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Modular Distributed Concentrator for Solar Furnace

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2008 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Vanguard Space Technologies, Inc.
9431 Dowdy Drive San Diego, CA 92126-4336
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2008
Title: Modular Distributed Concentrator for Solar Furnace
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNC08CA10C
Award Amount: $599,999.00


This research proposes to develop the technology needed to implement a solar-fired regolith processing system at a lunar outpost that achieves low mass, high performance, easy assembly, operation and maintenance, and durability. The Modular Distributed Concentrator (MDC) comprises an array of identical, smaller-sized solar concentrator dishes with a network of power transmission links that route the high quality concentrated energy to a centralized receiver and avoids the challenges of deploying large concentrators with furnace chambers suspended at their focus. The Phase I showed the ability to optimize the concentrator reflector scale to provide low mass, showed that the heat pipe approach had better figures of merit than the optical waveguide approach, and, as a proof-of-concept, used a terrestrial solar concentrator to fire a sodium heat pipe to transmit heat at 1000C. The Phase II effort proposes to establish a system design for a MDC / heat-pipe based carbothermal processing system which requires >1625C process heat. We develop and demonstrate the components needed to deliver heat at this temperature with high performance, using space quality materials, including concentrator, concentrator receiver, tungsten/lithium heat pipe, and an innovative Heat Pipe Thermal Interface (HPTI) that most effectively transfers the power directly into the regolith. The Phase II includes an end-to-end demonstration of all of the subsystems, collecting and concentrating solar energy, transmitting it at >1625C, through the heat pipe and HPTI into the regolith, and extracting oxygen from regolith simulant in an existing process chamber.

Principal Investigator:

Theodore G. Stern
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Steven L. Sherman
VP, Business Administration
Small Business Information at Submission:

DR Technologies, Inc.
9431 Dowdy Drive San Diego, CA 92126

EIN/Tax ID: 330601418
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No