NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-2 H2.04-9218
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Fluid Management for In-Space Transportation
PROPOSAL TITLE: Vapor Cooled Structure MLI: Efficient Vapor Cooling of Structural Elements

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Quest Thermal Group
6452 Fig Street Unit A
Arvada, CO 80004 - 1060
(303) 395-3100

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scott Dye
6452 Fig St Unit A
Arvada, CO 80004 - 1060
(303) 395-3100 Extension :102

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Alan Kopelove
6452 Fig Street Unit A
Arvada, CO 80004 - 1060
(303) 395-3100

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Cryogenic Fluid Management for In-Space Transportation 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)
Human exploration requires advances in propulsion for transport to Earth orbit, the moon, Mars and beyond. New technologies are needed for advanced in-space propulsion systems to support exploration, reduce travel time, reduce acquisition costs and reduce operational costs. The goal is a breakthrough in cost and reliability for a wide range of payload sizes and types supporting future orbital flight vehicles. Lower cost and reliable space access will provide significant benefits to civil space (human and robotic exploration beyond Earth as well as Earth science), to commercial industry, to educational institutions, for support to the International Space Station National Laboratory, and to national security. NASA?s Technology Roadmaps call Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions? the #2 ranked technical challenge for future NASA missions, and new technologies are necessary for improved cryogenic propellant storage and transfer to support NASA's exploration goals. Heat leak through tank mounts such as struts and skirts is an increasingly large part of the total heat flow into modern, well insulated tanks. Specifically, NASA has a high priority for simple mass efficient techniques for vapor cooling of structural skirts (aluminum, stainless, or composites) on large upper stages containing liquid hydrogen and liquid methane (can include hydrogen catalyst). Improved cryogenic insulation that can incorporate vapor cooling to reduce the heat flux through struts and skirts would benefit cryogenic fluid management, and help towards achieving zero boil off.Vapor Cooled Structure MLI (VCSMLI) is a novel system that uses discrete spacers to create a sealed vapor layer within IMLI for lightweight, efficient vapor cooling of tank skirts. In the Phase I program, VCSMLI was modeled, designed, fabricated, installed on a tank skirt and its thermal performance measured. VCSMLI provided a 41% reduction in total system heat flux reaching TRL 4.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This Phase II program would continue VCSMLI development and increase technology maturity to TRL 5 - 6. Improved cryogenic insulation that can incorporate vapor cooling to reduce the heat flux through struts and skirts would benefit overall cryogenic fluid management, and help towards achieving zero boil off. Any cryogenic launch vehicle could benefit from VCSMLI. The Atlas V family uses the Centaur cryogenic upper stage, with LOX and LH2 tanks with support skirts external sidewalls, such that heat gain and cryopropellant loses are substantial during launch ascent and on-orbit. The Delta IV cryogenic upper stage LOX and LH2 tanks are contained within the Interstage and Payload Fairing, but still have little thermal insulation. Improvements to the cryogenic insulation of the Centaur and Delta Cryogenic Second Stage could add additional capabilities to these launch vehicles. Reducing heat load even further with vapor cooling might be a future enhancement to these launch vehicle families.
VCSMLI could help meet cryogenic fluid management goals, reducing propellant boiloff and enhancing the capabilities of current space transportation systems as well as future systems (LH2 storage for SLS for chemical propulsion and for future Nuclear Thermal Propulsion vehicles).

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Several aerospace prime contractors have interest in Quest insulation. Vapor cooling of support structures could reduce upper stage cryopropellant boiloff, increasing payload capacity for commercial missions with long coasts. High performance VCSMLI could be used or new vehicles such as Vulcan and SLS.
Advances in thermal insulation have relevance to terrestrial commercial applications. Reducing thermal conductivity and heat leak impact heating and cooling industrial processes and energy efficiency. Quest has a current grant from the State of Colorado's Advanced Industry Accelerator program, which is funding prototype development of our commercial grade superinsulation for appliance use.
IMLI and derivatives might be able to provide improved thermal insulation for storage and preservation of cryogens for a wide variety of industrial uses, such as insulation for dewars for LHe, LH2, LN2 and LOX, for commercial, medical, industrial and research uses. Large LNG tanks could benefit from improved thermal insulation. Quest has had conversations with VJP suppliers to the LNG industry about our advanced Wrapped MLI. For industrial cold transfer piping, Quest Wrapped MLI has 12X lower heat leak than spiral wrapped MLI, and may enable next generation high performance vacuum jacketed pipe insulation with significantly lower heat leak.
Quest high performance insulation has many opportunities for green energy savings and thin insulation panels.

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

Form Generated on 03-10-16 12:21