NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 X9.01-9829
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Distribution for Space Exploration Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced, Long-Life Cryocooler Technology for Zero-Boil-Off Cryogen Storage

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Creare Inc
P.O. Box 71
Hanover, NH 03755 - 3116
(603) 640-2487

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mark Zagarola
P.O. Box 71
Hanover, NH 03755 - 0071
(603) 643-3800

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Long-life, high-capacity cryocoolers are a critical need for future space systems utilizing stored cryogens. The cooling requirements for planetary and extraterrestrial exploration missions, Crew Exploration Vehicles, extended-life orbital transfer vehicles, and space depots will range from 10 to 50 W at temperatures between 20 and 120 K. Turbo-Brayton cryocoolers are ideal for these systems because they are lightweight, compact and very efficient at high cooling loads, in addition to their inherent attributes of high reliability; negligible vibration; long, maintenance-free lifetimes; and flexibility in integrating with spacecraft systems and payloads. To date, space-borne turbo-Brayton technology has been developed for modest cooling loads. During the proposed program, Creare will develop an advanced, high efficiency turbine optimized for a high-capacity cryocooler. The advanced turbine will enable a landmark reduction in cryocooler input power and overall cooling system mass. In Phase I, we defined the cryocooler requirements for a particular mission class, developed the conceptual design of a multistage cryocooler to meet the requirements, developed the preliminary design of the advanced turbine and successfully performed proof-of-concept tests on the turbine. During Phase II, we will fabricate the turbine optimized to provide 5-20 W of net refrigeration at 20 K and demonstrate its performance at prototypical operating conditions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Advanced turbines will enable high-capacity turbo-Brayton cryocoolers that are compact, lightweight, and consume minimal power. Space applications include cryogen storage for planetary and extraterrestrial exploration missions, Crew Exploration Vehicles, extended-life orbital transfer vehicles, long-term geosynchronous missions, in-space propellant depots and extraterrestrial bases, and cooling systems for observation platforms requiring large arrays of infrared and X-ray detectors. Terrestrial applications include cooling for spaceport cryogen storage and cryogen transportation systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA commercial applications include cooling for laboratory-scale and industrial-scale gas separation; liquefaction; cryogen storage and transportation systems; high-temperature superconducting magnets in motors and magnetic resonance imaging systems; liquid hydrogen storage for automotive fuel cells; and commercial orbital transfer vehicles and satellites.

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.

Fluid Storage and Handling

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