During this program Fiber Materials, Inc. (FMIREG
) will develop practical methods for preparing Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) materials for joining thermal protection system (TPS) segments and penetrations of the heat shield assembly. Current and future mission flight environments and designs, such as those for Mars Science Laboratory Aeroshell (MSLA) and anticipated for New Frontiers and Mars EDL missions, will be assessed. Capability of developed solutions will address mechanical and thermal robustness, and surface recession under mission defined conditions. The Phase 1 program will evaluate joining and gap-fill materials, assess joining designs that can be cost effectively manufactured and assembled, define assembly methods and test joining material performance. The joining design and material approaches, test results, assembly methodology, and Phase 2 work plan will be delivered at the conclusion of the Phase I program. During the Phase 2 program, a mission scale PICA sub-assembly utilizing the developed joining system will be demonstrated, and representative assembly coupons will be tested under flight conditions. The proposed materials, designs and methods are TRL ¡Ü 3. It is anticipated that TRL ¡Ý 7 will be achieved at the conclusion of a successful Phase 1 and Phase 2 programs.