NASA SBIR 2002 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02-II H3.02-9543 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 022456 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Spaceport and In-Space Cryogenic Fluids, Handling, and Storage Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Highly Reliable LOX Pump for Vehicle Loading Operations

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Barber-Nichols Inc.
6325 W. 55th Ave
Arvada , CO   80002 - 2777
(303 ) 421 - 8111

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Bill Batton
6325 W. 55th Ave
Arvada , CO   80002 - 2777
(303 ) 421 - 8111

The current Shuttle LOX loading pumps have several issues requiring high-maintenance and resulting in low reliability. The proposed pump system would mitigate NASA's concerns on reliability in this critical application by virtue of the seal arrangement tested in Phase 1 and the design of each pump to be able to meet the current fill rates in the event of one unit's failure. Phase I focussed on the reliability issues surrounding the primary sealing arrangement in the LOX pumps and demonstrated the feasibility of a non-contacting combination of a dynamic seal and a purged labyrinth seal set as a highly reliable sealing solution for the primary seal for Liquid Oxygen (LOX) transfer pumps. Additionally, Phase I efforts produced a unique concept for a new LOX pumping system for vehicle loading operations. In the proposed system, two pumps would work in parallel to provide an increase in LOX transfer rate of 50%. The scope of work in Phase 2 will include the design and manufacture of this complete pump system composed of 2 pumps, pump performance testing on water, and cryogenic testing at KSC's ATDC facility.

The proposed pumping system (incorporating the new seal arrangement) can be immediately applied to retrofit the existing Shuttle LOX loading pumps at KSC. The system was designed to have minimal impact to existing mechanical, piping, and electrical infrastructres used for vehicle loading. Furthermore, there are a great number of LOX transfer pumps currently employed at Stennis Space Center which could be replaced by this more reliable pump. With some modifications, the pump concept could also be used by NASA for the transfer of Liquid Hydrogen or other propellants.

The technology developed in the Phase 2 effort can be applied to any low viscosity, hazardous fluid pumping application. Potential markets include chemical and petrochemical industry where nearly all pumped fluids meet these criteria. Another large market for this pump technology would be in LNG for transfer and ship offloading. By not being submersible, a large pump would be more efficient and cost less for installation and maintenance. This large pump would offer an attractive alternative to submersible pumps and would be cost-competitive in this growing market. A smaller market which perhaps should be counted in long-term plans is that of commercial space vehicles. As more private firms achieve greater success, this pump could be marketed for the support and launch facilities of private space industry.

Form Printed on 10-03-03 11:34