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Robust, Lightweight Wiring for Space Applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-14-C-0022
Agency Tracking Number: F112-093-1414
Amount: $749,802.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF112-093
Solicitation Number: 2011.2
Solicitation Year: 2011
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2013-12-06
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-03-10
Small Business Information
1835 Energy Park Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55108-
United States
DUNS: 023797335
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Tom Kukowski
 R&D Manager
 (651) 659-6763
Business Contact
 Tom Ashenbrenner
Title: Manager, Military Applica
Phone: (651) 659-6760
Research Institution

ABSTRACT: An ability to reduce the weight of cables has the potential to provide significant cost savings, reduce maintenance and improve reliability of satellites. The costs of developing and producing satellites are linearly proportional with the satellite"s weight, with each kilogram costing around $1 million when delivery-to-space costs are included. With global satellite launches expected to double in the next decade, reducing satellite weight would be a tremendous boon to governments and the commercial sector. Wire is a prime target for reducing weight; for example, copper wiring makes up as much as one-third of the weight of a 15-ton satellite. Furthermore, wires that use current aerospace insulations deteriorate with age, largely due to environmental conditions and inflight vibrations that cause chafing. Using a Phase I SBIR grant, Minnesota Defense and the University of Minnesota used carbon nanotubes (CNT) to create Coax and Ethernet cables that weigh 23.2% and 42%, respectively, less than commercial off-the-shelf cables. This Phase II grant will fund the optimization of the cables, validation of the physical performance of the wires, and conduction of accelerating aging tests to ensure full-life-cycle performance. BENEFIT: Reducing the weight of coax and ethernet cables using carbon nanotubes (CNT) has the potential to provide significant cost savings, reduce maintenance and improve reliability of satellites. These cables would be impactful for government as well as commercial satellite applications.

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

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