Methane Pyrolysis Technology as Part of Life Support and ISRU Systems; Development Testing 2008-01-2190
Astrium investigates Methane Pyrolysis in the perspective of long-duration exploration missions. In particular this process, which recovers Hydrogen from Methane, allows reaching the maximum closure level of the Air Revitalization System ARES, see figure 1. Past studies as presented in ref. /1/ had been reviewed in light of today's technical advancement and a technology trade-off, supported by bread boarding, resulting in the pre selection of the plasma technique to perform the Methane Pyrolysis. In parallel two methods for plasma provision are investigated:
Direct Current Plasma, sustained by a discharge arc rotating in a nozzle to supply energy to the flowing through carrier gas.
Micro Wave (MW) Plasma, sustained by a MW within a Quartz tube embedded in a MW resonator cuboid
Study activities did concentrate on
Development testing of pre selected plasma Pyrolysis technology.
Initial investigation on adaptation of Methane Pyrolysis Assembly (MPA) to operational interfaces with ARES
Investigation on the fluid mechanics of the interface to the C separating MPA process area.