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3D Printed Ablative Re-Entry Vehicle Heat Shields

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Logistics Agency
Contract: SP4701-23-P-0064
Agency Tracking Number: L23A-003-0020
Amount: $99,997.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: DLA23A-003
Solicitation Number: 23.A
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-08-23
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-02-23
Small Business Information
3986 Short St Ste 100
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-1111
United States
DUNS: 079847249
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Ryan Dunn
 (661) 769-6793
Business Contact
 Ryan Dunn
Phone: (661) 769-6793
Research Institution
 Sandia National Laboratories
 Joseph Cordaro
Albuquerque, NM 87123-0000
United States

 (505) 284-3471
 Federally Funded R&D Center (FFRDC)

Re-Entry Vehicles (RVs) are a critical component of the strategic weapon arsenal. While physics packages themselves have a substantial deterrence value, the ability to deliver those weapons quickly and with high survivability unlocks the ability to maintain a truly global deterrence. However, these thermal protection systems are encountering two developing challenges: Industrial Base Attrition: The long intervals between refresh cycles for re-entry vehicles means that the industrial base sees high attrition between revisions. Interceptor Survivability: As radar and missile defense systems become more advanced and less expensive to deploy, the performance of RVs needs to improve to ensure survivability to target. Solving these challenges requires a production system that solves the business and technical challenges associated with these respectively. Some key considerations for these are listed below: Industrial Base Attrition Business Goals: Broad use-base materials and processes that can lean on non-RV equipment, processes, and demand. Interceptor Survivability Technical Goals: Improved thermal and mechanical performance including shape surface finish retention. Mantis Composites, teamed with Sandia National Laboratories, aims to address these challenges by leveraging an existing capability to 3D print continuous carbon fiber with high temperature thermoplastics and known methods of modifying the underlying polymers to improve ablative thermal performance. This combination has the potential to enable heat shields with improved shape retention, higher thermal and mechanical performance, and better surface finish retention by combining highly engineered carbon fiber orientations with materials that inherently maintain performance at elevated temperatures. This Phase I will consist of material-level testing using existing production machines to validate the capabilities of the proposed manufacturing system in ablative re-entry vehicle heat shield applications. Critically, by leveraging existing technologies with substantial applications in both defense and commercial spaces, this capability is not dependent on strategic weapons to maintain viability.

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

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