Sub-Critical Liquid Oxygen (Lox) Storage for Exploration Life Support Systems 2009-01-2417
Oxygen storage and delivery systems for advanced Lunar Exploration Missions are substantially different than those of the International Space Station (ISS) or Apollo missions. The oxygen must be stored without venting for durations of 180 to 210 days prior to use and then used to supply both the steady, low pressure oxygen for the crew, and the higher-pressure oxygen for the extra-vehicular mobility unit. The baseline design is a high pressure gaseous oxygen storage system. Alternate technologies that may offer substantial advantages in terms of the equivalent system mass over the baseline design are being currently evaluated. This study examines both the supercritical and subcritical liquid oxygen storage options, including one with active cooling using a cryocooler. It is found that an actively cooled sub-critical storage system offered the lowest mass system that could satisfy the requirements. A well insulated passive sub-critical storage system could also satisfy the requirements, provided the thermal environment is less than 237K.