Press Release

SLI Contractor Wins NASA’s Small Disadvantaged Business Award

By SpaceRef Editor
December 9, 2002
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Sierra Lobo, Inc., a contractor for NASA’s Space Launch Initiative (SLI),
recently won NASA’s Small Disadvantaged Business Prime Contractor Award. The
Ohio-based company won for their Densified Propellant Management System
(DPMS) contract work, which supports next generation launch technology
development efforts. The densified propellants project is considered an
enabling technology for some versions of a reusable launch vehicle since it
has the attributes of decreasing vehicle mass.

Through SLI, NASA is defining, developing, and testing technologies needed
to make space transportation safer and less expensive. To further this
initiative, Sierra Lobo developed and tested a Thermo Acoustic Stirling Heat
Engine (TASHE) and a two-stage pulse tube refrigerator that will operate in
two different temperature regimes and will simultaneously condition both
liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.

“This development effort capitalizes on the new technology of
thermoacoustics, where refrigeration down to a temperature of 14o K can be
achieved with no moving parts, such as compressors, expanders, and valves,”
said Bill Notardonato, densified propellant technical lead. “This makes the
system more simple and reliable to operate and maintain. In addition, it is
a derivative of the Stirling Cycle and uses natural gas as the energy input,
so it is efficient and economical.”

The Sierra Lobo team has also created a mass gauging system called
Cryo-Tracker(tm). The system is a liquid level and temperature sensing
system that will be used to measure propellant mass onboard the vehicle
prior to launch. When complete, the DPMS and Cryo-Tracker(tm) will produce,
maintain and mass gauge densified cryogenic liquids for 2GRLV. Sierra Lobo
is the only contractor working on a cryogenic liquid mass gauging system for

“Sierra Lobo has been instrumental in developing technologies for a reusable
launch vehicle with KSC,” said nominator Jalane Shelton, KSC contracting
officer. “This highly unique and complex initiative has endless changes in
the research and development environment and Sierra Lobo continues to be a
voice of knowledge and reason. They are true experts in this field and
continue to be masters of this ever-changing effort. Their effort is vital
to the success of this program and their highly motivated and dedicated team
continues to excel to meet the requirements of the program office.”

Other contractor awardees are: Flad and Associates, Space Gateway Support,
V.A. Paving, Inc., GEO Syntec Consultants, Launch Coast Services, Inc.,
Central Data, Inc. and Nelson Engineering Company.

All NASA’s field centers and the Air Force Research Laboratory are actively
participating in the Space Launch Initiative and are vital to its success.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., leads the Space
Launch Initiative for NASA’s Office of Aerospace Technology.

Visit, for additional SLI information.

SpaceRef staff editor.