NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-1 H7.01-9045
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Ablative Thermal Protection Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Flexible Ablative Aerogel TPS Materials for Planetary Aerocapture and Entry

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

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David J. Mihalcik
30 Forbes Road, Bldg B
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 691-1163

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
George Gould
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 691-1161

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Ablative Thermal Protection Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Renewed interest in missions to explore other planets has created a need for higher performance thermal protection systems (TPS) capable of shielding spacecraft from the severe heating encountered during hypersonic flight through planetary atmospheres. Additional advances in the robustness, reliability, and survivability of single and dual heating exposures are desired while maintaining mass and thickness requirements. The ability to decelerate high-mass entry vehicles relies on flexible or deployable aeroshells which offer an approach for achieving larger aeroshell surface areas than otherwise attainable. A flexible TPS is required that is capable of surviving reasonably high heat flux and durable enough to survive the rigors of construction, handling, and deployment. Aspen Aerogels proposes to develop improved flexible ablative reinforced polymeric aerogels to meet this challenge. During Phase I we will optimize the preparation methods to reduce thermal conductivity and increase flexibility and conduct a complete study of the aerogels' properties and capabilities. The technology readiness level will progress from 2 to 3 during Phase 1. Successful completion of a Phase II program will result in an optimized and scalable formulation for the aerogel component of flexible TPS and performance data which will be available for further commercialization efforts for the aerospace industry.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The material developed in the Phase I effort could have a variety of applications within NASA. The flexible ablative aerogels would be used as a deployable TPS for planetary exploration vehicles and in conformal applications where the materials are bonded to a rigid substructure. This feature may make them attractive for TPS of future return from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) vehicles and perhaps Mars Science Lab (MSL) type Mars robotic entry systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
These materials are expected to be stable to about 500 �C and the resulting insulation system from this program will also have far reaching benefits for both military and commercial applications. The prepared aerogels could also be used where phenolic-type foam insulation is used such as pipe insulation, mechanical insulation, equipment insulation, tank insulation, and duct insulation, especially those applications operating at temperatures below ambient. The carbonized aerogel materials would be of interest to DoD for their hypersonic global strike vehicles. The potential also exist for insulating weapons, fuel tanks, electronics, and landing gear bays of military aircraft. There are also numerous and far-ranging applications for durable and reliable insulation systems that would improve the energy efficiency of high temperature industrial processes.

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.)
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Isolation/Protection/Shielding (Acoustic, Ballistic, Dust, Radiation, Thermal)

Form Generated on 03-28-13 15:21