In Situ Manufacturing of Plastics and Composites to Support H&R Exploration

Period of Performance: 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006

$600K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Makel Engineering, Inc.
1585 Marauder St. Array
Chico, CA 95973
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Makel Engineering and BAE Systems propose to develop processes to manufacture plastics and composites for radiation shielding based on In Situ Resources Utilization (ISRU). The production of plastics and composites will also serve as feedstock for In Situ Manufacturing of a variety of useful components, such as inflatable structures, replacement parts, etc. The direction set to NASA by the President on January 2004 placed high emphasis on a robust space exploration program. Affordable planning and execution of prolonged manned space missions depend upon the utilization of local resources (e.g., soil, atmosphere, etc.) and the waste products which are formed in manned spacecraft and surface bases. The purpose of the investigation is to develop materials and associated processing technologies for habitat structure on planetary surfaces to effectively shield humans and sensitive electronics such as solar arrays and integrated circuits from the harmful effect of deep space radiation environment. Unlike Earth, on the Lunar or Martian surface, there is practically no protection from primary deep space radiation sources such as Solar Particle Events (SPEs) and Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs). SPEs produce intermittent and extremely high fluxes of charged energetic particles associated with major solar flares.