to enhance propellant stability and prevent hydraulic shocks.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

The storage and transfer of cryogenic propellants in microgravity is critical for lunar and deep space exploration. Thermal-hydrodynamic instabilities on long-duration missions could make controlling propellant and the propellant transfer process more difficult. More research is needed to determine safety parameters for propellant refueling with heat and mechanical disturbances.

Technology Maturation

Knowledge gained from parabolic flight tests will advance technology for cryogenic transport operations in space–to which NASA has currently assigned a TRL of 4 –to TRL 6. This demonstration will assess the role of gravity in propellant transport by measuring the contrast in heat and mechanical disturbances between a ground and microgravity environment, supporting the development of propellant stability guidelines.

Future Customers

•Long-duration space exploration missions
•Ground-based cryogenic applications

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights20 (Sep 2020)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 Parabolic

Development Team

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