NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 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 Rhine
30 Forbes Road
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 466-3130

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5

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 (Lunar Lander) 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 of LO2/ LH2/ LCH4 cryogenic propellants on the surface of the Earth with minimal propellant loss is required to support launch site ground operations. This SBIR Phase II proposal focuses on improving the strength of aerogels which are the best cryogenic insulation materials known and proposes to develop non-compacting aerogel insulation that could be used to insulate cryotanks on launch vehicles and Earth, and in-space cryogenic fuel storage tanks. During the Phase II effort, we will optimize and scale-up preparation of the crosslinked hybrid aerogels developed during the Phase I effort. The best aerogels will be thoroughly characterized and tested in a relevant environment to attain a TRL of 5.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The material developed in the Phase II effort could have a variety of applications in the aerospace industry and within NASA. Aerogels are the most efficient thermal insulation known, and NASA has several applications that would benefit from the low density and thermal conductivity of aerogels. Aerogels could also be applied to NASA spacesuit applications, and insulation for cryogenic fuel tanks and cryogenic fuel transfer lines, and internal insulation applications on re-usable launch vehicles. The insulating structural aerogels could be used to build insulated habitats on the Moon or Mars.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The resulting insulation system from this program will also have far reaching effects in both military and commercial applications. The potential exists for insulating weapons, fuel tanks, electronics, and landing gear bays of military aircraft. The products will have a commercial impact in areas such as: appliance insulation, airliner fuselages, LNG fuel storage tanks and transfer lines. The aerogels with high compression moduli and strengths investigated during this effort could find applications as structural materials that are fire resistant and have lower thermal conductivities than commercially available structural foams.

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
Launch and Flight Vehicle
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Propellant Storage
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26