Deployable aerodynamic decelerators are an enabling technology for missions to planets and moons with atmospheres as well as for returning payloads to Earth. These decelerators require a gas source for inflation, and the objective is to further advance solid-state hydrogen gas generators.
In Phase I, Anasphere demonstrated the adaptation of an improved hydrogen gas generator to NASA applications. The new generator is superior in terms of mass efficiency, durability, cost, and form factor flexibility compared to Anasphere’s earlier generators. Gas purity continues to be excellent (>99%). Generators up to a capacity of 426 normal liters were tested.
Phase II work will involve optimizing the construction of the generators for the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) application, improving particulate removal and cooling methods, specifically addressing NASA Standard Initiator (NSI) integration, conducting more and larger tests, and conducting environmental testing.
The primary NASA application will be Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (HIADs) as planned for use on missions to planets and moons with atmospheres as well as returning payloads to Earth. An additional application could be the inflation of planetary balloons.
Low-cost access to space will be enabled by HIAD systems which apply this generator technology because HIADs offer a practical means of recovering launch vehicle components such as engines. Commercial space ventures can also apply HIAD technology for the more efficient return of material to Earth.
Terrestrial balloon inflation is another application area.