To meet critical science needs for the upcoming decade in Earth Observation, new technologies are required that reduce lidar size, weight, power, and cost while retaining efficiency, reliability, lifetime, and high performance. This is a challenging problem as state-of-the-art space based lidar systems operate at the edge of physical limits. We propose to develop the Earth Compact lidar for Height and altitude Observations (GRAAL). GRAALis an ultra-compact time-of-flight ranging lidar for Earth observation from Low Earth Orbit (LEO), designed to address key observational priorities including ice sheet thickness, forest canopy thickness, and smoke and cloud cover. GRAAL delivers similar science performance to ICESat-2’s ATLAS lidar instrument using. a radically new optoelectronics concept with two critical advances: 1) a greater than 10x reduction in size, weight, power, and cost by using a novel optical architecture; 2) GRAAL's optical path inherently provides a dual-channel capability for multi-sensor configurations such as imaging + lidar or hyperspectral sensing + lidar. With these two advances, GRAAL will be a key enabling technology for the next decade of compact lidar systems tasked with providing high quality data while vastly reducing instrument cost, size, and complexity. We have designed GRAAL as a “stock” lidar system replacing expensive, long-lead custom designs such as ATLAS, which will enable new mission architectures that require cost-effective global coverage and improved responsiveness to dynamic events, for example in constellations of SmallSat-scale satellites.
GRAAL has applications in LEO Earth observation for ice sheet and forest canopy thickness, and cloud cover. GRAAL’s novel steering capability has applications in entry, descent, and landing to survey a landing site prior to touchdown of a lander, and in hazard avoidance and docking. GRAAL’s size is ideal for balloon or airborne application. The proximity of GRAAL to the surface could allow for Raman or differential lidar, expanding close-range capabilities to include chemical analysis.
GRAAL has a clear application in a balloon based configuration for monitoring of greenhouse gas emission in oil & gas settings. Here, GRAAL is a key technology to allow companies to respond to new regulations for monitoring emissions at all stages of production.
Through a contract with ATLAS Space Operations, Miles Space demonstrated to the US Air Force its coherent combining software operating on a phased array ground terminal downlinking GEO and LEO satellite signals. The algorithm was used on digitized RF data before the data reached a commercial modem for decoding. As judged by the modem, real-time coherent combining eliminated grating lobes.
Dynamic coherent combining breaks constraints of phased array mounting. Arrays can be created from flexible structures, even operating while vibrating, tolerating off-plane rotation while still coherently combining signals, expanding mounting options on a mission.
Scientific missions benefit from placement flexibility, letting the science needs dominate.
CisLunar and deeper missions need high delta-v. Craft mass is lowered by using this algorithm to perform phase shifting on low mass, low volume deployable phased array antennas, raising delta-v.
Phased arrays let the commercial market obtain licensing in an ever more crowded orbit and this technology makes phased arrays far more economical and practical.
Military projects will benefit from this technology as well. The dynamic aspect of the software responds quickly to changing signal conditions, tolerating sudden changes due to damage, increasing resiliency and overall advantage.
The main objective of this Phase I project is to fully demonstrate the feasibility of developing Robust Isolation for Vibration Abating (RIVA), suitable for integration in an optical transceiver, to reject high frequency base disturbance by at least 50 dB. The proposed RIVA will have integrated launch locks and latching mechanism with a robust performance. Specifically, RIVA will be applicable to long-range optical telecommunications. RIVA will reduce angular errors from vibration on low mass, high performance, laser beam control assemblies. While this project is focused on space version of RIVA, eventually, our solution will have two additional variants designed for a particular operating condition and platform, i.e., Ground and Air. It will meet qualifications of extreme shock and vibration attenuation during non-operating period and mitigates high frequency vibrations during laser operations while minimizing its weight meet requirements. Our innovative solution offers low size, weight, and power (SWaP) with improved efficiency, reliability, and robustness as related to its function, high frequency isolation.
RIVA will utilize ShockTech proprietary elastomeric formulas which have been space-qualified and deployed upon NASA spacecraft. In fact, these same elastomeric formulas were used to protect the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, used in the InSight mission under NASA’s Discovery program, from vibration and loads experienced during its travel from Earth to the Martian surface in 2018.
Robust Isolation for Vibration Abating (RIVA) is designed to be suitable for all missions requiring high stability communication pointing and alignment. RIVA is an innovative solution for advancing free-space optical communications by pushing future data volume returns to and from space missions in multiple domains with return data rates >100 Gbps (Lunar to ground), >10 Gbps (Earth-Sun), >1 Gbps/AU2 (deep space), and >1 Gbps (planetary lander to orbiter). Ground-to-space forward data rates >25 Mbps to farthest Mars ranges are targeted.
RIVA will be adopted for non-NASA optical communication satellites with the need for high-stability alignment will be necessary. RIVA’s flexible design makes it applicable to various communication satellite sizes. We will explore applications to production facilities for sensitive optical devices, sensitive medical devices, and airborne optical sensors onboard reconnaissance aircraft, and drones.
The proposed project aims to develop a board level solution for the NASA’s microwave correlation radiometers required for Earth sensing applications. Spaceborne instrumentation requires minimized size, weight and power (SWaP). Present solutions rely on analog signal processing, thus are bulky, power hungry and cannot be reprogrammed. Analog filter parameters tend to be unstable over temperature, power supply voltage, may degrade over time and need tuning.
The proposed approach will process an IF I/Q signal up to 10GHz, derived, for example, in water vapor sounders at 180GHz band. To implement the required function, a previously developed ASIC will be redesigned to improve its analog front-end performance and implement a new DSP function with the increased SEE immunity. Within the DSP block, IF input signals will be channelized into 64 bands and cross-correlated within each band. Several innovations will be introduced to the ASIC and the board level solution to combine improved performance, programmability, minimized SWaP and radiation sensitivity.
The project’s Phase I will provide the proof of project’s feasibility. Phase II will provide a silicon proven ASIC and the board level solution for correlation radiometers.
- Remote sensing instruments for Earth, planet and sun exploration missions
- Radio astronomy
- Position synchronization between satellites in distributed and formation flying missions
- Remote sensing instruments developed by the ESA and other space agencies
- Temperature, water vapor, pollutant and other exploration by the EPA and NOAA
- Synthetic aperture radars for military applications and civil aviation
- Military surveillance satellites
- Thermal imaging for security systems
- Navigation satellites
The objective of this Phase I proposal is to develop multi-stacked wafer bonding techniques for wide-bandwidth anti-reflection (AR) treated silicon optics at terahertz (THz) frequencies. This process can enable high layer-count structures resulting in thick and large needed for the very wide-bandwidth AR treatment. At the end of the Phase I, the goal is to achieve <1% reflectance over a prototype of 4-layers AR structures by stacking with precision alignment and bonding techniques that Cactus Materials, Inc. has developed. Phase II of the project is to develop a complete wide-bandwidth AR treatment for silicon optics applicable for vacuum windows and it can be used in the future for powered optics by integration with a gradient-index lens architecture (GRIN) using wafer bonding, circumventing the challenge of AR-treating a curved surface. Transmission (T) and reflectance (R) on bonded wafers are expected to be 100% and <1% respectively. A precision alignment of <2 micron between wafers will be employed using automated lithographically defined alignment marks. To meet <1% reflectance, the bonding interface needs to be defect free, void free, chemicals and moisture free. In addition, bonding strength needs to be close to silicon bulk strength and withstand any vibration or stress as well as hold up as vacuum windows, so under deflection of 1.5-6 mm (depending on the diameters). For example, vibrational stress of a launch could damage the stacked Si lenses. A detailed testing and modeling will be incorporated to ensure the optics are robust enough for space platform. If successful, this technology development will be stepping stone towards making a high-performance, larger diameter, and thicker AR treated silicon optics.
A wide range of applications include studies of CMB polarization, of galaxy clusters using the Sunyaev-Zeldovich Effect, of galaxy evolution and the Epoch of Reionization using low-resolution spectroscopy and spectral line tomography. Specific spectral bands of interest for astronomy applications e.g. flat optical windows with 4-layer AR structures covering 4:1 bandwidth, specifically 100-400 GHz and 75-300 GHz, 7-layer AR structures covering ≥ 6:1 bandwidth, 80-420 GHz and 30-180 GHz, and a GRIN optic with 4-and 6-layer AR structure
The technology can be implemented in a cost-effective way for large optical elements in many applications in the range if FIR, MWIR, and THz. Silicon vacuum windows and gradient index silicon optics with integral AR treatment are two key products. Silicon is significantly cheaper, particularly as size increases compare to other materials e.g. Germanium vacuum windows are 2-3x higher in cost.
Circle Optics proposes a Phase 1 project for NASA to explore adapting the Circle Optics technology for low parallax, low distortion, panoramic, multi-camera capture devices that provide real-time 360° imagery, to air vehicle sensing. During Phase 1, Circle Optics would work with NASA, the Air Force (Agility Prime) and others in this developing industry to better understand system specifications, including for SWaP-C, resolution, FOV, and spectral content. Circle Optics would also develop more mature optical designs for the Medusa architecture to optimize it for air vehicle sensing. Finally, Circle Optics would produce a Phase II proposal that describes the development of an actual testable prototype optimized imaging system and its’ performance.
Circle Optics will enhance situational awareness to enable intelligent vehicle systems that will allow the development of piloted vehicles augmented with autonomous capabilities and autonomous unmanned air vehicles
Presently have 150+ customers requesting for beta product of next imaging system, 20 offered letters of interest across over four target markets (entertainment, mapping, industry, defense). Winner of multiple accelerators and imaging competitions. Over $1.9M from Venture Capital, angel investments, and grants.
NASA is seeking improvements to current spacesuit pressure garment bladders in several key areas, including increased microbial resistance, imparting self-healing capability, and decreasing the friction between the bladder and surrounding materials. To create these improvements, TRI Austin proposes developing a new polyurethane based coating for the Oxford-weave nylon currently used in legacy space suit pressure garment bladders. This new polyurethane will be developed in collaboration with experts at a local university, who have created FDA approved additives to make polyurethanes, as well as other polymers, persistently antimicrobial and resistant to forming biofilms. These new polyurethanes are expected to decrease or even eliminate the need for biocide use in next-gen space suit applications, without causing significant changes to the current production or processing methods. In addition, imparting self-healing properties and minimizing friction with surrounding materials will be investigated as these polyurethanes are formulated. TRI Austin will work with the current producer of pressure garment bladders to ensure the new polyurethane is a drop-in replacement for the legacy material. The new formulation will be iteratively developed until a polyurethane is created which satisfies or exceeds all of NASA’s desired requirements.
Potential NASA applications include new materials for pressure garment bladders for integration into the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) and used in a variety of space based missions including on the International Space Station (ISS), and in future missions to both the Moon and Mars. Additionally, this material could be used in other applications that require both flexibility and antimicrobial properties.
Applications could include use as persistent antimicrobial coatings and films, such as those used for marine diving, water containment, sewage treatment, CBRN protective suits, and creation of antimicrobial surfaces, at the industrial and consumer level. Finally, the new material may find use by the US Department of Defense, in flight suits and coatings for water containment systems.
ATA’s proposed innovation is to create an Application Programming Interface (API)-based service that calculates Risk Based Trajectories (RiBT) by integrating multiple geospatial data sources with risk models to provide real-time geospatial risk metrics that are then optimized into risk-optimized trajectories. The RiBT will be used in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operations by human Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC) and Autonomous vehicles in the Flight Planning and En Route phases of flight.
RiBT enhances trajectory based operations (TBO) for UAS by providing a rigorous safety facet to optimizing trajectories within the National Air Space (NAS) – enhancing “safe, end-to-end TBO”, as described in the topic and the FAA NextGen 2025 Trajectory Based Operations goals. The service based design of the proposed RiBT solution supports the service architecture design of UTM and further enables the “integration of independent systems and domains, and increasingly diverse and unconventional operations” by creating common understanding of the relative risk of the airspace.
RiBT supports Thrust 1 of the AMRD Strategic Plan (NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, Strategic Implementation Plan, 2019 Update) by supporting the safe integration of UAS through consistent risk assessment and application to trajectory. RiBT addresses the research theme of Safety Management and Emergent Risks in Thrust 1 by hosting and delivering multiple prognostic risk estimates, in real time, to all NAS participants; supporting safety assurance in a NAS with increased traffic volume and diversity of operations.
ATA will provide a fully functional RiBT prototype at a NASA Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 4 with a testing and performance metrics for validation and verification. The prototype will allow NASA and Commercial evaluators to input planned flight trajectories into the prototype API and receive risk metrics and Risk Based Trajectory segments in return.
We propose to develop the foundation of a Machine Learning (ML) model for autonomous interpretation of spectroscopic data, and demonstrate in a cloud-based application for interpretation mineralogical data. Our goal is to demonstrate a tool that can process a range of analytical techniques with a high degree of automation and performance that rival that of expert users with conventional analytical software. The automation and ease of use will enable automated analysis of large quantities of data, allow non-experts to extract valuable high-level scientific products from raw data, and empower experts with a new approach to data analysis. The model demonstrated with this effort will provide the base on which methods for automated analysis spectroscopic data can be developed for implementation in autonomous rovers and spacecrafts.
While our proposed approach can be –and will be– extended to more analytical techniques, we are focusing our current development on two methods: X-ray diffraction (XRD), a well-established technique for identification and quantification of crystalline materials, currently deployed on Mars in Curiosity, and Raman spectroscopy, a more recent method that has shown increasing popularity over the last decade and that will be deployed in upcoming Mars missions including Mars 2020. XRD and Raman provide two different case studies on which we will ultimately develop a technique-agnostic analytical tool.
Analysis of mineralogical data in planetary exploration using our web-app QAnalyze (X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, and more). Model for on-board autonomous analysis of a wide range of spectral data from rovers used in planetary exploration or ISRU, or for remote sensing platform fitted with spectroscopic instruments.
Provide rapid, accurate, and automated data analysis of XRD patterns and Raman spectra in a Software as a Service model. New applications opportunities in a wide range of industries (oil and mining exploration, pharma, etc) for discovery, quality control and process monitoring.
Distributed small space vehicles, cooperating in a dynamic environment, are critical for the success of planetary exploration within the next decade. However, the effectiveness of these distributed vehicle swarms will be limited by two factors – the size of the individual vehicles (which will determine onboard data relay capabilities) and their distance from the command centers on Earth. The existence of flexible, rapid, low-cost platforms in the cislunar and translunar environments can increase the resiliency and effectiveness of exploratory mission designs by providing a localized area network capacity for communication, PNT, and data relay back to Earth.
Nanoracks is currently developing a technological capability which will enable such an integrated solution by repurposing launch vehicle upper stages by attaching a modular hardware bus, or Mission Extension Kit (MEK). After primary payload deployment, the MEK takes over control of the upper stage, providing power, pointing, data down/uplink, and maneuver capabilities. The upper stage becomes an Outpost.
Nanoracks proposes undertaking a study to pursue a new path of Outpost concepts of operations: localized data services for distributed space vehicles. This Phase I study will develop a theoretical framework for accomplishing identified and prioritized missions and will demonstrate feasibility for required technological development or integration. The study will provide research results which clearly depict metrics and performance of the technology in comparison to existing solutions. In a follow-on Phase II, Nanoracks expects to demonstrate a prototype capability onboard a suitable ground testbed, followed by a Phase III flight demonstration of the capability. The ultimate goal of this effort are regular flight missions of an operational Outpost capable of providing services in support of the identified missions
This study is designed to address specific Outpost capabilities which can support localized data services for distributed space vehicles to support NASA’s exploration goals, to inform the initial development of an Outpost as a robust orbital data relay platform. An Outpost with capabilities can also provide autonomous “carrier” capabilities to vehicles, including refueling, repair, component storage, cargo exchange, and localized PNT/command/data/communication relays.
Nanoracks’ MEK is designed to turn Outposts into key platforms for the future orbital ecosystem. Outposts located in LEO/GEO will provide payload hosting services, refueling, repair, and other robotically enabled services, and host OSAM activities. Outposts also can serve as distributed network nodes for communications or PNT. Nanoracks hopes to begin development of such systems within this study.
ClimaCell, in collaboration with MIT Lincoln Laboratory, proposes the development of an innovative Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Weather Testbed to provide weather information at a high-resolution to capture fine-scale phenomena impactful to future UAM operations. The testbed will consider the use of currently available sensors, as well as other advanced technology to meet current low-altitude weather information gaps to facilitate safe and efficient UAM operations. Using artificial intelligence and numerical weather prediction approaches, the sparse weather observations will be used to analyze current weather conditions at high-resolution in three-dimensions and produce forecasts with products tailored for the UAM community. In designing this prototype network, input from a variety of UAM stakeholders will be solicited to ensure that the network will meet their anticipated needs, and the interaction will continue as the network is built out for additional feedback. This Phase I work will include a weather information gaps assessment, architecture design for an urban weather testbed for UAM, and identification of suitable municipalities for hosting a build out of a prototype testbed. In a follow-on Phase II effort, the network would be built out in at least one municipality and the high-resolution data would be marketed to additional customers beyond the UAM community to sustain a network in the interim, given that it is expected to be a number of years until a critical mass of UAM customers exists to pay for the network maintenance.
NASA is leading the nation’s effort to rapidly develop and enable Urban Air Mobility and Advance Air Mobility operations. Complex low-altitude weather adversely affects and poses a hazard to these operations. A reduction in weather and wind uncertainty at high-resolution as provided by this urban weather testbed will help facilitate safe and efficient Urban Air Mobility flights. Additional high-resolution weather information will be useful to unmanned aerial system operators and traditional aviation operators at commercial airports as well.
The ultimate operational system resulting from this work will be high-resolution weather data and forecasts produced by a refined network of weather sensing infrastructure to be marketed as an application for Providers of Services for UAM (PSUs). This urban weather information will also be useful to NOAA and the NWS for forecasting, and the many other applications of the weather enterprise.
The proposed effort will provide a robust and automated approach for creating body-conforming meshes suitable for WMLES simulations for arbitrary geometries in a MPI parallel environment. Most current commercial mesh generation software operates on engineering workstations and usually takes advantage of multiple core processors to accelerate the mesh generation process. The proposed effort would work on multi-core workstations and in a distributed parallel environment to take advantage of more processors and much more memory to create large scale meshes for WMLES simulations. The developed framework will also provide a pathway to implement solution-based adaptive mesh refinement during the analysis phase that could operate simultaneously with the CFD analysis tools.
NASA has developed numerous simulation tools for WMLES with application in air vehicles (both fixed and rotating wing), space vehicle launch, assent, and entry, parachute deployment, and complex moving-body problems. The proposed technology will be applicable to these program objectives and support existing simulation workflows.
Military applications include vehicle aerodynamics and store separation. Civil applications include vehicle aerodynamics, propulsion integration, rotorcraft, medical device, power generation, and complex moving-body problems.
Precise radial velocity (PRV) measurements play a critical role in the strategic goal of NASA to find planetary bodies and habitable Earth-like planets. Ground based telescopes currently achieve ~1 m/s single measurement precision. New generation visible PRV systems have demonstrated ~30 cm/s, but in order to reach the sensitivity of 1-10 cm/s, as expressed in the NASA Decadal Survey, advances need to be made in the various components and subsystems of these instruments that lead to space-based systems. Current astrophotonic spectrometers have a limited operational bandwidth of ≤ 200 nm, channel spacing of ≥ 1.5 nm, a limited linewidth of ≥ 0.15 nm. These devices also have large optical loss, relatively large footprints, and require off-chip detection. Lynntech proposes an integrated photonic spectrograph with on-chip photodetection. This device will offer improvements in all the categories above, as well as, on-chip photodetection, multimode input, and spectral filtering. The Phase I project will target a feasibility demonstration of the proposed integrated spectrograph for multimode input, larger operational bandwidth, and spectral filtering. The Phase II project will develop and demonstrate the full resolution device that can be incorporated with large ground-based telescopes and cube-sats.
Lynntech’s integrated photonic spectrograph with on-chip photodetection provides size, weight, and power benefits, as well as, cost savings for the following NASA applications: (1) Large ground-based telescopes, (2) Use in nano-sats and cube-sats, (3) free-space optical telecommunications, and (4) chemical sensing.
The integrated photonic spectrograph with on-chip photodetection can be used in the commercial market in (1) portable sensing applications such as chemical and biological sensing, as well as, spectral characterization of different materials and (2) free-space optical telecommunications.
AmplifiedSpace hypothesizes that the development of a new Software-Defined Power Controller (SDPC) using digital control techniques, commercially available wide-bandgap GaN transistors, and power converter topologies that enable both stepping-up and stepping-down of input voltages, will result in the most efficient, modular, and adjustable power system ever designed for aerospace. During assembly, integration, and test (AIT) the SDPC can quickly interface an assortment of solar arrays, energy storage devices, and payloads into a complete EPS system within minutes, reducing NRE by a factor of 10 or more. Digital control of the load supplies will also provide the ability to change the output voltage, allowing for the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) teams to have the ability to actively interleave power requirements for different loads while in flight – a task that is believed to have never been performed in space.
This Software-Defined Power Controller can be used by cubesats ranging from 3U to 12U and is scalable to ESPA class and larger satellites. The technology developed within the control system is also applicable to other control systems in which NASA has expressed interest, including other SBIR solicitations including radiation tolerant point-of-load converters (S3.08), radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) (S3.02), and large power systems on the surface of the Mars and the Moon (Z1.05) with the Artemis program.
The Software-Defined Power Controller can be used in cubesats developed by the Space Force, Air Force, National Science Foundation, and commercial companies. The education sector often has changes in power system requirements from mission to mission where system level modularity is important. The solid state drive industry is also interested in using this tech for capacitive backup systems.
Several field applications require extended short wavelength infrared (e-SWIR) band capabilities in future systems. It is highly desirable to design a next-generation FPA to overcome the deficiencies of e-SWIR imaging sensors. In recent years, Antimonide-based Type-II superlattices (T2SL) represent the most promising material system capable of delivering more producible, large-format, reduced pixel pitch, e-SWIR focal plane arrays (FPAs) for global observation applications. We propose to develop T2SL-based photodetectors and FPAs for NASA imaging and spectroscopy applications in the spectral band from visible to extended e-SWIR (0.4–2.5µm) with a very low dark current density. Using the highest quality material and a novel bandgap-engineering design and process, we will fabricate high performance photodetectors and FPAs through the e-SWIR region. In Phase I, we are going to continue to advance our previous work on design and structure of NIR and SWIR T2SL photodetectors and then demonstrate a novel e–SWIR uni-traveling carrier bandstructure–engineered photodetector design utilizing an optimum device structure and material(s) to achieve operation at 150K and above. We will simulate essential electrical and optical characteristics for a device that meets the performance requirements for low dark-current (<1×10-10 A/cm2) and high quantum efficiency (>70%) at 150K. Fabricate and test single element devices as proof of concept for future large format imager suitable for hyperspectral and atmospheric sensing. In this project, Northwestern University will collaborate with Nour, LLC to study and grow strain-balanced InAs1-xSbx/InAs and InAs/AlSb/GaSb Type-II superlattices with barrier structures for e-SWIR photodetectors. Using these superlattice structures, it is expected to achieve longer minority carrier lifetime and lower dark current densities. This will enable reduced imager cooling and significantly reduce size, weight and power of remote observation platforms.
To obtain high sensitivity over the entire 0.4-2.5 μm wavelength band, the usual approach is to use multiple detectors. This approach complicates the size and complexity of the imaging system for earth observation missions. For these missions, a single visible to eSWIR array is of special interest to NASA for global observations to study the world’s ecosystems, climate change, atmospheric monitoring and provide critical information on natural disasters such as volcanoes, wildfires and drought.
Advancing the instrumentation to detect elementary particles is critical for future space weather missions. To progress the study of the flow of energy that heats and accelerates solar corona and wind, a next generation Faraday Cup is needed. Extending the range of solar wind speed measurements to 2,500 km/sec or more requires a new, innovative power supply with significant high-voltage DC and AC modulation capabilities.
We propose a variable sine wave power supply capable of delivering up to 40kV DC with a 2kHz AC modulation up to 4kV peak to peak. This venture will leverage Busek’s previous experience with delivering radiation hardened PPUs and developing a suite of Plasma Probes with custom electronics to deliver a prototype with a path to a radiation hardened flight system. The proposed architecture is based on a Cockroft Walton Voltage Multiplier to generate a high voltage DC offset and a Resonant Royer Oscillator to produce an AC waveform superimposed on the high voltage DC bias. The proposed architecture offers many advantages that will simplify the path to flight design process. The multiplier circuit contains simple passives and imposes equal voltage stress on each stage. This eases component selection, reduces BOM costs, and improves compactness. The Resonant Royer Oscillator is a self-resonating circuit used in many high voltage applications that offers user flexibility, simplicity, efficiency and low component count. By implementing high voltage design techniques and testing considerations, this Phase I effort will validate the feasibility of the proposed power supply in a laboratory environment to meet the needs of next generation Faraday Cup.
NASA applications include continued and extended research of space weather missions such as characterizing the dynamics of the plasma at the sources of solar wind. This innovation will support the development and use of new particle sensors and instrumentation. In addition, the industry has a large gap in available radiation hardened high voltage supplies. Other NASA missions require advancements in this area. The proposed technology offers to extend that range and introduce a supply that can support various DC offset voltages and applications.
Non-NASA applications which utilize high voltage power supplies and probe diagnostic tools for ground based or flight ventures in both academic and commercial fields. There is a critical gap in compact, radiation hardened power supplies that can be applied to other applications such as Electrospray work, Retarding Potential Analyzers, and other missions that require high voltage supplies.
MemComputing’s technology is disrupting the high-performance commercial computing industry by dramatically reducing the time to find solutions to the most complex optimization problems across all industries today. Using a physics-based approach, MemComputing’s novel circuit architecture liberates users from current computational bottlenecks, enabling companies of all sizes to accurately analyze huge amounts of data in minutes or seconds, empowering them to make optimal business decisions quickly.
MemComputing’s Software-as-a-Service platform, called the Virtual MemComputing Machine (VMM), is currently being used today by Fortune 500 companies, and is designed to solve the largest and most complex industrial computations associated with optimization, big data analytics, and machine learning. Obtaining optimal solutions in a faster time frame using a fraction of today’s required resources not only results in significant cost savings, but also opens the door for greatly improved operational efficiencies.
Studies of the MemComputing platform demonstrate that MemComputing delivers the power expected of Quantum Computers, with its non-Quantum solution. MemComputing boasts 17 peer-reviewed scientific papers, published in prestigious scientific journals, as well as 2 issues patents.
MemComputing’s SaaS, the Virtual MemComputing Machine (VMM), is being used by the Fortune 500. It is designed to solve the most complex industrial computations associated with optimization and data analytics. Obtaining optimal solutions in a faster time frame using a fraction of the required resources results in significant cost savings, and opens the door for greatly improved operations.
Under the present NASA SBIR solicitation, it has been stated that “future human spacecraft, such as Gateway and Mars vehicles, may be required to be dormant while crew is absent from the vehicle, for periods that could last from 1 to 3 years. Before crews can return, these environments must be verified prior to crew return. These novel methods have the potential to enable remote autonomous microbial monitoring that does not require manual sample collection, preparation, or processing."
The proposed research leverages off of prior successful NASA and DHS investigations where trace species in the air are attracted to, and captured by, desorbing electrospray droplets. Microorganisms can be captured in this manner, and lysed at will for examination using mass spectrometry for proteomic and metabolic biomarker discovery.
A Phase II in 2008 which included Nobel Laureate Dr. John Fenn, space suit manufacturer Hamilton-Sundstrand, and former Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, teamed with our firm along with Dr. Jim Gaier formerly of NASA Glenn, to create an electrospray air filtration system using only milliwatts of power and zero pressure drop to scrub the air of simulated lunar regolith for use on spacecraft and in lunar habitats. This system was featured in NASA Tech Briefs.
For this new study, we propose to merge the air filtration techniques learned from the earlier study, which revealed that airborne microorganisms could be captured by electrospray, and to direct those captured trace species into a mass analyzer for identification via metabolomic data.
The NASA applications include not only pathogen detection on board a spacecraft or in a habitat, but allow for pathogen removal in addition to any particulates and NASA SMAC gases that may be present. An added potential benefit is the possibility of monitoring crew health via exhaled breath once aboard the spacecraft or while occupying a habitat.
Non-NASA applications include potential pathogen air monitoring in a building, hospital air quality monitoring, commercial air filtration, and biosafety air purification applications.
This SBIR addresses the NASA subtopic Z3.03, Development of Advanced Joining Technologies. Humanity’s future in space requires technologies that enable long-duration, long-endurance missions to support human exploration and habitation. Essential to this goal is servicing, assembly, and manufacturing outside of earth’s gravity. Upon completion of the proposed work, Temper hopes to provide proof of concept of a fast, low-energy and reliable method for welding thermoplastic composites both on Earth and on-orbit. Designs for robotic end effectors to automate the process will also be developed.
While able to melt, re-solidify and weld like metals, thermoplastic composites have a higher strength-to-weight ratio and better thermostability. However, reliably joining thermoplastic components has proved difficult and costly. The work proposed in this SBIR will fulfil the objectives of performing prototype welding PEEK thermoplastic composites, validation of welded flat panels and tubular joints, identifying design concepts for robotic end effectors, and development of a method for manual repairs.
Temper has developed a Smart Susceptor alloy that controls induction heating to weld thermoplastic composites without the risk of softening, overheating, or deforming the components. This alloy is drawn into wires and fabricated into a weld tape for placement between the materials to be bonded. Utilizing fast and energy-efficient induction heating through alternating magnetic fields, once the Smart Susceptor reaches its Curie temperature, the metal alloy becomes non-magnetic and induction heating stops. Only light pressure (10 psi) is needed to comingle the melted resin and form the weld.
Controlled heating can be set for any length of time and cool-down or tempering profiles can be created to control the microstructure of the thermoplastic resin. This technology can be coupled with additive manufacturing so any type of thermoplastic component can be fabricated and assembled on-orbit.
Welding of thermoplastic composites has applicability across several of NASA’s planned missions. As Artemis plans for the construction of high value structures such as habitat modules, trusses, and solar arrays, space-based welding supports its mission goals.
In addition to on-orbit manufacturing, repairs can be made to thermoplastics to increase the safety and longevity of equipment currently in space.
This technology can also be utilized pre-launch to manufacture light-weight components for launch system.
Smart Susceptor welding technology has commercial applications in the aerospace, defense, wind energy and automotive markets. The technology provides a thermoplastic composite equivalent to spot and seam welding of metals currently used in industry. As lightweighting initiatives and use of thermoplastic composites continue to spread, the applications of this technology will continue to grow.
This project will develop an efficient laser power beaming system for a variety of Lunar operation scenarios, including crewed bases and autonomous rovers. This Phase 1 effort will explore transmitter, receiver, and system level trade-offs between a multitude of optical, electrical, and thermal subsystem design choices and parameters, based on our previous experience in designing, fabricating, testing and demonstrating long-range, high power wireless laser power beaming systems.
We will determine optimal values for major system design parameters, including transmit and receive aperture sizes, laser wavelength, and more for lunar operating constraints. We will recommend an overall system design that balances optimization between system size, mass, and end-to-end efficiency.
The proposed system for wireless optical power distribution will apply to:
Wireless power to remote telecom gear (military , industrial), remote sensors (military, industrial), unmanned vehicles (air, ground, sea, space), consumer devices, and to remote work sites (lighting, equip, tools).
CubeSats carrying small space telescopes will be the enabling force for the next generation of space research allowing a less expensive route for professional and amateur astronomers to conduct their research. Quadrus Advanced Manufacturing, LLC (QAM) is pleased to offer an innovative approach in the manufacturing of Cassegrain telescope that minimizes the cost and time of manufacture while enabling the customization of the telescope optics to meet a particular mission’s requirements. Additionally, the design integrates a cold gas aerospike propulsion system into the volume around the telescope tube. Our design uses a high strength, machinable, low CTE polyimide plastic, for the majority of the components minimizing the potential for misalignment issues cause by thermal expansion. Our fabrication process has a high potential for drastic cost and time savings.
The Phase I efforts will address the following
Testing a Demo Version of the Cassegrain Telescope
Our commercialization strategy is to position ourselves as a supplier of inexpensive high quality Cassegrain telescopes for CubeSat applications that provide longer service life through an onboard cold gas propulsion system.
The potential non-NASA commercialization opportunities are to make off-the-shelf CubeSat telescope systems that are affordable for academic researchers, graduate students, high schools students, and professional astronomers.
Ballydel Technologies will partner with the Penn State University Applied Research Laboratory (PSU-ARL) to develop a novel manufacturing approach for joining two dissimilar ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). Specifically, Ballydel and PSU-ARL will develop a field-assisted sintering technique (FAST) for joining 2D and 3D carbon-carbon composite planes. FAST is a disruptive manufacturing technique that produces sintered solids with near theoretical density, in a dramatically shorter period of time (<20 minutes), when compared to traditional sintering methods. The goal of this endeavor is to demonstrate the utility of this technique for the manufacture of a variety of hypersonic components, suitable for defense and aerospace applications.
The development of a FAST process for joining C-C composite structural components will directly address an industry need for an efficient manufacturing process that enables the structural joining of two dissimilar CMCs or two dissimilar C-C composites for high temperature applications. This will subsequently impact a variety of aerospace structures use in space flight, include reusable hot structure components.
Primary applications for this technology include C-C composites for reusable hot structures and aerospace vehicles used in space flight missions. Secondary applications include C-C composite architectures for hypersonic applications within Department of Defense.
NASA’s Environmental Control & Life Support Systems (ECLSS) and Habitation Systems are actively seeking nontoxic, comfortable and durable flame-retardant textiles/fabrics that resist combustion in an atmosphere of 36% oxygen at a pressure of 8.2 psi (56.5 kPa) and are suitable for crew clothing. Currently there is no flame-retardant, nontoxic, comfortable, washable and durable apparel or furnishing fabric for the spacecraft cabin environment planned for lunar and planetary human exploration. To meet this need, InnoSense LLC (ISL) proposes to develop an efficient and durable nanolayer flame-retardant finishing treatment for existing fabrics using our proprietary and patented nontoxic flame-retardant materials and treatment processes. The result will be comfortable, soft to touch, breathable, washable, durable, non-toxic and odorless next-to-the-skin FR fabrics that crewmembers can wear during intravehicular activity in 36% oxygen at a pressure of 8.2 psi. ISL’s approach is to introduce permanent, covalently attached nontoxic flame-retardant material to existing fabrics. This will impart excellent FR properties without compromising crew comfort and safety. Phase I results are expected to demonstrate that ISL’s flame-retardant treated fabrics outperform the state-of-the art commercially available flame-retardant apparel fabrics. In Phase II, ISL will work with a major NASA apparel fabric provider to test ISL’s flame-retardant treated fabric performance under simulated spacecraft cabin atmospheric conditions.
ISL's nontoxic and durable FR-treated fabric technology can be used for NASA crew clothing. Other NASA uses are in protective clothing, curtains, drapes, upholstery, bedding, carpets, tents, etc. This technology will also benefit several space programs, particularly the lunar Human Landing System, Orion, Gateway, and Artemis, enabling the astronauts to function in habitats, pressurized rovers, and other space vehicles with enriched oxygen atmospheres and to shorten pre-breathe times prior to extravehicular activities.
For commercial applications, ISL’s FR-treated fabrics can be used for firefighters, electrical workers, foundry workers, and military personnel. This FR technology will also have applications as treatments for paper (e.g., stocks, bonds, wills, etc.), coatings or fillers for structural and electrical components.
Firefly Research, LLC (FFR) is pleased to propose to NASA the development of a Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) to a CDR level of fidelity. This vehicle serves as a solar electric transfer stage, offering enough Delta-V to transfer more than 500 kg of payload from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) after launch on a small lift launch vehicle. While most technologies needed for such a transfer stage are reasonably mature, the SUV is innovative in how the vehicle architecture breaks the long-held assumptions of Electric Propulsion (EP) being either slow or expensive. We are able to offer a high-power platform with rapid transit capability at a competitive cost through refueling and reuse of that platform, amortizing platform cost over multiple missions. In this section, we explain the details of this architecture, the roadmap to a commercially viable SUV including developments already underway, and the specific aspects that will benefit from SBIR funding.
1) Transfer from LEO to LLO (200 kg payload in near-term at low power, with growth path to 500 kg).
2) Transfer of Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) lunar lander from GTO to LLO, and further service as a communications relay throughout surface mission.
3) Dedicated mission from small-lift launcher to high Delta-V trajectories like lunar orbit and Earth-Moon Lagrange points.
The primary non-NASA market targeted by this platform is the GEO market. While the Northrop Grumman Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) has already demonstrated the viability of mission extension in GEO, we will provide a similar service with the added advantage of being able to service more satellites in a shorter time span. Also, final-mile service for small satellites launch rideshare to LEO.
NASA is seeking innovative neuromorphic processing methods and tools to enable autonomous space operations on platforms constrained by size, weight, and power (SWaP). To address this need, Intellisense Systems, Inc. (Intellisense) proposes to develop a new Neuromorphic Enhanced Cognitive Radio (NECR) device based on neuromorphic processing and its efficient implementation on neuromorphic computing hardware. NECR is a low-SWaP cognitive radio that integrates the open source software radio framework with a new neuromorphic processing module to automatically process the incoming radio signal, identify the modulation types and parameters of the signal, and send the identification results to the controller module to properly decode the incoming signal. Due to its efficient implementation on neuromorphic computing hardware, NECR can be easily integrated into SWaP-constrained platforms in spacecraft and robotics to support NASA missions in unknown and uncharacterized space environments, including the Moon and Mars. In Phase I, we will develop the concept of operations (CONOPS) and key algorithms, integrate a Phase I prototype software in a simulated environment to demonstrate its feasibility, and develop a Phase II plan with a path forward. In Phase II, the NECR algorithms will be further matured, implemented on commercial off-the-shelf neuromorphic computing hardware, and then integrated with radio frequency (RF) modules and radiation-hardened packaging into a Phase II working prototype device. The Phase II prototype will be tested to demonstrate its fault and mission tolerances and delivered with documentation and tools to NASA for applications to CubeSat, SmallSat, and rover flight demonstrations.
NECR technology will have many NASA applications due to its low-SWaP and low-cost cognitive sensing capability. It can be used to enhance the robustness and reliability of space communication and networking, especially cognitive radio devices. NECR can be directly transitioned to the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program to address the needs of the Cognitive Communications project.
NECR technology’s low-SWaP and low-cost cognitive sensing capability will have many non-NASA applications. The NECR technology can be integrated into commercial communication systems to enhance cognitive sensing and communication capability. Automakers can also integrate the NECR technology into automobiles for cognitive sensing and communication.
Coherent lidar is useful for many applications including navigation, imaging, ranging and Doppler velocimetry during spacecraft landing, proximity operations, hazard avoidance, and docking. A reliable source of coherent modulated optical waveforms is required for simultaneous ranging and velocimetry. Existing sources are bulky since they require large electronic bandwidth, fragile fiber-based lasers and other discrete components, modulators, or long optical delay lines. This makes coherent lidar systems difficult to miniaturize for small platforms such as cubeSats, smallSats, and autonomous aerial and land vehicles.
We propose to develop a low power, mass and size photonic integrated circuit (PIC) that implements a high data rate coherent lidar transceiver operating at the 1550 nm wavelength. The innovation is based on a new method to generate frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) laser radiation that relies on optical components present on a PIC only and does not use optical phase locked loops or modulators. This new architecture enables extremely compact and low cost coherent lidar engine for navigation, imaging and object detection.
- Automated landing, hazard avoidance and docking.
- Object detection and imaging.
- Position, and navigation in GNSS/GPS denied/degraded environments.
- Terrain relative navigation and odometry for GN&C of lunar and other small vehicles,
- Small body proximity operations, including to augment machine vision techniques in low or variable light conditions and to reduce errors in proximity planning algorithms.
In urban environments where usage of UAVs is expected to dramatically raise, the GNSS signals are not always reliable. IMUs and computer vision techniques are not accurate enough for robust localization. Compact navigation Doppler lidar will help reduce drift and improve loop closure in visual SLAM, odometry and exploration of unknown environments.
Currently, NASA uses dietary countermeasures for astronauts to aid in radiation exposure as foods can act as radioprotectors and/or mitigators. Drugs that can be used as radioprotectors and/or mitigators are not currently used because when administered to astronauts at effective concentrations, they are accompanied by side effects such as weakness, fatigue, nausea, and hypotension. These drugs will remain inadequate until a proper drug delivery technology is developed that can deliver them with appropriate biodistribution, while maintaining safety in vivo. As it stands now, there are no drug delivery systems that meet the need for delivering an effective concentration of a radioprotector and mitigator drug for GCR to astronauts.
In order to address this critical need, ChromoLogic LLC (CL) has developed a multilamellar vesicle (MLV) drug delivery platform capable of encapsulating high concentrations of the hydrophobic radioprotector and mitigator drug, JP4-039. The MLV nanoparticles can be administered intravenously where they provide sustained release of the therapeutic. The particles are stable in lyophilized form, allowing the drug to be stored for prolonged periods of time before being reconstituted and injected. This strategy for therapeutic drug delivery, facilitates the use of hydrophobic therapeutics that are otherwise nonviable due to their poor solubility.
Radioprotection of astronauts on long-term space missions. Radiation-induced injury is a major health concern for astronauts and available countermeasures do not adequately address the risks. JP4-039 targets the mitochondria and reduces oxidative stress, improving survival in mice exposed to x-ray, neutron, and proton radiation. By encapsulating JP4-039 in a MLV, the JP4-039-MLV reduces the need for frequent administration, allows for longer term storage, and can reduce negative side effects.
Radioprotection of DoD personnel. The DoD needs a radiation countermeasure to protect personnel at risk of exposure to radiation.
Mitigation after a RAD-NUC incident. The US Government has a need for a national stockpile of radiation mitigators to respond to a RAD-NUC incident. JP4-039 has been shown to increase survival in vivo when administered 24–48 h after exposure to total body irradiation.
This program will develop an innovative Hybrid Navigation (HYNAV) system using multiple energy band observations of variable celestial sources. The concept creates photon measurements across each source observed in unique energy bands where signals are most beneficial, and blends the diverse signals into a single spacecraft position and velocity solution. Previous work by ASTER Labs has demonstrated concept feasibility of X-ray navigation (XNAV) and gamma-ray navigation (GLINT) as stand-alone architectures. The HYNAV instrument unifies the two individual concepts while adding radio observations into an operational prototype hardware instrument and software package. The advantage of the blended approach is it exploits both the periodic nature of the faint, stable radio and X-ray pulsars with the aperiodic, transient nature of bright, chaotic fast radio and gamma-ray bursts. Thus, the operational system would be capable of frequent measurement updates and continuous accurate absolute or relative navigation. The baseline instrument is designed for small spacecraft (< 180 kg) class vehicles, including larger CubeSats, facilitated by emerging detector materials capabilities, with near-all-sky detection configurations, very good energy resolution, lower energy thresholds for high photon counts, and precise onboard photon timing. Benefits include increased deep space autonomy and formation flight for distributed small spacecraft, while decreasing the burden on the DSN. Phase I will evaluate HYNAV feasibility for relevant NASA applications. System requirements will be developed based upon identified and characterized sources assembled into a catalogue. The instrument hardware design will be coupled with blended data processing navigation algorithms that fuse measurements in a single filter. ASTER Labs’ XPRESS software and a filter simulation will assess absolute and relative navigation performance under target mission scenarios.
This HYNAV system will be directly applicable to NASA’s distributed small spacecraft missions. The integrated instrument and software processing will enable self-navigation and coordinated relative navigation between cooperating spacecraft. The instrument can be integrated into proposed operational systems, such as LunaNet communications. Further deep space CubeSat scale exploration missions to planetary or small bodies, asteroids, comets, and planetary rings are enabled by this new technology.
The HYNAV system concept applies directly to commercial constellation systems for self-navigation. It applies equally well to newer commercial ventures to provide rideshare of instruments to explore planets or industrial mining and manufacturing applications to asteroids. Non-NASA applications include military covert space vehicle covert operations, especially with Earth not in view.
We propose the development of a new instrumentation based on a concept for trace-gas and isotope analysis that utilizes a priority hollow fiber as a low-volume, compact gas cell. An analyte is drawn into the fiber, which has a reflective inner coating that guides a tunable laser beam to a detector. There is near unity overlap between the laser beam and the gas sample, leading to a highly sensitive system with an ultra-compact size. In Phase I, a breadboard system will be assembled, and proof-of-concept measurements conducted to demonstrate the ability to effectively measure isotope ratios in water. In addition, various concepts appropriate for planetary sampling will be evaluated. Based on the investigations, specific techniques and components will be down selected and risk mitigation strategies developed, culminating with the design of a prototype that will be fully developed and demonstrated in Phase II.
The development of the proposed in situ instrument is applicable to NASA’s planetary science goals summarized in the Planetary Decadal Survey. Such instruments and technologies will play a crucial role for NASA missions to various celestial bodies. This includes addressing two of NASA’s major themes: (1) understanding solar system beginnings and (2) searching for the requirements for life.
Sensors resulting from this project will provide an extremely attractive alternative to isotope analyzers. The ability to obtain high-quality isotope data with a small SWaP sensor is appealing for a range of environmental monitoring applications including but not limited to drone-borne sensing and unattended field monitoring.
Vector Atomic will prototype and design a Miniature Iodine-Stabilized Oscillator (MISO). MISO’s simplified optical clock architecture supports aggressive miniaturization, low-cost manufacturing, and high reliability. The primary focus of Phase I is to prototype the MISO optical reference and feed the results into the system design. At the conclusion of Phase I, a detailed CAD model will be completed including mechanical drawings and a bill of materials (BOM).
Space missions are critically dependent on precise timing and synchronization. Coherent ranging and imaging systems such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) and the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Mission (NISAR) are enabled by highly coherent laser and RF oscillators, respectively. Future NASA mission including deep space navigation, space-based gravitational wave detectors, and multi-static radar imaging will require timing precision beyond the capabilities of current hardware
LIDAR and RADAR applications can benefit from the long coherence time of the optical local oscillator and the ultralow phase noise provided by the frequency comb. In GPS-denied environments, a highly stable clock can extend missions by maintaining synchronization between distributed systems.
The goal of this Phase I SBIR is to answer a series of important questions and develop solutions and methods for the fabrication of a very low cost, very light weight large aperture Al10SiMg aluminum alloy mirror that were discovered in the previous Phase I NASA SBIR S2.03-9125 and Phase II 80NSSC18C0065 (SBIR 2018-lI) efforts. The combination of three manufacturing processes were demonstrated 1. Design of and additively manufactured mirror substrates. 2. Precision robotic welding of hexagonal on-axis and hexagonal off-axis segments to produce a larger mirror. 3. Large capacity diamond turning of large spherical mirrors to visible tolerances on the monolithic welded aluminum mirror substrate. In this Phase I proposal we intend to deliver a one piece hexagonal periphery concave spherical additively manufactured mirror that is 160 percent larger (about 387mm) than the hexagonal mirror segments we made for the Phase I and Phase II SBIR efforts. The mirror will be have a 3 meter radius of curvature with a central hole so that it simulates a parabolic telescope primary. The objective is to develop a manufacturing process capable of producing a round 0.5 meter diameter telescope primary mirror in a Phase II effort utilizing 600mm capacity Velo3D Sapphire XC AM machines Stratasys will have operational by late 2021. The hexagonal periphery mirror with a central hole is proposed to gain information about primary mirror optical telescope mirrors and also address scaling to large segmented primary mirrors.
Components can be produced with features that are impractical or impossible using conventional processes such as machining and molding. Highly light weighted metal mirror substrates are made in small quantities at low cost. Off-axis aspheric mirror substrates are as easily produced as simple spherical surfaces. Aluminum mirror substrates can be directly diamond turned to produce high quality mirror optical components.
NASA’s mission in space research includes such far-reaching
projects as Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC),
Large UVOIR (LUVOIR), Balloon Planetary Telescope, NIR/SWIR
Optical Communication, Origins Space Telescope (OST), the Far-IR
Surveyor (FIRS), the Space Infrared Interferometric Telescope (SPIRIT)
and Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx).
This innovative mirror manufacturing technology is applicable to all
these projects as well as any military or scientific
applications requiring low cost light weight mirror optical components.
Defense applications requiring low cost and high production of visible and infrared quality mirror optical components for satellites and aerospace vehicles. Military and weather satellite optical mirrors and commercial optics such as small satellites for earth observation. Commercial applications requiring light weight stiff optical components such as semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
This proposal will significantly advance Power Added Efficiency (PAE) beyond present-day state-of-the-art SSPAs operating at S-Band in the over 1kW peak output power regime, achieving a TRL 3-4 S-band/ 3.2 GHz solid-state power amplifier (SSPA) module. The greatly enhanced PAE will result in an SSPA with a compact form factor suitable for CubeSat/SmallSat or other NASA remote sensing platforms. The project aims to achieve over 1kW of output power, 50dB of Gain, PAE of no less than 60% and possibly greater than 75% through Recon-RF’s advanced power amplifier design techniques based on next-generation waveform design capabilities and practices.
The proposed S-Band SSPA module capable of PAE >60% will enhance NASA’s remote sensing for SWaP-C conscious applications such as:
Non-NASA commercial and DOD applications stand to benefit from Recon-RF’s advancements in S-Band SSPA technology, such as:
A plasma discharge cathode for space propulsion capable of >100 A and employing a novel geometry that moves the bulk of the discharge outside of the hollow emitter insert. This allows the plasma volume to be larger than the cathode tunnel and thus able to deliver the very large currents (100 A or more) without increasing the emitter insert size. By keeping the plasma largely outside of the emitter insert, high performance very small emitters that operate at low temperatures can be used. This means much lower heating power and longer life and higher electron efficiency from these emitters.
We propose two state of the art cathode options:
We propose in Phase I to build two testers containing these cathodes and incorporating them into the geometry discussed above. We will test these, pulsed, to at least 100 A xenon discharge. e beam Inc. has more than 30 years of experience developing innovative cathode structures. The device is an important step forward for NASA’s quest for a high power (100 kW) thruster to transport heavy payloads on long-range space flights.
NASA is planning missions both named and unnamed to asteroids, Mars and other planets. The missions involve very heavy space vehicles and long durations. They will require thrusters in the 100 KW range with discharge and neutralization cathodes >100 A. This proposal offers an alternative to the current approach of scaling existing devices to larger dimensions with the attendant increase in propellent flows and power dissipation along with shortened life and less dimensional stability with high insert temperatures (>1200ºCb).
The commercial world needs more bandwidth which means more heavy satellites in geo-synchronous orbits. The long periods of time needed to raise these satellites from LEO is lost revenue. More powerful thrusters will shorten times and enable bigger payloads.
We have proposed to deliver a comprehensive, and conceptually validated feasibility study (in PH 1) for a novel compact ,cold capable (-200 °C), scalable, Rad-hard RF Modulator (CCM) operating to 500MHz. CCM is used as a common subsection of cold capable radios both on the transmitter and receiver side, operates in extreme low temperature rad-hard space environment in excess of 2Mrad-Si and SEL immune. Our intent is to successfully complete the Phase 1 study and deliver a clear design road-map to the implementation and fabrication of the design using SiGe-HBT in PH2. The modulator application starts in the communication systems but extends to navigation modules, its low phase jitter makes it quite suitable for in-situ and agile DSP for robotic systems, sensors in harsh environment and software defined radio (SDR). Furthermore, in addition to being a basic rugged and rad-hard modulator, it is directly adaptable to be used as a stable frequency source for many applications including the local oscillator for critical navigation and also in the signal chain that is typically used in mobile and agile radar. The compact nature of the design stems from our capability to integrate smallest piezoelectric crystals in the same hybrid enclosure as the ASIC. Our present capabilities produce the resonator size down to 2.5 mm so an integrated hybrid CCM will be super compact and its volume to be in the 1cc range. The objective includes scalability and hi-reliability assembly techniques already established in our company. CCM design includes amplifiers, varactor diodes, voltage reference and on-chip inductor. Individual circuit blocks by themselves will be designed on the SiGe-HBT process that will be part of the investigation in PH1 to be implemented in PH2. Adaptability of CCM to be used as a very stable and low phase noise source without the need for any thermal stabilization, enables new paradigm for autonomous robotic navigation.
Low power, compact and high radiation tolerance (>2Mrad-si) envisioned for the cold capable modulator intends to be used in wide range of deep space robotics applications including radios (both transmitter and receiver) as well as many examples described in the decadal survey and FARSIDE plans. cold capable and high TID tolerance makes it a preferred choice suitable for missions that need such performance and reliability. the Individual circuit blocks like SiGe amplifier, varactor diode and voltage reference have existing space applications.
In addition to the NASA applications, Due to the specific circuits used in the CCM, CCM and its individual circuit blocks would provide solutions for many space and non-space applications. Usage of high Ft SiGe-HBT leads to RF amplifiers, VCO and components such as varactor diodes temp. sensor and voltage reference offer advantages not typically available in other RF rad hard ASICs .
Syrnatec proposes development of radiation hardened Diodes and MOSFETs for high power applications using Ga2O3 technology. Due to increasing power requirements of new systems (such as fast charging technology for electric vehicles), there is a constant need for energy efficient, low noise power conversion electronics compared to the available Silicon based semiconductors. This need opens the avenue for Wide band bap material-based semiconductors, such as GaN, SiC, AlGaN and Ga2O3. Manufacturers have designed various power conversion solutions in the operating voltage range from 600 to 1600V using SiC and GaN; however, there are no products commercially available for operating voltages beyond 1600V, which is why Gallium Oxide Semiconductors offer a promising solution. Ga2O3 falls under UWBGS category, due to the larger bandgap (~4.8 eV) compare to SiC (3.3 eV) and GaN (3.4 eV), and offer better radiation resistance since a higher energy level is required to break their molecular bonds. Ga2O3 semiconductors can operate with several kilovolts and exhibit higher stability and robustness, and therefore is suitable for High voltage, High Power, Medium Power, Low Power applications. Deliverables will be the prototype device design structure and simulation results illustrating resilience to Heavy Ion induced faults (Single Event Effects). Results will be demonstrated with a design of Schottky diode with Metal rings around Schottky Contact to support an operating voltage of 1200 V, current of 40 A, and breakdown voltage of 2000 V while being resilient to 75 MeV-cm2/mg. The scope of work will also include developing a MOSFET design along with simulation results for an operating voltage of 650V, 40A and low RDSON @ < 24mOhm. This disruptive technology will allow for the commercialization of game changing high power electronics.
-High voltage, High Power Schottky diodes and MOSFETs made using Ga2O3 will be used for Power management and Distribution of Artemis missions.
-High Voltage, low power discretes for drivers of Lasercom terminals, LIDARs. Earth science Lidar, Jovian Moon exploration and Saturn missions. These devices will also find usage in Sensor Power electronics and Switching circuits.
-High voltage, low-Medium power solutions for hi-efficiency DC-DC converters that can be used to operate MPPT tracking systems.
-Unmanned ground and aerial vehicles: power and LIDAR system
-Electric vehicle: power conversion and charging station
-Railways Motor Drive electronics and HVAC Control electronics
Arc-heated high-enthalpy test facilities at NASA are used for evaluation of reentry vehicle thermal protection system (TPS) materials. The use of newer ablative TPS materials in the high-enthalpy flow result in complex processes such as decomposition of products, surface ablation, and spallation. Optical measurement techniques that can size and track particles in the flow would be of value for validation of facility operation and refinement of numerical models. Unfortunately, optical measurements of particles in an arc jet are challenging due to the strong emission from the test article and reacting flow which can saturate the camera. ISSI proposes employing an optical measurement technique known as Particle Shadow Velocimetry (PSV) that has been used to measure particle size, velocity, and acceleration a solid rocket motor at rates of over 10-kHz. PSV is accomplished by projecting light from an LED through the measurement volume onto a camera which allows the shadows created by the particles to be recorded. The individual particle shadow can be sized or tracked in time to compute particle velocity, acceleration, or trajectory. Utilizing an LED-based PSV system for measurements of the size and trajectory of spallation particles in an arc jet offers several unique advantages. First, the combination of a relatively narrow wavelength LED and a matching narrow-band filter on the imaging system can be used to suppress the broadband emission from the flow. This allows acquisition of distinct particle images, even in the presence of strong emission from the reacting flow. Second, the in-line illumination that is required for PSV measurements allows particles to be imaged very close to surfaces, within 50-mm of the ablating TPS surface. PSV is a high TRL tool that has already been demonstrated for acquiring particle size and trajectory measurements in a high enthalpy flow. This proposal offers a low-risk opportunity to acquire similar data on test articles in an arc jet.
NASA programs that utilize scramjets and solid rocket motors would benefit from the proposed low-cost, narrowband PSV system. Specific applications include the spray atomization process in supersonic combustion applications, such as scramjets, and particle dynamics in solid rocket motors. Characterizing the droplet vaporization process is essential for modeling the combustion process. Large particles in an SRM can ablate the nozzle and modify the thrust profile or the SRM.
High-speed PSV is particularly effective in biomedical and hydrodynamic flows such as water tunnels, heart assist pumps, and heart valves which benefit from kHz rate velocity measurements near surfaces. PSI is effective for in-flight droplet sizing in agricultural sprays and has also been used for ice particle measurements in clouds for environmental studies.
In recent years there has been a proliferation of new vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle concepts, many featuring electric propulsion systems and advanced autonomous capabilities, designed for the urban air mobility marketplace as air taxis and personal air vehicles. The Vertical Flight Society is tracking the progress of these vehicle concepts via a web portal that currently identifies over 130 vectored thrust, nearly 60 lift plus cruise configurations, and over 100 wingless multicopters. Many of these vehicles have flown as scaled proof of concepts, while several others are now flying as full-scale prototypes. These vehicles almost exclusively feature fly-by-wire flight control systems including advanced control modes (i.e., response augmentation), increased automation, and autonomous systems of varying levels. Following the Simplified Vehicle Operations (SVO) and progression of the UAM Maturity Levels (UML), technological, infrastructure, and certification advancements are required to ultimately lead to fully autonomous operations. Because of the complexities involved in control system design, autonomous systems, and operating environments, new certification means of compliance methods are needed to ensure safe operations within the national airspace, especially dense urban environments. To address this critical need, a team led by Systems Technology, Inc. (STI) proposes to develop the Simulation-based Automation and Failure Evaluations (SAFE) system, easily exercised via a tablet-based computer, that will provide a means of compliance certification method for autonomous and degraded modes that is safe, repeatable, and discriminating.
This proposal addresses ARMD Strategic Thrust 5 In-Time System-Wide Safety Assurance and Thrust 6 Assured Autonomy for Aviation Transformation as SAFE provides a certification process for autonomous systems. SAFE directly supports NASA’s RVLT Project and its goal to develop tools that “overcome key barriers to the expanded use of vertical lift configurations in the nation’s airspace.” SAFE is directly applicable to the National Campaign and its “goal to promote public confidence and accelerate the realization of emerging aviation markets...”
The target commercial market for SAFE is the burgeoning urban air mobility market. The estimated market size will be $15.2 billion by 2030. All the emerging vehicles that operate in the US will need to go through a certification process with the FAA thereby defining the market for SAFE, which will be introduced as a tablet-based software system as well as a productized service to support its use
QmagiQ proposes to develop and deliver to NASA a multi-spectral infrared camera covering a broad range of wavelengths from 1 micron to 16 microns. A key feature is a broadband high-quantum-efficiency strained layer superlattice focal plane array (SLS FPA) with spectral filters integrated directly on the FPA – a design that allows the camera to be very compact. The spectroscopic information provided by the filters will be useful in detecting and identifying a variety of hot and cold targets at great distances and inferring their chemistry.
In Phase I, we will develop a SLS FPA with 16 micron cutoff wavelength, far past the normal 12 micron cutoff of commercial antimony-based SLS FPAs. In Phase II, we will optimize detector performance and expand array format to 1Kx1K, integrate filters onto the FPA, and package the FPA/filter assembly into a compact camera equipped for remote stand-alone operation.
The camera will be valuable to NASA for space telescopes (where its much higher operating temperature compared to Si BIB detectors offers longer operating life) and for Earth and Planetary Science Decadal Survey priorities like infrared sounding. In addition to detecting, tracking and chemically analyzing fires, a drone equipped with such a multi-spectral camera can also be used to monitor and analyze vegetation, forests, crops, industrial gas leaks, and pollution.
1) Space-based astronomy, e.g. future versions of the Spitzer Space Telescope
2) Infrared sounding
3) Detection, tracking and chemical analysis of fires and gas leaks
4) Mapping and analysis of forests and vegetation
5) LANDSAT Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS)
4) Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO)
6) BOReal Ecosystem Atmosphere Study (BOREAS)
7) Other infrared earth observing missions
8) Atmospheric mapping
9) Pollution chemistry
1) Gas leak detection and identification for the petrochemical, gas, and mining industries
2) Crop health monitoring and analysis
3) Missile detection for countermeasures systems
5) Product inspection for pharmaceutical and agricultural industries
6) Security and surveillance
RMI proposes to innovate on previous intermediate aperture off-axis designs used by NASA for flight LiDAR applications by utilizing a Maksutov-Cassegrain inspired beam expander in line with the 20x150mm requirement requested for Phase 1 but focused on it's applicability, scalability, and manufacturability for the Phase II objective of a potential space based 0.5 m system with similar parameters. RMI will be leveraging it's current work on a system with similar requirements used by NASA that utilizes off-axis aspherical optics. These optics must be produced freeform by CNC systems (diamond turning) and are very labor intensive and aperture restricted in practice. By switching to a spherical design the cost, manufacturability, and physical scale of a system becomes far less restricted. Aberrations are controlled by selective use of refractive surfaces in combination with reflective ones to achieve a low dispersion (but correctible), athermalized, flight hardened, high-power ready optical system with looser alignment tolerances and more precisely manufacturable components.
Other groups within NASA are currently contracting with RMI to manufacture similar designs for aircraft based LiDAR applications.
A substantial opportunity for use in target marking and directed energy applications may exist outside NASA's use case.
Our proposed innovation is a Go-Around Prediction (GAP) service that encapsulates predictive analytics so that stakeholders of NASA’s In-time System wide Safety Assurance (ISSA) strategic thrust can readily use it to assess the go-around probability in real time during aircraft arrival operations in the National Airspace System (NAS). Our proposed innovation is directly relevant to subtopic A3.03 Future Aviation System Safety and fills two critical gaps in the state-of-the-art. First, it allows for the continuous monitoring of the arrival domain of the NAS and fuses diverse data sets including airborne trajectory, surface tracking, air traffic automation, and weather data to identify the precursors to a key indicator of risk in the system (i.e., a go-around). Second, it applies innovative machine learning (ML) techniques to build and train a model using historic go-around occurrences in order to predict go-around safety margins in real time. A key outcome in the first decade of ISSA-related research is improved safety through initial real-time detection and alerting of hazards at the domain level and decision support for limited operations. Our proposed innovation directly addresses this outcome by focusing on the near-airport (within 10 miles) domain to identify risks to stakeholders (e.g., air traffic controllers and pilots) in enough time (before a go-around is necessary) for them to employ effective risk mitigations. Through the combination of a real-time data input stream and a ML based predictive model, the software service allows for the continuous computation of the probability of a go-around. Results can be updated and displayed to operators (i.e., air traffic controllers and pilots) as each arrival flight approaches the airport. This additional information will allow operators increased situational awareness during the approach phase of flight leading to earlier mitigation of developing risks and, if needed, more time to safely manage go-arounds.
(1) GAP advances NASA SWS research by accelerating risk detection to real-time.
(2) GAP integrates with the In-Time Aviation Safety Management System (IASMS) to assess operational safety and identify emerging risks potentially introduced by new DSTs during initial deployment.
(3) Integration with NASA’s Digital Information Platform (DIP) provides valuable information on go-arounds to aviation stakeholders.
(4) The predictive analytics service serves as a model for other NASA analytics development.
(1) ANSP personnel use the GAP capability to identify risks in airport operations much sooner than currently possible, thereby increasing the safety margin.
(2) Airlines and airports use GAP to provide insight into go-around causes with the intent of reducing their risky and disruptive nature at major airports.
(3) Automated Safety Management System (SMS) reporting for ANSPs, airlines, and airports.
This proposal responds to the need for new technologies to effectively manage and streamline complex FM systems, enable rapid diagnostic model generation and validation, and provide tools to assess FM quality/performance e.g., fault containment regions (FCRs) and false positive/negative (FP/FN) rates. Okean Solutions proposes to improve fault management (FM) system modeling and analysis by integrating their model-based fault management tool/system, called MONSID®, with JPL’s Computer Aided Engineering for Systems Architecture (CAESAR) platform. The innovation will create greater visibility into the FM process and lower the barriers to entry for users who are not FM experts. The combined capability will advance the practice of FM to ultimately decrease labor and schedule costs while ensuring FM system robustness and appropriateness. The main application is FM design and software development. This could also be used in I&T and operations phases to update onboard FM models and in support of recovery operations.
A MONSID adaptor for CAESAR can support FM development in current and future programs, providing rapid model development and improving HW/SW trade accuracy and efficiency for fault containment, and FM performance analyses. It is applicable to a broad range of NASA missions that leverage model-based systems engineering tools. Such missions include CubeSats (Lunar Flashlight, SunRISE), Trident, Mars Sample Return, and others from near-Earth to interplanetary, risk-adverse, and experimental.
MONSID and CAESAR are both model-based and application agnostic. The combination of these tools makes it applicable to a wide variety of DoD, ESA, JAXA and commercial programs. This innovation can be adapted to other modeling environments to streamline and accelerate FM design and development practices. Industries including aerospace, automotive, and chemical can all benefit from this technology.
In this NASA Phase I SBIR, Atlantic Drone Pros, LLC (ADP), with Daniel H. Wagner Associates, Inc. (DHWA), as a subcontractor, will investigate appropriate combinations of human intelligence (HI) and artificial intelligence (AI) in improving flight planning and real-time decision making in the future (2030 and beyond) National Airspace System (NAS). Leveraging ADP’s 37 years of manned flight experience, including 5 years of flying and instructing on small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) and 2 years of flying MQ-9s in tactical airspace, as well as DHWA’s decades of experience with advanced algorithms and AI, and building on our team’s recent award of a Phase I STTR for Agility Prime to design and demonstrate combined HI/AI capabilities for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in the FLITE Core Cloud System (FCCS) (which will enable control of multiple UAS by a single pilot, while monitoring and mitigating any potential risks even should a UAS go into a lost link condition, all while sharing telemetry with other USSs and ATM), the ADP team will help NASA, FAA, and other aviation stakeholders answer key questions regarding the effective application of AI to piloted, remotely-piloted, and eventually autonomous aviation. Additionally, the ADP team will design a ground control station (GCS) that is built for HI/AI collaboration. This investigation will result in the design of a set of Phase II prototype components to be integrated with FCCS and existing/emerging UTM systems, and eventually NextGen air traffic management (ATM). Benefits to NASA, FAA, and other aviation stakeholders include a better understanding of the appropriate combinations and interactions of HI and AI, leading to safer and more efficient piloted, remotely piloted, and autonomous flight in the NAS
Human operators utilizing AI and an AI-ready GCS to control 10+ aircraft safely through this technology will introduce new capabilities for air traffic management and airspace operations (e.g., TBO). Additionally, our approach will introduce new methods of utilizing artificial intelligence, data science methods and machine learning.
Our target markets for this software are AAM/UTM, package delivery firms, food delivery firms, public safety agencies, U.S. Government agencies, military in addition to UAS manufacturers. The platform is being designed for having a pilot ultimately control 10+ aircraft safely and for the AI to be in a position to handle all flight scenarios including emergencies fully autonomous.
To address the needs of image processing and other data parallel scientific applications TCL proposes RadRISC a scalable architecture composed of simple cores based on the RISC-V ISA with a Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) architecture similar in organization to modern GPU processors. The preliminary overall system architecture includes an array of RISC-V cores connected via a RapidIO fault tolerant switch which also enables connections to a fault tolerant external memory for program data and an independent fault tolerant memory for checkpointing. The RapidIO switch in RadRISC also provides a connection to the hardware root of trust and any connected I/O devices or peripherals. An emphasis will be placed on keeping the cores relatively simple as this will enable more effective fault tolerance. The introduction of architectural complexity is an invitation to increase the potential failure points in a given processor design.
While RadRISC will have many robust reliability features it will not sacrifice performance. The targeted signal and image processing workloads will be highly data-parallel which drives a simple, in-order pipeline architecture for RadRISC in lieu of a complex out-of-order design to enable maximum performance-per-watt. Per-cycle performance will be further enhanced through the addition of a SIMD unit to take advantage of the data parallelism. Previous resilient processor architectures have focused on strictly protecting user code. However, the RadRISC hardware and software stack will protect code executed in machine mode, supervisor mode and user mode. This is enabled by the combination of the aforementioned hardware techniques as well as a series of compiler-driven software techniques. This compiler-centric approach allows us to subsequently compile all the software components required to operate the system. This system and software architecture can be modeled using Sandia National Laboratories’ Structural Simulation Toolkit (SST).
In addition to the prescribed in flight system architectures, the proposed approach is applicable to a number of other NASA-associated markets. Our proposed approach can also be applied to other mission critical systems. This includes robotic control systems for flight operations and landing vehicle operations. Further, with a sufficient degree of compute density, these devices can be extended to create autonomous robotic vehicles and to traditional autonomous satellite or deep space probe devices.
There are several non-NASA market that include the ability to adapt the IP to commercial space applications, the application of the technology to miniature satellites, the application of the technology to traditional aeronautics and the application of the technology to autonomous vehicle platforms. We may also apply this for national security environments associated with DoE NNSA applications.
The Space Ionizing Radiation Environment and Effects Advanced Climatology (SIRE2-AC) tool will enhance the capabilities of space climatology, system design, and system performance evaluation. The SIRE2 toolkit will be modified to interface with the new iPATH tool, using the current conditions around the Sun to propagate the radiation environment to the Earth over the next few days. The radiation environment can then be propagated into the Earth’s geomagnetic field and an electronic part using the models available in SIRE2.
The SIRE2-AC proposal is submitted to the Space Weather Research-to-Operations/Operations-to-Research (R2O/O2R) Technology Development subtopic and will provide an innovative tool to the space weather forecasting. The new capability for SIRE2 will provide enhanced forecasts of the energetic particle conditions encounter by spacecraft within Earth’s magnetosphere. SIRE2 can calculate the environment inside the Earth’s magnetosphere using the built-in geomagnetic cutoff models. Arbitrary trajectories can be read into SIRE2, allowing for environment calculations anywhere in the Earth’s magnetosphere, including Lunar space environments.
The proposed Phase I effort will result in a demonstration of the SIRE2 toolkit that is able to use iPATH databases of the solar radiation component. This Phase I effort will also develop a synthesized SPE environment from the iPATH model for a selected significant SPE event. One such candidate events would be the August 1972 event.
When the goals of the Phase I effort are completed, NASA will have access to a tool that can provide enhanced forecasts for any mission to space. The demonstrative version of SIRE2 will be to use the iPATH output for the current conditions of the Sun. The current NASA programs, projects or missions that could benefit from this effort are the Artemis Mission, International Space Station, Space Launch System, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicles, and any satellite or instrument inside the Earth’s magnetosphere (JASON-3, SMAP, etc.).
Companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin can utilize this Phase I/II work support future space adventure plans. SIRE2 could provide these companies with state-of-the-art models to support their space missions. The Phase I/II effort could be used to support SpaceX’s missions to the International Space Station. There are also numerous DoD and DoE programs that could benefit from enhanced forecasting.
The proposed work will develop lightweight multifunctional composites based on novel continuous fiber reinforced fluorinated polybenzoxazine (FPBZ) resin with an ultra-high nanofiller concentration nanocomposite coating. The composites are designed to provide exceptional atomic oxygen erosion resistance as well as thermal stability and structural performance. Atomic oxygen erosion resistance will be provided primarily through the application of a nacre-memetic coating comprised of layered silicate. This approach provides a path towards addressing the need for a lightweight alternative to aluminum in low earth orbit (LEO) applications such as satellites and orbiting spacecraft. FPBZ’s can be processed using liquid resin molding techniques such as lay-up, compression molding, and autoclaving. Thus, polymers and composites developed during this project are expected to provide a unique combination of properties and processing characteristics to meet the needs of NASA and the rapidly expanding commercial space market. Ground-based testing and modeling tasks will be utilized during Phase I to provide a preliminary assessment of atomic oxygen resistance; ultimately leading to testing aboard the International Space Station (ISS) during Phase II using the MISSE-FF (Materials International Space Station Experiment – Flight Facility).
The proposed work addresses the need for a lightweight alternative to aluminum in low earth orbit (LEO) applications such as satellites and orbiting spacecraft. A key market driver is the need for lighter weight materials that can replace metal components to reduce launch costs. Applications include components requiring a lightweight atomic oxygen-resistant material to replace aluminum while increasing volume efficiency and/or reducing mass, for example, structural components and non-structural components exposed to the LEO environment.
Opportunities for new structural materials in spacecraft, such as CubeSats, are steadily increasing and are driven by the demand for materials with improved volumetric efficiency and lower mass compared to conventional materials such as aluminum. Targeted applications include primary structural components (e.g. frames and chassis) and secondary structural components (e.g. panels and covers).
During this Phase I effort ESAero will research and develop a prognostics and health management system (PHM) designed for electric motor inverters. The final PHM system will consist of a microcomputer or FPGA loaded with a fault detection algorithm connected to the sensors in an inverter. This stage will focus on refining the algorithm. Past ESAero PHM used deep autoencoder, but convolutional autoencoder, a recurrent neural network (RNN), long short-term memory (LSTM) units, and gated recurrent units (GRUs) will be investigated as alternatives and improvements. ESAero will add additional software functions of fault classification and remaining useful life. K-Nearest Neighbor (KNN), support vector machines (SVMs), and random decision forests are candidates for fault classification methods. For remaining useful life, ESAero will explore several physic model based and data-driven approaches. This effort will utilize ESAero’s large depository of X57 test data taking during prototype and acceptance testing. PHM will “operate” on the data and detect and predict faults recorded in the X57 tests. This will demonstrate PHM’s capability, performance, requirements, and reduce risks before entering hardware design. Planning ahead, ESAero will investigate the certification and regulations that will be applicable to PHM. ESAero will develop a risk mitigation plan to overcome regulatory barriers. The product of this research will lead to the development of PHM requirements for UAM inverters. In addition, ESAero will begin prototype component selection which will verify currently available hardware can meet these requirements.
This effort will add understanding of health and remaining useful life (RUL) of inverters for electric UAM. The results of this effort will benefit NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign, NASA X57 Maxwell, and other NASA electric efforts. Determining reliability, RUL, and how to maintenance electrical components of electric systems has burdened regulators. Electric systems have no visual detection of ware. A system that can manage the health and predict RUL will provide actionable data to technicians and regulators.
PHM for inverters will provide health and remaining useful life (RUL) to electric components that previously would only be hours operated or operation to failure. PHM planned in this effort could be a small integrable board or a software addon to an inverter with enough computational power. This inverter PHM could later be incorporated in a aircraft level PHM health manage system.
Safely and efficiently launching payloads and vehicles into space requires a carefully orchestrated coordination between critical assets, expensive resources, and highly trained personnel performing complicated and safety-critical tasks. Managing this coordination is complicated by the use of disparate and unconnected tools such as paper checklists, Excel spreadsheets, siloed databases, and voice communication. While automated systems such as robots and smart sensors can help, the goal of this proposal is to automate processes and not the individual tasks themselves. The Automated System for Managing Assets, Resources, and Tasks (A-SMART) system will focus on identifying inefficiencies in ground operations due to use of paper procedures, unconnected data, and disconnected workers. A-SMART will also focus on increasing efficiencies of ground operations by collecting data about assets, resources, and personnel utilization in a common database that can be mined by business intelligence tools to identify dwell times, bottlenecks, and unsafe operations. At the heart of A-SMART is an automated, electronic procedure platform called PRIDE that can coordinate personnel with assets and resources while performing ground operations tasks. PRIDE is already being used by the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral for range safety operations. A-SMART will employ advanced AI and machine learning algorithms to track asset and resource utilization while incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensor data processing to pull analyzed data into procedures automatically. The A-SMART system can automate many of the complicated processes associated with ground operations and automatically generate the data needed for signing off on launch decisions. The benefits to NASA of A-SMART will be safer and more efficient ground operations as the tempo of launches increases.
This research will have immediate application to ground automation at NASA KSC. PRIDE is already being used at several NASA centers and this research will increase its capabilities. NASA AFRC is using PRIDE for ground tests on the Air Volt test stand. PRIDE has been selected for use in ground operations for the VIPER robotic mission to the moon with operations at NASA ARC. Human spaceflight operations at NASA JCS are another NASA application.
The electronic procedure platform proposed in this project is being used by major oil field services companies, chemical manufacturers, commercial space companies, and the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral. Each of these existing customers is a potential customer for this research. We will license the software developed under this project separately as an add-on to the existing product.
The Primary Life Support System (PLSS), within the xEMU, helps to provide a safe environment for astronauts during lunar exploration. NASA identified seven PLSS venting items that they consider as at risk of operational degradation due to the presence of lunar dust. The intent is to protect these items from the dust that is very invasive, electrostatically and magnetically charged and tends to stick to surfaces due to its static-electricity charges.
To meet this need, Lunar Dust Protection Devices will be designed to stop dust from reaching sealing surfaces or hydrophilic membranes within safety critical PLSS components. Self-sealing silicone covers will be developed to protect valves and quick disconnects until activated by crew force or venting gas pressure, while protective screens will be used to protect the membranes, which flow water vapor intermittently. The protection devices will be treated with anti-static elements to reduce lunar dust adherence and use forces, available during EVA or IVA, to encourage gathered dust to fall from them. The forces include lunar gravity, vibration generated by PLSS rotating equipment, crew impact loads while walking/working, overboard gas flow from PLSS components and crew member interaction. Magnetic brushes can take advantage of the dusts magnetic property, during post-EVA, to remove any remaining dust from the devices.
The Lunar Dust Protection Devices will consume very little weight and volume and no power. Each protection device will be developed addressing specific xEMU item geometry, flow rates, flow direction, fluid properties and related human factors. Functioning prototypes will be constructed using accepted manned flight material and design practices and be tested for analytical correlation. Once proven, these design concepts can be readily adapted to other Artemis dust mitigation needs, offering NASA a common set of solutions that may be deployed throughout lunar exploration systems.
Many countries are interested in lunar exploration, including the USA, EU, Russia and China. Commercial manned exploration is further enhanced by interest of up to three companies competing to build the Lunar Lander. Presented passive, dust protection devices mitigate safety risks and may solve many different challenges when developing commercial exploration systems. Creating a family of Dust Protection Devices may lead to State-of-The-Art solutions applicable to a wide range of applications.
Dust presents challenges to many industries on Earth including coal handling, cement fabrication, metal fabrication, mining, chemical processing, woodworking, pharmaceutical, recycling and agricultural industries. The included covers may be readily applied to protect considerable equipment within these industries since the core “elements” employed to develop them are also present on Earth.
NASA seeks lunar surface thermal technologies to enable human-class landers operating in the challenging lunar environment where surface temperatures range from 100 (or less) to 400 K. Novus proposes an innovative solution for modular, passively actuated, ultra-low-mass radiators, offering near-constant temperature control, high fault tolerance against micrometeoroids and deep mass/volume reduction. The radiator system specific mass target is 1.5 kg/m2 (20% that of deployed systems (7.6 kg/m2)). A modularized architecture of many parallel thermosiphons each containing an ingenious integrated spring mechanism allow the system to passively maintain a designed pressure/temperature. The proposed work builds off past accomplishments at Novus prototyping ultra-low mass flexible space radiators and heat rejection systems for aerospace clients including a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) for NASA’s Next Gen RTG program.
Novus is a component/subsystem level US-manufacturer with an experienced R&D team pursuing transformative thermal management and thermoelectric heat pump/heat engine products. This technology will serve space and terrestrial consumer markets. Our technology portfolio offers an exciting class of terrestrial products that bring thermal control immediately close to the body e.g. wearable active thermal systems and portable refrigeration products. The inflatable radiator heat rejection system offers aerospace thermal performance, in a small, flexible form factor, low-mass and silent operation. Our synergistic go-to-market strategy in the terrestrial consumer market will accelerate penetration in the space market by ramping up manufacturing, increasing technical industry knowledge and generating reliability data.
Terrestrial heat pumps are becoming miniaturized and portable, which means that the heat exchangers need to be lighter and flexible. Novus has near-term opportunities in the emerging market of distributed consumer thermal management products for refrigeration, HVAC, portable cooling devices, thermal transport in wearable electronics, clothing, camping gear, furniture, and bedding.
To meet NASA’s NTP objectives for spaceflight missions, IFOS proposes Reactor*Sense™ as a rugged, miniaturized, multi-function, and multiplexable high-temperature sapphire optical fibers (SOF)-based Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) system. The system will be designed for the extreme operating environments with Phase I design for 1,800°C and Phase II design for ~ 2,800°C. The use of Raman sensing also enables growth provisions to add spectroscopic measurements of species. Reactor*Sense™ has a miniaturized photonic integrated interrogator that will be placed remotely in cooler regions (< 200°C). The Reactor*Sense™ photonic, ultra-high-speed signal processing uses IFOS' massively-parallel Photonic Spectral Processing (PSP) in Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) architecture, eliminating conventional speed bottlenecks and providing breakthrough system miniaturization for spaceflight missions.
Rocket*Sense™ will enable accelerated NTP development to support NASA’s human exploration missions, including reduced time to Mars. The Rocket*Sense™ technology will also be applicable to NASA’s propulsion and flight research programs, offering enhanced awareness of key parameters often out of reliable reach of conventional sensors due to the harsh environments involved.
The IFOS technology will benefit both military and commercial engine applications by providing the sensing scalability required to keep pace with next-generation propulsion systems. It is also applicable to DOE's power generation/management, renewable energy, and fossil fuel programs.
USNC-Tech proposes the design of a scalable ultrahigh-temperature material property testing and performance evaluation facility specialized for space nuclear reactor core and fuel components. This testing facility will be capable of material evaluation under vacuum, hydrogen, nitrogen, and argon atmospheres at temperatures up to 2700 °C. Both contact and non-contact measurement methods for testing data collection are included as part of the design of this system, and are within the scope of this proposal. The combination of ultrahigh-temperature testing, hydrogen atmospheric conditions, and contact/non-contact data collection is a very challenging set of requirements to simultaneously achieve. Two existing facilities can perform hot hydrogen testing (CFEET and NTREES) but neither has the capability to perform in-situ material characterization. The proposed solution will be the only known system that simultaneously combines ultrahigh-temperature testing, hydrogen atmosphere, and material property data collection at temperature.
LEU-NTP and NTP flight demonstrator projects are developing NTP technologies for use in deep space exploration missions. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense is beginning a project to develop NTP technologies for military applications. Among the nuclear fuel technologies currently being developed in those projects, carbide fuels are uniquely capable for operation at the highest operational temperatures and compete in a class of their own for capabilities of operation above 1,000s Isp.
USNC-Tech is actively engaged with multiple companies that are seeking to develop space nuclear technology for the emerging in-space economy. Additionally, hydrogen production is key to USNC-Tech’s parent company, USNC. USNC has entered into agreements to develop hydrogen production technologies with major industry partners and the capabilities developed in this SBIR are highly relevant.
This NASA SBIR Phase I proposal presents an unprecedented laser nano additive manufacturing system for making Stirling heat engine regenerators, by using a pulsed fiber laser and nano-technology. It is the enabling technology for manufacturing fine structures with micron precision. With our successful history in AM and SM processing, this proposal has a great potential to succeed. A proof of concept demonstration will be carried out and samples will be delivered at the end of Phase 1.Prototypes in compliant with the Stirling heat engine system requirement will be delivered at the end of Phase II.
In addition to NASA’s heat engine components manufacturing, the proposed pulsed laser AM process can also be used in other applications, such as space vehicle, aircraft, and satellite manufacturing. PolarOnyx will develop a series of products to meet various requirements for NASA deployments.
3D printing uses various technologies for building the products for all kinds of applications from foods, toys to rockets and cars. The global market for 3D Printing is projected to reach US$44 billion by the year 2025, driven by the advent of newer technologies, approaches, and applications.
In this SBIR Phase 1 project, Smart Material Solutions, Inc. will fabricate passive dust mitigating surfaces using micro- and nano-texturing. The texturing will be created by SMS’s novel and highly scalable “Nanocoining” technique, which uses mechanical indenting to rapidly replicate micro- and nano-patterns onto a metal surface, such as a seamless cylindrical drum mold for roll-to-roll nanoimprint lithography.
The project involves a partnership with Professor Chih-Hao Chang at the University of Texas, Austin, an expert in the wetting and adhesion properties of nanotextured surfaces. Professor Chang’s experience will guide the design of surfaces to resist adhesion of lunar dust simulants. Designed surfaces with a range of topographies will be created on a 6” diameter metal mold and replicated into space-grade polymers such as FEP, Teflon, and Kapton using thermal and UV-assisted embossing. The fabricated textured surfaces will then be chemically treated and tested with lunar dust simulant at UT Austin.
The proposed work will further develop a nano-patterning technique that is more than 500 times faster than electron beam lithography and can be used for multiple surface modification or optical applications with value in industry, at NASA, and beyond.
Thin film coatings are used on X-Ray mirrors to provide high reflectivity surfaces, to increase the detector blaze angle, and even to increase the detection energy bandwidth of X-Rays through the use of bilayer stacks of high Z and low Z materials. With the age of the current NASA X-Ray detector work horses, Swift and Chandra, there are numerous missions in various stages of development so that wide field of view detection will not be lost. Each of these missions use slightly different mirror configurations to accomplish the tasks. Unfortunately, the mirror or focusing optics structures have become more complex as new capabilities are required by the scientific community. These complex mirror geometries and channel plate optics have posed a challenge for traditional coating technologies. Summit Information Solutions, Inc. proposes the use of a mature coating technique that offers conformal coatings with tight film thickness control and no need for line of sight during deposition. Although there has been some exploring of use of this technique in a University setting for this challenge, Summit will be able to leverage our experience using the deposition technique to successfully coat challenging materials on large three dimensionally complex objects for both the government and the private sector. Summit proposes two traditional X-Ray coatings to show feasibility, a W/Si bilayer and a Ni coating.
The immediate NASA applications for this topic include the Gamow explorer, Lynx, and STORM. In addition, the technology developed here would see use on ESA’s ATHENA. Moving forward NASA would have access to a foundational manufacturing capability that would be able to coat high reflectivity coatings on arbitrarily complex X-Ray optics.
As stated under NASA applications, this technology would also benefit NASA’s partners, such as ESA, in development of X-Ray detector systems. The silicon pore optics and micro channel plate coating methods developed would also see use by the DoD on subwavelength, nonlinear optics sensor development.
Semiconductor-based widely tunable lasers are attractive in that they are capable of wavelength switching on short timescales (<10ns); however, in order to switch at those speeds and remain stable, sophisticated control electronics and strategies are required. The traditional approach to achieving switching speeds on the order of 100ns is to use an FPGA that interfaces to multiple digital to analog converters via a high-speed interface, resulting in a relatively large footprint and high power consumption (10s of watts not including the laser itself). In our proposed approach, we suggest using our proprietary semiconductor devices that provide on-chip thermal compensation to remove the sensitivities to changing injection current, in conjunction with high-speed, low power consumption direct digital synthesis waveform generation integrated circuits. This will result in a small footprint (approximately 2.7” x 3.4” x 0.54”) module that consumes less than 10W total (including laser and thermoelectric cooler). This solution will enable volume and power constrained applications to adopt the capabilities that widely tunable laser source modules have to offer. These applications include lidar (employing wavelength sensitive beam steering elements and/or FMCW), atmospheric gas sensing (methane, etc.), and fiber sensing.
The proposed innovation directly supports multiple NASA interests including lidar, atmospheric gas sensing, and fiber sensing.
The proposed innovation directly supports multiple market interests including lidar, atmospheric gas sensing, and fiber sensing, and metrology.