Flexible Screen Propellant Management Device for Near Term In-Space Demonstration
While evaluating lunar ascent and descent stage propellant acquisition options in 2008 and 2009 for NASA GRC, IES conceived a novel, flexible screen propellant management device (PMD). The concept provides a highly simplified and easy to build PMD as an alternative to a total communication device or one incorporating a start basket. Water bench tests with a very primitive prototype yielded encouraging results, and additional, simple bench-level testing with LN2 was also encouraging. An opportunity exists to refine the concept, develop a larger, more flight-like apparatus, and test it in a cryogenic tank currently being designed and subsequently intended for use on the Cryogenic Orbital Testbed (CRYOTE) experiment. Designing a full size flight qualifiable flexible screen PMD under a Phase 1 SBIR effort, followed by hardware fabrication, qualification and flight demonstration on a flight test platform concurrently in development, will allow this concept to be demonstrated for a fraction of the cost that would be required for a dedicated flight of a flexible PMD experiment. The concept TRL should move from 3 to 5 during Phase 1, and 5 to 7 during Phase 2.
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