A proposed valve unit called a "vacuum pumping station" would be incorporated into a plumbing system that supplies a vacuum for vacuum insulated cryogenic equipment. The vacuum pumping station is intended to perform functions now performed by, and to be a simpler and more reliable alternative to, an assembly of components that include a vacuum-pump-out valve and a separate vacuum-isolation valve (with a separate actuator) used to monitor vacuum levels. The present assembly includes a leak-prone threaded connection between the pump-out and isolation valve, and leaks can also occur at other locations. The vacuum pumping station would include a vacuum-pump-out port, a thermocouple port, a thermocouple-isolation valve, a pressure-relief valve, a pressure-relief port, and a single mechanism for actuating the pump-out, isolation, and pressure-relief functions of the valve. The number of joints where leaks could develop would be only half that of the present assembly.

This work was done by Robert L. Smithson of United Space Alliance for Kennedy Space Center. For further information, contact the Kennedy Space Center Commercial Technology Office at (321) 867-6224. KSC-12038