Modal Propellant Gauging in Microgravity

Taylor Peterson, Cassandra Bossong, Bennett Bartel


Since 2008, the Modal Propellant Gauging (MPG) team, consisting of multidisciplinary undergraduate researchers from Carthage College, has been developing and testing a fuel gauging system for use in microgravity environments. Using Experimental Modal Analysis (EMA) techniques, the goal of the MPG project is to develop a flight ready technology that gauges fuel in microgravity environments by correlating the modal response of a 1-g equilibrium surface to the microgravity surface response at the same fluid fill level. The technology has been tested aboard parabolic flights via a manned parabolic flight payload. The payload consists of two propellant tanks and is designed to measure the modal response of each propellant tank to an injected white noise signal via PZT sensors. Flight data shows that the MPG method can measure fuel with greater than or equal to 1% resolution at and below 50% fill levels. Under funding from the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium during the summer of 2018 and 2019, the MPG team made improvements to the Blue Origin New Shepard research flight payload which saw flight on the New Shepard vehicle in January of 2019 and is manifested to fly again in December of 2019.


Modal Propellant Gauging; physics; fuel gauging; microgravity

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.