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SBIR/STTR

Hybrid Aerogel-MLI Insulation System for Cryogenic Storage in Space Applications, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Hybrid Aerogel-MLI Insulation System for Cryogenic Storage in Space Applications, Phase II
The future of the NASA space program includes longer and more invasive missions into space. Long duration storage of large quantities of cryogenic fluids for propulsion, power, and life-support is an essential requirement for these missions. Efficient and reliable insulation of the cryogenic fluids is key to the success of long missions into space. Aspen Aerogels successfully developed a novel low-density hybrid insulation system composed of multiple layers of low density, low dust superhydrophobic aerogels and multilayer insulation (MLI) for cryogenic fluid management. The hybrid aerogel/MLI insulation system outperformed MLI system at cryogenic temperatures and across a range of vacuum conditions, including high vacuum. This exceptional performance is considered a new breakthrough in high vacuum cryogenic thermal insulation materials. During the Phase II Program, further refinement and qualification testing of the low-density aerogel material will be performed in order to be used in real world applications. Liquid oxygen (LOX) compatibility of the aerogel material and a cost assessment will also be investigated. For qualification of this novel insulation system for future NASA in-space programs, extensive work will be dedicated to large-scale testing and performance evaluation of the refined hybrid aerogel/MLI insulation system. More »

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