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Arvada, CO, United States

Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 747.23K | Year: 2016

Human exploration requires advances in propulsion for transport to Earth orbit, the moon, Mars and beyond. New technologies are needed for advanced in-space propulsion systems to support exploration, reduce travel time, reduce acquisition costs and reduce operational costs. The goal is a breakthrough in cost and reliability for a wide range of payload sizes and types supporting future orbital flight vehicles. Lower cost and reliable space access will provide significant benefits to civil space (human and robotic exploration beyond Earth as well as Earth science), to commercial industry, to educational institutions, for support to the International Space Station National Laboratory, and to national security. NASA?s Technology Roadmaps call Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions? the #2 ranked technical challenge for future NASA missions, and new technologies are necessary for improved cryogenic propellant storage and transfer to support NASA's exploration goals. Heat leak through tank mounts such as struts and skirts is an increasingly large part of the total heat flow into modern, well insulated tanks. Specifically, NASA has a high priority for simple mass efficient techniques for vapor cooling of structural skirts (aluminum, stainless, or composites) on large upper stages containing liquid hydrogen and liquid methane (can include hydrogen catalyst). Improved cryogenic insulation that can incorporate vapor cooling to reduce the heat flux through struts and skirts would benefit cryogenic fluid management, and help towards achieving zero boil off.Vapor Cooled Structure MLI (VCSMLI) is a novel system that uses discrete spacers to create a sealed vapor layer within IMLI for lightweight, efficient vapor cooling of tank skirts. In the Phase I program, VCSMLI was modeled, designed, fabricated, installed on a tank skirt and its thermal performance measured. VCSMLI provided a 41% reduction in total system heat flux reaching TRL 4.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.91K | Year: 2014

Advanced space propulsion systems are a critical need for future NASA deep space missions. High thrust or high Isp engines could revolutionize space exploration. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion ("NTP") is a high thrust/high Isp propulsion technology, with a demonstrated Isp ~850, twice that of chemical rockets. Zero boil off of LH2 propellant for long duration missions is among the critical technology advancements needed for NTP. Quest proposes to develop and test an innovative, high performance thermal insulation system, designed to provide high performance on large LH2 tanks. Cellular Load Responsive ("CLR") multilayer insulation integrates a mid-size cryopumping self-evacuating vacuum cell core with load bearing LRMLI within the compartments. CLR can offer a structural, high performance insulation system, that is damage tolerant, can support external loads such as thermal shields, and provides good thermal insulation both in-air (for ground and ascent phases) and in-vacuum (once in-space). CLR could provide 92% lower heat leak in-air during ground hold, and 97% lower heat leak in-space than SOFI. NASA's Technology Roadmaps call "Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions" and "Nuclear Thermal Propulsion components and systems" the #2 and #7 ranked technical challenge for future NASA missions. In this Phase I program, a CLRMLI system would be modeled, analyzed, designed, fabricated, installed on a cryotank, and tested for thermal performance for ground/ascent and in-space operation. CLRMLI could provide a robust SOFI replacement, with higher performance, lower mass, able to eliminate freezing/cryopumping of air components during ground and ascent stages. CLRMLI could help meet NASA's cryogenic fluid management requirements such as Zero Boil Off for cryogenic propellant storage and transfer.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.42K | Year: 2015

Human exploration requires new technologies for advanced in-space propulsion systems. Improvements in cryogenic propellant storage are a critical need. NASA's Technology Roadmaps call "Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions" the #2 technical challenge for future NASA missions. Heat leak through tank mounts such as struts and skirts is an increasingly large part of the total heat flow into modern, well insulated tanks. Quest Thermal has developed several innovative, advanced thermal insulation systems, offering high performance for specific applications such as on-orbit (IMLI), in-air (LRMLI) or launch ascent (Launch Vehicle MLI). Quest Thermal proposes to design and develop an innovative system capable of vapor cooling structural members such as skirts and struts. Vapor Cooled Structure – MLI (VCSMLI) should provide unique properties, utilizing boiloff propellant to effectively cool otherwise non insulated structures. Quest Thermal Discrete Spacer Technology offers the unique ability to provide controlled layer spacing to act as a simple, efficient flow chamber for utilization of boiloff vapor cooling. Vapor Cooled Structure MLI is a novel system that uses discrete spacers to create and support a sealed vapor transport inner layer within a high performance IMLI system reducing heat leak by nearly 50%. This Phase I program will develop a new insulation system that will be modeled and analyzed to predict heat flux reduction. A specialized vapor cooled structure with a custom spacer will be designed. VCSMLI will be fabricated, installed on a skirt-mounted tank, and performance measured with and without vapor cooling.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 748.16K | Year: 2015

Advanced space propulsion systems are a critical need for future NASA deep space missions. High thrust engines could revolutionize space exploration. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion ("NTP") is a high thrust/high Isp propulsion technology. Reduced or Zero Boil Off of LH2 propellant for long duration missions is among the critical technology advancements needed for cryogenic propellant storage for both NTP and chemical propulsion. Quest proposes to continue development of Cellular Load Responsive MLI (CLRMLI), an innovative, high performance thermal insulation system. CLRMLI is a novel technology with a cryopumping cellular core containing Load Responsive MLI layers. This new form of insulation uses cryosorption cryopumping to self-evacuate when in contact with cryogenic propellant tanks, allowing high thermal performance in-air and in-space. The Phase I program successfully demonstrated CLRMLI is a feasible and attractive insulation for new launch vehicle platforms and LH2 or LNG powered aircraft. CLRMLI has a measured heat flux of 11.4W/m2, 25X lower than SOFI (vacuum). NASA's Technology Roadmaps call "Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions" and "Nuclear Thermal Propulsion components and systems" the


Quest Thermal Group | Entity website

Quest Thermal Group is a technology and product development engineering firm, specializing in the design and development of advanced thermal insulation systems. Quest Thermal is focused on developing and bringing to market advanced, next generation thermal insulation solutions for aerospace and terrestrial/commercial applications ...

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