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High-Emissivity CVD Dendritic Rhenium Coatings for NEP Radiator Panels

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC23PB616
Agency Tracking Number: 232502
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: Z10
Solicitation Number: SBIR_23_P1
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-28
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-02-02
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
 Jessica L. DeBerardinis
 (818) 899-0236
 jessica.deberardinis@ultramet.com
Business Contact
 Craig Ward
Phone: (818) 899-0236
Email: craig.ward@ultramet.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract

Nuclear-electric propulsion (NEP) provides a means of significantly reducing mission durations for space exploration. NEP is able to provide substantially greater propulsion efficiency over chemical propulsion systems. The advantage of NEP is that it requires little propellant, is not reliant on solar proximity/orientation, and can provide thrust for extended periods of time. Further, NEP can be combined with chemical propulsion to provide high specific impulse (Isp)/low-thrust and low-Isp/high-thrust propulsion respectively, depending on mission and spacecraft requirements. One of the largest obstacles to overcome for more efficient space travel is the total vehicle mass. NEP development is dependent on the development of several key technology areas, one of which is the primary heat rejection subsystem, which requires a highly emissive radiator. In a NEP vehicle, the radiator will account for a significant portion of the total vehicle mass. Improved radiator panels are needed, allowing for either a reduction in the overall vehicle mass as the panel size is reduced, or a more powerful propulsion system as waste heat is more effectively managed. The current state-of-the-art space radiator material system uses carbon/carbon (C/C) composite panels that are built around or bonded to titanium alloy heat pipes. To increase the emissivity of the radiator with minimal effect on the overall weight, Ultramet proposes to apply a thin high-emissivity coating to the C/C panels. In this project, Ultramet will use chemical vapor deposition (CVD) to deposit a thin, highly emissive dendritic rhenium coating on carbon and titanium substrates to demonstrate feasibility. The emissivity and ion bombardment survivability of the dendritic coating applied to carbon and titanium substrates will be characterized through testing.

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

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