THERMAL VACUUM TEST CORRELATION OF A ZERO PROPELLANT LOAD CASE THERMAL CAPACITANCE PROPELLANT GAUGING ANALYTICAL MODEL
McKim, Stephen A.
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This thesis describes the development and correlation of a thermal model that forms the foundation of a thermal capacitance spacecraft propellant load estimator. Specific details of creating the thermal model for the diaphragm propellant tank used on NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft using ANSYS and the correlation process implemented are presented. The thermal model was correlated to within +/- 3 Celsius of the thermal vacuum test data, and was determined sufficient to make future propellant predictions on MMS. The model was also found to be relatively sensitive to uncertainties in applied heat flux and mass knowledge of the tank. More work is needed to improve temperature predictions in the upper hemisphere of the propellant tank where predictions were found to be 2-2.5 Celsius lower than the test data. A road map for applying the model to predict propellant loads on the actual MMS spacecraft in 2017-2018 is also presented.