NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 X8.01-8579
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Fluid Transfer and Handling
PROPOSAL TITLE: Hybrid Aerogel-MLI Insulation System for Cryogenic Storage in Space Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road, Bldg. B
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 691-1161

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Redouane Begag
30 Forbes Road
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 466-3124

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The future of the NASA space program includes longer and more invasive missions into space. Long duration storage of large quantities of cryogenic fluids for propulsion, power, and life-support is an essential requirement for these missions. Efficient and reliable insulation of the cryogenic fluids is key to the success of long missions into space. Aspen Aerogels successfully developed a novel low-density hybrid insulation system composed of multiple layers of low density, low dust superhydrophobic aerogels and multilayer insulation (MLI) for cryogenic fluid management. The hybrid aerogel/MLI insulation system outperformed MLI system at cryogenic temperatures and across a range of vacuum conditions, including high vacuum. This exceptional performance is considered a new breakthrough in high vacuum cryogenic thermal insulation materials. During the Phase II Program, further refinement and qualification testing of the low-density aerogel material will be performed in order to be used in real world applications. Liquid oxygen (LOX) compatibility of the aerogel material and a cost assessment will also be investigated. For qualification of this novel insulation system for future NASA in-space programs, extensive work will be dedicated to large-scale testing and performance evaluation of the refined hybrid aerogel/MLI insulation system.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The material developed in the Phase II effort could have a variety of applications in the aerospace industry and within NASA. Aerogels are the most efficient thermal insulation known, and NASA has several applications that would benefit from the low density and low thermal conductivity of aerogels. Aspen has been in discussions with United Launch Alliance and NASA Kennedy Space Center to test the hybrid aerogel/MLI insulation system on the CRYogenics Orbital TEstbed (CRYOTE). This testbed will be used to advance the TRL level of the insulation system from 5 (at the end of Phase II) to 7. Low density aerogels will greatly assist NASA to improve its insulation for cryogenic fuel tanks, cryogenic fuel transfer lines, and internal insulation on re-usable launch vehicles. The aerogels developed could also find applications in hypersonic vehicles, and crew exploration vehicles.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The resulting insulation system from this program will also have far reaching benefits for both military and commercial applications. The materials would also be of interest to DoD and DoT. The potential for the use of this material exists for cryogenic fuel storage tanks and transfer lines for liquefied natural gas. There are also numerous applications for durable and reliable insulation systems that would improve the energy efficiency of cryogenic industrial processes. The product will have a commercial impact in areas such as: magnetic resonance imaging, power transmission in big cities (superconducting cable), food freezing and blood banking.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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
Launch and Flight Vehicle
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Propellant Storage
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Generated on 08-06-10 17:29