Paragon Wins NASA SBIR Phase II Contract for Improved In-Space Transportation

paragonsdcTUCSON, Ariz., March 21, 2016 (Paragon PR) – Paragon Space Development Corporation® (Paragon) and partner Thin Red Line Aerospace (TRLA) received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from NASA to advance their Cryogenic Encapsulating Launch Shroud and Insulated Upper Stage (CELSIUS) technology. The Phase II effort will design and test a novel, high performance, inflatable system to address the agency’s near-term needs as well as provide a resource for future exploration missions to the moon, Mars, and deep space.

CELSIUS provides thermal insulation and protection from micro-meteoroids and orbital debris. The system also comprises launch vehicle fairing functionality, protecting the spacecraft from dynamic pressure loads and aero-heating throughout launch and ascent. These capabilities are accomplished by applying a deterministic soft-goods system that provides far greater performance for far less mass and cost than the equivalent state of the art systems performing the same functions.

“Paragon’s history with the SBIR program has proven time and again that we are developing products and solutions that solve some of the industry’s toughest challenges. The fact that we were able to team with a company like TRLA for this proposal further substantiates that, and ensures that this technology will mature quickly and efficiently while providing an immediate value to our customer,” said Grant Anderson, Paragon President and CEO.

“CELSIUS represents yet another step forward in validation of the advantages of sophisticated inflatable architecture through application of exceptional advances in soft goods technology,” added TRLA President Maxim de Jong.

Paragon and TRLA are actively engaged with industry partners to provide this solution for a range of applications including on-orbit upper-stage refueling and depot concepts.

Paragon Space Development Corporation® is a premier provider of environmental control components and systems for extreme and hazardous environments.

www.ParagonSDC.com

Thin Red Line Aerospace is a leader in design and manufacture of the highest performance fabric and deployable structures.

www.thin-red-line.com

NASA SBIR PHASE II

Paragon Space Development Corporation
Tucson, AZ

Proposal Title: Fabric, Inflated, Insulating Shroud for Cryogenic In-Space Transportation
Subtopic Title: Cryogenic Fluid Management for In-Space Transportation

Principal Investigator/Project Manager
Chad Bower

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

Technical Abstract

The Cryogenic Encapsulating Launch Shroud and Insulated Upper Stage (CELSIUS) innovative layered system combines functions of Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI), Micro-Meteoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) protection, and fairing functions (exposure to free stream) into a deterministic soft-goods system that provides far greater performance for far less mass than the equivalent State of the Art (SOTA) systems performing the same functions. CELSIUS provides nearly perfect radiation dominated thermal performance. A 5 layer system MLI/MMOD system limits heat load to a cryogen to 95% probability of no penetration for a two year mission in low Earth orbit and is readily scalable to other mission types. The system is applicable to large structures, including cryogenic tanks. Furthermore CELSIUS is robust enough to tolerate the vibrations, load, dynamic pressures, and heating of the launch ascent environment allowing it to protect nearly any portion of the launch stack up to and including serving as a complete launch fairing. Our Phase II effort matures the concept through analysis, design, subscale test and validation activities; including simulation of the highest risk areas of free-stream exposer and vibration at launch followed by system deployment while at cryogenic cold-soak. This effort significantly improves the TRL of the system and we exit Phase II with complete validation and having completed a Preliminary Design cycle in support of technology insertion onto the SLS EUS.

Potential NASA Commercial Applications

CELSIUS has application to NASA as an insulation solution for the exposed Hydrogen tank barrel section on the SLS Exploration Upper Stage (EUS). CELSIUS can, for minimal mass provide ascent-to-orbit protection for the barrel section and excellent long term thermal and MMOD protection. CELSIUS will greatly extend the EUS on-orbit life providing NASA improved mission flexibility for Exploration Missions. CELSIUS also has future application for orbital propellant depots, habitats, and as a complete launch fairing solution. In this role, CELSIUS may be an enabling technology that provides a single solution to the ground-to-orbit and long term on-orbit storage of cryogenic propellants. With CELSIUS there is never a moment when the cryogenic system is unprotected, nor is transfer needed. The CELSIUS fairing and insulation system is carried directly to orbit and remains to protect the cryogen system from the duration of its useful life. CELSIUS is being investigated for ground applications for improved cryogenic insulation. This is a particularly large cost for NASA, the United States Air Force, and commercial launch providers who must maintain facilities and produce or deliver cryogenic propellants in large quantities in some of the warmest and most humid regions of the country.

Potential Non-NASA Commercial Applications

CELSIUS has significant interest from commercial launch providers where it can improvements cryogenic upper stage thermal and MMOD protection for minimal mass. This enables on-orbit services and mission flexibility in GEO, and planetary missions. It will also allow commercial providers to contemplate on-orbit upper-stage refueling and depot concepts for far greater mission capability that currently available. CELSIUS, as a complete inflated launch shroud or booster nose-cone would save hundreds of kilograms vs traditional systems. CELSIUS is being investigated for ground applications for improved cryogenic insulation. This is a particularly large cost for NASA, the United States Air Force, and commercial launch providers who must maintain facilities and produce or deliver cryogenic propellants in large quantities in some of the warmest and most humid regions of the country.