Cryogenic Propellant Insulation Program
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Agency Tracking Number:
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Small Business Information
Technology Applications, Inc.
5445 Conestoga Court, #2A, Boulder, CO, 80301
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractTechnology Applications, Inc. is proposing to demonstrate a high thermal performance microsphere-based insulation to enable reliable energy-efficient, cost-effective cryogenic distribution over long distances for earth, space, and extraterrestrial environments. The new technology, which employs a lightweight microsphere-based insulating medium, provides for robust, low-maintenance storage and distribution systems. Well suited for the on/off operation that is typical for space launch operations, microsphere insulation minimizes losses in stored propellants at spaceports and for commercial liquefied gases. Microsphere insulation?s inherent properties of high crush strength and ability to flow combine to form a tough, resilient insulation system that withstands exposure to harsh launch/landing environments and ambient /vacuum pressure cycles. Based on extensive thermal testing, including recent measurements made at the Cryogenics Test Laboratory, microspheres perform 1.5 to 3.3 times better than perlite and limit heat leak to less than most insulation materials, particularly multilayer insulation (MLI), in a soft or lost vacuum condition. At 10-1 torr vacuum, microspheres outperform MLI by a factor of two. This means significantly reduced lifecycle costs from maintenance, lost cryogen, and reinsulation. Microsphere-insulated transfer line and storage tank prototypes will be extensively tested to optimize performance, address microsphere handling and containment methods, and validate long-term performance benefits.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.