NASA STTR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 T4.02-9935
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Space Science and Exploration Sensors and Instruments
PROPOSAL TITLE: Modified Collins Cryocooler for Cryo-Propellant Thermal Management

NAME: Advanced Mechanical Technology, Inc. NAME: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
STREET: 176 Waltham Street STREET: 77 Massachusetts Avenue
CITY: Watertown CITY: Cambridge
STATE/ZIP: MA  02472 - 4800 STATE/ZIP: MA  02139 - 4301
PHONE: (617) 926-6700 PHONE: (617) 258-8015

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Charles Hannon
176 Waltham Street
Watertown, MA 02472 - 4800
(617) 926-6700

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3 to 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Future lunar and planetary explorations will require the storage of cryogenic propellants, particularly liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2), in low earth orbit (LEO) for periods of time ranging from days to months, and possibly longer. LEO is a relatively warm thermal environment and without careful thermal management, significant quantities of stored liquid cryogens can be lost due to boil-off. This requires that larger volumes of cryogenic fuels must be launched into orbit so that sufficient quantities are available to satisfy the mission propulsion requirements. It has been shown that active cooling using space cryocoolers has the potential to result in Zero Boil-Off (ZBO) of stored cryogens. The launch-mass savings using active cooling exceeds that of passive cooling of LOX for mission durations in LEO of less than 1 week. The savings advantage of active cooling for LH2 begins after about 2 months in LEO. The proposer is developing a Modified Collins Cryocooler that offers the potential for higher efficiency cooling with better system integration for ZBO storage than can be provided by Stirling or pulse-tube type cryocoolers.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to application for ZBO of stored cryogenic propellants, sub-cooling to densify LOX and LH2 has the potential to reduce the gross launch weight of a vehicle by up to 20%. Additional applications exist to cool instruments to temperatures as low as 4K. Currently this is accomplished primarily by launching a dewar of liquid helium with the instrument payload.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA applications exist primarily for cooling superconducting magnets used in medical MRI and scientific NMR imaging systems. Closed-cycle cryocoolers are beginning to be used to recondense helium used to cool magnets, or to replace helium altogether. Significant efficiency improvements (order of magnitude improvement) are possible if a Modified Collins Cryocooler can be used in this application rather than the Gifford-McMahon cryocoolers currently used. Other applications exist for cooling low temperature superconducting electronics.

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
Superconductors and Magnetic

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:52