Propellant Conditioning Feed System

As part of NASA’s Propulsion and Cryogenic Advanced Development (PCAD) program at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC), Sierra Lobo has designed, developed, and fabricated two separate and portable propellant feed systems:  one for liquid methane (LCH4) and one for liquid oxygen (LOX).

These test rigs are now in use at GRC’s Research Combustion Laboratory (RCL) test facility in Cleveland, OH, and are being successfully utilized for the development and testing of a 100 pound thrust Reaction Control Engine (RCE) LCH4/LOX rocket.

Both test rigs included a stand-alone data acquisition/control system and are capable of providing cryogenic propellants over a large range of temperatures and pressures, from a highly densified state to several hundred pounds per square inch saturation.

These conditioning systems are the first of their kind and required an in-depth level of expertise in the areas of cryogenics, fluid flow, heat transfer, and both pressure and vacuum systems.  They utilize two unique heat exchangers to either cool or heat the liquid cryogen as it is processed from a storage vessel to a run tank.  Upon completion of rig development, Sierra Lobo provided installation guidance, training and commissioning support, data review and facility modification designs for engine testing at RCL.