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Cryogenic propellants and pressurizing gases have been and will continue to be used for missile and space propulsion systems. To maintain the high degree of reliability that these propulsion systems have exhibited, close control of propellant quality is necessary. Specifications are the basic documents that establish the technical requirements for procurement purposes. These requirements are dictated by the needs of the user, with due consideration given to the manufacturing ability of the suppliers, and possible deterioration of the product during handling and storage. Specifications also contain quality assurrance provisions that detail the sampling plans and analytical procedures to be used to ensure that the propellant conforms to the specified requirements. Gas chromatography has been widely accepted as the principal method of analysis for cryogenic and gaseous materials.
Specifications are continually revised and updated as required by the rocket community. The rationale for the establishment of the specific requirements for oxygen, nitrogen, helium, fluorine, and hydrogen is presented. Current sampling techniques and analytical methods for these products are also reviewed. Other cryogens, such as OF2 and methane, have received limited attention and are briefly discussed.
cryogenics, cryogenic rocket propellants, pressurizing, specifications, impurities, tests, oxygen, nitrogen, helium, hydrogen, fluorine, argon
Chief, Propellant Evaluation Section, Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, Edwards, Calif.