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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Integrated MLI: Advanced Thermal Insulation for Propellant Storage and Transfer Testbed

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Integrated MLI: Advanced Thermal Insulation for Propellant Storage and Transfer Testbed
Cryogenic propellants, orbital cryogenic fuel depots and the ability to store, transfer, handle and refuel spacecraft in orbit are critical to NASA future missions beyond Low Earth Orbit. There are numerous new technologies required to achieve needed cryogenic fluid management capabilities allowing future extended spaceflight missions. There are known concerns about the technology readiness of critical cryogenic fluid management (CFM) technologies in micro-gravity. The NASA Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer technology demonstration program is an orbiting laboratory that can investigate CFM technologies in space, and provides an opportunity to advance in-space CFM technologies. The testbed can provide a cost effective means to mature numerous new technologies, flight test and reduce risk for their use in NASA missions. Integrated MultiLayer Insulation (IMLI) is a new next generation thermal insulation offering higher thermal performance, lower mass and a more robust structure than current MLI. IMLI could use a conformal blanket design with IMLI panels and temperature-matched layer panel seaming. This proposal is for the design, fabrication, testing and evaluation of novel conformal high-performance IMLI thermal insulation blankets for a CRYOTE-like Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer demonstration testbed. A sequence of steps to mature IMLI technology, measure performance in a realistic environment, and plan development of prototypes leading a technology demonstration flight are outlined. Further development of IMLI would aid in the maturing of the passive thermal control aspect of cryogenic fluid management, advancing CFM technologies and reducing risk for future NASA missions and commercial spacecraft, launch vehicles, orbital fuel depots and cryogenic space instruments. 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.