NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 Z10.03-8922
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP)
PROPOSAL TITLE: Multi-Physics NTR Safety Analyses

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Little Prairie Services
14 Dunkin Road
Edgewood, NM 87015 - 9798
(505) 220-8029

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr Roger Lenard
14 Dunkin Road
Edgewood, NM 87015 - 9798
(505) 220-8029

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr Roger Lenard
14 Dunkin Road
Edgewood, NM 87015 - 9798
(505) 220-8029

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) offers high promise to reduce launch mass, decrease mission costs and increase mission effectiveness, particularly for crewed missions to the planets. However, NTP has been plagued with high uncertainties in cost, schedule and safety, particularly launch safety. To reduce programmatic uncertainty, an unambiguous approach to documenting NTP safety prior to, during and after launch needs to be made. Until recently, the multi-physics models and computing power were not available to perform compelling analyses, and testing is exceptionally expensive, and unrevealing in many cases.

This proposal directly addresses programmatic uncertainty by providing benchmarked, definitive product documenting the safety of a NTP system during all launch phases. The proposal takes work performed by the SBC under IR&D which has performed detailed hydrocode modeling of a NTP impacting an unyielding surface from heights of 50 and 150 meters. These impact and compaction results, in this SBIR will be analyzed using the meash0based Serpent 2 nuclear code to demonstrate that the reactor will not become critical during compaction events, or will demonstrate what design changes must be incorporated in order to ensure this end.

If the NTP system can document an unambiguous safety case prior to major program decisions, it will dramatically reduce programmatic uncertainty, and provide decision-makers with a far less costly approach to NTP development.

Because the entire reactor must be designed, modeled and subject to impact scenarios, it is not possible to obtain meaningful results at the component level. Small-scale analyses have sown the viability of this approach and the LPS team is ready to proceed to a full-scale NTP engine.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Because of the pioneering work performed by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, we now know some NTR configurations are feasible with Low Enriched Uranium (LEU). This will dramatically reduce security and development costs, and result in a more affordable system. Because of the LEU approach, commercial companies may be enticed to become involved, because the costs can be more well defined. The PI and other are looking to engage certain commercial space entities about becoming involved.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This propulsion system appears to have great promise for certain DOD Missile DEfense Agency Missions. The PI and program advisor will be visitng the MDA during 2017 to discuss a potential collaborative project.

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.)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Simulation & Modeling
Software Tools (Analysis, Design)
Spacecraft Main Engine
Verification/Validation Tools

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59