Rapid Fabrication of Aerogel Thermal Insulation for Operationally Responsive Space Satellites

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Department of Defense
Award Year:
Phase II
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Small Business Information
30 Forbes Road, Building B, Northborough, MA, -
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Shannon White
Program Manager
(508) 691-1175
Business Contact:
Kevin Schmidt
VP, Operations
(508) 691-1161
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ABSTRACT: The Department of Defense is actively pursuing the capability to assemble and launch a satellite within days, or even hours, of a battlefield commander"s notification for anticipated needs and within several months to no more than a year for unanticipated needs. The thermal control systems (TCS) on these satellites currently pose an obstacle to meeting this target. Thermal insulation blankets are critical to an Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) satellite"s on-orbit performance; yet, due to their fabrication leadtimes and delicacy in installation, they are also one of the critical elements of the TCS that must be addressed to meet ORS"s aggressive vision. Aspen Aerogels is proposing to finalize the design and demonstrate functionality of a rapid fabrication facility for aerogel thermal insulation that could provide the required on-orbit performance with reliable and robust thermal blankets that can meet the fabrication, assembly, integration and test window required for ORS missions. In parallel to this effort, the process for preparing the aerogel thermal insulation will be optimized to reduce time and cost. The end result will be a usable capability to fabricate and install high performance aerogel thermal blankets which could be deployed to ORS integration and test sites around the globe. BENEFIT: Anticipated Benefits This proposal addresses maturation and integration of various operations required for the design, fabrication, and installation of encapsulated aerogel space thermal blankets to ensure that these critical blanket assemblies meet ORS mission timeline requirements. The program tasks are intended to help transition aerogel thermal insulation technology into a refined, integrated capability that can be reliably implemented in a rapid timeframe after mission call up from the field. Potential Commercial Applications Potential commercial applications include those requiring thermal insulation in a vacuum where convection and conduction are not important and radiation dominates. Space applications include NASA, civil and commercial sectors such as missile tracking, surveillance, astronomy, mapping, and weather monitoring. Non-space example applications include superconducting cables, cryogenic gas transportation, storage and transfer; space suits, shipping containers, and home appliances.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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