Zero-G Horizons Technologies (ZGHT), in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is developing a Spacecraft On-Orbit Advanced Refueling and Storage (SOARS) system. SOARS directly supports the Moon to Mars Campaign (NASA’s Space Policy Directive-1). The key innovation of SOARS enables the separation of liquid and gas in microgravity through our unique rotational settling technology. Reliable settling leads to efficient transfer of only the desired liquid propellant with minimal pressure difference, removing the need for expensive pumps and producing a cost-effective solution. ZGHT has pioneered the SOARS technology to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 through the Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology (FAST) program flight testing using NASA’s Reduced Gravity Aircraft (30 seconds microgravity). During Phase I, the ZGHT team successfully designed and validated the SOARS technology, achieving: (1) rotation-based fluid separation and settling to establish predictable fluid distribution, and (2) pressure-driven propellant transfer in a controllable and repeatable fashion. Through Phase II, the SOARS subsystems will be developed and evaluated in two main microgravity test environments: (1) Blue Origin’s New Shepard, and (2) the ISS Astrobee Facility. Phase II will involve the fabrication and flight experimentation to mature the technology to TRL 7. Phase III involves ISS testing and collaboration with partners to fabricate and test the prototype in Low Earth Orbit. The collaboration with commercial partners will accelerate market transition of SOARS technologies into the space travel ecosystem. Ultimately, ZGHT is committed to establish itself as a key player in the area of propellant storage and transfer in space.
SOARS will enable the commercialization of on-orbit propellant depots, which will augment current and future NASA launch systems. SOARS will alleviate high costs associated with Heavy Lift Launch Vehicles, enable refueling of on-orbit Small to Medium Lift Launch Vehicles, and extend mission range and capabilities. SOARS will facilitate Moon to Mars Campaign Missions by providing a waypoint-network of fuel for exploration and support human-autonomous missions in cislunar space. SOARS can effectively support NASA’s Restore-L mission.
SOARS will be an on-orbit or cis-lunar fuel station to meet the demands of the commercial space exploration sector. SOARS can support the requirements of commercial space missions such as space tourism, transportation, research, mining, habitation, and national security missions. Medical field applications include enhanced capillary flows, intravenous catheters (IVs), and centrifuge systems.