NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 X9.01-9022
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Distribution for Space Exploration Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Insulation Techniques for Cryogenic Tanks

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Sierra Lobo, Inc.
426 Croghan Street
Fremont, OH 43420 - 2448
(419) 332-7101

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert Stochl
11401 Hoover Road
Milan, OH 44846 - 9711
(419) 499-9653

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 2 to 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The ability to store large amounts of cryogenic fluids for long durations has a profound effect on the success of many future space programs using these fluids for propellants, reactants, and life support systems. The high cost of delivering payload mass to orbit will require storage systems capable of limiting cryogenic losses due to boil-off to less than two percent per year for mission durations of up to ten years; or in some cases, completely eliminating boil-off losses. Although Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) Systems have been extensively used to insulate cryogenic vessels in a space environment, it has been for short-duration missions that require from 30 to 50 layers to meet the mission requirements. Conversely, 150 layers or more of MLI will likely be needed to meet the requirements of future long-term missions. Limited data exists on the performance and physical characteristics of these thick MLI systems. A key opportunity relative to the development of advanced MLI insulation systems is identifying and analyzing concepts for minimizing heat-leak through seams and penetrations, which will be the major contributor to cryogenic losses for thick MLI systems. Sierra Lobo proposes to identify the more promising seam and penetration concepts, based upon previous research with the Missile Defense Agency, and to provide an analytical model to evaluate their performance.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Application of this technology would significantly reduce the losses associated with the storage of cryogenic fluids. The advanced insulation techniques being proposed by Sierra Lobo will directly benefit NASA's Space Exploration Program. Cryogenic fluids such as hydrogen, methane, and oxygen are required for many current and future space missions that will use life-support, propulsion, and power systems. The targeted NASA applications for long term cryogenic propellant storage, in-space as well as on the lunar surface, include space transportation orbit transfer vehicles, space power systems, spaceports, spacesuits, lunar habitation systems, and in situ propellant systems. In addition, NASA spaceport operations and propulsion test facilities are both heavily dependant upon a wide range of cryogenic systems. Improving the efficiency of these systems at these facilities using advanced insulation techniques will directly benefit the programs they support through reduced operating costs.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The advanced insulation techniques being proposed by Sierra Lobo can be used in nearly any industrial, commercial, or medical application currently requiring storage of liquid cryogens such as helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Such fluids are routinely used in the medical industry, metals processing, semiconductor manufacture and as well as many non-NASA government agencies. The targeted applications for the Department of Defense include Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) that carry liquid oxygen and potentially liquid hydrogen, liquid hydrogen powered ground transportation systems, space platforms using electric propulsion (xenon, hydrogen), space-based chemical lasers (hydrogen, helium), orbit transfer vehicles (hydrogen, oxygen), and orbital propellant depots/space stations (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen). The Department of Energy applications include reducing heat leak into liquid helium cooled superconducting magnets for particle acceleration systems. Commercial market applications include cryogenic storage dewars for medical and process systems and over-the-road dewars for transporting cryogenics, especially the lower temperature cryogens, liquid hydrogen and helium.

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.

Fluid Storage and Handling
In-situ Resource Utilization
Propellant Storage
Radiation Shielding Materials
Simulation Modeling Environment
Testing Facilities
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50