NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Cryogenic Propellant Depots
PROPOSAL TITLE:To Ensure the Integrity of the Cryogenic Propellant Depot Tank Within the Expected Radiation and Space Debris Environment

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
HyPerComp Engineering, Inc.
P.O. Box 505
Brigham City ,UT 84302 - 0505
(435) 734 - 1166

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James   Patterson
P.O. Box 505
Brigham City, UT  84302 -0505
(435) 734 - 1166

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
HyPerComp Engineering, Inc. (HEI) proposes to develop well characterized, structurally reliable filament wound composite pressure vessels for use in both cryogenic and radiation environment applications. The intent of the proposed effort is to develop the detailed pressure vessel performance characteristics that will result in "off the shelf' technology for high performance cryogenic/ radiation environment composite pressure vessels.

This intent will be achieved via empirical characterization of composite raw materials subsequent to exposure to the aforementioned environments. Phase I of this effort (NASA contract #NNM05AA45C) demonstrated a significant reduction in structural performance subsequent to exposure to cryogenic/radiation environments. This reduction in structural performance would seriously compromise the structural performance of any composite structure.

The aerospace and the commercial communities have shown significant interest in using filament wound composite pressure vessels for cryogenic applications. In addition there is serious consideration for using composite vessels in deep space exploration which would sustain significant radiation exposure. The Phase I investigation has shown that these environments significantly degrade the structural capability of these vessels. Constituent raw materials and existing pressure vessel designs have not been characterized for these applications and as such the safety margins for these applications are undefined. Therefore, the reliability of such usage is unknown.

HEI has recently completed a Phase I SBIR through NASA/MSFC. This successful effort demonstrated a significant degradation in composite pressure vessel cryogenic/radiation performance. The effort proposed herein builds upon that knowledge, significantly expands it, and will result in statistically meaningful and, therefore, reliable "off the shelf" technology for composite pressure vessels in cryogenic/radiation applications.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Joe Lewis and Lorie Grimes-Ledesma of Jet Propulsion Laboratory have expressed serious interest in our Phase I SBIR cryogenic/radiation work and subsequent Phase II follow on work. While they have general interest in lightweight cryogenic pressure vessels for propulsion systems they also have a very specific application of interest that would require significant radiation resistant capability. That application would be a spacecraft currently on the drawing board and referred to as the "Jupiter Icy Moons" mission. It is planned to use cryogenically stored xenon gas as a power source on that spacecraft and will require a high performance cryogenic/radiation capable pressure vessel.

Other NASA applications could include any low-earth or beyond earth orbit long-term pressure vessel requirements, such as 'orbiting fuel depots' for LOX storage, Mars mission fuel storage, extended mission light weight space habitat structures (i.e dual use fuel/habitat). All such structures will require significant radiation capabilities.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The growth of the commercial space industry (i.e. Spacehab, Inc.) will present an opportunity for sales of space related hardware with demonstrated cryogenic/radiation capabilities outside of the traditional government owned space industry. The development of a commercial customer base for space hardware with new and innovative technologies with expanding capabilities (i.e. cryogenic/radiation) will complement the traditionally government dominated space market.

Terrestrial applications for cryogenic/radiation capable composite structures outside of NASA will be found in the nuclear energy power generation industry. With the current interest in development of alternative energy sources being raised to a level of strategic national importance by the President of the United States, the issue of nuclear generated power will be seriously studied. This industry will place a premium on radiation capable structures for tubing and pressure vessels to satisfy safety concerns which are certain to be raised.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52