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NASA is inviting proposals as part of its Game-Changing Development Program in order to develop and produce ultra-lightweight materials for aerospace applications, including vehicles and structures.
Currently, foam or honeycomb cores are used in the production of composite sandwich structures and NASA is seeking alternatives with lower mass.
Composite sandwich structures are widely used in the aerospace industry, as well as in applications which require low-weight and high structural strength.
They are also used in the fabrication of shrouds for launch vehicles. These composite structures are made by affixing thin skins to a lightweight core.
This NASA project aims to develop cost-effective production methods which can be scaled up for manufacture of ultra-lightweight core materials in the form of curved structures and flat panels that demonstrate superior mechanical properties.
Both university and industry partnerships are to be sought for acquiring the capabilities that NASA requires. This initiative will focus on advanced materials, composite structures, advanced optical coating materials, high-power solar arrays and propulsion systems.
Game Changing Development Program Office
Proposals will be accepted from U.S. organisations including NASA centres, government agencies, federally funded industry, non-profit organisations, educational institutions, and research and development centres. NASA expects to make two awards of up to $550,000 each for this first development phase.
The NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System website is offering this program as SpaceTech-REDDI-2015 NNH15ZOA001N-15GCD-C1 Ultra-lightweight Core Materials for Efficient Load-Bearing Composite Sandwich Structures Appendix at: http://nspires.nasaprs.com/