Mobile Propellant Densification Unit for Orbital Class Launch Vehicle | Engineering Clinic


Project Code: 17088
Project Title: Mobile Propellant Densification Unit for Orbital Class Launch Vehicle
Project Type: Industry
Project Intellectual Property: Company Controlled
Project Citizenship Restriction: Yes

Project Details

Sponsor Company: Vector Space
Description: Project goal: To design a mobile propellant-densification unit to provide support for the sponsor’s Vector-R launch vehicle. Large, stationary propellant coolant units are commercially available but as space missions using compact satellites and launch vehicles become more viable, the need increases for ground support equipment that is small and mobile. A full-scale system was designed. It was verified by a prototype that confirmed analyses and demonstrated functionality. This design used liquid nitrogen as the primary coolant,resulting in a compact heat exchanger and less process equipment. Analysis of the design was completed using Aspen, chemical process-modeling software,and SolidWorks simulations to verify that heat transfer and process calculations were accurate. The sub-scale prototype cools water while demonstrating the ideas and methodologies of the full-scale design. The prototype regulates using thermocouples, logic and variable frequency drives, allowing the system to operate autonomously.