Densified propellants are one technology that can provide the performance, safety, and operations improvements that will make a difference in space exploration. Historically, gross lift-off weight growth plagues all aerospace vehicle development programs, requiring additional performance. The Sierra Lobo Densified Propellant Management System (DPMS) will provide this additional performance at a lower cost than other technologies.

The DPMS safely, reliably, and economically produces, maintains, and gauges densified (subcooled) liquids, including hydrogen, oxygen, and methane propellants. Densified propellants benefit every aerospace system wetted with a cryogen.

These benefits include:

  • Reducing launch vehicle gross lift-off weight
  • Reducing engine chilldown propellant mass
  • Maximizing propellant utilization
  • Increasing engine reliability by decreasing turbo-machinery rotational speed
  • Eliminating boil-off losses in surface-based storage dewars
  • Condensing propellants for in-situ resource utilization
  • Intercepting heat leak for on-orbit zero boil-off cryogen storage

Technology/System Features

  • Patented thermoacoustic densifier
    (U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,043,925 and 7,347,053)
  • Patented Cryo-Tracker® Mass Gauging System (MGS) (U.S. Pat. No. 6,431,750) directly measures propellant liquid level and temperature stratification in aerospace vehicles with laboratory-like precision to determine propellant mass
  • The patented Cryo-Tracker® has the following unique features: dual temperature and liquid-level sensing capability, mechanical flexibility that allows the probe to conform to any tank geometry or flex down feed ducts, ultra-lightweight, low thermal mass for quick thermal response, and one-piece construction that increases reliability and simplifies handling and installation
  • DPMS uses acoustic power efficiently and simultaneously densifies both hydrogen and oxygen propellants, and increases their density. Any cryogenic fluid can be densified using the DPMS
  • No moving parts and no rotating machinery provide an extremely reliable and safe ground support system for densifying propellants in both storage dewars and in vehicle propellant tanks