NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 H2.02-9101
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP)
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Zirconium Carbide Tie-Tubes for NTP

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Plasma Processes, LLC
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811 - 1558
(256) 851-7653

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. John Scott O'Dell
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811 - 1558
(256) 851-7653 Extension :104

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Timothy N. McKechnie
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811 - 1558
(256) 851-7653 Extension :103

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) 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)
Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) has been identified as a critical technology needed for human missions to Mars due to its increased specific impulse (Isp) as compared to traditional chemical propulsion systems. To achieve this high Isp, NTP reactors must operate at extremely high temperatures (i.e., >2400K) for long periods of time. However, many of the best materials for some reactor components (i.e., support rods, control drums, and the reflector) cannot operate at these high temperatures. Therefore, high temperature insulators that are chemically inert, neutronically acceptable, and structurally stable are desired. The Rover and Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) program identified zirconium carbide (ZrC) as a leading candidate for NTP insulator materials. However, the inherent brittleness and high melting temperature of ZrC make fabrication of complex components such as long, hexagonal tie-tubes extremely difficult. Recently, advanced Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS) forming techniques have been developed for producing near-net-shape components from Ultra High Temperature Ceramic (UHTC) materials such as tantalum carbide (TaC) and hafnium carbide (HfC). Building on this success, advanced VPS processing techniques will be developed for producing long, hexagonal ZrC based tie-tube support rods for NTP.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA applications that would directly benefit from this technology include Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP). Initial NTP systems will have specific impulses roughly twice that of the best chemical systems, i.e., reduced propellant requirements and/or reduced trip time. The proposed Phase I and Phase II efforts would greatly assist NASA with achieving the promise of NTP and NEP. Potential NASA missions include rapid robotic exploration missions throughout the solar system and piloted missions to Mars and other destinations such as near earth asteroids.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercial sectors that will benefit from this technology include medical, power generation, electronics, defense, aerospace, chemicals, and corrosion protection. Specific applications include protective coatings, x-ray targets, valves, non-eroding throats and thrusters for propulsion, and crucible/furnace components.

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.)
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Passive Systems
Processing Methods
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37