The objective of the activity is to design, manufacture and test an electric pump fed propellant supply system. The testing is expected to be performed under representative load conditions (e.g. with an existing bi-propellant thruster),.
Description:Current state of the art chemical propulsion systems use regulated high-pressure helium to drive the mass flow of propellant to the engines. Although these systems have long heritage, they are relatively complex, massive and pose some operational hazards. Propellant tanks are required to operate at high pressures, but these are limited to below 24 bars due to mass optimisation considerations. This pressure limitation is a particular constraint on engine design. The high-pressure helium is also a continuing risk in itself and imposes the need to includeadditional hardware to allow passivation of the helium at the end of the mission. The evolution of the telecommunication platform over the past twenty years has seen a gradual increase in size and available power. The regulatory and economic environment is also evolving to reflect a higher awareness of ground safety and orbit security. Impact hardening of spacecraft and debris mitigation are also becoming higher priority issues. These changes in the design landscape have reopened the question of chemical propulsion architecture. Using a pump fed system would enable the propellant tank to be operated with fixed low pressure and only a small section of pipeworkdownstream of the pump would be subject to high pressure during pump activation. The availability of the higher pressure propellantfeed would allow more design optimisation of the main engine and increase the overall performance of the system.
In January2018 a launcher successfully reached orbit with a rocket engine equipped with electric pumps for propellant supply. This milestone demonstrated the principal applicability of electric pump fed systems for space propulsion.
This activity is aimed at developing theelectric pump technology needed for a telecommunications platform chemical propulsion feed system. In the proposed activity, an electric pumptechnology will be selected, developed and integrated into a breadboard feed system. This breadboard feed system will be demonstrated under representative load conditions (e.g. with an existing bi-propellant thruster)