NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 X6.01-8728
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lightweight Structures
PROPOSAL TITLE: Multifunctional Flexible Aerogels for Inflatable Habitats

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 691-1111

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Owen Evans
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 466-3104

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In 2005, President George W. Bush issued a Vision for Space Exploration that included a return to the lunar surface by as early as 2015. This mission is expected to undertake far more ambitious activities than those of the previous Apollo mission, possibly involving medium to long term lunar habitation. The use of inflatable structures for large-volume crew habitation on the lunar surface has proven to be an effective technology to maximize payload volumes and reduce overall launch costs. NASA is currently seeking cutting edge material technologies that can simplify the construction of these habitats and provide for enhanced performance. Aspen Aerogels proposes to develop novel hybrid aerogel materials that are able to simultaneously provide for thermal, micrometeoroid and radiation protection in one single layer. Chemical modifications in the sol-gel preparation of aerogel materials are expected to afford hybrids materials that will combine the durability and thermal performance of a standard silica aerogel with the flexibility, resilience and radiation protection properties of a polymeric material.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The nanostructured, lightweight, flexible aerogel composites will improve thermal, radiation and MMOD impact shielding for inflatable habitat structures. Multi-layer insulation (MLI) layers in habitats would be replaced with the developed technology. EVA suits including gloves and footwear, and helmets could also potentially utilize the new insulation materials. The flexible aerogels are air, water, and vacuum capable and thus could be incorporated into new single suit designs for a broad spectrum of astronaut mission. The excellent durability and toughness of the flexible aerogel might facilitate use in cryogenic insulation in difficult vibration and acoustic environments.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Other potential applications include use as insulation in commercial and military aircraft, cryogenic tanks, liquefied gas transport, gloves, footwear, systems for warming, storing, and/or transporting food and medicine, sleeping bags and pads, military and recreational tents, etc.

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.

Radiation Shielding Materials
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50