The pump can be used to replace turbopumps for rocket booster operation or it can be used to replace high pressure tanks for deep space propulsion. It can also be used for satellite orbit changes and station keeping. A launch vehicle could also be built with this system.
Advantage over Pressure-Fed systems for in-space propulsion and space tourist vehicles
The pistonless pump design will increase payload capacity compared to the pressure fed systems. For instance if they had used a pistonless pump for two recent missions, payload capacity could have been increased by 28% (calculated using methods developed by Steve Schneider at NASA GRC). The pistonless pump can also be used for space tourist vehicles instead of the planned pressure fed systems. The pistonless pump system offers increased performance and greater safety over pressure fed systems because the passengers will not need to sit next to large heavy tanks full of high pressure rocket fuel. Furthermore, the pump allows for higher fuel pressures than for VAPAK systems, which increases combustion stability and performance and reduces the need for propellant conditioning.
Pistonless pump Launch Vehicle Application
A launch vehicle could be built which uses helium to power the pump and this system would reauire less than 1% of the mass to run the pump as compared to 2-3% for a turbopump system. The liquid helium system was used on the lunar lander, so it is already man-rated.
Atlas Vernier Engine Proof of Concept Test
The pump has been tested with an Atlas vernier engine as a proof of concept test. The fuel and oxidizer were switched on at predetermined times using solenoid valves controlled by a laptop running Labview. Data was collected on the flow rates, pressures and thrust. The pump worked well maintaining pressure. The pump delivered kerosene at 2.8 MPa and 1.1 kg/s. The LOX was pressure fed for this test.