Development and Integration of the Janus Robotic Lander: A Liquid Oxygen-Liquid Methane Propulsion System Testbed

Raul Ponce, University of Texas at El Paso


Initiatives have emerged with the goal of sending humans to other places in our solar system. New technologies are being developed that will allow for more efficient space systems to transport future astronauts. One of those technologies is the implementation of propulsion systems that use liquid oxygen and liquid methane (LO2-LCH4) as propellants. ^ The benefits of a LO2-LCH4 propulsion system are plenty. One of the main advantages is the possibility of manufacturing the propellants at the destination body. A space vehicle which relies solely on liquid oxygen and liquid methane for its main propulsion and reaction control engines is necessary to exploit this advantage.^ At the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) MIRO Center for Space Exploration Technology Research (cSETR) such a vehicle is being developed. Janus is a robotic lander vehicle with the capability of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) which integrates several LO2-LCH 4 systems that are being devised in-house. The vehicle will serve as a testbed for the parallel operation of these propulsion systems while being fed from common propellant tanks. ^ The following work describes the efforts done at the cSETR to develop the first prototype of the vehicle as well as the plan to move forward in the design of the subsequent prototypes that will lead to a flight vehicle. In order to ensure an eventual smooth integration of the different subsystems that will form part of Janus, requirements were defined for each individual subsystem as well as the vehicle as a whole. Preliminary testing procedures and layouts have also been developed and will be discussed to detail in this text. Furthermore, the current endeavors in the design of each subsystem and the way that they interact with one another within the lander will be explained. ^

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering|Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Ponce, Raul, "Development and Integration of the Janus Robotic Lander: A Liquid Oxygen-Liquid Methane Propulsion System Testbed" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10280986.