Test Bed for Investigating Anomalous Pump Behavior in a Single Phase Mechanically Pumped Flow Loop and Lessons Learned

Date

2020-07-31

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems

Abstract

NASA’s Europa Clipper mission is tasked with probing for signs of life on the icy moon of Jupiter. The harsh environment of this mission requires an elaborate single phase, mechanically pumped flow loop (PFL) to redistribute waste heat around the spacecraft, thus minimizing energy requirements and avoiding the need for constant heating of the propulsion tanks. At the heart of this PFL is a pump; however, during initial qualification testing, anomalous behavior raised serious concerns of the pump and system design. Due to the critical nature of the pump and the need to operate for the entirety of the 12-year mission, a major investigation was launched into the pump, system design, and the testing methodology employed to investigate this anomaly. This investigation resulted in a highly detailed analysis of the test loop, revised procedures, and the isolation/removal of variables impacting the quality of the observed pump behavior. The test loop developed permits comprehensive monitoring of the pump in the PFL, including flow rate, inlet and outlet static pressures, temperature, power consumption, and pump speed. Additionally, the investigation of the anomaly revealed several key lessons learned and provided a new set of best practices for future PFL tests.

Description

Collier Miers, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, US
Paul Woodmansee, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, US
Arthur Mastropietro, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, US
Brian Carroll, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, US
ICES203: Thermal Testing
The proceedings for the 2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems were published from July 31, 2020. The technical papers were not presented in person due to the inability to hold the event as scheduled in Lisbon, Portugal because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Keywords

Pumped flow loop, Test bed, Lessons learned, Test methodology, Europa clipper

Citation