Status Report

NASA JSC Solicitation: Infatable Structures

By SpaceRef Editor
January 14, 2014
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Jan 13, 2014

Statement of Interest Form – Posted on Jan 13, 2014 New!

General Information

    Solicitation Number: NNJ14ZBH028L

    Posted Date: Jan 13, 2014

    FedBizOpps Posted Date: Jan 13, 2014

    Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No

    Original Response Date: Apr 11, 2014

    Current Response Date: Apr 11, 2014

    Classification Code: A — Research and Development

    NAICS Code: 541712


Contracting Office Address

NASA/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas, 77058-3696, Mail Code: BH


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC) is seeking parties interested in collaborative development and mature technologies required for NASA’s future missions and to enhance life on Earth. JSC is looking to partner on the development of broadly applicable technologies as a means to accelerate technology development and strengthen commercialization of federally-funded research and development.


NASA is seeking parties interested in co-developing technology associated with low launch volume, lightweight, durable inflatable structures.

Space structure engineers and designers have identified inflatables as a lightweight and durable supplement to current human spaceflight architectures. NASA has recognized a number of potential applications for the versatile technology including use as an airlock for spacewalking astronauts, an expandable living space for crewed spacecraft on long duration missions, an inflatable habitat on a planetary surface, and even a bag to capture and return an asteroid.

In addition to having significant benefits in space, inflatable structures also possess numerous earth applications, including but not limited to: quickly deployable-durable habitats, hyperbaric chambers, deployable shock absorbers, storm surge protection devices, pipeline fluid plugs, and fluid stowage containers.


Engineers at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) are currently offering co-development opportunities focusing on four important technologies necessary for improving the performance of inflatable structures:

1. The development of a flexible, inflatable bladder capable of maintaining elasticity in the harsh cold of space (-50* Fahrenheit) and exhibiting a low permeability to minimize the chance for leaks. Such a structure could also serve as a cold temperature storage tank for numerous industries here on earth.

2. Analysis and testing of high strength and high stiffness advanced materials like Kevlar(R) or Vectran(R) to verify their potential as construction materials and optimize micrometeoroid/orbital debris and passive thermal protection systems to minimize mass required for long-term space missions.

3. Innovative ways to monitor the health of inflatables and conduct repairs. Engineers are especially interested in developing non-invasive monitoring of structural layers and low power methods of sensing important traits like pressure, temperature, strain and radiation exposure. 4. Methods for integrating substructures into large inflatables. Air beams can provide secondary support structure for habitats and airlocks and serve as the main support structure for an inflatable asteroid capture bag.

R&D Status:

Currently the main areas of research are being undertaken by NASA and Bigelow Aerospace. NASA is currently studying inflatable lunar bases with the planetary surface habitat and airlock unit, which is in an early prototype phase, and has conceptual proposals for utilizing expandable-technology space structures in cislunar and interplanetary-crewed exploration spacecraft.

Intellectual Property (IP):

Patents awarded:

* Advanced Structural and Inflatable Spacecraft Module- US 6,231,010;

* Portable Hyperbaric Chamber- US 6,321,746;

* Inflatable Vessel and Method- US 6,547,189;

* System and Method of Designing a Load Bearing Layer of an Inflatable Vessel- US 7,295,884;

* Apparatus for Integrating a Rigid Structural into a Flexible Wall of an Inflatable Structure; US 7,509,774.

* Exploration Launch-Optimized Folding Top (X-LOFT)

* Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) vertical cylinder habitat

Detailed information for the above mentioned technologies furnished upon request.

This co-development project may produce new IP that could be jointly owned by NASA and the partner or may become the property of the partner.

This announcement is not to be construed as a Request for Proposal and is not a commitment by the government, nor will the government pay for any information provided. Since this is an Announcement, no evaluation letters or results will be issued to the respondents.

Please submit a Statement of Interest Form to Mark Dillard

To view all Co-Development and Partnering Opportunities with the NASA Johnson Space Center please visit our website

Point of Contact

    Name: Mark A. Dillard

    Title: Lead Partnership Development Office Integration

    Phone: 281-244-8640

    Fax: 281-483-4146


    Name: Dana Altmon-Cary

    Title: Contracting Officer

    Phone: 281-483-8228

    Fax: 281-483-4066



SpaceRef staff editor.