16, April 2020

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO10092
Open Date: 14/04/2020
Closing Date: 26/05/2020 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 19.1QC.04
Prog. Ref.: Technology Developme
Budget Ref.: E/0901-01 – Technology Developme
Tender Type: C
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Products: Satellites & Probes / Propulsion / Chemical Propulsion / Chemical Propulsion Systems
Technology Domains: Materials and Processes / Cleanliness and Sterilisation / Contamination Modelling and Lifetime Prediction of Material Behaviour
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. & Quality
Department: Product Assurance and Safety Department
Division: Technical Reliability and Quality Div
Contract Officer: Magne-Lie, Karine
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A – Not apply
Last Update Date: 14/04/2020
Update Reason: Tender issue

Plume impingement effects from chemical propulsion systems are known and can affect the performanceand surface properties of materials. On-orbit experiments on ISS have shown that reaction products ofconventional bipropellant engines chemically and mechanicallyerode materials and coatings typically usedon spacecraft. H. Trinks did the last systematic study on these effects in 1989. These studies were based onMMH (Monomethylhydrazine) / NTO (Nitrogen tetroxide) bi-propellants which are highly toxic substances.Recently, another line of thrusters has been developed employing alternative, non-toxic fuels (“GreenPropellants”, e.g. LMP-103s for monopropellant). In order to employ such new non-toxic propellants onspace missions, it is essential to assess the risk of contaminationeffects and the impact on materialproperties arising from green propellant thruster plumes.To achieve that the thruster plume must expand freely, i.e. In a space-like vacuum environment which istechnically challenging. The chemistry of the expanding plume shall be comprehensively characterized.Among others, high-speed in-situ mass spectroscopy as well as other chemical imaging methods shallbeused to monitor the evolution of the plume composition and its spatial distribution. The flux coming fromthe chemical reaction of the propellants and the spatial distribution of the molecular contamination shall beused to derive the surface interaction with materials. Samples shall be exposed to the plume under differentorientations to the main axis of the plume as well as in the backflow. The impact on commonly used spacecraft materials (solar array cover glasses, typical lens material / mirrors of optical instruments, thermal hardware (e.g. OSRs, SSM, Paints ) and contamination effects shall be comprehensively analyzed using multiple technics (e.g. Measuring of thermo-optical properties, surface roughness, surface chemistry, thermal stability and optical properties of contaminants). The results of the study will serve to construct an experimentally backed risk assessment of the contamination effects related to the plume interaction with commonly used spacecraft materials.

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