European Space Agency

Large Propellant Tank


The Large Propellant Tank will be used by the EUROSTAR 3000 and 3000LX platforms. The objective is to develop an extended tank (2900Kg of propellant per S/C), based on the current E3000 interfaces, in order to allow full CPS missions with extended lifetime/dry mass capabilities. It is also to allow combined PPS+CPS missions to be realized.

The Large Propellant Tank will be designed according to the EUROSTAR propellant tank family heritage. It will involve an improved Propellant Management Device (PMD), and improved life and pressure capabilities. Leading edge technologies will be used in order to manufacture the parts and assemble the tank (such as die forging, precision machining).

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The new design will involve improved functional and mechanical performances. A Qualification model (QM) will therefore be built and will go trough a full qualification in order to validate the new design.


The main issues will be:

  • The validation of the new functional design (it has more stringent requirements than E3000)

  • The validation of the new forging material properties (new supplier compared to the E3000)


Main benefits at system level will be:

  • Enhanced functional performances (greater tank volume, lower LAE firing minimum fill level, lower horizontal transportation fill ratio, greater usable volume for manoeuvres)

  • Enhanced mechanical performances (greater max. operating pressure, greater static loads to cope with)

  • Enhanced life time/ dry mass capabilities for the platform.


The tank is made of Titanium and Titanium alloy, which combines high strength, corrosion resistance and mass efficiency characteristics. The volume will be 651 litres.

The shell comprises 4 main components made of Ti 6Al-4V alloy. The upper hemisphere (linked to the pressurant port), the cylinder (a full cylindrical section), the membrane (which allows the propellant to remain in the lower part for on-orbit life) and the lower hemisphere (where the PMD is fitted and links the tank to the propellant lines).

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The PMD will be made of a sponge fitted into a box (see item in blue above). The retention capability will ensure that gas-free propellant is always available in the outlet line for on-orbit manoeuvres throughout the S/C life. A communication tube (red item above) links the upper to the lower hemispheres, trough the membrane (white item above).


The project will consist of designing the tank and the PMD, manufacturing and assemble the parts according to the flight standard and subject them to the required qualification sequence. This will involve the following sequence:

  • Design of tank shell and PMD

  • Manufacturing of forgings

  • Machining of forgings

  • Assembly of 1 QM tank and 2 Engineering Model PMD

  • Testing of QM tank and 2 EM PMD (functional and mechanical)

Current status

The preliminary design phase has been successfully performed. The PDR (Preliminary Design Review) has been held on March 03 the 26th and final detail design activities are on going until the Critical Design Review.

Advanced manufacturing activities are on going (PMD parts and forgings manufacturing).

Status date

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 14:00