Aerogel Enhanced TPS Concepts for Aerocapture

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$69,962.00
Award Year:
2004
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
NNM04AA84C
Award Id:
71979
Agency Tracking Number:
035783
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
184 Cedar Hill St., Marlborough, MA, 01752
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
121001945
Principal Investigator:
George Gould
Principal Investigator
(508) 481-5058
glgould@aerogel.com
Business Contact:
Kang Lee
Chairman/CTO
(508) 481-5058
contracts@aerogel.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
NASA?s In-Flight Propulsion Program is investigating aerocapture as a rapid, highly efficient method for insertion of probes into long-duration scientific orbits. Aerocapture, an aggressive braking maneuver intended to achieve a scientific orbit directly (?capture?) from a hyperbolic approach trajectory, places extremely high peak heat loads of short duration on the leading surfaces of the spacecraft. Flexible silica aerogel composites, a class of super-insulation material recently developed by Aspen Aerogels, has not been utilized before in high temperature TPS designs. Thermophysical characterization data will be collected during the Phase I program for high-temperature durable, flexible aerogel composites at different densities, pressures and temperatures. The test data will be used to run detailed thermal performance simulations for the Titan aerocapture mission using TPS designs incorporating the best performing material. During the Phase I program, an aerogel augmented TPS lay-up using the best performing materials will be sized to maintain the aeroshell bondline temperature below 250 ?C for the duration of the Titan aerocapture maneuver. The aerogel TPS design is likely to save over 60 kg of parasitic forebody TPS weight for the Titan Orbiter aeroshell compared to the most promising non-aerogel alternative (TUFROC).

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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