NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-2 H9.03-8310
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Flight Dynamics and Navigation Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: NonLinear Parallel OPtimization Tool

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CU Aerospace, LLC
301 North Neil Street, Suite 502
Champaign, IL 61820 - 3169
(217) 239-1703

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Alexander Ghosh
301 North Neil Street, Suite 502
Champaign, IL 61820 - 3169
(217) 721-2875

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David Carroll
301 North Neil Street, Suite 502
Champaign, IL 61820 - 3169
(217) 239-1703

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 5
End: 7

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Flight Dynamics and Navigation Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The technological advancement proposed is a novel large-scale Noninear Parallel OPtimization Tool (NLPAROPT). This software package will eliminate the computational bottleneck suffered by many standard NASA-utilized analysis tools such as GMAT, EMTG and NASTRAN. Currently these programs rely on serial nonlinear programming solvers such as the Sparse Nonlinear OPTimizer (SNOPT), despite the fact that their own codebases support full parallelization. The same is true for tools used in other industries for applications such as electric power grid optimization, nuclear reactor control and stock market analysis. The NLPAROPT algorithm can be quickly incorporated into these existing software solutions via a user-friendly interface and will offer an instant runtime reduction for very large-scale optimization problems. Irrespective of runtime gains, Phase I analysis has shown that the NLPAROPT algorithm is capable of outperforming industry standard serial solvers such as SNOPT for tested problems, including complex trajectory design problems. The Phase I effort has also identified several potential computational research avenues that, once completed in Phase II, will result in massive execution speed increases, further improving the attractiveness of this new parallel algorithm.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA currently utilizes SNOPT, IPOPT, and WORHP software packages for astrodynamics applications such as the design of complex spacecraft trajectories and other optimal control problems, but could greatly benefit from the introduction of a parallel large-scale, nonlinear, sparse optimization solution, one which does not have its speed bottlenecked by a single processor. The new parallelized NLP technique implemented in NLPAROPT has already been shown to result in a reduction in execution time, thereby reducing the optimization's turn-around time and improve communications between both designers and scientists. Our solver would act as a significant force multiplier for existing NASA tools such as GMATs collocation-based low-thrust transcription and EMTGs inner loop solver. Additionally, NLPAROPT could improve run-times across all forms of problem optimizations, including trajectory design, resource management, attitude determination and control, and vehicle design.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Government agencies other than NASA, as well as commercial markets, would benefit from the improvements inherent in NLPAROPT, especially given the widespread use of nonlinear programming techniques as a primary method for solving some of the most difficult technical computing problems. For example, in economics the product-mix with price elasticity problem can be formulated as a nonlinear program and solved with a tool like NLPAROPT. Another field that depends heavily on efficient and robust NLP solvers is operations research, with the facility location problem and network optimization problems being archetypal examples of operation research challenges that may be cast as nonlinear programs. Furthermore, industries dealing with problems such as power grid design, weather prediction, and crop planting optimization could benefit from NLPAROPT?s speed enhancements.

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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Navigation & Guidance
Relative Navigation (Interception, Docking, Formation Flying; see also Control & Monitoring; Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Software Tools (Analysis, Design)

Form Generated on 03-07-17 15:43