NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 X2.04-7565
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Propellant Depots
PROPOSAL TITLE: Expandable Cryogenic Tankage for On Orbit Depot Storage

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
SUPERCRITICAL THERMAL SYSTEMS, INC.
P.O. Box 2627
Longmont, CO 80502-2627
(970)535-0384

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Harold L. Gier
HalG@superthermal.com
P.O. Box 2627
Longmont, CO 80502-2627
(970)535-0384

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The proposed expandable depot storage tanks would make it possible to have an on-orbit tank larger in volume than any existing or planned launch vehicles. The size of the tank would be diameter limited by the launch vehicle, but not limited in length. It would take several additional launches to fill the depot tank for use. Because of the light load on launch the inner tank support system could be much lighter and less conductive than that required for loaded tanks and thus have low thermal loads for the final tank configuration. The tank could be fully assembled before launch which would greatly reduce on-orbit problems. Materials can be selected to give optimal configurations with different cryogenic fluids. The entire tank could be configured to have a zero loss rate by the use of cryogenic reliquefier(s). Protection against micrometeorites and monatomic oxygen would be built into the outer surface of the tanks.


The inflatable storage tanks will have many additional military and commercial applications in space in the arena of storing large quantities of fluid for laser fuel, space tugs and long duration space flight. The primary use will be in cases where the required fluid volume is greater than can be achieved with a single launch vehicle.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The ultra-lightweight inflatable cryogenic storage tanks will have two primary customers, NASA and the Department of Defense. Propellant storage depots, orbit transfer vehicles, space-based lasers, and long duration missions are the applications identified with the ultra light cryogenic tankage. Large programs such as the International Space Station, the Mars missions, DARPA's Orbital Express and Strategic Defense Missions can utilize the improved launch logistic benefits and the reduced cost of these new concepts.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
A commercialization of space could lead to a use of such tankage in the future. Industry giants such as Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, European Space Agency, Etc might find a need for long term storage for aspects of space production or tourism. The projection of such activities is beyond the capabilities of STS. Any technology developments during this program which can be patented will be patented by STS. These technologies will be kept active on the government programs on which they are beneficial and can be used. This will make them available to other potential users when the need arises.