This SBIR project proposes to develop a computational tool for fan broadband noise prediction based on a large-eddy-simulation (LES) approach. The proposed approach combines the advantages of those existing high-fidelity methods in literature for simulation of NASA 22-in fan noise source diagnostic test (SDT), i.e., the LES with the WALE SGS model for turbulence simulation and modeling, and the Cartesian mesh approach for rotor-stator coupling, and the consideration of the whole rotor and stator annulus in simulation. Much more accurate spatial discretization schemes will also be used for improving the prediction of turbulent eddies and acoustic waves. As a feasibility study, the Phase I outcome will demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed LES approach for accurate simulation of NASA 22-in fan noise source diagnostic test. Therefore, it is meaningful to fully develop, demonstrate, and validate this software tool in Phase II.
The Advanced Air Transport Technology (AATT) and Commercial Supersonic Technology (CST) Projects would benefit from the developed computational tool that could be used to predict the performance and noise impacts of those novel engine installations for noise reduction. The Transformational Tools and Technologies (TTT) Project would benefit from the developed computational tool to enhance the ability to consider acoustics earlier in the aircraft design process.
DoD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program would benefit from this computational tool that could provide them a useful tool for fan broadband noise prediction. Design engineers in engine manufacturers can use the developed computational tool to explore various noise reduction concepts and validate fast, low-fidelity analytical methods for trade-off studies and performance prediction.
For deep-space habitats, especially ones left in orbit around a destination planet or Moon, astronaut time at the habitat will be both infrequent and very valuable and it would be extremely desirable for robots to outfit the habitat prior and to allow robots to perform maintenance and logistics tasks. While theoretically it may be possible to design robots to interact with a habitat designed without robotic interactions in mind, the addition of cooperative robotic interaction features can dramatically simplify and improve the robustness of the robotic outfitting hardware. These robotic interaction aids ideally can serve three purposes: 1) helping robots determine their relative pose and position with respect to the target, and their relative location/pose inside or outside the habitat, 2) identifying what the objects are, especially if the objects are mobile like soft-goods bags, and 3) simplifying physical interactions with the object, including anchoring to and manipulating the object. To enable these types of robotic interactions, Altius proposes leveraging our existing commercially available (TRL8/9) “DogTag” grapple fixture and developing a lightweight, low-cost, passive robotic magnetic interface (IVR DogTags) that can be attached to various habitat structures and objects. We envision using our patented electropermanent magnet (EPM) based gripper for interfacing with the IVR DogTags. The IVR interface includes: 1) a thin ferromagnetic material layer that allows robots to magnetically grip the DogTag, 2) a long-range optical fiducial printed and attached to the DogTag’s surface that allows the robot to determine relative pose and position of the object & 3)methods for attaching the DogTag to the desired object including rigid surfaces and soft-goods objects. The other half of the interface is the EPM gripper, which uses an electrically switched permanent magnet with no moving parts to enable secure attachment to and release from the IVR DogTag interfaces.
The proposed solution provides an active electropermanent magnet (EPM) based gripper head integrated with the Astrobee and a passive robotic magnetic interface (IVR DogTags) that can be attached to various habitat structures and objects to perform IVR logistics, cargo management and outfitting activities. This solution is applicable to ISS, Gateway and other facilities that benefit from robotic maintenance of habitat sub-assemblies for long duration missions.
The proposed solution provides supports various habitat structures and objects to perform IVR logistics, cargo management and outfitting activities. This solution is applicable to commercial facilities (Axiom/Nanoracks) that would benefit from robotic maintenance of habitat sub-assemblies for long duration missions.
Modeling aircraft aeroelastic response is an incredibly challenging process fraught with many questions regarding the approaches and assumptions in both structural and aerodynamic analyses. Modeling 3-D, full scale, fully coupled, aerodynamic and structural responses with high-fidelity computational approaches is only viable for evaluating a few conditions within the flight envelope, but intractable for defining a flutter boundary over a range of flight speeds. To alleviate these challenges researchers have developed reduced order models to facilitate the aerodynamic calculations at a fraction of the cost. These methods are incredibly powerful, but present significant problems when attempting to apply in the case of highly nonlinear flows as they can be costly to maintain fidelity required in the modeled response. These nonlinear flows play a critical role in the aeroelastic response and as such require that the reduced order models provide a high level of fidelity.
The proposed research will demonstrate a framework that decomposes nonlinear aerodynamic responses, in the form of Generalized Aerodynamic Forces based upon dynamical models which are then extended to the nonlinear range based upon the concept of a Volterra series. By decomposing the Volterra series into the linear and nonlinear parts a significant cost savings can be leveraged as the linear terms can remain fixed for a given choice of flow parameters and the Volterra series need only serve to reproduce the nonlinear response of the system. By taking this approach to modeling the aerodynamics we hypothesize an improvement in the reduced order model’s ability to reproduce an accurate nonlinear representation of the aerodynamics at a greatly reduced cost. This will aid in both increasing the fidelity of aeroelastic predictions and provide a valuable resource to utilize in the development of aeroservoelastic control logic.
Applications are far reaching as all airframes require aeroelastic evaluation in the design stages to ensure safe flight. Aircraft that operate in the high-subsonic or transonic regime where complex shock structures can develop and move rapidly over the wing surfaces are also strong candidates for this modeling approach. Aircraft with structural complexity that can introduce strong aerodynamic interactions such as engine/nacelle/pylon interference or store load out may also be viable candidates for this modeling approach.
Interest in airframes from DoD may include fighter squadrons with varying store load outs. This is a challenging problem as the store loadout and positioning can produce significant aerodynamic shock interactions and other nonlinearities. There may also be opportunities in the private aircraft industry as well for aircraft designs are pushed outside the bounds that are currently well understood.
The ambient solar magnetic field plays a key role in heliophysics in general and in space weather in particular. It is especially important for the propagation of solar energetic particles (SEPs), guiding them along the magnetic field from their generation near the Sun to locations in the heliosphere. Solar Particle Events (SPEs), arising from SEPs produced by solar eruptions, represent a significant hazard for humans and technological infrastructure. Providing longer range (2-3 day) forecasts of SPEs and/or all-clear periods is highly desirable but difficult to achieve, because a forecast must occur prior to the start of the eruption. Given a flare/CME forecast, a major source of uncertainty in SPEs is the magnetic connectivity. The goal of our project is to develop CORHEL-E (CORHEL with Evolution). CORHEL-E will provide time-dependent coronal and solar wind solutions, driven by evolving boundary conditions provided by photospheric flux transport models. In phase I of our project, we will demonstrate time-dependent estimates of magnetic connectivity of Earth for specific time periods, using ensembles of solutions to assess variability and uncertainty. At the completion of phase II, we will provide CORHEL-E to the CCMC, capable of running continuously. Given a flare/eruption forecast from a threatening active region, CORHEL-E will allow the user to assess the regional connectivity and likelihood that SEPs can reach Earth or other heliospheric locations of interest. Using STAT, an eruption can actually be simulated and particle fluxes predicted. Longer term, our vision for an operational capability is a near-real time model of the solar corona and inner heliosphere, updated with new magnetic (and other) observations as they become available. CMEs would be initiated in the model after being observed, and then be simulated as part of the continuous solution. The development of CORHEL-E is a crucial next step towards this goal.
SPEs are of particular concern to NASA SRAG, which is responsible for ensuring that the radiation exposure received by astronauts remains below established safety limits. Connectivity of the solar magnetic field plays a crucial role in determining where the particles propagate. CORHEL-E will provide a tool for assessing this connectivity. It complements tools presently used in operations such as MAG4, and can be used in conjunction with the SPE Threat Assessment Tool (STAT) already delivered to the CCMC at NASA GSFC.
SPEs are of concern to many government and commercial entities dependent on satellites and aircraft. For example, NOAA SWPC provides space weather information to customers requiring forecasting of SPEs. The Air Force is also interested in mitigation strategies for SPEs. CORHEL-E can improve longer range forecasting of SPE events/all clear forecasts for these agencies as well.
Global Technology Connection, Inc. and its partners propose to develop a flexible state-of-the-art capability focused on identification of trajectory anomalies, based on energy metrics, using a fusion of data from multiple sources (e.g., OpenSky Network data, Traffic Flow Management System Data, Automated Surface Observing System Data) in order to identify and isolate potential causal factors and/or anomalies, and help improve safety of operations in terminal areas.
Future aviation systems such as the NextGen, and Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) are moving towards utilize 4D trajectory management concept in order to improve efficiency, reliability, sustainability and cost-effectiveness of aircraft operations. This will require aircraft to follow an assigned 4D-trajectory (time-constrained trajectory) with high precision. By detecting trajectory anomalies, safety-critical risks include flight outside of approved airspace, unsafe proximity to people/property, loss of command, control, power, loss or degraded GPS, and engine failure can be identified in real time to be used for prognosis and resolution of system-wide threats.
Despite numerous implementations of anomaly detection using flight data, there are limited frameworks that fused data from multiple sources (weather information, system level metrics related to congestion, traffic, etc.), which is what we are proposing by performing the following technical tasks: Identification of data sources, Data fusion, Deep autoencoder model development, Post-processing.
In phase I, we develop a prototype for proof-of-concept. In Phase II, we add other data sources and develop a commercial prototype for NASA applications and design a verification & validation process to meet the NASA requirements. In Phase III, we develop the commercial version of the software package for NASA and Non-NASA applications, and continue commercialization of the intended product.
Flight Works is proposing to expand its micropump-fed propulsion technology to the development and demonstration of a low cost, compact, high performance lunar transfer stage designed for small launchers like Rocket Lab’s Electron and Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One. With a total wet mass around 230 kg, the transfer stage is designed to provide high-thrust, high delta-V capabilities of over 3 km/s to one or more nanosat payloads weighing more than 30 kg. It will be to propel small spacecraft (CubeSat or nanosat) from Low Earth Orbit on to Trans Lunar Injection trajectories. The system can either stay attached to the small primary payload for long term mission operations, or deploy the latter at its destined lunar orbit.
This proposed effort builds on the extensive propulsion technology developed at Flight Works in the area of micro-pump-fed propulsion systems, combined with space system-level know-how of its principals, to provide a stage with unique benefits. These include compact, conformal low-pressure tanks/stage minimizing range safety operations and costs; high thrust for rapid, efficient transfer (compared with electric propulsion systems which have to be launched at higher orbits to avoid low altitude drag and which can require months to reach the targeted orbit); minimized size provided by a high performance propulsion system; and attitude control system during the delta-V maneuver which can ride along for cislunar operations.
With a stage designed to provide over 3 km/s delta-V to a nanosat payload, it can be used for NASA lunar and interplanetary applications. These include missions similar to the NASA Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE), or follow-ons to NASA’s Mars CubeSat missions MarCO-A and -B. It can also be used for NASA LEO and GEO nanosat missions, whether launched as dedicated or as secondary payloads.
Non-NASA applications include commercial and DoD missions requiring high orbital maneuver capabilities. These include missions on small dedicated launch vehicles where additional delta-V is required, as well as space-tug applications on Falcon-9 rideshare launches. The stage can also be used for other applications such as orbital inspectors.
The magnetic sail, or magsail, is a new technology that can be used for deorbiting spacecraft. In the magsail deorbiting system, a loop of aluminum or copper wire is deployed at the end of life of an Earth orbiting spacecraft, and energized with an electric current, producing a magnetic field. The magnetic field forces the wire into a circular loop, and creates a small magnetosphere around the spacecraft. This magnetosphere in tern then creates drag against the ambient plasma surrounding the Earth, causing the spacecraft to deorbit. For typical configurations, the magsail wire mass required to create a drag area of a given size is two orders of magnitude less than that needed using solar sail or any other physical material. In addition to being a uniquely advantageous technology for LEO spacecraft deorbiting, the normal-conducting magsail can serve as a precursor technology to superconducting magsails capable of generating sufficient field to effectively propel interplanetary spacecraft using the momentum flux of the solar wind. In the proposed program, the potential performance of the magsail deorbiting system will be analyzed, design options compared, deployment and operation simulated, and the concept validated by means of computer analysis and laboratory tests.
Magsails using normal conductors can lower spacecraft orbits around Earth, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Uranus or Neptune Magsails could be used to enable reusable orbit transfer vehicles or TLI stages to return to LEO without requiring either the expenditure of propellant or aerobraking. Advanced superconducting magsails could be used to deliver NASA space probes to interplanetary destinations, provide shielding against solar flares, or to decelerate very fast interstellar spacecraft without the expenditure of propellant.
Magsails using normal conductors can be used to create drag against Earth’s ionosphere, enabling the deorbiting of commercial and military satellites with a very low mass system. Magsails could be used to deorbit GTO stages or enable reusable orbit transfer vehicles to return to LEO without requiring either the expenditure of propellant or aerobraking.
The purpose of sub-topic Z8.08 is to demonstrate the ability to manufacture, test and control ultra-low-cost, ultra-stable telescope systems for 12U CubeSats. Goodman Technologies (GT) offers this proposal in partnership with the Hawaiian Nanotechnology Laboratory (HNL) and the Hawaiian Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, (UHM, a Minority Serving Institution). Using an ultra-stable telescope that is integral to the 12U CubeSat structure will provide the requisite dimensionally stability for precision pointing of the CubeSat to perform proximity imaging of nearby spacecraft, the moon, or Mars. We will define with our NASA customer (ARC, GSFC, JPL) a reference proximity imaging mission which takes advantage of the 20:1 telephoto ratio of the ultra-stable RoboSiC telescope. Key parameters to be determined for the mission and an assumed camera resolution (e.g., TBD megapixel camera) are: operating range (e.g., 1-100 km) and the resolving capability as a function of object size and distance (e.g., 1-10 cm resolution at a distance of 1 km for an object that is 5-m in length). We will define primary and secondary mirror radius of curvature, clear aperture, surface figure, surface roughness and optical coating requirements (e.g., enhanced/protected aluminum or a proprietary Goodman developed VIS/MWIR/LWIR radiation survivable coating with 10-year mission life), diffraction limited performance out to a full field of view (FOV) of TBD degrees, and acceptable performance out to TBD degrees. Our RoboSiC technologies are “Mission Agnostic” and tunable to requirements. GT recently demonstrated 3D printed and additively manufactured silicon carbide mirror substrates (RoboSiC) at the 25-cm scale for a balloon experiment (BE). This would fill a Critical Technology Gap (extreme dimensional stability) for future missions such as Origins Space Telescope (OST) and Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR).
Using an ultra-stable telescope that is integral to the 12U CubeSat structure will provide the requisite dimensionally stability for precision pointing of the CubeSat to perform proximity imaging of nearby spacecraft, the moon, or Mars. Other missions are LUVOIR, HabEx, OST, SPIRIT, LISA , the Balloon Experiments GHAPS and PICTURE-C , and Low-Cost Compact Reflective Telescope for NIR/SWIR Optical Communication. The project meets the needs of multiple scientists at the lead and participating centers, and NASA Priority 1-3 Technology Gaps.
Low cost, lightweight, stable structures are required for Astronomy, optical instruments for imaging, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions for police and paramilitary units, fire fighters, power and pipeline monitoring, search and rescue, atmospheric and ocean monitoring, imagery and mapping for resource management, and disaster relief and communications.
In this proposal we propose to evaluate the performance of a novel configuration of superconducting electric motor. The application of this motor is propelling partially- or fully-electric aircraft. The technology has the potential to quadruple the existing state of the art in aircraft motor specific power. Gains in specific power come from several aspects of the design:
The axial flux configuration is used rather than the radial flux. Low-temperature superconductor (LTS) is used for the rotor rather than permanent magnets or high-temperature superconductor. The LTS is cooled via conduction cooling rather than helium-bath cooling. An optimized Halbach winding array concentrates magnetic flux and removes the need for back iron. A relatively high rotational speed allows for direct coupling to a propeller or ducted fan. A cryogenic Litz wire stator is used to reduce dissipation and heat transfer to the rotor. A relatively high pole count for a superconducting machine allows greater efficiency at higher electrical frequency.
In Phase I we propose to evaluate the principles using multiphysics modeling. We propose to design a 100 kg, 1 MW motor and a 1000 kg, 20 MW motor. For Phase II we would build and test the three test articles relevant to the 1 MW motor. A 1 MW motor coupled to a propeller is sufficient to replace a turboprop engine in a small business or regional airline aircraft. A 20 MW motor coupled to a ducted fan is sufficient to replace a jet engine in a large passenger aircraft.
This proposal is relevant to commercial aircraft fuel efficiency and emissions reduction, and electrification of aircraft propulsion. These are NASA technology roadmap Technology Areas (TA) of TA15.3.1, TA15.3.3, TA15.4.1, and TA15.4.2 and NASA Technology Taxonomies (TX) of TX01.3.4, TX01.3.8, TX01.3.9, and TX01.3.10.
A 1 MW motor coupled to a propeller is sufficient to replace a turboprop engine in a small business or regional airline aircraft. Roughly 600 of these aircraft are delivered per year. A 20 MW motor coupled to a ducted fan is sufficient to replace a jet engine in a large passenger aircraft such as the Boeing 737-800. High-power electric motors will be required for the DoD’s electric battlefield.
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are poised to transform modern life. However, there remain barriers to increased adoption. Current autonomous systems have poor perception of the environment. At the same time, detecting and avoiding non-cooperative aircraft in all weather is a key requirement for operation in the National Airspace (NAS). To bridge this gap, KMB Telematics Inc. is proposing the development of a low size, weight, power, and cost (SWAP-C) imaging radar for UAS sense-and-avoid applications. This sensor is based on 18 months of IRAD conducted by KMB Telematics to develop imaging radar for the automotive market. Automotive radar has seen a flurry of innovation in recent years, resulting in inexpensive, high-resolution sensors. This proposed Phase I effort will focus on the technical objectives needed to show the feasibility of adapting these technologies for UAS sense-and-avoid. By meeting these objectives, this radar will be suitable for use on small commercial package delivery UAS for which there is currently no available sense-and-avoid sensor. The proposed radar will be smaller, lighter, and more inexpensive than currently available technologies. The radar will consume less power and will be designed for redundancy and fault tolerance. The goal is for the radar developed under this SBIR to (1) accelerate the Integrated Aviation Systems Program’s ongoing effort to expand NAS access to broader classes of UAS, and (2) allow commercial package delivery UAS operators to receive FAA waivers for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations. Phase I will result in simulation, analysis, and feasibility determination needed to show that the imaging radar approach is capable of being used on lightweight, power constrained UAS platforms. Phase I will also result in a design that is ready to be prototyped in Phase II.
This sensor would allow IASP to use smaller, cheaper UAS to perform research like the development of sense and avoid algorithms, sensor fusion, pattern recognition, and decision-making algorithms. The sensor could be used in a ground-based configuration to assist AOSP’s research related to UAS path planning, ATC, and non-cooperative surveillance. In space, this radar could be used as an Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) sensor for terrain mapping, for spacecraft docking, and for On Orbit-Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (OSAM).
This sensor would enable commercial package delivery UAS operators to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). This is a large, growing market. Another potential market is counter-UAS around critical infrastructure, selling to DHS, DoD, and and commercial integrators. Also interesting is commercial spaceflight, in precision applications like asteroid mining and landing reusable launch vehicles.
Currently, there is a need for sensing technology that can reliably detect microbial growth at its initial stages for air, surfaces, and potable water, well before substantial microbial growth, contamination, and microbial-induced corrosion can occur. The current approach used to determine microbial growth is through analytical microbiology, which relies on sampling from tanks and analysis of these grab samples in a high-tech laboratory with specialized equipment (e.g., polymerase chain reaction (PCR) DNA techniques). There are several drawbacks to this current approach. First, analysis of the dynamics of microbial growth and microbial contamination is completely lost; single grab samples over time are unlikely to show how fast the microbial growth is advancing, and if enough grab samples are taken to try to track the dynamics of microbial growth, there is then a sample number/volume challenge in being able to analyze many samples in a timely manner. Second, an analytical instrumentation laboratory requires highly specialized and trained scientists and operators, which limits the feasibility of many operations having good access to such a laboratory. Third, this approach is time intensive; it often takes days to weeks to obtain and analyze grab samples in an analytical laboratory. Finally, this approach does not offer any real-time or online information about microbial growth and therefore is likely to miss early-stage growth where identification and mitigation are ideal; the longer the microbes are allowed to grow, the worse the damage is to the air, surface, and water quality. For all of these reasons, on-line, inline technology is desired and required to enable spacecraft operations to easily identify microbial contamination in air, surfaces, and potable water early enough to address safety and health quality concerns.
Microbial and fungal contamination of the air, surfaces, and water resources on spacecraft is a major health hazard for astronauts. The risks include infection and illness, the release of microbially-produced toxins, alteration of astronaut immune systems, and the degradation of materials and equipment on spacecraft. Therefore, the real-time monitoring of microbial growth for air, surface, and water environments for crewed and uncrewed operations would provide ample warning for microbial growth prevention methods to be implemented.
The simplicity and elegance of this approach are that the array can be used for any mixture of metabolites across gas and liquid phase because it does not rely on one-to-one binding. This allows the technology to be easily implemented into different microbiological testing markets such as the agricultural industry, the water industry, the healthcare industry, and the oil and gas industry.
In the proposed R&D, Jeeva will design, implement, and characterize a protocol extension for an ultra low power backscatter networking platform which makes possible microsecond-scale time synchronization between ultra low-power sensor nodes and a wireless hub/aggregator. This will allow the unique benefits of backscatter networking to be applied in instrumentation systems for flight test and other telemetry applications, where time synchronization is a prerequisite.
Wireless instrumentation for flight testing and telemetry is viewed by ARMD as a known technology gap, and a technical challenge in IASP and FDC projects. However, implementation of conventional wireless sensing introduces concerns around battery life, weight, and volume, as well as mismatches between wireless protocol features and instrumentation system requirements.
Backscatter networking technology enables wireless data transfer at 2-3 orders of magnitude lower power than conventional radios, making it the lowest power radio link available. This translates to longer battery life in typical wireless sensor nodes, where most of the battery capacity is expended in operating the wireless link. Backscatter holds promise to substantially reduce the need to replace batteries, and/or reduce the weight/volume of batteries. However, this emerging technology doesn't yet include a means of over-the-air time synchronization, which is needed in instrumentation and telemetry applications where measurements must be taken synchronously or time-stamped.
Upon completing this project, Jeeva will have extended the backscatter networking protocol to enable wireless time synchronization between sensor node and hub, allowing synchronous data captures and time-stamping of data. A testbed will have been developed for characterization of system performance. This project will bring backscatter technology closer to readiness for applications in wireless flight test instrumentation and other wireless avionics applications.
In this program, Freedom Photonics is proposing to develop a low SWaP, high-power fast-tunable semiconductor laser source operating at 852 nm, critically needed for deployment of practical atomic interferometry gravimeters being developed by NASA GSFC. In addition, we will explore possibilities to further reduce the complexity, size, weight and power of the entire laser system through photonic integration of other functions to the laser
Atomic interference gravimetry, atomic clocks
Atomic clocks, fiber laser pumping
This SBIR Phase I project will demonstrate that high radiation-resistance can be elicited from nanostructured media comprised of semiconducting nanoparticles derived from size-governed wide band-gap CdTe or PbTe. In order to transform space-based particle sensors, nanocrystalline semiconductors provide an attractive material basis because they present a means of: 1) decreasing the underlying material cost by utilizing a solution-based fabrication methodology, 2) increasing the range of candidate materials by including the narrow-gap semiconductors, 3) increasing the exciton multiplicity upon the impingement of radiation by utilizing multi-exciton generation, and 4) increasing the radiation resistance because the introduction of a high density of nanoparticles can convey pronounced improvement in the radiation hardness of the material. In order to realize these properties, several experimental challenges must be overcome, the surmounting of which is one of the objects of the proposed research, during which we will: 1) utilize self-assembly to realize close-packed quantum-dot domains where the charge transport is optimized, and 2) extend the size of those domains to macroscopic size. The research is designed to not only deliver a high-performance radiation resistant sensor that can be commercialized but it will also advance basic physics by studying the interactions between energetic particles and strongly-confined charge carriers. By finding general material-design methods to suppress both radiation-induced damage and the stochastic thermal loss component in semiconductor materials, one can greatly increase the charge-conversion efficiency, which impacts the resolution of sensing devices, such as the particle detection application targeted, and the energy efficiency of energy harvesting materials, such as those used in solar-cells.
The higher spectroscopic performance in a radiation-hard package allows one to better correlate the solar particle emissions with the driving feature near the photosphere, thus helping to identify the origins and causes of the solar wind and the Sun’s magnetic field. Thus future NASA heliophysics missions will gain far greater specificity in mapping the solar-driven particles. Beyond heliophysics, fine energy resolution can be used to precisely characterize atmospheric and soil samples captured and ionized during planetary studies.
For the sensing of optical photons and nuclear radiation, the successful development of a low cost, high performance material will stand as a viable alternative to both single crystal semiconductors and scintillator-based detectors. Thus, optical cameras, medical imaging instruments, military radiation instruments, and rad-hard nuclear power would all be impacted by the successful development.
X-ray computed tomography (CT) is a widely used nondestructive evaluation (NDE) method for quality control and post-build inspection in additively manufactured (AM) components. The limitations of such NDE methods and the need to validate the capability of these methods on an ongoing basis are increasingly recognized. Automated, metallography-based serial sectioning offers a reliable method to establish ground truth data on the flaw populations as well as microstructural variations of AM components. Such data can be used to validate, and subsequently improve the reliability of NDE methods. UES proposes a project aimed at establishing comparison methods and workflows for validating CT (and potentially other NDE data) with ground truth from serial sectioning, and developing probability of detection (POD) curves. The knowledge gained from these efforts will inform CT scan strategies for improved flaw detection in AM components, evaluate flaw detectability in CT using serial sectioning as a ground truth comparison, and quantify the risk of the flaws absent from the CT data sets. Phase II extends the work of validation into the area of in situ detection and validation of in situ sensing methodologies using thermal and visual data.
To support NASA’s needs for environmental particulate matter monitoring, Applied Particle Technology is proposing the development of a multiwavelength optical speciation technology to measure airborne particulate matter size and concentration along with speciation data in a compact low power system. The basis for this technology is the development of an innovative multiwavelength ensemble measurement in combination with an optical particle counter to provide particle size distribution data and identification of aerosol material using optical speciation. Previous prototypes measured particle size distributions up to 10 micrometers, mass concentrations for PM2.5 and PM10, while identifying the particle material as light scattering or light absorbing. The focus of this Phase 1 work will be to mature this technology through broader capabilities of particulate matter speciation for smoke, lunar dust, and general dust, by improving multiwavelength sensor designs and integrating with a dynamic flow control system. Results from this work will enable a Phase II project for an integrated robust, miniaturized, low power instrument capable of speciating smoke, lunar dust, and general dust for microgravity, reduced gravity, and reduced pressure environments.
Environmental particulate matter monitoring with speciation capabilities is a highly sought after capability for applications on the International Space Station and other spacecraft atmospheres. Future missions to the Moon and Mars can benefit from this technology to help manage cleanliness levels and dust intrusion in airlocks and main cabin areas.
Potential non-NASA applications include environmental air quality and climate research, industrial air quality monitoring, smart city monitoring, mining, oil and gas, and manufacturing. Derivatives of this technology can be used to develop innovate sensing products for source apportionment and exposure monitoring.
HJ Science & Technology Inc. proposes to develop a fully integrated and automated instrument for performing rapid detection and monitoring of microbes on surfaces and air environments. This technology supports NASA’s Planetary Protection goals of protecting solar system bodies from biological contamination as well as protecting Earth from life forms possibly returned from those extraterrestrial bodies. Specifically, the proposed instrument autonomously and rapidly enumerates bioburden on surface and air environments of cleanrooms, spacecrafts, and payload hardware. In addition to measuring the total number of microbes, the instrument distinguishes between microbe states, such as viable organisms or spores, relevant in Planetary Protection practices. This instrument stems from our novel ChargeSwitch Concentration and Purification (CSCP) technology that bridges the gap between large volume sample processing and small volume genomic detection without sacrificing cell capture efficiency. In Phase I, we will integrate our previously developed CSCP prototype with sample processing and qPCR to quantify microbes on surface and air environments, as well as to differentiate between viable organisms and spores within the sample. In Phase II, we will construct and deliver a fully integrated prototype for autonomous microbial monitoring.
The proposed microbial detection instrument is ideal to support the Planetary Protection’s goal of reducing cross-contamination of terrestrial and possible extraterrestrial life forms by rapidly quantifying bioburden during preparation of spacecraft and autonomously monitors microbes during missions to and from extraterrestrial bodies. Planetary Protections engineers can rapidly validate cleanliness of spacecraft hardware and assembly areas, improve decontamination based on real-time data, and autonomously monitor contamination during missions.
The proposed microbial detection instrument is naturally suited for pathogen detection and monitoring in water and food supply industries on Earth. Moreover, the autonomous monitoring capability of our proposed instrument is ideal for cleanroom monitoring in manufacturing or pharmaceutical environments.
Advancements in rocket propulsion system development evolve through the use of safe, reliable and cost-effective ground tests that reduce space propulsion system risk. The maintenance and improvement of essential ground test facilities that replicate launch and staging environments represent investments that enable meeting National space exploration and commercial use goals. Innovative software tools that offer improved analysis methods for minimizing program test cost, time and risk while meeting environmental and safety regulations and are thus necessary for supporting state-of-the-art propulsion system test facilities. The deleterious environment experienced by test structures and components during rocket engine tests may be mitigated by a water suppression system which rapidly injects a large volume of water into the rocket plume to reduce thermal and acoustic loads. The proposed innovation offers improved techniques for analyzing water suppression mitigation by developing a collection of specialized numerical approaches that accurately capture and handle the behavior of the gas/liquid water interface during water injection. The proposed approach will improve predictions across a range of scales to model more accurately the liquid jet behavior and its transition to droplets and vapor (to address thermal loading) and its interaction with shocks and turbulent eddies (for acoustic loading). The advanced tools proposed here offer the ability to design and analyze water suppression systems and the resulting spray patterns to reduce significantly facility maintenance and operating costs while improving safety, reliability and environmental impact.
Advanced water suppression analysis techniques for propulsion systems ground test facilities offer the potential for reductions in facility maintenance and test costs, improvements in platform and test hardware load predictions and more extensive environmental assessments. The proposed liquid injection analysis tool is also applicable to liquid rocket engines and spray coating processes.
The ability to robustly model complex liquid injection and gas/liquid interface dynamics will allow the commercial aerospace and defense industries to improve design and development of new products involving injection and spray processes. Our analysis software can also be applied to liquid rocket engines, spray coating processes and biomedical applications.
The target of this project is to develop a compact and efficient avalanche photodiode (APD) based on Al-rich AlGaN to replace currently used photomultiplier tubes in atomic clocks. The advance over existing approaches is the implementation of single crystal AlN as substrates, which practically eliminates leakage induced by threading dislocations as seen in AlGaN films grown on traditionally employed foreign substrates, such as sapphire and SiC. This enables unprecedented high gain and low noise for the UV detectors. We aim to demonstrate sensitivity over the whole deep-UV range (120 – 200 nm) while being solar and visible blind. We will provide single APDs as well as detector arrays with varying pixel resolution and pixel size. The devices will exhibit very high efficiency (> 40%) and dynamic range with sub-100 V operation. The feasibility of Geiger mode operation and photon counting will also be studied. In addition, we aim to demonstrate high linear gain and avalanche operation by relying on hign probability of electron and low probability of hole ionization for Al molar fractions exceeding 80%. When implemented into Hg-based atomic clocks, as developed for the deep space atomic clocks program, the novel APDs can lead to a significant improvement of the stability and lifetime, while at the same time reduce the volume and constraints of the accompanying electronic circuitry.
We will develop solar blind avalanche photodiodes with sensitivity in the deep-UV to replace currently-used photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) in atomic clocks being developed for the deep space program. These new detectors will be smaller, more stable, lighter, and have longer lifetime than PMTs. The novel detector will also be arranged in large 2D arrays, which will enable application for space observation such as proposed in LUVOIR, for plume detection, and for bio-chem detection applications.
The novel detector will find application in the military, research, and commercial sector for example in bio-chem detections system, for spectroscopy applications, non-line-of-sight communication, solar blind fire detection, and nuclear detection.
A new passive reentry system is proposed for deorbiting spacecraft from low earth orbit (LEO). The proposed DragSail system is based upon a restowable and redeployable concept that allows for increase or decrease of surface area thus modulating aerodynamic drag of the system. Modulation of the drag will allow the system to guide small spacecraft to specific locations at the Von Karman altitude, which is necessary for precision reentry targeting. The primary objective of this DragSail design is to deorbit small spacecraft from LEO altitudes in 25 years or less using a modular DragSail system with minimal weight and stowage volume. The proposed DragSail system is based on NeXolve-developed lightweight solar sail and deployment system technologies. The concept design consists of ultralightweight polyimide thin-film material that is attached to a deployable boom structure to create a flexible DragSail system with shape morphing capability. A key feature of this DragSail system is its ability to deploy as a 2-D structure and then shape morph into a 3-D structure that allows drag in all orbital orientations. Another attractive feature of the design is that the system is a self-contained unit that can be attached to many different types of CubeSats and small satellites.
The DragSail system proposed herein is a scalable system that will allow CubeSats and small satellites up to 200 kg to deorbit from altitudes between approximately 700-1100 km in 25 years or less with the potential for similar results up to 2,000 km. This innovative restowable, redeployable 3-D shape morphing membrane system is capable of increasing cross-sectional area impinging in all positions along an orbital path. Partial deployment or partial morphing will enable changes in orbital decay rates allowing for collision avoidance as well as targeted atmospheric re-entry. This 3D shape morphing capability is a significant advantage over flat (2-D) constructions.
The proposed DragSail system is clearly relevant to numerous NASA applications. Some specific NASA applications for the proposed DragSail system include:
Some more general NASA applications include:
Due to the mandated deorbit requirements, almost any future Earth orbiting small satellite or CubeSat is a potential application for the proposed DragSail system. Some specific Non-NASA applications for the proposed DragSail system include:
This program will develop an innovative Random Finite Set (RFS)-theory-based software tool for Multi-Target Tracking (MTT), using measurement filtering methods that include the Sequential Monte Carlo Generalized Labeled Multi-Bernoulli (SMC-GLMB) and the Student’s t-Mixture GMLB (STM-GLMB) filters. These MTT methods enable classification and tracking of objects within the field of view of spacecraft, including a target spacecraft for rendezvous, secondary spacecraft, orbital debris, or other planetary bodies. In this program, ASTER Labs’ team will develop RFS-based algorithms that will improve the reliability of sensor measurement gathering, object classification, and target tracking, even in the presence of high levels of non-Gaussian noise. The newly developed RFS-MTT Toolset will integrate RFS-based algorithms with Clohessy-Wiltshire-Hill, Tschauner-Hempel, and Karlgaard relative orbital dynamics equations, sensor and uncertainty models, and non-Gaussian noise-generation methods to form a full software package for simulation and analytical purposes. Orbital trajectory data from databases maintained by NORAD that feature multiple rendezvous maneuvers will be utilized along with noise models to create additional measurement uncertainty. This data will be processed via the developed RFS-MTT Toolset to confirm fidelity of the dynamics models, analyze the RFS-based algorithms, and verify the algorithms’ ability to accurately track targets in high-clutter and high sensor noise environments. Phase I will focus on developing the RFS-MTT Toolset and associated algorithms for simulations and performance assessment in orbital spacecraft rendezvous and proximity operations. The project will also evaluate these algorithms for eventual incorporation into NASA’s existing software tools, e.g. GEONS.
This RFS-MTT Toolset will be directly applicable to NASA’s spacecraft rendezvous and proximity operations missions. The software will enhance spacecraft multi-target tracking capabilities, to detect other vehicles and objects in the presence of non-Gaussian noise and false positives. The software applies to cargo transport and delivery, satellite servicing, and orbital debris removal, which will improve modeling and performance in an increasingly cluttered space environment, while having broader applicability to aerial and ground vehicles.
The RFS Multi-Target Tracking algorithms apply to systems requiring data-driven solutions for target identification, classification, and tracking in high-noise environments. Non-NASA applications include military hostile satellite tracking, and covert operations. Commercial applications include UAS integration into civilian aerospace, integration onto UGV systems, and pedestrian flow monitoring.
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project seeks to develop a Neuromorphic Read-Out Integrated Circuit (Neu-ROIC) that will have in-pixel neuromorphic processing and image capturing capabilities. These enable object detection and recognition on-board, allowing less data to transmit to remote or ground station from space. The proposed Neu-ROIC will have substantially high well capacity for high dynamic range and also in-pixel digital conversion capability, high sensitivity for low detector current, integration times from hundreds of microseconds to tens of millisecond, and high temperature operation possibly enabling to replace cryogenic cooling by thermo-electric cooler, and support for both advanced mid-wave infrared (MWIR) and long wave infrared (LWIR) Image Sensors for NASA applications. During Phase I, the Neu-ROIC architecture will be identified, and its configuration will be simulated and designed and demonstrated. The work done in Phase I through simulations, design and demonstration will be extended for full-developed of test chip and its fabrication in Phase II during which the Neu-ROIC will be demonstrated with an IR sensor.
ESTO SLIT-15, Long Wavelength Infrared Image Sensor for Land Imaging, ESTO ACT-17, Very Long Wavelength Infrared Image Sensor for Earth Science Applications, ESTO ACT-QRS-17, Image Sensor for Earth Radiation Budget Instruments, ESTO InVEST-15, Compact Infrared Radiometer in Space, and ESTO IIP-16, Compact Midwave Imaging System. Surface Biology and Geology (SBG) Designated Observable, Planetary Missions, NASA/USGS Sustainable Land Imaging Technology (SLIT) program for new LandSat-10 instruments, sensors, components, and measurement concepts
Security and surveillance, biometrics, machine vision, Agricultural, Traffic, Fire Monitoring, automotive, robotics, Earth observation, remote sensing, and Scientific Imaging. Soldier helmet cams, small UAV cameras, Next Generation Combat Vehicle, Future Vertical Lift, and autonomous military vehicles. Additionally, night vision, surveillance platforms, border patrol, and firefighting.
To support the advancement of NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technologies, specifically in the areas of: (a) verification, validation, and certification and (b) sensing, perception, cognition, decision making, American GNC Corporation (AGNC) and California State University, Northridge (CSUN) are proposing a new technology referred to as a Drone Modular Smart Pallet (DroneMSP). This smart pallet consists of a reconfigurable sensor suite, flexible interfacing unit, processing with SD-card memory, and power management. The components are housed in a small form-factor and lightweight frame that can be easily attached to and detached from different vehicles. This smart pallet is designed to be plug-and-play for use on low-cost, common commercial drones, instantly granting them with the smart capabilities of multi-modality sensing with data acquisition and online sensor fusion processing. This technology will instantly enable NASA scientists and many other researchers to test and deploy their own algorithms and sensors on commercial drones. The collected data can be input into in-flight processing algorithms but will also be saved in public repositories to facilitate research by diverse groups with the ultimate goal of advancing Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and the testing of technologies as needed for unmanned flight in the National Airspace. For demonstrating the utility of the smart pallet, an object recognition and collision avoidance Use Case is included which shows how the sensor suite can provide data to an algorithm to conduct a task of relevance to UAM. Key innovations include: (1) plug-and-play hardware and software; (2) flight optimized design; (3) embedded cognition with obstacle avoidance and (4) data labeling scheme for sensor quality generation.
The DroneMSP system will advance the state-of-the-art of NASA’s unmanned aircraft systems by facilitating the deployment and testing of sensor payloads with data-fusion and intelligent algorithms. The smart pallet can be adapted for use on quadcopter drones, newer mid-sized designs such as the Langley Aerodome 8, and larger fixed wing unmanned aircraft for airborne remote science measurements. DroneMSP will benefit NASA research in safe and efficient Urban Air Mobility, for which centers such as AFRC, ARC, GRC, and LaRC are actively advancing.
The DroneMSP will improve the ability of universities, laboratories, companies, students, and even hobbyists to conduct UAS research in a practical way. Commercial applications include inspection, agriculture, airborne sensing, surveying, delivery, construction and mining, imaging, etc. Government applications include traffic monitoring, search & rescue, border security, disaster management, etc.
Blueshift, LLC doing business as Outward Technologies proposes to develop a Discrete Element Method (DEM) modeling framework using open-source software to simulate the combined thermal and mechanical interactions between rovers and regolith in Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSRs) at the lunar poles. This proposed set of numerical tools innovates on the current state of the art by explicitly solving for both thermal and mechanical interactions between rover components and regolith, and by the inclusion of volatiles such as water ice of multiple forms (e.g. vapor deposited “frost”, blocky deposits, and icy regolith mixtures) in a grain-based DEM model. Rover components including probes, drills, wheels, and soil sampling equipment will be simulated using coupled FEM software to reduce computation time. A coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical model will further be explored for its suitability in simulating volatile phase change and gas transport through cryogenic regolith as represented by a bonded-particle DEM. These numerical modeling capabilities will be integrated within a single, easy to use simulation framework for approximating thermal and mechanical interactions between rovers and regolith across ranges of possible conditions which may be encountered in and near PSRs on the Moon. These combined numerical tools will enable NASA and its partners to inexpensively evaluate hardware designs for lunar ISRU missions aimed at exploration and prospecting for volatiles. These improved modeling capabilities will further de-risk planned missions to the lunar south pole by identifying successful control strategies and hardware designs for ISRU sampling, material handling, increased rover operability, and surviving the lunar night, leading to more rugged and capable rovers for lunar polar missions while reducing their costs related to development and testing.
This project leads to many potential NASA applications including the design and evaluation of rovers and sampling equipment for use in lunar polar regions for ISRU prospecting and exploration missions. The proposed DEM-FEM coupled software and its associated advancements will bring additional knowledge to the challenges faced in lunar polar missions while presenting a low-cost evaluation tool for hardware design, rover control strategies, and volatile sampling. These improvements will lead to lower cost lunar ISRU missions with reduced risk.
By increasing the sampling of the high-dimensional design space of DEM microscale input selection, Outward Technologies will be able to gain a competitive advantage in thermo-mechanical DEM models related to granular mechanics and will be able to incrementally increase our customer base, tailoring services to companies in the field of powder handling, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, and mining.
ZeCoat Corporation will develop a specular, low reflectance coating with high optical density for a star shade’s light blocking membrane. The coatings will be applied to polyimide membrane surfaces such as KaptonTM or CP1TM and will be designed to produce very dark and specular surfaces. The coatings may also be applied directly to rigid substrates such as light baffles.
Low reflectance surfaces are needed for starshades to reduce stray light from entering the telescope from earthshine, moonshine, near-planets, and background stars and galaxies. A specular membrane will ensure only a small solid angle of light coming from directly behind the telescope can produce stray light. A specular coating will also prevent the reflectance phenomenon known as the "opposition effect", which causes an observed brightening in the retro-direction from coherent backscater off a rough surface.
Existing blackening processes such as carbon nanotubes, copper oxides, carbon-filled KaptonTM, and others, result in rough surfaces that reflect and scatter significant energy. Many of these three-dimensional surfaces are easily damaged by abrasion (creating particulate contamination), degrade in humidity during ground storage, degrade in the high radiation environments of space, or in the case of black-KaptonTM, are significantly reflective and relatively heavy. In this SBIR, we will demonstrate the feasibility of creating new materials and processes that alleviate these deficiencies.
In Phase I polyimide membrane materials will be coated with our batch coating process to demonstrate feasibility. The batch process utilizes a moving evaporation source and rotating substrate to achieve coating uniformity over a broad area.
In Phase II, we will develop a novel, roll-to-roll process to manufacture precision optical coatings in the quantities needed for future starshades and commercial applications.
Starshade membranes, WFIRST, HabEx, LUVOIR, LISA, light suppression for light baffles and optical sensors
This technology will help reduce the optical signature of future commercial satellite constellations such as Starlink, which threaten to create excessive light pollution interfering with ground-based telescope observations.
Commercial stray light reduction applications include cell phone cameras, telescope light baffles, and many optical sensor applications.
A fundamental problem with materials and manufacturing at NASA is the need to rapidly, repeatably, and cost-effectively manufacture unique, defect-free, complex parts to build spacecraft at a wide range of size scales. Space vehicles must ensure safety and reliability throughout missions, the durations of which are ever-increasing as the bounds of space are pushed. Therefore, each component used in these vehicles must start with and maintain critical levels of structural integrity.
Additive manufacturing (AM) processes offer a solution to the challenges of manufacturing unique, complex parts rapidly, but can be expensive and error-prone. Powder-based AM processes use expensive and oftentimes hazardous feedstock and produce large amounts of waste material. Wire-based AM processes solve these problems, but are still limited in relation to repeatability, reliability, and the need for inspection to identify defects that significantly reduce part performance.
Solvus Global’s proposed solution is to implement a detection and feedback monitoring software integrated with multiple sensors for defect detection, enabling maximum information and decision-making power for wire-fed AM processes, specifically the high deposition rate Wire Arc AM (WAAM). Solvus Global will utilize their existing AM process monitoring platform, APEX, to collect, store and analyze data from WAAM process parameters and the integrated sensor-suite including laser profilometry and thermal imaging for surface monitoring, arc health analysis, and wire resistivity for feedstock quality assurance. When correlated to process parameters, these methods will improve the consistency of AM processes and establish the foundation for closed-loop control with real-time defect correction. Through this work, Solvus Global will prove the feasibility of using the proposed sensor suite for real-time defect detection during WAAM processing and will determine the path forward towards real-time correction of defects.
Improved repeatability and reliability of AM processes will benefit many of NASA’s high-priority missions and applications, including the Orion crew vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS), commercial crew and commercial cargo programs, and science missions. Specifically, DRM 5 Asteroid Redirect, DRM 6 Crewed to NEA, DRM 7 Crewed to Lunar Surface, DRM 8 Crewed to Mars Moons, DRM 8a Crewed Mars Orbital, and DRM 9 Crewed Mars Surface Missions will all be enabled by Solvus Global’s technology.
Non-NASA markets for WAAM range from marine and automotive applications to renewable energy, oil & gas, and nuclear sectors. Any unique or complex components that need to be rapidly, repeatably, and cost-effectively manufactured and require structural integrity would benefit from improved reliability and repeatability in AM processes.
This SBIR Phase I project will develop a novel processing method for W-Re alloys that will allow for higher performance pin tools for use in friction stir welding (FSW). A solid state process, FSW is fast becoming the process of choice for the manufacture of lighter weight aerospace structures. As such, it is being considered as an essentially complementary joining capability for on-orbit and space environments. Pin tool technology especially for higher temperature FSW continues to be a major challenge and will limit usage in space if not further advanced. An ideal pin tool should have high toughness, good strength, excellent wear resistance, and be chemically inert at welding temperatures. Tungsten-based tools have good fracture toughness, but are also very expensive and experience severe wear and degradation during high temperature welding. A greatly improved, more cost-effective, and near-net process was developed to process pure W components with refined microstructures. If successfully applied to W-Re alloys to enhance the properties, higher performance pin tools may be possible.
Potential NASA Applications include metal structures and components for space launch vehicles, spacecraft, space habitats, airframes, and gas turbines.
Potential Non-NASA Applications include metal structures and components for military and/or commercial space launch vehicles, spacecraft, airframes, air and land-based gas turbines, land vehicles (cars, trucks, trains), sea vehicles (recreation, passenger, cargo), and consumer products (electronics).
AiRANACULUS, Northeastern University and NWRA supported by DRAPER propose an innovative Cross-layer Wide-Band Cognitive Communications Architecture Enabled by Intelligent Direct Digital Transceiver (CLAIRE) to meet the NASA's Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) needs to increase mission science data return, improve resource efficiencies for NASA missions and communication (Comms) networks and ensure resilience in the unpredictable space environment. The CLAIRE cognitive system is envisioned to sense, detect, adapt, and learn from its experiences and environment to optimize the Comms capabilities for the user mission of the network infrastructure. Our Comms Node will reduce both the mission and network operations burden. This will entail research and development of Cross-layer Sensing (CLS) and the CLAIRE Decision Engine (CDE) which uses machine learning over short term and long term along with game theoretic decision to define the strategy and technique to mitigate the interference and restore the network performance. The CLS consists of RF sensing and Cyclostationary-Signal Processing analysis, Cross-layer Feature Extraction and Environment Characterization and Pattern Classification Modules. The CDE consists of the Long-term Response Engine which is driven by the Game-theoretic approaches, and the Rapid Response Engine, which is driven by Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) techniques. We propose to use of Supervised DRL Model Selection and Bootstrap for rapid bootstrapping. Finally, we also propose to conduct research into new state-of-the-art Direct Digital Transceiver (DDTRX) Technologies for potential application for NASA’ s mission. Latest advances in the DDTRX Technology provide sampling rates of 64 Gsps, instantaneous bandwidths of 20 GHz with four coherent channels and 8-bits per sample of quantization. This allows us to use any spectrum from VHF/UHF to Ku/ Ka Band on a single radio which will reduce the SWAP and could be of great interest to NASA.
CLAIRE allows NASA to combine the advanced Cognitive Cross-layer Optimization with the latest breakthroughs in the Direct Digital Transceiver (DDTRX) technology. We anticipate CLAIRE to benefit the following applications: (1) Cross-layer approaches for optimum communication (Comms) (2) Efficient use of lunar Comms spectrum and interference mitigation (3) Integrated wide-band sensing and narrow-band Comms on the same radio. (4) Implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques on SWaP-constrained platforms (5) Lower SWAP.
Potential Non-NASA Applications include: (1) Commercial 5G and Next G communications, (2) Military cognitive communications (3) wide-band sensing and signals intelligence (4) Radar and LIDAR Applications for motion and proximity detection (5) Cross-layer optimization (6) Machine learning on large data sets etc.
Cascade will validate the CPU-based moving mesh solver using NASA stage 37, high-pressure-ratio stage of an axial core compressor developed by NASA in late 1970’s. Cascade will port its moving version of the large-eddy simulation (LES) flow solver charLES to GPU-accelerated architectures. The moving mesh solver uses the same Voronoi diagram-based meshing strategy as the static mesh solver, however the meshing is now integrated with the solver to allow local regeneration of the Voronoi diagram when points are in relative motion. The current implementation for traditional architectures uses a conservative space-time formulation that allows for complex motions including collisions and full contact. Since complex motions and thus complex solver treatments are not required for the relatively simple solid-body rotational motion of turbomachinery, the development will be staged by first porting the Voronoi point search and cutting algorithms to the GPU, and simply re-cutting the interface cells in each time step, and updating the communication pattern. The entire algorithm can remain fully explicit, utilizing essentially the same solver as the static charLES for accelerated architectures. In regards to specific architectures, the static accelerated charLES is written in both CUDA and HIP, allowing us to leverage both NVIDIA and AMD accelerated architectures. Verification will be performed by comparing the GPU and CPU implementations in two stages. First, a comparison of the geometric data and operators (e.g. geometric conservation, volumetric fluxes and gradient operators) will be conducted on a mesh containing a moving disk part. Second, a comparison of the flow variables will be made on canonical flows (e.g. Euler vortex, 1D acoustic wave and solid body rotation) with and without a moving disk part. The moving solver calculations will be validated by comparing results against a direct numerical simulation of a rotating sphere.
The GPU-accelerated mesh generator could eventually evolve into stand-alone meshing tool. Leveraging the duality between the Voronoi diagram and the Delaunay triangulation, the tool can quickly produce tetrahedral meshes for NASA codes (e.g., FUN3D). The GPU-accelerated moving mesh solver and its capability of performing efficient full-annulus multi-stage simulations of compressors and turbines will benefit NASA’s turbomachinery research by providing a high-fidelity simulation approach to complement NASA’s RANS codes (e.g. APNASA and TURBO).
Turbomachinery is at the core of the aeronautical propulsion. The successful completion of Phase I & II will produce an efficient and affordable solution for high-fidelity numerical predictions of complex flows in compressors and turbines, which is highly aligned with the request and demand of Cascade’s commercial licensees in the aerospace industry (e.g. Bosch, Boeing and General Electric).
Despite advances in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) methods; application of CFD to an aeroelastic analysis is still not well-accepted by the aerospace industry. Currently, the unsteady panel methods still are the major workhorse used by the aerospace industry because these panel methods can generate the Aerodynamic Influence Coefficient (AIC) matrix. The AIC matrix is a multi-input-multi-output aerodynamic transfer function. Because it is an aerodynamic transfer function, the AIC matrix is independent of the structure and only depends on the aerodynamic geometry. Thus, once the aerodynamic configuration is fixed, the AIC matrix can be repeatedly used for structural design. However, because of the linear potential flow assumption, the unsteady panel methods are not valid at transonic Mach numbers. In these flow conditions, accurate unsteady aerodynamic forces can only be obtained by solving the Euler or Navier-Stokes equations. Therefore, the aerospace industry would greatly benefit from having an innovative method that can efficiently generate the AIC matrix from the CFD methods.
The overall technical objective of this Phase I effort is to develop a CFD-based AIC generator to generate the structurally independent AIC matrices using high fidelity CFD codes. Using these AIC matrices, the generalized aerodynamic forces (GAF) can be rapidly computed for performing aeroelastic analysis. With a small computational effort, the AIC matrices also can generate the GAFs due to control surface kinematic mode and gust excitation.
Aircraft structural design requires flutter, aeroservoelastic (ASE), and gust analysis. Aeroelastic problems usually occur in the transonic flow regime at which the unsteady aerodynamics solved by the unsteady panel methods are not accurate. The proposed CFD-based AIC generator, once developed, will be well accepted by all aerospace companies.
Safe airspace and operations depend on accurate weather data to make critical decisions, plan fleet asset taskings, schedule cargo or people movements, and meet client expectations. More reliance on automation means there are less nodes in the workflow where humans can identify anomalies in data.
ResilienX is proposing to develop a Weather Sensor and Data Monitor (WSDM) service that we will integrate into our commercial In-time System-wide Safety Assurance (ISSA) platform; FRAIHMWORKTM (Fault Recovery and Isolation, Health Monitoring frameWORK). The goal of the WSDM is to detect when a weather source is not providing valid data. Weather sources may be IoT sensors, cameras, crowd sourced data, radar data, or even national, academia and private sector weather feeds. We will focus this effort on low altitude, urban environments that have specific complex micro-weather challenges and enable the accelerated deployment of an initial urban wind model capability.
We will monitor and enhance these weather sources by creating a micro-weather model for the urban environment which considers the structure (i.e. building and terrain) using Computational Fluid Dynamics as well as meteorology at low altitude. Since the weather data and forecasts are based off the input data to this model, verifying the validity of the input data will enable trust of the output.
Our vision is to enhance our ISSA platform with an advanced low altitude urban weather model capable of detecting and predicting “hot spots” that drones should stay away from. This initial model will accelerate commercialization of an important data set to identify hazard areas and keep airframes and people safe as we test, demonstrate, and deploy initial UAS and UAM operations in urban environments. We will also provide the capability to verify inputs to this model and identify misbehaving sensors before they have the chance to put bad data in and potentially affect the model.
This initiative enables NASA applications that depend on highly reliable and persistent non-government space, atmospheric and terrestrial measurements and predictions:
UAS and UAM is a “blue sky” mission area to demonstrate how weather systems and weather monitoring, especially in urban areas, can reduce the impact of anomalous events to mission critical operations.
Our applications for this technology extend to FAA and commercial endeavors of the same mission areas that NASA is working in, namely:
We are also looking at how cities can use urban micro weather data as part of Smart City initiatives by deploying IoT weather sensors.
The objective of this proposal is the development and demonstration of an efficient scale-resolving aeroacoustic approach for the prediction of noise generated by installed engine configurations. The development of new engine concepts has traditionally relied on inexpensive low and mid-fidelity methods combined with expensive experimental campaigns. Scale-resolving simulations offer a cost-effective alternative to model testing. In this Phase 1 proposal we seek to demonstrate the efficiency and accuracy of our dual-mesh, dual-solver overset strategy for jet-noise aeroacoustics. An efficient unstructured mesh solver is used to resolve the flow near the nozzle, while our high-order, adaptive, Cartesian mesh DG solver is used to resolve the acoustic waves in the jet-plume region. The DDES approach is used to model the turbulent jet flow. The temporal evolution of the nozzle flow is used as input to a source-time-dominant implementation of the Ffowcs-Williams Hawkings (FW-H) equation to determine the jet’s noise spectra at far-field observers. The acoustic integration will be performed on a permeable surface that encloses the noise-generating turbulent structures in the jet. Additionally, the feasibility of the volume integration of the quadrupole term in the FW-H equation will be investigated. This Phase-1 work will target the prediction of the noise generated by an isolated round jet. The accurate prediction of the noise spectra at far-field observers will demonstrate the feasibility of our high-order, adaptive, overset noise-prediction strategy. The established noise-prediction methodology will be further refined and used in the second phase of this project to predict the noise generated by complex, installed engines configurations. Our overset mesh paradigm is well suited for complex geometries, and our successful implementation of the quadrupole term will resolve the uncertainties in choosing suitable FWH integration surfaces.
The proposed techniques will provide a novel cost-effective high-fidelity tool for jet noise prediction. This is an important application area for the NASA Aeronautics Mission Directorate, since the acceptance of future commercial aircraft depends heavily on reduced environmental impact including take-off and landing noise requirements. Our surface integration FWH code as well as our volume integration quadrupole code will be written in a modular fashion which will be delivered to NASA for inspection and coupling with internal NASA codes.
The high-fidelity, overset jet-noise prediction strategy will complement our ongoing work with lower fidelity RANS-based approaches for design optimization of jet noise metrics. The developed noise-prediction capability will be marketed by Scientific Simulations LLC to current and potential new customers as a suite of progressively increasing fidelity tools with add-on aeroacoustic capabilities.
Our proposed concept is the Intelligent Medical Crew Assistant (IMCA), which is an intuitive, adaptive, voice-interactive intelligent user interface that functions as a virtual medical officer to enable enhanced crew medical autonomy. By developing this important front-end technology, IMCA promises to seamlessly integrate these tools and resources to support longitudinal crew monitoring, health maintenance, medical care and emergency response as well as optimization of resources for long-duration human spaceflight. IMCA, utilizes an integrated set of technological brick components aimed at providing support to the crew with respect to medical operations. The first component is a Dialog based/Voice enabled intelligent assistant with Natural Language Processing and intents identification. Crew can ask any question with respect to the medical procedures, inventory of medical supplies, their health monitoring, and recommended counter measures. The second technology brick is an AR enabled Electronic Procedures platform containing a repository of the medical procedures, an execution engine, an Augmented Reality device and software to guide the crew during the procedure execution. This component is able to provide Just-in-Time Training (JITT) for medical procedures using AR or/and VR glasses. A third brick is an Adaptive User Interface, adapting training or procedure execution to the level of expertise and cognitive workload of the crew. Our IMCA integrates with the EHR/EMR and medical inventory system in to monitor the health of the astronauts and help them identify resources needed for medical procedures. Machine Learning algorithms provide indications adverse medical conditions using individual crew health monitoring data. By having the data and procedural guidance when they need it, in a format optimized to each respective crewmembers skills and UI/UX preferences, crew will be able to more effectively operate autonomously and achieve both health hand mission goals.
NASA's human space exploration strategy and program of innovative robotics missions challenges engineers to develop new and complex systems with advanced capabilities. Human Health and Performance is a key feature and medical systems required to support Astronauts significantly increases in complexity. The Phase I concept will be developed to support multiple types of ultrasound procedures, and the suite of Just-In Time AR tools. The tool can be used for the International Space Station, Small Pressurized Rover, NEMO iPAS, HESTIA, and CDS 2.0.
Tietronix has already initiated work with Methodist Houston to initiate clinical trials of eVULCAN for Covid 19 rapid training and biocontainment enhancement through intra-institution telemedicine. Tienovix (the company licensing eVULCAN IP) has applied for FDA emergency authorization for such use. First trails are expected to start in May/June 2020.
In order to achieve the long duration manned deep-space missions, NASA created the Spacecraft Oxygen Recovery (SCOR) project aiming to increase the oxygen recovery of the Sabatier technology from 50% to 75-100%, and the Game Changing Development Program has been seeking techniques addressing “Advanced Oxygen Recovery for Spacecraft Life Support Systems”. Space oxygen recovery technologies implemented include carbon formation reactors (CFR) and methane pyrolysis assembly (PPA) reactors. These technologies, however, almost universally result in the formation of particulate carbon, which could undermine the operation of the spacecraft and threaten crew safety. Therefore, this proposed project directly addresses the needs of the subtopic H3.01: Advancements in Carbon Dioxide Reduction: Critical Subsystems and Solid Carbon Repurposing. The overall objective of the proposed project is to develop a new class of catalytic nanoarray-based monolithic filters to achieve the efficient filtration of particulate carbon for space oxygen recovery by integrating catalytically active nanostructured arrays onto the porous metal particulate filters. During the filtration process, the conformal nanoarray forests can increase the filtration efficiency while maintaining a low-pressure drop. Meanwhile, the nanoarray-supported catalysts can motivate the carbon gasification reaction and achieve fast filter regeneration at low temperatures. The proposed particulate filter could also completely avoid crew exposure to the accumulated carbon particulates. This project, if completed, will enable NASA to remove and manage the particulate carbon in the space station in a more efficient way with a more space compact, light-weighted, energy-efficient, and easily regenerable filtration device.
The proposed nanoarray-based monolithic filter is designed for the filtration of carbon particulate emissions from the plasma pyrolysis assembly for methane decomposition, but it could also be used to remove different particulate contaminant in other areas of the space stations.
The nanoarray-based monolithic filters will provide an energy-efficient, cost-effective, space compact and easily regenerable technology to remove particulate matters in different applications. For example, it can be employed as particulate filters used in industrial plants, power stations, and commercial buildings. It may also be used to control particulate emissions from automotive vehicles.
In this NASA Phase I SBIR, CU Aerospace and the University of Illinois Microbiology Department will partner to develop compact sterilizers based on plasma-generated Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) technology. Specifically, the team will apply radio frequency electric discharges operating at moderate pressure (5-50 Torr) in O2:He mixtures to generate significant quantities of reactive species, especially singlet delta oxygen, referred to as O2(a), a known sterilant of various microorganisms. The afterglow exhaust from the plasma generator will be flowed over samples of spores (e.g. G. stearothermophilus), and the inactivation rate of the spores at various plasma reactor settings will be determined. Various reactive oxygen species (electronically-excited singlet O2, O atoms, ozone) produced in the plasma reactor will be characterized while flow temperatures will be monitored spectroscopically, and these results will be used to derive exposure conditions suitable for sterilization of various spacecraft materials. A methodology for quantifying bacteria inactivation on various materials will be devised. The team will develop a preliminary design for a prototype demonstration unit which simulates an in-situ sterilizer configuration for validating application on exploration missions.
In response to spacecraft contamination concerns, the proposed work will develop procedures, techniques, and a knowledge base for aiding in validation of plasma-generated ROS for decontamination roles on future missions. Envisioned roles are: (1) sterilization of spacecraft components prior to deployment, (2) in-situ treatment of sampling tools prior to collection, (3) treating bio-containers prior to return-sample collection and container exteriors prior to stowage, and (4) use on manned missions for science tools and medical equipment.
The plasma-generated ROS technology has strong potential for low-temperature sterilization needs in the healthcare industry, and others such as wearable consumer electronics, where decontamination is necessary. A target application for closed-cycle operation of the proposed technique is a compact sterilization chamber for medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE).
This NASA Phase I SBIR proposal addresses the development of energy buffer capacitors to replace multilayer ceramic (MLC) capacitors used in the advance controller unit (ACU), of dynamic power conversion systems. Dynamic power conversion systems designed for long duration deep space missions, require stable and reliable ACUs to precisely control the function of the energy conversion system and provide DC power to the spacecraft. MLCs have poor capacitance stability with temperature, voltage and time on voltage. This development proposes to design, produce and evaluate energy buffer capacitors using Nanolam capacitors, developed for use in inverters of hybrid and electric vehicles. Nanolam capacitors comprise 10,000s of high temperature radiation cured polymers that have superior capacitance and dissipation factor stability in the temperature range of -196oC to +200oC. Nanolam capacitors are self-healing, prismatic in shape and they are radiation tolerant. One unique feature of the Nanolam capacitor technology is the use of submicron polymer dielectric layers. It has been demonstrated that as the thickness of the cross-linked amorphous dielectrics decreases below about 1.0mm, the breakdown strength increases significantly, which results in capacitors with superior energy density. Internal series sections allow Nanolam capacitors with dielectric thicknesses of few hundred nanometers to service applications with voltages as high as 10,000V. The proposed development will produce and evaluate energy buffer Nanolam capacitors with a rating of 1200mF/175VDC for an 120V power bus. A single Nanolam capacitor will be used to replace at least ten individual MLC parts, mounted on a PCB to make up the 1200mF. The major project objective is to demonstrate superior capacitance stability, energy density and specific energy to MLCs as well as deliver parts to the NASA technical personnel for independent evaluation.
Radioisotope dynamic power conversion systems controllers, as well as roll-out photovoltaic array controllers used to power Hall thrusters, are tailored mostly to 120V and there is some ongoing development with 300V systems. Nanolam capacitors can replace multilayer ceramic capacitors in multiple circuits of a single controller. Potential circuit applications include power factor correction in a rectifier circuit, energy buffer in an AC/DC inverter and DC-link in a DC/DC inverter.
Developing lower voltage capacitors will greatly expand the Nanolam market size and application space. Non-NASA applications include inverters for residential and commercial PV systems, battery chargers, inverters for 48V automotive applications, used in soft hybrids as well as internal combustion vehicles with stop and go systems, and capacitors for commercial aviation and commercial satellites.
Pharmaceuticals in general, and biopharmaceuticals specifically, are often best formulated as microscopic crystals. The crystalline state is most stable, allows a high-concentration, low-viscosity parenteral formulation, and facilitates alternate routes of administration. There is a requirement that the crystals be small, a few micrometers or less, and uniform, the same size within a few per cent. The problem: most recombinant protein biopharmaceuticals do not crystallize uniformly. A solution to this problem has been discovered in on-orbit crystallization experiments, which produced very uniform sized crystals. Manufacturers are creating demand for on-orbit testing of uniform crystallization protocols, but suitable hardware and ISS research opportunities are inadequate. Techshot proposes a business plan in which cost and time saving versatile flight hardware and flexible flight opportunities are made openly available to corporate and institutional users seeking improvements or refinements in product purification, formulation and/or delivery. Hardware and flight plans on ISS will be offered in which factorial and/or real-time photography experiments can be performed on the basis of Techshot’s regular ISS access and versatile hardware fleet. In Phase I research Techshot will (1) adapt up to four different existing hardware modules for this specific application, (2) test these modules in model protein crystallization experiments in the laboratory, and (3) perform mathematical modeling for a ground-based crystallization reactor with adjustable parameters for approximating the relevant low-gravity physics. In Phase II research Techshot will prepare the hardware modules for flight readiness, prepare an aggressive ISS use plan, and construct and operate an optimizable ground-based reactor. The intended outcome is a business paradigm for hastening the availability of stable biopharmaceuticals with favorable options for delivery.
NASA has solicited research topics in this area of pharmaceutical production on spacecraft making deep space voyages to solve problems of availability and stowage. Such projects include short-cut production of biopharmaceuticals by stored microbial cells but also need to include short-cut purification schemes. A crystallization plan, Techshot’s proposed innovation, could eliminate several (chromatography, extraction, etc.) downstream steps toward such on-orbit formulation, although non-NASA commercialization is the project’s primary goal.
Success in producing a crystalline product will save big due to longer ambient stability, lower delivery volume and novel routes of administration of their product, whether it is an approved pharmaceutical or an emerging therapeutic. Techshot intends to offer crystallization research capabilities on the ISS and in labs to companies seeking opportunities in the crystalline biopharmaceutical field.
This proposal innovates an ultrafast laser welding (UFLW) system and processes that provide epoxy-free bonding of optical and mechanical components suitable for lidar sources in the space environment. This proposal responds to SBIR subtopic S1.01 Lidar Remote Sensing Technologies, aiming at improving instruments’ compactness, reliability, lifetime, and long-term performance. It will develop the UFLW technology from the theoretical and experimental standpoints with three objectives: (I) Theoretically investigate the physical mechanism of UFLW to predict weld geometry and thermal stress. (II)Experimentally investigate the impact of focusing conditions and inter-substrate gap height on weld geometry and bond strength. (III) Demonstrate effective UFLW of glass-to-glass/crystal and glass/crystal to metal. The simulations on ultrafast laser propagation, nonlinear absorption, plasma generation, heat accumulation, and melt zone formation will be conducted, predicting welding geometry. The effect of focusing conditions, scanning speed, and gap height on weld geometry and bond strength will be experimentally investigated. Optimum processing parameters for bonding the proposed glass/metal/crystal materials will be determined. Bond strength and weld geometry will be characterized and reported. UFLW will enable monolithic lasers and increase the integrity and durability of space-borne instruments. It will also benefit commercial sensors and advance very high Speed datacom & communications links via advanced electronics/photonics integration. The success of this project has high potential to enable the US to become the international leader of the emerging digital manufacturing sector enabled by ultrafast lasers. The offeror, Aktiwave LLC, is exceptionally well aligned with the goals and aspirations of the SBIR program, possessing leading expertise and capability in lasers and ultrafast-laser-based welding, polishing and structuring of optical materials.
Ultrafast laser welding of glass/crystal-to-metal is of special interest to NASA for fabrication of monolithic lasers as it eliminates epoxies, increasing the integrity and durability of space-borne instruments. It enables the integration electro-optical-mechanical components in small packages, reducing size, weight and power for resource-limited missions. NASA specific applications include lidar remote sensing, space flight instrument, device miniaturization and integration, elemental analysis and free-space communication.
Ultrafast-laser-based welding offers competitive advantages through direct bonding of optical, electrical and mechanical components for the following applications: spectroscopy, gas/chemical sensing, integrated photonic devices (functionality expansion and high-density packaging), medical industry (hermetic sealing of bio-implants), automotive industry, and electronics industry.
Imaging satellite structures require the highest possible thermal stability in order to maximize imaging precision. As the sizes of optics increase to accommodate ever-present inherent resolution limitations, these structures continue to grow with the expectation of similar or better overall thermal stability. These requirements spurred the development and maturation of low-CTE carbon fiber tube structures. While production of the carbon fiber tubes themselves is well developed to produce lightweight, low CTE structures, the components that attach these tubes are still heavy and expensive to produce.
Mantis Composites proposes a solution to this problem utilizing in-house-developed continuous 5-axis carbon fiber 3D printers. The 3D printing capability this provides allows for 3-dimensional fiber paths that can enable the low-CTE benefits of carbon fiber composites while retaining the intricacy capabilities of machined metals. With support of a prior $50,000 Air Force SBIR Phase I grant and matching funds from Ball Aerospace, we successfully produced a three-pronged ‘PVC style’ connector demonstrator with 90% weight reduction and improved mechanical performance over an equivalent Invar-36 component. We also developed and performed initial validation steps on a bonding system for our components to tube structures. This scope of work brought the effective TRL for this application of our manufacturing process to 3.
The goal of this proposal is to utilize this same three-prong connector demonstration component to mature and develop applications specifically targeting low-CTE needs for applications such as optical benches and metering structures. During this Phase I, we will: validate, test, and modify existing bonding methods; validate predicted low-CTE results at a coupon level; adapt our three-prong connector design for low CTE filament by tuning processing parameters and fiber paths; and finally produce and mechanically test a full-scale tube and connector mock-up.
While IR-band imaging systems (identified in the solicitation) are perhaps the most valuable application of the proposed capabilities, the component volumes are small. We also see significant applications in large space-based structures more broadly. NASA’s push for long distance human spaceflight will require large collapsible, lightweight structures. While less CTE driven, the other requirements this brings match with the proposed technology. We see low CTE structures as a convenient scope-limited qualification bridge to these applications.
From the National Reconnaissance Office to private LEO earth imaging companies, increasing the thermal stability of optical systems on is necessary to increase resolution. Since tube-and-beam structures are common between NASA and non-NASA optical systems, with metal components being the limiting weight and thermal stability factor for both, the proposed scope of work is equally applicable to both
Whether using meltprobes, mechanical drills, or hybrid approaches, Europa ice penetration systems will likely utilize tether to provide data communication to the lander, and possibly power from it. Our innovation, Pulsed Waveguide Latency Spectral Receptor, PWLSR, leverages such tethered approaches to ice penetration. Adding a single dispersive optical fiber cable, PWLSR turns the tether into a spectrometer that obtains time-correlated in-situ spectroscopy information aboard Europa iceprobes. PWLSR is a cost-effective way to enhance the science return of subsurface Europa missions: it adds just 2 kg and 2,000 cc to the iceprobe and a 0.2 mm fiber cable to the tether, and returns compositional information of the subsurface as the iceprobe advances through the ice.
PWLSR focuses laser light into the the ice, collects scattered and re-emitted photons, and launches them into a dispersive optical fiber integrated into the tether connecting iceprobe and lander. The fiber is terminated in a retroflector at the surface end of the tether which reflects light back into the fiber. Photons return to the iceprobe, where they are routed into a detector and analyzed. Results are compressed and transmitted to lander using tethered and/or free-space communication system. PWLSR fiber cable can be split into several segments, linked by fiber-optic connectors. This way, it can be housed into several spool bays that can be sequentially left behind in the ice once a spool is depleted.
PWLSR combines, for the first time, deep subsurface access and laser spectroscopy to build a scientific instrument that addresses scientific objectives of future landed science missions to Ocean Worlds, particularly Europa. Developing PWLSR is a key, risk-reducing effort that paves the way for maturation of the instrument towards flight while also stimulating technological innovation both for commercial and federal use beyond planetary exploration.
PWLSR enables NASA's search for life by providing new sensing capabilities to Europa ice penetration platforms currently under development (e.g. SLUSH, Cryobot), which require instruments to be housed inside them. PWLSR has potential to become a critical new instrument in NASA’s effort to detect evidence of life, especially extant life, in the ocean worlds of the outer solar system by providing in-situ analysis of subsurface ice and, if integrated with an ocean explorer, subsurface liquid water bodies as well.
The technology is directly applicable to deep ocean research (packed into ROV to perform laser spectroscopic sensing), resource exploration and development industries (in-situ downhole fluid analysis for the exploration and development of oil and gas and subsurface materials during exploration drilling in mining), and scientific end environmental drilling (environmental evaluation or remediation).
The Stakeholder Access to Embedded System Models (SAESM) project will produce a vendor neutral model-based systems engineering (MBSE) analysis environment that supports Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Spacecraft Onboard Interface Services standard Electronic Data Sheet (SEDS) generation from existing models, e.g., models written in System Modeling Language (SysML), Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE), and Architecture Analysis and Design Language (AADL), ingestion of existing SEDS into the environment, and virtual integration of the systemrepresented in the environment. Virtual integration is a process of analyzing detailed models of embedded software systems to uncover errors primarily related to non-functional requirements, including timing, safety, and security. These errors are generally not uncovered until integration and test phases when costs to fix them are prohibitive. SAESM will enable multiple stakeholders to conduct these analyses without requiring expert knowledge of the underlying modeling language(s). SAESM supports vendors by enabling them to support NASA’s SEDS initiative using modeling languages they are already using, supports NASA personnel by automatically creating and maintaining SEDS, and supports all parties with virtual integration. This improves system capability by reducing risk of cost and schedule overruns due to late discovery of errors.
The NASA markets are mission-critical cyber-physical system (CPS) with significant functionality captured in software. NASA programs that would benefit include the Lunar Gateway, Artemis, Human Landing System, the Europa Clipper, X-57 Maxwell electric aircraft, and other next generation vehicle developments.
The non-NASA applications are those with systems that are analogous to those in the NASA market, examples include Department of Defense, aerospace, automotive, and industrial markets. In addition, analogous international markets are also available.
The performance of any metrology tool, and the level of confidence in the data obtained, directly depends on the ability to characterize (calibrate) the tool, enabling data processing to mitigate the effects of imperfections of the tool. However, there is no commonly accepted method to characterize the performance of metrology tools or calibrate them with high accuracy. Such characterization is a difficult task; the quality of the measured image (topography) data depends on both the tool itself and the experimental setup, and the interpretation of the results is often subjective and incomplete.
We propose to develop a robust methodology and technology to quantitatively characterize metrology instrumentations, and create the first reliable and commercial solution for beyond-resolution reconstruction of 2D surface topology data. The technology will increase the spatial resolution of the metrology data needed for fabrication and optimal usage of the existing optical components in x-ray optical systems, performance simulation of new x-ray space telescopes, and x-ray beamlines under development.
The first reliable and commercial solution for 2D data reconstruction will provide one of only a few technologies for increasing the spatial resolution of the metrology data needed for fabrication and optimal usage of the optical components in x-ray optical systems and sophisticated performance simulation of new x-ray space telescopes and x-ray beamlines under development for the NASA space missions.
The final commercial product will improve the metrology tool’s performance via sophisticated beyond-resolution reconstruction of the metrology data. As a result, this product will bring existing metrological tools to their highest possible performance level; it will also enable faster improvements in future designs of the instrumentation by equipment manufacturers.
NASA’s Kilopower program aims to jumpstart a new approach to powering exploration in the future by utilization of fission reactors. The heat from these reactors then drives Stirling engines that when coupled with generators, can produce the power required for future missions. The proposed program aims to have QorTek work with Sunpower to further enhance the capability of their Stirling generators and provide a radiation hardened solution for NASA’s program requirements. Previous work completed by Sunpower has demonstrated the operation of the engine and controller and to meet this program’s requirements will require the current generation of Stirling controller to be upgraded to 1kW of capability. The design of the controller and Stirling engine is desired to be modular such that multiple 1kW systems can be placed in parallel further increasing power availability. With the design completed and with engine simulators from Sunpower, we aim to demonstrate the feasibility and operation of the engine before focusing on core components to radiation hardened. Radiation hardening is anticipated to be a challenge due to the proximity of the engine and controller electronics to the reactor and the objective is to utilize state of the art WBG materials to help achieve as high a radiation resistance as possible to minimize required shielding.
A critical application for this technology is with NASA’s current Kilopower program and firstly, demonstrating a full system at the 1kW level. The Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) is now considering employing a 1KW version of Kilopower design if it comes to fruition. This mission will include both Titan orbital flybys and lander. Another potential Kilopower insertion mission would be the Kuiper Belt Object Orbiter (KBOO).
Non-NASA applications for this technology would potential be focused on our Navy and Army programs. In addition, the Air Force and MDA would have interest in the converters and the Rad hard technology. Both DoD entities have interest in radiation hardened designs and the challenge of this program, specifically dealing with neutrons will lend itself well into these government agency programs.
NASA’s Global Exploration Roadmap and the Space Policy Directive detail NASA’s plans for future human-rated space missions and the need for power distribution to bases on the lunar surface and eventually Mars. In order to enable high power (>100kW) and longer distribution systems on the surface of the moon or Mars, NASA is in need of low mass insulating materials which offer greater dielectric strength and operate in extreme temperature environments. Wires are often coated with a thin layer of acrylic, polyurethane, polyester imide or polyamide imide to provide insulation and allow them to operate at high voltage, however these materials cannot withstand the high temperatures required for space applications. When thermal stability is required, polyimides or fluorinated polymers such as PTFE are used, however these materials are costly, difficult to coat and in the case of fluorinated polymers exhibit poor adhesion to the wire. The proposed SBIR will develop a thermosetting resin that offers low cost, high glass transition temperature, excellent adhesion to metallic substrates and greatly improved dielectric strength over currently used enamels. Furthermore, the resin has a low processing viscosity which can allow thin insulation layers and can be cured in seconds, therefore, enabling rapid manufacture of lighter weight wire that can withstand extreme temperatures. While current high Tg resins cost hundreds of dollars per pound, Trimer’s resin can be produced for dollars a pound. In addition to the low cost, which is not the primary driver for aerospace materials, Trimer’s material exhibits excellent processability and mechanical properties and was recently measured to have a dielectric strength over 760 MV/m which is more than double polyimides. Ultimately, the proposed polymer has the potential to drastically reduce the cost of magnet wire and produced thermally stable coatings which can be applied for future human-rated space missions.
Throughout NASA’s technology roadmap the need for improved materials is called out in nearly all Technology Areas and are highlighted as the enablers behind the systems that NASA develops and uses to fulfill its missions. This need is evident throughout the next-generation space missions, which require insulators with greater dielectric strength and thermally stability for the wiring used in power transmission as well as motors, high voltage electronics and the encapsulation of electrical components.
The market for electromagnetic systems is experiencing significant growth, driven by electric vehicles and wind power as well as increasing wealth in emerging economies. Our commercialization efforts will seek to capitalize upon the low cost to produce polymers with high thermal stability and dielectric strength to market the resin in a range of industrial power applications.
NTP has multiple goals ranging from higher exhaust temperature (>1000s Isp), hot corrosion resistance (diverse propellants: H2, CH4, NH3, H2O), higher power density (thrust, >5MW/L goal), local fission product retention (materials damage, migration), manufacturability (cost, materials), safety (ground testing, flight), long core lifetime for interplanetary round trips (single fuel load, good burnup, control, 5+ years), and commonality with terrestrial applications (SMR, MNR, industrial heat, DoD/Pele) and advanced applications like reusable hypersonics, Luna/Mars surface power).
A solution, called the Coated Mixed Carbide (CMC) fuel element approach, is a hybrid between distributed solid-solution carbides from the Rover/NERVA days and localized TRISO fuel from today’s small modular reactor concepts. Very high temperature ~3500K (U,Zr)C fuel is concentrated in small kernels and protected against attack by hydrogen from outside and from fission products within by engineered multilayered coatings. An recent innovation in high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (i.e. IMPULSE® + Positive Kick™) allows conformal coatings of the small-diameter fuel kernels with ‘TRIZO-like’ protective layers to enable high-power density NTP reactors. With precision ion energy and deposition flux control, each multilayer can be engineered for specific property, such as fission gas retention, compressive stress, hydrogen permeability, ductility, etc. These 'TRIZO-like' pellets are embedded in a ZrC(W) matrix and distributed for lower peaking factor across the fuel element. Embedded propellant channels can be used for direct nuclear thermal propulsion or bimodal heat pipe power extraction for electrical power generation.
This Phase I SBIR builds on three patent-pending technologies and seeks to demonstrate feasibility of the concept, identity and rank technical risks and prioritize investment in Phase II towards retiring the necessary risks.
PerfDev is an intuitive, full featured and collaborative automated optimization and code analysis framework that promotes and enables on-the-fly performance optimization of advanced scientific applications to maximize code development and application efficiency.
The PerfDev software development and optimization framework enables stateful runtime decomposition and passive exploration of code blocks. PerfDev will enable advanced parameter space exploration using deep learning. Instead of waiting to evaluate application performance at the end of a full development cycle, PerfDev will enable real-time performance feedback loops that facilitate the optimization of individual blocks of code as the application is developed or ported. The production PerfDev APIs will be integrated into multiple production environments (starting with Jupyter in Phase I), will support a range of performance metric tools and hardware (e.g., PAPI/perfcntr, SONAR, Caliper, etc.), and multiple compute languages (e.g., C/C++, Fortran, Python).
Towards that goal, and in an effort to demonstrate the importance, feasibility and usability of the proposed framework, the Phase I effort will focus of the following objectives in order to develop a functional PerfDev prototype:
The PerfDev framework will be beneficial for optimization of HEC/HPC NASA applications that are being developed in C, C++, Fortran, Python and Perl. The tool will aid NASA while developing new applications and porting/optimizing existing applications for new and complex compute architectures.
Software of potential interest to NASA include CFD, CSD, FEM, and other numeric simulation applications and libraries. PerfDev will also lead to an improved software development lifecycle that better meets the current high performance computing environment.
Many government agencies, university research groups, and industry researchers are utilizing high performance computing systems and face the same challenges in developing and optimizing codes for new and existing architectures. All of these sectors need an adequate tool to help in optimizing and porting applications to emerging high performing compute systems.
ASRC Federal Astronautics, LLC (AFA) is pleased to present this proposal for the demonstration of feasibility of an additively manufactured, highly dexterous mechanism that enables the safe, leak-free transfer of the storable oxidizer (nitrogen tetroxide, NTO, or mixed oxides of nitrogen, MON). Our Additively manufactured Dexterous Leak-proof Interface (ADLI) is a radically simple design that uses three additively manufactured (AM) parts configured to interface with just a few commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components. Importantly, our design uses no seals and no soft goods, yet still interfaces with propellant service valves along any vector within a full hemisphere about the hinge for the pitch axis. In short, ADLI provides the flexibility to transfer propellant from a servicing satellite, which is in a huge range of orientations relative to a dead satellite with virtually any propellant service valve configuration.
ADLI exhibits several features that bring benefits to future satellite servicing missions:
NTO transfer interface for satellite servicing missions
NTO transfer interface for satellite servicing missions
Busek Co. Inc. proposes to develop a high total impulse electric upper stage for small launch vehicles. The stage will be propelled by Busek’s 600 W Hall thruster. With xenon, which is the baseline propellant, the nominal specific impulse is 1500 s. The thruster may also be fueled by low cost krypton or high density iodine. Power will be provided by solar arrays. Total impulse will be sufficient to move a payload from low Earth orbit (LEO) to low Lunar orbit (LLO).
In Phase I, Busek will work with NASA and launch vehicle suppliers to design the upper stage. Phase I will include a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) level design for a flight-like system and a near-Completion Design Review (CDR) level design for the prototype system. The phase 1 report will include a mapping of key performance parameters (mass, power, cost, etc.) from the prototype to the flight design, along with potential opportunities for technology demonstration and commercialization.
In Phase II, the design of the stage will be completed, and key elements of the prototype propulsion system will be fabricated and tested. The thruster will undergo delta-qualification testing as required. At the end of Phase II, Busek will deliver key elements of an integrated prototype propulsion system that could be ground or flight tested as part of a post-Phase II effort. These will include, at minimum, a thruster and discharge power converter.
The target NASA application is a high delta-V upper stage for commercial launch vehicles. NASA is interested in the development of a low cost cis-lunar transfer stage to guide and propel small spacecraft on Trans Lunar Injection (TLI) trajectories that will enable the spacecraft to enter lunar locations or orbits. NASA can also use the propulsion system for Earth orbiting or interplanetary spacecraft of all sizes. Exploration, earth science, planetary science, astrophysics and heliophysics science all benefit from electric propulsion (EP).
The upper stage can also be used for DoD and commercial launches, including LEO to GEO transfers for small spacecraft. General applications for HETs include orbit raising and lowering, drag compensation, changing orbit inclination and phase, orbit maintenance (including North-South station-keeping, East-West station-keeping in GEO, and a deorbiting a spacecraft at end-of-life.
The key innovation of this project is the development of a NEurocomputational Trajectory Segmentation and Clustering (NETS) tool that will apply segmentation, explainable clustering, and unsupervised machine learning algorithms to gain actionable insights from large volumes of aircraft trajectory data. National Airspace System (NAS) trajectory data has all the characteristics of “Big Data” such as volume, velocity, variety, and veracity and is widely available through services such as the System Wide Information and Management System (SWIM). Increased demand on the NAS and greater availability of data requires new tools and techniques to be developed to take full advantage of all available trajectory data. For this effort, Intelligent Automation, Inc. will develop the NETS tool to mine large volumes of trajectory data in order to gain actionable insights with the goals of improving aviation safety and efficiency, identifying anomalous and emergent behavior, and studying the impact of new entrants such as space vehicles, unmanned aircraft systems, and urban air mobility vehicles. Our NETS solution will apply state-of-the-art neurocomputational algorithms to partition a trajectory into meaningful segments and then group similar segments into clusters, thus enabling the automatic discovery of common, anomalous, or emergent movement patterns. The segmentation process ensures that meaningful trajectory segments are not missed, which could occur if a trajectory is considered as a whole. The NETS approach enables trajectories to be segmented and clustered in an unsupervised manner. Labels can then be assigned by a domain expert to each cluster to provide a classification. An explanation or rationale for why a trajectory segment was placed into a particular cluster will be provided by the NETS tool in order to facilitate the labeling process.
Our NETS solution, which involves neurocomputational algorithms and knowledge discovery, can provide complementary functionality to any NAS data analytics suite such as NASA’s Sherlock and the FAA’s Big DAWG analytics. NETS will allow researchers, analysts, and engineers to mine large volumes of trajectory data in order to gain actionable insights with the goals of improving aviation safety and efficiency, identifying anomalous and emergent behavior, and studying the impact of new entrants.
Aircraft operators such as passenger airlines, cargo airlines, UAS, UAM, and business jet operators can use NETS as part of a post-operations analytics suite used to analyze and improve operations. NETS reporting of discovered movement patterns can be made to both users and to automated systems, in order to perform downstream tasks such as prediction and prognostics.
In this Phase I SBIR, XploSafe proposes to develop and confirm the technical feasibility of the use of nanoporous silica as a vacuum regenerable sorbent for integration into NASA’s Exploration Portable Life Support System (xPLSS). Not only is this sorbent vacuum regenerable, it has other advantages over activated carbon that could benefit the NASA space program. Two of these is higher sorption capacities for volatile organic compounds and more rapid sorption rates that could lead to reduced weight and size requirements. In this investigation, the sorption rate and capacity for seven of the highest priority trace contaminants (based on generation rates and Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations (SMAC) limits) will be determined. The ability for these contaminants to be removed from the sorbent by exposure to a moderate vacuum at ambient temperature will be demonstrated. Once the uptake capacities and rates for each trace contaminant are known for the OSU-6 sorbent and the logistics for vacuum regeneration of the sorbent have been determined, it will be possible to create a concept design for the vacuum regenerable element that could be integrated into the Exploration Portable Life Support System. This will be used in Phase II to produce and test a prototype vacuum-regenerable Trace Contaminant Control element
Successful development of the proposed technology will advance the state of the art in trace contamination control. As a part of the Exploration Portable Life Support System (xPLSS) and the Exploration Extra-vehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) units, the platform technology will advance the viability of NASA's crewed deep space exploration objectives.
Success in developing more effective and efficient filtration media could provide a significant enhancement in the protection of public health and the environment. This new filter media will serve a wide variety of markets as high efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA) in HVAC systems. Applications range from clean rooms, labs, industrial manufacturers, coal and ore mining facilities etc.
Lunar explorations have identified significant lunar dust-related problems that will challenge future mission success. Mechanical systems will be exposed to harsh regolith dust that comprises particles ranging in size from tens of nanometers to microns, and they need to operate on the dusty surface of the moon for months to years with little to no maintenance. NASA seeks technologies in rotary, linear and static joints that will protect from or tolerate dust intrusion. For this Phase I project, Triton will leverage our extensive experience in developing innovative bearings solutions for contaminant-rich environments to design and fabricate dust tolerant joints. We will perform environmental ultra-fine dust tests on the prototypes and evaluate their ability to mitigate and tolerate dust. A report detailing the design concepts and test results, along with recommendations on methods to optimize their performance will be delivered. In Phase II, Triton will optimize joint designs to mitigate dust, fabricate and test the prototypes under simulated operational conditions. Phase II deliverables will include a functional prototype, test results, as well as technology maturation and transition plan for application to mission-worthy systems.
This proposed program will deliver dust tolerant joints that will protect from or tolerate dust intrusion. The novel technology will enable mechanical systems to operate on the dusty surface of the moon for months to years, thus extending their lifetime and enabling the success of future lunar explorations. The dust tolerant joints can be used for Life Support Systems, Advanced Extra Vehicular Activity Systems, Space Suit Assembly, Robotics and Mobility Systems and In situ Resource Utilization.
For over 10 years GTL has been developing novel rocket system components. Originally funded by DARPA, with additional funding by NASA, GTL has developed a novel composite system (BHL™) for cryogen storage and transfer. BHL is used to produce LOX and cryogen compatible components that leverage the full strength of carbon fiber. For ground systems, the reduction in thermal mass will be more advantageous than the mass reduction (1/4 the mass of existing state of the art equivalents). BHL has 5-7 times lower thermal mass than stainless steel components, and over 10 times lower thermal mass than aluminum components (for the same pressure capability). BHL tubes chill down in less than 10% of the time of stainless-steel tubes. This increases the quality of the cryogenic liquid, reduces bubble entrainment, and allows for longer tube run lengths.
Composite structures are insensitive to hydrogen embrittlement and are highly resistant to fatigue. Furthermore, composite structures CTE can be tailored allowing for a zero lengthwise CTE. This ensures that components will not move around, fighting connection points and interconnections, further reducing fatigue and failure mechanisms.
In addition to the nominal benefits, GTL has developed a novel flow sensor method based around BHL. This sensor will allow for monitoring of the flow velocity profile, quality, and fill level.
In this phase I effort, GTL will design and produce a series of test articles to demonstrate the application of BHL to ground systems. This includes the extension to very high pressures, ground handling damage testing, and flow sensor testing. GTL is experienced in cryogenic testing, LOX and LCH4 testing, propulsion system design and testing, and ground facility production. In the phase II, full scale components will be produced and delivered, and testing can be performed yielding a high-quality validation data set for TRL advancement.
Low thermal mass, low mass cryogenic compatible components and sensors are applicable to many of NASA systems including ground test facilities, launch vehicles, nuclear propulsion, landers, lunar and mars habitats, and other space systems. The significant reduction in mass of cryogenic storage and transfer from BHL will allow for the highest performing cryogen systems ever produced.
The DoD and commercial launch services will benefit greatly from BHL components. Similar to the benefits for NASA, the low mass, low thermal mass properties, among others, are very beneficial to nearly all space systems. BHL components will also be useful for commercial cryogenic ground systems to reduce boil-off and chill-down time.
This proposal addresses Strategic Action Plan specifically for S5.06 SBIR area: Space Weather Instrumentation. A Space Weather (SW) array of 4 CubeSats released from a standard 6U deployer are each linked through the Globalstar constellation (much capacity) to provide near real-time ionospheric forecasting. Each CubeSat provides low-latency connections via space-space links in a redundant, time-ordered and common database (O2R) for prompt 24/7 data with a latency of seconds.
The proposed Phase 1 study looks at providing instrumentation for analytic model validation that includes several proven SW instruments: energetic particle detector, plasma probe, an IR cooled grid imager, a magnetometer, and GPS. Each of the 4 CubeSat strings include four 20cm solar/plasma foldouts that separate the relatively noisy ThinSat Bus section from the quiet and cooled ThinSat Payload section to improve sensor performance. The 6U array of 4 CubeSats would be staggered in orbit via drag variations to give pole-to-pole orbit data every 12 minutes on average and in situ drag data at affordable cost in the 100 to 700 km orbit region. Prompt and Multipoint SW sensors would improve rapid forecasting and understanding new energy transfer with the goal to deliver end-user action (2018 Space Weather Phase 1 Benchmarks Report from the Presidents National Science and Technology Council).
Feasibility: NSL has recently successfully flown the first 60 CubeSat (ThinSats) array with articulating foldouts, particle detectors, IMU, IR imager, and Globalstar links as a demonstration project released from an NG-11 rocket to the ISS on April 17, 2019 (SSC19-S2-08, 2019). NSLhas 400 subsystems in orbit with 100% success and currently delivering 10 CubeSats for launch in 2020. The six Phase 1 results include: 1) Requirements, 2) SW Sensor Trade-Space matrix, 3) Existing Bus revisions, 4) Functional Prototype, 5) Balloon Flight of one CubeSat string (TRL=6), and 6) Final Report.
1. Potential blackout impulses (large Solar Flare energetic particles, geomagnetic storms, meteors, or an EMP pulse). SWAP-E will add new Prompt real time data and critical mapping.
2. SWAP-E ThinSat Sat array concept ideal for Lunar orbit and planetary experiments
3. Advanced Manufacture of ThinSat “String or Trains” consisting of a stiff solar array foldout is a new architecture
The provision of high performing and efficient data communications is crucial for the success of most space exploration missions. Many challenges affect this goal as data transmissions have to occur over unreliable channels that span very large distances and that may not be available continuously over time. As a result, communication opportunities must be exploited optimally to achieve the reliable, high volume and low latency data transfers that will be demanded by future space missions.
This goal is hindered by the use of a communication management approach that is mainly centralized. Such practice creates limitations to what can be optimized not only because of the need for expert human assistance but also because certain system updates could not be communicated to the required network devices within a reasonable time to be effective given the physical dimensions and nature of the network.
We propose to develop a software-defined networking method that exploits cognitive networking methods to optimize the transmission of data flows in a space network. We propose to utilize the Intel Loihi spiking neural network processor and develop learning algorithms for it to achieve very low SWaP processing. The key benefit of this approach will be novel scheduling capabilities that are also implemented on an ultra low SWaP system, making it very suitable for power constrained systems, such as cubesats. This work is being carried out jointly with the University of Houston.
Potential NASA applications include cognitive networking systems for satellites, in particular for constellations of satellites.
Potential non-NASA applications include terrestrial software defined radio communications systems, particularly for systems that are deployed remotely and need high performance communications but low power consumption.
The combination of multiple surface functionality into a single optical surface has been used for years as a method of improving system performance while reducing component count and system integration complexity. Further developments of this technology via combination of a diffraction grating and a freeform surface are explored. Multiple methods of combination are investigated. These include holographically recording a diffraction grating on a freeform substrate and by recording both the diffraction grating and freeform surface as holograms on a single substrate.
Tighter packaging constraints and performance requirements on exploratory missions such as LUVOIR are driving the need for more efficient and compact designs. Applying aberration corrected holographic gratings to a freeform surface has paradigm-shifting potential for these instruments with the potential for higher performance and throughput using fewer components.
Both efficiency and stray light are critical issues for upcoming missions. SSI proposes the use of a low scatter optical blazing technique in combination with a freeform optical surface as a means of supporting demanding spectral sensing requirements.
These innovations will significantly improve performance of next generation spectral sensing technologies by reducing system size and weight while improving imaging performance, signal-to-noise, energy collection, stray light and field of view.
NASA projects are dependent on optical systems and are constantly striving for improved throughput and reduced payload scale. The technology proposed is a direct solution for optimization to both of these considerations. Current and future applications include:
-LUVOIR and other Decadal Survey Missions
-CubeSat optical payloads
-Exo-Planet exploratory missions
-Space Life and Physical Sciences Research & Applications
-Future NASA & NOAA collaboration projects
The potential for non-NASA commercialization is nearly applicable to all systems using diffractive optical elements. The reduced component count and improved throughput offered can be taken advantage of in Telecommunication, Augmented Reality, and Life Science. The added cost reduction benefit of replication fabrication techniques will open this technology to high volume commercial applications.
Rebel Space Technologies, Inc. proposes SpaceWeaver, a distributed cognitive space communications network to increase mission science data return, improve resource efficiencies for NASA missions and communication networks and ensure resilience in the unpredictable space environment. SpaceWeaver senses, detects, adapts, and learns from its experiences and environment to optimize the network's communications capabilities and reduce both the mission and network operations burden. SpaceWeaver leverages the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence and reinforcement learning to coordinate and control the transfer and relay of mission data across the lunar architecture based on data priority, content, schedule, and environmental conditions.
SpaceWeaver uses Artificial Intelligence enhanced distributed sensing and optimized data routing to ensure efficient, resilient operations in the space environment. In addition to lunar communications architecture, the innovations proposed could also improve the mission data relay and network capabilities of the NOAA Satellite Information System, NASA Earth Science Mission Directorate systems, or the NASA Tracking and Data Relay System (TDRS).
Applications include Department of Defense future space architectures and satellite communications networks, and commercial space industry (e.g., Earth remote sensing constellations, asteroid mining, deep space communications).
Freedom Photonics proposes to develop revolutionary miniaturized Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC) transceivers that are so compact that they are suited for CubeSats. The transceiver will realize low cost, size, weight and power through high power Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) technology and non-mechanical beam steering technology. Unlike RF, FSOC is inherently power efficient due to the high antenna gain from small optical wavelengths and is hard to detect and intercept. Operating in optical bands with orders of magnitude greater bandwidth, FSOC transceiver would be of great benefit to ease the bandwidth crowding in RF small satellite communications. Compact FSOC transceiver would be of great utility for civilian satellites requiring communication bandwidth without the competition for licensing crowded RF spectrum. Modular orbital FSO relays acting as cross-links and deep-space transceivers would mitigate the atmospheric effects and provide spatial redundancy for ground links.
NASA related applications targeted by this program are:
• Scientific LEO CubeSat-ground communication relieving the RF crowding from ever growing number of CubeSats
• GEO-LEO cross-links and LEO-Ground uplink relays to mitigate asymmetric atmospheric effects
• Deep Space-GEO, GEO-LEO, LEO-Ground FSO relays providing spatial redundancy
• Inter-satellite and satellite to ground communications (Satcom)
• Low Probability of Intercept/Detection (LPI/LPD) communications for Special Operation Forces (SOFs)
• Temporary deployment of secure high capacity computer networks
• Broadband access for low density rural communities
• Mobile communications for disaster and emergency management, Law enforcement and Fire Department
During previous planetary exploration missions, deleterious effects have been observed due to fine particulates including fouling mechanisms, altering thermal properties, obscuring optical systems, abrading textiles, and scratching surfaces. With near term goals to return to the Moon, lunar dust is of particular concern and can potentially negatively affect every lunar architecture system. To mitigate this concern, Mainstream proposes to leverage our knowledge garnered for cyclone precipitators currently being developed as a particulate concentrator for the Radionuclide Aerosol Sampler/Analyzer (RASA). This concentrator uses 32 single-stage cyclone separators in parallel allowing for 16.7 CFM with a pressure drop across the system of 1.5 kPa. Separation efficiencies are >99% for >1 mm; 96% for 0.5 mm; and 80% for 0.2 mm. For Phase I, we will utilize our existing robust CFD and in-house cyclone optimization toolset to modify the RASA concentrator geometry to better reflect NASA’s separator requirements (i.e. lower volumetric flow rate, lower pressure drop). We will then design the precipitator to enhance the cyclone’s sub-micron efficiency and validate performance predictions using bench-scale experiments. Finally, we will design the full-scale system to determine size, weight, and power requirements. In Phase II, we will design, fabricate, and validate a full-scale prototype.
NASA applications for the proposed cyclone precipitator sub-micron particulate separation system include future manned missions such as Gateway and Mars including both general air purification of the main cabin of the manned spacecraft as well as the removal of planetary dust from main cabins and airlocks of the planetary habitat.
Non-NASA applications are numerous including nuclear radiation sensors (RASA and ARSA), industrial separators, commercial/medical/residential air purification, and particulate concentrators for detection apparatus. With respect to additional manned spacecraft, non-government commercial entities such as Space-X, Blue Origin, Bigelow Aerospace, and others include space tourism as a future goal.
These fittings are well suited for any landed mission on the Moon or other worlds. These fittings can help assure the success of re-fueling from ascent vehicles that may carry dust to orbiting spacecraft.
The fittings are adaptable to automated or human operation, can operate in the permanently shadowed regions of the Moon, and will be able to transfer cryogenic rocket fuels and oxidizers. The fitting can be sized to meet various needs, and its innovations can be applied to other technologies.
Addressing the challenges associated with dramatic increase in the complexity of the National Airspace System (NAS) has required the introduction of autonomous capabilities to maintain efficiency and safety. However, as increasingly autonomous (IA) capabilities and systems are introduced into existing human-centric environments, the roles and responsibilities of humans change, especially when working in collaborative environments, such as the Airport Operations Area (AOA) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The integration of autonomous capabilities into traditionally human-centric environments with the goal of Human-Automation Interaction and Teaming (HAIT) makes it difficult for IA systems to not be brittle (i.e., working well in the lab under nominal circumstance, but perform poorly in unexpected situations) and accident-prone (i.e. account for emergent behavior due to unexpected decision by people or environment changes) as they attempt to work collaboratively with people. Therefore, we propose the Virtual EnviRonment for InFormative analYsis (VERIFY) framework, which links physical spaces to a virtual environment (i.e. mixed-reality). VERIFY will be used as a research tool for proactively understanding how humans and IA systems will need to work collaboratively to address and mitigate system hazards and unexpected events as a HAIT. By using a mixed-reality environment, researchers can explore multiple environmental variables simultaneously, to understand their impact on individual tasks across multiple HAIT arrangements. The objective is to leverage use cases to define key characteristics for probabilistic scenario generation to define HAIT test cases for evaluation within a mixed-reality environment. This approach also enables engineers to safely employ both physical and virtual hazards for training adaptive and non-deterministic systems and human operators to work alongside each other under nominal and off-nominal conditions.
A variety of NASA technologies and missions could benefit from this effort, e.g, ISS robots: Astrobee and R2, OSAM system Restore-L, the in-Space Assembled Telescope, the Lunar Surface Science Mobility System, Commercial Lunar Payload Services, and future manned Mars missions. There are also research topics within NASA’s Human Research Program that are funding human-automation interaction and teaming topics. Finally, there are various STMD technology demonstrations that would also benefit.
The designs and techniques developed under this project will have direct application to human-automation interaction and teaming efforts with TRACLabs DOD customers, e.g. the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, U.S. Army TARDEC, and the Army Futures Command. Additional customers integrating IA systems into human-centric environments include automotive, and oil & gas manufactures.
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project seeks to develop avalanche photodiode (APD) and its array, for solar-blind detection in UV wavelengths ranging from 200 nm to 250 nm for space applications. The solar-blind UV APD is based on III-nitride (III-N) technology. The ultra-wide bandgap (UWB) of AlXGa1-XN material system enables to achieve highly efficient, radiation-hard detectors capable of operating at high temperatures in the solar-blind UV regime without the need for external filters. The proposed solar-blind UV-APD will be capable to have high gain and low dark current (few pico amperes) so that the array of which can be used for solar blind imaging. In Phase I, we will perform material growth and characterization to achieve high quality AlGaN material system, verifying the material quality and performance in the solar blind ranges by making device. Design-simulation of APD device follows to optimize the structural parameters. In Phase II, the proposed solar-blind UV APD devices will be further optimized, fabricated, packaged as arrays and evaluated for high multiplication gain and low noise performance. We anticipate achieving a sufficiently high yield on large area substrates for economic production of large format for space applications as well as defense, and commercial bio-chemical systems applications.
UV spectroscopy and imaging instruments require UV detection capabilities. UV emission lines and bands from H, C, O, N, S, OH and CO; UV absorption lines by CO2, H2O, NH3, N2; and UV surface reflectance spectra are essential for detection ice, iron oxides, organics, and other compounds on planetary bodies. Future NASA missions include: New Horizons (NH) mission to Pluto, and Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) instrument on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. NASA mission of relevance is the Large UV Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR).
Commercial and defense applications includes detection of bio-chemical species and explosives in a form of detection system that is compact, portable identification systems for warfighters and first responders. Defense also includes early missile threat warning and free-space communications. Commercial applications include industrial, lab instrument, and consumer UV monitoring.
While working on NASA’s Convective Heating Improvement for Emergency Fire Shelters (CHIEFS) effort, S. D. Miller & Associates (SDMA) developed methods of embedding materials into fiber matrices to enhance their thermal properties. Silica aerogel was embedded into an alumina fiber matrix to create Flexible Insulation with a Reinforced Aerogel (FIRA). In the current Phase I effort, a High Temperature FIRA (HTFIRA) will be demonstrated by embedding aerogel with a higher temperature capability. Since commercially available aerogel blankets are currently limited to 1200OF, producing HTFIRA with a scalable manufacturing process would be a significant advance in the state-of-the-art. The re-entry trajectory and payload capacity of Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (HIADs) are limited by the materials in the Thermal Protection System (TPS). For example, the TPS on the LOFTID (Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator) uses carbon felt and silica aerogel that degrade during re-entry when temperatures can exceed 2800OF. Replacing all or part of these layers with HTFIRA will allow higher heating rates without degradation, facilitating heavier payloads and more direct re-entry trajectories. HTFIRA will also be more flexible, lighter and more compact than the existing TPS materials, further increasing the payload capacity of HIAD. In Phase I, SDMA will collaborate with NASA Glenn Research Center to make aerogel. SDMA will then embed that aerogel in an alumina fiber matrix to demonstrate HTFIRA. Thermal properties will be determined. In a parallel effort in preparation for Phase II and III, SDMA will investigate the scalability of the aerogel manufacturing process and the compatibility of HTFIRA with the fabrication methods developed for the TPS of LOFTID. HTFIRA promises a significant improvement in TPS for multiple Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) strategies including HIAD and controlled flight through planetary atmospheres.
NASA will test LOFTID in 2022. Future inflatable decelerators will be used for getting humans to the surface of Mars, to recover booster engines after launch, to haul equipment back from the International Space Station, to return materials like fiber optic cables manufactured in space, and as emergency evacuation vehicles for crews working in orbit. HTFIRA will reduce the weight and bulk of the TPS on these vehicles, increasing the capacity for fuel and payload, and allow better optimization of the re-entry trajectory.
HTFIRA will let commercial space companies deliver payloads to Mars for less money. Whether you use rockets or inflatable decelerators to land on Mars, the thin atmosphere and larger payloads mean higher heating rates. HTFIRA will reduce costs by enabling larger payloads. Other applications will include more efficient car engines, safer electric batteries and reduced damage from fires.
To increase robot autonomy it is necessary that a robot can reason over longer time lines than is currently possible with minimal input of a human operator. We propose to develop a system (on top of ROS 2 and MoveIt 2) that enables operators to command humanoids at a high level while still have the robot's motions satisfy task-specific low-level motion constraints. This is done in two steps. First, we will develop several parametrized primitives that allow an operator to specify a broad range of constrained motions, including climbing in microgravity, turning valves, and opening doors. Second, we will develop a task construction framework that allows an operator to compose such primitives into much larger tasks. The task construction framework will be able to compute complete end-to-end continuous motion plans that satisfy all relevant motion constraints. The operator will be able to preview these plans and select one for execution. We will also develop appropriate user interfaces that allow operators to specify complex tasks without having to write any code.
The proposed system would enable operators to specify complex sequences of motions for humanoid robots (such as Robonaut 2) in microgravity environments like the International Space Station or the Gateway. The system will automatically compute feasible paths that can be selected by the operator for execution. Applications of the system include (but are not limited to) planning humanoid climbing motions aboard the ISS or Gateway, opening valves/doors, and retrieving bags from storage.
In warehouse logistics, manipulators often need to complete a series of pick-and-place operations. Such a task can be completely specified using our system by an operator who does not need to be a robotics expert. Besides order fulfillment in warehouses, applications include remote operation of inspection or search and rescue robots. Eventually, assembly or food preparation tasks could be enabled.
Optical frequency combs play an essential role in modern timekeeping and metrology. To date, however, frequency combs are primarily used in laboratories, owing to their size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) and fragility. To operationalize the technology, Vector Atomic and Harvard University will design an erbium (Er) fiber Comb Using P hotonic Integrated Devices for supercontinuum generation and self-referencing. CUPID will combine the robust Er fiber comb architecture with an integrated photonics module for supercontinuum generation and self-referencing. CUPID will provide < 10-17 excess fractional instability at 1 s, in a compact package at low power and manufacturing cost.
Space missions are critically dependent on precise timing and synchronization. Coherent ranging and imaging systems such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) and the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Mission (NISAR) are enabled by highly coherent RF and laser oscillators, respectively. Future NASA mission including deep space navigation, space-based gravitational wave detectors, and multi-static radar imaging will require timing precision beyond the capabilities of current hardware.
LiDAR and RADAR applications can benefit from the long coherence time of the optical local oscillator and the ultralow phase noise provided by the frequency comb. In GPSdenied environments, a highly stable clock can extend missions by maintaining synchronization between distributed systems.
Dust poses unique challenges in space missions. This proposal addresses the development of an advanced self-cleaning staged dust filter for spacecraft air purification in cabin and airlock chambers. This technology is compact and autonomous, has low power requirement and is effective for various types of dust including the particulate matter derived from materials, ECLSS and other processes, and biological matter and debris generated by the crew, and lunar dust intrusion. Phase I research focuses on the design, construction and testing to determine the feasibility of this system in filtering simulated dust from air at atmospheric pressure.
The primary intended application of the proposed filter is in the purification of air in the pressurized compartments of the spacecraft in lunar mission. The secondary NASA application is the extension of this technique to other systems like the dust filtration in the ISS and collection of carbon particles and hydrocarbon dust in the NASA Environmental Control and Life Support.
BlazeTech’s filter technology can be extended to other applications where filtration without significant use of manpower is a priority. Examples include filtration of sand from gas streams that enter the engine compartments in helicopters and aircraft, and separation of fine particulate contaminants from emissions from chemical process industry and smoke-stacks in power plants.
C-C material systems have high strength:weight ratios at high temperatures, making them well suited for future hot structure designs. However legacy C-C solutions are subject to poor through thickness properties (for 2D laminates), or manufacturing speed and capacity issues (for Cartesian billets.) These issues are often compounded for tubular or conical geometries.
With this SBIR Phase I submission TEAM, Inc. proposes to advance the state art for tubular and conical preforming methods for use in C-C hot structure applications. A parallel process development and testing program is proposed:
Process Development: We will use “off the shelf” and versatile braiding technology to demonstrate fabrication of conical, carbon fiber preform(s) with up to 1” wall thickness and conical geometry. We will modify TEAM's custom designed, automated z-stitching line to insert stitches into a conical geometry preform at controlled and repeatable spacing(s).
In parallel with the process development, we will quickly fabricate flat panel test coupons of stitched and un-stitched braided laminates. (A phenolic-resin system will be used to meet cost and schedule constraints in Phase I.) ~Half the panels will be tested by partner Southern Research Institute to characterize in-plane and inter-laminar tensile properties of stitched vs. un-stitched variants. The other ~half of panels will be delivered as-is for potential C-C densification and testing by NASA or by TEAM at beginning of Phase II.
The advantage of the proposed approach is that both the braiding process and the stitching work cell are easily scaled in terms of part size and geometry. Through thickness property issues with traditional C-C tape-lay are addressed by the proposed stitching process. Cost / capacity / geometric constraint issues associated with Cartesian / Polar billets are addressed by versatility and relative speed of the braiding and z-stitching processes.
Potential NASA users of this technology exist for a variety of propulsion systems, including upper stage engine systems, in-space propulsion systems, Lunar/Mars lander descent/ascent, solid motor systems, including those for primary propulsion, hot gas valve applications, and small separation and/or attitude control systems. Potential programs of interest include Commercial Orbiter Transportation Services (COTS), Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) and NASA HEOMD programs including Space Launch System (SLS) and Human Landing System (HLS).
The proposed C-C preforming & material system proposed here-in is of great interest to various DoD stakeholders currently developing hypersonic missile and vehicle systems. (Army, Navy, Air Force, DARPA and their prime contractors). The technology would likely be applied as TPS or hot structure for aeroshell bodies, frustras, nose-tip adaptors, leading edges and other control surfaces.
NASA is returning to the Moon in 2024 with the Artemis mission and will need an array of satellites in lunar orbit to provide communications, navigation information, and scientific data to personnel on the Moon and Earth. There is a need to develop a lunar transfer stage for small rocket launch vehicles to deliver a 25 kg satellite payload to lunar orbit. This transfer stage needs to be capable but compact. It should also be low cost and safe, which can be achieved by utilizing new non-toxic “green” propellants. Lynntech, along with a large industry team and AFRL, proposes to use a proprietary “green” monopropellant engine and PMD tank to develop a transfer stage that is compact, efficient, and cost-effective for the delivery of payloads. This monopropellant was flight-proven in 2019 and is ready for general use. In Phase I, we will define the mission, perform analysis, ground-test a propulsion element, and identify all necessary components and team members in preparation for demonstration and delivery in Phase II.
The proposed technology can be utilized to transfer satellites from TLI to NRHO as well as to orbit other planets in support of NASA missions. Lynntech’s revolutionary engine could enable low-cost exploration of the Solar System while making launch operations safer. The engine is scalable so higher thrust levels are achieved with minor changes to the injector, enabling necessary delta-V burns. Our proprietary PMD technology could also allow for effective square or rectangular PMD tanks that maximize space utilization aboard CubeSats.
The proposed technology is of general applicability to rocket transfer stages from LEO to GEO (for military and commercial satellites). The growth of the orbital economy will depend on low-cost movement and placement of satellites which this system will provide. The propulsion system could also be used to create agile satellites for greater survivability in military operations.
NASA's UTM-ISSA architecture has 3 layers where the Monitor-Assess-Mitigate (MAM) components of ISSA are situated: at the UAS level (vehicle system functions), at the Ground Control Station (GCS) level (GCS functions), and at the Supplemental Data Service Provider (SDSP) level (SDS services). We modify this by adding an extra intermediate layer at the UAS Service Supplier (USS) level (USS functions). The aim of the proposed effort is to develop and demonstrate a strategic cybersecurity framework for this UTM-ISSA architecture. While there are many risk factors that impact ISSA, we focus on risks that emanate from cybersecurity threats from a variety of players.
For the monitor portion, we propose an approach to aggregate a variety of cybersecurity-relevant data sources at various levels of the UTM-ISSA. Designing the information schema for these data elements is part of the proposed effort. We divide the Assess portion into two: Assess-1 and Assess-2. The Assess-1 portion involves a signature-based misuse detection for cybersecurity threats followed (sequentially) by a deep learning based anomaly detection module. The Assess-2 takes as input the anomalous patterns from Assess-1 and provides strategic labels: Who?, What?, Why?, How? and When? based on a deep learning multi-label classifier. The Mitigate component uses an attack tree for devising strategic countermeasures and a game theory module for devising tactical countermeasures corresponding to each strategy at each level of the UTM-ISSA.
We propose to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed approach using an illustrative cyber-terrorist scenario that features a coordinated cybersecurity attack on multiple UAS.
NASA's UTM-ISSA program is the first anticipated tech transfer target and application. NASA's UAM program is the next anticipated application. NASA has many other programs, such as the Mars Rover and Counter-UAS, that will benefit from the strategic cybersecurity framework developed in this research.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD) have many cybersecurity, counter-UAS and counter-swarm programs that will benefit from the proposed framework. In the private security, many drone/UAS as well as USS vendors are likely targets for commercialization.
CU Aerospace (CUA) proposes development of a professional suite of software using the mathematical theory of Lagrangian coherent structures (LCS) to enable engineers and scientists from a wide range of disciplines to study, investigate, engineer and optimize systems dependent on chaotic, turbulent or unsteady flows. The Suite of Lagrangian Coherent Structure (SuiteLCS) software that CUA proposes to develop will be the first commercially and professionally available software package of its kind - enabling NASA engineers to propose and plan missions with new capabilities by identifying trajectories in Earth-Moon, cislunar, deep-space, or multi-body environments that have particular qualitative behavior, allowing engineers to find long term stable trajectories or those with minimum fuel usage and fast transit times. SuiteLCS will provide a complete generalization to dynamical structures used by NASA engineers in simplified dynamical models (CR3BP) - providing a high fidelity tool replacement for preliminary mission planning, broadening the mission search space and accelerating the mission design phase. SuiteLCS will be built on robust and high-quality development standards, using exceptional internal and open source external packages to accelerate development and successfully complete the Phase I technical objectives. The software will leverage parallel computing on distributed (MPI) and shared (OpenMP) memory architectures to reduce run-times. Phase II efforts may look to port parallel computation to cloud computing resources. The professional and open source Paraview and VTK software will be used for standardized import/export capability and high-quality visualization of potentially extremely large data sets. CUA anticipates that a Phase II delivery of SuiteLCS will have an immediate impact on mission design capabilities at NASA: enabling new mission concepts, earlier mission studies at higher fidelity, and broadening the mission search space.
SuiteLCS addresses the lack of existing software for identifying and analyzing coherent structures based on a Lagrangian approach in chaotic, turbulent or mixing fluids. For astrodynamics, SuiteLCS will meet NASA's Technology Roadmap goals of advanced modeling and simulation tools that allow for expanded solution spaces enabling new design concepts and at higher fidelity. A Phase II SuiteLCS will further enable branches of NASA in their study and design of systems ranging from Earth/space weather, aeronautics, and capsule entry design.
SuiteLCS will enable academia, research centers, and industry to continue wider and deeper application of LCS to critical scientific questions, including: climate, atmospheric and ocean science, biology, unsteady airflow over airfoils, parameter estimation, and spacecraft trajectories and mission design. SuiteLCS will provide the only commercial and professional software for these experts.
IERUS Technologies proposes to investigate utilization of additive friction stir deposition (AFS-D), to robotically fabricate and repair large structures in the external space environment. The AFS-D process, commercially known as MELD, provides a new path for coating, joining, repairing and additively manufacturing metals and metal matrix composites The MELD process produces fully-dense, near net-shape structures in open atmospheric conditions without secondary post processing. MELD is a fast, low-power, fully scalable, deposits almost any metal on the market and builds complex 3-D structures without support material. MELD also offers a unique opportunity for in-orbit recycling applications. The MELD process is a capable platform for recycling, using scrap metal chips and damaged components as feedstock to additively manufacture new. MELD could be the technique that unlocks in-space manufacturing potential while simultaneously mitigating orbital debris. The MELD additive manufacturing technique is well suited for on-orbit manufacturing and will bring tremendous advantages.
The advantages of the proposed In-space manufacturing stem include the ability to manufacture larger structures, lower launch costs, increased performance, longer satellite life, increased resilience, simplified logistics, and more sustainable spaceflight operations. NASA needs to be ready to move forward and continue scientific and technological advancements by proceeding with in-space manufacturing efforts now.
Commercial markets such as SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation are emerging that could greatly benefit from the proposed in space manufacturing concept. There also is a continued and constant interest for a commercial space station, that would undoubtedly need in-space manufacturing technologies in order to be successful and reach its true potential.
NASA is developing several technologies that have the potential to increase the percentage of oxygen recovery from carbon dioxide, toward fully closing the Air Revitalization System loop. Methane pyrolysis recovers hydrogen from methane, making additional hydrogen available to react with carbon dioxide. Bettergy proposes to develop a robust, highly efficiency hydrogen separation assembly enabling the separation of hydrogen from hydrogen, hydrocarbon rich streams for the oxygen recovery system in the ISS.
Photonwares Corporation proposes a new design to realize a 1x2 high power fiber optical switch. Our design incorporates several innovative features to achieve performance that is beyond state-of-the-art, meeting the requirements for NASA deep space long-range communication. The proposed fiber optical switch design also leverages our over 20 years of micro-optic development experience to achieve extended longevity over 20 years without power consumption as well as meeting compact size and low weight requirements for space applications. The design and fabrication process are compatible with and qualified for space applications. The phase I effort will result in a prototype demonstration that supports performance claims and a Phase II plan that formulates a pathway to a space qualification with planned flight experiments in Phase III.
This program addresses NASA's need to develop technologies for conducting future deep-space missions with extended communication range and flight time.
RF-photonics, free-space communications, and quantum communication systems including unhackable communications, instantaneous teleporting communications, connecting quantum computers together.
The SBIR Phase I project will develop a dust mitigation technology for NASA’s planetary exploration missions. Specifically, this technology combines three dust removal mechanisms, including vibration, electrodynamic force, and superhydrophobic surface, and integrates them into a single laminate (PolyK Dust Mitigation Laminate, or PKDML). Once the PKDML is activated, dust particles will be bumped off the surface by vibration and steered away by electrodynamic force. The superhydrophobic surface reduces the adhesion between dust and surface, further facilitating dust movement and preventing dust accumulation. This technology can provide far more effective and efficient solution than the current state-of-the-art (electrodynamic dust shield, or EDS), as manifested at least in: 1) dust is transported in air rather than along the surface, which will save a significant amount of electrical energies that are otherwise needed to overcome the strong surface friction; 2) vibration is more effective in removing uncharged and large dust particles than the EDS technology. Moreover, the PKDML has similar structure layout to the EDS technology, enabling the fast manufacturing, installation, and adoption for the emerging NASA lunar and Mars missions.
The feasibility of this technology has been verified by out promising preliminary results. The in-depth experience and expertise in high voltage manipulation, electroactive polymers, actuator designs and applications, and manufacturing capability will greatly endorse this project.
The PKDML technology can be immediately applied in NASA exploration systems such as optical systems, including solar panels, camera lenses, and spacecraft viewports, as well as in active parts that need certain freedom of movement, such as spacesuit fabrics, rotary joints, and connectors. Furthermore, the electroactive polymer layer integrated in the PKDML is also a force sensor, and the weight and location of deposited dust can be monitored on a real-time basis to determine whether the dust cleaning is required (smart dust removal)
While the PKDML are designed for NASA applications, they can also be used in civilian and commercial applications, especially for solar panel cleaning, hard-to-reach surface cleaning.
A great challenge with power management is the way power is transmitted to other devices. Traditional space systems operate through nuclear, solar, or tethered power mechanisms that require great complexity and process to qualify and operate. Tethered systems are hindered tremendously by mechanically mated components that are prone to regolith incursion and that require large robotically generated forces for interconnection. Furthermore, astronauts suffer from limited suit dexterity to manipulate and manage such systems. Nuclear powered systems require intensive handling procedures, and in many cases, presidential authority to launch—greatly increasing the cost and schedule of such missions. Solar powered systems require continuous access to the Sun and must follow predicated operational plans to maximize sunlight exposure and limit system duty cycles, ultimately constraining system performance. A wireless charging system would mitigate these challenges for standalone systems that don’t have the resources to generate power independently through the traditional methods listed above and would in many cases eliminate the need for some quick disconnect technologies used in static joints. Furthermore, a charging technology such as this could have great utility not only on the Moon, but also in critical space applications on Mars, in orbit, and beyond.
The proposing team of Astrobotic and WiBotic, are developing a charging solution that can satisfy these needs. The performance and specifications of the proposed wireless charging system are summarized as follows:
There are several applications that necessitate proximity chargers in space. In relation to the Moon, these activities include supporting marsupial roving missions, enabling robotic systems that do not contain onboard nuclear or solar power generators, charging toolkits on crewed lunar terrain vehicles, and powering the heaters of critical devices to survive the lunar night. Near-field wireless power transmitters are important tools to reduce regolith incursion in mechanically mated systems and static joints.
Robotic systems are increasingly utilized in warehouses, energy/utility plants, construction sites, mines, and for last mile delivery applications. Underwater robotic systems enable ocean research for aquaculture, ocean mapping and maritime trade security inspections. All of these systems are battery powered and require recharging to maintain a high level of reliability and automation.
Intellisense Systems, Inc. proposes to develop a new Real-Time Optical Defect Detection, Identification and Correction (ODIN) technology for wire-feed additive manufacturing (AM) based on a multi-sensor approach combined with a defect-correction algorithm. The ODIN system will enhance NASA’s current AM capability for space applications and structure reliability monitoring. The ODIN system consists of two underlying technological modules: (1) the sensor module, which combines optical high-resolution spatial mapping, an IR camera for thermal mapping, and a wire-feed speed monitor for nozzle clogging detection; and (2) the defect detection, identification and correction software module, which creates a surface from the point cloud of each printed layer, compares it to the CAD model of the part, determines location, volume and type of defect and creates new printing instructions to correct detected printing defects. The innovations of ODIN include the use of a structured light COTS 3D scanner for detection of spatial defects, a miniature IR camera to monitor part temperature, and an optical encoder of wire-feed speed to detect nozzle clogging to cover virtually all causes for printing defects and correct them in real time. To identify and correct spatial defects, the surface point cloud of the printed part is compared to the corresponding sections of the part’s CAD model in real time for feedback control. These monitoring methods target a broad range of defect types that can be captured immediately. In addition, when a discrepancy above the user-specified threshold level is detected at a certain location, ODIN computes additional 3D printing steps necessary to correct the defect. Material testing will be performed to estimate the impact of real-time print correction on the parts’ mechanical properties. This novel development will significantly reduce the need for post-build full part inspection and re-printing in case of inferior part quality.
The ODIN system will enhance NASA’s current AM capability for space applications and structure reliability monitoring. In particular, real-time feedback loop monitoring of the printing process and on the fly printing defect correction are an integral and critical element in NASA’s effort to substantially reduce post-print part inspection and costly re-prints of compromised parts.
As a fully integrated and automated real-time AM monitoring and correction system, ODIN will find a plethora of applications where part inspection and printing of complex structures or material systems are needed by industrial customers such as aircraft or automobile part manufacturing and part inspection.
One major hurdle to robust multi-robot operations in space is the same hurdle faced by multi-robot applications on Earth—co-located, yet independent, robotic "individuals" do not adequately share state information. State information can include: environmental knowledge, current position and velocity, future state estimates, what task is currently being performed, what resources are needed to complete the current task, where shared resources may be located, and even data about if/why execution failed. Sharing some amount of state information is not only a necessity for multi-robot tasks that require cooperation, but is critical even for groups of independent robots that must share resources.
TRACLabs proposes to create a collection of software processes, called PLUMMRS, that will facilitate sharing of environmental and internal state information to enable safe, efficient navigation and manipulation tasks by heterogeneous robot teams working in a shared workspace. The goal of PLUMMRS (Plan Ledgers and Unified Maps for Multi-Robot Safety) is to provide simple APIs for existing single-agent planning and execution systems to leverage—allowing them to be safely used in multi-agent contexts. PLUMMRS can be used by any individual robot in a group of robots to contribute to, and benefit from, a unified model of not only geometric and semantic perception data but also of expected and currently executing motion- and task-level plan data. PLUMMRS is not a planning framework, as each robot is expected to have its own "black-box" motion- and task-planning capabilities; however, PLUMMRS can be used by both motion- and task-planning & control systems as 1) an oracle of shared knowledge, 2) a safety monitoring watchdog based on shared knowledge, and 3) an arbiter (scheduler) that attempts to loosely coordinate the short-term and long-term desires proposed by all robots that are trying to independently complete their tasks while sharing a workspace and physical resources.
A variety of NASA missions could benefit from PLUMMRS for multi-robot teaming, including ISS robots like Astrobee and R2, the Lunar Gateway, OSAM systems like Restore-L, the in-Space Assembled Telescope, Orbital Debris Mitigation, Artemis, the Lunar Surface Science Mobility System, Commercial Lunar Payload Services, Mars sample return, Discovery, exploration mission opportunities like Titan or Europa, swarm-based exploration of Mars lava tubes, and various STMD technology demonstrations.
The DoD needs robot teams for space, air, land, and sea. Relevant parties include the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, AFRL RANGRS, U.S. Army TARDEC, the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, the Naval Aviation Enterprise, and the Army Futures Command.
TRACLabs' customers in aerospace, automotive, and oil & gas manufacturing are also using robot teams for assembly and inspection.
Modularity Space proposes an innovative software and hardware package for an Intelligent Wireless Instrumentation Network Framework (I-WIN). I-WIN revolves around a plug-and-play framework and to enable a network-centric communications link for avionics and sensor components. This software architecture, coupled with highly configurable and advanced manufactured embedded hardware, develops a system focused on interoperability between subsystems and sensors and avionics applications. I-WIN provides an adaptable and modular architecture for innovative avionics, transforming both current and future satellite systems into wireless component networks (WCN). These WCNs can be configured at run-time reducing systems engineering costs, data distribution complexities, and enables the use of commercial-off-the-shelf components. Using Intelligent Wireless Modules (IWM), the self-configuring architecture is enabled without the use of predefined configurations of the components. I-WIN and IWMs provide an inherent fault tolerance and dynamic fault management system coupled with a low size, weight, and power (Low-SWaP) sensing solution for spacecraft. The packaged solution will be developed, and preliminarily evaluated during this Phase I research effort using software and hardware-in-the-loop setups available for this project. The proposed solutions will be capable of augmenting existing early stage mission architectures increasing autonomy and reliability and will also provide a baseline for a wireless spacecraft avionics for future space missions and operations.
I-WIN will provide a theoretical and experimental framework for development and demonstration of wireless technologies to increase space system capabilities, reduce integration and design complexities, and produce a rapid response avionics package capable of using advanced manufacturing techniques. The successful completion of this Phase I effort will take the technology from a TRL 3 to a TRL 6.
This list represents a subset of potential applications
This list represents a subset of potential applications
Proposed is a portable guyed lattice column system with an erector mechanism to autonomously lift and uphold a payload, such as a solar array that needs to be elevated to provide continuous power near a Lunar pole. Deployment proceeds from the base up, bay by bay, as the erector jacks each bay open while rising with the mast top where the bays yet to be opened are also stacked. The guy wires are sequentially tightened as deployment proceeds. Thus, full strength and stiffness are guaranteed for the mast sections already extended. Reverse operation collapses the column.
The system is eminently scalable and adaptable. Even with a fixed mast design, the number of bays and the anchoring geometry can be easily set to serve any of a variety of platform heights and payload weights.
Developed are a conceptual design ready for hardware development for the mast-and-erector assembly, and a procedure to assist preliminary design for autonomous Lunar applications.
Lightweight, modular, repeatedly deployable, and autonomously operable elevated platforms to raise and uphold solar arrays for Lunar missions in the polar regions, or to lift and support above the planetary surface instruments or equipment for other extraterrestrial applications.
Light weight guyed tower structures for environments or time constraints that forbid traditional erection methods (hoisting, cranes, or helicopters). This includes meteorological/research and military use.
The objective of the proposed research is to create a state-of-the-art, human thermal model that predicts crew member induced loads for evaluating a (long-distance) exploration vehicle’s thermal control, environmental control, and life support systems, including for conceptual and early design modeling. To accomplish this, ThermoAnalytics will adapt its widely-used, actively-developed, commercial-off-the-shelf Human Thermal Model for use with the Systems Improved Numerical Differencing Analyzer (SINDA). Specifically, we will create an interface between the TAITherm HTM and Thermal Desktop, which is a front-end to SINDA. The resulting co-simulation will provide conjugate assessments of crew-induced loads and vehicle thermal control systems, predicting the human crew’s (HTM) requirements of the exploration vehicle (TD) as they produce heat, moisture, and gasses (CO2) and consume O2.
The proposed research will be targeted for use by the NASA Crew and Thermal Systems Division for simulation of Life Support Systems during long duration missions. This includes Environmental Control Systems thermal performance studies, which can be limited by moisture under extreme conditions. Other potential NASA applications are improved modeling and testing of EVA spacesuit technology and the simulation of cooling vests or wearable electronics that have unique challenges due to the interaction with the human thermoregulatory system.
The US DoD (Army Natick Soldier Center, Navy SOCOM) is interested in simulating the thermal effects of high activity levels and the impact of sweat and moisture transport on clothing system insulation. For commercial customers, simulation of high activity levels is of interest for sportswear and advanced textile companies (i.e., W.L. Gore, Nike) and wearable electronics manufacturers.
NASA is currently seeking upgrades for the current extra-vehicular mobility unit (EMU). The water connector for the liquid cooling and ventilation garment (LCVG) has been shown to be a point of potential failures for the exploration space suit. Mainstream proposes to develop an upgraded water connector that eliminates leakage, performs over long-term cycling, and maintains strict water quality levels. In Phase I, Mainstream will design, prototype, and test an upgraded LCVG water connector, and will perform water contaminant studies. In Phase II, Mainstream will finalize the manufacturing technique and perform all reliability, life, and space-readiness tests.
The proposed research is targeted at existing and next generation Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garments. Future missions will require demanding extra vehicular activities on the international space station, moon, and mars. Our technology mitigates the concern of leakage from the LCVG water loop connector, a primary design concern for the existing system.
Innovative liquid cooling garments are useful in any working environment where the worker is enclosed in a protective suit. One example use is with firefighting PPE. With this technology, firefighters will be able to face extreme conditions for longer periods of time. Other potential PPE commercial markets include hazmat cleanup crews, paint booth workers, automotive racing, and soldiers.
Astronauts on long term space missions incur multiple space radiation risks including cancer, late and early central nervous system effects, cardiovascular diseases, and accelerated aging. A common mechanistic pathway in these events is unchecked oxidative stress. We have developed a countermeasure that protects mice from whole body x-ray radiation-induced death when given systemically 4 hours after lethal radiation exposure. At this time point, a lot of the immediate free radical generation from ionizing radiation exposure has already occurred and yet, we were able to protect these mice. This is largely due to the extremely potent free radical scavenging ability of our C60 fullerene derivative we term C60-ser that (i) has been made biocompatible by decorating it with a serinol malonamide to dramatically increase its water solubility (>250 mg/ml) and (ii) readily traverses physical barriers within tissues and cells to achieve excellent concentrations in all tissues within the body. C60-ser exists in a dynamic equilibrium state seamlessly flipping between the conjugate monomers (~3nm) and aggregates (100-2000 nm). Such duality enables the conjugates to use passive diffusion and active transport (e.g. endocytosis, transcytosis) for efficient and seamless shuttling from the vasculature to tissues including the brain. The sub-5nm size also allows a long circulation time by evading opsonization and reticuloendothelial capture and facilitating renal elimination. C60-ser can be reliably and reproducibly created in our facilities by facile and scalable techniques that we have pioneered. The studies proposed in this submission are extensions of this exciting preliminary work that will now explore the ability of C60-ser to protect multiple cell types from charged particle radiotherapy injuries. Collectively these studies will set the stage for testing C60-ser in animal models in phase II of this NASA SBIR program.
We have developed a radiation countermeasure, C60-ser, that protects mice from whole body x-ray radiation-induced death when given systemically 4 hours after lethal radiation exposure. If these properties hold true with space exposure-relevant radiation types, energies, and doses, we expect C60-ser could be used by astronauts during space missions (prophylactically before take-off or therapeutically after documented high-risk exposure such as a solar flare event).
Our radiation countermeasure, C60-ser, protects mice from whole body x-ray radiation-induced death when given systemically 4 hours after radiation via extremely potent free radical scavenging. This ability could make it valuable as a radiation protector during cancer radiotherapy and/or as a radiation mitigator following incidental radiation exposure from nuclear accidents or bioterrorism.
Motiv Space Systems, Inc. ("Motiv") is proposing a new design for a contamination tolerant tool-changer for use on lunar and other off-Earth missions that employ a robotic arm with a modest complexity end-effector payload (i.e., not an MSL-class payload). Past missions such as Phoenix and InSight are examples of missions with robotic arms that in retrospect could accommodate such a tool-changer. Future missions with a similar class of robotic arms include the lunar COLDArm, a Technology Payload for the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) suite of mission opportunities, and exploratory missions to the surfaces of the Ocean Worlds, comets, and asteroids. For these missions, a tool-changer would enable the robotic arm to perform a more complicated suite of activities such as scooping, gripping, grinding, and debris removal, all using separate tools that are swapped onto the arm as needed. This SBIR addresses a major problem with tool-changing mechanism designs in general, in that they are comprised of mechanical and electrical coupling elements that are sensitive to contamination. Contamination can result in failure to couple or jamming upon release, along with intermittent or broken electrical continuity. Because robotic arm end-effectors are likely to interact with the surface (and subsurface) of the Moon, Mars, or other planetary bodies, contamination problems are inevitable, the Moon in particular because the regolith particles are small, sharp, and prone to attachment because of the Moon's static electricity buildup. Motiv's tool-changer design will allow contamination to collect on mechanical and electrical coupling features and surfaces, but not preclude normal functioning of the tool-changer beyond some loss of positional repeatability when the various tools are exchanged. Electrical functionality will be preserved via self-cleaning of the electrical contacts during the tool exchange cycles
Potential applications for the contamination tolerant tool changer are missions with in-situ robotic arm activities in which the arm requires end-effector tools or instrumentation of modest complexity, particularly regarding electrical signal count. These missions would benefit from the additional flexibility that exchangeable tools offers. The contamination tolerance of the design would allow for its use on the Moon, Mars, the Ocean Worlds, comets, and asteroids, all of which are known to have environments rich in contaminating particulates.
A contamination tolerant tool-changer would be a useful part of terrestrial robotic arm systems, particularly those incorporated into mobile robotic platforms that perform hazardous duties or serve in hazardous environments. Tool exchange flexibility and worn or malfunctioning tool replacement would mitigate the time needed for human interaction, expanding uninterrupted service time
Several presentations were given at NASA’s 2019 Mirror Tech Days that highlighted the shortcomings of current mirror-fabrication technologies, particularly as they relate to demanding missions such as LUVOIR and HabEx. Many of the mirror deficiencies, such as areal density, surface figure error, stiffness, and surface figure changes over temperature, can be traced – either directly or indirectly – to mirror lightweighting. Current lightweighting processes result in pockets in the rear-side of the mirror that have abrupt stress-concentrating corners, poor front-rear symmetry, and poor material allocation in the webbing. The proposed laser machining process allows for the fabrication of cavities within a mirror that preserves front-rear symmetry, has no corners, and has a near ideal allocation of material within the webbing.
The novel laser machining process utilizes a CO2 laser in an ablation regimen in which the focused beam strikes below the surface of the workpiece from the side (as opposed to the front or rear as is commonly done). Material between the focused beam and the surface is ejected by the shockwave produced by the laser’s pulse, greatly increasing the amount of material removed for each pulse. Further, the focused laser beam can be split in two and laterally separated; when pulsed the shockwave – and material removal – can bridge the gap between the focal spots and increase the removal rate further. We project that material removal rates exceeding 80 cubic millimeters per second are possible.
1. Lightweighting of astronomical mirrors and mirror segments.
2. Coarse grinding of optical prescriptions into the front surface of astronomical mirrors and mirror segments.
3. Coarse grinding of the rear side of astronomical mirrors and mirror segments.
1. Grinding prescriptions into the front and rear surface of optical components
2. Coarse grinding ceramic components to their near-net-shape.
While skin friction is a key parameter for characterizing fluid flows, it has proven to be a difficult quantity to measure. Currently, skin friction is measured at discrete locations using different sensors; however, determining the proper measurement locations a priori is a significant challenge. Measurement techniques that provide global distributions of skin friction, such as oil film interferometry, shear sensitive liquid crystals, and surface stress sensitive films, have demonstrated steady state skin friction distributions in specific settings. Unfortunately, deployment of these measurement techniques into cryogenic wind tunnels has proven difficult. A system that can provide global measurements of mean and unsteady skin friction is of significant interest. ISSI and WMU propose exploiting existing measurement systems for temperature and utilizing a new variational mathematical approach that can extract global skin friction from high spatial resolution distributions of surface temperature acquired using Temperature-Sensitive Paint (TSP) and IR thermography. The process is based on the well-established relationship between the energy equation and skin friction. This approach has recently been demonstrated by the proposing team as part of a Phase II Air Force SBIR program, thus demonstrating the technical maturity of the technique. Temperature-Sensitive Paint and IR thermography are high TRL tools that are currently used in wind tunnels at both room temperature and cryogenic conditions. These systems, combined with surface heating devices such as carbon nanotubes, provide the high spatial resolution measurements of temperature gradients that are required for extraction of skin friction using this new approach. Combining the proven measurement capabilities of TSP and IR thermography with this new variational approach to extraction of skin friction results in a low risk approach to providing global skin friction measurements in cryogenic wind tunnels.
The SFW program has developed a model to assess the capabilities of various computational techniques, FAITH Hill. Fluctuating aerodynamic loads are a significant concern for the SLS program as unsteady aerodynamic pressures can excite the vehicle dynamic modes. Experimental measurements from the proposed sensor would provide each of these programs with heat transfer and flow separation/attachment data to validate computational models. Similar testing capability could be demonstrated in other NASA tunnels as part of a Phase II program.
The final product from this program should be a system capable of acquiring high spatial resolution distributions of both heat transfer and skin friction on a model in a cryogenic wind tunnel. This is a technological capability that is of interest to ISSI’s current commercial, research, and military wind tunnel customers. ISSI expects to aggressively market this capability to these customers.
This NASA SBIR Phase I proposal presents an unprecedented precision laser 3D manufacturing system including additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing and athermal welding, by using a pulsed fiber laser and real time sensing and feedback control. It is the enabling technology for manufacturing high precision telescope structures with sub-micron precision. With our successful history in laser 3D manufacturing, this proposal has a great potential to succeed. A proof of concept demonstration will be carried out and samples will be delivered at the end of Phase 1. Prototypes in compliant with the NASA large telescope system requirement will be delivered at the end of Phase II.
In addition to NASA’s telescope components manufacturing, the proposed pulsed laser 3D manufacturing process can also be used in other applications, such as space vehicle, aircraft, and satellite manufacturing. PolarOnyx will develop a series of products to meet various requirements for commercial/military deployments.
We propose to develop and demonstrate an artificial intelligence / machine learning (ML) algorithm which will reveal insights into astronaut health and performance, which in turn can be used to reduce mission risk, and optimize spacecraft resources and limited astronaut time during the mission. The proposed ML algorithm can be applied to any astronaut biometric data including heart rate, blood oxygen, temperature, nutrition in consumed food, environmental control system parameters, and injury and illness reports to better inform astronauts and the Mission Control Center with actionable insights made available in real time. Patterns in these data can indicate that astronauts are not at peak physical or mental performance, and patterns in these data sets can suggest how to return the astronauts to peak performance.
This algorithm can provide critical insights to astronauts by recognizing subtle patterns that appear across many telemetry channels. For example, this algorithm could track metabolic activity in crew in real time and suggest changes to environmental system parameters to maintain constant CO2 levels in a most resource-efficient way. Another example is early warning of dangerous conditions (precursors to hypercapnia). Its diagnostic power lies in its ability to learn in real time, and also in its ability to find subtle correlations between multiple bio parameters in data telemetry available to it. This algorithm also has the added benefit of fast learning for adapting to nuances between astronauts' metabolic profiles and finding new diagnostic correlations in real time during the mission.
As NASA sends crew out to the Moon and beyond to deep space and Mars, the lack of a quick return to Earth means early diagnosis of physical and mental health problems could mean the difference between life and death. This algorithm is compatible with low power hardware so it can be performed onboard spacecraft in deep space where there is limited data connectivity to Earth.
This product is directly applicable to future crewed NASA missions that are at the Moon or beyond where there is less opportunity for a quick return to Earth. In these cases biomarker monitoring can provide early warning for health concerns needing attention. In these cases also resources are even more precious and the product can help optimize use of those limited resources. Our proposed innovation works with any time series data available, such as that provided by the International Space Station (ISS) Food Intake Tracker (ISS FIT) iPad App.
Personalized monitoring and tracking precursors for optimal performance and health applied to the following markets:
This proposal demonstrates how the parallel discrete-event simulation technology of the WarpIV Kernel can be used to effectively solve large-scale numerical simulations related to NASA problems. Four diverse applications will be demonstrated: (1) modeling planetary rings as an N-body gravitational system, (2) modeling space debris and possible collisions with satellites or rocket launches, (3) modeling RF propagation for monitoring weak spacecraft signal strengths in noisy RF environments, and (4) producing non-spherical high-resolution gravity models. The most important of these demonstrations is the planetary ring model that was originally proposed by Dr. Steinman at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1995 prior to the launch of the Cassini mission. This proposal shows how N-body gravitational models can achieve orders of magnitude improvements to performance using discrete-event techniques (as opposed to time stepped techniques) while also producing more accurate results.
All high-performance computing science applications. This proposal lists four applications that will be demonstrated: (1) modeling planetary rings as an N-body gravitational system, (2) modeling space debris, (3) modeling RF propagation for monitoring spacecraft signal strengths in noisy RF environments, and (4) producing non-spherical high-resolution gravity models. The discrete-event approach could easily apply to a variety of CFD applications.
The large-scale numerical simulation capabilities that will be demonstrated in this effort naturally extend to all HPC simulation applications. In particular, this effort demonstrates how discrete-event approach (vs. time stepping) not only facilitates orders of magnitude faster executions, but also produces more accurate results.
The performance parameters of electric motors for aviation propulsion are: 1) specific power (SP), 2) reliability, and 3) efficiency. The Polarix ACTS motor provides a substantial enhancement of all three. This is the result of a new motor topology made possible by the integration of the inverter with the electro-mechanical current carrying elements. The topology has the following unique characteristics: 1) elemental motors distributed around the periphery, each with its independently controlled inverter with overall control from a master MCU, 2) the elemental motors contained by 3 conductors with a dedicated inverter at one end, and a short at the other and thus no turns, and 3) the planar arrangement of the conductors allows for MEMS type manufacturing.
This topology results in almost halving the volume and weight of the magnetic circuit and thus effectively doubling the specific power. Secondly, the large independent motor elements provide for massive redundancy and thus substantial higher reliability. Also, the elimination of turns and external wiring allows for greater copper utilization and thus higher efficiency.
The performance discussed in the proposal in parametric form (Figure 9) shows 30kW/kg specific power with stator cooling at 5W/cm2 at 99% efficiency excluding windage and core losses.
The state of the art includes both the motor and the inverter. We have built a number of motors with construction performance required for the proposed motor and likewise we have built numerous inverters and have tested the required currents voltage and power.
The program proposed here will integrate the various elements already demonstrated into a motor with power exceeding 50kW and specific power exceeding 10kW/kg and projected at 15W/kg.
We project that the phase II will demonstrate a motor in the 500kW range and with SP power above 20kW/kg.
Applications include airborne propulsion applications - manned and unmanned, covering the power range from 1kW to MWs of hub motors for driving propellers and rim motors driving fans. The latter will have a major impact on hybrid airplanes and the development of more advanced jet engine which will now have the ‘electric gearbox’ as part of the engine system. The motor will see applications in various aviation applications such as flight control actuator and many other electromechanical control and actuation of various subsystems.
Its unique characteristics of the Polarix ACTS motor are its very high specific power, light weight, high reliability, high efficiency and a low cost. These features lend it to a broad range of commercial applications, terrestrial marine and airborne applications such as generators for APUs, marine/UAV, airborne UAV, and terrestrial vehicles.
In this Phase I Program Pepin Associates extends its aligned discontinuous preform technology to hot structures. Aligned discontinuous preforms allow complex preform shapes to be formed rapidly while retaining mechanical properties for efficient, lightweight structures. This technology reduces the cost of fabricating complex, integrated polymer matrix precursor structures for ceramic matrix composites. Coupled with advanced CMC processing technologies these tailored formable preforms offer the potential for affordable hot structures of complex shape. Pepin Associates and its team fabricate test panels to compare the mechanical properties of 2D and 3D baseline continuous with 2D and 3D aligned discontinuous C/C-SiNC composite laminates. Tension, interlaminar shear, and in plane shear tests are performed at room temperature and elevated temperature. Pepin Associates further demonstrates the ability of the tailored formable preform to fabricate an integrated stiffened skin subcomponent. This subcomponent employs selective 3D reinforcement in a formable preform. Material inspections verify the quality of this precursor structure such that it could be further processed to yield a CMC integrated hot structure. The Phase I program forms the basis for Phase II development of more advanced integrated hot structure and qualification testing and analysis to support the design of affordable complex shaped hot structures to meet NASA requirements.
NASA applications for the aligned discontinuous preform technology include integrated hot structures such as stiffened aeroshells, control surfaces and their attachments, engine components, nozzle extensions and exit cones. More integrated structures for precursor polymer matrix composites will allow greater design flexibility for hot structures. Formable interior cavities would allow passive and active cooling of hot structures.
DARPA and the Air Force are developing a hypersonic air breathing weapon concept (HAWC) and a tactical boost glide vehicle (TBG). The Army is developing an ultrafast maneuverable long range missile launched from a ground platform. The low cost integrated structures developed in this Phase I program will create more design/manufacturing flexibility for these DOD hypersonic programs.
We are proposing to develop an integrated photonic chip for implementing a cascaded arrayed waveguide gratings (AWG) spectrometers on a Si3N4/SiO2 platform for use in the detection of exoplanets based on Precision Radial Velocity (PRV) method. In Phase I of this proposal, an integrated high spectral resolving power (R~150,000), high throughput (~25%) AWG spectrometer with multiple fiber inputs for simultaneous calibration on a Si3N4/SiO2 platform is proposed, which will be followed by a Phase II proposal for designing a flat focal field AWG spectrometer, with the focal signals of all wavelengths of operation focusing along a straight line, and for designing a polarization insensitive AWG for measuring the optical spectra of the star and the planet. Integration on a chip reduces the size, the weight, the cost, and increases the stability of astronomical spectrographs. An external calibration sources, like Optical Frequency Combs (OFCs), can be coupled to the AWG spectrometers through the additional fiber inputs to provide the broad spectral coverage and long-term (years) stability needed for extreme PRV detection of exoplanets.
A successful completion of Phases I and II would allow the Company to claim to have realized an integrated spectrometer. This would be a very compact instrument that can potentially be used in many NASA related projects. This can include missile defense, sensors, lidar, laser ranging, medical and health applications. The Company will pursue opportunities with NASA for infusion in future NASA missions (including exoplanet detection).
AWGs can be used to multiplex multiple channels on a single optical fiber at the transmitter and also be used to demultiplex them back into their individual channels at the receiver. AWGs are commonly used as optical multiplexers and demultiplexers in a Wavelength Division Multiplexed system. There are other areas of application such as signal processing, measurement, and sensing.
The Articulating Airbeam Tripod Boom for Solar Arrays effort outlined here aims to provide a rapidly deployable structure that can support and elevate solar panel arrays for use in the Artemis Program's development of a long-term facility on the Lunar south pole. This textile-based structure will feature protective coatings and no rigid/mechanical components to prevent the negative impacts of Lunar dust. The packable solution will be easily moved and redeployed numerous times to allow for localized power and adaptable functionality for Lunar surface operations.
Integrations with foldable solar arrays will help the Articulating Airbeam Tripod Boom for Solar Arrays fit into NASA priorities to use innovative materials and processes to create packable solutions that can deploy once on-site which saves valuable space during transport. Articulation features will maintain efficiency of solar arrays and an elevated height of 10m provides adaptability for use on the Moon.
NASA has expressed a specific interest in establishing a long-term presence on the Lunar South Pole because of its access to consistent sunlight. Powering this presence will require in-situ resource utilization along with portable adaptability. The Articulating Airbeam Tripod Boom for Solar Arrays provides a solution with minimal pack-volume to be easily moved to a location, re-packed moved and redeployed again multiple times. This will prove beneficial for other NASA surface missions anticipated for Mars and beyond.
Demand for portable solar arrays is expected to grow in the coming years, driven by military, outdoor adventure, off-grid living, field workers in remote locations, and disconnected or remote populations. Each of these end-users desire packable power solutions and the Articulating Airbeam Tripod Boom for Solar Arrays will be designed to adapt to the needs of these customers.
In this study, we propose to design an all-sky imaging system for ionospheric remote sensing from the surface of the ocean, which are currently not instrumented for space physics measurements. The proposed instrument, called Ocean Stabilized Ionospheric Remote Imaging Sensor (OSIRIS), will image the nightglow OI 630.0 nm emission data and will be capable of operating from mobile and moored buoys. The OSIRIS design solution will include a gimballed platform for sensor stabilization. The proposed OSIRIS instrument design is novel as ionospheric imaging from the ocean platform has not been demonstrated. We will leverage our unique experiences operating instruments on buoys to develop a flexible and modular design of OSIRIS so that it could be integrated with different types of buoys without changing the underlying architecture. The proposed study of OSIRIS is a first step toward enabling the proliferation of ionospheric measurements from the ocean surface. It is anticipated that the design solution developed here for ocean buoys could lead to miniaturization of OSIRIS for future CubeSat missions. The development of this new class of observing capability will be a pathfinder for future persistent ionospheric measurements from the ocean surface. This effort addresses a critical gap in our current observational capability from the ocean surface.
We expect that the data from OSIRIS instruments when realized in its fullest will provide complementary data to the NASA GOLD and ICON missions. Future NASA missions, such as the Geospace Dynamics Constellation (GDC) mission, would also benefit from distributed arrays of OSIRIS in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Furthermore, the miniaturization of the imager in this project would be able to be transitioned for future NASA CubeSat missions.
Data from the OSIRIS instrument from buoys will support ionosphere-thermosphere research in academia, the DoD, and other federal agencies. Further, the versatility of OSIRIS would enable the instrument to be used to address multiple application ranging from coastal security to meteorology. For example, the proposed instrumented could be configured to provide cloud observations.
Metal additive manufacturing has become a new revolutionary for industrial manufacturing systems, providing a great potential for in-space servicing and manufacturing for NASA’s mission. However, a primary challenge in this immature process is the lack of knowledge and controlling of the microstructure formation and evolution through this method, especially for the in-process interface between layers where defects are likely to be generated. Although after-process destructive inspection may provide information about the grain’s microstructure for the additively manufactured part, the after-process characterization does not reveal critical in situ information and thus the possibility for in situ correction. Therefore, any means to measure surface and buried defects in situ efficiently with a high spatial resolution would be highly desirable. To address this critical need, X-wave Innovations, Inc. (XII) proposes to develop an innovative optical-thermal-thermosonic-infrared (OTTI) imaging technology for the nondestructive, in-process inspection of critical flaws both on the layer surface and inside the welded build. The proposed NDE technique builds on the XII-developed multi-frequency thermosonic infrared technology, which is capable of detection of defects as small as micron-size. Combined with the optical and thermal imaging techniques, OTTI reveals unprecedented information in situ on defect formation between layers and microstructure evolution on the layers, which can lead to further in situ correction and control for the structure and quality of the building part during the additive manufacturing process.
It is estimated that the proposed system will have a substantial impact in the following NASA programs: Materials, Materials Research, Structures, and Assembly program, In-Space Propulsion Technologies Project, Advanced Telescope Technologies program, Air Vehicle Technology program, Small Spacecraft Technologies program, as well as the On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (OSAM) program, and other efforts where additive manufacturing are being engineered at NASA.
OTTI technology significantly improves additive manufacturing in multiple ways including design, development, evaluation, analysis, and product quality control. Therefore, OTTI technology is critical for implantation of additive manufacturing into broad industries. Our customers will include US government agencies, universities, and commercial companies.
Y-junction circulators are used to direct signal flow in millimeter-wave (MMW) transmit/receive systems including radar and high speed data links. At the heart of the device is a ferrite core located at the junction of three waveguides. The magnetically biased ferrite is non-reciprocal which gives rise to the unique circulator behavior. Circulators are available with full waveguide band operation up to 40 GHz, although the isolation is generally less than 16 dB. At higher frequencies the bandwidth is severely limited by the ferrite material properties. Y-junction circulators operating between 50-90 GHz typically have bandwidths near 2 GHz and above 100 GHz the bandwidth is only 1 GHz, making them unsuitable for many systems.
What is needed is an all-new approach to the problem. We propose a novel hybrid circulator comprising an orthomode transducer (OMT) and a modified Faraday rotation isolator. These two devices can be combined to form a hybrid circulator that can operate with very high isolation over nearly full rectangular waveguide bands. Circulators with this level of performance simply do not exist in the commercial market. The hybrid circulator is thus an enabling technology, offering significantly improved performance over the current state-of-the-art. At the end of the Phase I contract, we will deliver a prototype hybrid circulator covering the 150-190 GHz band to NASA. This component will find application in NASA G-band radar systems designed for future cloud, water, and precipitation missions.
Micro Harmonics is uniquely qualified to carry out this research. We have demonstrated the accuracy of our ferrite models through previous highly successful NASA SBIR contracts. We currently produce the most advanced Faraday rotation isolators on the global market with insertion loss less than 2 dB in the WR-3.4 band 220-330 GHz. We are extending coverage to 500 GHz. With the proposed SBIR funding we have an opportunity to transform the MMW circulator technology.
Broadband, hybrid MMW circulators should find immediate use in a wide range of NASA instruments including G-Band radar for measuring microphysical properties of clouds and upper atmospheric constituents as well as airborne science systems such as NASA Cloud Radar System (CRS) high altitude aircraft and APR-3 precipitation radar. Our initial prototype will cover the band 150-190 GHz and thus meet the needs of NASA G-band (167-175 GHz) remote sensing radars designed for future cloud, water, and precipitation missions.
Broadband hybrid millimeter-wave circulators are useful in many high-frequency transmit/receive systems including high speed data links and radar. Military applications include battlefield radar, compact range radar, imaging systems, covert communications, and chemical and bio-agent detection. Commercial applications include 5G/6G backhaul radios, airport radar and aeronautic vision enhancement.
Electric propulsion for space is attractive for NASA, military, and commercial missions. NASA has identified manufacturing issues that have resulted in significant costs to achieve performance repeatability and hardware reliability. Without addressing the process and materials issues, both the production of existing thrusters and the development of new thrusters will continue to face the prospect of high costs.
Current Hall effect thrusters make use of hexagonal boron nitride (BN) for the discharge channel in which plasma is generated and accelerated. Current materials have exhibited substantial lot-to-lot variability. Such material property inconsistencies have thus necessitated costly thruster design features to improve survivability margins against mechanical and thermal shock.
ACM has identified a key approach to improve the lot-to-lot consistency of BN based channel materials. ACM’s PAL process technology will produce a highly uniform microstructure after hot pressing. This will produce a high performance, repeatable BN material that is ideal for Hall effect thruster channels.
The proposed technology will find NASA use in HERMES propulsion system, in future deep space propulsion systems, and for station keeping of near Earth research satellites.
The proposed technology will find use in commercial satellite propulsion systems.
Speckodyne Corp. in collaboration with Plasma TEC, Inc. and Princeton University proposes to develop a novel, multifunctional optical diagnostic platform for kilohertz rate, non-intrusive, quantitative 1D and 2D imaging of relevant gas parameters in arc driven and other high enthalpy ground testing facilities. The platform implements and integrates state-of-the art optical diagnostic techniques that are enabled by femtosecond-based nonlinear optics: hybrid picosecond/femtosecond Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) and Two-photon Absorption Laser induced Fluorescence (TALIF). The hybrid CARS provides single shot point and line measurements of molecular species concentrations and state populations, as well as rotational and vibrational temperatures, whereas the TALIF provides line and planar measurements of atomic oxygen, nitrogen, argon and other atomic species concentrations. Extending the TALIF to the measurement of velocity profiles will also be considered based on atomic fluorescence Femtosecond Laser Electronic Excitation Tagging (FLEET). Both FLEET and hybrid CARS were recently demonstrated in Mach 10 to 18 in nitrogen flow at AEDC Tunnel 9 in Maryland by the Plasma TEC-Speckodyne team. The proposed platform is powered by a single kilohertz-rate femtosecond laser and incorporates a high-speed imaging system. The system architectural strategy is designed to meet transportability requirements and reliable operation in the harsh environment of NASA’s large-scale ground test and evaluation facilities. The completion of the Phase I effort will demonstrate the feasibility of this concept of measuring dissociation fraction, species, nonequilibrium and temperature at kHz rate over the wide range of operational conditions characterizing high-enthalpy wind tunnel flows. The development of the system requirements and specification will support the next-phase effort focused on prototype development, implementation and testing at NASA’s ground-based facilities.
The Phase I effort will provide a demonstration of feasibility of the multifunctional optical diagnostic system that meets the requirements for operation in harsh requirements at NASA’s ground-based test facilities. Phase I will provide a blueprint for a movable system, and a prototype system capable of quantitative 1D and 2D imaging of relevant gas parameters will be developed under a Phase II effort. The system prototype will be then deployed and tested under various conditions at several NASA facilities (LaRC, ARC, GRC).
A robust and versatile multifunctional optical diagnostic prototype will find commercial applications in fields such as aerospace, combustion and plasma physics. Using a single laser as a source for several diagnostics make this system attractive because of a reduced size and price, and the fact that it is mobile makes it versatile for use in facilities with more than one laboratory.
NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) roadmap for 2025 and beyond shows the need for optical links for Earth, lunar, inter-planetary, and relay networks requiring 10-100x higher data rates than current state-of-the-art space-based optical communications systems. Future laser communications system requirements include data rates >1 Gbps downlink from planetary bodies, and >100 Gbps low-geosynchronous earth orbit (LEO-GEO) networks. To support high-data-rate communications for long-range GEO and inter-planetary missions, a new class of laser communications transmitter is required with high average power (>20 W), high efficiency (>20%), and high peak power (>1 kW)—and capable of 16-ary and 128-ary pulse position modulation (PPM) formats. Wavelength-division multiplexed (WDM) systems must also have output power that is spectrally flat with minimal cross-talk.
Fibertek proposes to develop and demonstrate a high λ-channel count (up to 20 channels), gain-flat, high power, spaceflight prototype transmitter with an innovative Four Wave Mixing (FWM) mitigation capability or deep space optical communication (DSOC) links. High power, multi-wavelength channel fiber amplifiers are fundamentally limited in channel count scaling to 4 channels and power scaling due to FWM non-linearities causing Pulse Energy Variation (PEV). Our innovative approach effectively mitigates FWM resulting in compact, efficient, reliable and space-qualifiable system. These enhancements increase the data capacity scaling by >10x over the current state of the art high power WDM transmitter enabling the next generation of high speed DSOC links.
NASA SCaN (Space Communications and Navigation Program) roadmap to enable large science data volume returns from deep space missions. NASA exploration mission to Mars, planets and asteroid belts will benefit from much higher data rates and longer ranges than the current state of the art. NASA initiatives to support large 100G + core GEO networks. High-data rate, multi-channel laser transmitters, enable high-volume data link for science missions, hyper-spectral imaging, JPSS (Joint Polar Satellite System), Landsat, and radar/lidar missions.
This effort supports the need for large data volume DoD and commercial GEO inter-satellite networks and high data volume downlink and LCRD (Lunar Communication Relay Demonstrator) style relay.
In this program, Freedom Photonics will develop a compact, space-qualified LIDAR seed source package at TRL 6. The low SWaP presented by our monolithic photonic integration approach is attractive for small satellite and UAV applications, and the proposed work is necessary in order to mitigate the risk of environmental failure during the harsh conditions of launch and spaceflight. In collaboration with NASA LaRC, the proposed packaging and reliability work will identify and implement aerospace-compatible assembly methods, components, materials, and design.
The package assembly and design in this program will directly translate to other wavelengths and photonic architectures, and we have selected methane LIDAR as the initial target application in order to leverage the successful 1645 nm integration platforms we developed with the support of NASA GSFC. This space qualification effort will ultimately facilitate satellite-based water vapor DIAL and remote sensing of other atmospheric gases.
The Phase I effort will culminate in a prototype LIDAR seed source hardware deliverable, assembled using materials and processes suitable for a small satellite payload.
This program was inspired by an existing need within NASA (LaRC) for new, more precise and powerful remote sensing instrument implementations. The space qualification campaign focuses on package design and assembly, which is directly applicable to other PIC architectures at other wavelengths, so it is relevant for high-resolution LIDAR mapping of water vapor or other atmospheric gases.
This technology will enable our compact PICs to survive launch and spaceflight. Methane LIDAR is relevant to oil and gas exploration; at other wavelengths, space-qualified LIDAR source packages can be used for terrestrial surveys by military satellites, UAVs and aircraft. The extensive risk mitigation of the space qualification may make our LIDAR sources attractive for automotive applications.
The goal of this project is to make a series of manipulation algorithms for bin picking, object recognition, pose estimation, and assembly as well as a STRIPS-like task planner available as a "manipulation-in-a-box" solution that can be integrated with existing robots, such as Robonaut 2, via a ROS interface. In Phase I, this integration will be demonstrated using the Gazebo simulation environment in a manufacturing environment containing a dual-arm torso, a gantry system, and multiple 3D perception sensors, and optionally, on the official Robonaut 2 simulator, pending a software usage agreement. We will demonstrate a series of sensor-based mobile manipulation tasks such as a kitting task under varying levels of sensor noise and dynamic mission conditions. Here, the manipulation-in-a-box solution leverages the robot's on-board sensors, but performs all necessary computations with an energy footprint of less than 10W. The final deliverable is a complete manipulation solution that can be configured using a browser and interface with either a simulator or real hardware via ROS.
The manipulation-in-a-box solution is directly applicable to a multitude of NASA robotic systems such as Robonaut 2 and Valkyrie. Bin picking, object manipulation, and assembly are high-value tasks that enable the robot to perform IVA activities with and without human supervision, dramatically extending maintenance and preparation task Robonaut 2 could perform on ISS or "The Gateway".
Robotic Materials Inc. is actively marketing an autonomous, mobile manipulation solution to the manufacturing industry with an existing deployment in Denver. The proposed activities will help us to improve this product, but also pave the way fro RM Inc. to move from wheeled to humanoid robots in the future, opening up other application domains including household and elderly care.
This program will address the stated need from the National Space Weather Strategy and Action plan to “enhance the Protection of National Security, Homeland Security, and Commercial Assets and Operations against the Effects of Space Weather”. Specifically, we will develop and demonstrate an ion erosion resistant passive high emissivity coating that mitigates charging and erosion effects brought on by ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation occurs as a result of space weather events like solar flares or cosmic rays and has the potential to incur cascading spacecraft damage that could lead to loss of key services such as communications, national security, remote sensing, and environmental monitoring. In Phase I we will develop a scalable electrophoretic deposition approach to apply tunable erosion resistant and highly emissive passive coatings consisting of mixtures of low work function ceramics and hard/conductive boron doped diamond materials. Both electrophoretic deposition cell and process parameters will be optimized to obtain the desired performance. The coating development activities will be guided by an evaluation of the electron-emitting properties of the coating before and after Xenon ion sputtering, across a broad range of energies, and identify first and second crossover energies, maximum yields, and energies of maximum yields. Finally, we will estimate the feasibility of transitioning this technology to pertinent spacecraft components of interest to NASA and our Phase II commercialization partners. In Phase II, Faraday, USU, and commercial partners will apply the optimized coatings to testable components and expose them to simulated launch conditions, space weather, ionospheric charging, and ion sputtering erosion. If successful we envision these materials could then be applied to platforms used within Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) for further qualification, optimization, and validation within Phase III.
This next generation ion erosion resistant high emissivity passive coating, based on low work function materials, will enable enhance durability, effectiveness, and lifetime of spacecraft and satellite components subjected to space weather ionizing radiation events. The resulting product of this work could be applied to any spacecraft component or material that could be subjected to such harsh environmental challenges. Furthermore, it would be of interest to platforms include spacecraft skin, solar panels, circuit boards, and emitters.
At the end of a successful program we envision our initial entry point will be focused on improving the resilience of solar cells due to ongoing relationships with solar cell manufacturers and the known challenges associated with space weather events occurring on these materials. Subsequent opportunities will be for other commercial satellite components that suffer from space weather effects.
Electrified Aircraft Propulsion (EAP) is a growing NASA technology effort that could enable new configurations of aircraft. With the potential to transform the transportation and services markets, vehicle classes of interest include single-aisle, thin/short haul, and urban air mobility. These vehicle concepts rely on hybrid electric systems to provide propulsive power through the use of a turbo-generator combined with electrical energy storage. For turbo-generators/range-extenders utilized in regional EAP concepts, small lightweight turboshaft engines are an excellent choice due to their maturity and availability. However, at small power scales, gas turbines are less efficient. This can be addressed by using a recuperator to inject waste heat from the turbine back into the thermodynamic cycle upstream of the combustor. Micro Cooling Concepts (MC2) has developed technologies for fabricating extremely compact metallic heat exchangers with high heat transfer while reducing size by 3-5X and weight by 2-3X, using the printed circuit heat exchanger (PCHX) approach.Using additive manufacturing to create heat exchangers with finer scale and higher aspect ratio features can magnify the advantages of MC2’s existing technology, resulting in affordable recuperators with minimal weight, volume, and pressure losses. Analysis shows that the PCHX approach gives ~50% weight reduction, while the 3D Printed/Hybrid recuperators provide an additional 20% weight reduction. These weight reductions translate directly into shorter fuel payback times and opportunities to increase payload or range. The program will begin with requirements definition and design studies to size the heat exchanger and assess flow distribution. 3D printing studies will assess manufacturability of the concept, followed by fabrication and testing of proof pressure test specimens, representative of a full-scale recuperator design. The program will conclude with a design update to prepare for the Phase II effort.
Technology applicable to any NASA program where heat exchangers are required and weight has a significant impact on system performance. Examples include:
Lightweight compact heat exchangers have uses across wide range of applications. Impact cannot be overstated as applicability to military and commercial sectors is vast.
A major innovative thrust in urban air mobility (UAM) is underway that could potentially transform how we travel by providing on-demand, affordable, quiet, and fast passenger-carrying operations in metropolitan areas using novel air vehicles, most employing some form of Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP). The need to support the rapid maturation of technology for UAM is a key motivation for the current NASA UAM Grand Challenge. As noted by NASA, “the Grand Challenge aims to improve UAM safety and accelerate scalability through integrated demonstrations by hosting a series of UAM ecosystem-wide challenges beginning in 2020” addressing a wide range of technical impediments to the growth of UAM, including, notably, the need to characterize vehicle noise levels. The proposed effort will both build on recent major advances in noise modeling at CDI and, in the long term, support of the acoustics analysis goals of the Grand Challenge by enhancing state-of-the-art rotary-wing aeromechanics and acoustics analysis with key additional modeling capabilities needed for comprehensive prediction of DEP aircraft noise, focusing initially on the special problems associated with the prediction of noise from multiple, time-varying RPM systems.
The comprehensive acoustic analysis proposed would enable accurate prediction of acoustics of UAM aircraft in computation times commensurate with daily design work, and would directly support NASA’s ARMD Strategic Thrust #4 (Safe, Quiet, and Affordable Vertical Lift Air Vehicles) in their Technology Roadmap. The developed analysis would be of immediate use to NASA engineers and UAM developers in evaluating and designing low-noise DEP configurations and identifying methods to reduce noise of UAM vehicles.
CDI collaborates with eVTOL UAM vehicle developers who have an immediate need for the proposed analysis to predict aircraft noise during conceptual design. The analysis will also be of great value to the DoD and major rotorcraft manufacturers in analyzing acoustic characteristics of future vertical lift concepts like those under development for the U.S. Army Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program.
SpaceX has launched several hundred of a planned constellation of several thousand Starlink satellites into nominal 550 km altitude circular orbits. The Starlink spacecraft reportedly operate largely autonomously, to include maneuvering to avoid collisions with other spacecraft and debris. Collision avoidance maneuvers are not published and may not be known even to Starlink until after they occur. Starlink operational parameters and concept of operations (ConOps) are only partly known to 18 SPCS and CARA. The Starlink constellation is therefore comprised of autonomous, non-cooperative spacecraft. The native 18 SPCS OD and O/O ephemeris are unreliable means of predicting future Starlink spacecraft positions necessary for Conjunction Assessment (CA). More concerning is that the O/O ephemeris is used for CA screening and the results are published to Starlink for use in determining avoidance maneuvers. CARA must therefore rely entirely on Starlink spacecraft to maneuver to avoid potential collisions with CARA-protected payloads while having no knowledge of the characteristics of such maneuvers or the underlying methodology used in their planning and execution. Research is therefore proposed to characterize the maneuver behavior of autonomous, non-cooperative spacecraft in response to predicted CA data by analyzing historical data using machine learning and traditional analysis techniques.
Capability to predict either specific maneuvers or a range of expected maneuvers – a maneuver envelope – that can be analyzed for post-maneuver risk to CARA-protected missions for both station keeping and avoidance maneuver operations. If successful, the approach can be applied to other non-cooperative spacecraft whether or not operating autonomously and to future mega-constellations similar to Starlink that use autonomous operations.
Government and commercial entities CA risk analysis and Space Traffic Management practitioners DoD, DoC, SpaceNav, AGI, and commercial sensor data providers. Maneuver reconstruction success will result in improved 18 SPCS OD performance by automating detection/solution of autonomous low-thrust maneuvers. Informs future policy development for CA practice by the commercial space industry.
The NASA’s Doppler Aerosol WiNd (DAWN) lidar system needs a pulsed single frequency laser operating near 2 micron lase wavelength. We propose a new type of Tm-doped fiber for this application. The overall objective of this proposal is to demonstrate and build a single frequency near 2 micron fiber laser with pulse energy of greater than 30mJ. Tm-doped gain fiber with excellent radiation resistance against high energy radiation will be used. This proposed laser will be all-fiber PM laser with a beam quality of 1.2. In Phase II we will demonstrate and deliver a packaged 2 micron single frequency fiber laser with 30mJ pulse energy to NASA.
NASA needs single frequency high pulse energy 2 micron fiber laser for wind Lidar applications. Such a fiber laser is of great interest because of the potential possibility of combining high efficiency, high output power, and retina safety together. This technical approach can also be used for CO2 measurement by using Ho-doped fiber.
There are a number of potential non-NASA commercial applications for 1.94 micron fiber laser. This eye-safe laser source can be used to build commercial lidar for ranging and surface topography applications, be used as the light source for fiber optical sensing, fast scanning biomedical imaging, and scientific research.
Wide temperature and radiation hardened CMOS based monolithic chips are sought by NASA for both onboard scientific instruments (such as radiometers and spectrometers) and for high performance computing (HPC). Analog blocks have long been a critical need for NASA’s missions, such as Moon missions and Europa. Alphacore, Inc. will design and characterize wide-temperature (-200 °C to +200 °C) rad-hard (TID calibrated, SEL immune, SET tolerant) CMOS analog library in the GlobalFoundries (GF) 22nm FDSOI CMOS process, which will help realize next generation extreme environment operable ASICs for future NASA’s missions.
Alphacore’s analog library includes key analog blocks that most scientific instruments and sensors would need for all future missions. These blocks include 1) programmable resolution and sampling rate Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) 2) Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) 3) Low-Dropout (LDO) regulator and 4) Comparator. These blocks will be designed in 22nm FDSOI process that will have TID calibration with SEL immunity and SET tolerance and suitable for applications of wide temperatures like atmospheric and surface explorations of Titan (-180° C), Europa (-220° C), Ganymede (-200°C), Mars (-120°C to +20°C), the Moon (-180°C), asteroids, comets and other small bodies.
What Alphacore is proposing is a unique solution to critical need that has not previously been addressed. Alphacore has been closely collaborating with multiple teams that researched state-of-the-art circuits including readout systems, sensors and other mixed signal circuits for analog data capture, signal processing, command and control. Since Alphacore has been actively involved in radiometer system designing community for over three years, we have a deep understanding of the scientific payloads and rad-hard, cold temperature mixed signal circuits community’s needs and of related design challenges.
Alphacore’s proposed analog library includes blocks designed in 22nm FDSOI process, suitable to function under high-radiation and wide temperatures of planets, asteroids and comets in deep space. Future NASA missions that could benefit from components designed using Alphacore’s rad-hard library include Europa Clipper, Europa Lander, and Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy (VERITAS), and the Titan Saturn System Mission, along with the Moon-to-Mars program and the Origins Space Telescope.
By supporting the development of advanced radiation-hardened components for space, Alphacore’s innovation can help enhance current technological capabilities and also achieve new and innovative scientific measurements for space discoveries and exploration; scientists will be able to gain a better knowledge of the universe and physics.
NASA is seeking radiation tolerant standard cell libraries for processes below 28nm that are suitable for NASA missions in the natural space environment. As a response, Alphacore proposes a complete library of radiation-hard standard cells implemented in the GlobalFoundries 22nm fully depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) CMOS fabrication process (GF 22FDX).
With CMOS downscaling, the soft error rate (SER) due to radiation-induced charge generation and collection in sensitive nodes of integrated circuits improves at the device level. However, as more memories and latches are integrated per chip, the chip-level SER increases with each new technology node. Thus, single-event effects (SEE) are a crucial concern in advanced nodes for high-reliability applications in space, atmospheric, and terrestrial radiation environments. SOI technologies have shown significant improvements in SEE resiliency due to reduction in charge deposition in sensitive volumes, immunity to single-event latch-up (SEL), and suppression of charge sharing mechanisms. In particular, Ultra-Thin Body and BOX technologies, such as 28nm and 22nm FDSOI, show excellent resiliency to SEEs and very low SER.
The Phase I program will strongly leverage Alphacore’s existing 22FDX radiation effect characterization, radiation hardening by design (RHBD), and overall mixed-signal IP development work. With its extensive experience in this area, Alphacore will have a complete radiation tolerant library designed by the end of the Phase I program. In Phase II, a complete radiation tolerant standard cell library will be fabricated and tested. The elements will be tested for functionality, circuit performance and radiation hardness, including both SEE and total ionizing dose (TID). Alphacore will also schedule another major tapeout within the Phase II program and containing optimized cells, ready to be used by NASA and other customers in their applications needing both excellent performance and radiation hardness.
NASA programs that will benefit from Alphacore’s rad-hard standard cell library include target applications for the High-Performance Spaceflight Chiplet (HSPC) ecosystem within Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) and Science Mission Directorate (SMD), and future missions such as the Mars Fetch Rover, the WFIRST, the Lunar Gateway and SPLICE. The rad-hard library will also help the design of a wide range of space electronics outside of space-computing applications.
By supporting the development of advanced radiation-hardened components for space, Alphacore’s innovation can help enhance current technological capabilities and also achieve new and innovative scientific measurements for space discoveries and exploration; scientists will be able to gain a better knowledge of the universe and physics.
For upcoming Lunar-surface missions that require autonomous vertically deploying, efficient, robust, and retractable solar arrays near the south pole, Origami-Based Extendable Lunar Innovative Solar Column (OBELISC) is a simple packaging, deployment, and scalable architecture for a non-rotating column solar array. Featuring single-axis vertical deployment and retraction, OBELISC is a low-maintenance, robust design leading to long life and multiple retractions for relocation or service. Unlike a rotating flat array, OBELISC’s design boasts a 360-degree view with no need for a vertical axis gimble. The enclosed internal mechanisms are protected from lunar dust by the blanket array and reduction in complexity (and therefore the number of failure points) increases OBELISC’s service life and reliability.
The system consists mainly of the folding blanket array and the support structure. The architecture uses an identical trapezoidal facet repeated throughout the entire array, with each side of the column folding compactly in a z-folded manner. The trapezoidal facets are populated with PV cells and the triangular facets are left unpopulated but are retained for two purposes: control the folding and unfolding of the PV panels and act as the first line of defense against dust for the enclosed mechanisms.
The OBELISC architecture is tailorable in stowed inner and outer diameters, number of sides, and number of bays. The outer diameter variability allows for convenient integration onto common lunar lander designs and within launch fairings. The inner diameter variability allows for the central support structure to be housed within the central volume. The variability of the number of sides allows for optimal design of panels versus the performance of the solar array. The variability in the number of bays increases or decreases the deployed height of the column, allowing for a tractable way to tailor the deployed area without changing the rest of the geometry.
OBELISC will benefit NASA initial manned and unmanned missions to the lunar surface. These missions could use large photovoltaic solar arrays to generate power for habitats, ISRU, science investigations, and battery charging. The proposed technology could also impact a broad array of NASA missions, such as NASA’s needs for large deployable and retractable solar arrays for solar electric propulsion and hybrid propulsion schemes or for powering lunar and planetary tug spacecraft.
OBELISC will benefit the DoD, prime contractors, and commercial spacecraft providers that are interested in large solar arrays. Specific examples include providers that endorse OBELISC development (Astrobotic and Firefly), and others such as Air Force, Army, SpaceX, and Northrup Grumman. OBELISC has Earth terrestrial applications for military, industrial operations, and temporary dwellings.
This NASA Phase I SBIR program would develop conformal nanomembrane based “sensor skins” capable of global shear stress characterization on wind tunnel models as well as operational aerospace vehicles at both room temperature and cryogenic conditions. The team will transition the conformal nanomembrane based shear stress sensors from their current concept to prototype stage products of use to NASA’s ground test facilities. The team will develop an improved mechanical and electrical model of semiconductor nanomembrane based sensor performance that will allow quantitative optimization of material properties and suggest optimal methods for sensor attachment and use for shear measurement applications. The team will perform synthesis of sensor skin materials with optimized transduction, hysteresis and environmental properties, specifically for high Reynold’s number flow and also varying temperature use at both room temperature and cryogenic conditions. A complete analysis of sensor cross-sensitivities and noise sources will be performed to allow optimization of signal-to-noise ratio and practical sensor sensitivity. Support electronics will be developed to acquire, multiplex, store and process raw sensor array data.
The accurate measurement of shear stress using the proposed global shear sensing technology in complex flows is needed for NASA ground test facilities, as current computational methods are insufficient. An appreciation of the instrumentation issues obtained by working with NASA centers would allow improvements in sensor materials, electronics and packaging, and potentially allow the transition of related products to operational vehicles.
Primary customers would be university, government laboratory and industry researchers. Use of developed global shear sensor technology first by NASA, and then by the broader research community, as well as the developers and users of aerospace, hydrospace, land vehicle, civil structure and biomedical flow systems, is envisioned.
We propose to investigate a new approach to achieving high performance thermoelectric generators (TEGs) used in nuclear power environments that preliminary calculations suggest may result in a >20% conversion efficiency. This innovation employs the existing reactor neutron radiation coupled with boron based thermoelectric materials to significantly enhance their performance through effects that radiation is known to have on electrical conductivity of solids. The boron-10 material in a neutron field will react to create alpha particles and ionize the feet of the TEG to greatly improve material properties, resulting in an Advanced Thermoelectric Generator, or ATEG.
The major aspect of this innovation revolves around the tendency for ionizing radiation to excite the electrons in a material as it passes through. In doing so, the electrical conductivity of the material increases due to Radiation Induced Conductivity (RIC). However, it is known that the thermal and Seebeck properties of the material remain relatively unchanged. The figure of merit (ZT) for TEGs depends heavily on the electrical and thermal conductivity of the material, as well as the Seebeck coefficient. All three of these factors have been shown to improve when exposed to ionizing radiation. Based on effects seen from previous irradiation tests, the ZT of an ATEG can increase to the point where conversion efficiency can reach over 20%.
Previous work performed by Howe Industries has demonstrated the electrical conductivity change in boron nitride samples during tests at KSU. As boron based TEGs currently exist, adapting these for use with the Kilopower reactor will be the main focus of this project. Doing so will allow for an improved conversion efficiency, reliable power production, and minimal changes to the current designs. This project has the potential to not only increase the performance of the Kilopower reactor, but also decrease overall mass and design complications.
The ATEG system can be used for fission surface power with reactors as well as for high efficiency conversion with radioisotopes. Substituting the boron material with americium dopant allows for power generation uncoupled from a neutron source. Having a 20% efficient TEG would decrease the overall amount of radioisotope fuel required for deep space missions and enable larger missions or more missions per year to take place.
The ATEG system can be adapted for use on Earth for small modular reactors, full scale nuclear power plants, and waste head reclamation. Current estimates suggest that power can be generated in an ATEG SMR for $0.02/kWh and waste heat units can produce power at $0.003/kWh. Studies have found future market predictions for SMR and thermoelectrics to be $4.5B and $741M, respectively.
This Phase I program will demonstrate an innovative, module-level encapsulation technology that will lower the cost by at least 50% and enhance the performance of space-grade solar arrays. Conventional solar cells for space use specialized coverglass that provides essential environmental protection from high-energy particle and ultraviolet solar radiation but is expensive to apply and has high fragility. Next-generation coverglass replacement materials have been explored by several groups over the past decade. Pseudomorphic glass (PMG) uses glass microbeads embeded in a silicone matrix that can be formed into sheets or sprayed on interconnected modules. Pure silicone sheets using space-grade DC 93-500 have also been investigated for module-level protection. Both approaches have the additional benefit of high flexibility that is synergistic with thin-film, inverted metamorphic multi-junction (IMM) solar cells manufactured by MicroLink Devices, enabling a pathway to truly flexible solar modules.
The central innovation in this proposal is to introduce a novel, prismatic texturing method that will improve the performance and manufacturability of silicone-based encapsulations including PMG. Texturing of glass encapsulants has previously been explored for enhancing high-angle light capture for terrestrial solar arrays, but prismatic structuring of space coverglass has not been widely investigated. Polymer materials are much more readily formed into prismatic shapes, which presents a new opportunity to introduce this important technique. In this Phase I program MicroLink will demonstrate that prismatic structures not only increase the high-angle collection efficiency of space solar cells by up to 30%, but also reduce the operating temperature by as much as 3 degrees. Equally important, the surface texturing is expected to substantially simplify the design and robustness of essential UV protective coating layers deposited over the encapsulation.
According to the NASA SBIR 2020 program solicitation, kilowatt-class fission power generation is an enabling technology for lunar and Mars surface missions that require day and night power for long-duration surface operations, and may be the only viable power option to achieve a sustained human presence. In response to NASA SBIR FY 2020 topic Z1.03, Thermal Management, ThermAvant Technologies, LLC (ThermAvant) proposes to develop a high temperature, large format, high capacity Oscillating Heat Pipe (OHP) embedded radiator panel to significantly improve the size, weight and power density of future kilowatt class Fission Power Systems (FPS). This proposal aims to develop thin profile radiator panels, e.g. greater than 1m2 scale x 2-3mm thick, used to reject heat from the waste heat (cold) side of the reactor system. During the six-month Phase I effort, the team proposes to design and empirically demonstrate high temperature prototype radiator panels.
NASA is considering the use of kilowatt class Fission Power Systems for surface missions to the moon and Mars. This directly aligns with the Space Technology Mission Directorate roadmap for space power and energy storage. Prior work in fission power systems had focused on a 1kWe ground demonstration, however, NASA desires to scale-up the system and components for a flight demo mission to the lunar surface, so component technologies that support a 10kWe-class fission power system are sought after to address many remaining technical challenges.
Large-format, high capacity radiators will have applications in terrestrial vehicles with electrical loads, and in large industrial vehicles where he proposed passive solution may be able replace actively pumped single-phase radiators with air cooled systems. These panels may be a viable solution for acquiring heat and rejecting to the heat sink (air, space, water, etc.).
Problem: Mars missions will not have real-time communications with Mission Control Center (MCC), and correspondingly limited access to supervision for complex medical scenarios that lie outside the skill set of crew members. Thus we need solutions that can provide just-in-time training, monitoring, and autonomous guidance of medical procedures, to make the crew independent of MCC.
Solution: We propose a system for automatically building computational models of a complex physical task, such as a medical procedure performed by humans, given only a handful of recorded expert demonstrations of the task. Once such a model is built, our system can finely analyze the same task being performed in live video, to provide measurements and analytics, improve efficiency, guide a crew member through the task, or provide just-in-time training.
We combine recent advances in machine learning and computer vision, including our own prior work, in human pose estimation, 3D object estimation, action classification, and long-term causal reasoning to build novel systems that can understand goal-driven multi-step activities in live video feed.
Existing commercial solutions: Some AI platforms offer capabilities to estimate human skeletal poses, locate objects, as well as classify simple actions in video.
However in order to understand a certain multi-step activity (e.g. a medical procedure), a solution provider still needs a team of computer vision or IoT engineers, who write customized computer code to represent that specific activity, relating human pose changes with object movements over time, i.e. building this temporal causation structure on top of the capabilities provided by the existing AI platforms.
In contrast, our solution is able to learn complex activities that combine human-object and human-human interaction over time merely from example demonstrations of the activity. Our system does not require customization at the level of new programming to model a new activity and scenario.
Mars missions face the challenge of significant communication delays with Mission Control, while complexity of operations keeps increasing. Thus, just-in-time training and autonomous guidance and monitoring solutions are valuable for medical operations and beyond. Our solution packages an "extra pair of trained eyes" (in the form of cameras and artificial intelligence software) to assist the crew, and we predict the solution has the potential on some missions to reduce crew headcount by 1 or more, which will mean enormous savings for NASA.
Medical learners need attending physicians or expert nurses to provide them with feedback when learning a procedure such as Lumbar Puncture on a medical simulator. Unfortunately, expert time in healthcare is incredibly valuable and also experts are not geographically scalable.
Our solution replaces the need for expert feedback at medical simulation centers saving them millions of dollars each year.
There is strong motivation to significantly reduce the complexity and size and to further improve the electrical-to-optical efficiency of eyesafe coherent lidar systems. Recent advances in fiber lasers and associated components allow for compact and rugged eyesafe transmitters, but the high-spectral-purity single frequency, and high beam quality output energy needed for efficient coherent lidar systems is limited to < 1 mJ in practical all-fiber implementations. This pulse energy is sufficient for many short-range or high-backscatter measurement applications, but to extend the measurement capability higher pulse energy is needed. This is due to a fundamental characteristic of coherent (heterodyne) detection in the weak signal regime, where the measurement sensitivity is proportional to the product of the pulse energy and the square root of the pulse repetition frequency (PRF). Stressing weak signal examples include measuring atmospheric winds from space platforms or measuring in the very low backscatter mid and upper troposphere from ground or airborne platforms. To utilize the positive attributes of a fiber-based transmitter, we propose to develop a very compact integrated bulk-crystal-based amplifier and lidar transmit/receive module that will boost the fiber transmitter output pulse energies to as much as 40 mJ per pulse at 400 Hz PRF and provide for efficient collection of the return signals. Our initial focus will be on 2 micron wavelength devices, but the basic architecture can be applied to other wavelength as well. Operationally flexible, highly ruggedized compact packaging with path-to-space will be emphasized. These innovations will apply directly to current NASA missions and instruments (Space-based Winds, Airborne and Ground Based Wind lidar, IPDA, LAS) and accelerate commercial development and availability of practical ground-based and airborne systems at Beyond Photonics and elsewhere.
Potential NASA applications of the proposed hybrid fiber/bulk power amplifier/lidar transceiver technology include on-going and future measurement of global winds from space; ground-based and airborne coherent lidar programs; eye-safe remote laser spectroscopy applications for measurement of atmospheric constituents like CO2, water vapor, and methane; tracking of fast-moving space debris and asteroid hazards; spacecraft docking applications; and other shortwave-IR wavelength instrument developments in the 1.5-to-2.0 micron wavelength region.
Non-NASA uses of hybrid fiber/bulk amplifier transmitters include DoD hard target and space debris tracking/imaging problems and research/industrial applications requiring very compact efficient front-end transmitter lasers and bulk amplifiers at SWIR wavelengths. Product development is planned for compact, high-performance remote-sensing products for winds and other remote sensing applications.
HiFunda’s new low-cost, castable inorganic composite potting material (CICPM) and process proposal is in response to NASA’s request for proposals that address improved materials or fabrication processes to reduce the total life cycle cost of electric propulsion thrusters. NASA has specifically encouraged prospective proposers in fields outside of electric propulsion, like HiFunda, to apply if they have experiences with materials and processes that may be suitable for this application. Insulation and potting degradation during thruster operations can lead to early thruster failures that have occurred with existing processes for manufacturing and potting magnetic wire. HiFunda is proposing a new geopolymer composite potting material and casting process that will extend the temperature limits of conventional polymeric and/or ceramic potting materials thereby minimizing or eliminating instances of potting and insulation failures. High-temperature electromagnet coils are potted with a ceramic material that is intended to fill the gaps between the windings and to be free of voids. Unfortunately, in practice, the ceramic potting compound develops cracks due to the large startup thermal gradients and the large difference in coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the constituent materials. The proposed technology will mitigate this issue by adding reinforcing fibers to the potting compound and more closely matching the effective CTE of the geopolymer matrix. In Phase I, HiFunda will develop and demonstrate robustness and suitability of a CICPM in a potting test vehicle (PTV) and a subscale proof-of-concept high-temperature electromagnet (POC-HTEM) simulant. The proposed technology will be further refined and demonstrated on a high-temperature electromagnet design of interest to NASA and/or aerospace contractors in Phase II.
The proposed new low-cost castable inorganic composite potting material (CICPM) and process will be used by NASA for electromagnets in electric propulsion systems on spacecraft. Benefits to NASA include improved reliability and longer lifetimes of high-temperature electromagnets and potential cost reduction of potting materials, acceptance testing, and the high cost of thrusters. Also, the CTE and thermal conductivity of the proposed CICPM can be tailored for a variety of other thermal management applications of interest to NASA.
The proposed technology will find commercial adoption for non-NASA thermal management applications like encapsulating, coating, and/or potting of hot components, subassemblies, and surfaces in high-temperature environments for gas turbine engines, furnaces, processing equipment, aerospace, and automotive. It will be sold through internet distributors and/or through existing distribution channels.
SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI) seeks NASA support for the development of a “smart” docking connector for autonomous dock sequencing on a pair of androgynous spacecraft connectors. The “smart” features on the pair of spacecraft connectors includes a sensing and short-range communication technology that will offer navigational information, handshaking, and auto-dock sequencing during proximity operations and docking between the host spacecraft and target spacecraft. As envisioned, once the enhancements through hardware and software are implemented on the connector system an operational capability is offered to help assist the construction of large spacecraft structures or offer upgradeable modular platforms to existing spacecraft structures. The scope of the Phase I effort includes the study and simulation of proximity operations and the benefits that can be added with a “smart” docking connector configuration. This activity will leverage SpaceWorks' existing, novel connector solution, dubbed FuseBlox™, to create a new autonomous docking system and capability.
Applications that involve the development of a very large spacecraft architectures in GEO orbit and beyond can directly benefit from this development. Such applications include, but are not limited too, the following: Lunar Gateway initiative, large space telescopes (such as iSAT), and deep space missions that require a large support system for human transport.
The Air Force and DARPA have been actively pursuing robotic in space assembly and servicing. AFSPC SMS effort has recognized the need for modular hardware and the ability to connect, disconnect and re-connect hardware blocks or assemblies on orbit. Commercial entities such as Intelsat and SES could also use this connector for persistent/modular GEO platform system architectures.
Through the proposed SBIR program, NanoSonic will design and empirically optimize self-healing microparticles that significantly extend the lifetime of silicone lubricants used within liquid cooling and ventilation garment connectors. NanoSonic’s lubricant filled microcapsules will be precisely tailored for direct compatibility within existing silicone lubricants used by team member ILC Dover and have highly elastic silicone shells that are empirically optimized to gradually break down and release highly dispersible silicone oil into existing seal and gasket greases slowly over extended, simulated tribological wear cycles. The proposed effort will directly build from NanoSonic’s self-healing coating microcapsules and have direct commercial scalability using established oil-in-water suspension polymerization reactions. In support of a low-risk Phase III transition, the proposed self-sealing HybridSil® microcapsules will be intrinsically designed for near term 55-gallon production quantities within an established manufacturing infrastructure.
NanoSonic’s lubricant filled microcapsules will directly build from its established self-healing polymeric capsule materials. This capsule technology was uniquely tailored to provide aerospace topcoats a mechanism to autonomously heal themselves from laceration, puncture, and abrasion threats in addition to having long-term environmental durability. NanoSonic is currently working to transition this technology to multiple defense prime and government groups for direction integration into polyurethane aerospace topcoats such as MIL-PRF-85285E.
Building from a successful Phase I effort, NanoSonic will use a Phase II program advancement to further optimize and commercially transition its self-healing microcapsules for LCVG connectors. Working with ILC Dover, numerous additional NASA applications will be pursued including docking systems and vehicle hatches within current and future space vehicles.
Non NASA applications include a broad spectrum of aircraft and aerospace seals numerous applications including engines, landing gear, and flight controls.
NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) missions can greatly benefit from this dust mitigation thermal coating technology: all lunar-relating project - Power and Thermal Bus Sub Systems, and all projects involved with robotic science rovers and landers.
The Technology Developed can be useful for:
Next-generation Urban Air Mobility vehicles will require All Weather Capability, including flight into known icing conditions. Ice or frost build-up on propeller surfaces decreases aerodynamic efficiency, resulting in loss of lift when even a small amount of ice builds on rotor-blade surfaces. This can lead to the loss of the aircraft in just minutes. Electrically powered quad-copters have no viable ice protection options today, primarily due to power and weight limitations.
IDI proposes development of a Low Power Anti-Icing System specific for short range, short endurance UAM missions. The proposed approach will feature a fast response icing sensor combined with a unique Rechargeable Rotor-Blade Anti-Icing System utilizing smart materials and embedded energy storage components that can be pre-charged independent of the UAM main battery pack. Unique to this design is the ability to wirelessly recharge the rotor de-ice system at electric vehicle docking stations using inductive coupling during scheduled UAM battery pack recharge cycles.
During the Phase I Program IDI will develop a rechargeable ice protection system design and power management strategy. A prototype will be demonstrated in the Penn State AERTS Rotor Blade Icing Test Facility. Phase II will continue the development and test on a full scale UAM.
This research supports NASA’s goal to develop icing hazard mitigation technologies necessary for integrating UAS into the National Airspace System. The resulting system could be used to help support various ongoing icing research programs in the NASA Glenn Icing Tunnel and on NASA’s Icing Research Aircraft.
The Low Power Anti-Icing System can be applied on commercial quad-copter propellers for flight in instrument meteorological conditions. A wireless rechargeable deicer could be sold as a self-contained feature of next generation propellers. The low-power light-weight requirements give it a significant market advantage over current systems.
MBSE has been increasingly embraced by both industry and government to keep track of system complexity. It allows the engineer to represent the system in a comprehensive computer model allowing for better traceability, tracking, and information consistency. The vision and promise of MBSE is one where systems models and analyses are tightly integrated in an automated, collaborative, easily accessible and secure framework. However, the current state-of-the-art falls short of this promise due to a significant gap between MBSE tools and its integration with analysis tools. Phoenix Integration proposes to develop and prototype a framework that would help realize the vision and promise of MBSE. This prototype framework will be web-based, utilizing existing tools and frameworks already deployed and being used at NASA. At the center of the framework is the connection between OpenMBEE and ModelCenter® MBSE. OpenMBEE is an open source collaboration environment for engineering models. It is driven by models and capabilities that support a model-based approach. ModelCenter® MBSE on the other hand, is a next generation MBSE analysis integration tool currently being commercially developed at Phoenix Integration. This framework will be connected to a continuous integration server for automated execution in response to a model change. In addition to being able to interact with the systems model through a web environment, the user would be able to execute the associated analyses and workflows using information from the systems model. Automatic requirements verification can be performed through automated analysis execution whenever a change in the systems model is detected. The analysis that is run can also be represented back in the systems model for full traceability.
These capabilities will directly benefit ongoing and future NASA projects, such as the Europa Clipper and Lander missions, the Team X and related collaborative design teams, as well as all future science missions. NASA would be able to leverage this technology on any project that involves a significant level of technical and programmatic complexity. This includes most of NASA's commercial lunar lander initiative, various aircraft technology initiatives, as well as planetary exploration missions.
This technology will benefit all programs adopting MBSE, including those at the Department of Defense. Commercial organizations such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing will also benefit as they implement MBSE activities. Other industries such as automotive, pharmaceutical and manufacturing could take advantage of the innovative technology developed here.
While advances have been made in the application of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools to the aeroelastic and aeroservoelastic analysis of flexible flight vehicles, during the design phase, unsteady lifting surface methods based on the doublet-lattice method or the harmonic gradient method are still the dominant tools used. We propose a tool that would (1) be at least as accurate as current lifting surface tools in the flight regimes where they are known to be valid, (2) offer a solution across the Mach regime from subsonic to moderately supersonic (Mach 3 or so), (3) capture the fundamental physics of shocks in the transonic regime, (4) have a comparable computational cost to lifting surface/panel codes, and (5) be integrated with standard aeroservoelastic analysis and design tools.
Potential NASA applications will include the use of the developed technology for design of any new generation aircraft or RLV system including complex and novel configurations such as blended wing-bodies, truss-braced wing configurations, low-boom supersonic configurations, etc.
This technology is expected to have commercial applications to aircraft design of subsonic transports, supersonic vehicles, bombers, fighters, UAV’s, and general aviation airplanes. As such, it is expected to have significant commercial applications in airplane structural design, primarily with DoD, NASA, and the prime contractors.
We propose to develop a power conversion architecture capable of operating at high power (>100 kW) in high-radiation environments and extreme temperatures. The proposed system is modular, thus providing an array of benefits, including improved thermal management, radiation hardness, and reliability. The innovations that enable this advantageous architecture are (a) proprietary radiation-hard integrated circuit technology under development at Apogee Semiconductor that permits far more sophisticated control than state-of-the-art radiation-hard ICs, and (b) a novel control architecture that ensures proper power sharing among converter modules without centralized communication, thereby allowing for high modularity and elimination of points of global failure.
By the end of Phase I, we will have designed and prototyped a set of power converter modules capable of decentralized current sharing at a power level (per module) appropriate to scale up to a full system. The scale model will operate at below 10 kW but will demonstrate robust decentralized control, high power density/efficiency, and low thermal impedance. Accomplishing this objective will require system specification through research, analysis, and simulation prior to prototyping.
Power distribution and conversion solutions for lunar and Mars bases.
These modules can also expand the NASA Advanced Modular Power Systems (AMPS) roadmap.
Commercial GEO satellite applications.
Lunar bases proposed by commercial companies such as SpaceX.
Laser interferometers are the state of the art for characterizing large telescope optics, manufacturing custom optics, aspheres, freeform optics, and for semiconductor wafer characterization. For test optics with large surface errors, a reference optic and/or a custom computer-generated hologram (CGH) can be used to bring the errors within the interferometer’s range.
However, many situations result in large departures from reference optics. Thermal & gravity sag effects in large optics can cause significant deviations, only some of which may be predictable. Test optics in semiconductor manufacturing may include sharp, irregular steps of many waves. In the early stages of optics polishing, departures from reference can be extreme. Custom optics, including asphere and freeform, can deviate hugely from spherical, and for these a custom CGH (with a typical lead time of 6 months and cost of $10k) is not always economical.
We propose to extend the range of an interferometer by providing > 50 waves of programmable phase control using a Spatial Light Modulator (SLM). In addition to extending the range of phase errors that can be characterized, the SLM interferometer can apply additional arbitrary phase.
In Phase I we will upgrade a prototype SLM interferometer that we previously used to demonstrate nulling and programmable phase control. Phase I will focus on improving interferometer speed, calibration, and stability, and quantifying performance through the following technical objectives:
In Phase II BNS will incorporate an upgraded 1536x1536 pixel MacroSLM into a commercial interferometer and demonstrate its performance in typical use cases.
The SLM interferometer can save optics manufacturers, especially free-form optics, time and money during manufacturing, since a greater interferometer range will mean optics can be characterized earlier in the fabrication process when their deviations from reference can be large. It can also allow spherical references or existing CGHs to be used for a wider range of optic designs.
We offer several innovations in the joining of various elements in hollow cathodes and the surrounding structures. These replace the more expensive, less compact, brazing technology and mechanical capture currently used. The proposed techniques include welding 1) molybdenum to molybdenum; 2) molybdenum and molybdenum alloys to porous tungsten; 3) molybdenum to stainless steel; 4) molybdenum to kovar; 5) a new potted tungsten heater to cathodes and supports; and 6) alternative materials such as niobium and hafnium. All of these weld processes allow automated production.
E beam has over 30 years’ experience developing new, innovative cathode structures. It is the leader in cathode miniaturization. Precision laser and resistance welding is essential for these structures. E beam is the only company that can reliably weld impregnated cathodes to base metals.
The secret to successful welding of disparate refractories is the choice of interface materials and the allowance for mismatches in the coefficient of thermal expansion. We routinely employ TIG, resistance, and laser welding in cathode production, and have done ebeam welding.
In addition to conventional hollow cathodes, we plan to apply the new joining techniques to scandate hollow cathodes, hollow reservoir cathodes, and planar micro-thruster cathodes. The proposed innovations will improve and lower the cost of conventional hollow cathodes. A planar 0.050-inch diameter planar scandate cathode using heater power of only half a watt is able to produce over one ampere of discharge current.
The innovations apply to NASA’s Hall and ion thrusters that employ conventional impregnated cathodes. These cathodes will be more compact, use less power, be more manufacturable and reliable. For long-range space missions, hollow reservoir cathodes provide longer life than impregnated cathodes. The improvements here will improve the reliability of reservoir cathodes. NASA has several initiatives involving micro-thrusters. The weld technology proposed is critical for very small planar scandate cathodes capable of up to 4A of discharge.
The innovations proposed here would apply to hollow cathodes, including reservoir cathodes used in orbit-raising of heavy communications satellites. They also apply to micro-thrusters for SmallSats and CubeSats, where much commercial work is occurring.
To meet the NASA need for low mass low power proximity sensor which can be mounted at the end of a robotic arm, RC Integrated Systems LLC (RISL) proposes to develop a new Miniature Optical Proximity Sensor (MOPS), capable of providing micrometer range resolution for measurement of an arbitrary target ranging from contact to 20cm. This new sensor will achieve over 1 kHz frequency response, consume less than 55mW power, weigh about 7.1 grams, and cost less than 100 dollars. In Phase I, RISL will perform a feasibility study of MOPS through design, modeling and simulation, and laboratory prototype testing to provide evidence that MOPS can meet the NASA requirements. RISL will identify the equipment and resources needed to prototype MOPS, as well as initial MOPS designs and unit cost estimates. In Phase II, RISL will develop the complete MOPS design and refine the design through several iterations to meet all the NASA requirements. Based on iterations of the designs, several generations of the prototypes will be fabricated and tested. In Phase II, performance of the MOPS sensor will be demonstrated through simulated flight tests. A technology readiness level (TRL)-4 and TRL-6 prototype will be demonstrated by the end of Phase I and Phase II respectively.
MOPS addresses the major NASA requirements of a low mass low power proximity sensor for a robotic arm to enhance satellite servicing. MOPS will for the first time provide a lightweight sensor measuring the distance from the end of the robotic arm to the adjacent free flying satellite which would reduce the risk of a collision or missed capture. It could be applicable to the Restore-L mission as well as other potential servicing missions, platform demonstrations, or smallsats. It could also be applicable to refueling at Artemis.
Military applications include proximity fuzes for a wide range of munitions platforms from 155-mm artillery shells to 40-mm grenades and 30-mm projectiles. Commercial applications include proximity fuzing for nonlethal munitions, which can be attractive for law enforcement organizations. MOPS can also be used for obstacle detection for collision avoidance and facility security.
This proposal addresses the fabrication and testing of structured (monolithic), carbon-based multipollutant trace-contaminant (TC) sorbents for the space suit used in Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). The proposed innovations are: (1) multipollutant trace-contaminant control; (2) thin-walled, structured carbon TC sorbents fabricated using three-dimensional (3D) printing; and (3) the patented low-temperature oxidation step used for the treatment of carbon sorbents. The overall objective is to develop a multipollutant trace-contaminant removal system that is rapidly vacuum-regenerable and that possesses substantial weight, size, and power-requirement advantages with respect to the current state of the art. The Phase 1 objectives are: (1) to demonstrate the effectiveness of monolithic carbon sorbents with respect to ammonia and formaldehyde removal at concentrations much lower than currently demonstrated and tested, i.e. << 20 ppm ammonia and << 3 ppm formaldehyde; (the proposed target is the 7-day Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations, SMAC); (2) to evaluate the monolithic carbon sorbents with respect to multipollutant TC control, including carbon monoxide and methyl mercaptan; to define a path to sorbent improvements, if needed; and (3) to deliver a sorbent prototype to NASA for further sub-scale testing. This will be accomplished in three tasks: (1) Sorbent Fabrication and Characterization; (2) Sorbent Testing; and (3) Product Assessment.
The main application of the proposed technology would be in spacecraft life-support systems, mainly in extravehicular activities (space suit), but after modifications also in cabin-air revitalization.
The developed technology may find applications in air-revitalization on board US Navy submarines, in commercial and military aircraft, in the future air-conditioning systems for green buildings, and in advanced scuba-diving systems.
Fiber optic sensing (FOS) technology is continuously being developed and offers many advantages over other traditional sensing technologies. The fiber sensors are compact, flexible, lightweight, and immune to electromagnetic interference. For optical frequency domain reflectometry (OFDR) interrogation, thousands of Fiber Bragg gratings can be continuously spaced along the length of the fiber to allow for simultaneous measurements of temperature and strain with high spatial resolution. However interrogators implementing OFDR remain costly and are still economically difficult to justify for broad deployment. For this reason, Sensuron is excited to collaborate with NASA in this program to develop and create the technology needed to drive down the cost of this sensing solution and produce a ruggedized low SWAP-C FOS system that will be applicable to temperature and liquid level monitoring applications. The resulting product will be designed to meet harsh environmental specifications for radiation, temperature, shock & vibration as well as humidity. It will be capable of deployment in space missions but its commercial use will be most prevalent across many earth-bound applications.
Cryogenic tanks liquid level sensing
Pressure vessels temperature sensing and structural health monitoring
In-space structural health monitoring of buildings and assets
Aerospace: Distributed load monitoring, SHM and failure prediction, composite materials manufacturing and embedment.
Energy: Oil well health equipment monitoring, storage tank liquid level and stratification, wind turbine blade testing.
Automotive: Structural integrity study of prototypes, battery cells temperature monitoring.
Civil engineering: Structural health monitoring of buildings and bridges.
Free-form optics promise improved optical system performance in all areas of imaging and illumination optics. Metrology tools with sufficient accuracy and manufacturing throughputs are limiting the adoption of free-form optics and their advantages, including meeting NASA’s goal of free-form X-Ray optics. The low coherence probe has demonstrated the potential to provide the metrology required but in order to increase the effective data rate new sources are desired. In this proposal we address this problem by introducing a new, mode hop insensitive source which would increase the acquisition rate by three orders of magnitude and simultaneously lower the cost. A free-form probe equipped with this new generation of sources would be able to effectively compete with full field interferometry at the same time bypassing a lot of its disadvantages.
Free-form optics enable small and lightweight imaging and projection optical systems required by NASA. Future NASA missions with alternative low-cost science and small-sized payloads are constrained by the traditional optics. These could benefit greatly by free-form optics as they provide superior imaging and lightweight components to meet the mission requirements. This application aims to enable those optics to be manufactured to the required tolerances (impossible today) to enable free-form optics to be used as envisioned.
Free-form optics in non-NASA applications is limited by the lack of high performance metrology. Cell phones, tablets, computers, remote cameras, machine vision, security and defense, and illumination systems will benefit from free-forms with smaller packaging, lighter weight and better imaging qualities. This technology, precision metrology, promises to make free-form optics commercially viable.
Space weather phenomena such as solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and associated solar particle events (SPEs) can damage critical space-based and terrestrial infrastructure. Operators of such systems are in critical need of a capability to forecast major space weather storms and potential effects towards risk mitigation. Currently available tools are research-oriented and may not be suitable for operational use. CFD Research and the University of Alabama in Huntsville propose to develop a novel Radiation, Interplanetary Shocks, and Coronal Sources (RISCS) toolset by enhancing and integrating existing research codes into a software product for situational assessment and decision making related to space operations. Key technology features and innovations include: (1) efficient coupling between component codes that describe inner heliosphere and transport of solar energetic particles; (2) modularity via standardized interfaces for data exchange and user interfaces; (3) development in consultation with NASA and selected end users; (4) improved component codes numerical and physics models; (5) customized configuration of final product for transition to end user operations (R2O/O2R). In Phase I, we will (1) identify potential ends users and technology transition avenues; (2) derive RISCS design requirements t for operational use; (3) characterize features, performance, and limitations of existing space weather modeling software; (4) enhance RISCS toolset via improved interfaces for data exchange, user input, etc.; (5) demonstrate operational performance of a toolset prototype and derive plans for continued R2O/O2R. During Phase II, we will improve component codes numerical/physics models, extensively test RISCS to improve error detection and handling, demonstrate modularity via swap-out of component codes, run end-to-end simulations of the modular code to demonstrate that RISCS meets the specified design requirements, customize and deliver RISCS to selected end user.
This topic directly addresses NASA’s R2O/O2R responsibilities outlined in the NSWAP, specifically their goal to understand the Sun and its interactions with Earth, including space weather. It also supports NASA SMD’s goal to coordinate efforts to prepare the nation for space weather events, and is aligned with Technology Roadmap TA-11 (11.2.0 on Modeling). The developed RISCS toolkit will support mission operations by forecasting all-clear periods and the occurrence and effects of SPEs to allow implementation of mitigation solutions.
A predictive capability for SPE-induced radiation and resulting operational effects can help mission/equipment managers schedule tasks and adopt risk mitigation strategies. Directly relevant to DoD agencies and commercial entities with space-based or high-altitude assets (e.g., satellites), commercial aviation, navigation/GPS, radio communications, utilities/power transmission, oil pipelines.
GTL’s ultralightweight BHL™ dewar provides dramatically reduced mass, and increased performance over metal dewars. In cryogenic propellant storage systems, BHL has a demonstrated mass reduction of 75%. A similar mass reduction is expected for dewar applications. BHL allows thinner carbon fiber plies to be used, reducing mass and thermal mass while also increasing thermal resistance. Varying materials can be used throughout the structure to optimize for liquid helium storage.
The GTL team is extensively experienced in cryogenic isolation, dewar production, composites manufacturing, and cryogenic fluid testing. GTL is currently producing 4 ft diameter cryogenic structures and has existing designs for integrated dewar systems. This phase I and II effort will conclude at a high TRL, ready for phase III application, due to the experience and capability of GTL.
The BHL technology applied to dewar systems offers significant improvements over current state-of-the-art dewars. BHL will provide for reduced boil-off, reduced cost, and easier transport of the dewars. BHL dewars could be applied to a large number of NASA systems. Anywhere cryogenic fluid is stored could potentially be replaced with these low mass, high efficiency composite dewars. NASA space systems, lunar and Mars landers, lunar and Mars habitats, as well as long term storage could benefit greatly from low mass BHL dewars and/or cryotanks.
For the same reasons that these composite dewars would be so beneficial to NASA, they would also be beneficial to the DoD. These low mass dewars could enable aircraft to run off of other fuels, such as liquid natural gas and liquid hydrogen. In the private sector BHL cryogenic dewars could be implemented in hospitals, research corporations, and cold gas/welding suppliers.
We propose to validate an innovative spectropolarimeter which is exceptionally sensitive to circular polarization. The polarimeter is small and robust, has no moving parts, is simple in concept and extremely well-suited to space. Full polarimetric information is encoded on a single data frame hence polarimetry of transient, fast moving or variable targets can be acquired.
The goals of Focus Area S1.11 In Situ Instruments/Technologies and Plume Sampling Systems for Ocean Worlds Life Detection are to advance science instruments focused on the detection of life, especially extant life in the Ocean Worlds, including innovative new scientific measurements. Our proposed polarimeter with its exceptional circular polarization measurement capability has particular relevance to these goals.
Circular polarization serves as a pure agnostic biosignature, symptomatic of the uniquely biological phenomenon of homochirality. S1.11 seeks “Life detection approaches optimized for evaluating and analyzing the composition of ice matrices with unknown pH and salt content. Instruments capable of detecting and identifying organic molecules (in particular biomolecules), … such as … organic analysis instruments with chiral discrimination.” Circular polarization spectroscopy is sensitive to any chiral structures, including those of amino acids, proteins and more, without specificity, hence provides a truly generic, agnostic life detection capacity.
The instrument’s optimal response to circular polarization leads to mission relevant sensitivity for life detection. Dissolved salts and pH level have no influence. The polarimeter simultaneously and independently measures circular and linear polarization hence offering a powerful tool for the characterization of surfaces and particles with implications for habitability.
In situ life detection capability relevant to Ocean Worlds missions such as the Europa Lander
In situ life detection for Ocean World plume fly-through samples, in particular Enceladus and Europa
Remote sensing for life detection, habitability and physical characterization in solar system exploration in general.
Versatility and low cost provides opportunity in the private space sector.
Sensitivity to circular polarization leads to application in the biological sciences: medicine, pharmacy, agriculture.
Polarimetry of time dependent phenomena enables application in physics and biology.
Education is a major commercial opportunity, synergistically building on NASAs mission to search for life in the Universe
Prolonged Field Care (PFC) is utilized by the US Military to deliver field medical care beyond planned timelines of evacuation in order to decrease patient mortality and morbidity. PFC utilizes limited resources to sustain care until the patient arrives at the next level of care. Life-threatening medical conditions requiring evacuation, pose a significant risk of loss of life and mission for long duration exploration missions Astronaut crews evacuating to earth will deliver prolonged field care without real-time decision support. NASA will need to develop prolonged field care protocols that incorporate autonomous decision support.
Nahlia Inc demonstrated an Autonomous Medical Response Agent (AMRA) in previous research efforts. AMRA is a multi-criteria feedback control Bayesian clinical decision support tool. Clinical history, physical exam, laboratory and imaging assessments, vehicle and environmental data are combined. Calculated post-test likelihood distributions of disease, clinical and mission outcomes (Med09) guide the sequence of evidence-based protocols. Inventory and astronaut personal preference (Med03) filter choices and just-in-time training provides point-of-care instruction to CMO's. Outcomes measures provide a multi-organ system state estimate of health and contributes to an estimated risk posture for crew and mission (Med08, Med09). Differences between current and goal health state, defined by NASA STD3001, sustain AMRAs guidance until a goal state is achieved. AMRA sends information to Mission Control, coordinating asynchronous care (HARI02).
The proposal seeks to establish the benefits and feasibility of a systematic capability to develop, guide, and train PFC protocols for space. Tasks include (1)systematic approach to evidence-based autonomous PFC protocols (2) Clinical Case Simulator to test PFC protocols, (3) Mission Coordinator to facilitate collaboration with Mission control 4) Case-Based Trainer to prepare Astronauts for PFC in Space.
High severity of illness, rapid decision making, where real-time telemedicine support is not available makes Prolonged Field Care scenarios the most likely lead to loss of crew and loss of life on long duration missions. For example: Acute respiratory distress, Undifferentiated Shock, MultiOrgan system Trauma
Autonomous decision support, proposed here, will be required to support training and guiding Crew Medical Officers performing PFC in space.
Coordinated Bayesian Decision support can be used to automate the standard of care, decrease cognitive overload in other arenas. Military Prolonged Field Care, Disaster response, rural medical care, pandemic response,
The millions of tons of ice water discovered by the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission is considered to be the most valuable resource on the moon. Extracting this water ice from Lunar regolith would require a very high thermal energy input and inversely, capturing this water vapor in the near-vacuum environment also requires significant cooling capacity. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a robust thermal management system (TMS) for future Lunar Ice Mining Rovers that are powered by radioisotopes. Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT), in collaboration with Honeybee Robotics (HBR), proposes to develop a thermal management system that can strategically use the waste heat of nuclear power sources to sublimate water vapor from icy-soil on the moon and use the Lunar environment temperature as the heat sink to refreeze the sublimated vapor within the cold trap container. This minimizes the required electric energy for both ice extraction and vapor collection, with a lower system mass and footprint. In Phase I, ACT/HBR team will perform a detailed trade study and design multiple thermal components of TMS including a waste heat-based thermal coring drill and a heat pipe radiator cold trap tank. A proof-of-concept prototype will be developed and tested in Phase I. A preliminary full-system that can potentially meet NASA’s mining requirement will be designed and evaluated for the mining efficiency, system mass/volume and power consumption (both electrical and thermal).
The thermal management technology for nuclear-based Lunar Ice Mining vehicle can immediately benefit Lunar In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) to acquire water on the moon. Water can be further processed to product Oxygen for life support and/or converted into LH2 and LO2 for spacecraft and satellite refueling. The thermal corer technology can be used to extract water on other planetary bodies such as Mars and Asteroids. Another potential NASA application will be the exploration of Ocean Worlds.
The nature of the power source (radioisotope) that the proposed thermal management technology may reduce its potential for use in non-NASA applications. However, the thermal coring drill may be useful for subsurface exploration and resource in Antarctic and/or Arctic regions.
This project is geared towards a computationally efficient, robust computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tool for simulating unsteady multiphase flows of critical importance to NASA in their ground and launch systems processing technologies. The key features of the proposed work are: (a) Significant cost reduction in unsteady simulations via the PIMPLE algorithm, and (b) a fast and robust Algebraic Volume of Fluid (AVOF) method for two-phase flows. This methodology will be developed in the Loci-STREAM CFD code and will allow significantly reduced solution time for unsteady simulations of cavitating flows and fluid-structure interaction (FSI) simulations at NASA, as well as simulation of liquid jets and sprays such as in NASA/SSC’s B-2 test facility. The work will involve: (a) upgrading the unsteady methodology in Loci-STREAM by implementing the PIMPLE algorithm, and will improve runtime of cavitation and FSI simulations by a factor of 3–5, and (b) Implementing an algebraic VOF method using compressive schemes which will allow simulations of two-phase flows (involving liquid jets) in a robust and more efficient manner (significantly faster solution times) manner than is currently possible with the geometric VOF available in Loci-STREAM. Two types of compressive schemes will be implemented: (a) Schemes based on the Normalized Variable Diagram (NVD) and Convection Boundedness Criterion (CBC), and (b) Flux-limiting schemes with the total variation diminishing (TVD) condition. The following application areas will benefit immediately from this project: (i) Unsteady cavitation in cryogenic propellant tanks, valve flows, and run lines, (ii) Transient fluid structure interaction (FSI) between cryogenic fluids and immersed components to predict the dynamic loads, frequency response of facilities, and (c) Modeling of liquid (water) jets including their breakup for flow tests on the B-2 test stand to verify the water system capability and functionality in support of the SLS.
NASA’s Parimal Kopardekar has stated on multiple occasions that noise is one of the top three challenges for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). We specifically target developing a software system called the Quiet UAM Impact Path Planning (QUIPP) Tool for generating electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft flight paths that minimize noise impacts on people within the UAM on-demand environment. This new capability will enhance the A3.04 subtopic’s need for “dynamic route planning that considers changing environmental conditions, vehicle performance and endurance” by developing flight paths based on current noise impacts and constraints within the operating environment, thereby adding agility, scalability, and adaptability to dynamic route planning. The QUIPP system proposed in this SBIR generates 4-dimensional trajectories that are the least intrusive in terms of the overall cumulative noise impacts on the population while considering vehicle endurance such as maximum range. QUIPP comprises dynamic input datasets and flight path optimization that rely on current noise contours from a noise model. The dynamic inputs are used by QUIPP to synthesize noise-sensitive 4-D trajectories by applying an adaptation of Dijkstra's shortest path algorithm to find the lowest cost route. QUIPP will help to gain community acceptance of UAM by developing optimal flight paths that utilize the current noise conditions and the temporal movement of people throughout the day to minimize noise exposure. QUIPP minimizes the noise impact of UAM flights to gain local community acceptance, which is a critical issue to UAM success. The anticipated result of Phase I is successful demonstration of a proof-of-concept where flight paths are developed that minimize the noise impact on the population while working within the boundaries of environmental and aircraft constraints. In addition, QUIPP will demonstrate fast response times needed in an on-demand environment.
QUIPP can be used (1) for noise-sensitive route optimization algorithm development in NASA’s UAM Noise Working Group, (2) for UAM flight demonstrations/tests by the ATM-X Initial UAM Ops Integration sub-project and Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign, (3) to analyze missions for concept vehicles from the Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology and Rotorcraft Technology Development sub-projects, and (4) integrated with the ATM-X Testbed to simulate regular or noise-sensitive UAM flight plans.
QUIPP software can be (1) integrated within existing flight planning software from current vendors such as ForeFlight, (2) integrated into services offered by USSs such as AirMap, (3) used to support urban communities impacted by future UAM flights, and (4) used by stakeholders and operators responsible for UAM noise complaints and compliance with future UAM environmental regulations and policy.
This proposal addresses subtopic A1.01 Hyersonic/High Speed Technology - Seals and Thermal Barriers, specifically the listed interest in high temperature elastomeric materials for use at temperatures of 700℉ (371 ℃) or greater. O-rings and other low leakage seals are frequently employed in a broad range of industries. These O-rings are frequently used to seal one environment from another especially in mechanical designs incorporating moving components at the interface. As supersonic and hypersonic vehicles increase in importance, materials capable of meeting their demanding applications are sought. Current high temperature elastomers encounter an upper temperature limit near 600℉ - a new material that surpasses this limitation may offer new utility. We propose an oligomeric pre-polymer strategy to synthesize tractable oligomers - a proven technique derivative of ATSP’s core chemical strategy for synthesis of high glass transition temperature aromatic thermosetting copolyester resins but redesigned to incorprate the flexible chains necessary to form an extremely thermally stable new elastomer -offering continuous performance at 700℉ (371℃) and above, thus meeting the high-end requirements for hypersonic vehicles requested in the solicitation.
The synthesized chemistry will be examined via nuclear magnetic resonance. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) will then be used to determine a rational thermal cure cycle. Thermal stability will be assessed through thermogravimetry. The combined process cycle will be developed through multiple iterative cycles while being evaluated through density determination and x-ray micro-computed tomography to determine void content and converge on the ideal density in the produced article. Produced articles will be examined in terms of their mechanical properties (including compression set and high temperature aging) as well as their glass transition. A single best-performing composition will be selected for a dynamic sealing test.
Phase I will enable ATSP Innovations and team partner UIUC to acquire the necessary synthetic and processing information to produce the ultra-high temperature elastomers for next-generation performance sealing applications over 700℉, such as for thermal protection system sealing. Hypersonic fuel systems and internal seals, and passive vibration damping components may also benefit. Further application may be found on components of potential future Venus, Mercury, or close-solar-approach missions.
This project would have impact in next-generation high speed aerospace applications In addition, industrial users may have a faster adoption time and substantial volumes. Critical uses for this product in these spaces include compressed gas waterless fracking seals; LPG; and liquid nitrogen seals, as well as rotary, reciprocating, and oscillatory motions in those application spaces.
NASA is actively considering surface missions to explore planetary bodies that may harbor liquid oceans, such as Europa and Enceladus. While these moons outwardly present an icy surface, scientists believe tidal activity driven by their respective host planets may drive thermal activity beneath, sustaining warm bodies of water that could potentially provide conditions favorable for life. Robotic penetration technologies are needed to drive through the ice layer, enabling access to subsurface oceans for exploration. A leading approach to drilling surface ice for remote space missions involves use of a robotic melt‑probe that would use residual heat from its radioisotope source to supply a warm water jet to accelerate the descent. A critical need for this type of system is a water jet pump that can operate in the extreme inhospitable environment of a deep subsurface ice, while reliably delivering melted ice to the jet nozzle for a long endurance, persistent drilling activity. To meet this need, Creare proposes to develop a robust, miniature, high speed water jet pump, designed for very long service