NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) will be used for testing an advanced form of thermal insulation, known as integrated multi-layer insulation (IMLI) that will become standard on future satellites and cryogenic subsystems.
GPIM is a project for NASA’s Technology Mission Demonstration (TDM) program managed by NASA’sSpace Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).
It is stated that by NASA validating this new insulation in space will be ablr to establish the technology needed for long human spaceflight missions.
Quest Thermal Group will manufacture the new insulation which will fly aboard the 2015 GPIM mission, as per a subcontract from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
High performance insulation materials are required on spacecraft and cryogenic space systems for maintaining consistent spacecraft and subsystem temperatures in the space environment to operatem them for long time and more efficiently.
Jim Oschmann, vice president and general manager for Ball’s Civil Space and Technology business unit said, Flying IMLI aboard GPIM is a winwin for the program. Conventional insulation was necessary for the GPIM spacecraft, and now we can fly a section of the IMLI at no extra cost to the program and prove it for operational use.
The company stated that the new IMLI offers many benefits to conventional insulation and is structurally more robust, lighter and easier to install by using rigid spacers instead of netting to separate radiation layers.
It also has a nearly 30% thermal performance increase over conventional multi-layer insulation; the IMLI’s increased thermal capability is critical for minimizing heat transference and boil-off of cryogenic storage systems.
IMLI manufacturer Quest, a small company located in Arvada, CO, is developing the technology under small business innovative research (SBIR) contracts to NASA.
Oschmann said, Utilizing a small business to innovate a new product and adding it to the GPIM mission demonstrates the synergy between all of the Space Technology project offices to develop and infuse technology into the market. Our collaboration on GPIM further enables NASA to demonstrate another critical technology needed to make future space missions safer, more efficient and more cost effective.