Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering


Jack F. Chessa

Second Advisor

Yirong Lin


A recent resurgence of interest in space exploration has given rise to a number of newcomers in the space industry. A number of private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance have joined the likes of NASA with the goal to expand the current capabilities of space travel and exploration. Perhaps the most ambitious of these goals is a manned mission to Mars. In order to achieve this goal, many of these companies have taken a keen interest in liquid oxygen and methane engine technologies. Engines like the Raptor by SpaceX and the Blue Origin BE-4 already run on methane as a propellant. Methane offers many advantages over traditional rocket fuels such as hydrogen and RP-1, but the biggest advantage is the capability of in situ resource utilization on the surface of Mars. The ability to produce propellant on mars would reduce the mass and cost of space exploration architecture by reducing the amount of payload that must be launched from Earth. In partnership with NASA, the MIRO Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research (cSETR) at UTEP has been developing a number of methane propulsion systems including CROME a 500 lb thrust engine and CROME-X a 2000 lb thrust engine. In order to test the engines, the cSETR has developed the Ground Propellant System (GPS) which delivers pressurized liquid oxygen and methane to the engines for ground testing. When designing or selecting components such as valves, tanks, and line sizes for these complex flow systems, engineers often benefit from system level thermo-fluid simulations to determine the performance of the system. The simulations help predict parameters like pressure drops, flowrates, and temperatures. This paper presents system level thermo-fluid models of the GPS system during four operational modes: tank chill, tank boiloff, line chilldown, and an engine run case. The purpose of the paper is to introduce the Generalized Fluid System Simulation Program (GFFSP) and verify the validity of using GFSSP for future fluid system developments.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

133 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Mariano Mercado

Included in

Engineering Commons