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Proposed system for automating electrical verification and validation of spacecraft liquid propulsion systems

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1 Author(s)
Miller, I.A. ; Javelin Technol. Group, Ellicott City, MD, USA

A majority of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Department of Defense spacecraft require the ability to be maneuvered in space after separation from the launch vehicle. These maneuvers may be for station keeping, orbit insertion, collection of science data, or avoidance maneuvers. Many of these spacecraft utilize a liquid propulsion system involving thrusters, latch valves, propellant tanks, propellant lines, and associated pressure- and temperature-monitoring equipment. To thoroughly test the propulsion system prior to launch, the spacecraft integration and test (I&T) team must put all of the propulsive elements through a series of tests, both electrical and mechanical, that include hazardous operations. Because of the repetitive nature of many of the tests, a propulsion test system (PTS) is desired; the PTS will include a mix of automated and manual elements to make electrical testing of the propulsion subsystem more efficient, repeatable, and safe.

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Date of Conference:

12-15 Sept. 2011