NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-2 H2.02-8607
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In-Space Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low-Cost Manufacturing Technique for Advanced Regenerative Cooling for In-Space Cryogenic Engines

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Analytical Services, Inc. (ASI)
350 Voyager Way
Huntsville, AL 35806 - 3200
(256) 562-2100

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Thomas Haymond
350 Voyager Way
Huntsville, AL 35806 - 3200
(256) 562-2157

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Sandra Fossett
350 Voyager Way
Huntsville, AL 35806 - 3200
(256) 562-2165

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In-Space Propulsion Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The goal of the proposed effort is to use selective laser melting (SLM, an additive manufacturing technique) to manufacture a hot fire-capable, water-cooled spool piece that features an advanced regenerative cooling technique that combines high heat flux performance with low pressure drop. SLM enables us to "print" the spool piece in days, despite the complexity of the regenerative liner's inherent flow passage complexity. This reduction in manufacturing lead time, combined with the fact that SLM manufacturing costs are driven in large part by the amount of raw powder used during fabrication, results in a substantial cost reduction for future regeneratively-cooled rocket engines. Additionally, the proposed advanced regenerative cooling approach features a heat-pickup efficiency that is at least two orders of magnitude higher than traditional milled channel liners and/or brazed tube bundle chambers.

As a result of our Phase I activity and confidence in our commercialization path, we will be making a capital investment to stand up an SLM manufacturing capability in house. We plan to augment that investment with an internally-funded trade study that we will use to derive main combustion chamber performance requirements for a future expander cycle engine. Those requirements will feed into Phase II design requirements and, ultimately, to supporting our commercialization opportunity presented by the Affordable Upper Stage Engine Program.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Affordable Upper Stage Enginer (AUSE) is our primary NASA application. The upper stage engine, which will replace the RL10, will benefit from our SLM-manufactured MCC in three ways. First, SLM is known to reduce the cost of component manufacture by 50-70%, which will help satisfy affordability requirements. Second, the pressure drop penalty incurred by using our advanced cooling approach is reduced by about an order of magnitude over current state of the art, which will reduce turbompump requirements, which will also contribute to lower cost. Third, our approach provides a dramatic increase in heat flux to the regenerative propellant, which will enable an increase in expander cycle engine performance, by increasing its potential for doing work across the turbine. The Space Launch System (SLS) Program is another opportunity, particularly since the core stage will use the RS-25 engine, a staged combustion cycle that will likewise benefit from reductions in cooling jacket pressure drop. The Altair ascent and descent engines would also both benefit from our technology.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
We are already actively pursuing a non-NASA opportunity with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), which is forced to fly very expensive foreign missile systems as targets for interept missions. Today, these targets cost about $40M per mission. We have identified a low cost target that we can upgrade with a version of our SLM-manufactured advanced combustion chamber that will improve the range of that target, such that it can be used instead of the expensive foreign systems. If we are successful with the design, development and testing, MDA could fly our targets and save a massive $39M per intercept test.

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.)
Active Systems
Atmospheric Propulsion
Heat Exchange
Launch Engine/Booster
Processing Methods
Spacecraft Main Engine
Surface Propulsion

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