NASA SBIR 2014 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 14-1 H20.02-9489
SUBTOPIC TITLE: International Space Station (ISS) Demonstration and Development of Improved Exploration Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: ISS Launched Cubesat Demonstration of Variable-Drag Magnetoshell Aerocapture

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
8551 154th Avenue Northeast
Redmond, WA 98052 - 3557
(425) 867-8900

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David Kirtley
8551 154th Avenue North East
Redmond, WA 98052 - 3557
(425) 867-8900

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John Slough
8551 154th Avenue North East
Redmond, WA 98052 - 3557
(425) 867-8900

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
International Space Station (ISS) Demonstration and Development of Improved Exploration Technologies 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)
Aerobraking and aerocapture have been shown to be mission enabling for deep space orbiters and manned missions, and yield dramatic cost and mass savings for near earth missions. However, high dynamic pressure aerocapture is high risk and requires large, complex, and heavy deflector shells. Magnetoshell Aerocapture (MAC) is a revolutionary technology that has been developed by NASA and MSNW that can enable low-cost, low-risk aerocapture for a range of Earth and deep space missions.

The Magnetoshell deploys a simple dipole magnetic field containing a magnetized plasma. Interaction of neutral particles in the atmosphere with this magnetized plasma produces the desired drag for braking, acting in effect like a plasma parachute. With the aeroshell now being composed of a massless magnetic field, the scale of the shell can be as large as 100 meters with only a gram of plasma and a simple copper magnet. Drag can be dynamically controlled in response to atmospheric conditions, enabling very aggressive aerocapture maneuvers. By providing pulsed power, the thermal and power processing requirements can be kept within the scope of conventional technologies.

In a Phase I NIAC program a 1.6 meter diameter Magnetoshell was demonstrated and increased the drag force of a supersonic flowing neutral jet by 1000X. A wide range of mission studies showed that MAC can enable a Neptune orbiter mission, reduce the cost of a manned Martian mission by $2B, and provide the low-cost drag system for Earth return missions.
In the following proposal a three year ISS-launched CubeSat demonstration mission paves the way for full scale operation missions. In Phase I a complete system design will be completed and several of the primary technology risks will be mitigated. When demonstrated, Magnetoshell Aerocapture will dramatically reduce cost and risk for applications ranging from nanosatellites, deep space Flagship science missions, and commercial applications such as reusable tankers.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Three missions have been fully designed and simulated: a Cassini-class Neptune orbiter, an HEOMD-scale Mars orbital insertion, and an L2 Earth return and insertion. Magnetoshell Aerocatpure increased payload delivered to Neptune by 75% and most importantly, allows for the dynamic capture as a function of the Neptune atmosphere. For Mars insertion, the primary benefit is mass savings. A 20 MT aeroshell could be replaced with a 2.5 meter Magnetoshell system mass of less than one metric ton. This would save over 20 MT of launched propellant per launch. The Martian insertion was capable of supporting a 60 metric ton payload with the Magnetoshell fitting into a standard faring size. For an L2 to Earth return mission, a 2000 kg payload was decelerated and placed into a LEO orbit.
These examples show how a lightweight, high performance, and low risk aerocapture system can yield dramatic improvement for any mission in which requires near-planetary operations and large delta-V maneuvers. Finally, the mission of interest, namely an earth return from an ISS orbit was enabling fast reentry with only a few grams of fuel. In addition to the simple de-orbit mission, phase changes, debris avoidance, and controlled re-entry can all be attained.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The technology to be explored under this program would have a wide ranging impact in many fields of scientific research and industry, both in space and on earth. In space, a lightweight aerocapture and aerobraking system would be beneficial for space debris mitigation, ISS crew return, moon return, space station construction, and numerous DOD applications. Further, the study and understanding of the generation of reactive gas magnetized plasmas and their interaction with neutral background gases have practical application for controlled doping for the creation of novel semi-conductor materials, chemical vapor deposition, catalyzed plasma chemistry for biomedical applications, and energy generation and storage technologies. During this mission, the scientific goals will contribute to both active plasma-neutral interaction physics as well as greater magnetospheric planetary dynamics physics.

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.)
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Spacecraft Design, Construction, Testing, & Performance (see also Engineering; Testing & Evaluation)
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 04-23-14 17:37