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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Titan Montgolfiere Buoyancy Modulation System

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Titan Montgolfiere Buoyancy Modulation System
Titan is ideally suited for balloon exploration due to its low gravity and dense atmosphere. Current NASA mission architectures baseline Montgolfiere balloon systems, which use waste heat from a radioisotope power system to heat balloon interior gases to provide buoyancy. A disadvantage of this approach is that the balloon is unable to make rapid changes in altitude which limits system utility. The feasibility of adding a rapid buoyancy modulation subsystem which uses chemical reactions to provide high heat input to balloon interior gases will be assessed in the proposed effort. Several concepts, including the baseline, will be traded on the basis of heat release capability and mass/volume efficiency in the context of proposed mission requirements, a concept will be selected and refined, and a lab scale demonstration of the reaction mechanism will be conducted in a relevant environment. Aurora's baseline Titan Montgolfiere Buoyancy Modulation System (BMS) concept uses a catalytically piloted burner, which combusts onboard stored oxygen with atmospheric gas, to provide rapid heat input an order of magnitude higher than the balloon's primary heat source. This system is scalable, lightweight, consumes minimal electrical energy, and is capable of providing altitude changes of approximately 200 m in under 60 s. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.