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Materials for Structural and Thermal Preservation of Sample Return Payload During Earth Entry and Landing

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC22PB236
Agency Tracking Number: 222783
Amount: $156,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: S13
Solicitation Number: SBIR_22_P1
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-07-07
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-01-25
Small Business Information
12173 Montague Street
Pacoima, CA 91331-2210
United States
DUNS: 052405867
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Arthur J. Fortini
 (818) 899-0236
Business Contact
 Craig Ward
Phone: (818) 899-0236
Research Institution

To maximize reliability, Earth entry/landing vehicles for robotic sample return missions will comprise an aeroshell, a crushable layer that will absorb the energy of the ballistic impact landing, and a sample container inside the crushable layer; parachutes will not be used. Lightweight carbon foams are being considered for the crushable layer, but many other foams with different strengths and energy absorption capacities are available. By using foams of different materials with different mechanical properties and different relative densities, the crush behavior of the layer can be tailored. In addition to brittle crushing of carbon foams or ductile collapse of metallic foams, other energy-absorbing mechanisms are available, some of which have been tested at high strain rates for use as underbody armor on military vehicles to mitigate blast effects from improvised explosive devices. In this project, existing foam properties data at Ultramet will be used to guide the selection of candidate impact absorption material systems, which will include both brittle and ductile foams as a key element. The candidate impact absorption material systems will be built up and undergo high strain rate compression testing via the split Hopkinson bar technique. Low density and low thermal conductivity are also desirable characteristics, so density and thermal conductivity measurements will also be made. The resulting data will be used to develop a top-level design for a minimum-mass, low thermal conductivity crushable layer for sample return missions with high impact velocities.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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