Thermal Protection Systems for Space Applications
Agency / Branch:
DOD / MDA
The Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) ballistic missile defense system is made up of a variety of components including land- and sea-based missiles, satellites, and space-based laser, all part of the Theater and National Missiles Defense Systems. Reusablehypersonic and reentry vehicles are being designed to meet Defense Department requirements. Two specific programs, the MDA's Space Based Laser (SBL) and the Space Maneuver Vehicle (SMV) program have requirements for innovative Thermal Protection Systems(TPS). Touchstone Research Laboratory has developed two novel materials. One can be used as a stand alone TPS, Carbon Foam (CFOAM[R]) for environments between 1000 and 3000 degrees F. When combined with the second material, Brazed Aluminum Matrix Composite(BAMC[TM]), it provides a sandwich structure combining a structural thermal insulator, carbon foam, (with compressive strength of up to 4000 psi) with a high-specific strength metal matrix composite (BAMC[TM]), which maintains its strength even above 750degrees F. The innovative lightweight Carbon Foam (CFOAM) and Brazed Aluminum Matrix Composite (BAMC) research will provide a new generation lightweight thermally efficient and affordable Thermal Protection System (TPS). It will protect sensitive spacecraft opticaland structural components enabling the thermal subsystems to minimize power consumption. A new TPS system can potentially increase payload fraction as well as provide additional mass margin by increasing propellant mass fraction. Such a system would opendesign space and reduce the risk of future mass growth. The technology will be directly applicable to NASA's on-going and future launch vehicle and space platform programs. It will be of great benefit to the commercial satellite industry.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Rick D. Lucas
Brian E. Joseph
Research Institution Information:
Touchstone Research Laboratory, Ltd.
The Millennium Centre, R.R. 1, Box 100B Triadelphia, WV 26059
Number of Employees:
161 Sirrine Hall, Box 340971
Clemson, NC 29634
Richard V. Gregory
Nonprofit college or university