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Game Changing Development

Thermal Protection System Materials (TPSM): 3D MAT

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Thermal Protection System Materials (TPSM): 3D MAT

The 3D MAT Project seeks to design and develop a game changing Woven Thermal Protection System (TPS) technology tailored to meet the needs of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) compression pad design for lunar return EM-1 mission and beyond.  The technology being developed is a multifunctional ablative thermal protection system material that is capable of meeting the structural and thermal requirements for the MPCV Orion EM-1 mission and beyond.  The Orion compression pads serve as the interface between the Crew Module and Service Module.  The Orion compression pads must carry the structural loads generated during launch, space operations and pyroshock separation of the two modules, and then must serve as an ablative TPS withstanding the high heating of Earth re-entry.  Current materials do not meet all of the requirements due to either insufficient mechanical strength or limited ability to manufacture to the required dimensions.

The goal of 3D MAT is to develop a viable 3D woven material for the MPCV EM-1 mission, demonstrate their manufacturability, scale up of one option to the required Orion compression pad size, and advance the TRL for this application via material property, arc jet (aerothermal), creep and pyroshock testing.  3D MAT is leveraging the efforts of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate's investment in Woven TPS to design, manufacture, test, and develop a prototype material for Orion compression pads.  The technology combines the 3D weaving of quartz yarn (preforms) with a resin transfer molding process to develop a robust, multi-functional material architecture capable of meeting both structural and thermal performance needs for lunar return missions and beyond.  Driving requirements for the Orion compression pad include: ability to carry compression moment and shear loads, maintain positive margin against a 500 °F bondline temperature (maximum), be manufacturable to approximately 2.75" thickness by 8.75" diameter, function thermally after exposure to the separation bolt pyroshock event, and shall work with the separation push-off springs.

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