NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 X10.01-9382
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Fluid Management Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: LV-IMLI: Integrated MLI/Aeroshell for Cryogenic Launch Vehicles

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Quest Product Development Corporation
6833 Joyce Street
Arvada, CO 80007 - 7570
(303) 670-5088

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scott A Dye
6833 Joyce St
Arvada, CO 80007 - 7570
(303) 670-5088 Extension :12

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Cryogenic propellants have the highest energy density of any rocket fuel, and are used in most NASA and commercial launch vehicles to power their ascent. Cryogenic propellants must be kept cold to preserve them and prevent loss via boil off, therefore cryogenic launch vehicles and spacecraft must have thermal insulation preserving the cryopropellant. Providing good thermal insulation is a balancing act between the insulation desired, the mass of the insulation system, and the robustness of the insulation. SOFI, for example, has high heat leak and is not robust. Quest Product Development Corp, and partner Ball Aerospace, propose to design, fabricate and test innovative Launch Vehicle–MLI (LV-MLI), an integrated advanced thermal insulation and lightweight aeroshell for launch vehicle exposed cryopropellant tanks.

A ruggedized of Integrated MLI, high performance lightweight thermal insulation, could be bonded to the sidewalls of LOX/LH2 cryotanks in the Atlas V and Delta IV and might be able to withstand aerodynamic loading during launch ascent. LV-MLI has the potential to significantly improve upper stage cryogenic tank thermal insulation, and might increase payload capacity for NASA, national security and commercial missions that require multi-hour coasts such as required for MEO and GEO orbit insertion.

LV-MLI should have 34% the mass of the SOFI insulation, while providing about 85 times better thermal insulation.

This Phase I research will evaluate Launch Vehicle-MLI aerodynamic and thermal requirements, analyze aerodynamic and acoustic vibration launch loading, design LV-MLI insulation system to withstand those aerodynamic and launch environment loads, design and build a unique launch dynamic load simulator, build and test a LV-MLI prototype for aerodynamic and vibration simulated launch loads, and finally compare the structural and thermal performance of LV-MLI to the requirements and modeled/predicted performance.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Launch Vehicle Integrated Multi-Layer Insulation (LV-MLI) could provide both an aeroshell and high performance thermal insulation in one integrated, light-weight system. LV-MLI could provide benefit to NASA with increased launch vehicle mission capabilities, such as longer duration cryogenic powered missions, longer coast times for orbital transitions, higher payload capacity to GSO, enhancements to the workhorse Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicle families, applicability to upcoming cryogenic upper stage designs such as Advanced Common Evolved Stage, and general improvements to cryogenic fluid management (improved passive thermal control) important for future NASA extended missions and orbiting propellant depots.

LV-MLI may be able to replace SOFI in certain situations, which would be very beneficial to NASA and space launch service providers.

LV-MLI may be able to provide:

• ability to withstand Atlas Centaur and Delta Cryogenic Second Stage aerodynamic and launch profile without damage
• ability to provide high performance thermal insulation of <3 W/m2 (5-layer, 9.5mm blanket, on-orbit, 20K to 295K; compared to a heat leak through 9.5mm SOFI on-orbit of 325 W/m2)
• ability to be fabricated, assembled and attached to cryotanks

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
ULA is following with interest Quest and Ball Aerospace efforts to develop a ruggedized version of Integrated MLI as the aeroshell on ULA cryogenic upper stages. LV-MLI might significantly improve upper stage cryotank thermal insulation, reducing cryopropellant boiloff losses and increasing payload capacity for commercial missions with long coasts for MEO and GEO orbit insertion.

ULA will participate in this program by sharing Atlas/Delta aerodynamic launch load data, discussing requirements of this new aeroshell insulation blanket, and reviewing test data to help development and implementation of LV-MLI. LV-MLI would have to have feasibility proven in Phase I, reaching TRL3. Further testing would occur with larger scale ground test articles, then an LV-MLI coupon could be flown over SOFI on an Atlas Centaur mission in view of a rocket camera. After tests, LV-MLI might be flown as full tank insulation over SOFI, then could be flown as primary aeroshell/insulation, reaching TRL9, and ready for infusion into ULA vehicles for NASA and commercial space launch customers.

If LV-MLI were proven effective, eventually flight qualified, and adopted by ULA for use on their Atlas V 400 Series missions and possibly Delta IV M+ or Delta IV HLV missions, then a commercial market would exist for LV-MLI. At an average cryotank surface area of 111 m2, with 10 flights per year, would create a demand for about $1M per year of LV-MLI.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Cryogenic/Fluid Systems
Passive Systems
Smart/Multifunctional Materials
Space Transportation & Safety

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12