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High-Purity, Defined-Envelope Pressure Bladder

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC22CA062
Agency Tracking Number: 211347
Amount: $789,948.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: H4
Solicitation Number: SBIR_21_P2
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-05-18
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-05-17
Small Business Information
64 Bonner Road
Meriden, NH 03770-5151
United States
DUNS: 117705106
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Marc Ramsey
 (603) 346-4687
Business Contact
 Marc Ramsey
Title: marc_ramsey
Phone: (603) 346-4687
Research Institution

The NASA Portable Life Support System (PLSS) for the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) incorporates a Feedwater Supply Assembly (FSA) to store consumable cooling water. The FSA must accept a total of 12 lbs. of pure water prior to each Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA), then supply this water to the cooling loop at ambient suit pressure during the EVA, functioning reliably for 700 cycles over 15 years of service. To meet these requirements, NASA has specified multiple ultra-pure fluoropolymer bladders captured in restraints providing overpressure tolerance to 38 psi. The assembly must also conform to a defined geometric envelope. Designs to date present challenges for two primary reasons. First, typical constructions involving a lay-flat bladder captured within a sewn textile restraint do not use space efficiently enough to store the required volume within the available space. Second, wrinkles that form as the bladders inflate cause the fluoropolymer membrane to tear. Other challenges include robust mounting to a rigid structure and visual access for inspection.RAPA Technologies has developed a novel defined envelope pressure bladder that meets all specifications for the FSA. The design combines the benefits of a flexible bladder with the strength and convenience of a rigid tank, providing an ultra-pure, ambient-pressure reservoir with high cycle life and pressure tolerance, high volumetric efficiency within the available envelope, near-zero dead volume, optical transparency for visual inspection, simplified mounting, and low mass, along with an integrated volume sensor. In Phase I we demonstrated the performance, overpressure resistance, and cycle life of this novel bladder system. In Phase II, we will develop and deliver multiple full-scale qualification FSA units tailored for use in the NASA xEMU.

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

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