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High Temperature Flexible Aerogel Insulation for Extreme HIAD Environments

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC20C0667
Agency Tracking Number: 205096
Amount: $124,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: Z7
Solicitation Number: SBIR_20_P1
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-08-20
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-03-01
Small Business Information
216 West Cherry Avenue, Building 2
Flagstaff, AZ 86001-4424
United States
DUNS: 932699192
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Steve Miller
 (928) 779-5000
Business Contact
 Morris Hicks
Phone: (228) 813-6325
Research Institution

While working on NASArsquo;s Convective Heating Improvement for Emergency Fire Shelters (CHIEFS) effort, S. D. Miller amp;nbsp;Associates (SDMA) developed methods of embedding materials into fiber matrices to enhance their thermal properties.nbsp; Silica aerogel was embedded into an alumina fiber matrix to create Flexible Insulation with a Reinforced Aerogel (FIRA).nbsp; In the current Phase I effort, a High Temperature FIRA (HTFIRA) will be demonstrated by embedding aerogel with a higher temperature capability.nbsp; Since commercially availablenbsp;aerogel blankets are currently limited to 1200OF, producing HTFIRA with a scalable manufacturing process would be a significant advance in the state-of-the-art.nbsp; The re-entry trajectory and payload capacity of Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (HIADs) arenbsp;limited by the materials in the Thermal Protection System (TPS). nbsp;For example, the TPS on the LOFTID (Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator) uses carbon felt and silica aerogel that degrade during re-entry when temperatures can exceed 2800OF.nbsp; Replacing all or part of these layers with HTFIRA will allow higher heating rates without degradation, facilitating heavier payloads and more direct re-entry trajectories.nbsp; HTFIRA will also be more flexible, lighter and more compact than the existing TPS materials, further increasing the payload capacity of HIAD.nbsp; In Phase I, SDMA will collaborate with NASA Glenn Research Center to make aerogel.nbsp; SDMA will then embed that aerogel in an alumina fiber matrix to demonstrate HTFIRA.nbsp; nbsp;Thermal properties will be determined.nbsp; In a parallel effort in preparation for Phase II and III, SDMA will investigate the scalability of the aerogel manufacturing process and the compatibility of HTFIRA with the fabrication methods developed for the TPS of LOFTID.nbsp; HTFIRA promises a significant improvement in TPS for multiple Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) strategies including HIAD and controlled flight through planetary atmospheres.

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

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