Fibertek proposes to develop a TRL 6 spaceflight prototype multi-wavelength seed laser module that would scale deep space data rates to 1-2 Gbps. The seed laser is capable of supporting WDM across all CCSDS PPM pulse formats. 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. In addition, the seed laser module can also be operated using On-Off keying at much higher data rates then PPM. With minor adjustment at >> 100 Gbps using coherent coms can be achieved as well as DPSK waveforms.
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.
NASA is looking to scale data rates from the 40-80 Mbps available in the current NASA deep space optical communication (DSOC )mission toward 1 Gbps from deep space. This SBIR technology is targeted toward beyond lunar, moon to mars, beyond Mars deep space communications
-NASA Deep Space mission – Mars, asteroid belts and beyond.
-Planetary, Heliophysics, and Astrophysics missions – Space weather, Sun studies out to L1, L2 at 100 Gbps
-Core technology support Terabit per second GEO core networks with upgraded seed laser.
This effort supports the need for large data volume, Terabit per second, DoD and commercial GEO inter-satellite networks and high data volume downlink for next generation LCRD style relay.
-Commercial Terabit per second GEO core high power WDM amplifiers for high speed (100G/channel) ring and mesh relay networks..
-DoD and U.S. Government intelligence communities for high speed senor networks.
Simulating science objectives is an essential component of NASA missions to reduce risk. As technology has improved, so has the fidelity, complexity, and precision of scientific instrumentation. In addition, the communications bandwidth of the modern spacecraft allows for the transmission of more data than ever. These increased capabilities have placed extra demands on science data generation. Simulated science data for use in planning are required for a successful mission, not only in flight, but through all stages of mission planning as well. Unprecedented collaboration between science and operations teams requires large swaths of cumbersome technology for sharing, integrating, and visualizing simulated data. This significant complexity hinders the ability of responsible parties to make informed, sensible, and rapid decisions.
Spaceline is a server- and web-based application developed under an in-progress NASA SBIR Phase II contract. The Spaceline application consists of three core capabilities: SPICE kernel management, 3D interactive display of a scene, and simulation of science data for any onboard instrument for a given instant in time. We propose to extend this core functionality further by extending Spaceline’s features from supporting just planetary surface imagers to supporting a wide range of different sensors that would interact with a variety of different target models. Each target model in turn represents different scientific phenomena ranging from planetary atmospheres to magnetic and gravity fields to the eruptive emission of volatiles and particles. Spaceline will also support the design and planning of astronomical observations.
This work will be a welcome addition to any NASA mission looking to reduce costs and risks involved with science planning. Users will have access to an environment in which they can analyze and measure the impact of proposed observation plans against complex scientific phenomena. This work will facilitate NASA in their goal of developing Mission Design Analysis tools to increase the accuracy of science modeling and enable design of future observing systems by predicting and optimizing their impacts on science data collection.
The expansion of Spaceline to support planetary and astronomical models across non-surface phenomena would also facilitate mission planning for commercial Earth-orbiting constellations and Space Domain Awareness. Spaceline can also be used in classrooms, allowing students to explore a variety of data models for a planet, even adding their own models created from source data.
This NASA SBIR Phase I proposal presents an unprecedented laser additive manufacturing system for making radiation shielding components, by mixing various powders that effectively shield neutron and gamma radiation. With our successful history in additive manufacturing, this proposal has a great potential to succeed. A proof of concept demonstration were carried out and samples were delivered at the end of Phase 1. Prototypes in compliant with the neutron and gamma radiation shielding requirement will be delivered at the end of Phase II.
In addition to NASA’s radiation shield manufacturing, the proposed pulsed laser AM 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.
3D printing has broad applications from foods, toys to rockets and cars, to medical devices and biomedical instrumentation including surgical and infection control devices, cardiovascular, home healthcare, and other general medical devices. The global market is projected to reach US$44 billion by 2025, driven by the advent of newer technologies, approaches, and applications.
We propose to build a Cloud-Based Flight Management System (FMS), whereby safety-critical functions residing on the flight deck are separated from non-safety-critical functions that reside in a cloud-based environment on the ground. This bifurcation of an FMS will open new markets and address use cases such as Urban Air Mobility. An actual network-enabled and modular commercially available FMS will be reconfigured for this project and tested in a simulation and used in flight to assess its ability. Therefore, this project will build an actual example of a Cloud FMS. This proposal follows on a Phase I project in which an approximation of an FMS was used to demonstrate feasibility. Once configured, functions can be added to the Cloud FMS to further enhance NAS safety and improve capacity through computations that are heretofore infeasible with the limited resources of a flight-deck-based FMS. This product will enable Trajectory-Based Operations by sharing aircraft state to a secure cloud environment, enabling accurate trajectory prediction. Additional computations such as wake vortex estimation and ground noise footprint are feasible with Cloud FMS but infeasible with a traditional FMS. UAM and AAM markets will benefit from enhanced (but secure) FMS connectivity. Airline operations centers can improve operating efficiency by incorporating real-time FMS data into its decision making. The implications for NAS operations, new entrants, safety, and capacity of a Cloud FMS is of interest to the NASA ATM-X program, the UTM program, the AAM program, “Upper-E” investigations, and planning around commercial space launches. We also propose investigating the certification, cybersecurity, and safety aspects of this concept through theoretical computations, fast-time simulation, and flight testing the Cloud FMS concept. Two potential commercial products will emerge, as well as a plethora of future research recommendations and spin-off product ideas.
Potential NASA applications include expanding FMS functionality to realize advanced air traffic management algorithms such as robust Trajectory Based Operations. Cloud FMS will provide new ways of managing traffic, thereby allowing novel ATM algorithms unimaginable today, such as time-varying wake vortex spacing, accurate “ghosting” of aircraft from one route to another, real-time noise footprint analysis in the absence of sensor data, and more. These applications are of interest to ATM-X, UTM, UAM/AAM, “Upper E,” and concept development.
This proposed project will produce two viable commercial implementations of the Cloud FMS concept, one targeted for air carriers and the other targeted for the UAM market. Air carriers can reduce life-cycle costs of FMS and enhance the user experience. UAM Operators can ensure that the latest version of FMS is installed on all aircraft—assuring a consistent similar-equipped environment.
The fast-growing space industry results in increasing demand for thermal control systems. Loop heat pipes (LHPs) are a commonly utilized device for spacecraft due to high efficiency and flexibility (ability to integrate with deployable radiator, thermal control valve, etc.). However, they are currently too costly to manufacture to make them viable for most cost-sensitive applications such as CubeSats and SmallSats. Conventional loop heat pipe manufacturing method involves multiple labor-intensive steps including a knife edge seal process to ensure no back leak of vapor that affects the thermal transport capability. Unfortunately, the steps to manufacture the wick, insert it in the LHP evaporator, and seal with a knife edge results in very high manufacturing costs. Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) has developed a low-cost LHP evaporator using a technique called Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), otherwise known as 3D printing. With the capability of building a porous wick structure together with a solid wall via additive manufacturing, 3D printed LHP eliminates the knife edge seal as well as many wick manufacturing and testing steps. The 3D printed LHP reduces the fabrication cost by an order of magnitude, which enables the use of LHPs in many emerging space applications, including CubeSats and SmallSats.
While the developed 3D printed loop heat pipe shows significant cost benefit compared to the loop heat pipe made by conventional fabrication process, the pore size of 3D printed primary is around 5~7 μm, much larger than the 1 μm pore size made by sintering process. In addition, the porosity of the 3D printed primary wick is lower than sintering wick (31% vs. > 40%). In order to apply this emerging technology to higher power, large satellite applications, which are the current main loop heat pipe market, further reduce pore size and increase porosity are needed.
NASA has expressed strong interest in LHPs for various applications, including miniaturized satellites such as SmallSat/CubeSat, traditional large satellites, planetary rovers, and landers. The proposed technology provides an attractive low-cost, DMLS-based LHP evaporator as an alternative to the traditionally-manufactured evaporator, which involves a series of high-skill, labor-intensive processes. An order of magnitude savings in the evaporator cost is obtained by eliminating complex processes such as wick insertion and the knife-edge seal.
The DMLS-based LHP evaporators are also applicable to DOD and other government satellites. With the rapid proliferation of cost-sensitive commercial satellites, there is an ever-increasing demand for low-cost thermal management solutions, which can also be addressed through further development of the proposed technology. Current LHPs cost more than a University CubeSat.
We propose to build, test and deliver a two-channel NOx monitor (NOx= NO + NO2) suitable for deployment on on ground or aerial-based platforms. It will provide simultaneous measurement of total NOx and NO2 concentrations (and thus NO by difference) . It will have a physical time constant of 1 second (e-1) and provide one independent sample per second. Its accuracy will be better than 5% and its precision less than 0.2 ppb in one second sampling. It will utilize less than 100 W power and weigh less than 25 kilograms. The monitor is based on Aerodyne Research’s patented CAPS (Cavity Attenuated Phase Shift) technology which is already used to produce commercial instruments for both the research and regulatory measurement communities.
Nitrogen Dioxide is measured as a column density by NASA satellites. Accurate and precise ground truth measurements must be made in order to provide proper interpretation of such data. It is also designated as a "Criteria Pollutant" by the Clean Air Act of 1970. The relationship between NO and NO2 is also an indicator of plumes originating from combustion systems such as aircraft and diesel engines and electric power generators. The monitors currently used by NASA deploy an outdated technology, chemiluminescence detection of NO, which is subject to numerous chemical interferences. Furthermore, these monitors cannot provide the fast-response sub-ppb precision required for the measurement of fast moving plumes.
High resolution spatial and temporal measurements of NO2 will enhance the interpretation of both ground and space-based (satellite) measurements. Inclusion of a total NOx measurement capability (and thus NO measurements) would provide NASA with a more accurate and reliable replacement for its standard chemiluminescence-based monitors. The fast response aspect and high sensitivity of the proposed monitor will make it suitable for deployment on aerial platforms.
Aerodyne Research has already provided almost 100 CAPS-based NO2 monitors to university and government laboratories on 5 continents. The inclusion of the total NOx channel will enhance sales of these instruments as it becomes clear that they offer a viable replacement for the chemiluminescence-based monitors that are currently used to measure NOx and NO.
ProtoInnovations, LLC proposes to continue applied research and development, mature, and validate dynamically reconfigurable software and mobility architectures (DRSOMA) for robotic planetary rovers to maximize locomotion capabilities inherent on current rover designs as well as foster the creation of new rover designs that can switch between locally optimal locomotion controllers to enable globally optimal mobility in uncharacterized environments. DRSOMA’s architecture allows for a variety of intelligent locomotion controls to be exercised. Transition from control mode to control mode happens in real-time and is seamless. A rover equipped with DRSOMA can switch control modes on the fly, allowing it to adapt more effectively and efficiently to various terrain and environmental conditions. In addition, DRSOMA’s architecture facilities multiple perception and cognition software solutions. A DRSOMA-equipped rover can accommodate multiple sensors and sensing modalities, and a variety of perception algorithms to process and interpret sensor data. Lastly, DRSOMA accommodates and can effectively control rovers that change their electromechanical configuration on the fly, for example rovers with shape-changing wheels, semi-active and active suspensions, etc.
DRSOMA will aid rover-based NASA missions for space science and exploration on the lunar surface during the Artemis (Moon to Mars) Campaign, and other future missions to the Moon and Mars. The Artemis program in particular requires sustainable surface operations that require robots, rovers, and people to all work together. DRSOMA will enable such robotic systems to operate well in more than one mode of locomotion and have real-time control adaptability to benefit ISRU, construction, scientific exploration, and other space science endeavors.
The DRSOMA and it underlying software modules could be applicable in wide range of robotic vehicles in transportation, construction, mining, and logistics to name a few. Such vehicles would benefit from software and controls for efficient, safe, and situation-responsive mobility and adaptability to ever-changing terrain conditions and forceful interactions with the operational environment.
The CUSTOmizable InterSystem Wireless Data/Energy Transfer (CUSTOS-WiT) System is designed to support NASA's in the development of innovative wireless technology to adapt modular components across different missions, configurations, and development stages. This technology will allow reliable data transfer across components, subsystems, and interfaces while simplifying system integration, reconfiguration, and testing. Key characteristics of the CUSTOS-WiT are a highly modular and scalar architecture with radiation-hardened hardware and a ruggedized design for operation in space environments. CUSTOS-WiT provides robust cutting-edge RF and ultrasound wireless as physical layers alternatives to replace cables, harnesses, and avoid penetrations. The system provides customizable and miniaturized plug-&-play wireless nodes and API to drive: (a) sensors; (b) intercommunication of the mission’s modules based on RF intelligent transceivers; (c) smart wireless transducers for standalone nodes and to form sensor subnets and nets; and (d) hybrid as well as ultrasound gateways for flexible communications. A core milestone is to provide ubiquitous non-intrusive wireless data transfer between spacecraft subsystems in the inside, outside, and gateways to interconnect network systems. Following the results of Phase I, the goals of Phase II are set to achieve: (1) full nodes design and implementation; (2) full design of ultrasound gateway for data/energy transfer through the spaceship walls without perforations; (3) integration of emerging ISA100 technology in addition to Phase I foundation based on Zigbee; (4) nodes and system components SWaP optimization; (5) ruggedization optimization of components towards their operation in the spacecraft environment; (6) full development of reconfiguration, health monitoring, self-diagnostics, and communication capabilities; (7) integration of baseline sensors; and (8) full API development to drive components capabilities and system features.
The target application is NASA spacecraft for wireless interconnections among control modules and transducers. CUSTOS-WiT has application to NASA’s CubeSats (e.g. TecEdSat) at ARC, the fly-by-wireless program, GRC’s SCaN programs, and the Efficient Reconfigurable Cockpit Design and Fleet Operations (ECON) project. The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and the Space Launch System for crewed missions would highly benefit along with NASA’s future Lunar Gateway, International Space Station, current and emerging CubeSats (e.g. 6U/12U/24U), etc.
The CUSTOS-WiT is applicable to the Small Satellite market which is a growing market due to many applications like Earth observation & meteorology, mapping, research, communications, etc. This system could be used by contractors involved in space systems development as well as private spaceflight companies and can be applied to non-space industries such as control, sensing and automation systems.
Based on our proprietary award-winning fiber laser technology, AdValue Photonics proposes an enabling fiber amplifier technology for the proposed NASA’s next-generation topographic LiDAR mapping applications. This technology can easily be extended from the near-infrared spectral region to the visible green region via nonlinear frequency doubling, benefitting future hydrographic LiDAR mapping applications. In the Phase I program, we have preliminarily demonstrated the feasibility of such a high-peak-power Yb-doped fiber amplifier, and developed a preliminary mechanical design to package the amplifier system with two different cooling mechanisms. In the Phase II program, we will experimentally demonstrate this enabling technology by developing a compact deliverable prototype laser/amplifier unit that can generate 100s of kW peak power and >150W average power of nearly transform-limited spectral linewidth. By the end of the Phase II program, a prototype amplifier unit will be delivered to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for evaluation test.
This high-peak-power high-energy narrow-linewidth, pulsed fiber laser/amplifier provides an enabling technology for the proposed NASA’s next generation laser altimeter, which can be an innovative component in NASA’s next-generation LiDAR systems for measurements of the atmosphere and gas contents of the Earth, Mars, the Moon, and other planetary bodies. Furthermore, our unique fiber laser technology enables an all-fiber monolithic system design, potentially benefitting to NASA’s air-borne and space-borne applications.
This proposed fiber laser can be used for laser material processing and commercial LiDAR for wind energy industry and topographic mapping, and military application for target identification. The high peak power and high energy of pulsed lasers in an all-fiber monolithic platform could open new opportunities in many industrial, scientific, and military applications.
We propose InAs as a superior alternative to mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) for NASA's astronomy applications in the visible to extended shortwave infrared (eSWIR) spectral band: 0.7 - 2.5 microns. A key performance parameter, the dark current density, can be achieved by cooling the InAs 20K more than MCT with 2.3 micron cutoff. In return, the InAs will extend spectral coverage to 3.0 microns and offer higher yield, lower cost, and greater availability due to the leveraging of mature group III-V growth/process equipment. In Phase I, we demonstrated an InAs focal plane array (FPA) with spectral response from 450 nm to 3000 nm, quantum efficiency ~ 70% in this wide band, and a low dark current that dropped exponentially with cooling. In Phase II, we will further improve material quality, expand array format to 1Kx1K, and deliver a megapixel camera to NASA for evaluation for astronomy.
Lunar Resources proposes to develop, test and validate a full-scale prototype molten regolith electrolysis (MRE) oxygen capturing, filtering and storage system (OxPS) designed during the Phase I effort. The OxPS is being developed to capture vaporized gasses extracted from lunar regolith by an MRE (or other types of high temperature electrolytic processes). Then the OxPS will filter out the containments to yield 99.5% high-purity oxygen which is stored for human consumption or utilized as an oxidizer for launch vehicles. In addition, the OxPS has been designed to filter any vaporized metals (Mg, Ca, etc.). The prototype OxPS being developed as part of this Phase II effort will be built at full scale and tested with a protoflight MRE system. The success of the Phase II effort will raise the maturity of the OxPS to a TRL 5 and demonstrate the ability to capture, purify, and store oxygen extracted from an MRE technology at an industrial scale (3,650kg oxygen per year).
The OxPS will provide NASA with 99.5% purity oxygen extracted from regolith from an MRE process. The oxygen can be used for human consumption on a Lunar Base, the Gateway, ISS, or other future human space assets. In addition, the oxygen can be used as an oxidizer to refuel lunar landers and spacecraft. Other direct uses are lunar or in-space farming, utilization for science experiments, gas to clear regolith from surface infrastructure. And the technology can be used on Mars for future Martian missions.
Non-NASA applications of the OxPS involves utilizing the system to capture, filter and store vaporized gasses for high-temperature resource extraction processes such as steel and aluminum production. By capturing the emissions, the OxPS will be may be able to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions produced during resource processing activities.
Chemical and mineralogical subsurface investigations have been limited to scooping and analysis of drill tailings (Viking, Phoenix, MSL), or crushing drill-core materials and subsequent delivery and analysis (ExoMars rover). This approach is resource-taxing, involving multiple mechanical interfaces. We propose to develop the Probe for Exploring Regolith and Ice by Subsurface Classification of Organics, PAHs, and Elements (PERISCOPE). PERISCOPE enables in situ subsurface measurements in a compact package with no moving parts, and provides spatially resolved mapping of three priority targets: 1) organic compounds relevant to astrobiology, including microorganisms, 2) water content and 3) rare-earth elements. In Phase I, we will assemble a breadboard composed of a UV fluorescence imaging spectrometer and a novel downhole optical probe, verify performance by testing on relevant samples, and design a TRL4/5 instrument that will be the baseline entry for Phase II.
PERISCOPE supports Mission Focus Areas articulated by NASA’s Planetary Science Directorate and responds to the 2013-2022 Decadal Survey priorities emphasizing the need for instruments to access the subsurface and for trace organic detection. PERISCOPE is highly relevant to subtopic S1.07 by addressing:
PERISCOPE is appropriate for SIMPLEx/Discovery scale missions and any mission whose priority goal is to search for organic matter and potential biosignatures, water in any form, or rare-earth elements, including lunar and icy environment surveying.
The PERISCOPE optical probe may be easily sterilized and therefore may have Planetary Protection applications. The optical probe can be positioned to examine spacecraft, instruments and optics in situ in a clean room, assembly facility, on the launchpad, or during flight to assess organic cleanliness.
PERISCOPE is applicable to deep ocean research, including resource exploration (oil & gas, mining) and diversity survey of biological material at depth.
PERISCOPE can identify and quantify organic species of interest in environmental logging and fluid and rock sampling.
PERISCOPE may be relevant in epidemiology and contamination event response to determine surface cleanliness on unprepared surfaces.
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) relies on vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft operating in metropolitan areas. Early operations are likely be conducted under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Future high-density operations may incorporate a wide-range of VTOL aircraft, including remotely piloted and autonomous. Urban vertiports are potential chokepoints for UAM operations and will need some form of traffic management to maintain safe and efficient operations. Providing traditional air traffic control (ATC) services at each vertiport would be costly. Vertiport automation is needed to provide real-time air traffic and information services. The proposed Vertiport Traffic Automation System (VTAS) accommodates low-density VFR operations in the near-term and can evolve to handle future high-density, autonomous operations at close-proximity vertiports. A flexible service-based architecture adapts to vertiports with different configurations and traffic patterns; integrates with other UAM Service Suppliers; and provides an open platform for the automation to evolve as UAM operations increase.
VTAS can support NASA’s ATM eXploration (ATM-X) Project’s UAM Subproject, including demonstrations by NASA and industry partners, such as those planned under the UAM Grand Challenge. VTAS can be integrated with the UAM Airspace Management System NASA is developing and provide a platform for hosting experimental vertiport services and capabilities. VTAS can provide a platform for researching and testing In-time System-wide Safety Assurance (ISSA) monitor, assess, and mitigate functions for NASA’ System-Wide Safety (SWS) Project.
In the long-term VTAS can support commercial operators developing and planning UAM air taxi services, such as Uber Elevate, Joby Aviation, Kitty Hawk, Airbus, and Volocopter. In the near-term VTAS can improve services at privately operated vertiports and heliports.
Dynamic power generation systems such as Stirling engines are a key element of spacecraft designed for deep space missions, lunar exploration and other applications where photovoltaic arrays have limited, or no exposure to the sun. Electronic components used to process the electrical power have to operate in close proximity to the Stirling radioisotope generator as well as extreme temperatures. This development addresses two of the largest components in a advance power control unit (ACU). An energy buffer capacitor which minimizes ripple current, voltage fluctuations and transient suppression, and an AC power factor correction capacitor that performs a tuning function. There is a well-defined need, to develop capacitors for this application, to improve the system reliability over at least 20 years of life, and to reduce volume and weight which are critical parameters for any space mission. The Phase I project demonstrated the use of a disruptive NanolamTM capacitor technology to produce prototypes of 750mF/50VDC energy buffer capacitors and 71mF/240VAV capacitors. When compared to state of the art metallized film, electrolytics and multilayer ceramic capacitors, the NanolamTM capacitors have up to 10X energy density and 10X specific energy, with excellent capacitance stability with temperature and bias. The primary objective of the proposed Phase II program is to complete the development of both DC and AC NanolamTM capacitors, specifically designed for NASA dynamic energy conversion ACUs, and to supply parts to NASA technical personnel for evaluation. Specific tasks include the development of larger 4.4mF/50V capacitors, bus bar design to handle high ripple currents, packaging and producing AC NanolamTM capacitors with a two layer electrode system, to maximize life in environments that can induce electrode corrosion.
This Phase II proposal is being submitted after the successful completion of HiFunda’s Phase I SBIR project which was responsive to NASA’s request for proposals that address improved materials or fabrication processes to reduce the total life cycle cost of electric propulsion thrusters. 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 filament winding in situ potting (FWISP) process that utilizes a castable inorganic composite potting material (CICPM) coupled with conventional or accelerated hot press curing. The proposed FWISP process 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 (HTEM) 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 differences in coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the constituent materials. The proposed technology will improve the robustness by minimizing porosity and adding reinforcing fibers to the CICPM. Phase II efforts will build upon the Phase I results and will develop and demonstrate small and large prototype Phase II HTEM voice-of-customer (VOC) designs of interest to NASA and/or potential commercial end users. In Phase II, HiFunda will optimize the FWISP and CICPM processes for production of small and large technology demonstration prototype HTEMs that will be tested, characterized, and provided to NASA for evaluation. The proposed technology will be further refined and demonstrated in a Phase 2-E/X on a HTEM designs of interest to customers in the commercial space and other industrial sectors.
The proposed new filament winding in situ potting (FWISP) process that utilizes a castable inorganic composite potting material (CICPM) coupled with conventional or accelerated hot press curing will be used by NASA for electromagnets in electric propulsion systems on spacecraft. Benefits to NASA include increased HTEM flexible design options, improved reliability and longer lifetimes of high-temperature electromagnets and potential cost reduction of potting materials, acceptance testing, and the high cost of thrusters.
The proposed technology will find commercial adoption for non-NASA HTEMs in the commercial space industry and thermal management applications like potting of hot components, subassemblies, and surfaces in high-temperature environments for gas turbine engines, furnaces, processing equipment, aerospace, and automotive. HiFunda will license the technology and/or produce custom HTEMs.
SAS is on a mission to develop and commercialize a universal connector that will enable the simultaneous transfer of multiple commodities – fluids, power, and data – between systems. This technology will have the capabilities for multi-vehicle support and be extensible to manual/autonomous use for terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments (in-space, Lunar, and Mars). In Phase II, SAS team will improve the current prototype concept using an agile digital engineering process, to TRL 6. A fully functional interface will be designed, fabricated, and tested across multiple iterations. SAS will demonstrate the product functionality through multi-commodity transfer operations across the interface with a remotely controlled robotic arm. SAS will also perform low pressure, high flow-rate cryogenic fluid testing with propellant rocket liquids including hydrogen and oxygen/nitrogen. Structural tests will be performed to define minimum engagement/disengagement forces, tensile limits, and other relevant loading conditions that the interface connector must withstand while coupled. The tests and demonstrations performed will define the universal connector expected performance. They will also be used to meet qualification criteria for identified end-use servicing activities for prospective vehicles and systems.
A universal connector standard will allow the NASA community to access hardware with adaptable capabilities for multi-use needs. This is beneficial for designing a single interface to support emerging technologies, for use in ground, lunar, and Martian environments. With respect to Artemis program efforts, the universal connector will have a feasible design path for use in space and on the Moon with rovers, vehicles, habitats, and other systems. The modular design will also be convenient for replacing damaged connectors.
The universal connector will be modular and thus, applicable to a wide range of end uses. Chemical industries would benefit from support in transfer of hazardous materials. The energy industry anticipates a shift to hydrogen as a clean energy source that can benefit from a universal connector. This product will be applicable in production and transfer capacity for this type of resource.
QuinStar Technology proposes to develop an efficient, solid-state power amplifier (SSPA), operating at V-band frequencies in support of NASA Earth and planetary science applications. This proposal addresses the critical need for high-efficiency, millimeter-wave amplifiers used in absorption radar for remote pressure sensing to improve weather models. Specifically, we propose to develop a pulsed power amplifier with a minimum duty cycle of 25% operating over the 65-71 GHz band. The output power of the SSPA is specified to be more than 10 Watts throughout the band of 65-to-71 GHz with an associated PAE of more than 30%. The efficiency and power goals of this program will be realized by employing a combination of state-of-the-art (SOA) device technology, innovative circuit design, and power combining techniques.
Simulations of the MMIC design using 90 nm GaN HEMT from Qorvo indicate that the power-added-efficiency (PAE) of 33% in the MMIC can be achieved across the band from 65 to 71 GHz with an associated output power of 2.8 W. We propose to realize the specified SSPA power level (>10 W) with high-efficiency waveguide circuit combining techniques. A high-efficiency, 4-way H-tee combiner network was designed in the Phase I program to combine four MMICs and deliver an output power of more than 10 Watts. The combining efficiencies of the 4-way H-tee combiner is simulated greater than 94% in the band of interest, which translates into a PAE of 31% in the SSPA. The compact size and light weight of the SSPA are projected 2.2 x 2.0 x 1.0 inches and 6 oz. respectively, which make it suitable for application to CubeSat/SmallSat platforms.
The main application for NASA is absorption radar for pressure sensing. The remote sensing measurement of pressure will drastically improve the numerical weather models and help solve one of the “most important questions” mentioned in the decadal survey. NASA has had proposals of surface barometric pressure sensing based on the demonstration of this technology. Further, NASA employs satellite-based, active sensors for Earth and planetary science applications, which would benefit from this high-efficiency SSPA approach.
Applications for this high-efficiency amplifier technology abound at other government agencies for frequencies above and below V-band. These include SATCOM and radar applications for all military services. There is an initiative within the FCC to expand the unlicensed frequency spectrum in V-band (57-64 GHz) to include the 64-71 GHz band where the technology is directly applicable.
This proposal addresses the need for spacecraft microbial monitoring for long duration human missions. The proposal will lead to a near-real-time in-situ reagentless sensor on the International Space Station (ISS) and for future spacecraft for human missions for detection and quantification of the microbial bioburden in potable water, air, and on surfaces. The MAIA (Microbial Assessment with In-situ Autofluorescence) instrument mitigates the challenges of current microbial detection methods being used by enabling an in-line, autonomous, reagentless method, with detection sensitivities down to a single microbial cell, and require minimal crew time. MAIA also limits the number of consumables needed for long duration missions.
During the Phase 1 proposal we migrated the MAIA methodology from TRL 2 to TRL 3 in six months by retiring risks of the critical items, demonstrated feasibility, and developed a design solution that will be implemented under this Phase 2 program. In Phase 2, a prototype MAIA instrument will be developed and tested for automated microbial analysis in water, air, and for surfaces. The MAIA instrument design and development will occur in 1.5 years with testing in the remaining 0.5 years. The rapid initial development is possible as we leverage the laser and detector components that Photon Systems has developed over the last 10 years under prior SBIR’s and BAA’s.
For the NASA related market opportunity associated with this SBIR proposal, Current methods of microbial monitoring are extensive and time-consuming. This technology will enable microbial monitoring for long duration human exploration for water, air, and surface analysis using a deep UV Raman and fluorescence as an in-line and autonomous solution. In addition the MAIA instrument can easily interface with fluidic analysis systems that are being developed for life detection.
The non-NASA commercial applications include microbial water monitoring waste water treatment plants, pharmaceutical industries, microbial air monitoring in clean rooms and hospitals, and microbial detection for hazard from biological threats. Current methods are extensive and time-consuming. MAIA is game-changing as it provides autonomous analysis in a manner that is presently unavailable.
Carbon-carbon composites (C/C) are currently used as hot structures in a variety of extreme environments encountered during hypersonic flight, rocket launch and atmospheric entry, descent and landing. Today their use is limited by their expensive and time-consuming manufacturing process. Delivery times of over six months from order placement are common, a result of the long manufacturing process and the limited number of suppliers. With the domestic need for C/C parts increasing, TDA believes that there is a currently an outstanding opportunity to enter the C/C manufacturing market with a far less expensive, high performance C/C product. We have previously developed a process for economical manufacture of a non-graphitizing resin with an exceedingly high char yield. We now propose to use our demonstrated expertise in carbon manufacturing and commercialization to properly formulate and then use or resin to manufacture C/C parts in days to weeks, instead of months. TDA has therefore proposed a process that eliminates multiple densification cycles while arriving at the same density of the finished product, with equivalent mechanical and thermal properties.
The proposed improved C/C manufacturing process would be used for hot structures for a variety of propulsion systems, including upper stage rocket engines (including those of the Space Launch System), in-space propulsion systems, Lunar/Mars ascent/descent propulsion, nuclear thermal rockets, hot gas valves and separation/attitude control systems. TDA’s process will shorten development and procurement schedules, thereby providing substantial cost savings to all programs that utilize our C/C.
Several DoD agencies desire improved C/C manufacturing for their hypersonic vehicle programs, which make extensive use of C/C hot structures as acreage panels and in the combustor. The Air Force would apply the proposed technology to their Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) and ballistic missile programs. C/C parts are also of interest to gas turbine manufacturers like General Electric.
Ground-based sun photometers provide a vital consistent global long-term aerosol data record used to better understand aerosol impact on climate, improve aerosol transport models and bound lidar-derived aerosol products. Sun photometers only provide aerosol information during the day, and even though there is scientific and commercial interest, there are very few aerosol measurements made at night. Innovative Imaging and Research proposes Angstrom, an affordable, easily deployable multiband wide field of view (FOV) imaging star photometer that measures aerosol optical depth (AOD) and the Angstrom parameter across the night sky using stars. It can be used to augment traditional sun/lunar photometer networks and significantly improve atmospheric monitoring.
Angstrom applies state-of-the-art image processing techniques to imaging systems that use emerging high quantum efficiency, low read noise CMOS sensors and high-quality machine vision optics. Early simulations and test data suggest these imaging systems can acquire dim star fields at a relatively high signal-to-noise ratio. Our goal is to achieve a comparable level of accuracy as gold-standard daytime sun photometers.
Imaging star photometers acquire large sky regions measuring near-instantaneous spatial variability not possible with traditional narrow FOV photometers. By imaging multiple stars in a portion of sky covering a wide range of air mass or by continuously imaging stars moving through varying air mass, Angstrom can take advantage of traditional Langley calibration or multi-star methods.
Angstrom tracks stars through image processing, eliminating complex precision moving mechanisms. It also uses the relative positions of stars to determine the camera’s orientation, reducing installation and maintenance costs. This allows it to be more easily deployed on ships, UAVs, and fixed terrestrial locations where it has been difficult to obtain measurements.
Angstrom supports atmospheric studies by providing additional nighttime aerosol measurements to atmospheric models. It also supports Decadal Survey recommended ACCP and TEMPO satellite missions and is directly relevant to numerous field campaigns measuring and monitoring aerosols. Combining Angstrom data with micropulse lidar can improve the accuracy of lidar aerosol retrievals. Angstrom data also helps scientists who require atmospherically corrected products from night imaging remote sensing instruments such as the VIIRS DNB.
Emerging remote sensing applications that require nighttime aerosol measurements include mapping artificial lights and estimating power usage, important economic measures. Angstrom can complement the Aeronet ground network of solar/lunar photometers to help fill current nighttime data gaps to support these new applications. It can also provide free-space laser communication atmospheric conditions.
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 1.98 micron single frequency fiber laser with 10mJ pulse energy to NASA.
NASA needs single frequency high pulse energy 2 micron fiber laser for wind Lidar applications. This 1.97715 micron single frequency fiber laser can enable many NASA’s measurements because of the high transmission. This technology can also be extended to 2.05 micron CO2 band when Ho-doped fiber is used.
This eye-safe laser source can be used to build commercial lidar for ranging and surface topography, for fiber optical sensing, fast scanning biomedical imaging, and scientific research. Such a fiber laser is of great interest because of the potential possibility of combining high efficiency, high output power, and retina safety together for commercial and military applications.
ZeCoat Corporation will develop a roll-to-roll coating process to manufacture low reflectance coatings 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 NovastratTM and will be designed to produce low reflectance surfaces with tailorable scatter properties. The coatings may also be applied in a batch coating process to substrates such as light baffles.
Low-reflectance surfaces are needed for starshade light-blocking membranes to reduce stray light resulting from out-of-plane petals, and from light sources nearly behind the telescope. Existing darkening materials such as carbon nanotubes and columnar structures such as etched silicon, typically have poor durability, are damaged by abrasion, create particulate contamination, and the processes do not scale easily for large size optics. In this SBIR, we will demonstrate the feasibility of creating new materials and processes that alleviate these deficiencies.
In Phase I, we demonstrated the feasibility of manufacturing low reflectance coatings using our existing batch coating processes. Coating designs were characterized for optical and thermal properties, as well as, environmental durability.
In Phase II, we will develop a novel, roll-to-roll coating process to manufacture multi-layer optical coatings in the large quantities needed for future starshades, and to create competitively-priced light-absorbing materials for commercial sensor systems.
This research will benefit WFIRST, HabEx, LUVOIR, LISA, future NASA starshade missions, as well as, many NASA optical sensors requiring stray light suppression, both space and ground-based.
Future commercial satellite constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink, may also benefit from this new “stealth” signature reduction technology by the reducing light pollution that can interfere with ground-based telescope observations.
Relativity is the only company dedicated to printing an entire launch vehicle. To that end, the company has created the world’s largest metal 3D printer platform, Stargate. At this time, we do not perform automatic, real-time defect detection, but the company has developed significant elements that when integrated together demonstrate the capability for real-time in-situ flaw detection. We use sensors and cameras to collect data on multi-dimension time series; real-time processing elements to review camera and time series data; and closed-feedback loops to modify print deposition parameters.
As part of our Phase II effort over the course of 24 months, we propose to mature our entire suite of sensors to a TRL of 6. To that end, we propose to:
The above work would be in line with our standing goal of using machine learning to automatically respond to a defect and remove/replace it.
Automatic defect detection are a key enabler for 3D printing off planet and as such has wide-ranging potential applications for NASA, including for in-situ manufacturing, on-demand manufacturing from feedstock, manufacturing objects that cannot be launched from Earth due either to payload fairing volume limits or launch loads, and the ability to design missions in novel ways to reduce cost. For example, mission elements not needed for ascent from Earth—such as habitat components—could be manufactured from a printer on the surface of the Moon.
Potential non-NASA applications include those in large, low-volume structures manufacturing, such as makers of industrial pipe, automotive equipment, real-time imaging, and non-destructive testing across the construction, oil, and gas industries.
There is an unsatisfied demand for instrumentation with capabilities for nonintrusive, accurate direct measurements of transport and thermodynamic parameters in the high-speed flow, hyperthermal environment of NASA Arc Jet Complex facilities. Atomic and molecular-based optical diagnostics have been demonstrated to provide unprecedent insight into the dynamics and transport phenomena of reactive and non-reactive flows at spatio-temporal scales inaccessible to traditional (mostly intrusive) flow probes. High repetition rate femtosecond (fs) lasers and high-speed imaging systems have equipped them with new capabilities and new laser-based diagnostics have emerged. However, no single measurement technique can capture and quantify all the phenomena and variables of interest over a wide range of operational conditions.
We will develop and deliver a mobile multifunctional optical diagnostic platform for non-intrusive, quantitative imaging of relevant gas parameters in arc driven and other high enthalpy ground testing facilities. The platform is powered by a single fs laser and implements and integrates three state-of-the art optical diagnostic techniques: Two Photon Absorption Laser Induced Fluorescence (TALIF), a coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) and Femtosecond Laser Electronic Excitation Tagging (FLEET). The core laser system enables kHz rate nonintrusive measurements of species density, nonequilibrium temperature and velocity. Multiple measurements can be achieved at reduced implementation and operational costs. Such direct experimental data are essential for validating predictions, and for the design and testing of thermal protection systems.
The multifunctional optical diagnostic platform for kHz rate density, temperature and flow velocity measurements will find direct applications in the high enthalpy arc jet facilities within the NASA Ames Arc Jet Complex (IHF, PTF, TFD, AHF). More direct applications are open to other high enthalpy facilities within NASA.
There are two important features of the system (operational performance range, modular design) which allow for expanding the area of applicability into the NASA wind tunnel testing infrastructure.
A robust and versatile multimodal 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 is looking for improvement in aeropropulsive power density and efficiency in support of its Strategic Thrust in the area of Ultra-Efficient Subsonic Transports, focusing on small core turbofan engines for next-generation and future large commercial transport aircraft. The trend in the design of modern gas turbine engines is for ever-increasing cycle efficiency and reduced specific fuel consumption. To achieve these engine cycle efficiency goals, the low and high-pressure compressors (HPC) are pushed to ever-increasing levels of pressure ratio. Increasing levels of compressor pressure ratio results in higher rotor tip relative Mach number in the HPC front stages, and consequently steeper performance characteristic maps. The compressors with steep characteristics typically require variable geometry inlet guide vanes as well as variable stators in the first few stages to provides the desired performance and stability in an engine system. The design and development time of a modern high-pressure compressor with variable geometry can take years of design-build-test iterations. Determining the optimal combination of vane angle resets that will provide the desired compressor performance in an engine system environment is a time-consuming and expensive part of the development of high-pressure compressors. The proposed technology will include the AI-based multistage axial compressor performance prediction model, which can be easily incorporated in the system analysis tool and reliably predict the performance with high accuracy across the entire operating range of compressor even with multiple variable guide vanes and the capability to restore the compressor geometry based on the limited number of parameters, dramatically reducing the duration of the development of the compressor and the entire engine thus helping to approach true optimal engine performance and reduce the chances of additional expensive design iterations in real-life projects.
The research is closely aligned with NASA Aeronautics programs in the areas of Compact Gas Turbine and Electrified Aircraft Propulsion and will augment the corresponding Advanced Air Transport Technology Project's Technical Challenges. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) for highly accurate axial compressor performance map generation will help to quickly evaluate the performance of the axial compressor, find the optimal guide vanes angles, and obtain its geometry and eventually improve the performance and power density of the engine.
The AI-based performance prediction model and subsequent compressor geometry restoration is in high demand in the companies designing the airbreathing engines and power generation units, as well as in aerospace manufacturers and defense because of the dramatic reduction of the development time and cost of the airbreathing turbo engines and vehicles.
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 to enable meeting National space exploration and commercial use goals. Innovative software tools that offer improved analysis methods for minimizing test cost, time, and risk while meeting environmental and safety regulations are necessary for supporting the use of 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 treat the behavior of the gas/liquid interface during water injection. The present 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 being developed here offer the ability to design and analyze water suppression systems and related test components to reduce significantly facility maintenance and operating costs while improving safety, reliability, and environmental effects.
Dynamic gas/liquid interface capturing and tracking will provide NASA with a robust water suppression prediction tool. The analysis framework will improve water nozzle placement and spray pattern optimization by reducing thermal and acoustic loading. Technology extensions include liquid fuel injection, evaporation and condensation, and liquid shock interaction modeling. The liquid injection analysis tool is also applicable to spray coating processes.
Coupled multi-physics analyses are opening significant new markets as more difficult problems can be addressed using advanced computational techniques. The framework for prediction of complex liquid injection and gas/liquid interface dynamics has application in liquid rocket engines, spray coating processes, and biomedical research.
X-ray computed tomography (XCT/CT) is a widely used nondestructive evaluation (NDE) method for quality control and post-build inspection in additively manufactured (AM) components. AM practitioners increasingly recognize the limitations of such NDE methods and the need to validate the capability of these methods on an ongoing basis. 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. UES proposes a project aimed at establishing comparison methods and workflows for validating CT with ground truth from serial sectioning, and developing probability of detection (POD) curves for multiple materials and defect types. 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. In addition, improving the capabilities of an automated defect recognition (ADR) algorithm can improve NDE throughput.
West Coast Solutions (WCS) and teammate Creare are developing the Compact Cryocooler Electronics (CCCE) to meet NASA’s need for highly miniaturized, radiation hard electronics to pair with small cryocoolers for space missions. Based on the Phase I results, the CCCE is projected to achieve a package size of 4 in3 for a power level of 25W, representing a stunning 75% volume reduction versus competing technology.
Small (~ 300 g) cryocoolers are already available with more in development which are capable of supporting infrared sensing on very small satellites, all the way down to 2U (10 x 10 x 20 cm). CCCE makes relevant to the small sat industry the recent tactical cryocooler developments focused on hot midwave infrared (HMWIR), nominally 120K to 150K operation.
West Coast Solutions, teamed with Creare, is applying decades of industry-leading experience and success in novel cryocooler electronics solutions to the development of the industry’s first radiation hard CCE targeting this new class of low voltage, low power cryocoolers. For missions requiring a high performance, long-life space cryocooler, the CCCE is paired with the LM Space Micro Pulse Tube. Longer term, the proposed effort is strongly leveraged by ongoing Missile Defense Agency-funded small satellite cryocooler development efforts to improve even further upon the current state of the art in miniature coolers, extending the applicability of this proposed research to long wave infrared (LWIR).
During Phase I the brassboard electronics was successfully tested with five different small cryocoolers, including the Micro PT. Progress in Phase I has the CCCE Team on track to complete the development through TRL 6 Qualification Testing in Phase II, which could lead to flight opportunities as soon as late 2022.
Any spaceborne infrared sensor requiring use of a small cryocooler, such as for Earth imaging, planetary exploration, space-to-space viewing, Artemis program, etc.
This technology is of great interest to the Department of Defense as it pursues its Resiliency through Disaggregation approach by which one or few large satellites are replaced with a large constellation of small satellites.
The target of this project is to develop a compact and efficient avalanche photodiode (APD) based on Al rich AlGaN to replace incumbent 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 screw dislocations as seen in abundance in thin films of AlGaN 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 far UV range (120 – 240 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 sensitivity (> 40%) and dynamic range with sub-200 V operation. Furthermore, we will demonstrate operation in Geiger mode which enables single photon detection in the UV range. In addition, we aim to demonstrate high linear gains and avalanche operation by employing the improbability of hole ionization for Al molar fractions exceeding 80%. Our proposal aims to demonstrate significant improvement in AlGaN based detectors. When implemented into Hg based atomic clocks, as developed in 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 reducing volume and constraints to the accompanying electronic circuitry. Beyond application for atomic clock the far UV APDs could be used for space observation such as proposed in LUVOIR, for plume detection, or for bio-chem detection applications.
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.
UVC sensitive APDs are widely sought after for many technological applications. After high gain and high sensitivity is demonstrated, the solar blindness of the devices and the potential to arrange the detectors in arrays will lead to many novel applications. UVC sensitive APDs are considered an enabling technology and will find implementation for: bio-chem, fire, plume, trace element detection.
In Phase I, the proposed formulation for an overset, multiblock code based on the unsteady transonic small disturbance equations was shown to be an improvement to the methods typically used during the design phase of flexible flight vehicles by maintaining robustness, accuracy, and computational efficiency while providing solutions to the subsonic, transonic, and supersonic regimes. Work in Phase II will prepare the code for commercialization by expanding its capabilities and use cases and further validating the formulation with a variety of demonstrations that are meaningful to both the NASA and commercial communities. The expanded capabilities will include (1) further development of the code in the supersonic regime, (2) integration with static and dynamic loads, trim, and flutter solutions, (3) and generation of aerodynamic reduced order models for aeroservoelastic analysis and design. A direct plug-in for NASTRAN will be developed, automating grid generation from existing NASTRAN models, and direct integration into NASTRAN’s analysis and optimization solutions. Models being considered for demonstration include the F5 fighter wing, the AGARD 445.6 wing, and the KTH-NASA generic fighter aeroelastic wind-tunnel model.
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. Additionally, the aeroelasticity branch at LaRC will be prime candidates for using this technology and capability.
This technology is expected to have commercial applications to aircraft design of bombers, fighters, UAV’s, and general aviation airplanes and specifically those operating in the high-subsonic and low-supersonic regimes. As such, it is expected to have significant commercial applications in airplane structural design, control system design, and aeroservoelastic analyses.
The Phase 1 program’s goal was to demonstrate an iridium coating method that would result in a zero net stress when applied to x-ray mirrors. Coating stress is known to induce mechanical distortion to the substrate effecting the optical quality. Skyhaven Systems developed an iridium coating process for x-ray mirrors using a chemical plating method. The method was demonstrated using full-size silicon x-ray mirror segments. Samples tested by NASA were found to meet the mechanical figure requirements indicating acceptable coating stress levels were achieved with the process. Results from the Phase 1 also indicated the coating had low surface roughness, high coating adhesion, a low manufacturing cost, and was readily scalable.
Skyhaven Systems intends to continue the Phase 1 success in the Phase II program through further optimization and characterization of the iridium coating process. NASA’s requirements for iridium thickness, iridium density, surface roughness, manufacturing cost, and production rate will be objectives for the program. At the end of the Phase II program Skyhaven will have a prototype manufacturing line for producing iridium coated x-ray mirrors that meet NASA’s specifications. A deliverable of ten iridium coated mirror segments will validate Skyhaven’s method.
The proposed research is directed at the development of new mirror coatings having low film stress and high x-ray reflectance, which are critically needed for the construction of lightweight, nested X-ray telescopes such as Lynx, the high-energy flagship mission under consideration for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. Other future NASA X-ray missions would also be enabled through the realization of lightweight X-ray telescopes having high collecting area with sub-arcsecond angular resolution.
The ability to successfully deposit iridium (and other thin films) cost-effectively at low stress levels is desirable in precision optics, particularly the x-ray or EUV regions. In addition to astronomical research, medical instruments and homeland security applications can also benefit from the proposed technology.
IDS’ NanoJet printing technology uses a unique’ patented method to focus liquid-based aerosol particles to print electronic features. The sheath gas used for focusing provides a gas buffer to prevent the liquid particles from impacting and adhering to the internal surfaces of the NanoJet technology. The transmission efficiency for the NanoJet technology is nearly 100%. In the Phase I project IDS demonstrated that this same technology works for atmospheric sampling of small liquid-based aerosol droplets (0.3-5µm). During the Phase I project, IDS was able to develop and validate computation fluid dynamic (CFD) models to accurately predict the behavior of the aerosol particles passing through the aerosol separation device. These CFD tools will be used for design work in the Phase II project. Using particle densities needed for printing, IDS was able to correlate the particle density on Venus to an expected operational lifetime of the aerosol separator operating on Venus. The operational lifetime is predicted to exceed a 1-year operation by more than two orders of magnitude based on calculations. This is a result of the near 100% transmission efficiency of the NanoJet particle concentration technology. IDS demonstrated experimentally that the NanoJet technology would operate well in a vacuum environment to below 0.1 Bar pressure. It is expected that the aerosol separator will operate continuously over a wide range of pressures. The Phase II project will extend the Phase I work to produce a ruggedized, space compatible aerosol separator than can perform well on a mission to Venus and for other atmospheric sampling applications. The Phase II project will test the limits of the new aerosol separator and focus on simplifying the operation of the separator to reduce risk associated with a complex assembly. IDS will have a dedicated test platform for testing purposes. Continuous testing of advancements will ensure that each design iteration is robust.
Venus provides the single most accessible example of an end-state of habitable Earth size planet. Exploration will identify mechanisms that operate together to produce and maintain habitable worlds. Venus allows us to control for some of the factors that contribute to the geologic evolution of the Earth, e.g., surface gravity, heat budget, plate tectonics and potentially long-lived oceans. It addresses strategic objectives of the Heli physics Science Division to understand the Sun and its interactions with Earth, the solar system and more.
Aerosol particles are solid and liquid particles suspended in a gas with size range of 3 nm to 100 μm in diameter. Analysis of aerosols is important because of their major impacts on global climate change, visibility, regional air pollution and human health. Aerosols can be analyzed for both size and chemical composition for a variety of commercial opportunities.
TEAM, Inc. proposes to advance the state of the art of C-C material systems and preforming methods for use in hot structure applications. A program with parallel Testing and Process Development tracks is planned:
The carbon-phenolic material system from Phase I will be replaced with C-C and C-C/SiC matrix in Phase II. (densification sub-contractor Exothermics.) The flat panel testing from Phase I will be repeated to understand in-plane and through thickness property trade-offs between stitched and un-stitched variants, as well as between C-C and C-C/SiC variants. Qty 2 net shape converging / diverging nozzle components (stitched vs. un-stitched) will be provided for hot fire testing by Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Process Development: We will use “off-the-shelf” braiding technology, coupled with our custom z-stitching line, to produce net shape converging-diverging nozzle preforms with through thickness reinforcement. The semi-automated z-fiber stitching line from Phase I will be re-designed to introduce full automation, resulting in a repeatable and robust process. The Phase II converging / diverging nozzle will be designed to fit the sub-scale test rig at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Orange, VA facility. It will also serve to demonstrate versatility of the proposed braiding / stitching processes to handle geometric complexity.
The advantage of the proposed approach is that both the braiding process and the stitching work cell are easily scalable in terms of part size and geometry. Z-axis issues with legacy tape-lay approaches are addressed by the stitching process. Cost / capacity / geometric constraint issues with legacy Cartesian / Polar billet approaches are addressed by versatility of the braiding and z-stitching processes.
Potential NASA applications for the proposed technology include upper stage and in-space propulsion and lunar/Mars lander and ascent. The Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) and Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiatives are both particularly notable NASA programs well suited to fund a hot structure technology demonstration effort. Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX are the current prime contractors working on lunar lander solutions for the NASA Artemis program.
The proposed C-C material system and preforming technology are of interest to various DoD stakeholders currently developing hypersonic missile and vehicle systems. (Army, NAVY, Air Force and their prime contractors.) The technology has use as TPS or hot structure for aeroshells, glide bodies, frustras, nose-tip adaptors, leading edges and other control surfaces.
Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes to complete development of a unique venturi for propellant feed systems that uses a passively controlled throat area to rapidly and automatically adjust flow rate. The Adaptive Venturi is a safety device that eliminates fluid hammer in gaseous, liquid, and cryogenic systems by adjusting flow rate to prevent pressure surges. These benefits are achieved without adding weight or volume. No sensors or electronics are used and no power is required. For high-pressure oxygen systems, the Adaptive Venturi eliminates the risk of ignition caused by adiabatic compression. This device has been demonstrated with a prompt response time and zero evidence of instability.
In Phase I, PSI’s existing Adaptive Venturi was optimized specifically for high-pressure oxygen applications. The component’s performance was evaluated using gaseous nitrogen to quickly iterate and improve the geometric design. This effort resulted in an optimized design that reduces gas pressurization rates by more than 85% in comparison to a conventional orifice or venturi.
In Phase II, the Adaptive Venturi’s ability to prevent ignition due to fluid impact will be demonstrated in the most extreme application, gaseous oxygen at pressures greater than 8,000 psi. This program will result in a final product at the conclusion of the Phase II program, offering a low risk, near-term transition to NASA and commercial propulsion facilities.
Successful demonstration of the Adaptive Venturi will have applications in any oxygen system where high pressures, soft goods, or high flow rates are needed. Extending the lifetime and maximum pressure capability of oxygen components will improve reliability and performance in these applications. More generally, the Adaptive Venturi will reduce the cost of qualifying gas, liquid, and cryogenic feed system by eliminating the need for surge mitigation testing. These benefits can be realized for both ground-based and flight plumbing systems.
The Adaptive Venturi can simplify propellant loading and priming operations for propellant systems in Air Force satellites and missile defense systems employed by the MDA, Army, and Navy. The ground test facilities that support these missions in DoD and private industry will benefit from the Adaptive Venturi due to improvements in safety, performance, and cost.
This SBIR Phase II proposal requests support for Alphacore, Inc. to design and characterize a 20GS/s (giga-samples per-second), 6-bit, low-power, and low-cost analog-to-digital converter (ADC) ASIC with backend polyphase filter banks (PFB) based digital processing (DSP) for use in a wide range of NASA’s microwave sensor based remote sensing applications.
Alphacore’s new single-core ADC designed in the GlobalFoundries 22FDX 22nm FDSOI process allows full Nyquist rate conversion of input signals up to 20 GHz. The maximum sampling rate is 24 GS/s, resolution is 6 bits (effective number of bits, ENOB = 4.5 bits) and the power consumption is below 250mW (115mW core ADC + 134mW output interface) without counting the on-chip DSP. This is possible because of Alphacore’s innovative “digital folding” Flash ADC architecture. The low power supply value of 0.8V available in the 22FDX process also helps in keeping the power consumption at a lower level than what is possible in most comparable CMOS processes. The ADC will have an analog input bandwidth of 20GHz making it possible to sample and convert signals on the full second Nyquist band, which provides significant benefits to many applications. Alphacore will also make the ADC radiation-tolerant, which enables its use in space-borne applications.
Alphacore's ADC provides unprecedented performance in terms of bandwidth and resolution at low power levels, in addition to radiation hardness, which opens possibilities for new and improved instruments and missions. Having such an ADC and other critical designs already available gives Alphacore a crucial advantage in developing a fieldable system by the end of the SBIR development cycle.
This rad-hard ADC is ideal for CubeSats and small/nano satellites. It supports NASA’s remote radiometer microwave sensors for a wide range of Earth observing missions. Examples are potential SMAP follow-on missions and future upgrades to instruments like the AMR-C. Moon to Mars exploration applications are also great matches. Alphacore will bring significant value to NASA’s sensor and advanced RF communications applications. Alphacore’s RH ADC will both enable improved data resolution and also survive in harsh environments.
Radio astronomy telescope arrays such as the Square Kilometer Array, LEO and GEO commercial telecommunication satellites, Energy Frontier physics research (including ATLAS and CMS at Large Hadron Collider at CERN), fiber optic communications networking applications (coherent receivers), defense phased array applications and IC test equipment applications, 5G telecoms and Starlink.
Leiden Measurement Technolgoy, LLC (LMT) proposes to design and construct the Flat-field Automated UltraViolet Exploration (FAUVE) microscope, a high-resolution, compact, fully-automated epifluorescence microscope operating through the DUV-VIS with sub-micron, high-NA, and a flat field throughout the DUV-VIS. The core of FAUVE is a novel DUV-VIS objective, capable of producing sharp images at high magnification with very little chromatic aberration using only materials that are radiation-hard (exceeding 300 krad). Additionally, FAUVE will feature a new microfluidic cartridge platform which will enable the rapid mounting of samples for microscopic viewing. An automated microfluidic subsystem will autonomously filter samples into the disposable cartridges and treat them with user-defined reagents which could include structural stains/dyes or even functionalized suspension array particles. An entirely custom, miniaturized microscope system will be developed and occupy volume of less than 2,000 cc, while still enabling sub-micron imaging throughout the DUV-VIS in up to five different excitation wavelengths.
The rugged, miniaturized design of FAUVE will make it suitable for mission deployments on Ocean Worlds where it will enable improved life-detection and mineralogy studies. It could also be deployed on rocky bodies to study regolith or soil samples or even used in conjunction with functionalized microspheres for chemical sensing. FAUVE builds on ongoing NASA-funded projects to develop DUV microscopes and its core technologies can easily be implemented into those instruments to augment their performance.
FAUVE has many non-government applications. DUV-VIS fluorescence and transmission microscopy is a very useful tool for life science and medical research, particularly in the fields of histology and cell biology. It will also be highly useful for chemical-quantification of liquid samples by using functionalized spectrally-encoded microspheres in a suspension array and for surface inspections.
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 that employ Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP). NASA is supporting the development of technology required for the success of these new UAM aircraft in which improved methods for acoustic modeling play a large role. Safe and quiet operation are critical to public acceptance. The proposing team intends to strongly leverage our recent major advances in the modeling and analysis of DEP UAM aircraft by enhancing our existing state-of-the-art DEP aircraft flight simulation, aeromechanics and acoustics analysis software with improved capabilities for modeling noise sources of specific importance to DEP UAM aircraft. In Phase I, leveraged software was enhanced and demonstrated by performing acoustic predictions with high fidelity aeromechanics for a multirotor UAM aircraft in hover and transition flight with time-varying RPM on eight rotors. The goal of the Phase II effort is to develop and deliver commercial-grade, comprehensive acoustic analysis for UAM aircraft, that would provide fast, accurate prediction of critical acoustic characteristics associated with DEP UAM aircraft, including (1) noise generated by the simultaneous operation of multiple, variable RPM rotors and props, (including coaxial rotors), (2) interacting rotor/prop/wing/airframe noise, (3) broadband noise pertinent to eVTOL UAM aircraft, (4) noise due to inflow turbulence from a variety of sources, and (5) electric motor noise. The final software will include both a stand-alone analysis and, of significance, a flight simulation able to predict the acoustic impact of UAM aircraft control strategies during general maneuvering flight within realistic wind/turbulence environments during take-off, landing and cruise.
The comprehensive acoustic analysis proposed for development would enable accurate prediction of acoustics of UAM aircraft in computation times commensurate with daily design work, directly supporting NASA’s ARMD Strategic Thrust #4 - Safe, Quiet, and Affordable Vertical Lift Air Vehicles in the NASA Technology Roadmap. The developed analysis would be of immediate use to NASA and the UAM entrepreneurs NASA supports in evaluating and designing low-noise UAM air-taxi configurations and identifying methods to reduce noise of UAM vehicles.
CDI collaborates with many UAM vehicle developers with an immediate need for a comprehensive acoustic analysis for DEP UAM aircraft. The analysis will also be of great value to the FAA for use developing acoustic certification criteria for UAM air taxis, and the DoD and major rotorcraft manufacturers in analyzing acoustic characteristics of future vertical lift (FVL) concepts.
AiRANACULUS, along with its partners, propose an innovative Cross Layer Spectrum Aware Cognitive Control Plane and Intelligent Routing Engine (CLAIRE) to increase mission science data return, improve resource efficiencies for NASA missions and communication networks and ensure resilience in the unpredictable space environment. CLAIRE provides spectrum and network situational awareness to enable link-layer selection and optimization to maximize the data flow based on the desired Quality of Service (QoS) requirements for NASA’ s Scientific (SCI), Networking (NET), Detection (DET) and Position Navigation Timing (PNT) services. CLAIRE APP rides on the NASA’ s CCSDS Bundle Protocol and creates a Cognitive Control Plane to enable spectrum situational awareness, cross-layer sensing and differential buffer backlog information exchange mechanism. CLAIRE APP, based on Node and Network situational awareness, enables spectrum aware routing, service-oriented packet forwarding and Dynamic Spectrum Access during cases of severe man-made or environmental interference. The Packet Forwarding maps each service packet to an appropriate band and Channel (e. g. UHF, X-Band, Ka-Band etc.). CLAIRE Cognitive Control Plane is enabled by multi-band RF Sensing that is driven by advances in Direct Digital Transceiver (DDTRX) technology. The RF Sensing algorithms consists of cyclostationary signal processing techniques combined with machine learning to detect and characterize various interference types. CLAIRE adds autonomy, optimization and self-configuration to a deep space network that may suffer from large delays, interference and service disruptions. CLAIRE ensures that important packets are delivered to the destination, hence avoiding congestion due to un-necessary traffic. CLAIRE also enables future network function virtualization and network slicing which will take NASA from link optimization to network optimization and create compartmentalization of requests and services.
1. CLAIRE creates Cognitive Control Plane while making no changes to NASA' s communications protocol stack. 2. CLAIRE enables spectrum situational awareness, cross-layer sensing and differential buffer backlog information exchange mechanism. 3. CLAIRE APP enables spectrum aware routing, service-oriented packet forwarding and Dynamic Spectrum Access during cases of interference. 4. CLAIRE adds autonomy, optimization and self-configuration to a deep space network. 5. APP-based architecture allows future upgrades as technology evolves.
1. CLAIRE Architecture and capabilities are applicable to ALL commercial Terrestrial (3G/ 4G/ 5G / Wi-Fi), Space (LEO/ MEO / GEO/ Relays / Gateways), Backhaul (Optical Fiber / Coax) Networks where a cognitive control plane is required.
2. Combination of DDTRX with NVIDIA Chipset can create a powerful UHF to Ka Band 5G virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN) Solution which may be used commercially.
In Phase I, JBE proved that two coatings improved the abrasion resistance of materials typically used in high temperature seals. Phase I testing was done at ambient temperature. In Phase II, JBE will determine the optimal seal material and coating combinations, work to optimize the coating processes, and validate the improved abrasion resistance at representative and relevant temperatures.
Potential NASA applications include reusable space vehicles such as Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) and Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) as well as high-speed propulsion systems.
An improved high temperature seal will be of immediate benefit to the expanding hypersonics market by providing increased capability, reliability, and reduced cost. The target market is DOD airbreathing hypersonic products such as the HAWC, TBG, CPS, and reusable ISR platforms and hypersonic delivery vehicles.
A novel rocket engine is proposed to offer major system-level advantages in planetary landers, reusable second stages, and other space vehicles that perform entry, descent, and landing maneuvers. The Phase I effort successfully developed design and performance analysis tools, and identified a design solution that meets the vehicle functional requirements. This Phase II effort is focused on designing, building, and testing engine hardware that will validate the Phase I analytical results. Successful completion of the Phase II effort will enable full engine ground- and flight-testing as part of a Phase III effort.
The engine delivers performance commensurate with today’s market-leading upper stage engines while also accommodating deep throttle operation in the presence of atmospheric pressure. When strategically integrated into the vehicle base, the engine nozzle serves as an actively cooled metallic heat shield during atmospheric entry maneuvers. The same surface creates a robust barrier that protects the rest of the vehicle from surface ejecta during terminal descent on unprepared landing sites such as the moon or Mars. The nozzle achieves high area ratio gas expansion within a form factor ten times shorter than traditional bell nozzles, alleviating plume-surface interactions by increasing the clearance between the base of a lander vehicle and the target surface, or for equivalent ground clearance, the nozzle decreases the size and mass of the requisite landing gear.
This work is in response to NASA SBIR Focus Area 12 Topic Z7.04, which seeks Lander Systems Technologies that alleviate the plume-surface interaction environment through novel propulsion cluster placements and surface ejecta damage tolerant systems, and which “improve the mass efficiency of in-space stages and landers, …reduce integration complexity, …enable reusable landing systems, …achieve multifunctional components, …and reduce operating complexity.”
The NDL is used during terminal descent; this is the phase of EDL in which terrain-relative decisions and final preparations for landing are made. During terminal descent, lander maneuvers include vehicle reorientation to facilitate surface relative sensing and using propulsion to divert away from hazards. During EDL, precise knowledge of the spacecraft state, as well as the properties of the landing area, are critically important.
The NDL directly measures radial velocity and line of sight distance, providing precise knowledge of the vehicle state estimates relative to the landing surface. The unprecedented velocity accuracy provided by the NDL is due to the continuous wave (CW) lidar waveform. As such, the only way to obtain distance measurements is to modulate the waveform. The Linear frequency modulation continuous wave (FMCW) waveform employed provides distance measurements without compromising the accuracy of the velocity measurements.
We propose an innovative integrated opto-electronic device hybridized into a new chip-scale waveform modulation system for Navigation Doppler Lidar. The innovation decreases sensor size, mass, power and cost while maintaining the operational performance needs of the GN&C system for precision navigation. Once developed, the complete integrated package of the proposed innovation will provide higher fidelity waveforms, added robustness during operational environments, in miniaturized package.
The NDL is one of several sensors base-lined at NASA for lander GN&C subsystems, as it shows great promise to aide in navigation of the vehicle autonomously to lunar touchdown. The significant innovative advances proposed here reduce size, mass, power, and cost, increases sensitivity, and offers more functional options in order to cover a wider range of vehicles and trajectories. The compactness also opens possibilities for applications in rendezvous and docking, or small lunar hoppers.
Miniaturization and increased efficiency also reduces cost and an increases reliability. On earth, the new architecture opens many possibilities and applications in autonomous navigation of air and land vehicles, for the consumer and for the military. This work paves the way toward a faster transition to highly efficient and inexpensive Lidar sensors.
The primary technical objective of Phase II is to develop ZONA’s next-generation commercial software for aeroelastic, aeroservoelastic, and dynamic loads analysis using the CFD-based AIC matrices. The current ZONA's flagship commercial software called ZAERO for aeroelastic analysis has been adopted by many aerospace companies for over 25 years and has over 100 users worldwide. In the heart of ZAERO is the Unified Aerodynamic Influence Coefficient (UAIC) module that generates the structurally independent AIC matrices by solving the linear unsteady potential equation using the panel methods. Because of the linear potential flow assumption, the unsteady panel methods are not valid at transonic Mach numbers nor at high angles of attack. Due to the advances of the CFD methods, we can foresee that the replacement of panel methods by the CFD methods for aeroelastic analysis is on the horizon. To keep ZONA’s competitive edge in the software-licensing market of aeroelastic analysis, ZONA will develop a next generation of ZAERO, herein referred to as ZAERO++ in which the AIC matrix generated by the UAIC module will be replaced by the CFD-based AIC matrix generated by the GENAIC module that we developed in Phase I. With the user and application manuals that will be generated in Phase II, ZAERO++ will become a product-ready commercial software as the outcome of the Phase II effort.
The proposed effort is highly relevant to on-going and future NASA fixed wing projects, which involve innovative design concepts such as the Truss-Braced Wing, Blended Wing Body, and Supersonic Business Jet. The proposed work will offer a computational tool to NASA designers for generating the structurally independent AIC matrix that can be repeatedly used for aeroelastic analysis throughout the structural design cycle.
The proposed CFD-based AIC matrix generator can be applied to many categories of flight vehicles including blended wing-bodies, sub/supersonic transports, reusable launch vehicles, and similar revolutionary concepts pursued. Hence, the proposed research and its outcomes will be highly needed for designing the next generation of civil as well as military aircraft.
PreSound identifies specific defects on aircraft through intelligent analysis of vibration and acoustic measurements. It operates in two modes: a preflight inspection routine that uses an aircraft's own propellers as a vibration stimulus, and passive in-flight monitoring, identifying defects and alerting personnel or triggering automated contingency measures. Although there are commercial systems that use vibration and acoustic data to guide maintenance intervals, none are able to diagnose defects before takeoff, and most of their focus is on guiding additional human inspection and maintenance activities rather than providing input into automated systems. Future high assurance aviation systems will require the higher fidelity and more effective automated health diagnostics that PreSound provides.
During Phase I, GreenSight successfully proved the feasibility of PreSound in its small UAS implementation. We were able to demonstrate using a preflight ground testing routine not only that PreSound can reliably detect the presence of an off-nominal condition, but that it can identify the specific nature of the defect. With future extension to in-flight use in mind, we formulated a novel preprocessing method that is especially immune to the uncontrolled airframe stimulus that will be encountered in actual flight conditions. In Phase 2, we intend to develop and commercialize two variants of PreSound. PreSound-S is optimized for sUAS and will run entirely on the native flight control and computing hardware that is already on the aircraft, gathering accelerometer data from the flight controller's IMU. PreSound-L will be optimized for larger, more complex, passenger-carrying aircraft. It will use multiple dedicated yet inexpensive and low-SWAP hardware monitoring and computing nodes to run the PreSound detection algorithms.
PreSound can reduce the level and human labor required to maintain a high assurance level in aviation, which has immediate benefits for NASA programs in Advanced Air Mobility. PreSound reduces the effort required for pre and post flight inspection and potential lengthens routine inspection intervals. Specific relevant NASA projects include:
Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)
Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology (RVLT)
High Density VertiPort (HDV)
System-Wide Safety (SWS
Flight Demonstrations and Capabilities (FDC)
GreenSight has an immediate commercialization path to deploy PreSound to its network of automated UAS used for data gathering at commercial facilities all over the world. Beyond this, GreenSight intends to commercialize PreSound as a software option in its commercial UAS avionics packages and aircraft, as well as pursue OEM integration with developers of UAS and Urban Air Mobility aircraft.
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 multi-destination human space exploration strategy as well as its ambitious program of innovative robotics missions will challenge engineers to develop these new and complex systems with advanced capabilities. The agency is exploring multiple destinations. It plans to conduct increasingly complex missions to a range of destinations beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), including cis-lunar space, Gateway, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), the moon, and Mars and its moons. VULCAN will be one of the medical tools for the Journey to Mars in the 2030s.
Non-NASA applications are in DoD, and VA that use medical equipment and medical procedures to treat patients with a limited number of medical experts. Our product incorporates the intelligence of the medical experts to achieve high quality healthcare with an accurate, efficient process. Clinics, hospitals and medical device companies are the target customers of IMCA.
The millions of tons of water ice is considered to be the most important resource on the moon. Harvesting water ice from lunar regolith requires a dedicated thermal management system (TMS) since (1) it requires very high thermal energy input to sublimate ice into vapor (i.e., volatile) and (2) capturing these volatile in the near-vacuum environment also needs significant cooling capacity. Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc (ACT) in collaboration with Honeybee Robotics (HBR) is developing a well-engineered TMS for Lunar ice mining vehicles that are powered by MMRTG. The TMS can strategically and directly use the waste heat of nuclear power sources to extract water vapor from icy-soil on the moon and use cold environmental temperature as the heat sink to collect volatile within a cold trap container. This will enable ice harvesting with optimized consumption of electricity. In Phase I, ACT successfully developed and demonstrated two key thermal features of the proposed TMS. They are:
A preliminary full-scale TMS for a mining vehicle that can potentially meet NASA‘s requirements was designed and analyzed. In Phase II, ACT/HBR team will further mature the proposed TMS for Lunar Ice Miners. The efforts include optimization of all thermal components and development and validation of a numerical model to simulate the ice mining operation in relevant environmental conditions. An end-to-end demonstration system will be set-up and tested in a Lunar environmental chamber. A detailed design of full-scale TMS with optimized SWaP will be developed and reported by the end of the Phase II program.
The thermal management technology for a nuclear-based Lunar Ice Mining vehicle can immediately benefit Lunar In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) to harvest 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 technology can be useful to harvest water on other planetary bodies such as Mars and Asteroids.
The radioisotope power source that the TMS using may limit its potential in non-NASA applications. However, some components of the overall system may have market potential in foreseen lunar economy. For example: the switchable cold trap using no electricity and moving parts could be an essential ice storage device to support daily human activities on moon (e.g. lunar hotels, fueling station etc.).
Magma Space proposes to develop a novel semi-active magnetically levitated Reaction Wheel (RW) that will enable NASA’s next generation of high-performance scientific/observation missions (e.g. HabEx mission). Magnetic levitation offers several advantages over classic ball bearings, such as the elimination of wear and friction, the elimination of lubricant, the longer life expectancy and the lower generated micro-vibration noise. All these features would be crucial for the design of future missions for the exploration of our solar system. The proposed technology aims at overcoming some of the fundamental drawbacks that have considerably limited the use of magnetic bearings in space missions, such as the need to operate at cryogenic temperatures (if superconducting materials are used for the levitation) or the high power consumption (for active magnetic bearings). The proposed semi-active technology would be capable of generating stable magnetic levitation at room temperature and with low power consumption. Moreover, the electronic board does not require either sensors or a control algorithm to operate, thus considerably simplifying its integration on a spacecraft. The objectives of Phase II will be to develop a fully operating engineering model with the integrated 5-DoF magnetic bearing and electric motor. A full set of functional and environmental requirements will be provided and a thorough investigation of power consumption, micro-vibration signature and magnetic cleanliness will be carried out. Phase II will end at TRL 5.
The proposed technology will be crucial for NASA future missions requiring stability accuracy of less than 1 milli-arcsec, such as observation missions (e.g. HabEx and LUVOIR) or laser communication missions (e.g. DSOC flight demonstration by JPL). A low-power levitating technology could also enable the development of new flywheels for energy storage and continue the work on G2 flywheel by NASA GRC. These flywheels have the potential to substitute electric batteries and increase the life of a spacecraft dramatically.
Magnetic wheels could allow DoD imaging satellites to achieve spatial resolution below 1.5ft. With the enhancement in laser comm precision, a GEO laser relay system (like ESA EDRS) would help EPA and NOAA to accelerate responses in emergencies by instantly connecting LEO satellites and ground stations. Magnetic wheels would enable corporations to implement laser-based internet satellite networks.
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are poised to transform modern life. However, there remain barriers to increased adoption. NASA has recognized that current autonomous systems have poor perception of the environment. This is a problem because detecting and avoiding non-cooperative aircraft in all weather is a key requirement for operation in the National Airspace (NAS).
During Phase I of this SBIR, KMB Telematics performed a feasibility study to determine whether it was possible to design a small, lightweight radar that would allow small drones (<55 lbs.) see other small drones, as well as larger targets. This solves an unmet need in the market, as there is currently no DAA radar with low enough size, weight, power, and cost (SWAP-C) to be mounted on battery-operated small UAS (sUAS). This is a critical issue because sUAS use cases represent the majority of the total addressable market (TAM) currently imagined for the commercial drone market. To solve this problem, the approach taken was to evaluate KMB’s proprietary imaging radar technology which was originally developed over 18 months of IRAD for the autonomous vehicle (AV) market. The Phase I R&D concluded that it was possible to adapt KMB imaging radar to the UAS use case, resulting in a substantial improvement over the current state of the art.
Our goal in this SBIR Phase II is to develop a SWAP-C DAA radar system, which allows the sUAS to safely fly in the NAS. This would enable operators of these drones to obtain Part 107 waivers and hence directly enable BVLOS commercial drone operations. More specifically, we propose to build a prototype DAA radar whose key characteristics are:
This sensor would allow the Integrated Aviation System Program to use smaller, cheaper UAS to perform research like the development of detect and avoid algorithms, sensor fusion, pattern recognition, and decision-making algorithms. This sensor could be used to continue NASA's UAS Traffic Management (UTM) work to enable small UAS operation beyond visual line of sight. This sensor could be used as a collision avoidance sensor by the Resilient Autonomy project.
This sensor would enable commercial package delivery UAS operators to fly beyond visual line of sight, as well as electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) and manned aircraft collision avoidance applications.
Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) proposes a compact, vacuum-regenerable sorbent bed for effectively removing a broad range of trace contaminants, meeting topic performance requirements, which can be integrated with the Exploration Portable Life Support System (xPLSS) CO2/H2O removal system. Both the primary trace contaminants (ammonia, CO, formaldehyde, and methyl mercaptan) as well as other species that threaten to exceed the 7-day Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) levels during an EVA were addressed via sub-scale testing in Phase I. These sorbents with different properties were combined in the modular Trace Contaminant Control (TCC) bed, tailored to the requirements and in suitable proportion. Our approach is based on PCI’s proven sorbent nanomaterials that have high surface area on a structured support, enabling a compact, low pressure drop, and vacuum-regenerable TCC device. In Phase I, all objectives and proposed tasks were successfully completed to demonstrate proof-of-concept of these vacuum-regenerable sorbent materials and sorbent module for a compact, efficient TCC. This offers the potential for real-time, in-suit sorbent regeneration, reduced logistical burden associated with bed replacement or thermal regeneration, and further volume and weight reduction of the TCC packaging. At the end of Phase I, a modular, compact, low pressure drop, and durable integrated TCC design approach was identified. In this proposed follow-on Phase II, TCC hardware prototypes will be developed, demonstrated, and delivered to a NASA laboratory for further evaluation, performance validation, and possible integration with the xPLSS hardware design. This effort would be valuable to NASA as it would address the current xPLSS technology gap and increase mission capability/durability/extensibility while at the same time increasing the TRL of the novel vacuum regenerable TCC sorbents.
Targeted NASA applications will be in advanced spacesuit and exploration PLSS with key potential customers including Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, and private sector customers. Additional NASA application includes Gateway and Artemis missions, future ISRU concepts for Lunar or Martian bases, spacecraft, and for the International Space Station.
Targeted non-NASA applications include commercial aircraft air purification systems and for military vehicle cabins such as in aircraft, ships and submarines. Another market for this technology would be commercial buildings where it can have significant impact on the demand control ventilation and indoor air quality, resulting in significant decrease in associated energy and other costs.
Luna Innovations has developed a revolutionary system for real-time localization, collection, and visualization of NDE data. This technology leverages Luna’s fiber-optic 3-D shape sensing technology to provide a precise position of the NDE tool in space, and has a novel augmented-reality visualization interface to show NDE results in real time overlaid on the surface being analyzed. This system will reduce the complexity of scanning intricate structures by providing real-time feedback on areas of concern, which will allow those areas to be immediately scanned in more detail. In addition, the detailed position information and automatic registration of NDE data to precise locations on the structure will improve the accuracy of results, increase comparability of data from one scan to another, and enable automated or robotically assisted inspection processes. During Phase I, Luna developed an initial prototype of the system and demonstrated its functionality with both 2D and 3D scans of test articles, including a composite helicopter tail rotor and an impact damaged metal plate. Visual representations of the scanned articles, including the ability to show simulated and actual damage, were presented in both an interactive 3D view and in augmented reality. During Phase II Luna will build several development systems which will be adapted to receive and integrate data from various standard NDE sensor technologies. These combined systems will be validated in extensive field testing on representative test articles with partners at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). In addition to collecting data from these NDE sensors and mapping the data to a standard coordinate system, a powerful augmented reality visualization application will be developed which will allow for real-time display of results in a mixed/augmented reality view, showing the data overlaid with the actual object being scanned and/or a solid model of the object.
The proposed NDE visualization tool will enable faster, more accurate scanning of surfaces, and will provide real time results to users during the scanning process, facilitating quicker decision making based on reliable NDE data. Better data registration will improve NDE data resolution and accuracy, which will facilitate Digital Twin efforts. This new NDE damage visualization and localization capability will help NASA achieve its 100% inspected mission directive for programs such as Orion and will also benefit programs such as SLS and Artemis.
Better NDE data registration and visualization tools will benefit a large group of commercial companies that perform detailed NDE analyses across a wide range of industries. This new technology will particularly benefit Aerospace, Automotive and Manufacturing NDE efforts by providing higher quality results with less cost and complexity, ultimately leading to safer more reliable products.
IERUS Technologies proposes to investigate the use of Additive Friction Stir Deposition (AFS-D) to robotically fabricate and repair large structures in the external space environment. The AFS-D process provides a new path for repairing and additively manufacturing metallic structures. AFS-D produces fully-dense, near net-shape structures in open atmospheric conditions. IERUS Technologies also proposes to investigate the integration of its Vision System for inspection of AFS-D fabricated components. IERUS’s Vision System is designed to verify dimensions of post processed in-space manufactured components.
The AFS-D process is well suited for additively manufacturing large metal structures in both terrestrial and space environments. The Vision System is applicable for inspection of additive manufactured components in both terrestrial and space environments.
Potential Non-NASA applications of on-orbit manufacturing and repair include commercial satellite servicing and manufacturing of large trusses, solar arrays and antenna reflectors for other government agencies such as the Air Force and DARPA. The Vision System can also be applied for commercial applications such as inspection of precision components for automotive and aerospace markets.
The development of next-generation thermal protection systems (TPSs) is a critical focus for NASA as they spearhead the advancement of fabrication techniques for 3D woven TPSs, which demonstrate thermal-mechanical properties superior to those of traditional technologies. While the 3MDCP WTPS material system has been recently selected for use in the Mars Sample Return (MSR) Earth Entry Vehicle and MSR Sample Return Landers, widespread application of the technology is hindered by a lack of understanding of the impact of loom manufacturing processes on the resulting woven products’ performance.
ATA has advanced the state of the art for WTPS analysis by demonstrating a novel numerical framework that determines as-woven WTPS properties from composite models with realized yarn geometry and damage predicted directly from loom processes. The technology, called the Loom-to-Weave (L2W) toolset, consists of three critical steps: (1) explicit modeling of the weaving process to predict physical properties of the preform, (2) estimation of yarn damage from contact loadings output by the weaving model, and (3) prediction of material system performance via testing of a representative volume element of the matrix-infused composite created from the woven preform.
ATA proposes to further the development of the L2W analytical toolset by improving implemented modeling techniques for the 3D weaving process, executing a test program in partnership with 3DWC manufacturers with results to be used in model calibration and blind validation, extending the technology to model forming processes used in aero-shell creation, and productizing the method via integration with ATA’s COMPAS material characterization software. The result will be vetted WTPS analysis software that will significantly improve WTPS manufacturing quality, reduce WTPS product analysis and development cycles, and improve the TPS of future NASA interplanetary missions by increasing confidence in the use of WTPS technologies.
The development of WTPS architectures is critical to several future NASA missions: Mars sample return, high-speed crew return, high-mass Mars landers, and Venus and gas/ice giant probes. The analytical approaches proposed will inform strategies for developing increased control capabilities for the 3D weaving processes, which will enable material optimization for these missions. The technology has promise to improve WTPSs used in NASA applications by providing material properties early in the design process and reducing time to qualification.
Potential defense applications for advanced 3D woven composites (3DWCs) and analytical technologies for their custom tailoring include rocket motor nozzles and thermal protection structures for hypersonic vehicles (e.g., leading edges, nosetips, and aeroshells). Commercial applications include use in the design of structural elements in civil infrastructure.
NASA needs cost-effective high-data-rate communications and navigation knowledge for Distributed Spacecraft Missions (DSM) and small spacecraft. Our Relative Dynamics Inc. (RDI) solution is an optical communication terminal (SCOUT) using integrated, modular, scalable and future-extendable communications for small spacecraft in the DSM configuration. Each key cost-driven optical communication terminal sub-system has been carefully considered to enable a number of key cost-saving high-performance innovations into our proposed RDI SCOUT. Precision (microradian)-pointing actuator and motors are vital for optical communications. We propose lowering system complexity and cost with a new-class of high-performance ultra-high-vacuum compatible motors that are widely used in the manufacturing industry. The RDI SCOUT terminal uses an innovative small-aperture structure small spacecraft antenna (telescope). The SCOUT terminal opto-mechanical structure uses new materials with high strength-to-weight ratio that are robust against thermal deformation. The new material is low-cost, widely available, readily manufacturable and amenable to compression-molding mass production. Low-cost high-performance telecommunications integrated photonic transceiver are at the heart of the RDI SCOUT modem. RDI SCOUT will use an open data format for compatibility and interoperability with lunar communications and navigation architecture plans. RDI SCOUT incorporates dual (comm and nav) functionality to enable clock-recovery based sub-millimeter laser ranging and precision pointing-knowledge for optical navigation with sub-arcsecond accuracy. A lander or orbiter system could provide valuable calibrated navigation range/angle data using both active terminals and passive corner-cubes. RDI will provide system engineering for DSM operational scenarios for the SCOUT terminal including planetary lander/orbiter, planetary lander/Earth terminal, satellite-to-satellite and satellite/Earth terminal.
Our RDI proposed Small Spacecraft Optical Terminal (SCOUT) will enable a collaborative configuration at Gbps data rates of widely distributed (10s to 100s km apart) NASA small spacecraft (180 kg or less) operating far into the near-Earth region of space and beyond into deep space. SCOUT will enable NASA mission Uplinks (Earth-to-space) and Downlinks (space-to-Earth) providing an alternative for Distributed Space-craft Missions (DSM) configuration from Earth as well as return of science data to Earth and bi-directional telemetry and navigation.
SpaceX, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Airbus and OneWeb and other large companies are pursuing High Altitude Platforms and very large (thousands) LEO satellite constellations for global internet deployment. This is a key commercial market for our low-cost high-data-rate optical communication RDI SCOUT terminal.
This proposal is responsive to NASA SBIR Subtopic S1.03: Technologies for Passive Microwave Remote Sensing; specifically, the item titled “Correlating radiometer front‐ends and low 1/f‐noise detectors for 100–700GHz.” The focus is on low DC power radiometers for Small/CubeSats and the use of correlating receivers to improve system stability without the requirement for Dicke switching or noise-injection. Both direct detection (DD) and heterodyne (Het) correlating radiometers are of interest to NASA. The Het systems are technically preferred because of the excellent frequency resolution. However, the DD systems, with appropriate filters, can often achieve the necessary resolution with even lower size, weight and power requirements. Thus, the choice between Het and DD systems is mission specific. Through the Phase II effort, VDI will develop and demonstrate both types of correlating radiometers at frequencies of highest interest to NASA for atmospheric research and weather monitoring, specifically 118 and 183 GHz. At the end of Phase II, VDI will have demonstrated a total of four radiometer systems. At 118GHz, VDI will demonstrate a single channel DD correlating radiometer and a deliverable Het correlating radiometer with broad available IF bandwidth. At 183GHz, VDI will demonstrate two DD radiometer systems, a single channel prototype and a four-channel deliverable system. All systems are expected to achieve excellent performance and the four-channel DD and heterodyne systems will be sufficiently compact for use on Small/CubeSat platforms. Throughout the effort, VDI will focus on the development of basic building blocks for radiometers, including 90-degree hybrids, 180-degree phase shifters, narrow band filters and low 1/f noise detector diodes. Each of the components will be demonstrated at 118 and 183 GHz, and the prospects for scaling to higher frequency will be evaluated, with an emphasis on determining how to extend operation throughout the 100–700GHz range.
NASA applications include weather monitoring, atmospheric studies and investigations of planetary atmospheres. Correlating radiometers are known to improve performance over the more standard radiometers used in the present generation of Small/CubeSats such as TROPICS, TEMPEST-D, MiRaTa. However, they have not yet been implemented primarily due to the added complexity, which increases size, weight and power requirements. However, with increased system integration and advanced component design, these challenges can be alleviated.
TEMPEST-D and TROPICS are technology demonstrators for future systems of many CubeSats offering global observations. The goal is to replace the billion-dollar satellites with a more versatile and affordable technology that can be cost-effectively updated on a routine basis. These CubeSats must be produced by industry, and the proposed research will foster that goal.