NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 S3.05-8864
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Terrestrial Balloon Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Enhanced PBO Fiber Reinforced Balloon Envelope Materials for Titan Aerobots

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Infoscitex Corporation
303 Bear Hill Road
Waltham, MA 02451 - 1016
(781) 890-1338

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert F. Kovar
303 Bear Hill Road
Waltham, MA 02451 - 1016
(781) 890-1338

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 2 to 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Lighter-than-atmosphere (LTA) systems provide significant advantages for planetary exploration due to their potential for extended mission duration, long traverse, and extensive surface coverage capabilities. However, LTA vehicles must withstand the atmosphere of these planets and moons. The atmosphere is often a challenging environment for the exterior balloon envelope materials primarily due to its extreme cold and complex chemistry. In this Phase I, Infoscitex (IST) will demonstrate the feasibility of fabricating a high specific strength fiber reinforced balloon material that can replace the currently marginally viable materials based on polyester film and fabric laminates. IST will develop an environmentally stable PBO fiber and use it to reinforce a new balloon envelope material that enables at least a 50% improvement in the strength to weight ratio while exceeding the flexibility to the current polyester materials in a Titan atmosphere. It is possible to achieve areal densities with this material that are in the range of 40 g/m2 that can support both super pressure and zero pressure balloon concepts. During the Phase I program, IST will demonstrate the feasibility of the enhancing the PBO fiber with UV and hydrolysis protection via significant balloon material sample fabrication and cryogenic testing.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

Potential NASA commercial applications will include aerobot balloons for exploration of other planets and their moons in our solar system. The higher specific strength of our stabilized PBO fiber-reinforced balloon film will enable construction of lighter weight pressurized balloons for missions in the earth's atmosphere.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

Stabilized PBO fiber-reinforced polymer films will find application as reinforced vacuum bag films. The high thermal stability of stabilized PBO fiber will enable its use as reinforcement in Kapton, Upilex and stabilized PBO films for high temperature composite applications.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Multifunctional/Smart Materials

Form Generated on 10-11-07 13:08