United States Air Force

March 5, 2024

Next-Gen Smart Thermal Protection Systems Development

United States Air Force

Littleton, CO - March 5, 2024- Canopy Aerospace, a venture-backed company at the intersection of advanced manufacturing, high-temperature materials, and digitization, marks another major achievement with the recent United States Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award. Canopy will work closely with partners in the Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate to develop a wireless smart thermal protective systems (TPS) platform that enables a paradigm shift improvement in both structural health monitoring and aerothermal modeling for space and hypersonic flight applications.

Canopy was founded in late 2021 to expand industrial capacity and capability needs of advanced materials used on critical missions supporting national security objectives. One such need is the lack of a commercial supply base for thermal protection system materials needed for space re-entry and hypersonic missions. The need for innovation in TPS materials, within the Department of Defense (DOD), stems from the current limitations in TPS technology, posing a significant risk to existing capabilities. Without advancements in TPS materials, space and hypersonic vehicles face limitations in speed and operational capabilities, heightening the potential for catastrophic failure.

With this award and parallel private investment, Canopy aims to develop a wireless smart TPS hardware solution that adds real-time structural health monitoring to space vehicles. The USAF SBIR Phase II award enables further studies in manufacturability, integration trials, and ground testing to prepare for future flight testing. The implementation of smart TPS supports USAF and USSF strategic capabilities such as Tactical Air Dominance and Global Strike, providing a new level of insight into aerothermal behavior and high-speed dynamics.  

Dr. John Howard, Canopy’s Co-founder/CTO, lead for the Phase II project, states: ”Once developed, wireless smart TPS will provide superior structural health monitoring to advance safety of flight and critical data to better calibrate aerothermal models for tomorrow’s space and hypersonic platforms. We will accomplish all of this while also simplifying cabling and install of the instrumented materials, key for the rapid refurbishment needs of future systems.”

For more information on Canopy Aerospace and our mission to advance space technology, please visit our website at https://www.canopyaerospace.com/. Stay updated on our latest developments by following us on LinkedIn.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Attn: Will Dickson
Chief Commercial Officer

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