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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Lightweight Non-Compacting Aerogel Insulation for Cryotanks

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Lightweight Non-Compacting Aerogel Insulation for Cryotanks
The exploration of space requires that new technologies be developed for long-term cryogenic propellant storage applications in-space, on the lunar surface, and on the Earth. The Altair (Lunar Lander) ascent stage requires LO2 and LCH4 storage durations of up to 14 days in LEO and up to an additional 210 days on the lunar surface. Long term storage (224 days) of LO2 cryogenic propellant on the lunar surface is required to support space power systems, spaceports, spacesuits, lunar habitation systems, robotics, and in situ propellant systems. Long term storage of LO2/ LH2/ LCH4 cryogenic propellants on the surface of the Earth with minimal propellant loss is required to support launch site ground operations. This SBIR Phase II proposal focuses on improving the strength of aerogels which are the best cryogenic insulation materials known and proposes to develop non-compacting aerogel insulation that could be used to insulate cryotanks on launch vehicles and Earth, and in-space cryogenic fuel storage tanks. During the Phase II effort, we will optimize and scale-up preparation of the crosslinked hybrid aerogels developed during the Phase I effort. The best aerogels will be thoroughly characterized and tested in a relevant environment to attain a TRL of 5. 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.