Californian based company, XCOR Aerospace, has invested efforts in developing hydrogen piston pumps as a more economical and longer life alternative to turbo pumps.
The company have focused on the technology for over eight years, moving from cryogenic piston pumps to liquid hydrogen, at the end of which, XCOR honed a single piston work-horse test article and test bench which performed successfully in company tests.
Test conditions mimicked that of flight, and demonstrated the ability to pump through cavitation events when liquid hydrogen returned to partial gaseous form; a test used to discern robustness. United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Vice President of Business Development and Advanced Programs, Dr George Sowers said, “XCOR has demonstrated the beginnings of an important technology development path that has the promise to significantly improve the competitiveness of future ULA launch vehicles.”
Meanwhile, Frank Zegler, Senior Staff Engineer in ULA’s Advanced Programs Group, commented, “XCOR is doing things with piston pumps that no one else has done.”
XCOR Founder and President, Jeff Greason, stated, “ULA has taken a very innovative and commercially focused approach for future technology insertion into their long range product planning roadmap, and XCOR is very pleased to support the ULA team by further enhancing and extending our technology to their unique needs for lower cost launch vehicles, new on-orbit applications and capabilities, and future deep space exploration systems.”