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Update on N2O4 Molecular Sieving with 3A Material at NASA/KSCDuring its operational life, the Shuttle Program has experienced numerous failures in the Nitrogen Tetroxide (N2O4) portion of Reaction Control System (RCS), many of which were attributed to iron-nitrate contamination. Since the mid-1980's, N2O4 has been processed through a molecular sieve at the N2O4 manufacturer's facility which results in an iron content typically less than 0.5 parts-per-million-by-weight (ppmw). In February 1995, a Tiger Team was formed to attempt to resolve the iron nitrate problem. Eighteen specific actions were recommended as possibly reducing system failures. Those recommended actions include additional N2O4 molecular sieving at the Shuttle launch site. Testing at NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) determined an alternative molecular sieve material could also reduce the water-equivalent content (free water and HNO3) and thereby further reduce the natural production of iron nitrate in N2O4 while stored in iron-alloy storage tanks. Since April '96, NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has been processing N2O4 through the alternative molecular sieve material prior to delivery to Shuttle launch pad N2O4 storage tanks. A new, much larger capacity molecular sieve unit has also been used. This paper will evaluate the effectiveness of N2O4 molecular sieving on a large-scale basis and attempt to determine if the resultant lower-iron and lower-water content N2O4 maintains this new purity level in pad storage tanks and shuttle flight systems.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Davis, Chuck
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL United States)
Dorn, Claudia
(Wyle Labs., Inc. Cocoa Beach, FL United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: JANNAF 29th Propellant Development and Characterization Subcommittee Meeting
Subject Category
Inorganic, Organic And Physical Chemistry
Meeting Information
Propellant Development and Characterization(Cocoa Beach, FL)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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