Advanced Cooled Shield Development Program

Cryogenic propellants are important to NASA’s missions. Improvements in cryogenic propellant storage and transfer are critical to future long duration NASA spacecraft and missions. Advanced Cooled Shield – Integrated MLI (ACS-IMLI) is an innovative ultra high performance system in which an Advanced Cooled Shield is fully integrated into the IMLI layer structure, reducing mass, forming a single robust system, with integrated cooled gas distribution in a cooled shield layer, eliminating heat flux through thermal shield tank standoffs or supports, and operable in both passive (vapor cooled shield) and active (broad area cooled shield) modes.

NASA’s TA-02 Roadmap calls “Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions” the #2 ranked technical challenge for NASA mission objectives and needs.  Quest Thermal Group has developed IMLI, an advanced thermal insulation that uses proprietary discrete spacer technology to reduce heat flux. IMLI’s unique structure is able to self support various loads, including a thin, lightweight vacuum shell for in-air operation, high strength ballistic layers for MMOD shielding, an external Broad Area Cooling Shield with cooling tubing, or an integrated thermal shield within the layers. IMLI’s layer structure gives it unique capabilities, such as an embedded conductive, sealed thermal barrier.

In this Phase I program, an ACS-IMLI system would be modeled, analyzed, designed, fabricated, installed on a cryotank, and tested for structural strength and thermal performance.  Advanced Cooled Shield – IMLI (ACS-IMLI) could provide a lower mass, single insulation system, operable in both passive (vapor cooled) and active (cryocooled) modes, with 3 – 4X lower heat flux than IMLI alone. ACS-IMLI could help meet NASA’s cryogenic fluid management requirements such as Zero Boil Off for cryogenic propellant storage and transfer.




Advanced Cooled Shield Development ProgramCAD design and first prototype of novel Advanced Cooled Shield, which integrates a Gas Distribution Channel into the IMLI structure for a light weight, passive/active Vapor Cooled Shield/Broad Area Cooled shield insulation system. Several technology advances are being tested, including a novel cooled Gas Distribution Channel (GDC) thermal shield, low pressure GDC’s composed of IMLI layers, mid pressure GCD’s composed of polymer extrusion microchannel layers, and high pressure systems composed of very low density Aluminum foam channels.