Under this STTR program, QuesTek Innovations LLC will utilize its knowledge and expertise in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) to develop improved part-scale, metal-based additive manufacturing (AM) process models, focusing on thermal history and grain growth prediction. QuesTek will partner with Professor Gregory Wagner at Northwestern University, who has expertise in modeling the thermal history of AM processes. The expertise of the Wagner Research Group will combine with QuesTek’s knowledge on microstructural prediction to implement improvements to part-scale simulations of AM processes to predict grain structure, which will enable prediction of component-level microstructural anisotropy.
Phase I efforts will focus on research and development of methodologies for improving the accuracy and efficiency of higher-scale AM simulations regarding laser powder bed fusion of Inconel 625. Methodologies will begin from the well-established single-track simulations, moving to multi-layer simulations, and finally starting to formulate and develop methodologies for addressing efficiency concerns of simulations at the part-scale by using reduced-order models calibrated by higher accuracy models. The efforts of the Wagner Research Group will synergize with and improve QuesTek’s efforts, as accurate thermal history predictions are imperative for accurate grain growth predictions, while QuesTek’s efforts will help further validate the Wagner Group’s work.
Phase II efforts would focus on further developing methodologies to achieve more efficient and accurate part-scale AM simulations. In tandem with the algorithm development, an emphasis would be placed on further part-scale validation studies. These studies would be used both for calibrating and validating the methods for different AM processing parameter ranges, to extend the versatility and robustness of the tools developed
The tool proposed in this work incorporates an ICME framework to model microstructural evolution and assist in mitigating microstructural anisotropy in AM, and therefore is a valuable complement to many of NASA’s existing AM research initiatives. Given the influence of the microstructure on the properties and performance of AM components, this tool will expedite the insertion of AM components into flight-critical spacecraft applications, and will aid in the development of more advanced AM technologies
QuesTek has collaborated with several aerospace OEMs on AM-related research, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Blue Origin, and Northrup Grumman. These companies have dedicated significant resources to improve properties and qualify AM components, and have expressed interest in a modeling tool capable of predicting properties and mitigating anisotropy at the component level
The overall goal of this NASA effort is to develop and deliver efficient, single-pass quantum optical waveguide sources generating high purity photon pairs for use in high-rate long-distance links. The key innovation in this effort is the use of efficient, low-loss spontaneous parametric down conversion (SPDC) waveguides in combination with apodized gratings to tailor the optical nonlinear response to create quantum optical states with very high purity. In addition, the photon pair generation rate for these devices is very high, while payload size, weight, and power (SWaP) are tiny. They offer a key technology required for deployment of space-to-ground links and future construction of a global quantum network.
• high rate, space-based quantum communication
• foundation for quantum-repeater based satellite quantum network
• quantum metrology for precision space-based navigation
• space-based entanglement tests of quantum and gravitational theories
• characterization, optimization, and calibration of photon starved detectors
• ghost imaging
• quantum telescope
• ground-to-ground and space-to-ground fiber and free-space QKD
• quantum metrology
• quantum illumination
• linear optical quantum computation
In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is at the forefront of near-term lunar and Martian missions. While many technologies and program strategies focus in ISRU, propellant production substantially impacts the scope and duration of these missions. Through ISRU, missions can benefit from substantial mass savings, and size reduction which, in turn, result in longer durations and larger payloads. Moreover, reusable landers within situ propellant production can reduce cost and benefit critical functions such as life support, energy storage, and scientific payloads.
With the potential benefit comes certain technical challenges. While pure methane is a well-characterized propellant, impurities that may be present in in situ production can cause a variety of issues. Beginning in the manufacturing process, the presence of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water can affect the success of liquefaction processes. Carbon dioxide and water both have freezing points above the saturation temperature of methane that could cause the build up of solids in liquefaction plumbing. Moreover, carbon monoxide has a lower saturated temperature so it may either, not condense and cause gas pocket, or condense and boil off later. It may require a conditioning stage to separate carbon monoxide from methane or maintaining temperatures low enough to keep it from boiling.
In this effort GTL proposes to determine the effect of impure propellant on mission critical systems, including storage, pressurization systems, thermal management systems, and combustion instability.
Since this effort is focused towards defining standards for impure propellant properties, the commercial marketplace is small. Therefore, the direct commercialization impact is also small. However, since several current and future propulsion systems are expected to use methane fuel, the secondary impact of safely relaxing specifications is sizeable.
On the other hand, validation of GTL’s computational physics framework used in this effort supply another tangible benefit to NASA for combustion and combustion instability modeling.
Several commercial space ventures have baselined methane or natural gas fuels for propulsion systems. Characterizing the limitations of subpure propellants can have an impact of launch costs, mission scope, and logistical supply chains for these entities. Moreover, military applications could find value from in situ methane production and refinement for remote missions.
The overall goal of this NASA STTR effort is to develop a compact fully integrated tunable narrowband bi-photon source operating in the Visible/IR spectral region for calibration and characterization of high-performance transition-edge sensors (TES) arrays under development at NASA Goddard as well as other research facilities throughout U.S. The key innovation in this effort is combining waveguide-based spontaneous parametric down conversion with onboard wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) for efficient generation and fiber coupling of narrowband photon pairs in the near to mid IR spectral region.
• characterization, optimization, and calibration of photon starved detectors
• foundation for quantum-repeater based satellite quantum network
• quantum metrology for precision space-based navigation
• space-based entanglement tests of quantum and gravitational theories
• high rate quantum communication
• ghost imaging
• quantum telescope
• quantum key distribution
• quantum networking
• quantum metrology
• linear optical quantum computation
Conventional lithium-ion batteries demonstrate great potential for energy storage applications but they face some major challenges such as low energy density and cycle life. It is meaningful to pursue alternative strategies to address these barriers. In this project, we will design and develop high energy Li-metal battery using solid electrolytes that may lead to high energy density (300-400 Wh/kg, system level), long cycle life (>10,000 cycles) and better safety. We will start with two categories of novel solid electrolytes: one is a Li-rich garnet Li7La3Zr2O12 electrolyte (LLZO); the other is alkali ion plastic crystal electrolyte (PCE). Both systems have demonstrated high Li-ion conductivity (>1 mS/cm) at room temperature, and high electrochemical stability. Flexible composite solid electrolyte separators based on LLZO will be developed using electrospinning. The PCE will be applied as an adhesive layer between the solid electrolyte separator and the electrode to reduce the interfacial resistance. The solid electrolyte will be integrated with high voltage cathode and Li metal anode to construct full cells for performance evaluation.
If successful, the proposed battery technology can be used as energy storage solutions for NASA’s Electrified Aircraft Propulsion (EAP), with much higher energy density and longer cycle life than conventional Li-ion batteries. More specifically, this battery storage technology can be used for landers, construction equipment, crew rovers, and science platforms and many other NASA applications.
The proposed battery technology can also be used for electrical vehicles. It may directly facilitate the commercialization of electrical vehicles as two major barriers of cost and energy density will be addressed. They may also be applicable in the consumer market to portable electronics and communication devices.
An automated mobile air quality (AQ) sensor array will provide high quality environmental data within the confined physical parameters of a space habitat. Project results, including generated data, will be used to develop algorithms for artificial intelligence (AI) which will ultimately automate monitoring of experiments as well as life support systems on the International Space Station (ISS), the Lunar Gateway, and beyond.
Initially, SPEC Sensors will demonstrate a platform for AQ monitoring in a form factor compatible with autonomous robots such as the Astrobee, currently in use aboard the ISS National Laboratory. In this phase, ground-based laboratory evaluations will be performed with a mobile prototype to address flight certification requirements necessary for integration with the current Astrobee fleet, and for safe delivery to the ISS National Lab by Magnitude.io. These experiments will also generate the training data for the proposed machine learning algorithms developed by the University of Missouri – St. Louis. The complexity of these algorithms will determine hardware requirements for the final phases of the project. For example, a reference array mounted on a mobile robot, in conjunction with remote fixed arrays will require a unique implementation of edge-computing methods and mesh-compatible hardware.
In Phase II, the platform will perform passive AQ monitoring from the payload bay of an Astrobee during sorties on the ISS. The temporal, spatial, and physical environmental data collected from these flights will generate real training data for machine learning development, and require minimal support from the station’s crew. Finally, in Phase III of this project, with updated software and hardware, this system will be provided to NASA and the ISS National Lab for integration into current and future operational systems. With the successful demonstration of this technology, we expect other needs will arise that can be solved with this AI enabled array.
Missions on the moon or Mars will benefit from this lightweight, low power, AI enabled AQ platform to ensure safety in vehicles, airlocks, and portable life support systems. This will provide tools necessary to measure the quality of air in a habitat, and to identify and locate potential hazards in a closed environment (e.g., identifying and locating electrical shorts generating ozone and soot).
Additionally, an educational low-cost version in classrooms can allow for student engagement through a NASA focused air quality and health curriculum.
This will enable applications such as aerial and ground-based robots designed to monitor remote and difficult to access environments (i.e. within coal mines, factories, or marine vehicles). The system presented here can be tailored to a specific industry, redesigned to predict and prevent accidents, by the careful selection of the sensors in the array, and the AI’s response to specific conditions.
NASA is spearheading the efforts on Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and providing impetus to the industry to follow with concepts for the same. Several manufacturers, as well as, NASA, have come up with concepts for UAM aircraft; mostly using Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP). However, the multidisciplinary interactions involved and the ability to utilize the distributed propulsors for improved control are not fully understood. To achieve this and use such capabilities in design, we are developing IDEA, a design optimization architecture that includes multidisciplinary multi-fidelity analyses for integrated airframe-DEP design. This technology, if successful, can push the state of the art in UAM aircraft concept design and DEP enabled aircraft in general.
The AAM project at NASA (and UTM as well) will directly benefit from this research, in terms of availing the true benefits of DEP-enabled aircraft. The design tool will help understand and leverage the multidisciplinary interactions involved and will directly benefit programs such as AAVP, AATT, TTT and RVLT, which are looking for advanced aircraft designs.
Several aircraft manufacturers have responded to the UAM Grand Challenge and are actively pursuing designs for DEP aircraft for UAM. The ability to design and control these aircraft in the most effective manner is still an elusive goal. Hence, both commercial and civil contractors will benefit from IDEA that can help them refine their designs or come up with new ones.
Southwest Sciences proposes to develop a real time, compact laser-based ethylene gas analyzer with a detection sensitivity of 25 parts-per-billion by volume or better. Ethylene monitoring and control is important to plant growth and health in closed growth chambers such as would be needed for future long-term, manned missions. The analyzer will be fully autonomous and uses newly available, low power diode lasers that operate in the mid-infrared spectral region. The innovation is a novel cavity enhanced spectroscopy method invented at Southwest Sciences that will make the system smaller and more sensitive than conventional tunable diode laser spectroscopy.
Phase I and II will result in an analyzer for ethylene, critical for monitoring and managing plant growth in space for the ISS and long-term missions. The instrument platform could be adapted for measurement of other environmentally important trace species for space missions and on Earth (including ammonia, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon gases, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur species).
The primary commercial markets for trace gas ethylene monitoring are agriculture and food industries. High density greenhouse operations need an indication of high ethylene concentrations to manage plant health and productivity. Produce storage requires low levels of ethylene to delay ripening or prevent spoilage.
For deployment of future space structures, volume-minimized methods of rolling/folding carbon fiber composites during launch may be attractive. Due to the high strain and potential elevated temperatures during launch, there is concern about creep and therefore distortion of the composite member. ATSP Innovations and team partner Texas A&M University propose a unique thin ply composite for inflatable and rollable/foldable space structure concepts. ATSP Innovations has developed a new family of high performance resins called Aromatic ThermoSetting coPolyesters, which have Tg ranging from 174-310C and high thermal stability. In Phase I, we seek to produce a modified resin system with a lower temperature cure profile and fabricate this resin into thin-ply ATSP-carbon fiber reinforced composites. Initially, a matrix of formulated resins and catalyst concentrations will be synthesized and examined in terms of themomechanical properties. ATSP and Texas A&M will characterize and model the resins creep and stress relaxation properties. The best performing resin in terms of thermomechanical properties, viscosity, and cure profile will be selected for prepregging into thin-ply composites and cured into coupons for further creep and stress relaxation experiments. A film adhesive interlayer useful for production of the desired thin-walled members will also be developed and initially demonstrated. A nonlinear thermo-viscoelastic constitutive model will be formulated for the general anisotropic material as determined from experiments. This will be coupled with a microstructural model and structural model to predict behavior of thin-ply composite. In Phase II, ATSP Innovations will also investigate appropriate fabrication methods for producing rollable composite members as well as key metrics for their viability in space applications.
Rollable/foldable composites with creep and environmental resistance and modest processing requirements would be attactive as a method for minimizing mass and volume for deploying large area space structures relevant for next-generation observatories. Specific examples may include composite booms, landing struts, space habitats, and other lightweight structures. As well, the developed creep-resistant thin-ply composite may impact designs in advanced aviation systems including supersonic and hypersonic technology development and launch systems.
Thin-ply, creep resistant carbon-fiber composites with attractive cure profiles may be viable as a lightweighting concept in the automotive and aerospace markets. The developed resin system would also be attractive generally in most performance composite market spaces. Impact could extend into multiple areas such as microelectronics, tribological coatings, rigid structural foams, etc.
NASA has called for the development of light-weight metamaterials technology that allows antenna beam shaping, at all optical and microwave wavelengths using effective optical properties not found in nature. In response, Alphacore is proposing a meta-transmission line wave-space that will miniaturize a Rotman lens by a factor of 100, while retaining its time-delay properties. The Rotman lens is one of the simplest and most reliable low-cost multiple-beam phased array architectures used today. Alphacore’s novel design will include an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) with a 12-bit current-steering segmented-DAC. This innovation enables the use of the Rotman lens for HF, VHF, or UHF phased array applications, creating new capabilities in airborne and planetary exploration. Applications where there are critical gaps include beam forming for communication and Radar, angle-of-arrival detection, multiple beam jamming, and retroreflector jamming. All these are possible because the lens’ time-delay properties are derived from actual travel time within the lens, thus the Rotman lens is also by definition a broadband device in the frequency domain. Alphacore’s innovation is a hyper-compact Rotman lens based on a small ASIC to prototype of the wave-space in the Rotman lens configuration capable of driving beam-forming HF through UHF phased arrays. Alphacore’s use of meta-transmission lines will significantly affect a multitude of possible applications since the use of metamaterials allows for the technology to be precisely configured to manipulate specific wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, thus offering excellent design flexibility and customization opportunity. Alphacore’s design also eliminates the need to carry an outboard or surface-mounted conventional array and therefore can be inserted into existing telescopes and antennas. The system will assist NASA to provide continued support for Earth-based facilities that use optical and radar telescopes.
NASA’s Habitable Exoplanet Observatory and the Lynx X-ray Observatory, Moon to Mars and Humans in Space directorates and Deep Space Network will benefit.
Earth-based facilities using optical and radar telescopes. Optical metamaterials to match impedance of free space that compensate for limiting UV properties of traditional materials used in NASA telescopes. Such facilities are Infrared Telescope Facility, the Keck Observatory, the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, Arecibo Observatory, and the Very Long Baseline Array.
US Army benefits from lens for battlefield sensors of communication systems & multimode radar ops. Lens design scales for next gen commercial wireless networks using nanocell networks, lens-based beamformer in electronically scanned arrays, miniature lumped components in mmWave spectrum. Future research directions include a compact 3D Rotman lens topology, enable azimuth and elevation beamforming.
Model-based System Engineering and use of Digital Twins/Threads are fashionable "catch-phrases" in the industry. These concepts have the potential to significantly improve the quality of the engineering systems (through improved designs and problem detection earlier in the life-cycle) and the time and cost of System Engineering by automating low-level manual labor sub-tasks performed by design engineers.
The “devil is in the details” in successfully implementing MBSE and Digital Twins. Each type of engineering design and analysis has different requirements. Every project is different.
The purpose of this project is to leverage advances in MBSE development technologies pioneered by SPEC Innovations with their cloud-based Innoslate® MBSE product and the advances in engineering design and development of Standard Operating Procedures pioneered by the Center for Air Transportation Systems Research (CATSR) at George Mason University (GMU).
The goal of this project is to develop and demonstrate the application of digital assistants with MBSE and advanced SOP design methods on the design of SOPs.
This project meets the burgeoning need in the industry following recent airliner accidents and joint initiatives undertaken between CATSR/GMU the U.S. and U.K. Navies.
The ASOPDA will be initially applied to NASA's aviation safety programs, but should have applicability to all of NASA's work. Other specific digital assistants using this approach can be developed for other areas and missions, including Artemis. A short-list of general areas includes:
- Mission Control (International Space Station, satellites) - Launch procedures - Extravehicular Activities (EVA) procedures - Space and aircraft maintenance procedures - Medical procedures
SOPs are used by many other organizations for developing and operating aircraft. Some of the organizations that have expressed interest in this kind of digital assistant include:
-U.S. Navy Strategic Warfare Systems - Swiss International Air Lines - Southwest Airlines - United Airlines - Boeing Commercial Aircraft Group (BCAG) - Honeywell Technology Center - Rockwell Collins
The goal of this project is to develop a medium-fidelity, engineering level computational tool that will provide NASA researchers with an efficient instrument for testing, optimizing, and finalizing the E-Sail configuration, and further assist in the navigation and control design. The core of the tool is a computationally efficient parallel 3D Particle-In-Cell (PIC) code. The relatively slow progress in computational modeling of a solar-wind flow over an E-sail to a large extent could be explained by a multi-scale nature of such flow. On the spatial scale, typical diameter of a wire in the tether assembly of an E-sail is on the order of several micron, while the total span of an E-sail may reach 100 km. On the time scale, the electron time scale is on the order of millisecond, while the E-sail based reference is many orders of magnitude larger. In the proposed work, the multi-scale solar wind flow around an E-sail will be predicted through the development of a physically realistic boundary conditions that model the spacecraft charging and plasma sheath around the tethers, and its application in full 3D modeling.
Several factors contribute to the novelty and the importance of the proposed work: (i) the code will be designed specifically for E-sail modeling, starting from setting arbitrary tether assembly, and to computing all parameters of importance for E-sail optimization; (ii) modeling will be truly multi-scale, with attention to the entire solar wind environment of an E-sail resolved down to the Debye sheath; (iii) a number of code performance improvement algorithms will be assessed, of which the best will be used in the code; and (iv) data-driven models that use Kalman filters will be applied to provide assistance in the design and performance control stages.
Astrophysics: problems involving kinetic effects with complex nonlinear interactions between electromagnetic fields and background plasma, such as cosmic rays.
Spacecraft propulsion: electric and plasma thrusters.
Spacecraft performance: plasma interactions, spacecraft charging, attitude control.
Satellite problems: contamination assessment and electric arc.
Industry: plasma-assisted nano- and micro-fabrication technologies such as dry etching in lithography, low
temperature direct bonding, and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition.
Government: spacecraft charging, advanced electric propulsion technologies, and surface contamination.
Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) and Auburn University propose to develop a smart sensor module (SSM) to enable wireless sensing capabilities in liquid propulsion systems. An SSM would increase NASA’s capabilities by eliminating labor-intensive tasks such as routing and securing cables. It would also improve sensor accessibility in locations that are difficult to diagnose, and enable advanced computing technologies such as machine learning. The SSM is designed to connect to trusted, flight-qualified, and commercially available sensors without altering the measurement technique. In Phase I, PSI will advance our existing long-term data logger to develop a SSM capable of wireless communication in a mesh network. Meanwhile, Auburn’s mesh topology and aggregation methods will be used to integrate the PSI sensor network. The Phase I program will conclude with demonstrations of Auburn’s gateway and a sensor mesh network utilizing PSI’s SSMs. During Phase II, the integrated network will be demonstrated on one of PSI’s rocket engine test stands.
Successful demonstration of a smart, wireless sensor network will have significant applicability to ground testing and flight missions for NASA. Reductions in labor assigned to the design, assembly, and implementation of sensor systems will lead to significant cost savings. Using SSM’s with sensors that have flight heritage reduces the risk of installing the network in existing systems. Wireless sensors allow for diagnostics in previously inaccessible locations and smart sensors enable decentralized decision-making, making NASA systems safer.
The commercial space industry and DoD can use the expanded diagnostics and cost savings offered by intelligent sensor networks in their own propulsion systems. Power and energy industries have similar needs for real-time networks of sensors capable of high-acquisition rates. The proposed technology can be used in aircraft or oil and gas systems that require data from difficult to access areas.
During the past 3-years, Goodman Technologies (GT) in partnership with the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, (UHM, a Minority Serving Institution) have demonstrated Silicon Carbide (SiC) based nanopastes which are 3D printable, and moldable via our proprietary Z-process (technically Polymer Matrix Composites, PMCs, prior to firing). Nanopaste, nanoresin and nanotape technologies have been used to make Continuous Fiber Ceramic Nano-Composites (CFCNCs), a very special type of ceramic matrix composites (CMC) with engineered properties and multifunctionality. We are proposing a purposefully engineered silicon carbide-based CFCNC innovation to NASA for this topic area which overcomes the issues of delamination and will have tremendous payoff for spacecraft TPS and hypersonics in general. Some of the enabling printable nanopaste technology originated with GT’s very first Phase I NASA SBIR Contract #NNX17CM29P, and we have shown the ability to join large parts via an additive manufacturing process to fabricate seemless, monolithic structures. We also have the ability to co-cure CMC with PMC and carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites. We have been able to join these materials to both aluminum and steel. We have also produced CMC fasterners with up to 100 threads per inch for precision mechanical joining. During the Phase I STTR we propose to manufacture sample CFCNC coupons, perform ASTM testing to obtain mechanical properties (strength, strain, toughness), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to look at the nano/micro-structure, and establish initial high-temperature performance via two different heating methods, one proprietary. We will evaluate the efficacy of our "Cure-On-The-Fly" technologies for co-curing, and explore both co-curing and post-curing for adhesive bonding the CFCNC to underlying substrates. We will work with NASA to generate a Phase II plan that results in the design, manufacture, and high-temperature, high heat flux testing of a meter-class CFCNC TPS.
NASA New Frontier misisions and in situ robotic science missions require heat shields and thermal protection systems for Venus probes and landers, Saturn and Uranus probes, and high-speed sample return missions from Comets and Asteroids. The Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) is, of course, spearheading the efforts to expand a permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit, i.e., to the Moon and to Mars. Many large surface area TPS for spacecraft are needed.
Non-NASA applications of low cost, rapidly manufactured CFCNC TPS are Commercial Space Programs and Programs of Record for the Department of Defense. GT’s technology provides t a retrofit opportunity for missiles, missile fairings, aeroshells and other strategic air platforms and cruise missiles.
Testing of rocket engines requires an extensive instrumentation of the article under test in order to collect data on the performance of various aspects of the engine. Currently these sensors require extensive wiring both on the test article and within the test stand in order to connect the sensors to the data acquisition equipment. This instrumentation is complex, often including several hundreds of sensors that are attached or embedded at various locations on the article in order to provide situational awareness of the health and performance of the test article. The process of connecting the sensors requires engineering of complex wiring paths, harnesses, amplifiers, signal conditioners, calibration interfaces, etc. on both the test article and the test stand in order to communicate the information to the data acquisition system. The integration of the test article into the test stand requires extensive time for connection of each sensor to the data acquisition equipment, testing the connections and equipment, and calibrating the sensor for its environment and other processes to ensure accurate and robust data collection. This process can be a significant amount of time and manpower to accomplish, during which time the test stand remains manned and occupied. This incurs significant costs both in the direct cost associated with an active test stand, and with lost opportunity cost because the test stand cannot be used for other testing.
Our proposed innovation is to create a comprehensive end-to-end architecture to support rapid yet robust instrumentation and integration of test articles into the test stand leveraging wireless sensor technology. This innovation will reduce instrumentation costs, test stand maintenance costs, and test article integration costs while still maintaining a robust, reliable, and verifiable data acquisition capability. Existing solutions are not adequate to support the requirements for NASA instrumentation and data acquisition.
No commercial product known provides an end-to-end, plug and play solution, that connects to NASA’s existing data acquisition system (DAS) architecture, provides the same level or better DAS end user experience, or allows existing wireless sensor manufacturers a way to connect and integrate with the NASA DAS in a non-proprietary and interoperable ubiquitous way. The new wireless sensor components would provide more options for sensor placement and management anywhere wiring is too difficult, expensive, dangerous, or otherwise unpractical.
Manufacturers and solution developers may change how large non-Internet bound offerings are designed, delivered, and maintained. The new wireless sensor components would provide more options for sensor placement and management within any industry seeking to place a sensor or set of sensors where wiring is too difficult, expensive, dangerous, or otherwise unpractical.
Deployment of robots will revolutionize space exploration in the coming years, both for manned and unmanned missions. It has become universally accepted that in order to increase the number, scope, and innovation of space missions, reusable, component-based software needs to be developed. That is, complex robot and flight software can be developed concurrently and more robustly by utilizing a common framework of shared software libraries and tools. Thus, components developed by different organizations for different missions can be shared and reused because all components use the same abstracted API to the underlying hardware, including a common communication bus. A variety of programming frameworks have been created over the years that do just this.
The goal of TRACLabs and the Applied Physics Laboratory is to integrate two such frameworks--NASA's cFS (core Flight System) and Open Robotics' ROS 2--in order to leverage the advantages of each system, while helping validate ROS 2 for space flight in a measured way. cFS has a proven track record for supporting embedded, Class-B space systems, but it does not contain nearly the number of applications that exist in the ROS ecosystem. ROS is useful for quickly building state-of-the-art robot systems that use a large number of cutting-edge algorithms for perception, localization, manipulation, and human-robot interaction; however, little concern is given to resource usage (memory, CPU, bandwidth), longevity, or even failure recovery by individual ROS component developers. The new ROS 2 framework, which is built on DDS message passing middleware, has the potential to eventually replace cFS for robotic flight systems. In the meantime, advanced algorithms written by the ROS 2 community should not be ignored by upcoming NASA missions. By combining cFS for safety-critical components with ROS 2 for advanced-data-processing components, near-term space systems can benefit by achieving more autonomy and more scientific discovery.
Multiple near- and far-term missions will benefit from the technologies of this project, including: ISS robots like Astrobee and R2, lunar rovers like VIPER, the Lunar Gateway, OSAM systems like Restore-L and the Robotic Refueling Missions, Orbital Debris Mitigation, Artemis, the Lunar Surface Science Mobility System, Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), Mars sample return, New Frontiers exploration mission opportunities like Titan or Europa, and various STMD technology demonstrations.
Other organizations that utilize cFS, like JAXA, KARI, Astrobotic, and the Air Force SMC, will benefit from this technology. NASA contractors that almost exclusively use ROS for software development, like Tethers, Motiv Space Systems, Honeybee Robotics, and Oceaneering, could also benefit from improved validation, verification, and integration of their systems into safety-critical space missions.
The team of Design, Analysis and Research Corporation (DARcorporation) and University of Michigan (UM) propose an open source Distributed Electric Propulsion MDAO (DEP-MDAO) Tool, in which a new framework for aircraft aeropropulsive design optimization that integrates aircraft sizing, propulsion system sizing and distribution, wing design and propeller design will be developed.
The core idea is to optimize all these simultaneously to get the full benefit of distributed electric propulsion. The proposed framework will leverage the open-source tools OpenMDAO (a general framework for the multidisciplinary analysis and optimization) and OpenConcept (an aircraft sizing tool build that uses OpenMDAO). The major advantage of these tools is that they use efficient methods to converge the coupled system and they can compute the sensitivities required for gradient-based optimization. This results in fast optimization cycles, which makes it possible to thoroughly explore trades in the design space.
The goal of the proposed work is to facilitate the DEP integration into an aircraft by developing an open source optimization analysis tool, DEP-MDAO. The followings are the detailed technical objectives of the project:
The proposed tool is directly aligned with NASA CFD Vision 2030 Study and it directly addresses the research challenges of NASA ARMD Strategic Thrust 3: “Ultra-Efficient Commercial Vehicles”.
The resulting tools will be directly applicable for a vast array of aerospace vehicles. DARcorporation envisions the initial NASA market to be primarily in unconventional aircraft design including unconventional UAV design.
The newly developed tool will be offered as a standalone design software to potential customers, such as the US Army, the Air Force and the Navy. The proposed tool will also draw interest from universities, institutes and aircraft manufacturers who frequently explore novel and efficient aircraft designs as well current DARcorporation clients or prospective clients.
Engineers at NASA are faced with the challenge of understanding complex electromagnetic effects that can impact payloads and launch vehicle hardware located under rocket fairings. Approximate approaches for modeling antennas that interact with rocket fairings assume a plane wave incident upon the fairing for external antennas or a simple representation of the antenna (e.g., Hertzian dipole, simple monopole, etc.) for antennas located inside the fairing. However, in certain situations, the precise antenna radiation characteristics can have a large impact on propagation and the distribution of fields within the enclosure. To further complicate matters, EMC engineers must often consider antennas in their analysis for which they do not have geometric or material details.
Electro Magnetic Applications, Inc. (EMA) and the National Institute of Aviation Research (NIAR) at the University of Wichita propose to develop a user-friendly software tool for the estimation of field distributions within large and small spacecraft enclosures due to antennas radiating internal and external to the enclosures. The tool will include a Power Balance (PwB) method solver, a full-wave three-dimensional solver, and a multi-conductor transmission line solver. The tool will be optimized to model antennas and will include features for reverse-engineering COTS antennas that are commonly encountered on NASA missions. Capabilities will also be developed to import existing antenna models from standard antenna simulation tools such as HFSS, CST, FEKO, and WIPL-D. The resulting tool will allow NASA analysts and eventually commercial customers to model field distributions and shielding effectiveness problems for rocket fairings due to internal and external antennas that are radiating prior or during a launch. This tool will be applicable during all stages of the design (from concept to launch) and will represent a major costs savings for NASA.
The proposed tool would be used by engineers at NASA to understand complex electromagnetic effects that can impact payloads and launch vehicle hardware located under rocket fairings. The tool will be used to predict field distributions within rocket fairings due to transmitting antennas located both internal and external to the fairing. The tool will be used to predict the potential for interference or damage to the electronic devices located inside of the fairing as well as human exposure limits for manned vehicle missions.
The software product described in this proposal is applicable to the commercial aerospace industry, military aerospace applications and the automotive industry. There is a very large application space outside of NASA where the software product could be sold along with consulting services.
A quantum network based on quantum entanglement is a potentially revolutionary technology with anticipated applications, such as “blind” quantum computing and secure communications, as well as a host of yet-to-be-discovered uses. To realize the true potential of quantum entanglement, scientists and engineers need standardized and reliable hardware to transmit and receive entangled quantum states of light. A key component of this network will be entanglement distributions transceivers. These components will both generate pairs of entangled photons that can be sent to other nodes within the network as well as receive and analyze photons from other transceiver units. While fiber-based networks may be useful in the near-term, placing such transceivers within a satellite-based network—which is capable of long-distance networking—represents a major milestone for the development of quantum information technologies. Consequently, such components should be low size, weight, and power (SWaP) to be compatible with satellite transmission. To address this challenge, PSI will team with Prof. Paul Kwiat (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, UIUC) and develop a Doppler-compensated Integrated Photonic Time-bin Entanglement Transceiver using a photonic integrated circuit platform. This transceiver will become a standardized component that will facilitate the exploration of quantum-entanglement applications both terrestrially and for space-based missions.
The transceiver technology developed within this program is well-suited for space-based quantum communications, simultaneously having low size, weight, and power requirements while being specifically designed for the challenges of satellite-to-satellite and satellite-to-ground quantum entanglement distribution. In addition to serving as a test platform for NASA’s quantum information research, these transceiver modules will be key components for future NASA missions that may include space-based quantum networking.
The proposed transceiver modules could be added to augment next-generation satellites with quantum capabilities. In addition, this time-based technology, which operates at telecommunication wavelengths, is well-matched to fiber-based quantum networks.
Human missions to the Moon and Mars will require advanced systems to maintain an environment supporting human life. Smart greenhouses are necessary for fresh food supply in long term space missions. Through natural metabolic processes, plants can produce ethylene, which can accumulate in closed environments and have undesirable effects on the plants. These effects can include reduced growth, impaired pollen development and/or fertilization, leaf epinasty, flower abortion, accelerated fruit ripening, and more. Traditional analytical methods used to identify and determine levels of ethylene are time-consuming, technically demanding, and often expensive.
In our NASA STTR Phase 1, we propose to develop a compact, portable and robust battery-powered analytical instrument for monitoring of ultra-low concentrations of ethylene in complex backgrounds. The device is based on principles of analytical gas chromatography (GC) and utilizes a novel highly integrated multisensory detector. Due to implementation of a multisensory detector, the device collects multiple chromatograms in a single run. The sensors in the integrated MEMS platform are near-orthogonal and possess very distinct catalytic properties. Hence, the time separation by chromatographic column is complemented by catalytic separation by a multisensory detector.
The outcome of this GC/MEMS hybrid technology, is the ability to monitor a very broad range of analytes from light to heavy on a relatively short and compact GC column in a short period of time of 12.5 min. Also, the device can perform the analysis in a broad range of concentrations from sub-ppb to hundreds of ppm. Our modular design allows quick interchange columns and detectors to achieve optimum instrument performance. Preliminary testing shows a great promise in utilization of Porapak P column as packing material for chromatography column and a novel multisensory detector for extraction and quantification of ethylene down to 25 ppb.
Compact analytical instrumentation for in-situ instruments and remote exploration of the Moon and Mars are of high impact for NASA space missions. Our proposed instrument is compact, robust and low power, with sensitivity and recognition power for certain classes of chemicals, exceeding the capabilities of conventional gas chromatography, via implementation of a novel highly integrated detector. Our technology is suitable for application in NASAˇs New Frontiers and Discovery missions and in-situ detection of evidence of life in Ocean Worlds.
The potential customer for the proposed product includes small to large companies, civilian & defense government facilities, specialized in: agriculture and plant biology, oil & gas production and distribution, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, water & wastewater, thermal power, food & beverages, pulp & paper, metal & mining, cement & glass, and others utilizing chemically active substances.
It is widely understood that Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) has the inherent capability to dramatically expand our ability to explore the solar system, and to more safely transport human crews within interplanetary space. However, since the Timberwind (TW)/Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program was terminated in 1993, little progress has been made, and no nuclear fuels testing has occurred. Since the recrudescence of NASA’s NTP program, it will be necessary to test fuels prior to developing a useful fuel element, thence a NTP engine. The last Congressional appropriation set a 2020 budget of over $120M for nuclear thermal propulsion with the requirement to perform an early flight test. This proposal addresses using previously developed fuel particle testing information generated by the DOD Timberwind/Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion program, where fuel particle testing was accomplished in the Annular Core Research Reactor at Sandia National Laboratories, and applying it to testing in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reactor Facilities. This proposal will investigate, analyze, and perform preliminary analyses on a new fuel test capsule to be used at MIT. Further, Preliminary and Final Safety Analysis Reports recovery from Sandia archives will be attempted to assist in the safety analysis effort.
NASA is pursuing nuclear thermal propulsion. There are a modest number of concepts associated with their technology developments. Most of the fuel forms and compositions require testing in-core with substantial power and neutron fluence. This proposal directly addresses the need for nuclear fuel testing for NTP.
There are a number of other programs seeking to develop new space and terrestrial reactors, including DARPA and OUDR&E. This testing will enhance their development efforts.
NASA intends to implement components built by additive manufacturing (AM) processes into space-flight systems. To achieve this goal, NASA requires a deeper understanding of the AM process, particularly for current alloy systems and existing AM manufacturing equipment. As a continuation of earlier internal research and development work at SwRI step towards an integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) framework, we propose to develop an extensible framework of the AM process to provide Rapid Additive Manufacturing Build Outcomes - RAMBO. RAMBO will provide thermal histories, microstructure evolution, and material properties of an additively manufactured part built using the powder bed fusion process. We will develop fast-running routines to provide thermal histories during the build process. The thermal routines drive predictions of microstructural features, such as average grain size, material phase fraction, and lack-of-fusion defects. Microstructural features would ultimately in turn drive predictions of mechanical properties (e.g., stress-strain curves) for the additively manufactured material. The focused material system for this initial software development effort will be Ti-6Al-4V. By defining I/O through common interfaces, the RAMBO framework enforces modularity of the software components. As a result, RAMBO will readily accommodate additional physics, new material systems, and novel manufacturing processes provided that the underlying routines conform to the common interface. This software framework would support NASA’s “Vision 2040” to provide robust, interoperable, adaptive, and accessible methods.
Possible NASA applications include: Space flight systems using components built by AM processes include MOXIE, SHERLOC, ion engines, and other spacecraft structural and multi-functional applications. These components would benefit from computationally inexpensive predictions of microstructural features, lack-of-fusion defects, and material properties. Predictions of defect distributions are especially important for high-criticality components under fatigue loading as they may support qualification by probabilistic fracture mechanics.
There is high-overlap between the non-NASA market for RAMBO and users of the DARWIN and NASGRO software products (e.g., AFRL, NAVAIR, aircraft engine OEMs). Efficient prediction of AM outcomes with RAMBO would enable sensitivity studies of AM process parameters on material features without testing on AM machines. Researchers could tailor parameters to optimize microstructure for their application.
ELAS (Electric Lift Augmenting Slats) is an eSTOL technology that combines leading-edge slats with a series of small electric ducted fans (EDFs) accelerating the air between the slat and the airfoil. The core of the ELAS concept is the combination of two technologies.
In 2016 CubCrafters began experimenting with a specialized leading-edge slat to lower the takeoff speed and distance of their aircraft and enhance low-speed maneuverability. Analysis as done using CFD, with units built and flight-tested on a manned research aircraft. The stock craft could take off in 100' with the slat lowering this by 35%. This technology has resulted in a patent disclosure and is at TRL 5.
Parallel to, and independent of the CubCrafters Slat project, Ullman (PI) also began a privately funded project in 2016 to study Electric Ducted Fans (EDFs) enhancing the upper surface flow much like the Boeing's YC-14 and NASA QSRA, but with distributed electric propulsion.
Extensive wind-tunnel testing showed increases in all lift curve characteristics, Clo, Cla, and Clmax. Typical Clmax increases of 117% were seen, implying a potential halving of the takeoff distance. In-flight tests with the JabirWatt (a Jabiru J260 modified for the project), with its 12% EDF coverage, showed a 16% increase in Clmax, resulting in an 8% decrease in the stall speed. This project has resulted in a patent, Distributed Electric Ducted Fan Wing (10,099,793), October 2018, and is currently at TRL5.
The combination of these two technologies in ELAS has potential greater than the sum of their parts but is at TRL 1-2. ELAS's potential will be explored in the proposed research with the development of a baseline configuration complete with performance estimates for a STOL mission and CFD tools for future optimization bringing the concept to TRL 3-4
Beyond the evident importance to CubCrafters, potential applications within NASA include humanitarian aid delivery via aircraft requiring STOL capability; development of a low-cost aerial vehicle for exploration with acquisition and operation costs less than many unpiloted vehicles currently in use; and ELAS application for advanced off-field capability with piloted, optionally-piloted, and unpiloted CubCrafters aircraft. From a research perspective, ELAS is a distributed electric propulsion QSRA technology.
For CubCrafters and other STOL manufacturers, market drivers are centered on aircraft that provide true STOL performance while also offering best in class useful load and cruise speeds. By the core nature of this innovation's purpose, ELAS is directly positioned to enhance all aspects of STOL operations: takeoff, climb, approach and landing, enabling further utility and larger safety margins
Swarms of space vehicles rely on cooperative operations to perform scheduled tasks. This project proposes to improve the design process and operation control of a multi-agent system by using Hierarchical state machines (HSMs). The research will look into theoretical frameworks and methods to visualize HSMs dynamics representing the behavior of a multi-agent system. How an interactive user interface can help engineers and ground operators to predict how each robot and the system will behave in future situations. A prototype of software simulation will be built to demonstrate feasibility at TRL 2.
Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing (CARACaS)
Autonomous Pop-Up Flat-Folding Explorer Robot (A-PUFFER)
In the future of Autonomous Mobility, the offerors see that programming will shift focus beyond the independent-mover and into a swarm ecosystem framework. The innovations proposed in this STTR will play a crucial role in this ecosystem development as human-machine teaming will be integrated within each swarm component as well as on a systematic control level.
We propose to take advantage of the tunable, isotropic properties of Liquid Crystals (LCs) to design two different models for a tunable, LC-based metamaterial (LCM) device. This device will be designed with optimal materials and structures to operate within the visible-to-near-IR spectrum with (a) the capability to tune to multiple wavelengths, (b) the ability to respond to and function with different polarizations of light, and (c) the capability to serve multiple EM attributes such as negative refraction and hyperbolic dispersion. Two different LCM models will be developed in Phase I: (1) LC sandwiched by Uniaxial Anisotropic Metamaterial (UAM), and (2) placing Metal-Dielectric (MD) nanorods in an LC medium. The first design will achieve tunability through variations in an applied electric field to adjust the orientation of the LC medium. The second design will achieve tunability by changing the temperature of the device through changes in an applied voltage across external layers. These two models will be designed using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Finite Element Method (FEM) techniques in order to assign specific optical properties. Modeling with specific optical properties will allow us to conduct Electromagnetic (EM) simulations to find characteristics such as absorption, transmission, and reflection properties of the LCM device. These designs will be optimized to operate with low Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) in order to be easily implemented into systems operating in low-resource environments. This SWaP capability will allow our device to be useful to NASA as an absorber to develop optical filters and spectrometers. At the end of Phase I, we will fabricate an initial prototype and full fabrication and characterization will be done in Phase II.
The LCM’s SWaP capabilities make it ideal for optical components of telescopes or satellites. The LCM’s tunability through external stimuli and metamaterial properties allow for absorption optical filtering which allows us to design a spectrometer in satellite systems. The Iris V2 CubeSat Deep-Space Transponder could implement the LCM for reconfigurable software and firmware in optical communications. An LCM spectrometer could modulate light for the Euclid or Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope to filter light to observe exoplanets.
Satellites and communication systems could use our SWaP-inspired LCM for light modulation, super-resolution, sensing, and beam steering for optical communications. High resolution imaging enables weather monitoring and medical imaging and diagnosis. Tunable LCMs could replace standard spectrometers for chemists and biologists to detect chemicals and malignancy in biological cells or tissue.
Research in Flight and Auburn University are proposing to develop a robust tool and methodology to allow the simulation and modeling of acoustic signatures for Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) air vehicle concepts in the conceptual design phase. These new tools will enable the study of aeroacoustics in much greater detail and with greater fidelity than heretofore deemed practical in the early phases of design. Early aeroacoustic prediction capability will expose potentially problematic acoustic signatures so that configuration changes, and both active and passive noise control technologies can be introduced during conceptual design, thus resulting in significant cost and schedule efficiencies.
In this proposed activity, a simplified acoustic formulation based on the Farassat 1A solution of the Ffowcs Williams-Hawkings (FW-H) Equation will be used. This 1A formulation is a solution of the FW-H equation for thickness and loading noise by integration over the body surface flow, computed by the vorticity-flow solver.
It has been shown with Vortex Lattice flow solvers that the above acoustic formulations can lead to substantial savings in complexity and solution times while maintaining a reasonable level of accuracy for early design stages, especially for rotor noise problems. This activity will extend these findings and couple a simple, easy-to-use, lower-order acoustics tool to a higher-order panel solver such as FlightStream®, which is already in use by NASA for DEP aero-propulsion analysis
FlightStream® has been developed by Research in Flight as a fast, accurate, flow solver using surface-vorticity on the outer mold line of an aircraft. FlightStream® is strikes the proper balance between modeling fidelity and computational tractability. The FlightStream® unsteady solver will be used to solve for the unsteady aero-propulsive loads on the DEP vehicle. This activity will result in the creation of a conceptual-phase Aeroacoustics Toolbox in FlightStream®.
In response to NASA STTR topic T4.04, subtopic 1 - Autonomous operations and tending of science payloads, Stottler Henke proposes to develop Autonomous Payload Operations for Gateway ExperimEnts (APOGEE),an operational concept, system architecture, and integrated set of software components for enabling autonomous payload operations on the Lunar Gateway. APOGEE will automate short-term planning, adaptive task execution, and problem detection and management. It will invoke payload-specific data analyses, coordinate with the POIC, and will provide authoring and modeling tools for specifying the knowledge used by the APOGEE software. The payload operations autonomy enabled by this technology will greatly enhance the science value provided by unmanned spacecraft such as the Lunar Gateway. The proposed research is innovative because it will implement intelligent autonomy that can operate over long periods of time with very limited human supervision. When developing this system, we will draw upon Stottler Henke-developed tools such as the Aurora intelligent scheduling system, the SimBionic intelligent agent toolkit, and the Intelliface autonomous systems architecture. We will also apply our experience using NASA technologies such as the EUROPA planning system and the Action Notation Modeling Language.
The primary NASA application will be autonomous payload operations on board the Lunar Gateway. However, the integration of intelligent subsystems can be also used to provide long-duration autonomy for other manned and unmanned spacecraft and space habitats.
On Earth, this technology could provide a foundation for long-duration autonomy for military command, control, and surveillance systems, mission execution systems, autonomous vehicles, facility maintenance, smart buildings, laboratory automation, autonomous manufacturing and logistics, smart grids and other critical infrastructure, high-availability computing, and freight and passenger vehicles.
The lunar Gateway is a lunar space station that will orbit the Moon in a highly elliptical Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). The Gateway is envisioned as a multi-purpose spacecraft serving as a temporary habitat for astronauts, a science laboratory (for crewed and un-crewed experiments), a communications store/relay, a holding area for other spacecraft and devices, etc. The Gateway requires autonomous system and operations management, including the ability to follow commands (from ground stations and astronauts), fault/degradation detection and diagnosis; warnings, recovery; preventative/precautionary measures; and more. The Gateway includes many subsystems such as the Electrical Power System (EPS) and Communications. The EPS underlies much of the PPE, the HAO, and the Gateway as a whole. We propose Gateway-MAESTRO (GatewayManagement through AdaptivE, autonomous, faulTidentification & diagnosis, Reconfiguration/replanning/reschedulingOptimization) to manage the Gateway system and operations.
During normal operations, Gateway-MAESTRO monitors onboard sensor values in order to: automatically characterize Gateway components and to be prepared to detect failures; based on that characterization, automatically predict resource availability over time; and automatically schedule the actions (i.e., determine what activities will occur and when (along with the modes of the associated equipment)). During a failure scenario, Gateway-MAESTRO would first detect the problem; immediately safe the spacecraft to minimize damage; diagnose the problem and determine the root cause; determine potential feasible courses of action (COAs) given the failed components or set of possible failed components; determine the impact and ramifications of each COA; select the most appropriate COA; generate the detailed schedule/sequence of actions to implement the COA; and finally adaptively execute the required actions.
The direct transition target is the Gateway. Other future manned and unmanned, deep-space and near-Earth NASA spacecraft (and perhaps ground stations) can benefit from autonomous, intelligent system and operations management. Because Gateway-MAESTRO is an open system, other developers can use it to create additional intelligent software. Additional interfaces can be developed over time to increase the number of such options. The planned Phase II demonstration of Gateway-MAESTRO in space onboard an MSU satellite will greatly aid its adoption.
Gateway-MAESTRO technology can be adapted to manage other Government systems (e.g., NOAA, Air Force), and private systems. MAESTRO technology is flexible and follows an open systems architecture. Systems handling fault identification/recovery, planning, scheduling, adaptive execution, etc. can use this technology (and can draw from previous NASA-funded efforts such as our EPS-MAESTRO).
The KAI-UD team proposes to develop a methodology to manufacture continuous carbon fiber-reinforced high-temperature thermoset composite TPS via state-of-the-art (SOTA) additive manufacturing technique. In this proposal, commercially available phthalonitrile (PN) thermoset resin developed by NRL will be used for our Phase I study. As a class of high-temperature high-performance thermosetting polymer, PN resins exhibit many excellent properties including high thermal and oxidative stability, flame retardance, the absence of a Tg before the thermal decomposition temperature, as well as water and chemical resistance. Dr. Kun Fu’s lab at the University of Delaware (UD) has recently developed an additive manufacturing technique, called localized in-plane thermal assisted (LITA) 3D printer, which can print continuous carbon fiber-reinforced thermoset composites. The LITA 3D printing technique overcomes the challenge of traditional 3D printing techniques with high volume fractions of carbon fibers, reduced the fiber misalignment, and minimized the void content. We have high confidence that the combination of the high-temperature resin with the newly-developed LITA 3D printing technique, these new carbon fiber-reinforced thermoset composites will exhibit excellent ablation resistance, insulative and mechanical properties.
The objective for this Phase I project to develop 3D printable continuous carbon fiber-reinforced PN resin composites with low porosity and fiber volume ratios up to 60%. The developed TPS material must be 3D printable to produce a significantly less labor-intensive operation than the current SOTA TPS manufacturing while maintaining the critically rigorous manufacturing standards associated with space flight engineering.
The ESCHER interface is part of a larger concept working to enable swarms of robots to autonomously perform difficult construction tasks while minimizing the cost and complexity of doing so. The interface, designed by Altius for use on Virginia Tech's FASER Lab robots, will leverage existing switchable electropermanent magnet (EPM) technology and Altius custom geometries to provide a high holding force magnetic interface that uses no moving parts and no transient power. The ESCHER interface aims to act as a universal interface, acting not only as the end effector for robotic manipulators, but also as an interface between modular structures, modular robots, individual robots acting as part of a swarm, and between robots and the structures they are manipulating.
During Phase I of this project Altius will leverage their existing technologies, along with FASER’s in-house robotics and algorithm development experience to: 1) Define the mechanical and structural requirements of the ESCHER interface and develop an initial conceptual design, 2) Develop and algorithm that enables the use of the ESCHER interface to perform cooperative robotic assembly tasks, 3) Design, build, and test a brass-board level prototype of the ESCHER interface, 4) Perform an integration of the interface prototype, the developed algorithm, and the existing robotics and demonstrate basic functionality of all systems working together, and 5) Define power and data transfer needs of the interface for integration in a Phase II effort. The Phase II effort would aim to raise the TRL level of the interface to a 6, explore the full solution space of potential applications of the universal ESCHER interface, and finally perform a demonstration of fully autonomous cooperative assembly of a structure using the interfaces and algorithms developed through Phase I and II.
To address the need for thermal protection systems with reduced cost and reduced complexity, with continuity over large areas, thermoset resin nanocomposite materials that are compatible with additive-manufacturing process will be optimized for thermal shielding applications. Additive manufacturing offers significant possibilities for developing and fabricating a thermal protection system (TPS); additive manufacturing can be used to realize heterogeneous structures with complex shapes, and additive manufacturing can be used to create a continuous coating across the surface of a vehicle, eliminating the seams between tiles that would otherwise present weak points in the protection.
Nanocomposite thermoset resins will be designed for high temperature stability and char yield. The materials will be synthesized and fabricated, and the mechanical and thermal properties of the printed samples will be tested and shown to meet the application requirements.
NASA space entry vehicles/ missions require a thermal protection system (TPS) to maintain acceptable temperature. For vehicles traveling at hypersonic speeds in atmosphere, the TPS is a single-point-failure system. Venus probes and landers, Saturn and Uranus probes, and high-speed sample return missions from comets and asteroids are exemplary missions. In addition, the science community needs TPS technology to enable safe deployment of in situ science instruments using probes, landers, balloons, and other instrumented systems.
All commercial space companies are investing in TPS technology. More-efficient technology and commercial operating practices will greatly reduce the cost of human presence in orbit, allowing crew flights from commercial space companies and greater participation in space exploration. The added demand will lower launch costs and enable more customers.
Missions involving the collaboration of multiple heterogeneous assets hosting onboard behavioral logic, including: Earth-observing science, astronomy, interplanetary missions, and planetary exploration. This blockchain communication solution has uses for aerial vehicles (quadcopter swarms) where common operational awareness is needed throughout and communication is minimal due to environmental factors. Orbit Logic’s MISDEF could use blockchain communication technology in its multi-domain Martian theater.
Collaborative asset systems in the government and commercial arenas supporting: Earth monitoring of geographical events or changes, weather, human activity, coordination of multiple satellite-resident sensors in support of collecting and fusing data in support of data analytics. Coordination of space (and ground) assets to support the enhancement of space situational awareness.
For long duration space travel to be practical, regenerative life support capabilities are needed for continual recycling of system resources, including waste streams (urine and wastewater). Nutrient recycling is essential to providing important nutrients and fertilizer for plants. NASA seeks approaches for using in situ waste streams for this purpose. InnoSense LLC (ISL) will develop ACSUMOP™ (Acicular Surface Modified Polymers). ACSUMOP will promote faceted sodium chloride (NaCl) crystal growth and its separation from urine and wastewater in the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) loop. To demonstrate the feasibility in Phase I, ISL will: (1) synthesize and characterize ACSUMOP with varying surface chemistries and morphology and apply as coating on a plastic surface, (2) study the parameters that influence NaCl crystallization on the ACSUMOP surface, (3) demonstrate temperature invariance of NaCl extraction from a solution of mixed salts, (4) measure the crystal sizes and zeta potential of the solutions, and (5) develop and evaluate an ACSUMOP breadboard to extract NaCl and regenerate it using simple mechanical means. In Phase II, ISL will optimize performance of ACSUMOP by: (1) optimizing the surface chemistry of ACSUMOP to improve selectivity to NaCl and durability under operating conditions, (2) evaluating the crystallization rate and solubility control under practical operating conditions in space, (3) scaling up for a 10 L wastewater tank, and (4) developing the automated system to insert, extract and recover the crystallized NaCl regenerating ACSUMOP for reuse. An engineering delivery unit (EDU) level prototype will be delivered to NASA for evaluation and eventual space qualification following Phase II.
ACSUMOP will be a NASA-relevant approach for treating waste streams allowing retrieval of the remaining solid wastes for use as plant fertilizer. The regeneration aspect of ACSUMOP will be conducive to minimizing spent-waste during long-during missions. Spin-off applications can be developed for extracting a variety of mineral nutrients from waste stream.
ACSUMOP can be used to support global water and wastewater treatment. Markets include treatment technologies and related chemicals, delivery equipment and instrumentation (e.g., anaerobic digesters, activated sludge instrumentation, nutrient removal instrumentation, and sedimentation sensors, etc.), for municipal and industrial applications.
NASA needs an advanced sensing technology for in-line measurement of ionic silver in spacecraft potable water systems. Such a sensor should be small, robust, lightweight requiring low-power consumption. This sensor should be compatible with existing systems and capable of stable, continuous, and autonomous measurements of silver for extended periods of time. InnoSense LLC (ISL) will develop an innovative nanomaterial‑enabled Silver ion Monitor (SilMonTM) based on ISL’s patented microelectronic device platform. This project will support NASA needs expressed in 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy, TX06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems (TX06.1.2 Water Recovery and Management). In Phase I, ISL will: (1) design and fabricate the sensor with appropriate recognition molecule, and (2) evaluate the sensor performance. Feasibility will be demonstrated by achieving sensitive and selective detection of silver ion in the concentration range of 10–1000 ppb. In Phase II, we will optimize the sensor design, recognition chemistry and algorithm, fabricate prototypes and perform rigorous characterizations.
During human exploration missions, SilMon will: (1) provide accurate and real-time silver ion concentration monitoring, (2) help optimizing the microbial control in Water Process Assembly by providing feedback to maintain an adequate level of silver ion in the water, and (3) ensure the safety of potable water. SilMon’s versatility can be adapted to monitor potable water for other analytes toward meeting NASA needs.
SilMon will have significant commercial applications in the food industry, water and environmental monitoring, and water purification systems. As spin-off applications, SilMon can be modified with appropriate capturing agents for monitoring other ions or organic molecules.
Soar Technology, Inc. (SoarTech) and Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) will research and develop a digital assistant ("Ada") that can help NASA experts search for and effectively use scientific and technical information (STI) in their work. Ada can provide cognitive support in high-effort search tasks, like examining details of more sources, and use tasks, like applying search results to produce a work product.
Our team has already created a search tool to help examine and use STI in complex information environments, which will enable us to quickly prototype a digital assistant with search at its center. We propose to transform the search tool into a digital assistant by adding NASA-specific knowledge structures, tailored user interactions that make relevant details within STI accessible, and cognitive support dialogs to help users accomplish work. The increased interactivity and self-improvement are key to make Ada into a research partner rather than a tool.
Enhancing search with cognitive support functions is made possible by innovative machine intelligence -- cognitive modeling that reasons about tasks and user needs, as well as structured machine learning (ML) that uses symbolic knowledge structures to make deep learning more efficient and accurate. The proposal team have worked together and in parallel on related science and technology, allowing Ada to leverage millions of dollars in funded research progress.
Our proposed Phase I research will produce a software prototype that helps examine and use search results, a demonstration of structured ML feasibility, and designs for adding new interactivity and cognitive support. Phase II will implement, deploy, and test a full digital assistant that can build on the knowledge in search products to help the user accomplish a work task with interactive, tailored cognitive support.
Within NASA research centers, Ada could be useful to a lab-based engineer who has a concrete goal to understand the state of the art and needs to explore alternatives, tradeoffs, or lessons learned. In addition, Ada could also support a basic scientist who is expert in her own field but needs to interact with other fields to find connections that enable application. Ada could also be a digital assistant for patent lawyers who need to search across many fields of expertise and communicate effectively with experts to differentiate prior work.
Ada could be offered as a service to academics or industry researchers. As a more capable and interactive system, Ada could also be licensed to large textbook companies or others who offer knowledge, education, or search products. Ada could help meet a need in competitive modern industry to keep a specialized workforce trained in critical thinking using up-to-date information.
This proposal presents an innovation in Focus Area 23: “Digital Transformation for Aerospace”, in subarea “T11.04: Digital Assistants for Science and Engineering”.
We propose creating a set of related artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) technologies that operates on collections of documents, and extracts the necessary information to assist in the creation of new similar documents as well as verify the compliance of the documents that were created. We propose to do so in a domain-independent way, not being limited to a particular domain and class of document.
The innovation could be later used to create digital assistants that address many of the priority tasks already pointed out by NASA experts as being of top priority. For example, it could identify current or past work related to an idea; serve as a digital assistant that can highlight lessons learned, suggest reusable assets, highlight past solutions or suggest collaborators based on the content; or serve as a base for a digital assistant that can create one or more component or system designs from a concept of operations, a set of high-level requirements, or a performance specification.
The proposal is aligned with NASA priorities on the 2020 SBIR/STTR research topics. In particular, digital assistants that:
-use engineering artifacts (e.g., requirements, design, verification) to automate traces among the artifacts and to assess completeness and consistency of traced content,
-identify current or past work related to an idea by providing a list of related documents, publications, etc.
-recommend an action in realtime to operators of a facility, vehicle, or other physical assets.
Docugami aims at changing how we use and relate to documents. With that objective, the innovation proposed here is intended to be incorporated into our general-use product. Application domains that are very document-focused that would be natural use cases of this innovation. For example, law, medicine, and real state, back-end databases, check for regulatory compliance, analyze trends, etc.
Orbit Logic is teamed with the University of Colorado at Boulder to develop Intelligent Navigation, Planning, and Autonomy for Swarm Systems (IN-PASS). The proposed technology builds on proven software – to enable flexible composition of collaborative mission concepts assessed in an open simulation environment. The focus of IN-PASS is rover autonomous navigation – specifically development of onboard algorithms to reduce uncertainty in rover localization minimizing use of onboard resources. The solution will apply to a heterogeneous swarm of lunar orbital and surface assets. For example, a constellation of CubeSats provides GPS-like navigation services to aid onboard estimation of rover state to inform onboard planning. When a limited number of satellites are deployed, the constellation cannot continually provide measurement support; hence the system will use Event-Trigged Distributed Data Fusion (ET-DDF) between swarm assets to maintain a high-degree of state knowledge with minimal data exchange. Team awareness is critical to coordinating activities to achieve mission goals while optimizing use of asset resources and responding to dynamic events. Mission plan optimization determines resources to engage during certain mission phases to ensure success. This is particularly true for inter-asset communications or localization, which employ hardware components and processing that utilize significant stored energy. This STTR focuses on development of onboard planning algorithms based on formal methods that determine the degree of resource utilization required to successfully achieve mission activities. Earth-based mission control operators or astronauts participating in-the-loop with these swarms will specify mission goals. The proposed research considers the most effective interaction between humans and swarm elements including specification of goals, interactive feedback on viability of the human’s requests, and ultimate delivery of the resulting science to the human.
Missions with autonomous control, coordination, and localization of heterogenous assets operating in dynamic environments: planetary surface exploration; survey, sampling, and characterization; surface collaborative infrastructure construction/repair; planetary orbital asset collaboration for optimized/event-based space-ground sensor collection/processing; convoys of spacecraft en-route to solar system destinations; coordinating science team behaviors for faults/anomalies. IN-PASS is suitable for small or large swarms.
Collaborative Earth observing satellite constellations, coordinated space/ground sensor systems supporting enhanced space situational awareness, coordination of data chain orchestration for data analytics, collaborative autonomous maritime (surface and underwater) missions, coordination of teams of ground orbits and/or air vehicles for science, search/rescue.
After landing, the lunar lander liquid oxygen tank may contain as much as 5% residual oxygen that is pressurized with helium. TDA Research proposes to develop an oxygen recovery module which separates the helium from the oxygen so that the remaining high purity oxygen can be readily supplied to life-support equipment and fuel cells. The oxygen recovery module uses an advanced sorbent that has a high capacity and selectivity for oxygen, which minimizes the system’s mass and volume. The system operates using a pressure-swing adsorption cycle with automated valves, which require only minimal power for operation. The system does not require power-hungry equipment, such as heaters or compressors. In Phase I we will optimize the advanced sorbent for this application, optimize the adsorption/desorption cycles, and test the sorbent in realistic operating conditions with a helium-pressurized liquid oxygen tank. In Phase II we will build and test a high-fidelity prototype.
The main attraction of our research to NASA is its ability to provide a lightweight, compact and efficient O2 recovery system to reduce potential waste during from the propellant tanks vent lines that will minimize the expendable requirements. Following successful completion of the development, the unit may find application for use in the Lunar lander.
The new sorbent could find application in commodity oxygen production. The conventional Pressure Swing Adsorption based air separation systems that reversible adsorb nitrogen (but not oxygen) produces an expensive oxygen product. The sorbent developed in this project could be used in an oxygen selective PSA, which could potentially be smaller and more energy efficient.
Vistex’s patented Pressure Focusing Layer (PFL™) technology utilizes a computationally optimized mold set that provides the same uniform pressure and temperature as an autoclave. NASA calls for an innovative out-of-autoclave processing method for thin-gauge structures. Vistex’s PFL process directly addresses this need. Specifically, the PFL process’ core strength is its ability to achieve the, subtopic requested, uniform temperature and pressure during processing. Vistex has already shown in its current configuration that it achieves “better final products with less process-related defects and part-to-part variability.” With the additional proposed innovation of modifying the PFL process to include a screw-based clamping pressure configuration, Vistex will be able to directly address NASA cost and equipment concerns.
The proposed scope of work lays the foundation for the PFL technology to be applied for large scale boom and aerospace structures in Phase II. Specifically, it validates that the PFL process works for thin-gauge composites, through pressure profiling, mechanical characterization and thermography to detect defects. Vistex will also produce a demonstration lenticular boom to validate its approach for larger structures. Vistex believes a successful Phase I and Phase II will lead to production of thin-gauge composite booms of multiple designs, as well as aerospace structural components using its low-cost OOA process.
Vistex’s PFL technology has many applications within NASA including the out-of-autoclave low-cost manufacture of large composite booms. This has many applications for such as small format packaging and reliable deployment of structural booms for power, communication, and scientific instruments. Additionally Vistex believes its PFL technology will enable low cost secondary structures for the aerospace structures.
Composite booms have many useful commercial and DOD applications in space and terrestrial environments. Booms could have applications in self-assembling structures in terrestrial environments, and in commercial satellite applications. In aerospace, Vistex has proven a cost effective process for the fabrication of drone structural components which would also benefit from thin-gauge composites.
In this NASA STTR project, Aegis Technology is teamed with Cornell University and proposes to develop a novel class of all-solid-state Li-ion batteries (ASSLiBs) based on a proprietary solid electrolyte and a novel cell structure design. This electrolyte can provide not only high ionic conductivities, but also wide operating temperature ranges, and good compatibilities with designed electrodes. By integrating this class of electrolytes with properly designed high energy electrodes, interfacial resistance issues oftentimes found in conventional ASSLiBs can be effectively addressed, resulting in more desirable battery performance such as enhanced energy/power densities, improved cyclability, and excellent safety. In addition, the proposed ASSLiBs can be processed using an industrially mature multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCCs) processing technology, allowing for the mass production in a cost-effective and scalable manner. Phase I will focus on the feasibility demonstration of the proposed technology, through material design, processing, prototyping and characterizations, in which small-scaled ASSLiB cells will be prototyped and demonstrated. In Phase II, further optimization, scaling up, characterization and evaluation will be carried out for both scaled-up material design/processing and the full-scale cell fabrication, which will pave the way to the successful development of a commercially viable battery product suitable for NASA and other military/civil applications.
High performance, long cycling life, and low costs ASSLiBs, once successfully developed, will find wide applications in NASA systems. EAP is an area of strong and growing interest in NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). High performance ASSLiBs are required for aircraft to have sufficient range, safety, and operational economics for regular service. It will fulfill the markets needs for span Urban Air Mobility (UAM), thin/short haul aviation, and commercial air transport vehicles which use electrified aircraft propulsion.
Potential non-nasa applications include both military systems (such as silent watch applications, electric vehicle and spacecraft) and commercial systems (hybrid electric, all electric power generation as well as distributed propulsive power).
CTEN Global Strategies, LLC, with a wealth of experience in aviation and business, focuses on investing in technology, and then looking for ways to implement that technology in the market place to bring solutions to truly challenging problems.
A clear problem exists when teams of engineers are working to develop components of a complex system, from engine mounts, to an entire electrical grid for a satellite, or they are managing a collage of resources that must function as a highly efficient ecosystem. They must be able to know with 100% certainty what’s the correct version of a set of engineered drawings or what the current functional capacity of distributed resources might be at any given time. They need one source of Truth.
The solution to these scenarios is in a technology that CTEN Global is invested in called, Hedera Hashgraph. Hedera is a public distributed ledger technology (DLT) that solves all of the challenges and inefficiencies of the blockchain (commonly associated with Bitcoin and Ethereum). Unlike blockchain, Hedera Hashgraph provides for transaction speeds up to 500,000 per second (with over 900,000 a day just in beta phase), the highest known level of security (Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance), and a world class governance council that includes Boeing, Google, and IBM, among others, as invested managing members.
CTEN Global, and it’s exceptional partners and advisors, propose to meet the needs of NASA and future commercial clients by developing a Decentralized Application (Dapp) that provides a trust-worthy, robust, encrypted File Service Dapp and a Space Mission Mgmt. Dapp built on the Hedera Hashgraph distributed ledger network, providing enterprise level (1) Performance, (2) Security, (3) Governance, (4) Stability, and (5) Regulatory Compliance.
The File Service Dapp, meets NASA's Model Based System Engineering need, by providing enterprise level secure file storage, transfer, management, and version tracking among users, providing one source of “truth” for distributed parties.
The Space Mission Management Dapp will track and receive real time status reports on key ground, space, and communication resources, providing a verifiable decentralized source of “truth” for the management of those resources with maximum efficiency.
The File Service Dapp solution can be utilized by any engineering group or manufacturer that has many people and components that require careful attention to version history of files, thus allowing for efficient coordinated efforts. In example, aircraft manufacturing.
The Resource Mgmt Dapp matching engines and supply chain negotiations of resources, can be used in air traffic or in airlines.
This project aims at developing a modeling framework capable of accurately predicting the nonlinear viscoelastic and time-dependent yield behavior of thin-ply composite laminates for the reliable design of deployable spacecraft structures. For applications in deployable spacecraft structures, thin-ply composites are currently made from spread-tow carbon fabrics impregnated with epoxy polymer matrices. The polymer matrix exhibits a strongly time-dependent mechanical response, which means that its current stress or strain state is influenced by the loading and temperature histories. Polymers go through several distinct regimes of behavior as the strain level increases, which are characterized by linear viscoelasticity, nonlinear viscoelasticity, time-dependent yielding, viscoplasticity, and time-dependent fracture. A complete constitutive description of all these deformation stages, and incorporation of these behaviors in thin-ply composite laminates, is highly challenging and requires a multi-year effort, but is critical because composite deployable structures are folded to high curvatures for extended periods of time. Previous experiments have shown that an extended stowage time can lead to incomplete deployment, like in the case of the MARSIS instrument in the Mars Express Orbiter mission, and partially recovered deployed shape, resulting in low performance and reliability.
The proposed effort is a step towards meeting this challenge by focusing on modeling the nonlinear viscoelastic response that precedes permanent deformation as well as the time-dependent yield limits of thin-ply composites. The underlying computational framework is based on the mechanics of structure genome (MSG) [ref msg paper], a recently discovered unified approach for multiscale constitutive modeling of composite structures, and formulated with finite kinematic measures. The material constitutive models are physics-based and informed by appropriate experiments.
Commercial aerospace, defense, auto, marine, energy, recreation:
For long duration space missions beyond LEO there is a wealth of COTS hardware that could potentially be implemented for non-critical tasks within heavily shielded spacecraft cabins. To employ COTS systems for such missions, we propose to use a simulation/experimental/statistical approach for risk acceptance Radiation Hardness Assurance (RHA) suitable for Cis-Lunar and Cis-Mars missions. The simulation component will make use of Monte Carlo N-Particle transport codes to compute the likely secondary radiation environment within the spacecraft and determine the experimental parameters. The experimental component will bombard functioning COTS electronic samples in the AAMU Pelletron accelerator facilities in conditions as similar as possible to those found inside the shielded spacecraft cabins. The statistical component will comprise of a Bayesian methodology combined with an AI Decision Network capable of using a broad variety of historical, similarity, heritage, and specific experimental data for improved qualification and risk mitigation. At the completion of Phase I we expect to have demonstrated a robust and accurate RHA methodology that can be tailored to the risk tolerance appropriate for COTS electronic hardware. The Phase II program will refine and standardize the simulation techniques, testing will be conducted at accelerator facilities with energies >100MeV with a wider array of COTS electronics, and the statistical methodology will be refined. Additionally, in Phase II we will pursue commercialization of this risk acceptance RHA methodology to the nascent commercial space sector.
This project addresses the very real need for reduced cost and increased quality for Radiation Hardness Assurance of COTS electronics in planned and future spacecraft designs. Upcoming manned and unmanned missions beyond LEO have an increased need for computing power for scientific, mission crucial tasks. Our team proposes a modeling and component testing-based approach with the application of robust statistical methods to facilitate high-accuracy, low-cost analysis to enable the deployment of COTS electronics in shielded space environments.
Streamline Automation will market to COTS electronics manufacturers interested in qualifying and pre-qualifying their hardware for radiation resistance for component risk and failure analysis. This novel approach will grant a competitive advantage in the private space industry, and for industrial electronic failure analysis.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) will play a large role in the development for NASA’s next generation of space flight systems. However, without a deeper understanding of various additive processes available, it is difficult to use the technologies reliably. In order to predict the results for dimensional accuracy, microstructure formation, and defect initiation points, FormAlloy and New Mexico State University proposes to develop a data-driven model of the directed energy deposition (DED) process. The models will be derived from data generated by in-situ monitoring with acoustic emissions (AE), thermal, and vision sensing modalities during deposition process and mechanical, metallurgical, and nonlinear ultrasound evaluations post-build.
The sensing modalities will be installed within one of FormAlloy’s award-winning DED systems and data will be collected during the deposition of two materials of interest for NASA, Inconel 625 and GRCop-42. Several parameter sets will be utilized to generate samples for evaluation with a wide range of microstructures and mechanical properties. The approach presented here shall potentially set the framework other material systems within DED and other AM processes of interest, such as laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF). Once the models are validated, FormAlloy and NMSU would proceed with a Phase II to develop a software package to deliver accelerated development cycles and improved part quality for additive manufacturing processes.
The proposed solution of creating a data-driven model of the DED process will inspire confidence and help develop a deeper understanding of the AM process for future NASA designs and applications. The DED process is an AM technology of interest due its ability to manufacture large parts and with multiple materials within the same build. By having a model of the process to predict where issues may arise during the build process, NASA would reduce the cycle time in developing new propulsion hardware.
By commercializing a modeling software that promotes defect-free builds within a DED technology capable of build multi-material large components, FormAlloy would distinguish itself further amidst the DED competition and AM technologies available. The software generated within a Phase II proposal can help the various industries develop a deeper understanding of the growing AM technologies.
High pressure (HP) cold spray (CS) is superior to low pressure cold spray and will be developed into an additive manufacturing method for GRCop-42 with the means of gradually transitioning to another material.
HP CS is a solid-state method that creates deposits with low porosity, high strength, and compressive residual stresses, avoiding problems from melting and resolidification of feedstock such as oxidation, inclusions, hot tearing, cracking, and alloying element segregation. Grain structures tend to be highly refined, promoting good mechanical properties.
HP cold spray is not adapted to freeform additive manufacturing so the proposed work will address this. Thick deposits form an “angle of repose” unique to each material and in Phase I spray strategies to achieve straight-walled simple geometries of GRCop-42 will be developed. The focus will be on nozzle angle and positioning as the deposit builds; the movement parameters will be key for future efforts to automate the process.
Concepts for further development in Phase II will be generated while the ability to transition from GRCop-42 to another material will be demonstrated using ongoing developments at VRC.
TA 12 Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems and Manufacturing
H5.02 Hot Structure Technology for Aerospace Vehicles
Z3.03 Development of Material Joining Technologies and Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing Processes for On-Orbit Manufacturing and Construction
This program will develop a new class of 'on-a-chip' quantum transceivers that can operate at T ~ 250K range with performance meeting NASA's needs for secure ultra-high-speed data free-space communications for future aerospace applications. Ground-to-satellite and satellite-to-satellite quantum encrypted communications, distributed sensing, and networking demand a disruptive ‘on-a-chip’ technology that permits ultra-efficient, high-speed entangled-photon generation and single-photon detection packaged to provide low size, weight, power, and cost. The program integrates technology developed by both the University of California, Santa Barbara, (UCSB) and Amethyst. The UCSB Team has demonstrated a <0.4 dB/cm loss AlGaAs-on-insulator photonics platform for entangled-photon pair generation. Signal rates >10 GHz/mW2 have been demonstrated—at least 100X faster than all other approaches and 10,000X faster than silicon integrated-photonic sources. Waveguide-integrated superconducting single-photon detectors have also been demonstrated with sub-40 ps timing jitter, sub-milli-Hertz dark count rates, unity quantum efficiency, and -40 dB crosstalk. The Amethyst team has demonstrated InGaAs/InP single-photon avalanche detectors (SPADs) capable of >100 MHz bandwidth at 250 K by using gating and proprietary bulk defect passivation techniques. By integrating these source and detector technologies, the program will develop a high-speed quantum transceiver with an entangled-photon source and on-chip photonic conditioning components (transmitter) and photonic interferometric circuits with waveguide-integrated single-photon detectors (receiver). This ‘on-a-chip’ quantum transceiver will be capable of uncompromised 'qubit' detection. The Phase I program will deliver an emitter and detector device at TRL 4. This will provide the necessary platform for Phase II: A full systems-level design, fabrication and testing of an ‘on-a-chip’ AlGaAsOI/SPAD quantum photonic transceiver.
The development of a quantum photonic transceiver is vital to meet NASA’s mission objectives for a scalable quantum network architecture, including distributed quantum sensing, improved timing, and secure communications. The program directly addresses the needs of the Deep Space Optical Communications program, which seeks to improve communications performance 10 to 100 times over the current state-of-the-art without increasing mass, volume, or power, which this proposal addresses.
There is a significant and pressing need for a low SWaP chip-scale quantum photonic transceiver that can provide robust and secure high-speed satellite-to-satellite and satellite-to-ground communications to meet the ever-growing security and bandwidth requirements of the commercial communications market.
Multi-satellite swarms are becoming popular due to their low costs and short development time. Instead of large and costly monolithic satellites, small satellite swarms can be flown as distributed sensing applications for atmospheric sampling, distributed antennas, synthetic apertures among other exciting applications, delivering an even greater mission capability. This Phase-I project contributes to the development and demonstration of a mission operations system for robust, coordinated operation of mobile agent swarms in dynamic environments. Through a collaboration with the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, Intersetel Technologies’ Comprehensive Open-architecture Solution for Mission Operations Systems (iCOSMOS) will be enhanced to coordinate and control swarms of space vehicles and other assets. The proposed iCOSMOS-Swarm will enable motion planning for large numbers of agents in densely crowded areas and robust position estimation with built-in cooperative localization. The major tasks include (1) the development of a scalable multi-agent coordination module to coordinate large agent swarms, a multi-nodal software architecture for diverse (heterogeneous) assets, and a hierarchical cooperative localization module for robust inter-agent positioning, (2) enhanced system performance with improved data handling and nodal message passing and dynamic system configuration for node addition and removal, and (3) significantly enhanced simulation capabilities to support up to at least 100 simultaneous nodes, end-to-end simulation of 20 satellite nodes in real time or up to at least 1000x realtime, and full visualization of the mission plans before execution. The anticipated results include the software source code for iCOSMOS-Swarm and the results from a baseline benchmark mission with one microsat and 4~8 CubeSats to collect dynamic, multi-dimensional data sets over a wildfire outbreak event through the use of multiple detectors, spread out in time, space and spectrum.
iCOSMOS-Swarm will enable scalable mission control for multiple diverse assets simultaneously for terrestrial or planetary Earth, lunar, or Mars missions with diverse NASA assets including aerial, ground, subterranean, and underwater agents. Example missions include, but are not limited to, monitoring of large-scale dynamic events (e.g. wildfire outbreak) with convoy agents and following sensing agents or the formation and maintenance of leader-follower satellite constellation for volumetric remote sensing.
iCOSMOS-Swarm will also benefit other government agencies in space assets management, fast-growing startup companies in need of low-cost structures to control and support small satellites, academic institutes in supporting space technologies education at low costs, and mission control and management for open-access or shared robotics testbeds, warehouse robots, or other non-space applications.
Water recovery from wastewater sources is a key to long duration human exploration missions. Regenerative systems are utilized on the International Space Station (ISS) to recycle water from humidity condensate and urine. However, two organic compounds, dimethylsilanediol (DMSD) and dimethyl sulfone (DMSO2), are problematic to water processor assembly (WPA) in the ISS. DMSD is a silicon-containing degradation byproduct from siloxane-based compounds. It can contaminate ISS potable water quality standards over time, requiring premature multi-filtration (MF) bed replacement. DMSO2 is a sulfur-containing metabolic byproduct that accumulates in the oxygen generation assembly’s (OGA) water recirculation loop and ends up in the hydrogen product stream, and slowly poisons the Sabatier catalyst over time by sulfur exposure. Hence, there is a need to develop high capacity sorbents that remove these contaminants while being compatible with the ISS WPA. This will benefit both current manned and future exploration missions.
In this proposed STTR project TDA Research in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (UPRM), will develop highly efficient nanoporous sorbents to remove DMSD and DMSO2 removal from processed waste water from the WPA. These sorbent beds will be sized and integrated with the MF beds and replaced under regular maintenance schedules. In Phase I we will optimize the sorbent’s formulations to increase their capacity for DMSD and DMSO2 adsorption. We will then complete the initial scale-up of the sorbent to increase the preparation batch size by 2-5x and demonstrate DMSD and DMSO2 removal under representative conditions in a fixed bed adsorption process, elevating the TRL to 4. In Phase II, we will further scale-up the sorbent production and build a high fidelity prototype assembly, and demonstrate the sorbent beds under conditions representative of the MF beds in the WPA, elevating the TRL to 6.
Potential NASA applications include control of recalcitrant problem contaminants such as DMSD and DMSO2 in the water processor assembly and increase the life of the multi-filtration bed by increasing its selectivity and capacity for these contaminants. Our sorbents will also protect the catalysts used in the oxygen generation assembly (OGA) and the Sabatier Reactor.
Potential commercial applications include removal of siloxanes, silanediols and sulfones from municipal wastewater treatment plants, and purification of the biogas generated from them. Common healthcare and biomedical products, and various industrial processes contain siloxanes that are bio-accumulative and toxic contaminants and are introduced to wastewater.
Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics systems operated in highly-shielded enclosures (HSE) will all require power supplies or DC/DC converters to power the signal processing electronics. Most power supplies are based on switching converters that require power transistors, diodes, gate drivers, and control ICs that regulate the power. These components in a COTS assembly will all be unhardened commercial components that are sensitive to single event effects (SEE). Our objective is to develop the tools to predict which of these components are capable of tolerating the SEE and later validate the tools by experiments.
Inside an HSE in space, the residual particle spectrum after filtering the space heavy-ion environment will consist of neutrons, protons, and alpha particles. These particles, when incident on a semiconductor device can produce secondary ion species through collisions, resulting in short-range energetic ions that can cause single-event effects. Consequently, the question addressed in the proposed work is whether commercial power converters can tolerate the secondary ion effects that will occur when operated in a highly-shielded environment.
Busek and Vanderbilt University propose to use radiation transport modeling to determine the particle spectrum inside packaging enclosures and the result of the particles in the interior package environment impinging on semiconductor devices and producing secondary ions. We will calculate the spectrum of the secondary ions in Phase I. We will support the modeling with a low-energy ion test on representative components with a low-cost ion beam to find experimentally their sensitivities to the secondary ions.
In Phase II, a high-energy accelerator heavy-ion test will be conducted with the calculated secondary ion spectrum as a proxy test. We will also seek opportunities to demonstrate a COTS DC/DC converter in HSE such as the International Space Station as a validation of the modeling approach and prediction.
NASA plans many missions that require human presence living in habitats that are substantially free of ionizing radiation. However, no habitat can block high energy galactic particles or heavy high energy ions. Hence all EEE parts in such habitat must be SEE tolerant. Conventional rad hard EEE parts are very costly, less capable, and advanced chips ubiquitous in terrestrial applications don’t exist for space applications. When SEE tolerant COTS power converters are available they will proliferate thought-out the space industry.
SEE tolerant COTS power converters would bring dramatic cost benefits to DoD missions and commercial spacecraft industry. While most ionizing radiation can be effectively shielded, no amount of shielding material can block high energy particles. When combined with effective radiation shielding, SEE tolerant COTS power converters would significantly reduce the costs for all commercial missions.
Prewitt Ridge, Inc proposes Trusted Working Copies, a project integrating blockchain technology into a model-based systems engineering software workflow as to allow multidisciplinary, multi-company and multi-agency teams to design systems using cutting edge systems engineering technologies while also ensuring that model revisions are consistently tracked and verified in a distributed, authoritative manner. This proposal demonstrates the feasibility of using blockchain technologies to robustly track the development of separate, key subsystems that must successfully integrate into a larger Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) environment on a complex project. In complex system design, individual subsystems are typically designed using a subsystem-specific engineering tool by Subject Matter Experts (SME). These individual tools generate file formats or interfaces that are not compatible for assessment in other engineering tools. The job of a Systems Engineer (or multiple Systems Engineers) often evolves into keeping track of the various requirements, system models, system designs, etc., and ensuring that the revisions of these models are consistent across the entire system design. Design work flows from the systems engineer to specific SMEs. These SMEs then need to fully own how their work integrates into the whole; with our method, we anticipate less overhead in interface management, change tracking, and verification by the SMEs. Our method proposes using blockchain technology to manage modification of the distributed components of truth against the initial authoritative source of truth. Through this method we expect to realize a trusted and distributed approach to systems engineering.
After a successful Phase II, we expect NASA to be able to use this technology to manage technical work at its disparate NASA centers and subcontractors during complex development efforts for spacecraft, launch vehicles, and aircraft. Trusted Working Copies will enable NASA’s activities to be more efficient and lower risk through Blockchain support of more automated creation, execution, and completion verification of engineering artifacts during the system design process.
Prewitt Ridge, Inc. fully intends to market this technology as a key competitive advantage to use the Verve ecosystem of Systems Engineering products. As Verve has a target market of not only spacecraft, but also small UAVs, medical devices, and other multi-party, documentation-critical complex projects in key markets, we intend to make this technology available to those markets as well.
NASA requires significant advancements to Thermal Protection System (TPS) manufacturing processes to achieve the goals of improved performance, quality, and reduced cost of human-rated spacecraft. Advances in additive manufacturing (AM) and high temperature materials provide an opportunity to develop a thermoset resin-based process to reduce the cost and complexity of TPS manufacturing. The proposed Phase I effort will develop a high temperature, UV-cured thermoset composite for AM of TPS directly onto spacecraft structures that meets all performance requirements. A custom polysiloxane system will be developed for AM TPS structures using an extrusion-based methodology. To optimize the new design, test structures will be fabricated, tested, and evaluated to determine the best processing parameters, photoinitiators, additives, and processing temperatures to optimize working life to ensure a 3D printed part with crosslinking between layers. The design process will iteratively account for the interaction between constituent materials, architecture, and process until the design is optimized with respect to performance, weight, and cost. The thermal and physical properties of the developed TPS material will be characterized to ensure that the material is sufficiently cured to generate the desired material properties.
Potential NASA commercial applications include TPS for atmospheric reentry, gun launch access to space capsules, hypersonic leading edges and control surfaces, rocket nozzle inlets and throats, rocket engine components, combustion liners, jet vanes, and burners. These and other applications that may experience extremely high thermal gradients could benefit both the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) and Science Mission Directorate (SMD).
Non-NASA applications include TPS for commercial spacecraft, ballistic missiles, ablative tiles for VLS, nose cone materials for hypervelocity projectiles, high speed airframes, propulsion components, hypersonic applications, directed energy research, high power plasma processing, fire retardant structural/protective materials, reentry ablatives, and high temperature exhaust systems.
To support ultrasensitive detection and measurement in NASA aerospace applications, the development of quantum sensing and measurement (QSM) plays the key role, which involves a wide range of technologies and instruments whose performance is not constrained by the boundaries of classical physics. Single-photon counting has become one of the core techniques in remote sensing, measurement, and optical communications. Thorough characterization of the detection capability of a single-photon detector is required for accurate QSM applications. Compared to the conventional radiant-power-measurement-based method, the photon-pair-based correlated approach, in which the detection of one photon heralds the other photon of the pair with certainty, is well suited for straightforward photon counting calibration. So far, the most widely used ‘workhorse’ for generating photon pairs have been dominated by parametric down-conversion, which, however is intrinsically probabilistic. Aiming at on-demand generation of photon pairs for correlated calibration of SPDs, Nanohmics, Inc. and Prof. Anton Malko’s research group at the University of Texas at Dallas, in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer A. Hollingsworth at Los Alamos National Laboratory, propose to develop high-brightness single-photon pair sources based on biexciton cascade of single colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals.
The proposed on-demand high-brightness single-photon pair sources will provide a critical component for straightforward correlated calibration of single-photon counting detectors on the ground and aboard space instruments in NASA missions.
The proposed development has the potential to increase the measurement precision and reliability of the detection efficiency of single-photon detectors without any ties to externally calibrated standards.
Potential non-NASA applications will include the use of the developed technology for calibration of single-photon counting detectors for a broad range of conventional optical applications. The proposed effort will also produce a hybrid exciton-plasmon structure that could be further engineered and optimized for the generation of entangled photon pairs for various quantum information applications.
In-space cryogenic propellant transfer is a key enabling technology for future long duration space exploration missions. However, successfully refueling tankage with cryogenic propellants in space presents significant challenges related to the chilldown of the receiving tank. There is a limited supply of propellant in space depots and the cold propellant itself has to be used for chilldown purposes utilizing non-vented filling procedures while maintaining the pressure in the receiving tank below a prescribed threshold. Although filling protocols such as pulsed-injection and charge-vent-hold have been developed to optimally achieve high fill-levels during the refueling process, the success of attaining high fill refuel levels is largely dependent on the cooling efficiency of the tank walls and the ullage. It is envisioned that tank cooling will be facilitated by spray injection nozzles that remove thermal energy rapidly from the system minimizing boil-off, propellant loss and chilldown time. The innovation described in this proposal is a collaborative effort between CRAFT Tech and the University of Connecticut that involves detailed experimental visualization and diagnostic measurements involving the interaction of spray nozzles with tank environments and utilizing these observations for the development of specialized spray cooling models in a high-fidelity multiphysics simulation framework.
The technology will benefit NASA’s Reduced Gravity Cryogenic Transfer program by providing design support for critical components such as spray injection nozzles and predicting the amount propellant required for chilldown. Cryogenic propellant storage and transfer is critical to nearly all NASA’s future human exploration missions including the imminent Moon Gateway Mission and the more distant Mars Exploration Campaign. The success of these missions is reliant on reliable CFM including protocols for propellant storage and transfer.
The technology can be used to support launch activities related to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket as well as Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. Other applications include the design of cryogenic spray nozzles for advanced propulsion concepts. Non-Aerospace applications include the medical applications such as preservation of tissues (surgery) and organs (transplant), to life-support systems.
The proposed innovation is a process simulation tool for thin ply composites. This simulation tool will represent major process attributes and allow user to make low risk, high quality parts. Furthermore, this tool will help to guide selection of tooling materials and processing conditions to avoid unwanted distortion, which is an issue that plagues thin ply composite parts. Phase I will focus developing and validating a methodology and workflow with which to approach this problem that will be fully developed in Phase II. Future project vision involves turning into a software tool or an existing software tool like RAVEN or COMPRO for ABAQUS or ANSYS.
Using COMPRO with a general-purpose finite element environments such as ABAQUS or ANSYS the methodology, workflow and necessary characterizations (material, process conditions, and boundary conditions) will be identified and demonstrated to capture the manufacturing process-induced deformations and residual stresses adapted to thin-ply composite structures. The ability to model/simulate the process and induced distortions in these types of very thin composites does not currently exist. These tools/methodologies, once developed, will result in a better understanding of the contribution of material property evolution, tooling material properties, tool part interaction, and process conditions to the internal stress evolution and final part distortion. This understanding will be used to guide material, tool and process changes to reduce variation and meet final part geometric requirements. This methodology, once validated, can be applied to similar structures and materials, both existing and future, considered by government and industry reducing development time (both in design and manufacturing test trials) where trade-off between geometry, performance, cycle time and costs are considered.
Potential NASA applications exist for any thin ply high aspect ratio composite structure manufactured using similar tooling and approaches. Additionally, the characterization of materials, tooling, and tool part interactions and the developed workflow can be applied beyond the current space structure to areas where the evolution of composite material properties, stress, and tool part interactions result in final part distortion and can be used to optimize the process to reduce risk, improve cycle time or meet performance property requirements.
The simulation of the evolution of composite material properties, tool part interaction, internal stress, and part distortion is relevant to composite materials and manufacturing processes. Integrating this work flow and the associated material characterization into a COTS simulation will allow a large range of users to analyze and optimize the design and process of a wide range of structures.
Autonomy and machine learning pose challenges for traditional, widely accepted techniques for engineering safety and reliability. However, industry and NASA depend on autonomy for mission-critical functions with a high degree of assurance. While R&D has demonstrated that autonomous robotics can accomplish amazing feats in practice, high levels of autonomous capability cannot be fully utilized in mission-critical situations due to a lack of assurance that these capabilities will be safe, reliable, and trustworthy when called upon. Fortunately, the significant economic opportunity presented by autonomous mobility, along with a promise of widespread potential safety benefits, are driving the automotive industry to address assurance challenges of autonomy. Edge Case Research is at the forefront of this revolution in safer autonomy with the release of the UL 4600 standard, the world’s first standard for evaluating the safety of autonomous products. UL 4600 addresses the need for novel technical and safety standard approaches to accommodate autonomy. This includes dealing with AI and machine learning, as well as helping to ensure the safety of vehicles that do not have a driver to handle unusual situations and equipment failures. We are pleased to propose this NASA STTR project in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University. On this project we will: (1) Identify visual perception functions that are relevant to NASA mission concepts and then draft assurance cases for them, (2) Select a visual perception function that relies on deep learning and develop a detailed validation plan for it, and (3) Demonstrate the technical feasibility this validation plan in order to: (a) demonstrate the technical viability of COTS products to assist NASA in conducting similar validation plans in the future, (b) characterize the types and volumes of test data that must be collected, and (c) explore the suitability of the validation plan results in the context of the assurance case.
Perception algorithms must be reliable, trustworthy, and robust to support a variety of NASA mission concepts. The failure of obstacle detection, localization, and mapping algorithms could put future missions and, someday, the lives of astronauts at risk. Technologies and standards for validating that these risks have been mitigated is therefore paramount for numerous future NASA applications. This project will adapt promising techniques from the automotive industry, such as the new UL 4600 standard, to meet this challenge.
The value of feasible autonomy validation to industry is hard to overstate. A lack of viable V&V strategies is among the biggest roadblocks to growth for burgeoning industries involving unmanned aerial vehicles and self-driving cars. Despite overwhelming commercial interest for autonomous vehicles, legitimate concerns about how to regulate their testing limits how these vehicles can be deployed.
This project proposes a solution to the stability of biocidal silver in water treatment and storage systems of the International Space Station. Silver is known to react with some of the metallic (e.g. 316 stainless steel, Inconel 718, and titanium 6A1-4V) components of the water storage system, which result in a gradual loss of biocidal silver ions over time in the water. Various studies have been conducted to investigate these surface interactions over conventional spacecraft materials, e.g., stainless steel, Inconel, Teflon and titanium, as well as, different surface treatments, e.g., acid passivation, silver plating, electropolishing and heat treatment. In general, more favorable outcomes have been obtained at lower surface to volume (S/V) ratios, with thermal oxidation, electropolishing and silver pre-treatment whereas higher S/V shows ineffective results. The traditional materials on ISS are stainless steel 316L (¼ inch ID pipes), titanium (½ inch ID pipes), Inconel 718 (bellows tanks). The choice of materials for the water system will be an important factor to ensure the success of silver as a biocide for spacecraft water systems. Silver loss on surface is thought to be done through a galvanic deposition process, with a concomitant oxidation of the substrate and reduction of silver ions to metallic silver/silver oxides on the surface. The goal of this proposal is to address the challenges with surface with S/V of 2 cm-1 and higher using an innovative surface coating of redox insulator that is effective and has not experimented previously. This will be done by coating a two dimensional (2D) materials (below 100 nm) on the surface of the stainless steel. This of thin and homogeneous layer of insulating materials can reduce silver reduction and biocidal loss in the water.
A potable water treatment process is needed to prevent microbial growth in the water storage and distribution system for long duration missions. there remain significant challenges on its fast dissolution rate for an effective solution at preventing biofilm formation. It demands a surface coating what inhibits red-ox reaction on the surface at tanks and pipes at ISS station. This project will be directly applicable to high S/V ratio structures relevant to exploration-class missions.
2D ceramic coating possess good thermal and insulation properties. They are resistant to oxidation and erosion in high temperature environment. This property is a very important factor in the applications such as pipelines, castings and automotive industry. These materials can be implemented in many industrial fields i.e. surface passivation, gas diffusion barriers, anti-reflection layers
Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI), in collaboration with a Research Institution, proposes to develop a new fuel cell design utilizing a solid electrolyte technology that will meet NASA’s target specifications of (i) cycling through very low temperatures (<150K) to survive storage during lunar night or cis-lunar travel; (ii) recovery of >98% of its mechanical, electrical, and chemical performance post cycling; (iii) capability to process propellants and tolerate standard propellant contaminants without performance loss; (iv) potential capability to sustain high fluid pressures and vibration loads; and (v) achieving current density of >300 mA/cm2 (for >500 hrs), transient currents of >750 mA/cm2 for 30 seconds and slew rates of >50 A/cm2/s. The fuel cell will consist of a solid electrolyte in an innovative design configuration and internal reforming catalysts that show potential for meeting objectives, while allowing fuel cell operation with propellants (e.g., H2 and CH4). The innovative design and integration of reforming elements will allow for effective fuel cell operation with tolerance to extreme temperature swing, thermal cycling, and other operational requirements. A faster system start-up is also possible with this approach. At the end of Phase I, a proof-of-concept demonstration will be reported and a clear path towards a Phase II prototype will be described, where a breadboard fuel cell system will be developed, demonstrated, and delivered to a NASA facility for demonstration testing in a relevant environment. PCI’s approach will result in a system that will be much smaller, lighter, and more thermally effective than current technology or prospective alternative technologies. This effort will be valuable to NASA as it will significantly reduce the known mission technical risks and increase mission capability/durability/extensibility while at the same time increasing the TRL of the fuel cells for lunar/Mars power generation and ISRU application.
Potential NASA applications include future power generation systems from propellants and LOX initially for lunar bases and supporting upcoming Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). The systems have applicability over a broad range of mobile and stationary lunar surface systems, including landers, rovers, robotic rovers, and various science platforms. Key potential customers include NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, and private sector customers.
Targeted non-NASA applications will be for automotive, defense, and distributed power generation opportunities which rely on fast start, vibration tolerance, and high efficiency. It will also be applicable to SOFC-based military generators/vehicle APU’s, commercial vehicle APU’s and stationary fuel cell CHP applications seeking a more cost-effective, lightweight, and power dense fuel cell stack.
To help NASA achieve there current and future space exploration goals, Geisel Software and University of Nevada, Las Vegas are proposing a solution that will allow for collaborative mobility and manipulation in a heterogeneous robotic environment. This includes the ability for robots to handle problem solving on their own, as well as both high-level and direct control from humans, when desired. Our open system not only solves these problems, but it allows NASA to use their existing robots, future robots and those of other vendors in a fully collaborative environment. This system increases the efficiency of space exploration while decreasing the risk to human explorers. It also adds the resiliency and redundancy necessary for the harsh environments in space and other planetary bodies.
Realistic, high-quality graphics simulation of the autonomous ground and aerial vehicles in space exploration is an essential tool due to difficulties in experimentation under extreme space environments. A well-designed robot simulator makes it possible to rapidly test algorithms and design autonomous vehicles based on more realistic scenarios. This is the first step in achieving a system that is collaborative, autonomous and seamlessly controllable by humans as necessary.
This proposal is for a realistic simulator and algorithms for simulating with the capability of embedding physical data and a mechanism for solving the compute complexity issues inherent in swarming applications.
NASA has a requirement (via 2020 Technology Taxonomy document) to provide Collaborative Mobility and Collaborative Manipulation. The system created by UNLV and Geisel Software will allow NASA to solve problems such as mapping, localization, atmospheric transmission spectroscopy, electromagnetic radiation detection of all kinds, seismic and other planetary sensing, and many others.
This technology is important to lunar exploration as well as planetoids with atmospheres such as Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Titan and many others.
First responders face significant challenges during a nuclear accident. It is critical to locate radiological or nuclear materials or sources in a wide and clustered area, and it is one of the major challenges is acting decisively based on available real-time radiation data. This is one of numerous commercial applications already needing this solution.