NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-A7.01-7035 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 035972)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Smart, Adaptive Aerospace Vehicles With Intelligence
PROPOSAL TITLE:High Spatial Resolution shape Sensing for Adaptive Aerospace Vehicles

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Luna Innovations Incorporated
2851 Commerce Street
Blacksburg ,VA 24060 - 6657
(540) 552 - 5128

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Roger   Duncan
2851 Commerce Street
Blacksburg ,VA  24060 -6657
(540) 557 - 5893
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

It is accepted that adaptive aerospace vehicles whose flight avionic systems are reconfigurable are needed to respond to changing flight parameters, vehicle system performance degradation, or external threat environments. To this end shape modification of aerospace structures during flight can provide significant performance improvements derived from matching the aerodynamic shape to particular flight conditions. To address this need, new sensor technologies are required for both R & D testing and operational deployment that permit high observability into the shapes generated.

Luna Innovations proposes to develop high-spatial resolution distributed fiber-optic shape sensors to provide feedback as part of a closed-loop control system for vehicles with yadaptivey attributes (i.e. y ysmarty wings, etc.). These shape sensors, when embedded in aircraft wings or other structures of interest, will monitor the dynamic shape of the structure independent of the temperature or load environment, thus enabling real-time active control of reconfigurable avionics. By providing a reliable, low cost, lightweight feedback mechanism, the risks associated with employing smart vehicle technology are substantially mitigated.

The shape sensing system developed during this effort will enable Luna Innovations to provide NASA with a reliable, low-cost, lightweight means of measuring the complete real-time dynamic 3D shape of a structure, thus providing a mechanism for feedback in a closed-loop control system for reconfigurable avionics. This development will therefore significantly mitigate the costs and risks associated with developing aerospace vehicles with adaptive attributes. The proposed sensors will serve as an enabler for advanced aerospace vehicles and fulfills the mandate of NASAys yEnabling Concepts and Technologiesy theme by being a high-payoff technology with broad potential.

From fiber-optic ysmart tethersy capable of tracking the position of search and rescue robots in places where GPS is either inaccessible or provides insufficient resolution, to providing closed-loop feedback for inflatable softgoods, to the direct monitoring of deflection in critical structures, an advanced shape sensing system would be eminently marketable. The product development accomplished during this development effort will enable Luna to provide aerospace manufacturers with a reliable, low-cost, lightweight means of monitoring and providing closed-loop feedback on their advanced aerospace vehicles that is vastly superior to todayys state-of-the-art.