Andrews Space, Inc. (Andrews) announced today that it has been awarded a $69,480 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I contract from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) to perform a study entitled “Flexible Transpiration Cooled Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) for Inflatable Atmospheric Capture & Entry Systems.” These concepts are directly applicable to ballute technologies, which Andrews is in the process of developing.

A ballute is a pressure-stabilized, inflatable membrane that provides a large, blunt, high-drag surface for aero-braking systems. Ballutes offer significant advantages over rigid shells for aerocapture and re-entry of spacecraft by providing simplified packaging and lower total weight.

During the Phase I SBIR, Andrews will study and develop tests for a prototype TPS that is cooled through gas flow out of the inflatable membrane during re-entry. The transpiration cooled membrane will allow ballutes to utilize thinner material stacks and existing material technologies by lowering the effective heat flux to the fabric. Study data will be used to refine the ballute design and develop a concept to enable larger operational systems.

The SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs provide an opportunity for small, high technology companies and research institutions to participate in government-sponsored research and development efforts in key technology areas.

About the Company

Andrews Space, Inc. was founded in 1999 to be a catalyst in the commercialization and development of space. The company is an affordable integrator of aerospace systems and developer of advanced space technologies. To learn more, please visit: