NASA Grant Allows Oklahoma Company To Go Further

Friday, July 12th 2019, 11:10 pm
By: Justin Shrair

An Oklahoma small business is awarded a prestigious grant from NASA.

Infinite Composites Technologies is using the money to test pressure vessels used to store high pressure gasses in space.

From start to finish it can take about two days to make a composite pressure vessels.

Infinite Composites Technologies is only the 10th business in Oklahoma that was awarded this grant from NASA in the span of over 30 years.

The company only employs 10 people and they are determined to make a product that's out of this world.

"It can hold nitrogen, liquid nitrogen we've got some that are being tested for liquid oxygen and hydrogen, we've got some that are holding Zenon and krypton," said Infinite Composites Technologies Founder and CEO Matt Villarreal. 

The goal is to send the vessels into space without them breaking or blowing up. That's where the Small Business Innovative Research grant from NASA comes in. Phase one of the grant is worth $125 thousand.

"We are going to make material samples of our composite materials put them into a placard and we are going to send that placard up to the international space station," said Villarreal.

CEO and Founder Matt Villarreal said the materials will then be mounted onto the outside of the space station to determine the effects of galactic cosmic radiation. The company will then work with OSU to figure out how those materials held up in space.

"If they are still viable to be used in space or if we need to tweak the material chemistry to improve the radiation shielding effects," said Villarreal.

Villarreal said besides transporting gasses, a successful test could also mean using the materials to protect astronauts and other instruments from radiation in space. 

"Hopefully an exciting step for Oklahoma getting some traction with the commercial space industry which is going to be huge and very fast growing in the next 5 to 10 years," he said.

The company said they hope their materials are launched into space sometime next year

Phase two of the project is worth, about $750 thousand where full scale vessels will be made and ultimately launched into space.