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A Cryogenic Propellant Production Depot for Low Earth OrbitThe cost of access to space beyond low Earth orbit can be lowered if vehicles can refuel in orbit. The power requirements for a propellant depot that electrolyzes water and stores cryogenic oxygen and hydrogen can be met using technology developed for space solar power. A propellant depot is described that will be deployed in a 400 km circular equatorial orbit, receive tanks of water launched into a lower orbit from Earth by gun launch or reusable launch vehicle, convert the water to liquid hydrogen and oxygen, and store Lip to 500 metric tonnes of cryogenic propellants. The propellant stored in the depot can support transportation from low Earth orbit to geostationary Earth orbit, the Moon, LaGrange points, Mars, etc. The tanks are configured in an inline gravity-gradient configuration to minimize drag and settle the propellant. Temperatures can be maintained by body-mounted radiators; these will also provide some shielding against orbital debris. Power is supplied by a pair of solar arrays mounted perpendicular to the orbital plane, which rotate once per orbit to track the Sun. In the longer term, cryogenic propellant production technology can be applied to a larger LEO depot, as well as to the use of lunar water resources at a similar depot elsewhere.
Document ID
20010039031
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Authors
Potter, Seth D. (Boeing Co. Huntington Beach, CA United States)
Henley, Mark (Boeing Co. Huntington Beach, CA United States)
Guitierrez, Sonia (Boeing Co. Huntington Beach, CA United States)
Fikes, John (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Carrington, Connie (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Smitherman, David (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Gerry, Mark (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Sutherlin, Steve (Sverdrup Technology, Inc. Huntsville, AL United States)
Beason, Phil (Sverdrup Technology, Inc. Huntsville, AL United States)
Howell, Joe
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Propellants and Fuels
Meeting Information
International Space Development Conference(Albuquerque, NM)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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