NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 S2.02-9827
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Balloons and Aerobots
PROPOSAL TITLE: Superpressure Tow Balloon for Extending Durations and Modifying Trajectories of High Altitude Balloon Systems

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
GSSL Inc
P.O. Box 909
Tillamook, OR 97141-0909
(503)842-1990

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Timothy T Lachenmeier
Tim.Lachenmeier@gsslinc.com
P.O. Box 909
Tillamook, OR 97141-0909
(503)842-1990

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The proposed innovation involves the concept of using a Superpressure Tow Balloon (STB) with existing NASA high altitude balloon designs to form a tandem balloon system that provides significantly higher performance at a relatively low cost. Performance improvements include: longer durations, higher altitudes and greater stability, larger payload percentages, improved trajectory control, and more operational flexibility. The STB and related technology specifically addresses the need for balloon design concepts for long duration missions which can provide: reduced material strength requirements; increased reliability; enhanced performance; reduced manufacturing time; reduced manufacturing cost; and improved mission flexibility. In addition, a STB offers a realistic opportunity for low cost trajectory control by providing effective vertical maneuvering which can strongly influence the horizontal latitude of the balloon's flight path.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The anticipated performance/cost ratio of utilizing this new STB technology is expected to gain wide acceptance within NASA's current customer base and open many new markets with its "break-through" performance capabilities. The proposed technology essentially improves the duration and payload capabilities of current standard balloon designs to become low cost long duration systems, current LDB designs to approach ULDB specifications, and ULDB designs to exceed their anticipated performance. The STB technology will also provide a near term low cost/low mass/low power trajectory control system that can be applied across the board to all of NASA's current terrestrial balloon designs and planetary aerobots to provide enhanced flight safety, improved recovery options, and the ability to more precisely target observations of opportunity.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The non-NASA commercial applications include a number of new DOD missions spurred by the growing interest in "near space" observation platforms. Other applicable markets include balloon platforms for communications, remote sensing, and homeland security.