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Design and Testing of a High-Efficiency, Low-Mass, Low-Power Gas Generator

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC23PB617
Agency Tracking Number: 232498
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: Z7
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
 Arthur J. Fortini
 (818) 899-0236
 art.fortini@ultramet.com
Business Contact
 Craig Ward
Phone: (818) 899-0236
Email: craig.ward@ultramet.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract

Deployable aerodynamic decelerators are a low-mass, low-volume option for decelerating interplanetary spacecraft as they approach their destination. A key advantage is that, unlike a rigid aeroshell, they are not constrained by the diameter of the launch vehicle payload shroud. Deployable aerodynamic decelerators, however, require large quantities of gas for inflation. The traditional approach for inflating a deployable decelerator is to use high-pressure helium. Such systems are very simple, but the tank for such a system is very heavy. For example, to inflate a 1200-ft3 decelerator to 30 psia at 300 K requires just over 11 kg of gas, but the titanium tank needed to contain the gas at 6000 psia would weigh over 200 kg. In this project, Ultramet will work with Pennsylvania State University and build upon previous gas generator work that is based on green ionic liquid monopropellants. Specifically, a green propellant with a low flame temperature will be catalytically decomposed using a system that requires virtually no electrical power. The resulting gases will then pass through a bed of endothermic solid that will not only cool the gas to a safe temperature (lt;200deg;C), but also generate additional gas in the process. Preliminary calculations indicate that such an approach would reduce the system mass from 212 kg to just 48 kg. It is anticipated that when optimized, even more mass savings can be realized.

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

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