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Pioneer Sea Glider

Award Information

Department of Defense
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2003 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 West 8th Avenue, Unit A Lakewood, CO 80215-5516
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2003
Title: Pioneer Sea Glider
Agency / Branch: DOD / DARPA
Contract: DAAH0103CR254
Award Amount: $98,968.00


The proposed Pioneer Sea Glider is a new method for underwater transport of equipment and personnel over long distances in a quiet manner. A unique buoyancy control system is based on the conversion of liquid nitrous oxide to a mixture of gaseous nitrogenand oxygen. This nitrous-oxide-derived buoyancy gas also provides breathing air and heat for crews and is based on technology developed and patented by Pioneer Astronautics for long-duration space flight, SCUBA, and terrestrial rescue operations. Becauseone volume of nitrous oxide gas dissociates to 1.5 volumes of nitrogen plus oxygen, buoyancy gas mass requirements are reduced by one-third compared to those required for other gases.In contrast to successfully demonstrated sea gliders currently used for unmanned oceanographic research purposes, the Pioneer Sea Glider will provide much greater carrying capacity and speed. The Pioneer Sea Glider will be capable of operations between thesurface and maximum depths of about 500 meters (1,640 feet) in seawater. The proposed buoyancy control system will accommodate the increased drag resulting from the higher desired velocity. Mission durations of several days or even longer are possible. Potential near-term commercialization of the Pioneer Sea Glider centers on military applications including deployment of sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles, and personnel. Closely following are non-military oceanographic research applications for samplecollection and scientific observations. A potential market for commercial SCUBA divers also offers great promise.

Principal Investigator:

Robert Zubrin

Business Contact:

Robert Zubrin
Small Business Information at Submission:

11111 W. 8th Ave., Unit A Lakewood, CO 80215

EIN/Tax ID: 841322304
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No