The technology offers the means of improving propulsion systems to be used over a wider range of temperatures than what is currently available. The propellant combination MMH/MON-25 allows for operational temperatures as low as -50 C. These propellants, combined with electrically driven micropumps, provide increased mission flexibility and performance. Trade studies show that it can be an enabler. For example, a single-stage can be used instead of two-stages for the Lunar Geophysical Network, a candidate New Frontiers lunar lander mission. The micropump can also be used in MMH/MON-3 systems. With the reduced vapor pressure of MON-3 compared to that of MON-25, the propulsion system can be further transformed into a low-pressure, low cost, more compact and lighter system while allowing high performance thrusters. Studies conducted for another candidate New Frontiers mission, the Trojan Asteroid mission, show the possibility to increase scientific instrument mass by as much as 76% or more depending on the selected (low) tank pressure. In general, the micropump technology has applications in any NASA mission with challenging propulsion needs: scientific missions going in or out of gravity wells, e.g. Moon landers, Mars ascent vehicles, or deep space missions to asteroids or comets. Flight Work?s strategy is to work closely with propulsion system integrators during the development phases so as to transfer the technology into operational products.
The technology is applicable to propulsion systems in general, such as those on commercial spacecraft (e.g. telecommunications market), for DoD spacecraft and missiles including in Divert Attitude Control Systems, and to on-orbit propellant management.