Highly Reliable LOX Pump for Vehicle Loading Operations

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Barber-nichols, Inc.
6325 West 55th
Arvada, CO 80002
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


This proposal will present an innovative Phase I research and design plan for a reliable LOX pumping system for use in NASA vehicle loading. Due to seal problems with the current LOX loading pumps, the main focus of the Phase I effort will involve design and development of an innovative sealing solution that does not use a failure prone mechanical seal. The seal solution proposed is a combination of a labyrinth seal with N2 buffer gas and pump out vanes on the backside of the pump impeller. This will provide a positive seal with no oxygen leak and have no wearing parts. In addition to this simple and reliable sealing arrangement, other crucial components will be designed for the pump to have the highest reliability and performance. One specific area will be minimization of heat leak from the motor and bearings to the LOX. This will reduce the LOX boil-off that must be vented during loading. Finally, a redundant parallel pumping system will be developed to ensure the highest reliability during vehicle loading at NASA