A key advantage of the proposed technology is scalability. The sizes identified for the MSSC concepts are inside the nominal pressure and flow spectrum for Air Squared scroll compressors and vacuum pumps. After the technology has matured, it can be modified to meet a broad range of size and pressure requirements, supporting additional Mars ISRU applications that require increased flow or pressure capacity. With NASA identifying Mars as the primary focus for human exploration programs, ISRU is a crucial component in enabling future exploration or even Mars colonization. ISRU includes the production of rocket propellant, oxygen, and other resources harvested from the Martian atmosphere. As the atmospheric pressure of Mars is approximately 1% of Earth's, acquisition and pressurization of the Martian atmosphere will be a critical component of ISRU, as well as applications with demanding size, weight, and power requirements.
Compared to state of the art positive displacement compressors and vacuum pumps, a spinning scroll compressor offers substantially reduced size and weight. Air Squared realized the potential benefit to the aerospace industry while developing a spinning scroll prototype to replace an existing Air Squared compressor used for the potable water system onboard the Airbus A380. While the prototype functionally operated and demonstrated the feasibility of spinning scroll technology, the prototype had reliability issues related to the outer bellows. The proposed spinning scroll MSSC mitigates this, by replacing the bellows with an internal coupling. If successful, the spinning scroll MSSC will provide a pathway for tailoring the technology to the additional compressor and vacuum pump applications in the commercial aerospace industry. Initial efforts will concern replacing existing orbiting scroll products currently used in aerospace applications, with reduced size and weight spinning scroll products. Air Squared will pursue additional applications after establishing flight heritage.