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Xenon Acquisition Strategies for High-Power Electric Propulsion NASA MissionsThe benefits of high-power solar electric propulsion (SEP) for both NASA's human and science exploration missions combined with the technology investment from the Space Technology Mission Directorate have enabled the development of a 50kW-class SEP mission. NASA mission concepts developed, including the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission, and those proposed by contracted efforts for the 30kW-class demonstration have a range of xenon propellant loads from 100's of kg up to 10,000 kg. A xenon propellant load of 10 metric tons represents greater than 10% of the global annual production rate of xenon. A single procurement of this size with short-term delivery can disrupt the xenon market, driving up pricing, making the propellant costs for the mission prohibitive. This paper examines the status of the xenon industry worldwide, including historical xenon supply and pricing. The paper discusses approaches for acquiring on the order of 10 MT of xenon propellant considering realistic programmatic constraints to support potential near-term NASA missions. Finally, the paper will discuss acquisitions strategies for mission campaigns utilizing multiple high-power solar electric propulsion vehicles requiring 100's of metric tons of xenon over an extended period of time where a longer term acquisition approach could be implemented.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Herman, Daniel A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Unfried, Kenneth G.
(Linde Electronics and Specialty Gases Stewartsville, NJ, United States)
Date Acquired
December 15, 2015
Publication Date
June 1, 2015
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: JANNAF SPS Subcommittee Meeting
Location: Nashville, TN
Country: United States
Start Date: June 1, 2015
End Date: June 5, 2015
Sponsors: Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, NASA Headquarters, Department of the Army
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 729200.06.03.05
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Electric Propulsion
Ion Propulsion
Hall Thrusters
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