NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Federal Labs

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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Laboratory Representative

Description

Mission

The mission of the Goddard Space Flight Center is to expand knowledge of the Earth and its environment, the solar system and the universe through observations from space. To assure that our nation maintains leadership in this endeavor, we are committed to excellence in scientific investigation, in the development and operation of space systems and in the advancement of essential technologies. In pursuit of this challenge, the Center will:

Technology Disciplines

Technologies

Greatly improves testing capability and efficiency.

Enhances previous approaches to protection, optimization and survivability of agent-based systems

Enables much higher productivity than traditional software engineering practices;

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Programs

The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research,or EPSCoR,establishes partnerships with government, higher education and industry that are designed to effect lasting improvements in a state’s or region’s research infrastructure, R&D capacity and hence, its national R&D competitiveness.

The EPSCoR program is directed at those jurisdictions that have not in the past participated equably in competitive aerospace and aerospace-related research activities. Twenty-four states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam currently participate.Fivefederal agencies conduct EPSCoR programs, including NASA.

The goal of EPSCoR is to provide seed funding that will enable jurisdictions to develop an academic research enterprise directed toward long-term, self-sustaining, nationally-competitive capabilities in aerospace and aerospace-related research.

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Successes

Even though it drops to -279°F at night and -400°F inside its deepest craters, the Moon can reach a scorching 260°F during the day. The range of temperatures is extreme—in part because there is no substantial atmosphere on the Moon to insulate against the heat or cold. What the Moon does have are small amounts of gasses above its surface, sometimes called a lunar atmosphere or exosphere, that consist mostly of hydrogen and helium, along with some neon and argon.

On Earth, traces of an atmosphere extend as high as 370 miles above the surface. Made of 78-percent nitrogen and 21-percent oxygen, 1 percent of Earth’s atmosphere consists of argon and other gasses—some of which help to trap heat from the Sun and create a greenhouse effect. Without this effect, Earth would probably be too cold for life to exist. Another helpful feature of the Earth’s atmosphere exists about 30 miles above the surface, where ultraviolet light from the Sun strikes oxygen molecules to create a gas called ozone. This ozone blocks harmful ultraviolet rays from reaching the Earth.

While the Earth’s atmosphere protects and defends against extreme temperatures like those on the Moon, Earth’s heating and air conditioning systems create an even more comfortable atmosphere indoors. In planning for a return mission to the Moon, NASA aimed to improve the thermal control systems that keep astronauts comfortable and cool while inside a spacecraft.

Partnership

In the late 1990s, Goddard Space Flight Center awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to Mainstream Engineering Corporation, of Rockledge, Florida, to develop a chemical/mechanical heat pump as part of the spacecraft’s thermal control system. Designed to transfer heat from one location to another, a heat pump provides cooling by moving heat out of one area and into another. While working on the heat pump design at Goddard, Mainstream Engineering came up with a unique liquid additive called QwikBoost™ to enhance the performance of the advanced heat pump design.

Previously featured in Spinoff 1999, QwikBoost circulates through a system like a lubricant, working to boost the available cooling capacity. This increases the system’s performance and results in faster heat transfer (cooling) and consumption of less operating energy.

After Mainstream Engineering patented the QwikBoost technology developed with NASA, it started manufacturing and selling the additive to improve the operating efficiency and economy of refrigeration systems, air conditioners, and heat pumps. NASA used QwikBoost to develop more efficient, smaller, and lighter cooling systems, as well as in air conditioning and refrigeration systems at NASA facilities, and air conditioning systems in NASA’s vehicle fleet.

Recognizing the capabilities of QwikBoost, New York-based Interdynamics, Inc., exclusively licensed the additive from Mainstream Engineering in 2004. As a developer of do-it-yourself air conditioning recharger kits, Interdynamics soon merged with EF Products, Inc., of Dallas, Texas, a provider of closed system retrofit kits for automotive air conditioning systems, to become IDQ, Inc., of Garland, Texas, with sales and marketing out of Tarrytown, New York. Today, IDQ incorporates the NASA-derived QwikBoost technology into its line of Arctic Freeze® products.

According to the company, by using Arctic Freeze to replace lost refrigerant and oil in an automotive air conditioning system, the NASA-derived QwikBoost chemistry provides colder air up to 50-percent faster than a conventional R-134a refrigerant product. “Working with NASA technology bolsters our confidence that the chemistry has been thoroughly tested and proven to deliver the benefits and results promised,” said Vincent Carrubba, director of research and development at IDQ.

Product Outcome

IDQ provides a variety of automotive air conditioning products for the do-it-yourself consumer and professional service technician, including its line of Arctic Freeze products. Sold at leading automotive and mass-retail stores and through wholesale distributors in the aftermarket industry in the United States, Europe, and Latin America, Arctic Freeze restores cooling in a vehicle’s air conditioning system once the system is no longer cooling effectively or when the performance has degraded to blowing only warm air. The product replenishes a system with R-134a containing the QwikBoost synthetic refrigerant enhancer.

Compared to operating with only PAG-oil (a lubricant), the addition of QwikBoost reduces wear and tear on the system by lowering compressor temperatures and extending the useful life of the lubricant. Arctic Freeze also incorporates a system-safe leak sealer that conditions rubber o‑rings, seals and hoses, which are the primary source of minor system leaks.

In addition to delivering low vent temperatures, Arctic Freeze also delivers low costs. Depending on which Arctic Freeze product a customer uses, recharging an automotive air conditioning system can cost approximately $15–$30, compared to $100 or more at an automotive repair shop. Each Arctic Freeze product provides do-it-yourself customers with everything needed to recharge a vehicle air conditioning unit.

Carrubba believes that NASA technology has made a world of difference by providing a demonstrable and affordable solution to improve the efficiency and economy of operating air conditioning and refrigeration systems here on Earth. “The all-in-one solutions of Arctic Freeze make it possible for nearly anyone to safely, effectively, and affordably recharge their own vehicle’s air conditioning unit.”

QwikBoost™ is a trademark of Mainstream Engineering Corporation. Arctic Freeze® is a registered trademark of IDQ, Inc.

To view the original Arctic Freeze spinoff success story, click here.

The full line of Arctic Freeze products incorporates a QwikBoost refrigerant enhancer originally developed by NASA and Mainstream Engineering Corporation. According to IDQ, QwikBoost provides vehicle owners with colder air up to 50-percent faster than a conventional refrigerant product. (Photo credit: NASA Spinoff 2010)

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