Thursday, September 13, 2012

A bit more helium news

While writing the helium shortage story, I contacted NASA Glenn Research Center to see if they had any experiments that used helium. The reply was a little late for the story, but the information is still interesting.

I received this from one of our facility managers; there may be other ways we use helium, but this is one of them:

NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland uses helium in the vacuum facilities for our cryogenic vacuum pumps and for leak checking.  Depending on the facility, we either have a standalone cryogenic vacuum pump, or cryopanels connected to the Electric Propulsion Lab’s helium system.  Both systems recirculate the helium so the only helium consumed is what escapes from these systems.  Helium gas is also used in conjunction with a helium leak detector for leak checking.

That came from Katherine Martin, a public affairs specialist for NASA Glenn.

-- Elizabeth Lundblad,, @NewsHLiz


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