Measurement of the mass and slosh forces in test tanks, satellite tanks and launcher tanks. Systems for ground-test applications are commercially available now, for example measurement of gas volume fraction in cryogenic liquids. Gauging propellant in microgravity or zero gravity conditions remains a significant technical challenge.
Atout Process have demonstrated a smart space tank, which utilises electrical capacitance tomography (ECT) for the accurate real-time measurement of propellant or oxidiser mass and slosh torque vector.
ECT is an imaging technique for visualising industrial processes containing dielectric materials. It can be used to investigate the internal dynamic behaviour by presenting a cross-sectional distribution of materials.
Through H2020 and the UK Space Agency funding, Atout has successfully demonstrated that ECT can, in real time;
Measure propellant mass to better than 1% of total in a range of gravity fields.
Image propellant distribution
Accurately track propellant centre of mass (CoM)