Journal of Astronautics ›› 2016, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (3): 245-252.doi: 10.3873/j.issn.1000-1328.2016.03.001

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Review on On Orbit Refueling Techniques and Schemes of Cryogenic Propellants

MA Yuan, LI Yan zhong, WANG Lei, ZHU Kang, XU Meng jian   

  1. 1. Department of Refrigeration and Cryogenics, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049,China;
     2. State Key Laboratory of Technologies in Space Cryogenic Propellants, Beijing 100028, China
  • Received:2015-07-06 Revised:2015-12-23 Online:2016-03-15 Published:2016-03-25


In order to explore related techniques and solutions suitable for on-orbit refueling of cryogenic propellants, literature investigation and comparative analysis are conducted to summarize the recent research and the key techniques associated with propellant on-orbit refueling. Moreover,the applicability of the existing refueling schemes and techniques for cryogenic propellants is investigated, and a suggestive research project is proposed for guiding the domestic researches.Conclusions have been drawn as follows: 1) Gas-liquid separating, mass gauging, boil-off mass controlling as well as fluid drive circulating techniques have a direct influence on both structure and filling performance of propellant on-orbit refueling systems. 2)The special properties of cryogenic propellants such as the low boiling point and the small surface tension require of gas-liquid separation, thermal protection and other refueling techniques higher performance. 3)The advanced techniques including surface tension propellant tank for gas-liquid separation,fiber optic mass gauging,radio frequency mass gauging(RFMG), multilayer insulation and thermodynamic vent system(TVS) would be the key to achieve cryogenic propellant on-orbit resupply and well suitable for cryogenic propellants and microgravity environment.

Key words: Cryogenic propellant, On-orbit refueling, Deepspace exploration;Gas-liquid separation;Filling scheme

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