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Altius’ In-Space Cyrogenic Propellant Coupling Selected in SBIR Phase II

NASA announced the selection of 133 proposals for Phase II of the SBIR program. One of the more exciting proposals selected is from Altius Space Machines, titled “Lightweight, High-Flow, Low Connection-Force, In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Coupling”:

While all cryogenic rocket stages have to have a propellant fill/drain coupling for loading propellant on the ground, existing designs are not capable of in-space refuelability. A dual-purpose coupler that could be used for both ground fill/drain and for in-space refueling would be extremely valuable.In this proposed SBIR Phase II research effort, Altius Space Machines proposes continuing the development of just such a dual-purpose, lightweight, high-flow cryogenic propellant coupling to enable both ground fill/drain and in-space refueling. This coupling incorporates an innovative new cryogenic sealing architecture to enable a coupling with very low insertion/extraction forces, for manual, robotic, and astronaut-connected cryogenic propellant transfer operations.

An exciting, much-needed development that could be a huge part of our future in space. One of these days, we just might get Jon on the show to discuss.