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NASA to conduct advanced thermal insulation test

US space agency NASA´s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) said it has been selected to test an advanced form of thermal insulation called integrated multi-layer insulation that could become standard on future satellites and cryogenic subsystems.

Validating this new insulation in space will help NASA build the technology required for long human spaceflight missions, the agency said.

Under a subcontract from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Quest Thermal Group LLC will manufacture the new insulation that will fly aboard the 2015 GPIM mission.

High performance insulation materials are required on spacecraft and cryogenic space systems to maintain consistent spacecraft and subsystem temperatures in the space environment to keep them operating longer and more efficiently.

The new IMLI offers many benefits to conventional insulation, NASA said. By utilising rigid spacers instead of netting to separate radiation layers, it is structurally more robust, lighter and easier to install.

It also has a nearly 30% thermal performance increase over conventional multi-layer insulation; the IMLI´s increased thermal capability is critical for minimizing heat transference and boil-off of cryogenic storage systems.

The IMLI manufacturer, Quest, a small company located in Arvada, CO, is developing the technology under small business innovative research contracts to NASA.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies (NYSE: BLL) supports missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other US government and commercial entities.

The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications.

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