NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Chemical and Propellantless Propulsion for Deep Space
PROPOSAL TITLE:Rigidized Deployable Lifting Brake for Atmospheric Entry

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Andrews Space, Inc.
505 5th Ave South, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98104-3894
(206) 342-9934

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dana   Andrews
505 5th Ave S
Seattle, WA  98104-3894
(206) 438-0630

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Aerobraking to reduce velocity for planetary capture and landing has long been assumed for use on Mars missions because Mars has an atmosphere, and the use of aerobraking minimizes the amount of propellants required from the Earth's surface. For Mars exploration missions, where large quantities of equipment will be required, an aerobrake that is adequate for the size and amount of equipment will need to be quite large. Unfortunately, carrying a large aerobrake to orbit requires either an unreasonably large shroud or an expensive on-orbit assembly process. Flexible aerobrakes have promise, but pressure-supported ribs with tension-supported areal TPS have potential flagging instabilities. Andrews Space, Inc. proposes an innovative aerobrake design that is deployable and rigidizable, meeting initial launch volume constraints and satisfying terminal aerobraking requirements. The design will include rigidizing foams as a key feature, adding a few percent to weight but greatly enhancing the capability to aerobrake oversized exploration elements. Andrews proposes to initially explore in Phase I a range of design options, using its integrated conceptual design tools and systems engineering processes to establish a preferred approach. That approach can be further developed and tested in Phases II and III to mature the associated technologies and design.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Once deployable rigidizable lifting brake technologies are well-understood and an integrated system flight-tested, such a lifting brake could become the design of choice for further use on Earth and Mars missions, maintaining the best combination of design margin, usage flexibility, and cost. Single-use aerobrakes can be used for return of Space Station cargo modules to the Earth's surface as well as for crew return. They can be used for the deceleration of payloads to Mars and other planetary surfaces. Aerobrakes can also be used for Earth and other planetary orbit capture, with potential multi-use capability in those modes. In addition to the aerobrake applications, rigidizable structure technology will be applicable for planetary exploration habitats, storage facilities, and base infrastructure.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Outside of NASA, reliable and capable aerocapture will be needed for commercial cargo return to Earth or for hardware return for refurbishment. As on-orbit business opportunities grow, so will the need for recovery and return capability. An additional need is for return of end-of-life spacecraft and launch vehicle stages from LEO, allowing reuse of stage or spacecraft hardware. As with the NASA applications, rigidizable structures technology can also be used in commercial products ranging from shelters to on-orbit business park habitats and storage facilities.

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.

Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19