Magneto-Active Slosh Control System for Spacecraft and Launch Vehicles

PI: Kevin Crosby, Carthage College, Sathya Gangadharan (Co-I), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The Magneto-Active Slosh Control (MASC) project brings together two existing efforts in active slosh suppression and in-space propellant gauging to both reduce gauging errors in spacecraft and launch vehicles and eliminate destabilizing liquid slosh during vehicle maneuvers. The Modal Propellant Gauging (MPG) effort is a noninvasive approach to propellant gauging that has demonstrated sub-1% gauging resolution in settled liquids and 2-4% resolution in unsettled (sloshing) liquids aboard parabolic flights. MPG is currently being developed for infusion into the SLS/Orion EM3 architecture. The current project is an effort to further enhance the gauging resolution of MPG in sloshing propellant through the inclusion of a free-floating diaphragm that can be positioned autonomously within the liquid using small magnetic field gradients, and which can be stiffened by orders of magnitude over its un-activated state using static magnetic fields. When integrated with the MPG flight rig, the diaphragm, a magneto-active propellant management device (MAPMD), can be autonomously controlled such that it remains near the liquid surface of the cylindrical tank at all fill levels and can stiffen in response to slosh surges.

More information about previous flight demonstrations of Modal Propellant Gauging.

Paper on Magneto-Active Propellant Management Device (MAPMD): Active Damping of Fuel Slosh Using a Hybrid Magneto-Active Propellant Management Device.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA02 In-Space Propulsion Technologies
Problem Statement

The integration of active slosh suppression into the MPG architectures promises to address a key NASA technology roadmap goal of in-space propellant gauging of unsettled (sloshing) propellant with an accuracy of at least 2%. With current propellant margins of 10% or more require to accommodate uncertainties in gauging, the MASC effort represents a substantial economic benefit across commercial space industries while providing enhanced mission flexibility. If MASC can be demonstrated to scale well to launch vehicles, the increased safety margins afforded by reduced probability of slosh-induced instabilities will be of substantial benefit to commercial launch providers and to the SLS/Orion program.

Technology Maturation

Objective of the flight tests is to demonstrate the ability to position the diaphragm using field gradient positioning, measure reduction in slosh amplitude of low-gravity propellant slosh when the diaphragm is activated, and to correlate slosh reduction with enhanced low-G gauging resolution.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    REDDI-F1-18 (Aug 2018)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 1 Parabolic

Development Team

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