Quest Thermal Group MLI Enters Space

Quest Thermal Group’s integrated multilayer insulation (IMLI) is currently being used in space on the ISS with NASA’s RRM3 flight experiment and on the NASA/Ball Aerospace GPIM spacecraft. The group is also currently designing IMLI for use on the Lucy spacecraft—scheduled to go to Jupiter’s asteroids—and is expected to have a small role on the WFIRST space telescope.

In addition to the existing missions, Quest won two new NASA SBIR Phase I contracts. The first is to develop a novel, lightweight insulation to create LHe dewars for stratospheric balloon observatories. “We believe we can achieve a low mass that no one else can get near, using the unique structural properties of our insulation systems,” said Alan Kopelove, Quest Thermal Group CEO.

The second program is the development of a highly variable spacecraft radiator for Lunar Landers. “The lunar day is warm and spacecraft need to shed excess heat, but the lunar night is 28 days of very cold! Current state of the art variable radiators can offer a 4-to-1 ratio between on and off. Our first prototype achieved a 36:1 ‘turndown’ ratio,” said Kopelove.

While these advances are in development, Quest continues two NASA Phase II programs, and well as an NSF funded program to develop a commercial superinsulation. Regarding the superinsulation, Kopelove states, “Our ‘HPMLI’ product can be used in fridges and can replace the 2-3” thick foam insulation with quarter-inch thick HPMLI, and still offer up to 90% less energy use.”