NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 S5.04-9605
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low Cost Refractory Matrix Composite Thruster for Mars Ascent Vehicles

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Analytical Services, Inc. (ASI)
350 Voyager Way
Huntsville, AL 35806 - 3200
(256) 562-2100

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joseph Sims
350 Voyager Way
Huntsville, AL 35806 - 3200
(256) 562-2191

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The long-term goal for this effort is to develop a low-cost, high-temperature thruster. Within the attitude control propulsion community, many efforts have focused on development of ultra-high temperature precious metal alloys and systems that give long life and good performance (e.g., Ir/Re). Those designs are driven by the desire to operate the thrusters at very high temperatures, which increases Isp performance through a reduction in the amount of film cooling needed. The results have been thruster technologies plagued by high costs and low manufacturability. This approach of "performance at all cost" is no longer tenable, particularly for robotic exploration/science missions like Mars Sample Return.
Therefore, we seek a different approach. We believe we can achieve state of the art (perhaps better) levels of performance, with significant reductions in cost. The focus of our innovation is on the development of a refractory matrix composite material that uses cheap, commercially available materials and then use fast, affordable manufacturing techniques to make a low cost, high performance thruster. Our starting materials are two order of magnitude cheaper than Ir/Re systems!
Our proposed manufacturing process is likewise low cost, further contributing to the overall low cost thruster. The basic Phase I project includes small scale fabrication experiments to identify the manufacturing parameters needed to achieve a fully-dense composite. Then, we will fabricate sample coupons of various composition and measure hardness (as a relative indicator of tensile strength), to determine the range of composite parameters that will give the highest specific strength.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Mars Ascent Vehicle main engine
Spacecraft and satellite attitude control thrusters
Space Launch System (SLS) attitude control thruster
Air-breathing and hypersonic engine thermal control
Solid rocket motor throat inserts

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Spacecraft and satellite attitude control thrusters
Solid rocket motor throat inserts
Air-breathing and hypersonic engine thermal control
Hypersonic vehicle leading edge material
Nuclear power plan high temperature material

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.)
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Processing Methods
Spacecraft Main Engine
Surface Propulsion

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43