In this phase I effort ultra-light BHL composite transfer lines were shown to reduce chill-down time over 90% compared to equivalent stainless steel lines. BHL tubes have ¼ the mass of comparable systems, and 5-10 times less thermal mass. These benefits are also applicable to BHL tanks. The use of BHL in cryogenic storage and transfer systems will significantly reduce propellant required for pre-chilling lines or tanks, which will reduce waste propellant 5-10 fold. Furthermore, the reduced thermal mass will allow for easier no-vent filling as the system can chill down far easier. This will open up the operational envelope of cryogenic systems in space, improving the efficiency of a cryogenic propellant economy.
In this phase II effort, full scale transfer lines will be produced and tested using existing cryogenic test facilities. This effort will culminate in the fabrication of a representative full-scale engine transfer line. This article will be delivered to NASA at the end of the phase II effort. In parallel with BHL line development and testing, a test will be performed on a BHL tank to demonstrate the rapid chill-down of BHL tankage. These articles and tests will increase the TRL of BHL lines and cryo-storage to 6. In addition to the TRL advancement within this effort, a transfer line section will be produced to swap into GTL’s ACE-Disruptor sub-orbital rocket. This provides a path to TRL 7 once flown in other efforts.
BHL transfer lines reduce chill-down time by over 90%, reducing wasted propellant for engine pre-chill, and improving transfer efficiency. Line mass is reduced 4-fold, and thermal mass is reduced 5-10 fold.
BHL Cryotanks are similarly represent a 4 fold reduction in mass and chill-down time. This will increase the performance of human exploration systems, including lunar landers, in-space propellant depots, lunar rovers, orbital maneuvering systems, and cargo transport systems.
SLS propellant tank upgrades to increase launch vehicle performance
Cryo-transfer lines and tanks for commercial and DoD launch vehicles.
Cryo-lines for ground systems.
Propellant tanks and lines for missile interceptors and tactical weapons.
Fuel tanks and lines for airplanes and airships that use cryogenic fuels to reduce emissions.
LNG tanks and lines for autos, buses and trucks.