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.
This program will develop an innovative Random Finite Set (RFS)-theory-based software tool for Multi-Target Tracking (MTT), using measurement filtering methods that include the Sequential Monte Carlo Generalized Labeled Multi-Bernoulli (SMC-GLMB), Student's t-Mixture GMLB (STM-GLMB), and Joint-GLMB. These MTT methods enable classification and accurate tracking of objects within the field-of-view of spacecraft, including a target spacecraft for rendezvous, secondary spacecraft in vicinity, and orbital debris. In this program, ASTER Labs’ team will enhance RFS-based algorithms that will improve the reliability and efficiency of sensor measurement gathering, object classification, and target tracking, even in the presence of high levels of non-Gaussian noise. The newly developed RFS-MTT Toolset will integrate the RFS-based filters with Clohessy-Wiltshire-Hill, Tschauner-Hempel, and Karlgaard relative orbital dynamics equations, vehicle attitude, sensor and uncertainty models, and non-Gaussian noise-generation methods to form a full software package for simulation and analytical purposes. Orbital trajectory data featuring multiple rendezvous maneuvers will be utilized along with high-fidelity noise, disturbance, birth, and clutter to create additional measurement uncertainty. This data will be processed via the developed RFS-MTT Toolset to confirm fidelity of the processing techniques models, and verify the system’s ability to effectively track multiple targets in environments with high clutter and high sensor noise. Phase II will expand the RFS-MTT Toolset and associated algorithms for software simulations and performance assessment in orbital spacecraft rendezvous and proximity operations. The RFS-MTT Toolset will be incorporated into the full SWARM Toolset and evaluate this functionality for eventual incorporation into NASA’s software tools, e.g. GEONS, MONTE. Hardware demonstrations will with wheeled vehicles and UAVs be performed and presented to NASA.
This RFS-MTT Toolset is directly applicable to NASA’s spacecraft rendezvous and proximity operations missions. The software will enhance spacecraft multi-target tracking capabilities to detect other vehicles and objects in the presence of clutter and non-Gaussian noise, and reduce false and missed detections. Applications include supply transport, satellite servicing, and orbital debris removal, which address current and future needs in an increasingly-complex space environment, with broader applicability to aerial and ground vehicles.
The RFS-MTT algorithms apply to commercial and defense systems requiring data-driven solutions for target identification, classification, and tracking in high-noise and high-traffic environments. Non-NASA applications include defensive hostile satellite tracking and covert operations. Commercial applications include UAS traffic in civilian aerospace, UGV operations, and pedestrian flow monitoring.
Electrified Aircraft Propulsion (EAP) is a growing NASA technology effort that could enable new configurations of aircraft. With the potential to transform the transportation and services markets, vehicle classes of interest include single-aisle, thin/short haul, and urban air mobility. These vehicle concepts rely on hybrid electric systems to provide propulsive power through the use of a turbo-generator combined with electrical energy storage. For turbo-generators/range-extenders utilized in regional EAP concepts, small lightweight turboshaft engines are an excellent choice due to their maturity and availability. However, at small power scales, gas turbines are less efficient. This can be addressed using a recuperator to inject waste heat from the turbine back into the thermodynamic cycle upstream of the combustor. Micro Cooling Concepts (MC2) has developed technologies for fabricating extremely compact metallic heat exchangers with high heat transfer while reducing size and weight by 2-3X, using the printed circuit heat exchanger (PCHX) approach. Using additive manufacturing to create heat exchangers with finer scale and higher aspect ratio features can magnify the advantages of MC2’s existing technology, resulting in recuperators with minimal weight, volume, and pressure losses. Analysis shows that the 3D-printed hybrid laminate recuperators provide reductions in volumes and weight of 4.4X and 7.7X, respectively, compared to conventional recuperators. These weight reductions translate directly into shorter fuel payback times and opportunities to increase payload or range. The program will consist of recuperator design studies, fabrication studies, fabrication and testing of sub-scale test articles, and full-scale prototype fabrication and testing at engine relevant conditions. This effort supports the NASA goal of reducing the mass and increasing the efficiency of heat acquisition and rejection components and advancing technologies for more electric aircraft.
Technology applicable to any NASA program where heat exchangers are required and weight has a significant impact on system performance. Examples include:
Lightweight compact heat exchangers have uses across wide range of applications. Impact cannot be overstated as applicability to military and commercial sectors is vast:
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.
As set forth in a recent NASA Technology Roadmap, the current state of the art for a space radiation hardened power distribution component is limited to below 200 V. To achieve the technology performance goal of above 300 V for the derated semiconductor operating voltage, new technologies are needed. An example immediate benefit of space hardened high voltage part is that they would enable next generation high-power electric propulsion systems. Use of a wide bandgap semiconductor such as silicon carbide is also likely to increase their efficiency.
The mature silicon technology lacks solutions. Wide bandgap solutions are needed to achieve radiation tolerant high voltage devices. Silicon carbide power devices offer a unique opportunity; however, they need hardening by design and process.
We propose design and fabrication of novel lateral and vertical silicon carbide power devices. The overarching goal is to provide NASA with radiation tolerant silicon carbide-based power switches tolerant of heavy ions with LETs of at least 40 MeVcm2/mg. The target is to develop above 300 V radiation tolerant power devices to meet the NASA Technology Roadmap high voltage power device goal. To achieve this, we propose 1) to perform several heavy ion tests of power devices, 2) to pursue physics-based simulations, and 3) to fabricate our designs at a commercial foundry. As we iterate between experiments, design and fabrication, we will converge on a power solution that can be mass produced at demand.
These radiation hardened devices address the capability performance goals of a) developing basic power building blocks for multiple applications, and b) distributing power at increased voltage to lower overall power system mass. Our silicon carbide electronics is additionally capable of addressing technology performance goal of power distribution components and interconnects at high temperatures.
For high voltage applications such as those needed for thrusters, solar panels, electric propulsion systems, and power channels such as those used on International Space Station (ISS), our technology can eliminate some of the existing design constraints, and give rise weight and volume savings. This technology can enable integration and implementation of next generation energy efficient and reliable high voltage and power systems into these applications.
The market for outer space electronics is very large, and the overall satellite industry growth has been outpacing both world and US economic growths in recent years. Given the total size of the outer space budgets, a radiation hardened high voltage component is likely to generate substantial revenue while offering the same efficiency and weight saving benefits in non-NASA space applications
Cryogenic fluid management is critical for long term deep space manned missions. The nature of these missions will require long term storage of cryogenic liquids. Temperature fluctuations will result in some liquid vaporization and the formation of two-phase vapor-liquid mixtures, which would cause operational problems in pumping, transfer, and fueling systems. In low gravity conditions, vapor and liquid phases will not separate in distinct regions due to the lack of buoyancy forces, therefore a means of separating the two-phases is needed. In this proposal, we will pursue the development of the DynaSwirl® cryogenic separator demonstrated in Phase I, into a practical system that would operate in cryogenic liquid transfer high flow regimes. The design will be refined and optimized. The separator weight and the pressure drop across it will be minimized, a vapor capture system will be developed, and several prototype versions will be tested under a variety of conditions. To do so, the LN2 Cryogenic testing loop used in Phase I will be improved and upgraded with automation of valves’ control and data acquisition. The cryogenic tests will be conducted for times long enough to cover steady flow following the fill-out time and negligible effects of gravity on the separation will be demonstrated by conducting tests with different chamber orientations. The effects of the various geometrical dimensions of the separator components will be investigated and scale ups of the system to large exit diameters and high pressures will be considered. System level design study will be conducted to predict the behavior of the DynaSwirl® Cryogenic Phase Separator compared to other propellant management devices (PMD). A separator test unit for microgravity flight testing will be set up for future reduced gravity tests and a prototype of the separator for conditions of interest to NASA researchers will be delivered to NASA for testing with different cryogenics such as liquid O2 and CH4.
Long-term space habitation and manned missions into deep space will require cryogenic fluids management, including the Human Landing System (HLS) for the Artemis Mission for lunar landings, future missions to Mars, storage and transfer of cryogenic fluids to be used in chemical and nuclear propulsors, life support systems, formation and recovery of fluids generated in situ. The presence of vapor in cryogenic liquids requires the ability to separate phases in low gravity conditions, which will be provided by the DynaSwirl®.
The rapid and efficient removal of vapor in deep cooling systems is also a significant problem for hydrogen fuel storage and transfer, LNG infrastructure, medical imaging equipment, supercomputing facilities, superconductors, and cryopreservation of pathology and biological samples. The DoE, DOD missile programs, and medical and scientific facilities would also use the technology.
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.
In this Phase II SBIR proposal for Topic S1.12: Remote Sensing Instrument Technologies for Heliophysics, we describe our research plan to build and demonstrate an all-sky imaging system for ionospheric remote sensing from the surface of the ocean. The oceans, which cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, are currently not instrumented for space weather measurements. The proposed instrument, called Ocean Stabilized Ionospheric Remote Imaging Sensor (OSIRIS), will image the nightglow OI 630.0 nm emission data and will be capable of operating from mobile and moored buoys. The OSIRIS design solution will include a gimballed platform for sensor stabilization. The proposed OSIRIS instrument design concept is novel as ionospheric imaging from ocean platforms has not been demonstrated. The objective of this proposal is to develop a flexible and modular all-sky instrument design so that it could be integrated with different types of buoys without changing the underlying architecture. The OSIRIS design will leverage the team’s experience with building terrestrial all-sky imagers for ionospheric remote sensing and use lessons-learned from building instruments and operating them on buoys to address design challenges associated with the ocean environment. This proposed study is a first step toward enabling the proliferation of ionospheric measurements from the ocean surface. It is anticipated that the OSIRIS design solution developed here for ocean buoys could lead to the miniaturization of future ionospheric imagers for CubeSat missions. The development of this new class of observing capability will be a pathfinder for future persistent ionospheric measurements from the ocean surface and addresses a critical gap in our current observational capability from the ocean surface.
We expect that the data from OSIRIS instruments when realized in its fullest will provide complementary data to the NASA GOLD and ICON missions. Future NASA missions, such as the Geospace Dynamics Constellation (GDC) mission, would also benefit from distributed arrays of OSIRIS in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Furthermore, the miniaturization of the imager in this project would be able to be transitioned for future NASA CubeSat missions.
Data from the OSIRIS instrument from buoys will support ionosphere-thermosphere research in academia, the DoD, and other federal agencies. Further, the versatility of OSIRIS would enable the instrument to be used to address multiple applications ranging from coastal security to meteorology. For example, the proposed instrument could be configured to provide cloud observations.
The proposed Phase II innovation is the prototype manufacture of an enhanced passive monitoring system that 1) incorporates the same receiving electronics approach that satellite communication hardware uses for improved receiving sensitivity, 2) uses innovative sensor designs that significantly improve measurement sensitivity, and 3) applies wavelet transform image analysis software that automatically identifies wave mode features that are typically lost in conventional signal analysis. This approach results in better source identification and location for the complex signals encountered in structural health monitoring.
To increase the sensitivity of the sensors while managing the program risk, a single element approach that uses the sensor resonance and matching networks to increase sensitivity, while still maintaining high fidelity mode identification analysis via the image software development, will be used.
With the noise levels of commercially available electronic components in the nanovolt to microvolt range, dynamic range gains of up to 30 dB over conventional designs will be achieved in the electronic design and manufacture of the components. This is a very high bang-for-the-buck approach to gain a huge sensitivity leap for better flaw growth detection. It increases the dynamic range which reduces signal distortion due to amplifier and analog-to-digital converter saturation caused by the wide range of amplitudes encountered in passive monitoring, while lowering the voltage noise level to increase sensitivity.
The signal analysis software uses wavelet transforms to turn raw 2D signals into 3D images that are rich in the information they contain. Analyzing images in 3D space for pertinent information opens a vast array of analyses that greatly enhance the feedback to the user of the technology in a fully automated manner that can be almost instantaneous in communicating the source of energy release events in the structure being monitored.
Rebel Space Technologies, Inc. proposes SpaceWeaver, a distributed cognitive space communications network to increase mission science data return, improve resource efficiencies for NASA missions and communication networks and ensure resilience in the unpredictable space environment. SpaceWeaver senses, detects, adapts, and learns from its experiences and environment to optimize the network's communications capabilities and reduce both the mission and network operations burden. SpaceWeaver leverages the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence and reinforcement learning to coordinate and control the transfer and relay of mission data across the lunar architecture based on data priority, content, schedule, and environmental conditions.
SpaceWeaver uses Artificial Intelligence enhanced distributed sensing and optimized data routing to ensure efficient, resilient operations in the space environment. In addition to lunar communications architecture, the innovations proposed could also improve the mission data relay and network capabilities of the NOAA Satellite Information System, NASA Earth Science Mission Directorate systems, or the NASA Tracking and Data Relay System (TDRS).
Applications include Department of Defense future space architectures and satellite communications networks, and commercial space industry (e.g., Earth remote sensing constellations, asteroid mining, deep space communications).
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.
The advent of small launch vehicles has enabled the launch of small satellites on-demand into optimized orbits at affordable costs, leading to a rapid expansion of the small/micro satellite market. However, these small launch vehicles are inherently limited to LEO and currently struggle to support NASA’s push for lunar exploration. ExoTerra’s Solar Electric Propulsion Upper Stage augments small launch vehicles to enable missions to GEO, Trans-Lunar Injection, Earth-Moon Lagrange Points, Lunar Near Rectilinear Halo Orbits, and Low Lunar Orbit. We have partnered with Virgin Orbit to develop an upper stage tailored to Virgin’s LauncherOne that can deliver up to 168 kg to the Moon, enabling low-cost lunar exploration using small satellites and landers. This will aid in NASA's push to establish a permanent outpost on the Moon by providing a steady cadence of microsatellite scale support missions to the Moon such as CLPS landers, observers, GPS and telecom relays.
The SEP Upper Stage has several NASA applications. The system can deliver scientific microsatellites to Low Lunar Orbit, NRHO or Halo orbits at the LaGrange points. It can also deliver small landers on a direct descent trajectory. Beyond the Moon, the Upper Stage can be tailored to deliver satellites to interplanetary trajectories from a GTO launch. Finally, the Upper Stage can be modified for use as a bus to take advantage of its advanced propulsion and power system.
The SEP Upper Stage can be used to deliver satellites to MEO or GEO as well. This has applications for delivering commercial microsatellites to GEO. It can also be used to deliver defense satellites to GEO from a small launch vehicle as well.
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.
In Phase II, Applied Tungstenite will further explore the cold spray deposition settings and coating compositions to develop a set of coatings that are ready for providing to our customers.
In addition to further refining coatings based on the metals studied in Phase I, Applied Tungstenite will expand the trade space to include other base metals, to produce coatings with optimal materials properties, and to match them to different substrate materials. Other variables that will continue to be explored are feedstock particle size and shape, application temperature and pressure, and coating technique. The effect of varying these parameters will be evaluated in friction and wear measurements.
When down selection to the most promising coatings is achieved, Applied Tungstenite will perfect the production line including substrate cleaning, surface pre-treatment, spraying, and finishing to achieve the desired results and compile them into work instructions.
In Phase II of this project, it is expected that several types and compositions of Cold Spray coatings will be brought to TRL 6, ready for application to relevant spacecraft components, and for marketing to select customers, including NASA, as well as military and commercial entities.
A list of specific technical objectives follows: develop of in-house Cold Spray capability, improve on subcontractor’s (ASB Industries) initial growth attempts, coating thickness measurement/control, composition measurement/control, correlate feedstock composition to coating composition to coating properties and tribological performance, determine composition variation with coating depth, tribology measurements to correlate performance with coating properties (composition, thickness, Cold Spray pressure/temperature), determine other coating properties/adherence to specification, measure hardness/elastic modulus using micro-indentation techniques, corrosion Testing, adhesion/Cohesion strength, coating porosity, and abrasion resistance.
Formulated for abrasive harsh vacuum environments the potential NASA applications for the Composite WS2 Lubricant are: control mechanisms, engine nozzle gimbals, rocket structural components to reduce torque and fasteners, hydraulic fittings, Bearings, bushings, ferrules, satellite fasteners, and exoplanetary surface devices.
Potential Non-NASA Applications are: Private Aerospace (fasteners, hydraulic fittings and control mechanisms), Medical (bearings, gears and surgical control bodies) Oil and Gas (drilling components), Alternative Energy (pump component and turbine bearings), Vacuum Equipment( bearings and fasteners) Transportation (bearings, cranks, and rings) and Defense.
In this proposed effort, we propose to develop a Deep Learning Processing Subsystem (DLPS) solution for HPSC system. The DLPS solution can significantly improve the performance and energy efficiency of the HPSC system in processing deep learning algorithms. The key innovations of this proposal include design and development of an low-power and high- performance deep learning processing system, they are: (1) low-power and high- performance DLPS hardware; (2) a HPSC-compatible software module to manage DLPS hardware and provide API to application layer; (3) a DLPS toolchain to transform deep learning models from popular frameworks such as Keras, TensorFlow, and Caffe; (4) DLPS hardware implementation on space-grade Xilinx FPGA platform for fault-tolerance design. Finally, all the proposed techniques will be integrated in a functional prototype system to demonstrate the capabilities, performances, and interoperability of proposed architecture
DLPS addresses a critical need in NASA’s HPSC program to provide low power and high-performance deep learning computation. DLPS has wide range of applications in all programs concerned with deep learning computation. In particular, the HPSC program, which is concerned with support deep learning algorithms for NASA’s space flight missions such as the Human Exploration Mission Operations Diretorate (HEOMD) and the Science Mission Directorate (SMD).
Other government agencies: Air Force and Missile Defense Agency for military surveillance systems, satellite imagery, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), detection and tracking of intruding objects, target tracking for remote weapon stations, and remote sensing.
Commercial systems: space-based communication system such as Nanosat and other on-board processing (OBP) systems.
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.
Digital Pipelines combines modern DevOps practices with MBSE to accelerate continuous integration (CI), verification (CV), and delivery (CD) of complex systems. Digital Pipelines enables automated and scheduled workflows with digital threads that connect models/data of a system distributed in multiple tools. With Digital Pipelines, system engineers can schedule an automated workflow that fetches the latest state of models in a digital thread, runs test suites, and on success generates reports and baselines the digital thread. System engineers can schedule and automate model transformations between tools—requirements to system architecture to mechanical/electrical design and software.
The Phase 1 project successfully demonstrated the technical feasibility of the Digital Pipelines concept using a Spacecraft system testbed with system architecture models (SysML), requirements models, PLM/CAD models, project tasks, and software modules. A novel approach was developed for defining test cases as graph queries and representing system configurations as digital thread sub-graphs.
The Phase 2 project will architect and develop software prototypes of Digital Pipelines as a scalable service that can move, verify, and document digital engineering information in a scheduled and automated pipeline, saving an organization thousands of hours in manual movement and reconciliation of data between disciplines. Digital Pipeline service will include capabilities to: graphically author a pipeline, develop libraries of verification test cases, schedule and track execution of pipelines, and automatically generate reports. Digital Pipeline service will provide a frontend Web-Dashboard and backend REST API for automation and programmatic access.
The Intercax team has finalized a work plan with use cases from three early adopters—NASA Gateway, NASA JPL, and Lockheed Martin Space—to test and provide feedback on the Digital Pipeline service developed in Phase 2 project.
Digital Pipelines are applicable to all current and future NASA missions, both human exploration and robotic, that need revolutionary MBSE approaches to accelerate integrate-verify-deploy cycles. Some notable examples are Lunar Gateway, Human Lander, and Orion as part of the Artemis program; Mars Sample Return, Europa Clipper, and Europa Lander. Intercax is actively engaged with the Gateway (JSC) and JPL teams to target high-value use cases with Digital Pipelines in Phase 2.
Collaborative and distributed MBSE is part of digital transformation initiatives underway in many industries, such as aerospace, defense, automotive, transportation, energy, healthcare, and electronics. Intercax has customers across these industries. Automated and continuous integration, verification, and delivery of products are crucial for these industries to remain competitive globally.
Risks posed by sUAS to manned aircraft continue to increase as sUAS operations expand. To improve UAS-NAS aviation safety, Mosaic ATM proposes three UAS technology innovations:
1) An sUAS Collision Avoidance System (sUCAS)
2) A prototype Remote ID beacon, and
3) A prototype Remote ID receiver
The first proposed innovation, the sUAS Collision Avoidance System (sUCAS), will be an enhancement to existing collision avoidance systems, specifically for mitigating collision risk with sUAS. sUCAS will take advantage of the position data broadcast by sUAS to present timely and situational awareness and maneuver guidance to augment a pilot’s see-and-avoid capability. The ultimate vision for sUCAS is to exist as an application on a pilot’s electronic flight bag (EFB).
The second proposed innovation, a Remote ID beacon, will be a small, low-mass, portable, long range, self-powered module that can be mounted to an sUAS to broadcast Remote ID messages in accordance with the recently passed FAA rule. An integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) chip will provide interpolated position information of the sUAS.
The third proposed innovation, a Remote ID receiver, like the beacon, will be a small, low-mass, portable, self-powered module that can be mounted to the interior windshield of the manned aircraft cockpit. The purpose of the receiver is to extend the effective range of the Remote ID beacon and integrate with sUCAS in the GA cockpit.
Applications within NASA include projects falling under the Airspace Operation and Safety program, especially those oriented towards future aviation systems like UTM, AAM, and ATM-X which have goals to safely accommodate emergent air vehicles.
Non-government markets for sUCAS and the Remote ID receiver include GA aircraft operators who fly in lower altitudes.
Non-government markets for the Remote ID beacon include sUAS operators who will comply with the FAA Remote ID rule, which requires them to equip aircraft with a Remote ID beacon module by Q4 2023.
A second market is sUAS manufacturers who may license the Remote ID beacon technology.
Silicon Carbide (SiC) high voltage power devices are attractive for NASA space missions as overall weight of the power unit can be decreased. However, previous studies have shown that SiC power devices are susceptible catastrophic failure, burnout and degradation at voltage stress lower than half the rating under radiation. In this Phase II effort, we propose to improve the radiation hardness of Silicon Carbide vertical devices such that they can reliably operate at full rated voltage under heavy ion radiation in space.
There is a high demand for high voltage, fast switching power semiconductors with excellent high temperature performance and improved rad-hard performance for Spacecraft power systems. High voltage SiC power devices can improve the efficiency and power density of the Power Condition Unit, PPU, motor drive and TWT power supplies.
The proposed technology has large potential in the commercial small satellite market in Travelling Wave Tube Amplifiers and satellite electric propulsion systems.
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.
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.
We propose to develop a new software product called MoveIt Studio that provides supervised autonomy capabilities. It is a premium add-on for MoveIt, our current Open Source offering. MoveIt Studio enables an operator to command and control one or more robots through an easy-to-use, no-code interface. Operators can easily perform routine operations through a library of predefined objectives. Our system automatically takes an objective, composed of a series of tasks, and computes feasible motion plans, starting from the current state of the environment. This plan is continuously updated as changes in the environment are observed by the robot. MoveIt Studio also offers more direct control of a robot through several manual modes. The manual modes range from directly controlling joints to controlling end effector poses to a “point-and-click” affordance-based interface. The key innovations of the proposed work are the creation of a library of parameterized, reusable tasks that can be composed to solve more complex tasks. The user interface supports on-the-fly creation of new objectives composed of such tasks. Another key innovation is the combination of a spectrum of autonomous control methods that enables operators to easily switch between different desired/required levels of human supervision.
Robots are expected to take on a more important role in future space missions. Our proposed system would enable operators to specify tasks involving complex, coordinated motions for robots such as Robonaut 2 in microgravity environments like the International Space Station or the Gateway. The system will automatically compute feasible paths that can be selected and refined by the operator for execution. Parameterized, reusable tasks for NASA-relevant scenarios will be created.
During our customer discovery process we have identified several industries that can benefit from the proposed research. In the energy industry (oil & gas, wind energy) there is an increased need for software that enables operators to effectively use mobile manipulators for inspection and routine maintenance tasks. There are also many military applications (e.g. Explosive Ordnance Disposal).
We are proposing Supercontinuum Waveguides for Extreme Radial-Velocity Instrumentation (SWERVI). The SWERVI platform will be an integrated-photonics subsystem for the calibration of current and next-generation astronomical spectrographs with precision-radial velocity (PRV) sensitivity <10 cm/s. The proposed module will use nonlinear nanophotonic waveguides to efficiently and controllably broaden the optical spectrum of an input frequency comb laser, to serve as the broadband calibration source in PRV measurements. Our key innovations will build on our Phase 1 work to include: experimental demonstration of multi-stage coherent broadening in tantala (Ta2O5) photonic circuits, two-channel output to support self-referencing of the frequency comb, and fully packaged modules in a robust enclosure for use in demanding environments. When coupled with a high-repetition-rate comb source, the SWERVI system will enable new PRV calibration sources with spectral coverage virtually anywhere in the visible and near-infrared, while reducing power consumption and complexity through photonic integration. This system addresses a critical technology gap for extreme PRV measurements to detect and study exoplanets. Beyond PRV instrumentation, further development and commercialization of this nonlinear integrated-photonics platform will enable new capabilities in terrestrial and space-borne applications, such as atmospheric spectroscopy, precision timing and navigation, and optical communications.
The development of nonlinear supercontinuum waveguides for broadband optical spectrograph calibration directly addresses the Tier 2 technology gap in the measurement sensitivity of stellar radial velocities for exoplanet detection. Moreover, this technology will have synergies with other important NASA programs through integration with next-generation optical atomic clocks for satellite navigation and timing, as well as space-based spectroscopic monitoring of Earth’s atmosphere to track long-term changes in the planet’s climate.
Supercontinuum generation can be used as a broadband source for photonic device testing, white light interferometry, and several biological imaging modalities. In particular, tantala has very broad transparency and is applicable to mid infrared spectroscopy of trace gases and organic molecules. Microcombs, a closely related technology, are additionally of great interest for optical communications.
In P-I we demonstrated a low cost, easy to operate sea-surface-spectroradiometer system, AquaFloat, for measuring the underwater upwelling radiance at 3 adjustable depths close to the sea surface within the top 1 m for determination of water-leaving radiance & remote-sensing reflectance just above the surface. A sensor for measuring the downwelling irradiance above the sea surface is also included. The sensors provide data at high spectral resolution over the UV-VIS-NIR and minimize the uncertainties of common approaches, e.g., free falling profilers that generally do not provide good data close to the surface and buoy-based systems with a single-depth radiometer placed at near-surface depth or multi-depth radiometers placed at depths of 1 m and deeper. The uncertainties associated with extrapolation of subsurface measurements taken at a single depth or depths of ~1 m and deeper to just below the surface are particularly significant in the red and NIR spectrum even in optically uniform water column owing to effects of inelastic Raman scattering by water molecules. By conducting time series measurements, AquaFloat reduces errors due to variations in underwater light field associated with the effects of sea surface waves, vertical changes in water inherent optical properties including the effects of intermittent bubble clouds, and changes in sky conditions, which can affect profiling measurements. The low-cost design, ease, and flexibility of use of AquaFloat offers an improved tool for routine work aimed at the development and validation of in-water ocean color algorithms. These features of AquaFloat also facilitate the use of multiple systems in special experiments to map horizontal variability in remote-sensing reflectance; subpixel variability within the GSD of a satellite sensor or various events in optically complex coastal waters as red-tide blooms and river plumes. AquaFloat is useful in vicarious calibration of current & future satellite ocean color missions.
AquaFloat supports NASA ocean color-related calibration/validation activities for universities, NASA centers, and government labs. AquaFloat is easy to deploy in deep ocean, littoral regions, estuaries, and inland water bodies. Current and future missions (e.g., MODIS, VIIRS/JPSS, PACe, HyspIRI, GEO-CAPE, OLCI/Sentinel, SGLI/GCOM, GOCI) involving ocean color measurements will benefit from AquaFloat's near-sea surface radiometry. AquaFloat benefits NASA Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry programs supporting satellite ocean color missions.
The AquaFloat sea surface radiometer will enhance the capabilities of existing marine radiometer sensors, improving applications of satellite and airborne ocean color remote sensing. This, in turn, will provide improvements in data for countries, states, municipalities, and research institutions to assess the conditions and trends within the aquatic environments and make informed decisions.
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.
Flight Works is proposing to continue the development and demonstration of a low cost, compact, high performance lunar transfer stage designed for small launchers like Rocket Lab’s Electron and Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One. With a total wet mass around 200 kg without payload, the transfer stage is designed to provide high-thrust, high delta-V capabilities of over 3 km/s to one or more nanosat payloads weighing more than 30 kg. It will propel small spacecraft (CubeSat or nanosat) from Low Earth Orbit on to Trans-Lunar Injection trajectories and into lunar orbit. The system features a full set of avionics and can support payloads up to 40 W continuous (90 W peak). It can either stay attached to the small primary payload for long term mission operations, or deploy the latter at its destined lunar orbit.
Other benefits include scalability; use of green propellants and low-pressure tanks minimizing range safety operations and costs; high thrust for rapid, efficient transfer (compared with electric propulsion systems which have to be launched at higher orbits to avoid low altitude drag and which can require months to reach the targeted orbit while exposing the system to the damaging radiation of the Van Allen belts); minimized size provided by a high performance propulsion system; and attitude control system which can ride along for cislunar operations.
A stage providing over 3 km/s delta-V to a nanosat payload can be an enabler for many NASA lunar and interplanetary missions. These include missions similar to the NASA Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE), or follow-ons to NASA’s Mars CubeSat missions MarCO-A and -B, and unlike MarCO, could enable Mars Orbit Insertion. It can also be used for NASA LEO and GEO nanosat missions, whether launched as dedicated or as secondary payloads.
Non-NASA applications include commercial and DoD missions requiring high orbital maneuver capabilities. These include dedicated missions on small launch vehicles where additional delta-V is required, as well as commercial space-tug applications, e.g. on Falcon-9 rideshare launches. The stage can also be used for other applications such as orbital inspectors from LEO to cislunar operations.
FRIGATE (Failure Recovery Instruction Generation using Automata derived from Traditional Engineering models) is a Fault Management Design Tool that validates, updates, and generates failure recovery plans and translates them back into the source model format for verification. FRIGATE uses a formal methods analysis approach that aids engineers in discovering failure recovery plans that may be difficult to evaluate using traditional simulation or testing approaches. FRIGATE builds on Adventium's existing commercial tools for enabling formal methods analysis by non-expert users. Our confidence is based on the results of the Phase I project, using Virtual ADAPT (a NASA Simulink project) as a reference input model. In phase II we will improve scalability and enable use of FRIGATE as part of a Continuous Integration (CI) workflow. FRIGATE will reduce the cost and effort of failure recovery plan maintenance for NASA systems with evolving configurations. FRIGATE will reduce the risk of failure recovery plans becoming out of sync with system configuration, which reduces the likelihood of costly rework or mishap. FRIGATE will be deployed as part of Adventium's Curated Access to Model-based Engineering Tools (CAMET) Library, an existing collection of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) tools in use today.
The NASA markets are those that use models as part of the development and operations to analyze behavior, e.g., by simulation, and those that have configurations that evolve over time. NASA programs that would benefit from FRIGATE include the Space Launch System, Gateway, Habitats Optimized for Missions of Exploration (HOME), or Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), and other next generation developments.
The non-NASA markets are those with systems that are analogous to those in the NASA market, examples include Department of Defense, aerospace, automotive, and industrial markets. In addition, analogous international markets are also available.
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.
We propose to develop a power conversion architecture capable of operating at high power (>100 kW) in high-radiation environments and extreme temperatures. The proposed system is modular, thus providing an array of benefits, including improved thermal management, radiation hardness, and reliability. The innovations that enable this advantageous architecture are (a) proprietary radiation-hard integrated circuit technology under development at Apogee Semiconductor that permits far more sophisticated control than state-of-the-art radiation-hard ICs, and (b) a novel control architecture that ensures proper power sharing among converter modules without centralized communication, thereby allowing for high modularity and elimination of points of global failure.
During Phase I we demonstrated results that validated master-less current sharing and decentralized control. A prototype module was designed and simulated as will be built and validated during Phase II.
During Phase II we will validate the proposed controller and power converter architecture, 2) Implement master-less power sharing and phase-shift control on integrated circuit and 3) validate performance of rad-hard module and new power management IC. By the end of Phase II, we will have designed and prototyped a set of rad-hard power converter modules capable of decentralized current sharing at a power level (per module) appropriate to scale up to a full system. The scale model will operate at below 10 kW but will demonstrate robust decentralized control, high power density/efficiency, and low thermal impedance. Accomplishing this objective will require system specification through research, analysis, and simulation prior to prototyping.
Power distribution and conversion solutions for lunar and Mars bases with knock-on applications for space station power, satellites, rovers, drones, and probes.
Commercial GEO satellite applications. Lunar bases proposed by commercial companies such as SpaceX. Rad-hard ICs are needed in high-energy physics experiments, nuclear power applications, and medical imaging.
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.
The Interdisciplinary Consulting Corporation (IC2) proposes to develop an instrumentation-grade, robust, high-temperature, low-profile, fiber-optic pressure sensor for model-scale ground test and full-scale static engine and in-flight test applications. This work is aimed at addressing the aerospace industry’s need for technically feasible and economically viable high-temperature, aft-engine measurement capabilities that enable required noise diagnostic capabilities including characterization of fundamental jet noise sources and structures, and robust measurement capability for making combustion noise measurements. The proposed fiber-optic pressure sensor consists of a microfabricated silicon optical pressure sensor with an optical fiber exiting the side of the device. Placed within a low-profile housing, this design represents a robust, surface-mounted, miniature pressure sensor that possesses superior sensor survivability for aft-engine (high-temperature) measurements and immunity to electromagnetic interference (EMI). The flow disturbance for this sensor is minimal because of the surface-mount design and small footprint. Use of fiber optics facilitate the remote placement of all sensor optoelectronics and this extends the upper temperature limit of the measurement capability. A custom-built, ruggedized optoelectronics system that leverages a novel dual-wavelength common-mode signal rejection method for amplitude modulated optical sensors, will be paired with the sensor to provide an output that is suitable for voltage input to dynamic data acquisition systems that are typically used in the test and measurement world for acoustic and dynamic pressure sensor measurements.
The proposed high-temperature, low-profile fiber-optic pressure sensor system has the potential to be transportable across multiple NASA facilities where model-scale and full-scale engine tests occur. The Nozzle Acoustic Test Rig (NATR) and the new DGEN Aeropropulsion Research Turbofan (DART) at NASA Glenn are excellent candidates for the sensor technology. In addition, NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project will need research testing of exotic engine designs.
Commercial turbofan engine manufacturers have long desired modal array measurements within the primary nozzle to reduce cost and increase information return compared with far-field static engine testing. External customers for the technology include government agencies such as the Air Force and Navy as well as commercial engine manufacturers such as GE, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce.
NASA’s goal to explore the atmosphere, surface, and interior structure of Venus can be accomplished through the use of an aerial vehicle specifically designed by Paragon and Thin Red line Aerospace (TRLA) to carry scientific payloads known as the Mechanical-compression Aerobot for extended Range Venus ExpLoration (MARVEL). MARVEL is an autonomous robotic balloon vehicle capable of exercising trajectory and/or altitude control in the atmosphere of Venus. and/or altitude control in the atmosphere of Venus.
Exploring the atmosphere and surface of Venus presents the issue of enduring the environmental extremes. The surface of Venus is extremely hot and contains gaseous components not favorable to many materials. The challenge lies largely in finding a means to protect and prolong time in which different sensors can be operate in the harsh thermal environment and record data. As most of the interest lies closer to the surface, below mid-level cloud cover the ability to more closely approach the surface increases the data fidelity and quality captured by the sensors. MARVEL accomplishes the goal of all Venus exploration by combining advanced material configurations with innovative thermal control configurations for the payload. This results in a specialty Venus Aerobot system that can reach and remain at a lower altitude for longer times in the atmosphere of Venus to capture more and higher quality data on Venus.The current state of the art (SOA) in Venus aerial vehicles has been designed to operate within the altitude range of 50 to 60 km. This innovation will 1 extend the operating range over 40 to 60 km, and integrate into a supporting aerial platform that will be able to operate on the sunlit side of Venus and be able to transit the night side and survive several circumnavigations around the planet.
The proposed Mechanical-compression Aerobot will have immediate application at Venus and Titan. In particular, supporting access to below Venus’ cloud layer for scientific payloads for missions such as the Venus Corona and Tessera Explorer (VeCaTEx) and investigating phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere and realizing 2020 Venus Flagship Mission Report and 2018 Venus Aerial Platforms Study report key science investigations.
Two aspects of the proposed deployment/activation and gas supply/control system would lend themselves to direct commercialization in terrestrial applications. Robust aerial deployment will enable MC-ACB to be employed for military applications requiring tactical aerial drops and aerial deployment for timely, accurate weather/hurricane forecasting.
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.
Severe weather remains the main disruptor to airspace operations and traffic managers’ actions. An autonomous airspace system will need to automatically ingest the latest weather forecast, reason about its impact, and provide actionable guidance to human operators and/or other service-based airspace automation systems. Our Phase I prototype has laid the foundation for such automated weather reasoning, focusing on a specific aspect of autonomous operation with clearly stated practical needs—TMI impact reduction—to demonstrate its capabilities.
Today’s manually executed TMIs are often overly restrictive and are not routinely reviewed for possible reduction in scope or duration, resulting in excess delays & costs. To address this, we are developing an autonomous system which will continuously ingest latest weather forecasts, air traffic & TMI information, perform automated Forecast Trend Analysis to compare this latest information with previous forecast(s), identify when forecast trends toward less-severe, and if warranted, launch a search for TMI reduction opportunities. A “what-if” series of parallel fast-time NAS simulations, projecting current situation up to 8 hours ahead, combines meteorologically sound range of potential weather outcomes (given the forecast uncertainty) and parameterized TMI reductions in scope and end times. The application will evaluate results (including those from prior cycles) to establish, with a required degree of confidence, if a non-trivial TMI reduction opportunity exists. If so, it will alert relevant traffic managers and then continue autonomous monitoring, looking for additional TMI reduction opportunities during the operational day.
In Phase II, we will transition from emulated to live real-time operation, with input from the FAA ATC System Command Center, using ensemble forecasts, expanded TMI reduction search, and data mining techniques. We will also leverage this technology into other domains, e.g., UAM and UTM.
This autonomous severe weather trend reasoning application supports and could be part of NASA’s goal to enable successful transition to an autonomously operating airspace system. Additionally, this initial application could plug into various NASA simulations needing automated weather and/or TMI monitoring. The underlying technology can provide the framework for other autonomous weather impact reasoning systems that support future airspace uses by new entrants including UAM and UTM.
A direct application of the system to be built is for the FAA ATCSCC who plans and executes NAS-level TMIs. By using this technology, thousands of delay minutes could be saved. A modified version of the technology is applicable to airline operations to help them more readily adapt to changes in weather and TMIs. Other potential applications include UAS, UAM, and international ANSP operators.
Both NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) need spacecraft with demanding propulsive performance and greater flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles and extended operations under challenging environmental conditions. Planetary spacecraft need the ability to rendezvous with, orbit, and conduct in situ exploration of planets, moons, and other small bodies. For these applications, Hall Effect thrusters are being designed to meet the propulsion need.
Current Hall effect thrusters make use of hexagonal boron nitride (BN) for the discharge channel in which plasma is generated and accelerated. However, the BN materials have exhibited substantial lot-to-lot variability. Such material property inconsistencies have thus necessitated costly thruster design features to improve survivability margins against mechanical and thermal shock.
ACM has developed PAL BN materials that will reduce the causes of variability and offer predictable performance. ACM’s PAL technology produces a highly uniform microstructure with significant improvements in mechanical properties.
The proposed technology may find use in NASA missions // applications like in HERMES, lunar Gateway, and Psyche propulsion systems. Other applications would be in manned Mars missions, future deep space missions, and for station keeping of near Earth research satellites.
The proposed technology will find primary use in commercial satellite propulsion systems. The materials will also find dual use in the area of machinable ceramics.
Liquid connectors for the Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garments (LCVG) within the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) suffer from mechanical defects including leaking after long durations, latching mechanism deficiencies, and un-optimized size and mass. Mainstream aims to solve all of these issues for the primary thermal loop connector (PTLC) and auxiliary thermal loop connector (ATLC). In Phase I, Mainstream replaced the liquid sealing mechanism to eliminate the cold-flow driven leakage that the PTLC and ATLC currently experience. In Phase II, Mainstream will develop improved PTLC and ATLC connectors for use on the xEMU prior to 2024. We will integrate the liquid sealing mechanism as a drop-in replacement to the PTLC and redesign the ATLC. After long duration testing for pressure drop, leakage, and cyclic behavior, Mainstream will deliver 5 production-intent PTLCs and ATLCs to NASA for qualification testing.
Mainstream’s primary goal is to develop an improved LCVG connector that eliminates the cold flow-derived liquid leakage that develops over long durations expected on future Moon and Mars missions. It has been stated in the Artemis Plan that “on the [moon] surface [in 2024], the crew will wear the new exploration extravehicular mobility unit or xEMU spacesuit”. Therefore, Mainstream is focusing primarily on improved connector components that can serve as drop-in replacements because the xEMU suit architecture is already selected.
The developed connector is highly specialized for the xEMU liquid connectors. Because the interface is unique to NASA, the non-NASA commercial applications are very limited.
Pharmaceuticals in general, and biopharmaceuticals specifically, often are best formulated as crystals. The crystalline state is the most stable of matter, allows a high-concentration, low-viscosity parenteral formulation, and facilitates alternate routes of administration. There is a requirement that the crystals be small, below 100 or 50 micrometers, and uniform (the same size within a few percent). The problem: most recombinant protein biopharmaceuticals do not crystallize uniformly. A solution to this problem has been discovered in on-orbit experiments, which produced size coefficients of variation below ~8%. Manufacturers are creating demand for on-orbit testing of uniform crystallization protocols, but suitable hardware and ISS research opportunities are inadequate.
Techshot proposes a business plan utilizing its versatile fleet of flight hardware, and flexible flight opportunities. These will be made available to industrial and institutional customers seeking improvements/refinements in product purification, formulation and/or delivery. Hardware and flight plans will be offered in which factorial and/or real-time photography experiments can be performed. In the Phase I Techshot (1) adapted four different existing hardware modules for this application, (2) tested them in model protein crystallization experiments in the lab, and (3) performed mathematical modeling for a ground-based crystallization reactor with adjustable parameters for approximating the relevant low-gravity physics. In Phase II, Techshot will (a) define and document an experiment design for a flight demonstration, (b) design and integrate hardware for flight readiness, (c) prepare and execute an ISS use plan, (d) and design and construct a flight-like EDU for an innovative dynamic microscope cassette. The intended outcome is a business paradigm for hastening the availability of stable biopharmaceuticals with favorable options for delivery.
NASA has solicited research topics in the area of pharmaceutical production on spacecraft making deep space voyages to solve problems of availability and stowage. Such projects include short-cut production of biopharmaceuticals by stored microbial cells but also need to include short-cut purification schemes. A clever crystallization plan, Techshot’s proposed innovation, could eliminate several traditional (chromatography, extraction, etc.) downstream steps toward such on-orbit formulation.
Companies that succeed in producing a crystalline product will save enormously due to longer ambient stability, lower delivery volume and novel routes of administration, whether it is an approved pharmaceutical or an emerging therapeutic. Patients and insurers likewise benefit. Therefore, Techshot intends to offer for hire a variety of crystallization capabilities in Earth and space-based labs.
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.
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.
In previous TRISH and NASA funded efforts, Nahlia has developed nested logic, Bayesian algorithms and software, to dynamically analyze and deliver evidence based clinical decision support to control evolving medical situations. This Autonomous Medical Response Agent (AMRA) was further advanced in phase I SBIR based on military Prolonged Field Care principles for autonomous field medical care. AMRA provides coordinated mission guidance for multiple caregivers, a clinical case simulator to systematically and verifiably improve AMRA’s decision structure, and an integrated clinical case-based training feature to maintain optimal human-machine performance for autonomous medical operations.
Phase II work focuses on expanding AMRA’s probabilistic structure to include parallel feedback control, Bayesian nested hidden state networks capable of providing resource constrained clinical decision support to optimize the health state of Astronauts. Learning and path optimization algorithms in AMRA will extend longevity and usability of AMRA. The efficacy and validity of AMRA will be demonstrated with an experienced NASA Flight Surgeon and non-clinician astronaut-like users at the Naval Post Graduate School.
Autonomous Medical Response Agent addresses multiple NASA HRP Gaps: Medical-101,201, 301, 401,601,701
Remote field applications to assist flight surgeons on HISEAS, or McMurdo Station
Autonomous medical response system has the potential to aid astronauts on long duration missions to the Moon and Mars.
DoD: Prolonged field care practitioners, Undersea Submarine Medical Caregivers, Air Force pararescue
Civilian: aeromedical evacuation, rural/indigenous peoples care, international disaster relief, prison health systems
Commercial: Assist nurse practitioners and physician assistants, health insurance to predict costs of care
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.
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.
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.
We propose to design, test, and deliver a system that can be used to calibrate absorption-based soot monitors which are used to determine fuel emission indices for aircraft engines. The centerpiece of this system will be a modified version of the CAPS PMSSA monitor which provides a means of determining a sample absorption based on a true particle standard. It will be coupled to a means of producing absorbing particles whose physical and optical properties have been accurately measured and characterized.
Vehicles for subsonic and supersonic flight regimes will be required to operate on a variety of certified aircraft fuels and emit extremely low amounts of particulate emissions to satisfy increasingly stringent emissions regulations. An in situ calibration technique for absorption-based soot mass measurement monitors, of which there are currently none, would be quite desirable as factory calibration is extremely time consuming and expensive.
There are hundreds of absorption-based monitors used for measurement of aircraft and diesel engine soot emissions and ambient absorption. All of them require expensive factory calibration. There is also no means of checking whether the monitors are working properly on-site. The market for a monitor which would confirm proper calibration of the monitor in situ would be a much sought-after product.
Space weather phenomena such as solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and associated solar particle events (SPEs) can damage critical space-based and terrestrial infrastructure. Operators of such systems have a compelling need for a capability to forecast major space weather storms and potential effects towards risk mitigation. Currently available tools are research-oriented and may not be suitable for operational use. CFD Research and the University of Alabama in Huntsville propose to develop a novel Radiation, Interplanetary Shocks, and Coronal Sources (RISCS) toolset by enhancing and integrating existing research codes into a software product for situational assessment and decision making related to space operations. Key technology features and innovations include: (1) efficient coupling between component codes that describe inner heliosphere, particle energization, and transport of solar energetic particles; (2) modularity via standardized interfaces for data exchange; (3) development in consultation with NASA and selected end users; (4) improved numerical algorithms and physics models of component codes; and (5) customized configuration of the final product for transition to operations (R2O). During Phase I, we have identified potential end users and technology transition avenues; derived RISCS design requirements for operational use; identified features, relevant performance metrics, and limitations of existing space weather modeling software; and derived a RISCS toolset design for operational performance and R2O transition. During Phase II, we will fully implement the software framework, improve numerical/physics models of component codes, extensively test RISCS for error detection and handling, run end-to-end simulations of the modular code to demonstrate that RISCS meets the specified design requirements, and customize and deliver RISCS to selected end users.
This topic directly addresses NASA’s R2O/O2R responsibilities outlined in the NSWAP, specifically their goal to understand the Sun and its interactions with Earth, including space weather. It also supports NASA SMD’s goal to coordinate efforts to prepare the nation for space weather events, and is aligned with Technology Roadmap TA-11 (11.2.0 on Modeling). The developed RISCS toolkit will support mission operations by using measured SPE characteristics to forecast downstream effects and implement mitigation solutions.
A predictive capability for SPE-induced radiation and resulting operational effects can help mission/equipment managers schedule tasks and adopt risk mitigation strategies. Directly relevant to DoD agencies and commercial entities with space-based or high-altitude assets (e.g., satellites), commercial aviation, navigation/GPS, radio communications, utilities/power transmission, oil pipelines.
Sierra Lobo, Inc. and our partner Big Metal Additive propose to design, build and test cryogenic liquefaction and storage tanks with Hybrid Additively-manufactured Tank-integrated CHannels for Broad Area Cooling (HATCHBAC) technology, a unique hybrid additive approach to manufacturing tanks with broad area cooling channels integrated directly into the walls of the tanks. This manufacturing approach has the potential to yield a smooth exterior surface over which a composite overwrap may be applied, minimizing system weight and maximizing efficient use of tank volume while maintaining structural strength. Unique tank shapes, only made possible with the use of hybrid additive techniques, can enhance propellant transfer capacity and maximize spacecraft packaging capabilities. The use of automated, computer-controlled machining also has the potential to minimize costs of manufacturing broad area cooled storage vessels, maximizing reproducibility while minimizing manual labor hours required to manufacture such tanks, and is easily scalable to larger tank sizes. Phase II thermal-vacuum testing will verify HATCHBAC thermal-fluid performance and predictions of the thermal model developed during Phase I. Phase II structural testing will include cold shock, proof pressure, and possibly a burst test to evaluate the mechanical and structural integrity of the hybrid additive thin-walled pressure vessel.
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.
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.
Our NETS solution will apply state-of-the-art neurocomputational methods to partition a trajectory into meaningful segments and then group similar segments into clusters, thus enabling the automatic discovery of common, anomalous, or emergent movement patterns. The initial NETS unsupervised neurocomputational algorithm is able to segment and identify meaningful movement patterns from an aircraft trajectory. The Neurocomputational Model block will be extended to include other data sources such as weather to further develop and refine NETS clustering and anomaly detection capability. In our proposed Phase II effort, we will continue this development but also extend the NETS tool for predicting anomalous movement patterns and enable aircraft trajectory prediction that could include ETA, holding patterns, path stretching, hovering, extreme maneuvering, and non-conformance to nominal patterns. There are two main paths through the NETS architecture: batch processing and real-time streaming analytics. Our proposed NETS tool follows the lambda architecture where there is a batch layer, speed layer and serving layer. The Phase II effort will focus on the batch and speed layer. The batch layer is an extension of our NETS Phase I work where we developed an Aircraft Trajectory Index (ATI) inspired by prior work in Prognostics and Health Management. The ATI is a neuro-representation of an aircraft maneuver computed at each segment of the aircraft trajectory. The length of the segment was heuristically determined and set as a fixed length sequence of latitude, longitude, and altitude. We will develop a multi-resolution approach for computing the ATI allowing for varying granularity providing segment level anomaly prediction and extreme maneuvering detection up to detection and prediction of holding patterns, path stretching, and hovering. That batch layer is focused on history and non-real time clustering, detections, and predictions.
NETS can be useful at launch facilities such as NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Wallops Flight Facility. Launches are scheduled for a narrow time window, and a precise forecast of air traffic for that time window would determine if a launch is advisable, allowing plans to be updated in advance to minimize airspace disruptions. The ATM-X Project can use NETS for developing UAM/UTM and TBO concepts in the Test Bed modeling and simulation environment.
IAI works with 45th Space Wing on operationalization of IAI’s StarGate Enterprise product. Additionally, we are developing the Cloud and Lightning Evaluation for the Eastern Range, a 3D weather display and alerting capability. We presented future enhancements to 45 SW, which include incorporating air traffic situational awareness and NETS-enabled prognostics for enhanced launch scheduling.
This NASA SBIR Phase II proposal presents an unprecedented precision laser 3D manufacturing system including additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing and athermal welding, by using a pulsed fiber laser and real time sensing and feedback control. It is the enabling technology for manufacturing high precision telescope structures with sub-micron precision. With our successful history in laser 3D manufacturing, this proposal has a great potential to succeed. A proof of concept demonstration has been carried out and samples were delivered at the end of Phase 1. Prototypes in compliant with the NASA large telescope system zero CTE requirement will be delivered at the end of Phase II.
In addition to NASA’s telescope components manufacturing, the proposed pulsed laser 3D manufacturing process can also be used in other applications, such as space vehicle, aircraft, and satellite manufacturing. PolarOnyx will develop a series of products to meet various requirements for commercial/military deployments.
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.
This proposal addresses the fabrication and testing of structured (monolithic), carbon-based multipollutant trace-contaminant (TC) sorbents for the space-suit Exploration Portable Life Support System (xPLSS) used in Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). The proposed innovations: (1) multipollutant trace-contaminant control; (2) thin-walled, structured carbon TC sorbents fabricated using three-dimensional (3D) printing; and (3) the patented low-temperature oxidation step used for the treatment of carbon sorbents. The overall objective: to develop a multipollutant trace-contaminant removal system that is rapidly vacuum-regenerable and that possesses substantial weight, size, and power-requirement advantages with respect to the current state of the art. The Phase 1 project successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of monolithic carbon sorbents derived from 3D-printed PEEK polymer with respect to ammonia, formaldehyde, and methyl mercaptan removal at concentrations close to 7-day Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) limits. The sorbent monoliths were also evaluated with respect to carbon-monoxide control, and a path to multipollutant TC control was defined for future R&D. The Phase 2 objectives: (1) to optimize sorbent properties and performance; (2) to design, construct, test, and deliver to NASA two full-scale TC sorbent prototypes; (3) to integrate the full-scale TC Control System (TCCS) with the xPLSS design, and particularly with the Rapid-Cycle Amine (RCA) swing bed for CO2 control. This work will be accomplished in five tasks: (1) Sorbent Development and Optimization; (2) Subscale Sorbent Testing; (3) Full-Scale Prototype Development; (4) Full-Scale Prototype Integration with xPLSS/RCA and Testing; and (5) System Evaluation. The main focus will be full-scale TCCS development and its integration with xPLSS/RCA (Tasks 3 and 4).
The main application of the proposed technology would be in spacecraft life-support systems, mainly in extravehicular activities (space suit), but after modifications also in cabin-air revitalization.
The developed technology may find applications in air-revitalization on board US Navy submarines, in commercial and military aircraft, in the future air-conditioning systems for green buildings, and in advanced scuba-diving systems.
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.
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.
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.