Aerogel Enhanced TPS Concepts for Aerocapture

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNM04AA84C
Agency Tracking Number: 035783
Amount: $69,962.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: S1.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
184 Cedar Hill St., Marlborough, MA, 01752-3017
DUNS: 012924069
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 George Gould
 Principal Investigator
 (508) 481-5058
 glgould@aerogel.com
Business Contact
 Kang Lee
Title: Chairman/CTO
Phone: (508) 481-5058
Email: 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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