NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 S2.02-8148
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Extreme High Temperature/High Pressure Environment
PROPOSAL TITLE:Aerogel Insulation for the Thermal Protection of Venus Spacecraft

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ASPEN AEROGELS, INC.
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough ,MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 691 - 1111

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Owen  R Evans
oevans@aerogel.com
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough, MA  01532 -2501
(508) 466 - 3104

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
One of NASA's primary goals for the next decade is the design, development and launch of a spacecraft aimed at the in-situ exploration of the deep atmosphere and surface of Venus. The success of this mis-sion, called VISE (Venus In-Situ Explorer), is reliant on the development of effective thermal insulation solutions capable of protecting spacecraft for extended periods of time from the extreme heat and pressure associated with the lower atmosphere of Venus. Materials intended for exterior application must also be inert towards the sulfuric, hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid present. Aspen Aerogels, Inc. proposes to develop a revolutionary aerogel composite intended to provide unprecedented thermal and chemical pro-tection to a Venus spacecraft. This unique material is expected to be thermally stable to 2000oC under inert conditions, enabling the possibility for use as a high-temperature heat shield in a Venus deceleration module. This flexible and conformable material will also find use as a thin lightweight thermal protection solution for a Venus pressure vessel. The remarkable thermal properties and ultra low density will afford a significant mass savings over conventional MLI insulation, increasing the operation lifetime and volume of the scientific payload significantly. These materials will also be inert towards the corrosive environ-ment of the Venus atmosphere at high temperatures and pressures, allowing these materials to be utilized in both exterior and interior applications.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The outstanding thermal stability of the proposed aerogel composites will allow use in the thermal protection of spacecraft subjected to high heat loads or the extremely low temperature of deep space. Heat shields composed of this flexible low density material can protect spacecraft during aggressive orbital entry (aerocapture/aerobraking) while imparting a significant mass savings over conventional ablative heat-shields. The extreme hardness of these aerogel composites should also provide protection from high velocity impacts from micrometeriods, as well as thermally insulating equipment against the frigid temperatures of deep space. These materials are expecting to have better insulating properties than conventional materials and should find use in a number of applications important to NASA.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
These materials will find use in a number of thermally demanding and corrosive environments including, but not limited to: thermal insulation for jet engines, automotives, nuclear reactors, petrochemical refineries, and electrical turbines.

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.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Thermal Insulating Materials


Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12