NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X8.01-8631
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Detachable, Human-Rated, Ablative Environmentally Compliant TPS
PROPOSAL TITLE: Lightweight Hybrid Ablator Incorporating Aerogel-Filled Open-Cell Foam Structural Insulator

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
12173 Montague Street
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Brian E. Williams
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In previous work for NASA and DoD, Ultramet developed lightweight open-cell foam insulators composed of a carbon or ceramic structural foam skeleton filled with a high temperature nanoscale aerogel insulator. The structural integrity and high insulation behavior have been demonstrated when used in combination with a non-ablating, coated carbon/carbon or ceramic matrix composite outer shell. The potential exists to develop a hybrid ablator/insulator thermal protection system in which a portion of the thickness of a low conductivity, structural foam aeroshell is infiltrated with an ablative material (frontface) and the remaining thickness is filled with the high temperature aerogel insulator (backface). The potential benefit is a reduction in ablator mass required to reject the aerothermal heat load. The vehicle interface temperature will be controlled by the aerogel-filled portion of the foam structure, rather than by ablator thickness, thereby allowing the use of less ablator material. The reduced volume needed will allow use of a conventional high density, high heat flux capability ablator, offering greater mission flexibility. In this project, Ultramet will team with Materials Research & Design for preliminary thermomechanical design work and will construct a ceramic foam-reinforced hybrid ablator/insulator. Preliminary performance will be established through hot-gas testing.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed foam-reinforced hybrid ablator/insulator may meet NASA requirements for increased thermal protection system heat flux capability and reduced mass. NASA applications include the Crew Exploration Vehicle in which entry velocities ranging from 8 km/s for International Space Station missions to as high as 15 km/s for Moon mission return are anticipated. Use of ablatives in rocket nozzles has been extensive, and NASA also stands to benefit in that application.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercial applications for the proposed advanced thermal protection system include conventional satellite launch system solid rocket motors, nanosatellite launch systems, launch platform protection, tactical solid rocket motors, nosetips, and internal and external motor case insulation.

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 Generated on 11-24-08 11:56