NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:In-Situ Manufacturing
PROPOSAL TITLE:In Situ Manufacturing of Plastics and Composites to Support H&R Exploration

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Makel Engineering, Inc.
1585 Marauder Street
Chico ,CA 95973 - 9064
(530) 895 - 2771

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Darby   Makel
1585 Marauder Street
Chico, CA  95973 -9064
(530) 895 - 2771

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Makel Engineering and BAE Systems propose to develop processes to manufacture plastics and composites for radiation shielding based on In Situ Resources Utilization (ISRU). The production of plastics and composites will also serve as feedstock for In Situ Manufacturing of a variety of useful components, such as inflatable structures, replacement parts, etc. The direction set to NASA by the President on January 2004 placed high emphasis on a robust space exploration program. Affordable planning and execution of prolonged manned space missions depend upon the utilization of local resources (e.g., soil, atmosphere, etc.) and the waste products which are formed in manned spacecraft and surface bases. The purpose of the investigation is to develop materials and associated processing technologies for habitat structure on planetary surfaces to effectively shield humans and sensitive electronics such as solar arrays and integrated circuits from the harmful effect of deep space radiation environment. Unlike Earth, on the Lunar or Martian surface, there is practically no protection from primary deep space radiation sources such as Solar Particle Events (SPEs) and Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs). SPEs produce intermittent and extremely high fluxes of charged energetic particles associated with major solar flares.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The development envisioned in our program will synthesize ethylene, and, subsequently polyethylene. Polyethylene can be used in the construction of habitats, tools, and replacement parts. Assuming a successful Phase II program, our preliminary design will serve as a basis for an ISRU system that can be used Mars Exploration and settlement. We expect that the NASA/government market to be driven by NASA's Astrobiology and space exploration programs. We envision ISRU demonstration experiment and pilot scale payloads as part of future Mars landers. The in situ production of polyethylene and perhaps nutrients provide enormous cost savings for early Mars missions and therefore we are confident of early precursor flight experiment opportunities.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
While it is often difficult to identify near term commercial applications of technology directed to ISRU projects, there are significant near term commercial applications of this technology. Point of source processing is an emerging industrial market which is driving lower transportation costs and the economic conversion of waste products to valuable products. Fischer-Tropsch based chemical reactors are currently being used for applications such as syngas and clean diesel fuel production. An example is the production of syngas (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) from hydrocarbon fuels. This application provides an alternative source to petrochemical refining for fine chemical production. Small scale Fischer-Tropsch reactors can be used to produce hazardous chemical at the point of use. This would eliminate the need to store and transport toxic chemicals. Distributed reactors would allow on-demand production of the quantity needed.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52