SpaceRef

SpaceRef


NASA Space Act Agreement With Paragon Space Development Corporation for Inspiration Mars Evaluation

Status Report From: Ames Research Center
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013

image Full Document

REIMBURSABLE SPACT ACT AGREE BETWEEN
PARAGON SPACE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
AND
THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION,
AMES RESEARCH CENTER
FOR EVALUATION OF THE AEROCAPTURE AND REENTRY OF THE
PROPOSED INSPIRATION MARS MISSION IN 2018


ARTICLE 1. AUTHORITY AND PARTIES

In accordance with the National Aeronautics and Space Act (51 U.S.C. 5 201131 this Agreement is entered into by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ames Research Center, located at Moffett Field. CA 94035 (hereinafter referred to as "NASA ARC," "ARC," or "NASA") and Paragon Space Development Corporation located at 3481 East Michigan St., Tucson, AZ 85714 (hereinafter referred to as "Paragon" or 'Partner"). NASA and Partner may be individually referred to as a "Party" and collectively referred to as the "Parties."

ARTICLE 2. PURPOSE

This Agreement shall be for the purpose of NASA corroborating with the partner evaluating the aerocapture and reentry phases of Paragon's proposed Inspiration Mars Mission using baseline vehicle architecture and Paragon-defined mission parameters, NASA will use its unique expertise and facilities to predict the aerodynamic and aerothermal environments during the Earth reentry maneuvers and assess the performance of critical vehicle systems, such as the thermal protection system (TPS). Research and analyses already performed and published by NASA, in support of other missions involving high-speed returns to Earth, will be leveraged to the maximum extent possible to assess the particular conditions of the Inspiration Mars mission, NASA will support the partner in identifying any technology gaps in the baseline design in these critical areas and recommend farther analysis and outline plans to mature the needed technologies. NASA will also conduct parametric analyses on aerocapture/reentry conditions that are outside of the baseline mission parameters in order to help the partner optimize return flight options. NASA will also conduct ground-based testing of the TPS materials to verify their performance under Mars return conditions and validate the material response modeling tools.

ARTICLE 3. RESPONSIBILITIES

NASA ARC will use reasonable efforts to:

1. Compile results of existing analytical predictions of reentry and aerocapture trajectories relevant to Mars return conditions.

2. Provide existing reentry and aerocapture aerothermal and aerodynamic environments predictions relevant to a Mars return reentry.

3. Perform TPS material sizing and mass estimates for the baseline vehicle design.

4. Develop plan outlines for TPS materials testing.

Paragon will use reasonable efforts to:

1. Provide to NASA all mission parameters and vehicle design specifications (geometry and TPS material specifications) necessary to carry out NASA's tasks under this Agreement,

2. Make available Paragon's Inspiration Mars Team members for technical interchanges meetings and other necessary interactions.

ARTICLE 4. SCHEDULE AND MILESTONES

The planned major milestones for the activities defined in the "Responsibilities" clause will occur in three (3) phases as follows:

PHASE I

Phase I will include tasks to evaluate the direct reentry return of the vehicle for the baseline free-return trajectory. Initial atmospheric reentry conditions will be provided by Paragon, based on its orbital trajectory analyses. NASA's Phase I tasks are follows:

1. Provide results from existing trajectory predictions for conditions consistent with a return from Mars. Perform limited additional trajectory predictions that account for life specific baseline vehicle configuration for the Inspiration Mars mission, from atmospheric entry interface (~400k ft) parachute deployment or other terminal maneuver, and generate databases for use in the prediction of aerothermal environments for Phase I, Task 2 below.

2. Evaluate existing Earth reentry aerothermal (surface heating and pressure) performance databases for representative reentry. trajectories consistent with those " defined in Phase I, Task 1 above. Provide engineering-level aerothermal environments for those atmospheric entry trajectories. Identify existing high-fidelity reentry aerothermal predictions that could be used to anchor the engineering-level aerothermal environments and increase their fidelity. Use the results of reentry environment predictions to assess the viability of the Mars mission architecture.

3. Perform preliminary TPS material sizing at up to three critical locations on the primary and back shell heatshields for a single baseline trajectory case using existing material response models for the baseline TPS design, which will be provided by Paragon. Generate TPS sizing and material split-line map on the baseline vehicle.

4. Investigate and report on options for testing baseline primary and backshell heatshield materials (Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA), Acusil, etc.) under conditions that are relevant to the direct reentry conditions predicted in

Phase I, Task 2 above. Develop a matrix that describes the benefits, challenges, and capability gaps of each test option.

The schedule and major deliverables are as follows:

1, Provide relevant reentry trajectory definitions: Effective Date + 2 months

2. Preliminary reentry aerothermal database for Paragon trajectories: Effective Date + 3 months

3. Preliminary results of TPS sizing analyses and preliminary report on identified design materials problems: Effective Date + 4 months

4. Report on TPS testing capabilities and gaps for Mars return reentry conditions: Effective Date + 4 months

5. Final Phase I report on all tasks: Effective Date + 6 months

PHASE II

If the results of the Phase I tasks show that the baseline mission trajectory and vehicle architecture are not viable, then Phase II may be initiated to investigate variations on the baseline mission that will result in a viable vehicle heatshield design. NASA's tasks under Phase II are as follows:

1. Parametric analysis of optional aerocapture/reentry trajectories for baseline vehicle.

2. Aerocapture/Reentry aerothermal/aerodynamic environments predictions for optional trajectories.

3. Performing TPS sizing analysis with both baseline and optional materials,

4. Predict aerocapture/reentry conditions for alternate spacecraft and launch vehicle configurations. The detailed schedule and deliverables for Phase II will be determined by the Parties at the end of Phase I.

PHASE III

Phase III will focus on validating the TPS material performance. Regardless of the specific parameters of the Earth reentry trajectory, the aerothermal loads (peak heat flux) on the heatshield will exceed those under which the TPS materials (such as PICA) have been tested or exposed to in flight. Ground-based testing of the materials under relevant Mars-return reentry conditions will be required in order to verify the material performance and validate analytical material response models. Using the results of the Phase I, Task 4 study, ground-base tests of PICA and appropriate back shell materials will be conducted to generate data for the verification and validation purposes. NASA's tasks under Phase In are as follows:

1. Test plan development.

2. Model fabrication.

3. Conduct testing on IPS material performance (e.g., arc-jet testing) for a period of 5 days.

4, Material response model validation and updates.

5. Post-test reporting.

The detailed schedule and deliverables for Phase HI will be determined by the Parties at the end of Phase E.

ARTICLE 5. FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS

1. Partner agrees to reimburse NASA an estimated cost of up to $ [REDACTED] carry out its responsibilities under this Agreement. In no event will NASA transfer any U.S. Government funds to Partner under this Agreement. Payment must be made by Partner in advance of initiation of NASA's efforts. Advance payments shall be scheduled to ensure that funds are resident with NASA before Federal obligations are incurred in support of this Agreement. NASA civil servant labor costs shall be collected as NASA incurs such costs. Partner shall reimburse NASA in accordance with the schedule payment as follows:

Full Document

// end //

More status reports and news releases or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.