NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:06 X10.01-8793
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Ablative Thermal Protection System for CEV
PROPOSAL TITLE:Low Intrusive Fiber Optic-Plug for TPS Materials

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ElectroDynamic Applications, Inc.
P.O. Box 131460
Ann Arbor, MI 48113-1460
(734) 786-1434

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Timothy   Smith
P.O. Box 131460
Ann Arbor, MI  48113-1460
(734) 786-1434

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Heat shield technology is a critical component of manned spaceflight. In particular, the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) requires thermal protection systems (TPS) beyond the current state of the art. While new TPS shields are under development, a key difficulty is the ability to diagnose TPS performance. Technology demonstrator missions are being planned, but designing instrumentation capable of surviving the reentry environment is a non-trivial challenge. We propose the development of a low intrusive fiber optic plug insert for TPS materials that will enable spectrographic measurements of the reentry environment surrounding an ablating TPS. This would provide benchmark data for fundamental flow, radiation, and materials modeling as well as provide operational correlations between vehicle reentry drag and radiation if implemented in a TPS flight test. In addition to spectrographic data, the proposed technology will also intrinsically provide a highly reliable measurement of TPS ablation rates. These fiber-optic plug inserts provide an enabling capability for reentry spacecraft development. The program proposed here will take the concept, originally encouraged at the request of researchers at NASA Ames, from concept to demonstration, through prototype, to a technology readiness level suitable for inclusion in the design of an ablation shield flight demonstrator mission.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The system proposed here will provide an enabling diagnostic capability for NASA programs developing Thermal Protection Systems. Potential applications include development for the CEV TPS, and any other NASA program requiring an entry, re-entry, aero braking, or other TPS technology. In addition, this device will allow placement of spectrometers onboard spacecraft where previously there was a concern due to the requirement of a conventional sapphire window. As such, it will enable scientific uses of spectrographic data, including measurement of planetary atmospheric constitution during landing.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are potential applications to DoD program in systems involving hypersonics as well as various reentry vehicle applications. In addition there are potential applications in terrestrial high energy plasmas where the abilities to survive extreme environments and to place multiple sensors quickly and flexibly within a system are of value.

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.

Control Instrumentation
Testing Facilities
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19