NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Integrated Pressure-Fed Liquid Oxygen / Methane Propulsion Systems - Morpheus Experience, MARE, and Future ApplicationsAn integrated liquid oxygen (LOx) and methane propulsion system where common propellants are fed to the reaction control system and main engines offers advantages in performance, simplicity, reliability, and reusability. LOx/Methane provides new capabilities to use propellants that are manufactured on the Mars surface for ascent return and to integrate with power and life support systems. The clean burning, non-toxic, high vapor pressure propellants provide significant advantages for reliable ignition in a space vacuum, and for reliable safing or purging of a space-based vehicle. The NASA Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Morpheus lander demonstrated many of these key attributes as it completed over 65 tests including 15 flights through 2014. Morpheus is a prototype of LOx/Methane propellant lander vehicle with a fully integrated propulsion system. The Morpheus lander flight demonstrations led to the proposal to use LOx/Methane for a Discovery class mission, named Moon Aging Regolith Experiment (MARE) to land an in-situ science payload for Southwest Research Institute on the Lunar surface. Lox/Methane is extensible to human spacecraft for many transportation elements of a Mars architecture. This paper discusses LOx/Methane propulsion systems in regards to trade studies, the Morpheus project experience, the MARE NAVIS (NASA Autonomous Vehicle for In-situ Science) lander, and future possible applications. The paper also discusses technology research and development needs for Lox/Methane propulsion systems.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hurlbert, Eric
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Morehead, Robert
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Melcher, John C.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Atwell, Matt
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
January 21, 2016
Publication Date
July 25, 2016
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Propellants And Fuels
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference(Salt Lake City, UT)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 20160001041.pdf STI
No Preview Available