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SBIR/STTR

An Efficient, Reliable, Vibration-Free Refrigerant Pump for Space Applications, Phase II

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

NASA's future remote sensing science missions require advanced thermal management technologies to maintain multiple instruments at very stable temperatures and utilize waste heat to keep other critical subsystems above minimum operational temperatures. Two-phase pumped loops are an ideal solution for these applications. A critical need for these pumped loops is a refrigerant pump that reliably circulates very slightly subcooled liquid refrigerant in the loop. Creare proposes to develop a reliable, vibration-free pump that has innovative features to prevent cavitation in the pumping chamber and in the hydrodynamic fluid bearings, enhancing the overall pumped loop reliability. The development of the refrigerant pump is built on Creare's proven pump technologies for space applications. In Phase I, we designed and built a proof-of-concept refrigerant pump and demonstrated its ability to reliably achieve the target flow rate and pressure rise, with a minimum required Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH) less than 0.5 psi. In Phase II, we will optimize the pump rotor, bearing and motor designs; assemble a pump prototype; demonstrate its reliability and its steady state and transient performance under prototypical inlet conditions; and deliver it to NASA JPL for further performance evaluation. More »

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