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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Cryogenic Propulsion

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Cryogenic Propulsion

Cryogenic propellants can enhance NASA missions. This project will establish that modern cryogenic storage technologies will allow the use of cryogenic propulsion for extended periods. This project will also result in the increased technology readiness level (TRL) of a vital technology that will enhance in-space cryogen storage.

The storage of cryogenic propellants is challenging because heat leaks into the cryogenic storage tanks no matter how good the insulation, resulting in a necessity to vent and maintain the propellant at the appropriate thermodynamic condition for engine operation and tank safety.  Although it is challenging to store LO2, it is even more difficult to store LH2 because of its lower boiling point.  There is therefore an increased focus for demonstrating LH2 storage in vent-free conditions.

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