Hydrogen Generation for Space

Anasphere has been developing robust, solid-state hydrogen gas generators since 2011. Our patented generators produce dry hydrogen gas at a rapid and controlled rate. The primary space-related application for these generators is the inflation of Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators, or HIADs.
These generators are scalable, with quantities of gas generated ranging from less than 100 normal liters to over 20,000 normal liters. Their all-solid-state construction ensures that they are storable for long periods, in space or otherwise. The generators are pyrotechnic devices and can be initiated using conventional pyrotechnic initiators.

Development History

Anasphere's controlled-rate pyrotechnic gas generators have their design roots in an Air Force project to launch balloon-borne radiosondes from the flare dispensers of F-16s. Starting from that demanding environment, they have found applications in other unique areas where their excellent volumetric efficiency and rugged construction are essential. Most recently, they have found a home inflating HIADs for NASA. The following timeline summarizes the development history of these generators:

  • 2011: Initial Air Force Phase I SBIR funding for MALRD (Miniature Air-Launched Rawinsonde and Dropsonde): gas generation for a balloon-borne radiosonde launched from a flare cartridge
  • 2014: DARPA funding for scaled-up generators
  • 2017: NASA Phase I SBIR funding for HIAD inflation
  • 2018: NASA Phase II SBIR funding for HIAD inflation
  • 2019: NASA Announcement of Collaborative Opportunity (ACO) award to complete environmental testing of the hydrogen generators

  • The ACO award addresses the environmental testing of 250 normal liter hydrogen generators at Marshall Space Flight Center, and the live fire testing of both 250 normal liter and 20,000 normal liter generators under space-representative conditions. These tests are laying the groundwork for the first orbital flight of the generator which is currently planned for 2022.

    2019 Anasphere, Inc.