Design, Fabrication, and Testing of the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Propulsion Systems

TitleDesign, Fabrication, and Testing of the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Propulsion Systems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBushman, S
Conference Name48th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit48th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit
Date Published08/2012
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Conference LocationAtlanta, GeorgiaReston, Virigina
KeywordsRBSP; Van Allen Probes
AbstractThe Radiation Belt Storm Probes spacecraft , part of NASA’s Living with a Star program, are scheduled for launch into Earth orbit in August 2012. 1,2,3 The twin spacecraft possess identical blowdown monopropellant hydrazine propulsion systems to provide spinup/spindown, precession, Delt a–V, and deorbit capability. Each spacecraft manifests eight Aerojet 0.2 lbf (0.9 N) MR–103G thrust ers, three ARDÉ Inconel 718 propellant tanks, and other components required to control the fl ow of propellant and monitor system health and performance. The propulsion systems were fabricated and installed by Aerojet Redmond and subsequently tested at the Jo hns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD. The test se quence at APL included thermal balance; end– to–end phasing; leak and functional; mass properties; water load (as a propellant simulant); water–loaded vibration and acoustic testing; water offload; and thermal vacuum operations. This paper will document the design of th e propulsion system, component selection challenges faced, and system–l evel tests performed prior to propellant load and launch.

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