Thursday, July 12, 2012

Space Plumbers: What are They Good For ?

Forget nuclear reactors (Advanced Propulsion), forget better life support systems, forget utilizing resources on Mars (ISRU) for a return trip, the main problem for a Mars mission revolves currently around a plumbing issue. Cryogenic Hydrogen cannot be stored more than a day in space. Getting to Mars means that we need to store about 6 International Space Station mass equivalent of Hydrogen tanks. All this because we do not have a good handle on the boil-off issues associated with storing liquid hydrogen in space. As a reminder, it took us 10 years to lift the mass of one International Space Station in Low Earth Orbit with a Space Transportation System (the shuttle) we no longer use.

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Anonymous said...

It's been known to be a significant issue for NASA for about four decades.

I do wish they would do something about it.

Whatever happened to CRYOTE?

Igor said...

We sent a proposal out about a year ago on the matter but it got nixed. It looks like this is not such an urgent problem after all, as in, they might even given the impression that they are not really that serious about going to Mars or mabe they don't have the money, or maybe both.

As for CRYOTE, It looks like it is still being funded:
The fact that actual experiments on that testbed are not funded sends, in my wholly uninformed view, a pretty simple message.