Wrapped-IMLI: Thermal Insulation for Cryogenic Feed Lines

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX10RA57P
Agency Tracking Number: 095742
Amount: $97,751.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: X8.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
4900 Iris Street, Wheat Ridge, CO, 80033-2215
DUNS: 958218406
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Scott Dye
 Principal Investigator
 (303) 670-5088
Business Contact
 Alan Kopelove
Title: Business Official
Phone: (303) 250-7777
Email: AlanK@quest-corp.com
Research Institution
NASA Exploration vehicles require improved technologies for passive thermal insulation for zero boil-off of cryopropellants during extended LEO and lunar surface missions. Vehicles such as the Earth Departure Stage and Orion must be capable of multi-day orbital operation with minimal cryopropellant loss, and the Altair Lunar Lander must have minimal cryopropellant loss over a six month mission on the lunar surface. Quest Product Development, teaming with Ball Aerospace, proposes an innovative advanced insulation system, Wrapped-IMLI, which could provide high performance thermal insulation for cryogenic feed lines. Wrapped-IMLI is a multi-layer system using proprietary micromolded polymer spacers to precisely control layer spacing and reduce inter-layer heat conduction. IMLI versions of this concept, for cryotanks, have been proven with a measured thermal conductivity of 8.8*10-5 W/m-K, 37% lower heat leak than conventional MLI. Preliminary research indicates W-IMLI could provide excellent thermal insulation for cryo-feed lines. Propellant boil-off losses are directly influenced by the MLI, which is the biggest heat leak in cryogenic propellant storage. It is known that MLI insulation for cryogenic propellant feed lines is much less effective than MLI for tank insulation. A Ball Defense Program study indicates the heat leak through spiral-wrapped MLI into lines is up to 10 times worse per area than tank MLI. Better insulation for cryo-feed lines is an important enabling technology for NASA Exploration vehicles. In this Phase I project we would model, conduct a trade study on thermal requirements for NASA spacecraft cryogenic feed lines, design W-IMLI, fabricate a prototype and measure thermal performance.

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

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