Structurally Integrated Reusable Launch Vehicle Thermal Protection

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Triton Systems, Inc.
200 Turnpike Road Array
Chelmsford, MA 01824
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Triton Systems, Inc. is teaming with an air-framer to develop a new class of highly efficient load bearing thermal protection materials (TPM) which will serve as the vehicle structure while at the same time withstanding the extreme environments encountered by reusable launch and space vehicles. This enabling technology will be used as light weight, high performance primary structure components composing large acreage areas of the vehicle. Triton¿s proposed SBIR program will demonstrate an integrated composite approach, utilizing hybrid metal-ceramic matrix composite (MCMC). The MCMC will be the basis of unitized structural component designs where the ceramic surface resists aerothermal loads while sharing and transferring thermo-mechanical loads with the integrated high specific strength metal composite. Triton¿s structurally efficient hybrid TPS will significantly reduce reusable vehicle cost and weight by eliminating design, acquisition, and assembly of the two separate systems, structural air frame and thermal protection, required by current parasitic TPM. Furthermore, not only can the MCMC be welded, but it can be fabricated with complex features such as hat-bands, bushings, and threaded attachment points so existing joining technologies will be used to assemble the hybrid composite hot structural members.