NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 X9.01-8952
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Ablative Thermal Protection Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) Gap Filler for Heat Shield Assemblies

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Fiber Materials, Inc.
5 Morin Street
Biddeford, ME 04005 - 4497
(207) 282-5911

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Steven Violette
5 Morin Street
Biddeford, ME 04005 - 4414
(207) 282-5911

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
During this program, Fiber Materials, Inc. (FMI) will develop practical methods for preparing Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) materials for joining thermal protection system segments and penetrations of the heat shield assembly. Current and future mission flight environments and designs, such as those for Mars Science Laboratory Aeroshell (MSLA) and anticipated for New Frontiers and Mars EDL missions, will be assessed. Capability of the developed solution(s) will address mechanical and thermal robustness, and performance under representative mission heating environment. The Phase 1 program evaluated candidate joining and gap-fill materials, and assessed joining design approaches for cost effective manufacturability and assembly. Material joining design, assembly methodology and material test performance was documented. The Phase 2 program will utilize materials developed during the Phase 1 program to test performance under representative environment(s). A down-selected material-joining approach will result in the design and fabrication of a mission-specific PICA sub-assembly. The prototype sub-assembly will demonstrate assembly methods and the prototype materials will be utilized for characterization and performance testing. The proposed materials, designs and methods are TRL <=3. It is anticipated that TRL=>6 will be achieved at the conclusion of a successful phase 2 program.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Stardust Sample Return Capsule completed its objective with earth reentry in January 2006. Mars Science Laboratory Aeroshell heat shield has been completed and delivery of the Curiosity rover to Mars is scheduled for 2015. With the successful fabrication of PICA TPS heat shields in support of NASA flight missions, FMI has quoted and is prepared to continue supporting PICA heat shields for NASA missions. FMI is actively involved in the study of PICA application for two New Frontiers sample return missions, and Mars EDL mission. The program proposed will assist FMI in support of these missions and extend PICA utility to additional mission application.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
PICA coupled with joining and gap-fill solutions developed under this program would support commercial space operations including Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and space study missions. During 2008, NASA entered into contracts with Orbital Sciences and SpaceX to utilize their COTS cargo vehicles, Cygnus and Dragon respectively, for cargo delivery to the International Space Station (ISS). PICA is an enabling technology for this effort. FMI has recently quoted PICA TPS for the Reentry Breakup Recorder application. It is reasoned that similar application opportunities will result from continued space commercialization efforts.

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.)

Form Generated on 08-06-10 17:29