Paper Submissions 1998-1999: Mars Mission and Surface Operations

Texas Tech University: Cryogenic Fluid Storage for the Mission to Mars

In the next thirty years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will conduct both manned and unmanned missions to Mars. For these missions, cryogenic oxygen, hydrogen, and methane storage will be required. The purpose of this project is to design tanks to store these cryogenic fluids for both the unmanned and manned missions. The primary objectives of the tank design included minimizing heat transfer and the weight of the tank system and finding an optimal balance between the amount of insulation used and the capability of the cryocooler. The tank design included inner and outer vessel design, insulation and cryocooler selection, inner and outer vessel stiffening ring design, inner tank suspension design, external support design, and piping and relief valve selection. The inner vessel of the tank will be constructed from Inconel, a nickel alloy, and the outer vessel of the tank will be constructed from aluminum. A combination of multi-layered insulation and vacuum insulation will be used to insulate the storage vessels. Finally, spherical geometry was selected for the oxygen, hydrogen, and methane tank designs to minimize the heat transfer and mass of the tanks.
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Last Modified: Fri June 4, 1999