NASA Awards SBIR Phase III Contract Terminal Velocity for Reentry System

High-altitude balloon lifts space reentry capsule for flight test. (Credit: Near Space Corporation)
High-altitude balloon lifts space reentry capsule for flight test. (Credit: Near Space Corporation)

ATLANTA, July 15, 2016 (TVA PR) — Terminal Velocity Aerospace (TVA) was awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract from NASA entitled, “Low-Cost Small Reentry Devices to Enhance Space Commerce and ISS Utilization.”

The Phase III effort, administered by Johnson Space Center, builds on Phase I and II results and TVA’s reentry device (RED) development to date. Through this award, TVA will fly three RED-Data2 devices to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard an Orbital-ATK Cygnus cargo vehicle.

When the Cygnus departs the ISS and reenters the Earth’s atmosphere, the RED-Data2 flight experiment will commence. After the Cygnus breaks up in the upper atmosphere, the RED-Data2 devices begin their free flight in the atmosphere providing flight test data on three newly developed thermal protection system (TPS) materials and one control TPS material.

“We are pleased that NASA shares our vision for the many applications of small reentry devices and the innovative ways in which they will improve utilization of the International Space Station,” said Terminal Velocity Program Manager Dr. John Dec. “TVA’s low cost family of RED products will help maximize the commercial utilization of space and provide valuable ground-to-flight traceability data to the TPS community.”

Objectives of the Phase III SBIR include development of the RED-Data2 reentry data recorder flight units and certifying them for use onboard the Cygnus and ISS. RED-Data2 mission applications include hypersonic flight testing of next-generation thermal protection materials and onboard data collection during spacecraft reentry breakup events.

About Terminal Velocity

Terminal Velocity Aerospace, LLC (TVA) is a company dedicated to improving reentry safety and furthering the utilization of outer space. TVA offers small devices for data collection during reentry, and for safe return of small payloads from space. Applications include improving our understanding of spacecraft atmospheric entry and breakup, flight test of high-temperature materials, low-cost recovery from space to facilitate high-frequency space-based research, and small scientific probes for exploration of other planets. TVA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc.