An Innovative Approach to Integrated Thermal Protection Systems and Structures for Hypervelocity Vehicles
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AbstractThe thermal protection system (TPS) community is in critical need of a newdesign paradigm if the vision of low maintenance, high sortie rate spacevehicles is to be realized. A revolutionary change is needed in the TPSdesign approach and in the use of innovative materials that can survive longdurations in an extreme heating environment without significant ablation.Low erosion, low conductivity materials which require little or nomaintenance between flights, coupled with an integrated hot structure designwhich eliminates bond lines and the substructure, are critical enablingtechnologies needed to make the objectives of the U.S. Air Force's SpaceManeuver Vehicle (SMV), or any other reusable space vehicle, obtainable.During a recently completed SBIR Phase I effort conducted for the BallisticMissile Defense Organization and sponsored by the Air Force ResearchLaboratory, AT2 developed a revolutionary TPS design that will virtuallyeliminate refurbishment between flights while providing a 40 to 50 percentreduction in weight over the most advanced lightweight designs currentlyenvisioned. This proposal offers an avenue to further develop the TPSdesign for potential application to the USAF SMV, NASA's next generationSpace Shuttle, and advanced missile defense interceptors designed to operatewithin the atmosphere.
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