NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X7.01-9093
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Storage for Space Exploration Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: Lightweight Non-Compacting Aerogel Insulation for Cryotanks

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road, Bldg B
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 691-1161

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Wendell E. Rhine
30 Forbes Road, Bldg B
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 466-3130

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The exploration of space requires that new technologies be developed for long-term cryogenic propellant storage applications in-space, on the lunar surface, and on the Earth. The Altair ascent stage requires LO2 and LCH4 storage durations of up to 14 days in LEO and up to an additional 210 days on the lunar surface. Long term storage (224 days) of LO2 cryogenic propellant on the lunar surface is required to support space power systems, spaceports, spacesuits, lunar habitation systems, robotics, and in situ propellant systems. Long term storage (6 months) of LO2/ LH2/ LCH4 cryogenic propellants in 1-g on the surface of the Earth with minimal propellant loss is required to support launch site ground operations. Thus, this proposed project will focus on improving the strength of aerogels, which are the lightest weight and best cryogenic insulation material known. Improvements in the strength of aerogels would allow these materials to be used as advanced non-compacting insulation materials capable of retaining structural integrity while accommodating large operating temperatures ranging from cryogenic to elevated temperatures. The properties of the aerogels will be tailored by controlling their densities and strengthened by reinforcing them with fibers and with organic polymer crosslinking agents.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The aerogel-based materials will have applications as advanced non-compacting cryogenic insulation to reduce propellant boil-off losses and as lightweight structural components for composite cryogenic tanks.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The aerogels developed in this project would find applications as the insulation used for LNG storage containers as well as for other cryogenic fluids. Lightweight structural aerogels would find applications as a component of composite sandwich panels that are both lightweight and insulating. Such panels could find many applications including uses in energy efficient buildings.

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
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56