NASA STTR 2017 Solicitation
FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY
|PROPOSAL NUMBER:||171 T15.01-9848|
|RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE:||Distributed Electric Propulsion Aircraft Research|
|PROPOSAL TITLE:||Methodology for Distributed Electric Propulsion Aircraft Control Development with Simulation and Flight Demonstration|
|SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC):||RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):|
|NAME:||Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc.||NAME:||The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, OSPRA|
|STREET:||P.O. Box 595||STREET:||1901 South First Street, Suite A|
|STATE/ZIP:||CA 93448 - 9665||STATE/ZIP:||IL 61820 - 7473|
|PHONE:||(805) 275-1053||PHONE:||(217) 333-2187|
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
P.O. Box 595
Pismo Beach, CA 93448 - 9665
CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
P.O. Box 595
Pismo Beach, CA 93448 - 9665
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Distributed Electric Propulsion Aircraft Research 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)
In the proposed STTR study, Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. (ESAero) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) will create a methodology for the development of a flight control algorithm featuring differential thrust provided by a distributed electric propulsion (DEP) system. The focal piece of the study is a dynamically scaled Cirrus SR22T UAV at UIUC, which will be modified to include multiple electrical ducted fans (EDF) arranged to exhibit strong propulsion-airframe integration (PAI) effects. Although aeropropulsive efficiency of the DEP system will be monitored, the team's goal is to establish a methodology which can be applied to any DEP aircraft regardless of how well it is designed. The study will include a combination of low-order aerodynamic simulation via OpenVSP/VSPAERO, dynamics modeling in MATLAB/Simulink, wind tunnel characterization of the EDF units, and flight testing to educate and demonstrate the flight control algorithm. During Phase I, the team will characterize the baseline vehicle as the control for the experiment and then compare measured control authority of the DEP system against a simple thrust-line dynamics model to determine the influence of PAI. Subsequent phases will develop and demonstrate closed-loop flight control using differential thrust from the DEP system.
POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Flight control of DEP aircraft using differential thrust has been identified as an enabling technology for ARMD's Strategic Thrust #3 (Ultra-Efficient Commercial Vehicles) and #4 (Transition to Low-Carbon Propulsion). In particular, it is a major component of the envisioned hybrid electric distributed propulsion (HEDP) integrated autonomous controller (IAC) (a.k.a. "super controller") which is sought to realize the proposed efficiency, safety, and reliability of HEDP aircraft. Upon completion of this study, the team will be able to apply their experience in DEP flight control system development to other NASA flight test programs such as the X-57 "Maxwell" and the upcoming Ultra-Efficient Subsonic Transport (UEST) X-Plane program. Additionally, lessons learned from the program regarding the as-built effectiveness of and additional requirements associated with control using DEP differential thrust can inform conceptual design studies for futuristic aircraft "Vision Vehicles" including ESAero's ECO-150 and NASA's STARC-ABL and N3-X.
POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The knowledge gained from this STTR study in conjunction with other ongoing research efforts would enable ESAero to independently develop integrated aircraft controllers (IAC) for hybrid electric distributed propulsion (HEDP) systems. With the growing emergence of HEDP aircraft designs, this ability to take such a highly nuanced system and make it fly both safely and efficiently will be in high demand by commercial and military customers. Additionally, the tools developed as a result of this study can be marketed for engineering of commercial, government, or military aircraft applications and conceptual designs. The development of a validated, robust DEP UAV flight test bed will also provide a one-of-a-kind experimental capability for an emerging niche technology. This platform can be used for commercially-funded testing of industry DEP concepts as distributed propulsion aircraft move towards production.
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)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Data Acquisition (see also Sensors)