NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-2 A1.15-9362
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Vehicle Design for Loss-of-Control Flight Research
PROPOSAL TITLE: Dynamically Scaled Modular Aircraft for Flight-Based Aviation Safety Research

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
1590 North Roberts Road, Suite 203
Kennesaw, GA 30144 - 3636
(678) 594-5227

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nicholas Alley
1590 North Roberts Road, Suite 203
Kennesaw, GA 30144 - 3636
(678) 594-5227

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Area-I, Incorporated personnel have led the design, fabrication, and flight testing of twelve unmanned aircraft and one manned aircraft. Partnered with NASA and Boeing, Area-I has developed the unmanned Prototype-Technology Evaluator and Research Aircraft or PTERA ("ptera" being Greek for wing/wing-like). The PTERA, a high-quality flight research testbed, bridges the gap between wind tunnel and manned flight testing with low-cost, low-risk flight-based evaluation of high-risk technologies. In Phase I, the PTERA was enhanced by integrating modularity and design flexibility and culminated in the design of a representative 16%-scale CRJ-700, named the PTERA-RJM for Regional Jet Model. For Phase II, the team proposes to finalize the design, fabricate, and deliver a 17ft, 278lb PTERA-RJM that is tailored for use within NASA's Aviation Safety Program to enable experiments in vehicle health monitoring, in loss of control prevention, mitigation, and recovery, in atmospheric hazard sensing and mitigation, etc.
The Boeing Company supports the proposed work, as they have great interest in the PTERA platform given its following core capabilities:
1) A large, low-cost airframe that minimizes scaling and Reynolds number effects, yet is easily disassembled and transported
2) A modular, reconfigurable fuselage design that enables the fabrication and assembly of fuselage configurations that maintain near geometric similitude with a wide array of "tube-and-wing" aircraft using existing tooling
3) Modular wing design that facilitates the integration of advanced aerodynamic treatments, split control surfaces, and aeroelastic and damage emulation mechanisms
4) Integrated ballast system and movable payload/avionics racks to enable the tuning of mass/inertial properties
5) Large payload capacity, voluminous payload bays, and large clamshell doors that facilitate the integration of avionics systems and provide access during flight testing

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A technology gap exists between well-controlled wind tunnel tests and full scale flight testing where most systems integration issues surface. Allocating these system integration activities to a full scale flight test is replete with safety, schedule and performance risks that dominate flight test costs. The PTERA platform serves as the bridge to integrate and flight test advanced aerodynamic treatments, health management, and control systems, and to perform experiments in structures and aero elasticity for a fraction of the cost of a manned flight test program. The PTERA-RJM flight test facility offers several distinct advantages to NASA and non-NASA customers. The PTERA-RJM configuration, a representative 16%-scale CRJ-700 will provide significantly relevant test data for this, and similar,
aircraft and enables flight tests which are typically too costly and risky to perform on full scale, manned aircraft. The PTERA-RJM will be an invaluable resource to the Aviation Safety Program by enabling experiments in vehicle health monitoring, in loss of control prevention, mitigation, and recovery, in atmospheric hazard sensing and mitigation, in crew decision making, among others. This platform will also be of significant value to support NASA's SFW, ERA, UAS in NAS programs.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Area-I has received significant private sector interest in the PTERA platform as a cost reducing research and development tool. Area-I is currently developing several avenues under which to market the PTERA. Area-I plans to develop PTERA as a production aircraft to sell as a research testbed and to provide flight testing, maintenance, and engineering support to these customers. Area-I will also maintain its own fleet of PTERA aircraft to provide flight testing for a wide range of customers. Several UAV technology developers, including gimbal camera, datalink, image processing, air sensor, IMU, and flight test equipment developers have all expressed interest in flying their products on the PTERA. Additionally, several large aircraft manufactures, in connection with the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), have discussed having Area-I maintain an exclusive fleet of PTERA configurations for communal testing of NextGen developed systems. Phase II efforts to finalize and fabricate the PTERA-RJM model will highlight the reconfigurability and versatility of the PTERA platform. This, in turn, will allow the private sector to invest funds in PTERA with lower risk to improve the safety and efficiency of aircraft in the national airspace system. The delivery of a custom, dynamically scaled testbed will provide a smooth transition to Phase III commercialization with industry partners as they realize the development time, cost, and risk reductions of testing with the PTERA platform.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Active Systems
Actuators & Motors
Air Transportation & Safety
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Analytical Methods
Attitude Determination & Control
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Avionics (see also Control and Monitoring)
Chemical/Environmental (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Coding & Compression
Command & Control
Condition Monitoring (see also Sensors)
Data Acquisition (see also Sensors)
Data Fusion
Data Input/Output Devices (Displays, Storage)
Data Modeling (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Data Processing
Destructive Testing
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Astronautics)
GPS/Radiometric (see also Sensors)
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Heat Exchange
Inertial (see also Sensors)
Interferometric (see also Analysis)
Isolation/Protection/Shielding (Acoustic, Ballistic, Dust, Radiation, Thermal)
Joining (Adhesion, Welding)
Knowledge Management
Lasers (Communication)
Lasers (Guidance & Tracking)
Lasers (Ladar/Lidar)
Lasers (Measuring/Sensing)
Lifetime Testing
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Man-Machine Interaction
Materials & Structures (including Optoelectronics)
Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and smaller
Mission Training
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Navigation & Guidance
Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE; NDT)
Passive Systems
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)
Process Monitoring & Control
Recovery (see also Autonomous Systems)
Recovery (see also Vehicle Health Management)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Sensor Nodes & Webs (see also Communications, Networking & Signal Transport)
Sequencing & Scheduling
Simulation & Modeling
Smart/Multifunctional Materials
Software Tools (Analysis, Design)
Telemetry (see also Control & Monitoring)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Training Concepts & Architectures
Transport/Traffic Control
Vehicles (see also Autonomous Systems)
Verification/Validation Tools

Form Generated on 09-03-12 17:04