NASA SBIR/STTR 2021 Program Solicitation Details |

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  • Subtopic Pointers
  • Subtopic has been amended

Introduction

The SBIR and STTR subtopics are organized into groupings called Focus Areas. Focus Areas are a way of grouping NASA interests and related technologies with the intent of making it easier for proposers to understand related needs across the Agency and thus identify subtopics where their research and development capabilities may be a good match.

Notes:

Offerors are advised to be thoughtful in selecting a subtopic to ensure the proposal is responsive to the NASA need as defined by the subtopic. The NASA SBIR/STTR program will NOT move a proposal between subtopics.

The SBIR and STTR subtopics will appear in one combined listing. The STTR subtopics will begin with a “T” and will be clearly marked so that offerors will know that the additional Research Institution (RI) partnership is required before submitting a proposal. 

The NASA SBIR/STTR program does not allow switching from STTR to SBIR, or vice versa, during the proposal review process or after an award. The NASA SBIR/STTR program does not allow switching between Phase I and Phase II.

Subtopic numbering conventions from previous years’ solicitations have been maintained for traceability of like subtopics from previous solicitations. The mapping is as follows:

A – Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD)

H – Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

S – Science Mission Directorate (SMD)

Z – Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD)

T – Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

Proposers should think of the subtopic lead mission directorates and lead/participating centers as potential customers for their proposals. Multiple mission directorates and centers may have interests across the subtopics within a Focus Area. 

Related subtopic pointers are identified in the subtopic headers when applicable to assist proposers with identifying related subtopics that also potentially seek related technologies for different customers or applications. As stated in section 3.1, an offeror shall not submit the same (or substantially equivalent) proposal to more than one subtopic. It is the offeror’s responsibility to select which subtopic to propose to.

Potential Transition and Infusion Opportunities

The NASA SBIR/STTR program has over the years helped small businesses transition or “infuse” their innovations into NASA programs and missions. The subtopics that are provided in this solicitation are developed by the mission directorates and centers to address a variety of technology needs. The opportunities listed below and in Appendix C are only a few examples of NASA programs where transition and infusion can take place. It should be noted that there are many other opportunities across NASA that are of equal importance to the Agency and the Nation. These include, but are not limited to, Aeronautics, Earth and Planetary (beyond Moon and Mars) Science, Heliophysics, and Astrophysics.

Refer to Appendix C for a listing of all the subtopics by focus area and a designation if these following opportunities that exist within each subtopic. Proposers should think of this as a guide while understanding that NASA is not placing any priority on subtopics or awards that fall under these specific opportunities. Proposers that submit a proposal under a subtopic that is aligned with these opportunities do not increase their chance for an award.

Moon to Mars Campaign

NASA is implementing the Moon to Mars campaign, a program for the exploration and utilization of the Moon followed by missions to Mars and other destinations (see https://www.nasa.gov/topics/moon-to-mars/overview). Working with U.S. companies and international partners, NASA will push the boundaries of human exploration forward to the Moon and on to Mars. NASA is working to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon within the next decade to uncover new scientific discoveries and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.

Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS)

NASA has plans to purchase services for delivery of payloads to the Moon through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. The CLPS payload accommodations will vary depending on the particular service provider and mission characteristics. Additional information on the CLPS program and providers can be found at this link: https://www.nasa.gov/content/commercial-lunar-payload-services.

NASA Flight Opportunities

Flight Opportunities facilitates rapid demonstration of promising technologies for space exploration, discovery, and the expansion of space commerce through suborbital testing with industry flight providers. The program matures capabilities needed for NASA missions and commercial applications while strategically investing in the growth of the U.S. commercial spaceflight industry. These flight tests take technologies from ground-based laboratories into relevant environments to increase technology readiness and validate feasibility while reducing the costs and technical risks of future missions. Awards and agreements for flight test are open to researchers from industry, academia, non-profit research institutes, and government organizations. These investments help advance technologies of interest to NASA while supporting commercial flight providers and expanding space-based applications and commerce. For more information on how to apply for a flight test, see https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/flightopportunities/opportunities.

International Space Station (ISS) Utilization

Flying experiments on Station is a unique opportunity to eliminate gravity as a variable, provide exposure to vacuum and radiation, and have a clear view of the Earth and space. For more information on ISS opportunities, see https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/research_information.html.

SBIR/STTR Research Topics by Focus Area

    • Lead MD: STMD

      Participating MD(s): STTR

      NASA is interested in technologies for advanced in-space propulsion systems to reduce travel time, increase payload mass, reduce acquisition costs, reduce operational costs, and enable new science capabilities for exploration and science spacecraft. The future will require demanding propulsive performance and flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles, more challenging environmental conditions, and extended operation. This focus area seeks innovations for NASA propulsion systems in chemical, electric, nuclear thermal and advanced propulsion systems related to human exploration and science missions. Propulsion technologies will focus on a number of mission applications including ascent, descent, orbit transfer, rendezvous, station keeping, proximity operations and deep space exploration.

      • Z10.01Cryogenic Fluid Management

          Lead Center: GRC

          Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

          Solicitation Year: 2021

          Scope Title: Cryogenic Fluid Management (CFM) Scope Description: This subtopic seeks technologies related to cryogenic propellant (e.g., hydrogen, oxygen, methane) storage and transfer to support NASA's space exploration goals. This includes a wide range of applications, scales, and environments… Read more>>

          Scope Title:

          Cryogenic Fluid Management (CFM)

          Scope Description:

          This subtopic seeks technologies related to cryogenic propellant (e.g., hydrogen, oxygen, methane) storage and transfer to support NASA's space exploration goals. This includes a wide range of applications, scales, and environments consistent with future NASA missions. Such missions include, but are not limited to, upper stages, ascent and descent stages, refueling elements or aggregation stages, nuclear thermal propulsion, and in situ resource utilization (ISRU). Anticipated outcome of Phase I proposals is expected to deliver proof of the proposed concept with some sort of basic testing or physical demonstration. Proposals shall include plans for a prototype and demonstration in a defined relevant environment (with relevant fluids) at the conclusion of Phase II.

          • Integrated refrigeration cycles for a combination of hydrogen and oxygen liquefaction on the lunar surface. Cycles should be initially sized for at least 11.7 metric tons per year (3.3 kg/hr of oxygen and 0.4 kg/hr of hydrogen). It is desired to minimize the mass and power of the system. Proposals should compare total input power and mass to liquefaction of fluids separately. The main contaminate is water; while the final contamination level is not known, some sensitivity should be explored in the 10s of ppm range in each stream. For Phase I, the main product should be cycle analysis and configuration, including the key sensitivities of the cycle. Phase II should include some level of buildup and test/demonstration of system.
          • Subgrid computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of the film condensation process for 1g and low-gravity (lunar or martian) to be implemented into commercial industry standard CFD codes. The subgrid model should capture the formation and growth of the liquid layer as well as its movement along a wall boundary. The condensation subgrid model should be validated against experimental data (with a target accuracy of 25%), with emphasis on cryogenic fluid-based condensation data. The subgrid model and implementation scheme should be a deliverable. Phase I should be focused on simplified geometries (vertical plates/walls), while Phase II should be focused on complicated geometries (full propellant cylindrical).
          • Integrated cryogenic propellant gas generation system for lander vehicles and supporting architecture: Design and develop concepts to enable integrated cryogenic propellant gas generation for lander vehicle reactor coolant system (RCS) gas accumulators. Proposers shall consider vehicle designs that use either liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen or liquid methane/liquid oxygen main propellant combinations. Designs shall be capable of outputting a minimum 3,000-psia storage press at 300-K storage temperature and meeting the following minimum mass gasification rates: 0.1 g/sec hydrogen, 0.3 g/sec methane, and/or 0.5 g/sec oxygen. The gas generation system shall demonstrate novel integration into alternate vehicle heat sources such as thermal control systems, active CFM cooling systems, fuel cells, internal combustion (I/C) engines, electrical power systems, pumps, etc. Proposed gas generation system shall not couple to vehicle main engines or RCS thruster during firing operations. Proposers should consider integration into vehicle system architectures, mass efficiency, and minimization of propellant waste. Phase I effort should include vehicle integration concept design, design of autogenous pressurization hardware, and test demonstration of autogenous pressurization hardware using liquid cryogens. Phase II should focus on system refinement and a scale test demonstration using liquid propellants.
          • Develop cryogenic mass flow meters applicable to liquid oxygen and methane, having a volumetric flow measurement capacity of 1 to 20 L/min (fluid line size of approximately ½ in.), of rugged design that is able to withstand launch-load vibrations (e.g., 20g rms), with remote powered electronics (not attached to the flowmeter), able to function accurately in microgravity and vacuum environment, and having measurement error less than +/- 0.5% of the mass flow rate reading. Ability to measure bidirectional flow, compatibility with liquid hydrogen, and ability to measure mass flow rate during two-phase flows is also desired. Designs that can tolerate gas flow without damage to the flowmeter are also desired. Goal is proof of concept end of Phase I, working flowmeter  end of Phase II.

          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
          Primary Technology Taxonomy:
          Level 1: TX 14 Thermal Management Systems
          Level 2: TX 14.1 Cryogenic Systems
          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

          • Hardware
          • Software

          Desired Deliverables Description:

          Phase I proposals should at minimum deliver proof of the concept, including some sort of testing or physical demonstration, not just a paper study. Phase II proposals should provide component validation in a laboratory environment, preferably with hardware deliverable to NASA.

          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

          CFM is a crosscutting technology suite that supports multiple forms of propulsion systems (nuclear and chemical), including storage, transfer, and gauging, as well as liquefaction of ISRU-produced propellants. The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has identified that CFM technologies are vital to NASA's exploration plans for multiple architectures, whether it is hydrogen/oxygen or methane/oxygen systems, including chemical propulsion and nuclear thermal propulsion. Several recent Phase IIs have resulted from CFM subtopics, most notably for advanced insulation, cryocoolers, and liquid acquisition devices.

          Relevance / Science Traceability:

          STMD strives to provide the technologies that are needed to enable exploration of the solar system, both manned and unmanned systems; CFM is a key technology to enable exploration. Whether liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen or liquid oxygen/liquid methane is chosen by Artemis as the main in-space propulsion element to transport humans, CFM will be required to store propellant for up to 5 years in various orbital environments. Transfer will also be required, whether to engines or other tanks (e.g., depot/aggregation), to enable the use of cryogenic propellants that have been stored. In conjunction with ISRU, oxygen will have to be produced, liquefied, and stored, the latter two of which are CFM functions for the surface of the Moon or Mars. ISRU and CFM liquefaction drastically reduces the amount of mass that has to be landed.

          References:

          1. Johnson, et al. "Comparison of oxygen liquefaction methods for use on the Martian surface." Cryogenics 90, 60-69, 2018.
          2. Green, R. and Kleinhenz, J. "In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Living off the Land on the Moon and Mars." American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition; March 31, 2019 - April 04, 2019; Orlando, FL; United States.
          3. Stochl, R., et al. "Autogenous pressurization of cryogenic vessels using submerged vapor injection." NASA-TM-104516, 1991.
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        • Z10.03Space Nuclear Propulsion

            Lead Center: MSFC

            Participating Center(s): GRC, SSC

            Solicitation Year: 2021

            Scope Title: Reactor and Fuel System for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) Scope Description: The focus is on highly stable materials for nuclear fuels and nonfuel reactor components (insulator, moderator, etc.) that can heat the working fluid to high… Read more>>

            Scope Title:

            Reactor and Fuel System for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP)

            Scope Description:

            The focus is on highly stable materials for nuclear fuels and nonfuel reactor components (insulator, moderator, etc.) that can heat the working fluid to high temperatures, be compatible with the working fluid, minimize dimensional deformation during operation, and be easy to manufacture to meet the design requirements.

            NEP relies on reactor systems capable of achieving 5-yr life with a working fluid exit temperature of at least 927 °C and a thermal power of at least 5 MW.  Innovative concepts for enhancing reactor reliability, fabricability, and testability while still enabling an acceptable power system specific mass (typically <15 kg/kWe) are sought. Projected use for human missions to Mars will require continuous run times ~2 yr.

            NTP uses hydrogen as the working fluid (propellant). Fuel temperatures required to achieve a specific impulse (Isp) of 900 sec can exceed 2,600 °C. Projected use for human missions to Mars will require cumulative run times ~3.5 hr and 5 to 6 restarts. Current technology hurdleswith ceramic and carbide fuels include embedding nitride or carbide kernels with coatings in a carbide matrix with potential for total fission product containment and high fuel burnup, and simple modern manufacturing of complex geometries with high uniform density.

            Specific technologies being sought include:

            • Innovative ultrahigh-temperature material property testing and performance evaluation above 2,000 °C in a vacuum and hot hydrogen environment. The materials used in the reactor core will reach temperatures up to 2,700 °C. No current material property data and performance characteristics above 2,000 °C exist, and the subtopic wishes to solicit innovations in this area to start filling those data gaps, thus reducing technical risk of material choices within the reactor, and begin optimization of material choices. The key materials to be evaluated are the fuel element matrix materials, such as refractory ceramics. These materials are highly sensitive to oxygen and must be tested in a vacuum, inert atmosphere, or reducing (hydrogen) atmosphere. Some of the key parameters to gather at 2,000+ °C temperatures include (but are not limited to) static modulus, modulus of rupture, tension and compression flow curves, tension and compression creep, fatigue and hardness with measurement absolute accuracies ±0.5%. In addition to those key parameters, contact and noncontact strain measurement techniques with absolute accuracies of ±0.5% at these ultrahigh temperatures are also sought. 
            • Innovative fuel element designs and propellant flow configurations that facilitate achieving propellant exit temperatures in excess of 2,500 °C.

            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 5
            Primary Technology Taxonomy:
            Level 1: TX 01 Propulsion Systems
            Level 2: TX 01.4 Advanced Propulsion
            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

            • Prototype
            • Hardware
            • Research

            Desired Deliverables Description:

            Desired deliverables for this technology would include research that can be conducted to determine technical feasibility of the proposed concept during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware demonstration. Testing the technology in a simulated (as close as possible) NTP environment as part of Phase II is preferred. Delivery of a prototype test unit at the completion of Phase II allows for followup testing by NASA.

            Phase I Deliverables: Feasibility analysis and/or small-scale experiments proving the proposed technology to develop a given product (Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 2 to 3). The final report includes a Phase II plan to raise the TRL. The Phase II plan includes a verification matrix of measurements to be performed at the end of Phase II, along with specific quantitative pass-fail ranges for each quantity listed.

            Phase II Deliverables: A full report of component and/or breadboard validation measurements, including populated verification matrix from Phase I (TRL 3 to 5). Also delivered is a prototype of the proposed technology for NASA to do further testing if Phase II results show promise for NTP application. Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization of the proposed technology. Unique government facilities can be used as part of Phase II.

            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

            The state of the art is reactor fuel developed for the Rover/NERVA program in the 1960s and early 1970s. The fuel was carbon based and had what is known as "midband" corrosion, which affected the fuel endurance. Switching over to cermet (metal and ceramics) or advance carbide fuels shows promise but has fabrication challenges. Limited property data for most materials at ultrahigh temperatures considered makes the material performance analysis to meet the engine operating requirements riskier.

            Focus is on a range of modern technologies associated with NTP using solid-core nuclear fission reactors and technologies needed to ground test the engine system and components. The engines are pump fed ~25,000 lbf with an Isp goal of 900 sec (using hydrogen) and are used individually or in clusters for the spacecraft's primary propulsion system. The NTP can have multiple startups (>5) with cumulative run time >200 min in a single mission, which can be no more than 2-yr round trip, according to a recent NASA study. The Rover/NERVA program ground tested a variety of engine sizes for a variety of burn durations and startups.

            Relevance / Science Traceability:

            By closing these ultrahigh-temperature data gaps, the Space Nuclear Propulsion (SNP) project intends to infuse the results into design considerations/optimizations for risk reduction. In addition to directly benefiting SNP by closing the current material data gaps, the technology improvements in high-temperature materials would also benefit the following:

            • Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) NTP program.
            • Wing leading-edge systems, due to their use of refractory alloy base structures to 2,000 °C.
            • Fission surface power, due to the use of materials in long-term high-temperature environments.
            • Refractory reaction control systems (RCSs) that reach up to 2,000 °C temperatures.
            • Refractory rocket nozzles for upper stages and landers that reach ~2,200+ °C.

            STMD (Space Technology Mission Directorate) is supporting the SNP project.  

             Future mission applications:

            • Human missions to Mars.
            • Science missions to the outer planets.
            • Planetary defense.

            Some technologies may have applications for fission surface power systems.

            References:

            Solid-core NTP has been identified as an advanced propulsion concept that could provide the fastest trip times for human missions to Mars over a variety of mission years. NTP had major technical work done between 1955 and 1973 as part of the Rover and Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) programs. A few other NTP programs followed, including the Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) program in the early 1990s. The NTP concept is like a liquid chemical propulsion system, except instead of combustion in the thrust chamber, a monopropellant is heated with a fission reactor (heat exchanger) in the thrust chamber and exposes the engine components and surrounding structures to a radiation environment.

            1. Durham, F. P., “Nuclear Engine Definition Study Preliminary Report”, LA-5044-MS Vol I, Informal Los Alamos Report, 1972.
            2. Altseimer, J. H., Mader, G. F., Stewart, J. J., “Operating Characteristics and Requirements for the NERVA Flight Engine,” Paper 70-676, AIAA 6th Propulsion Joint Specialist Conference, June 1970.
            3. Angelo, J. A., Buden, D., “Space Nuclear Power”, OrbitBook Company 1985.
            4. Koenig, D. R., “Experience Gained from the Space Nuclear Rocket Program (Rover)”, LA-10062-H, Los Alamos Document, 1986.
            5. Walton, J. T., “An Overview of Tested and Analyzed NTP Concepts”, AIAA-91-3503.
            6. Finseth, J. L., “Overview of Rover Engine Tests- Final Report”, NAS 8-37814, 1991.
            7. Bhattacharyya, S.K. et al, “Space Exploration Initiative Fuels, Materials and Related Technologies – Nuclear Propulsion Technology Panel Final Report”, NASA Technical Memorandum 105706, September 1993.
            8. Haslett, R. A., “Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Program Final Report”, PL-TR-95-1064, Phillips Laboratory Air Force Report, 1995.
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          • Z10.04Materials, Processes, and Technologies for Advancing In-Space Electric Propulsion Thrusters

              Lead Center: GRC

              Solicitation Year: 2021

              Scope Title: Structurally Robust Magnetic Circuit Materials for Hall-Effect Thrusters Scope Description: Electric propulsion for space applications has demonstrated tremendous benefit to a variety of NASA, military, and commercial missions. Critical NASA electric propulsion needs have been… Read more>>

              Scope Title:

              Structurally Robust Magnetic Circuit Materials for Hall-Effect Thrusters

              Scope Description:

              Electric propulsion for space applications has demonstrated tremendous benefit to a variety of NASA, military, and commercial missions. Critical NASA electric propulsion needs have been identified in the scope areas detailed below. Proposals outside the described scope shall not be considered. Proposers are expected to show an understanding of the current state of the art (SOA) and quantitatively (not just qualitatively) describe anticipated improvements over relevant SOA materials, processes, and technologies that substantiate NASA investment.

              To shape the magnetic fields needed for operations, Hall-effect thrusters utilize a magnetic circuit that also forms the thruster structure. The magnetic circuit components direct magnetic flux (typically produced by electromagnetic coils) and may experience operational temperatures in excess of 500 °C due to coil self-heating and the close proximity of plasma-wetted surfaces. Both low-carbon magnetic iron and cobalt-iron (Co-Fe) soft ferromagnetic alloys have been traditionally used in the role; low-carbon magnetic iron is typically cheaper with larger billet size availability, whereas Co-Fe soft ferromagnetic alloys are attractive due to high magnetic saturation and Curie temperature properties. As Hall-effect thrusters become larger to support future high-power applications, thruster components also experience and must survive increased inertial launch loads. To address this issue, prospective magnetic circuit materials are desired with improved structural strength compared to SOA options while retaining comparable or better magnetic and thermal properties. Prospective materials capable of being produced in machinable, large-diameter (i.e., >400 mm) solid billets—or that can be additively manufactured to achieve comparable sizes—are of particular interest. This solicitation seeks such prospective magnetic circuit materials suitable for Hall-effect thruster applications with the following properties:

              • Mechanical: Meets or exceeds yield stress properties in Table X2.4 of ASTM Standard A801-14.
              • Magnetic: Meets or exceeds properties in Appendix X1 of ASTM Standard A848-17.
              • Thermal: Meets or exceeds Curie temperature of 770 °C.

              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
              Level 1: TX 01 Propulsion Systems 
              Level 2: TX 01.2 Electric Space Propulsion 
              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

              • Analysis
              • Prototype
              • Hardware

              Desired Deliverables Description:

              Phase I:

              1. Virtual kickoff meeting with the NASA Technical Monitor and potential stakeholders within the first month of the period of performance. 
              2. A final report containing test data characterizing key material properties as well as an assessment of material size scalability for future production.
              3. Material samples that can be utilized for independent verification of claimed improvements over SOA materials.

              Phase II:

              1. Kickoff meeting with NASA Contracting Officer Representative (COR) and potential stakeholders within the first month of the period of performance.
              2. A final report with test data either characterizing key material properties for produced large billets or demonstrating the functionality of one or more thruster components integrated with operating thruster hardware (in which partnering with electric propulsion developers may be necessary).

              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

              SOA magnetic circuit materials used for Hall-effect thrusters are typically in two families: low-carbon magnetic iron or cobalt-iron (Co-Fe) soft ferromagnetic alloys (e.g., Hiperco®). While Co-Fe alloys are frequently preferred because of their magnetic and thermal properties, their available billet sizes do not readily accommodate larger thruster components needed for future high-power (i.e., >50 kW) electric propulsion applications. Low-carbon magnetic iron does come in large billet sizes, but past NASA high-power thruster development efforts (e.g., NASA-457Mv2 thruster) have identified potential risks regarding the survivability of components when subjected to launch loads. A magnetic circuit material that retains or exceeds the magnetic and thermal properties of SOA options while providing improved structural strength and scalability to large billet sizes is highly desirable to mitigate the risk.

              Relevance / Science Traceability:

              Both NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) need spacecraft with demanding propulsive performance and greater flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles and extended operations under challenging environmental conditions. Planetary spacecraft need the ability to rendezvous with, orbit, and conduct in situexploration of planets, moons, and other small bodies (i.e., comets, asteroids, near-Earth objects, etc.) in the solar system; mission priorities are outlined in the decadal surveys for each of the SMD divisions (https://science.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/decadal-surveys). For HEOMD, higher-power electric propulsion is a key element in supporting sustained human exploration of cislunar space.

              This subtopic seeks innovations to meet future SMD and HEOMD propulsion requirements in electric propulsion systems related to such missions. The roadmap for such in-space propulsion technologies is covered under the 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy, with archival information contained in the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap TA-2 (In-Space Propulsion Technologies).

              References:

              • D.M. Goebel and I. Katz, “Chapter 7: Hall Thrusters,” Fundamentals of Electric Propulsion: Ion and Hall Thrusters, https://descanso.jpl.nasa.gov/SciTechBook/SciTechBook.html
              • ASTM Standard A801-14, “Standard Specification for Wrought Iron-Cobalt High Magnetic Saturation Alloys (UNS R30005 and K92650).”
              • ASTM Standard A848-17, “Standard Specification for Low-Carbon Magnetic Iron.”
              • D.F. Susan, et al., “Equal Channel Angular Extrusion for Bulk Processing of Fe-Co-2V Soft Magnetic Alloys, Part I: Processing and Mechanical Properties,” Journal of Materials Research, 33.15 (2018): 2168-2175.
              • A.B. Kustas, et al., “Equal Channel Angular Extrusion for Bulk Processing of Fe-Co-2V Soft Magnetic Alloys, Part II: Texture Analysis and Magnetic Properties,” Journal of Materials Research, 33.15 (2018): 2176-2188.
              • Z. Turgut, et al., “High Strength Bulk Fe-Co Alloys Produced by Powder Metallurgy,” Journal of Applied Physics, 103.7 (2008): 07E724.
              • M.S. Masteller, J.W. Bowman, and L. Li, “High Temperature Aging Behavior of High Strength 49% Co-1.9% V-0.3% Nb-Fe Soft Magnetic Alloy,” IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, 32.5 (1996): 4839-4841.
              • Decadal surveys for each of the SMD divisions, https://science.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/decadal-surveys
              • 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy, https://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/taxonomy/index.html
              • 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap TA-2 (In-Space Propulsion Technologies), https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/2015_nasa_technology_roadmaps_ta_2_in-space_propulsion_final.pdf

              Scope Title:

              High-Efficiency, Long-Life Hollow Cathodes

              Scope Description:

              Electric propulsion for space applications has demonstrated tremendous benefit to a variety of NASA, military, and commercial missions. Critical NASA electric propulsion needs have been identified in the scope areas detailed below. Proposals outside the described scope shall not be considered. Proposers are expected to show an understanding of the current state of the art (SOA) and quantitatively (not just qualitatively) describe anticipated improvements over relevant SOA materials, processes, and technologies that substantiate NASA investment.

              Hollow cathodes in electric propulsion systems are utilized for generating discharge plasma and effecting plume neutralization in gridded-ion and Hall-effect thrusters. In SOA hollow cathodes, operating temperatures can range from 1,000 to 1,700 °C, and the cathode assembly may need to survive in excess of 10,000 operational hours and 10,000 thermal on-off cycles without failure. Critical NASA needs for hollow cathodes are:

              1. High-current hollow cathodes with reduced power consumption. While SOA hollow cathodes can provide up to 25-A direct current necessary for electric propulsion applications, future interest in 100-kW electric propulsion systems will require a substantial increase in cathode current output to the range of 100 to 200 ADC. Scaling of current cathode architectures using various emitter technologies have achieved cathodes operating at >100-ADC emission current; however, these results typically require substantial increases in electrical power needed to drive plasma generation in the cathode and/or in an associated heating element for impregnate-based emission sources. Size increases for emitter and cathode, including heating elements, can also be significant to maintain the necessary thermal conditions for stable cathode life; the resultant larger sized cathodes can stress heater elements and limit their cyclic life—a concern facing cathodes utilizing LaB6 emitters. This solicitation seeks stable-performance, long-life cathode architectures that reduce power consumption (i.e., improve electrical efficiency) for >100-ADC emission current via improved heater design and operation, emitter material selection and configuration, lower plasma generation costs, reduced cathode thermal losses via conduction or radiation, etc.
              2. Reduced-flow hollow cathodes in Hall-effect thrusters. Hollow cathodes used in Hall-effect thrusters are frequently operated with a fixed flow fraction relative to the anode flow; this approach is commonly utilized to reduce the cost and complexity of the propellant feed system. To promote efficient discharge plasma generation, these cathodes are typically operated with a higher than necessary propellant flow, which reduces specific impulse and may have negative impacts on cathode lifetime due to pressure-driven emission behavior. Past efforts to bifurcate the cathode flow between the cathode and an external (i.e., keeper or downstream region) contribution have demonstrated some success in providing stable and efficient cathode operation while reducing the total cathode (i.e., non-anode) flow fraction to less than 7% to 10% of the anode flow rate typically used in thruster operations. Being able to sustain thruster operations at such low total cathode flow fractions can result in significant propellant savings, particularly for high-power Hall-effect thrusters. This solicitation seeks readily adaptable methods to reduce cathode propellant flow needs (i.e., improve propellant utilization) without adversely affecting cathode and Hall-effect thruster stability and life.

              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 5 
              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
              Level 1: TX 01 Propulsion Systems 
              Level 2: TX 01.2 Electric Space Propulsion 
              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

              • Analysis
              • Prototype
              • Hardware

              Desired Deliverables Description:

              Phase I:

              1. Virtual kickoff meeting with the NASA Technical Monitor and potential stakeholders within the first month of the period of performance.
              2. A final report containing quantitative analysis, modeling, or proof-of-concept test data addressing key risk factors associated with the technical approach and comparisons to SOA cathodes.
              3. A cathode subsystem design that is compatible with high-power Hall-effect thruster concepts.

              Phase II:

              1. Kickoff meeting with the NASA Contracting Officer Representative (COR) and potential stakeholders within the first month of the period of performance.
              2. A final report with test data supporting cathode performance, stability, and lifetime claims.
              3. Cathode assembly hardware that can be utilized for independent verification of claimed improvements over SOA cathode assemblies.

              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

              Future interest in 100-kW electric propulsion systems will require cathode current outputs in the range of 100 to 200 ADC. Experience to date with scaling current cathode architectures has resulted in cathodes that consume several kilowatts of power during operations. Such cathodes pose significant thermal management challenges for the thruster and concerns about the cathode's cyclic lifetime. Alternative cathode architectures that can significantly reduce power consumption are highly desirable to reduce risk for high-power electric propulsion applications.

              Typical Hall-effect thrusters utilize a cathode flow fraction between 7% and 10% of the anode flow, with past studies of 50-kW-class thrusters at times requiring >10% cathode flow fraction to promote thruster stability at certain throttle points. For high-power electric propulsion systems utilizing Hall-effect thrusters, reducing cathode propellant flow needs can result in significant propellant savings on the order of hundreds of kilograms for typical NASA mission lifetimes. Past efforts to bifurcate the cathode flow between the cathode and an external (i.e., keeper or downstream region) contribution have demonstrated some success in providing stable and efficient cathode and thruster operations while achieving <7% total cathode flow fraction. Approaches for reducing cathode flow needs that can be readily adapted to SOA thruster architectures are highly desirable to improve system efficiency and lifetime.

              Relevance / Science Traceability:

              Both NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) need spacecraft with demanding propulsive performance and greater flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles and extended operations under challenging environmental conditions. Planetary spacecraft need the ability to rendezvous with, orbit, and conduct in situexploration of planets, moons, and other small bodies (i.e., comets, asteroids, near-Earth objects, etc.) in the solar system; mission priorities are outlined in the decadal surveys for each of the SMD divisions (https://science.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/decadal-surveys). For HEOMD, higher-power electric propulsion is a key element in supporting sustained human exploration of cislunar space.

              This subtopic seeks innovations to meet future SMD and HEOMD propulsion requirements in electric propulsion systems related to such missions. The roadmap for such in-space propulsion technologies is covered under the 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy, with archival information contained in the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap TA-2 (In-Space Propulsion Technologies).

              References:

              • V.J. Friedly and P.J. Wilbur, “High Current Hollow Cathode Phenomena,” AIAA 90-2587.
              • M.A. Mantenieks and R.M. Myers, “Preliminary Test Results of a Hollow Cathode MPD Thruster,” IEPC 91-076.
              • D.M. Goebel and E. Chu, “High Current Lanthanum Hexaboride Hollow Cathodes for High Power Hall Thrusters,” IEPC-2011-053.
              • H. Kamhawi and J. Van Noord, “Development and Testing of High Current Hollow Cathodes for High Power Hall Thrusters,” AIAA-2012-4080.
              • M.L. Plasek, et al., “Experimental Investigation of a Large-Diameter Cathode,” AIAA-2014-3825.
              • D.M. Goebel, K.K. Jameson, and R.R. Hofer, “Hall Thruster Cathode Flow Impact on Coupling Voltage and Cathode Life,” Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 28, No. 2, March-April 2012.
              • S.J. Hall, et al., “Operation of a High-Power Nested Hall Thruster with Reduced Cathode Flow Fraction,” Journal of Propulsion and Power, July 2020.
              • Decadal surveys for each of the SMD divisions, https://science.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/decadal-surveys
              • 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy, https://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/taxonomy/index.html
              • 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap TA-2 (In-Space Propulsion Technologies), https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/2015_nasa_technology_roadmaps_ta_2_in-space_propulsion_final.pdf
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          • Lead MD: STMD

            Participating MD(s): SMD

            Power is a ubiquitous technology need across many NASA missions including human exploration, space science, and space technology. New technologies are sought to better generate electrical power and distribute it efficiently to both human and robotic power mission users. In space power, mission applications include planetary surface power, large-scale spacecraft prime power, and small-scale robotic probe power. Applicable technology development is sought for: 1) megawatt-class dynamic power conversion from a nuclear heat source to electricity, 2) efficient means of transmitting, connecting, and managing kilowatt-class power over long distances on planetary surfaces, and 3) high-voltage, radiation tolerant switches and components that are needed to optimize mass and efficiency for new high power missions. An overarching objective is to mature technologies from analytical or experimental proof-of-concept (TRL3) to breadboard demonstration in a relevant environment (TRL5). Successful efforts will transition into NASA Projects where the SBIR/STTR deliverables will be incorporated into ground testbeds or flight demonstrations. Note that there are similar power technology development needs at higher power levels for electrified aircraft propulsion which is covered in Focus Area 18 – Air Vehicle Technologies.

            • S3.01Power Generation and Conversion

                Lead Center: GRC

                Participating Center(s): JPL

                Solicitation Year: 2021

                Scope Title: Photovoltaic Energy Conversion Scope Description: This subtopic is seeking photovoltaic cell and blanket technologies that lead to significant improvements in overall solar array performance for missions in areas of scientific interest including high-intensity, high-temperature… Read more>>

                Scope Title:

                Photovoltaic Energy Conversion

                Scope Description:

                This subtopic is seeking photovoltaic cell and blanket technologies that lead to significant improvements in overall solar array performance for missions in areas of scientific interest including high-intensity, high-temperature (HIHT); low-intensity, low-temperature (LILT); and high-radiation environments. Additionally sought are solar power systems that can provide high power in compactly stowed volumes for small spacecraft. 

                These improvements may be achieved by optimizing the cell technology to operate in HIHT/LILT, increasing end of life (EOL) performance, increasing photovoltaic cell efficiency above 35% at 1 AU, and decreasing solar cell module/blanket stowed volume. Missions at distances of greater than 1 AU may include an inner planetary flyby, as such technologies that optimize solar cell string length to account for the changes in power generation are also of interest. 

                Photovoltaic energy conversion: advances in, but not limited to, the following: (1) Photovoltaic cell and blanket technologies capable of LILT operation applicable to outer planetary (low solar intensity) missions; (2) Photovoltaic cell and blanket technologies capable of HIHT operation applicable to inner planetary missions; (3) Photovoltaic cell and blanket technologies that enhance and extend performance in lunar applications including orbital, surface, and transfer; and  (4) Solar cell and blanket technologies to support missions in high-radiation, LILT environments near Jupiter and its moons. 

                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5
                Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                Level 1: TX 03 Aerospace Power and Energy Storage
                Level 2: TX 03.1 Power Generation and Energy Conservation
                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                • Research
                • Analysis
                • Prototype
                • Hardware

                Desired Deliverables Description:

                Phase I deliverables include detailed reports with proof of concept and key metrics of components tested and verified.

                Phase II deliverables include detailed reports with relevant test data along with proof-of-concept hardware and components developed.

                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                State-of-the-art (SOA) photovoltaic array technology consists of high-efficiency, multijunction cell technology on thick honeycomb panels and, as of late, lightweight blanket system deployable systems. There are very limited demonstrated technology for HIHT and LILT missions. A current solution for high-radiation intensity involves adding thick cover glass to the cells, which increases the overall system mass. 

                Significant improvements in overall performance are needed to address the current gaps between SOA and many mission requirements for photovoltaic cell efficiency >30%, array mass specific power >200 W/kg, decreased stowed volume, long-term operation in radiation environments, high-power arrays, and a wide range of environmental operating conditions.

                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                These technologies are relevant to any space science, Earth science, planetary surface, or other science mission that requires affordable high-efficiency photovoltaic power production for orbiters, flyby craft, landers, and rovers.

                Specific requirements can be found in the References, but include many future Science Mission Directorate (SMD) missions. Specific requirements for orbiters and flybys to Outer planets include: LILT capability (>38% at 10 AU and <140 °C), radiation tolerance (6×1015 1 MeV e/cm2), high power (>50 kW at 1 AU), low mass (3× lower than the standard operating procedure (SOP)), low volume (3× lower than SOP), long life (>15 years), and high reliability.

                These technologies are relevant and align with any Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) or Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) mission that requires affordable high-efficiency photovoltaic power production.

                NASA outlines New Lunar Science, Human Exploration Missions: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-outlines-new-lunar-science-human-exploration-missions

                NASA Science Missions: https://science.nasa.gov/missions-page?field_division_tid=All&field_phase_tid=3951

                References:

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              • S3.02Dynamic Power Conversion

                  Lead Center: GRC

                  Solicitation Year: 2021

                  Scope Title: Dynamic Power Conversion Scope Description: NASA is developing dynamic radioisotope power systems (DRPSs) for unmanned robotic missions to the Moon and other solar system bodies of interest. This technology directly aligns with the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) strategic technology… Read more>>

                  Scope Title:

                  Dynamic Power Conversion

                  Scope Description:

                  NASA is developing dynamic radioisotope power systems (DRPSs) for unmanned robotic missions to the Moon and other solar system bodies of interest. This technology directly aligns with the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) strategic technology investment plan for space power and energy storage and could be infused into a highly efficient RPS for missions to dark, dusty, or distant destinations where solar power is not practical. Current work in DRPSs is focused on novel Stirling, Brayton, or Rankine convertors that would be integrated with one or more 250-Wth general-purpose heat source (GPHS) modules or 1-Wth lightweight radioisotope heater unit (RHU) to provide high thermal-to-electric efficiency, low mass, long life, and high reliability for planetary spacecraft, landers, and rovers. Heat is transferred from the radioisotope heat source assembly to the power convertor hot end using conductive or radiative coupling. Power convertor hot-end temperatures would generally range from 300 to 500 °C for RHU applications and 500 to 800 °C for GPHS applications. Waste heat is removed from the cold end of the power convertor at temperatures ranging from 20 to 175 °C, depending on the application, using conductive coupling to radiator panels. The NASA projects target power systems able to produce a range of electrical power output levels based on the available form factors of space-rated fuel sources. These include a very low range of 0.5 to 2.0 We that would utilize one or more RHU, a moderate range of 40 to 70 We that would utilize a single GPHS Step-2 module, and a high range of 100 to 500 We that would utilize multiple GPHS Step-2 modules. For these power ranges, one or more power convertors could be used to improve overall system reliability. The current solicitation is focused on innovations that enable efficient and robust power conversion systems. Areas of interest include:

                  1. Robust, efficient, highly reliable, and long-life thermal-to-electric dynamic power convertors that would be used to populate a generator of a prescribed electric power output ranges.
                  2. Electronic controllers applicable to Stirling, Brayton, or Rankine power convertors.   
                  3. Multilayered metal insulation (MLMI) for minimizing environmental heat losses and maximizing heat transfer from the radioisotope heat source assembly to the power convertor.
                  4. Advanced dynamic power conversion components and RPS integration components, including efficient alternators able to survive extended exposure to 200 °C, robust high-temperature-tolerant Stirling regenerators, robust highly effective recuperators, integrated heat pipes, and radiators that improve system performance, and improve the margin, reliability, and fault tolerance for existing components.

                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 1 to 5 
                  Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                  Level 1: TX 03 Aerospace Power and Energy Storage 
                  Level 2: TX 03.1 Power Generation and Energy Conservation 
                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                  • Research
                  • Analysis
                  • Prototype
                  • Hardware

                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                  Phase I deliverables: results of a feasibility study and analysis, as described in a final report.

                  Phase II deliverables: prototype hardware that has demonstrated basic functionality in a laboratory environment, the appropriate research and analysis used to develop the hardware, and maturation options for flight designs.

                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                  Radioisotope power systems are critical for long-duration NASA missions in dark, dusty, or harsh environments. Thermoelectric systems have been used on the very successful RPSs flown in the past, but are limited in efficiency. Dynamic thermal energy conversion provides significantly higher efficiency, and through proper engineering of the noncontact moving components, can eliminate wear mechanisms and provide long life. Although high-efficiency performance of dynamic power convertors has been proven, reliable and robust systems tolerant of off-nominal operation are needed. In addition to convertors appropriate for GPHS RPSs, advances in much smaller and lower power dynamic power conversion systems are sought that can utilize RHUs for applications such as distributed sensor systems, small spacecraft, and other systems that take advantage of lower power electronics for the exploration of surface phenomenon on icy moons and other bodies of interest.  Although the power convertor advances are essential, to develop reliable and robust systems for future flight advances in convertor components as well as RPS integration components are also needed. These would include efficient alternators able to survive 200 °C, robust high-temperature-tolerant regenerators, robust high-efficiency recuperators, heat pipes, radiators, and controllers applicable to Stirling flexure-bearing, Stirling gas-bearing, or Brayton convertors. 

                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                  This technology directly aligns with the Science Mission Directorate - Planetary Science Division for space power and energy storage. Investments in more mature technologies through the Radioisotope Power System Program is ongoing. This SBIR subtopic scope provides a lower TRL technology pipeline for advances in this important power capability that improves performance, reliability, and robustness.

                  References:

                  • Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS): https://rps.nasa.gov/about-rps/overview/
                  • Oriti, Salvatore: "Dynamic Power Convertor Development for Radioisotope Power Systems at NASA Glenn Research Center," AIAA Propulsion and Energy (P&E) 2018, AIAA 2018-4498.
                  • Wilson, Scott D.: "NASA Low Power Stirling Convertor for Small Landers, Probes, and Rovers Operating in Darkness," AIAA P&E 2018, AIAA 2018-4499.
                  • Wong, Wayne: "Advanced Stirling Convertor (ASC) Technology Maturation," AIAA P&E 2015, AIAA 2015-3806.

                  Scope Title:

                  Additive Manufacturing Microfabrication of Stirling Heat Engine Regenerators

                  Scope Description:

                  In space applications where solar power is not practical, dynamic power conversion is an effective alternative.  Of the several technologies used for dynamic power conversion, free-piston Stirling heat engines, coupled with alternators, offer high thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency, low mass, and long life.  One component of Stirling heat engines that contributes to their excellent efficiency is the regenerator, which acts as a heat exchanger/storage for the working fluid as it passes from the heat acceptor to the rejector and again as it returns to the acceptor to repeat the cycle.  The current state of the art in the construction of regenerators results in a cylindrical annulus made up of heat- and corrosion-resistant, short metallic fibers in diameters of 20 to 40 µm, packed to form an annulus with a porosity of 80% to 90% (solid fraction 10% to 20%), and sintered to achieve structural stability. 

                  In some instances, these random fiber regenerators have released small particle debris due to less-than-complete sintering of the fiber matrix, presenting a risk of interference in the very small running clearance gaps of the displacer and power pistons, and potentially negatively affecting the performance and robustness of the heat engine.  NASA has engaged in initial studies to determine the feasibility of producing continuous regenerator matrices through additive manufacturing (AM), and while these studies show promise, it has been determined that limitations of selective laser melting in the minimum achievable feature size and spacing between features prevents realization of performance goals.  Sought are advances in AM microfabrication that demonstrate:

                  1. Applicability to high-temperature, corrosion-resistant metal alloys (Inconel, FeCrAlY, etc.).
                  2. Capability of creating ligaments in diameters as small as 20 µm, with spacing between ligaments as small as 100 µm.
                  3. Capability of producing cylindrical annuli on the order of 5.5 cm O.D. and 4.0 cm I.D. in axial lengths of up to 5 cm.  Axial length may be achieved by stacking multiple components of shorter lengths.
                  4. Reasonable build time to support on-demand production.
                  5. Ability to create regenerator matrices that are stable and robust in the anticipated vibro-acoustic environments associated with space missions (launch, pyroshock, entry/descent/landing, etc.).

                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 1 to 4 
                  Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                  Level 1: TX 03 Aerospace Power and Energy Storage 
                  Level 2: TX 03.1 Power Generation and Energy Conservation 
                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                  • Research
                  • Analysis
                  • Prototype
                  • Hardware

                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                  Phase I deliverables: results of a feasibility study and analysis, as described in a final report.

                   

                  Phase II deliverables: prototype hardware that has demonstrated basic functionality in a laboratory environment, the appropriate research and analysis used to develop the hardware, and maturation options .

                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                  Radioisotope power Systems (RPS) are critical for long duration NASA missions to destinations sufficiently far from the Sun that solar power is impractical, and for missions to permanently shadowed areas of planetary bodies and their moons.  Thermoelectric power systems (RTG) have enjoyed much success in past missions, but their efficiency is limited.  Dynamic RPS offer significantly higher efficiency, resulting in lower system mass and reduced radioisotope inventory for a given power output.  Advances in microfabrication of regenerators are needed for reduction of risk associated with stability of the regenerator matrix and improvements in reliability and robustness to support long mission durations.

                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                  The technology described here aligns with the Science Mission Directorate Planetary Science Division (SMD/PSD) requirements for space power and energy storage and provides a low-TRL pathway for technologies that may contribute to a reduction of risk and improvements in reliability and robustness of Stirling heat engines in space-power applications.

                  References:

                  • Ibrahim, et al: “A Microfabricated Segmented-Involute-Foil Regenerator for Enhancing Reliability and Performance of Stirling Engines,” NASA Contractor Report 2007-215006, 2007.
                  • Ibrahim, M.B. and Tew, R.C.: Stirling Convertor Regenerators, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2017.
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                • S3.03Energy Storage for Extreme Environments

                    Lead Center: GRC

                    Participating Center(s): JPL

                    Solicitation Year: 2021

                    Scope Title: Energy Storage for Extreme Environments Scope Description: NASA's Planetary Science Division is working to implement a balanced portfolio within the available budget and based on a decadal survey that will continue to make exciting scientific discoveries about our solar system. This… Read more>>

                    Scope Title:

                    Energy Storage for Extreme Environments

                    Scope Description:

                    NASA's Planetary Science Division is working to implement a balanced portfolio within the available budget and based on a decadal survey that will continue to make exciting scientific discoveries about our solar system. This balanced suite of missions shows the need for low mass/volume energy storage that can effectively operate in extreme environments for future NASA Science Missions.

                    Future science missions will require advanced primary and secondary battery systems capable of operating at temperature extremes from -200 °C for outer planet missions to 400 to 500 °C for Venus missions, and a span of -230 to +120 °C for missions to the lunar surface. Operational durations of 30 to 60 days for Venus; 30 to 60 days for deep-space environments such as Europa, Enceladus, and Titan; and 14-day eclipses for lunar night survival and operations on the Moon are of interest. Advancements to battery energy storage capabilities that address operation for one of the listed missions (Venus, deep space, or lunar)  combined with high specific energy and energy density (>250 Wh/kg and >500 Wh/L for rechargeable or >800 Wh/kg and >1000 Wh/L for nonrechargeable at the cell level) are of interest in this solicitation. Novel battery-pack-level designs and technologies that enhance battery reliability and safety and support improved thermal management are also of interest.  Combinations of cell-level improvements and/or battery-system-level improvement for enhanced temperature capability will be considered.

                    Furthermore, missions that incorporate nonrechargeable (primary) batteries will benefit from instrumentation or modeling that can effectively determine state of charge to a high degree of accuracy and/or state of health, particularly those missions that use cell chemistries with discharge voltage profiles that are a weak function of state of charge or state of health such as lithium carbon monofluoride (Li-CFx) cells. Technologies of interest include: radiation-hardened (to 1 Mrad total ionizing dose) coulomb integration application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) or hybrid circuits, with >1% accuracy over 1 to 20 A, operating over 24 to 36 V; computational models that can predict state of charge/state of health for primary cells; nondestructive instrumentation that can detect state of charge/state of health for primary and secondary cells.

                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                    Level 1: TX 03 Aerospace Power and Energy Storage 
                    Level 2: TX 03.2 Energy Storage 
                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                    • Prototype

                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                    Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility in a final report for Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. Phase II emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under relevant test conditions. Additionally, a path should be outlined that shows how the technology could be commercialized or further developed into science-worthy systems.

                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                    State-of-the-art primary and rechargeable cells are limited in both capacity and temperature range.  Typical primary Li-SO2 and Li-SOCl2 operate within a maximum temperature range of -40 to 80 °C but suffer from capacity loss, especially at low temperatures.  At -40 °C, the cells will provide roughly half the capacity available at room temperature. Similarly, rechargeable Li-ion cells operate within a narrow temperature range of -20 to 40 °C and also suffer from capacity loss at lower temperatures. The lower limit of temperature range of rechargeable cells can be extended through the use of low-temperature electrolytes, but with limited rate capability and concerns over lithium plating on charge. There is currently a gap that exists for high-temperature batteries, primary and rechargeable, that can operate at Venus atmospheric temperatures. In addition, there is a gap in the ability to accurately predict or measure the amount of usable capacity of primary battery cells, particularly after a long mission cruise with exposure to varying temperatures and ionizing radiation dose.  This solicitation is aimed at the development of cells that can maintain performance at extreme temperatures to minimize or eliminate the need for strict thermal management of the batteries (which adds complexity and mass to the spacecraft) as well as instrumentation or modeling to predict state of charge/state of health of primary batteries for deep-space missions.

                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                    These batteries are applicable over a broad range of science missions.  Low-temperature batteries are needed for potential NASA decadal missions to ocean worlds (Europa, Enceladus, and Titan) and the icy giants (Neptune, Uranus). These batteries are also needed for science missions on the lunar surface. Low-temperature batteries developed under this subtopic would enhance these missions and could be potentially enabling if the missions are mass or volume limited.  There is also significant interest in a Venus surface mission that will require primary and/or rechargeable batteries that can operate for 60+ days on the surface of Venus. A high-temperature battery that can meet these requirements is enabling for this class of missions.

                    References:

                    NASA Science: https://science.nasa.gov/

                    Solar Electric Propulsion: https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/space/sep/

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                  • Z1.05Lunar and Planetary Surface Power Management and Distribution

                      Lead Center: GRC

                      Participating Center(s): GSFC, JSC

                      Solicitation Year: 2021

                      Scope Title: Innovative Ways to Transmit Power Over Long Distances for Lunar and Mars Missions Scope Description: The Global Exploration Roadmap (January 2018) and the Space Policy Directive (December 2017) detail NASA’s plans for future human-rated space missions. A major component of these… Read more>>

                      Scope Title:

                      Innovative Ways to Transmit Power Over Long Distances for Lunar and Mars Missions

                      Scope Description:

                      The Global Exploration Roadmap (January 2018) and the Space Policy Directive (December 2017) detail NASA’s plans for future human-rated space missions. A major component of these plans involves establishing bases on the lunar surface for sustained presence and a new transportation capability and surface assets for a human exploration mission to Mars. Surface power generation on planetary surfaces is envisioned to require 10 to 50 kW to be efficiently transmitted distances greater than 1 km to remotely located mission elements such as habitat modules, landers, ascent vehicles, etc. While current state-of-the-art space power systems are similar in power level (e.g., the International Space Station), the transmission distances are only 10s of meters, so new high-power, high-voltage and/or new power-beaming technologies are sought to enable surface power transmission over long distances. Examples of the innovative technologies sought are lower mass/higher efficiency power electronic regulators, switchgear, cabling, connectors, wireless sensors, power beaming, power scavenging, and power management control. The technologies of interest would need to operate in extreme-temperature environments, including lunar night, and could experience temperature changes from -153 to 123 °C for lunar applications, and -125 to 80 °C for Mars bases. In addition to temperature extremes, technologies would need to withstand (have minimal degradation from) lunar dust/regolith, Mars dust storms, and space radiation levels.

                       

                      In addition, new human Mars transportation capabilities are expected to require multiple channels of 100 kW or more to be efficiently transmitted 100s of meters from an alternating current (AC) power generator to multiple electric thrusters requiring high-voltage direct-current (DC) power. Technologies sought include high-performance rotary alternators, high-performance transformers, rectifiers, and cabling. 

                       

                      While this subtopic would directly address the lunar and Mars base initiatives, technologies developed could also benefit other NASA Mission Directorates, including SMD (Science Mission Directorate) and ARMD (Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate). Specific projects that could find value in the technologies developed herein include Gateway, In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), Advanced Modular Power Systems (AMPS), In-Space Electric Propulsion, Planetary Exploration, and Hybrid Gas-Electric Propulsion. The power levels may be different, but the technology concepts could be similar, especially when dealing with temperature extremes and the need for electronics with higher power density and efficiency.

                       

                      Specific technologies of interest would include:

                      • Application of wide band-gap electronics in DC-DC isolating converters with wide temperature (-70 to 150 °C), high power density (>2 kW/kg), high-efficiency (>96%) power electronics and associated drivers for voltage regulation.
                      • Low-mass, highly conductive wires and terminations that provide reliable small gauges for long-distance power transmission in the 1 to 10 kW range, low-mass insulation materials with increased dielectric breakdown strength and void reductions with 1,000 V or greater ratings, and low-loss/low-mass shielding.
                      • Power-beaming concepts to enable highly efficient flexible/mobile power transfer in the 100 to 1,000 W range, including the fusion of power, communication, and navigation.
                      • Power generation and distribution components of a 3-phase/1,200-Hz permanent magnet alternator, 480 VAC to 650 VDC power management, and distribution with direct drive to Hall thrusters. Key components of the distribution include high-performance rotary alternators and AC transmission technologies, including alternator voltage, step-up/step-down transformers, rectifiers, and power cabling.

                      Note: to propose power connection/termination-related technologies that are impervious to environmental dust and enable robotic deployment, such as robotically enabled high-voltage connectors and/or near-field wireless power transfer in the 1 to 10 kW range, see subtopic titled Dust-Tolerant Mechanisms.

                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6 
                      Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                      Level 1: TX 03 Aerospace Power and Energy Storage 
                      Level 2: TX 03.3 Power Management and Distribution 
                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                      • Research
                      • Analysis
                      • Prototype
                      • Hardware

                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                      Typically, deliverables under Phase I proposals are geared toward a technology concept with associated analysis and design. A final report usually suffices in summarizing the work, but if a prototype is preffered. Phase II hardware prototypes will have opportunities for infusion into NASA technology testbeds and commercial landers.

                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                      While high-power terrestrial distribution systems exist, there is no equivalent to a lunar or planetary base. Unique challenges must be overcome in order to enable a realistic power architecture for these future applications, especially when dealing with the environmental extremes that will be encountered. The temperature swings will be a critical requirement on any technology developed, from power converters to cabling or power-beaming concepts. In addition, proposals will have to consider lunar regolith and Mars dust storms. To enable a new Mars transportation capability for human exploration, new technology development must be started soon to address the very unique needs of a mixed AC/DC space-rated power system to prove feasibility and provide realistic performance metrics for detailed vehicle design concepts and mission trade studies. 

                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                      This subtopic would directly address a remaining technology gap in the lunar and Mars surface mission concepts and Mars human transportation needs. There are potential infusion opportunities with SMD (Science Mission Directorate) Commercial Lander Payload Services (CLPS) and HEOMD (Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate) Flexible Lunar Exploration (FLEx) Landers. In addition, technologies developed could benefit other NASA missions, including Gateway. The power levels may be different, but the technology concepts could be similar, especially when dealing with temperature extremes.

                      References:

                      The Global Exploration Roadmap, January 2018: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/ger_2018_small_mobile.pdf

                      Space Policy Directive-1, Reinvigorating America's Human Space Exploration Program, December 11, 2017: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/14/2017-27160/reinvigorating-americas-human-space-exploration-program

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                    • Z1.06Radiation-Tolerant High-Voltage, High-Power Electronics

                        Lead Center: GSFC

                        Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL, LaRC

                        Solicitation Year: 2021

                        Scope Title: Radiation-Tolerant High-Voltage, High-Power Electronics Scope Description: NASA’s directives for space exploration and habitation require high-performance, high-voltage transistors and diodes capable of operating without damage in the natural galactic cosmic ray space radiation… Read more>>

                        Scope Title:

                        Radiation-Tolerant High-Voltage, High-Power Electronics

                        Scope Description:

                        NASA’s directives for space exploration and habitation require high-performance, high-voltage transistors and diodes capable of operating without damage in the natural galactic cosmic ray space radiation environment. Recently, significant progress has been made in the research community in understanding the mechanisms of heavy-ion-radiation-induced single-event-effect (SEE) degradation and catastrophic failure of wide bandgap (WBG) power transistors and diodes. This subtopic seeks to facilitate movement of this understanding into the successful development of radiation-hardened high-voltage transistors and rectifiers to meet NASA mission power needs reliably in the space environment. These needs include:

                        • High-voltage, high-power solutions: Taxonomy Area (TX) 03.3.4, Power Management and Distribution (PMAD) - Advanced Electronic Parts, calls out the need for development of radiation-hardened high-voltage components for power systems. NASA has a core need for diodes and transistors that meet the following specifications:
                          • Diodes: minimum 1200 V, 40 A, with fast recovery <50 ns. Forward voltage drop should not exceed 150% of that in state-of-the-art unhardened diodes.
                          • Transistors: minimum 650 V, 40 A, with <24-mohm on-state drain-source resistance.
                        • High-voltage, low-power solutions: In support of TX 8.1.2 (Sensors and Instruments - Electronics), radiation-hardened high-voltage transistors are needed for low-mass, low-leakage, high-efficiency applications such as LIDAR Q-switch drivers, mass spectrometers, and electrostatic analyzers. High-voltage, fast-recovery diodes are needed to enhance performance of a variety of heliophysics and planetary science instruments.
                          • Transistors: minimum 1000 V, <40-ns rise and fall times
                          • Diodes: 2 kV to 5 kV, <50-ns recovery time. Forward voltage drop should not exceed 150% of that in state-of-the-art unhardened diodes.
                        • High-voltage, low- to medium-power solutions: In support of peak-power solar tracking systems for planetary spacecraft and small satellites, transistors and diodes are needed to increase buck converter efficiencies through faster switching speeds.
                          • Transistors: minimum 600 V, <50-ns rise and fall times, current ranging from low to >20 A.

                        Successful proposal concepts should result in the fabrication of transistors and/or diodes that meet or exceed the above performance specifications without susceptibility to damage due to the galactic cosmic ray heavy-ion space radiation environment (SEEs resulting in permanent degradation or catastrophic failure). These diodes and/or transistors will form the basis of innovative high-efficiency, low-mass and low-volume systems and therefore must significantly improve upon the electrical performance available from existing heavy-ion SEE radiation-tolerant devices.

                        Other innovative heavy-ion SEE radiation-tolerant, high-power, high-voltage discrete device technologies will be considered that offer significant electrical performance improvement over state-of-the-art heavy-ion SEE radiation-tolerant power devices.

                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 5 
                        Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                        Level 1: TX 03 Aerospace Power and Energy Storage 
                        Level 2: TX 03.3 Power Management and Distribution 
                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                        • Hardware
                        • Prototype
                        • Analysis

                        Desired Deliverables Description:

                        Phase I deliverables must state the initial state of the art for the proposed technology and justify the expected final performance metrics. Well-developed plans for validating the tolerance to heavy-ion radiation must be included, and the expected total ionizing dose tolerance should be indicated and justified. Target radiation performance levels will depend upon the device structure due to the interaction of the high electric field with the ionizing particle:

                        • For vertical-field power devices: No heavy-ion-induced permanent destructive effects upon irradiation while in blocking configuration (in powered reverse-bias/off state) with ions having a silicon-equivalent surface-incident linear energy transfer (LET) of 40 MeV-cm2/mg and sufficient energy to maintain a rising LET level throughout the epitaxial layer(s).
                        • For all other devices: No heavy-ion-induced permanent destructive effects upon irradiation while in blocking configuration (in powered reverse-bias/off state) with ions having a silicon-equivalent surface-incident LET of 75 MeV-cm2/mg and sufficient energy to fully penetrate the active volume prior to the ions reaching their maximum LET value (Bragg peak).

                        Deliverables in Phase II shall include prototype and/or production-ready semiconductor devices (diodes and/or transistors); and device electrical and radiation performance characterization (device electrical performance specifications, heavy-ion SEE radiation test results, and total-dose radiation analyses).

                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                        High-voltage silicon power devices are limited in current ratings and have limited power efficiency and higher losses than do commercial WBG power devices. Efforts to space-qualify WBG power devices to take advantage of their tremendous performance advantages revealed that they are very susceptible to damage from the high-energy, heavy-ion space radiation environment (galactic cosmic rays) that cannot be shielded against. Higher voltage devices are more susceptible to these effects; as a result, to date, there are space-qualified GaN transistors now available, but these are limited to 300 V. Recent radiation testing of 600-V and higher GaN transistors has shown failure susceptibility at about 50% of the rated voltage, or less. Silicon carbide power devices have undergone several generation advances commercially, improving their overall reliability, but catastrophically fail at less than 50% of their rated voltage. 

                         

                        Specific needs in STMD (Space Technology Mission Directorate) and SMD (Science Mission Directorate) areas have been identified for spacecraft power management and distribution (PMAD), and science instrument power applications and device performance requirements to meet these needs are included in this subtopic nomination. In all cases, there is no alternative solution that can provide the mass and power savings sought to enable game-changing capability. Current PPUs (power processing units) and instrument power systems rely on older silicon technology with many stacked devices and efficiency penalties. In NASA's move to do more with less (smaller satellites), and its lunar/planetary habitation objectives requiring tens to 100 kW power production, the technology sought by this subtopic is truly enabling.

                         

                        State-of-the-art, currently available heavy-ion SEE-tolerant silicon power devices include a Schottky diode capable of 600 V, 30 A, and 27-ns recovery time, and a power MOSFET capable of 650 V, 8 A, with on-state resistance of 450 mohm. Commercial (non-SEE tolerant) SiC and GaN offerings are available that meet the electrical performance needs indicated in this subtopic, but that cannot meet the heavy-ion SEE requirements indicated. At this time, there are no publicly available data on the heavy-ion SEE performance of Ga2O3 or diamond power devices.

                        Relevance / Science Traceability:

                        Power transistors and diodes form the building blocks of numerous power circuits for spacecraft and science instrument applications. This subtopic therefore feeds a broad array of space technology hardware development activities by providing SEE (heavy-ion) radiation-hardened state-of-the-art device technologies that achieve higher voltages with lower power consumption and greater efficiency than presently available.

                         

                        Taxonomy Area (TX) 03.3.4, Power Management and Distribution (PMAD) - Advanced Electronic Parts, calls out the need for development of radiation-hardened high-voltage components for power systems. This subtopic serves as a feeder to the subtopic Lunar and Planetary Surface Power Distribution, in which WBG circuits for PMAD applications are solicited. The solicited developments in this subtopic will also feed systems development for the NASA Kilopower project due to the savings in size/mass combined with radiation hardness.

                         

                        TX 08.1.2, Sensors and Instruments - Electronics: Radiation-hardened high-voltage transistors are needed for low-mass, low-leakage, high-efficiency applications such as LIDAR Q-switch drivers, mass spectrometers, and electrostatic analyzers. These applications are aligned with science objectives including Earth science LIDAR needs, Jovian moon exploration, and Saturn missions. Finally, mass spectrometers critical to planetary and asteroid research and in the search for life on other planets such as Mars require high-voltage power systems and will thus benefit from mass and power savings from this subtopic's innovations.

                        References:

                        Partial listing of relevant references:

                        1. E. Mizutaet al., "Single-Event Damage Observed in GaN-on-Si HEMTs for Power Control Applications," IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, vol. 65, pp. 1956-1963, 2018.
                        2. M. Zerarkaet al., "TCAD Simulation of the Single Event Effects in Normally-OFF GaN Transistors After Heavy Ion Radiation," IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, vol. 64, pp. 2242-2249, 2017.
                        3. C. Abbate, et al., "Experimental Study of Single Event Effects Induced by Heavy Ion Irradiation in Enhancement Mode GaN Power HEMT," Microelectronics Reliability, vol. 55, pp. 1496-1500, 2015.
                        4. J. Kimet al., "Radiation damage effects in Ga2O3 materials and devices," Journal of Materials Chemistry C, vol. 7, pp. 10-24, 2019.
                        5. S. J. Peartonet al., "Perspective: Ga2O3 for ultra-high power rectifiers and MOSFETS," Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 124, p. 220901, 2018.
                        6. D. R. Ball, et al.,“Ion-Induced Energy Pulse Mechanism for Single-Event Burnout in High-Voltage SiC Power MOSFETs and Junction Barrier Schottky Diodes,” IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 22-28, 2020.
                        7. J. McPherson, et al., "Mechanisms of Heavy Ion Induced Single Event Burnout in 4H-SiC Power MOSFETs," Materials Science Forum, 1004, 889–896, 2020.
                        8. S. Kuboyama, et al., "Thermal Runaway in SiC Schottky Barrier Diodes Caused by Heavy Ions," IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, vol. 66, pp. 1688-1693, 2019.
                        9. C. Abbate, et al., "Gate Damages Induced in SiC Power MOSFETs During Heavy-Ion Irradiation--Part I," IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, vol. 66, no. 10, pp. 4235-4242, Oct. 2019. [See also Part II ]
                        10. J.-M. Lauenstein, “Getting SiC Power Devices Off the Ground: Design, Testing, and Overcoming Radiation Threats,” Microelectronics Reliability and Qualification Working (MRQW) Meeting, El Segundo, CA, February 2018. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20180006113
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                      • Z1.07Dynamic Energy Conversion for Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion

                          Lead Center: GRC

                          Participating Center(s): MSFC

                          Solicitation Year: 2021

                          Scope Title: Megawatt-Class Nuclear Power System Scope Description: Recent Mars transportation assessments identify megawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems as a reasonable approach for use in a crewed mission to Mars. A critical subcomponent of the reference NEP concept is a dynamic… Read more>>

                          Scope Title:

                          Megawatt-Class Nuclear Power System

                          Scope Description:

                          Recent Mars transportation assessments identify megawatt-class nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems as a reasonable approach for use in a crewed mission to Mars. A critical subcomponent of the reference NEP concept is a dynamic thermal-to-electric power convertor. Dynamic power convertors are needed that address the following technical challenges:

                          • Robust, efficient, high-reliability, long-life thermal-to-electric power conversion and controller technology in the minimum range of 100 to 500 kWe. Brayton, Rankine, and Stirling convertors are of primary interest. Multiple parallel/redundant convertors may be used to achieve the megawatt-class power level.
                            • Includes subcomponents such as efficient turbomachinery, bearings, alternators, recuperators, and heat exchangers.
                          • Convertors must be capable of interfacing with pumped liquid-metal loops: one for thermal energy input and one for heat rejection.

                          In addition, liquid metal pumps that address the following technical challenges are also needed:

                          • Can operate for long periods of time (years) at relevant in-space (in vacuum and zero g) reactor/power generation temperatures.
                          • Can withstand liquid metal freeze-thaw transition during initial reactor startup in zero g.
                          • Low mass and high efficiency at fluid throughputs that are relevant for in-space nuclear power generation.
                          • Wetted surfaces of the pump composed of materials that are compatible with liquid metals under consideration for in-space nuclear power generation (NaK, Li, etc.).

                          The desired deliverables are primarily prototype hardware, research, and analysis to demonstrate concept feasibility and a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) range of 3 to 5. There is a strong desire for hardware that can operate or has a clear path for operation in the relevant space environment. The specified higher power levels are of priority, but demonstrations at lower power levels may be considered as long as the scaling to higher power levels is straightforward and does not require significant new technology or configuration change. The prototype hardware may include one (or more) of the following:

                          • Power convertor (hot-end temperature = 850 ºC, cold-end temperature = 100 to 200 ºC).
                          • Controller electronics.
                          • Convertor subcomponent(s).
                          • Liquid metal pump and/or subcomponent(s).

                          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                          Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                          Level 1: TX 03 Aerospace Power and Energy Storage 
                          Level 2: TX 03.1 Power Generation and Energy Conservation 
                          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                          • Research
                          • Analysis
                          • Prototype
                          • Hardware

                          Desired Deliverables Description:

                          The desired deliverables for Phase I include monthly progress reports and a comprehensive final report.

                          For Phase II, the primary interest is component and/or breadboard hardware that demonstrates concept feasibility in a laboratory or relevant environment. The appropriate research and analysis required to develop the hardware are also desired. The Phase II deliverables should include hardware, monthly progress reports, and a comprehensive final report.

                          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                          Multikilowatt electric propulsion systems are well developed and have been used on commercial and military satellites for several years. Higher power electric propulsion systems are currently being considered to support crewed missions to near-Earth asteroids and as cargo transport for sustained lunar or Mars exploration, and for very high power crewed missions to Mars and the outer planets. One of the key technologies required in a NEP system is the power convertor. A recent Mars Transportation Assessment Study was completed that included Brayton, Stirling, Rankine, thermoelectric, and thermionic technologies in the trade space. The study identified HeXe Brayton as the baseline dynamic power convertor in the reference NEP concept, with supercritical CO2 Brayton and K-Rankine as the primary options. Current state-of-the-art Brayton technology has been demonstrated in a relevant space environment (ground test) in the 10s of kWe range.  Convertor scaleup to the 100s of kWe per unit is required.

                          Relevance / Science Traceability:

                          This technology directly aligns with the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) roadmap for space power and energy storage.

                          References:

                          Mason, Lee S., “Dynamic Energy Conversion: Vital Technology for Space Nuclear Power,” Journal of Aerospace Engineering, April 2013.

                          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275186601_Dynamic_Energy_Conversion_Vital_Technology_for_Space_Nuclear_Power

                          Gilland, James H., LaPointe, Michael R., et al., “MW-Class Electric Propulsion System Designs for Mars Cargo Transport,” AIAA 2011-7253, September 2011. 

                          https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2011-7253

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                      • Lead MD: HEOMD

                        Participating MD(s): SMD, STTR

                        The exploration of space requires the best of the nation's technical community to provide the technologies that will enable human and robotic exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO): to establish a lunar presence, to visit asteroids, to extend human reach to Mars, and for increasingly ambitious robotic missions such as a Europa Lander. Autonomous Systems technologies provide the means of migrating mission control from Earth to spacecraft, habitats, and robotic explorers. This is enhancing for missions in the Earth-Lunar neighborhood and enabling for deep space missions. Long light-time delays, for example up to 42 minutes round-trip between Earth and Mars, require time-critical control decisions to be closed on-board autonomously, rather than through round-trip communication to Earth mission control. For robotic explorers this will be done through automation, while for human missions this will be done through astronaut-automation teaming.

                        Long-term crewed spacecraft and habitats, such as the International Space Station, are so complex that a significant portion of the crew's time is spent keeping it operational even under nominal conditions in low-Earth orbit, while still requiring significant real-time support from Earth. The considerable challenge is to migrate the knowledge and capability embedded in current Earth mission control, with tens to hundreds of human specialists ready to provide instant knowledge, to on-board automation that teams with astronauts to autonomously manage spacecraft and habitats. For outer planet robotic explorers, the opportunity is to autonomously and rapidly respond to dynamic environments in a timely fashion.

                        The “Deep Neural Net and Neuromorphic Processors for In-Space Autonomy and Cognition” subtopic specifically focuses on advances in signal and data processing. Neuromorphic processing will enable NASA to meet growing demands for applying artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms onboard a spacecraft to optimize and automate operations. Neuromorphic processors can enable a spacecraft to sense, adapt, act, and learn from its experiences and from the unknown environment without necessitating involvement from a mission operations team.

                        The “Spacecraft Autonomous Agent Cognitive Architectures for Human Exploration“ subtopic solicits intelligent autonomous agent cognitive architectures that are open, modular, make decisions under uncertainty, and learn in a manner that the performance of the system is assured and improves over time. Building upon the success of the previous solicitations, this extended scope will enable small businesses to develop both the learning technology and the necessary assurance technology within the scope of cognitive agents that forward base mission control to spacecraft and habitats, and multiply the cognitive assets available to the crew.

                        The “Fault Management Technologies” subtopic has interest in onboard fault management capabilities (viz. onboard sensing approaches, computing, algorithms, and models to assess and maintain spacecraft health), with the goal of providing a system capability for management of future spacecraft.  Offboard components such as modeling techniques and tools, development environments, and verification and validation (V&V) technologies are also relevant, provided they contribute to novel or capable on-board fault management.

                        The “Integrated Data Uncertainty Management & Representation for Trustworthy and Trusted Autonomy in Space” subtopic is seeking to improve autonomous systems performance within Multi-agent Cyber-Physical-Human (CPH) teams. This effort concentrates on increasing autonomous systems performance towards the point where they may function as teammates with specified independence, but under the ultimate human direction, or alternatively, where they can exercise complete independence in decision-making and operations in pursuit of given mission goals; for instance, for control of uncrewed missions for planetary infrastructure development in preparation for human presence, or maintenance and operation of crew habitats during the crew’s absence.

                        The “Coordination and Control of Swarms of Space Vehicles” subtopic addresses technologies for control and coordination of planetary rovers, flyers, and in-space vehicles in dynamic environments. Coordinated swarms can provide a more robust and sensor-rich approach to space missions, allowing simultaneous recording of sensor data from dispersed vehicles and co-ordination especially in challenging environments such as cave exploration. Primary interest is in technologies appropriate for low-cardinality (4- to 15-vehicle) swarms of small spacecraft, as well as planetary rovers and flyers (e.g., Mars helicopter).

                        Please refer to the description and references of each subtopic for further detail to guide development of proposals within this technically diverse focus area.

                        • H6.22Deep Neural Net and Neuromorphic Processors for In-Space Autonomy and Cognition

                            Lead Center: GRC

                            Participating Center(s): ARC

                            Solicitation Year: 2021

                            Scope Title: Neuromorphic Capabilities Scope Description: This subtopic specifically focuses on advances in signal and data processing. Neuromorphic processing will enable NASA to meet growing demands for applying artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms onboard a spacecraft to… Read more>>

                            Scope Title:

                            Neuromorphic Capabilities

                            Scope Description:

                            This subtopic specifically focuses on advances in signal and data processing. Neuromorphic processing will enable NASA to meet growing demands for applying artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms onboard a spacecraft to optimize and automate operations. This includes enabling cognitive systems to improve mission communication and data-processing capabilities, enhance computing performance, and reduce memory requirements. Neuromorphic processors can enable a spacecraft to sense, adapt, act, and learn from its experiences and from the unknown environment without necessitating involvement from a mission operations team. Additionally, this processing architecture shows promise for addressing the power requirements that traditional computing architectures now struggle to meet in space applications.

                             

                            The goal of this program is to develop neuromorphic processing software, hardware, algorithms, architectures, simulators, and techniques as enabling capability for autonomous space operations. Emerging memristor and other radiation-tolerant devices, which show potential for addressing the need for energy-efficient neuromorphic processors and improved signal processing capability, are of particular interest due to their resistance to the effects of radiation.

                             

                            Additional areas of interest for research and/or technology development include: (a) spiking algorithms that learn from the environment and improve operations, (b) neuromorphic processing approaches to enhance data processing, computing performance, and memory conservation, and (c) new brain-inspired chips and breakthroughs in machine understanding/intelligence. Novel memristor approaches that show promise for space applications are also sought.

                             

                            This subtopic seeks innovations focusing on low-size, -weight, and -power (-SWaP) applications suitable to lunar orbital or surface operations, thus enabling efficient onboard processing at lunar distances. Focusing on SWaP-constrained platforms opens up the potential for applying neuromorphic processors in spacecraft or robotic control situations traditionally reserved for power-hungry general-purpose processors. This technology will allow for increased speed, energy efficiency, and higher performance for computing in unknown and uncharacterized space environments including the Moon and Mars. Proposed innovations should justify their SWaP advantages and target metrics over the comparable relevant state of the art.

                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 6 
                            Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                            Level 1: TX 10 Autonomous Systems 
                            Level 2: TX 10.1 Situational and Self Awareness 
                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                            • Prototype
                            • Hardware
                            • Software

                            Desired Deliverables Description:

                            Phase I will emphasize research aspects for technical feasibility and show a path toward a Phase II proposal. Phase I deliverables include concept of operations of the research topic, simulations, and preliminary results. Early development and delivery of prototype hardware/software is encouraged.

                             

                            Phase II will emphasize hardware and/or software development with delivery of specific hardware and/or software products for NASA, targeting demonstration operations on a low-SWaP platform. Phase II deliverables include a working prototype of the proposed product and/or software, along with documentation and tools necessary for NASA to use the product and/or modify and use the software. In order to enable mission deployment, proposed prototypes should include a path, preferably demonstrated, for fault and mission tolerances. Phase II deliverables should include hardware/software necessary to show how the advances made in the development can be applied to a CubeSat, SmallSat, and rover flight demonstration.

                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                            The current state of the art (SOA) for in-space processing is the High Performance Spaceflight Computing (HPSC) processor being developed by Boeing for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The HPSC, called the Chiplet, contains 8 general purpose processing cores in a dual quad-core configuration. Delivery is expected by December 2022. In a submission to the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) Game Changing Development (GCD) program, the highest computational capability required by a typical space mission is 35 to 70 GFLOPS (billion fast logical operations per second).

                             

                            The current SOA does not address the capabilities required for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications in the space environment. These applications require significant amounts of multiply and accumulate operations, in addition to a substantial amount of memory to store data and retain intermediate states in a neural network computation. Terrestrially, these operations require general-purpose graphics processing units (GP-GPUs), which are capable of teraflops (TFLOPS) each—approximately 3 orders of magnitude above the anticipated capabilities of the HPSC.

                             

                            Neuromorphic processing offers the potential to bridge this gap through a novel hardware approach. Existing research in the area shows neuromorphic processors to be up to 1,000 times more energy efficient than GP-GPUs in artificial intelligence applications. Obviously, the true performance depends on the application, but nevertheless the architecture has demonstrated characteristics that make it well-adapted to the space environment.

                            Relevance / Science Traceability:

                            The Cognitive Communications Project, through the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program, is one potential customer of work from this subtopic area. Neuromorphic processors are a key enabler to the cognitive radio and system architecture envisioned by this project. As communications become more complex, cognition and automation will play a larger role to mitigate complexity and reduce operations costs. Machine learning will choose radio configurations and adjust for impairments and failures. Neuromorphic processors will address the power requirements that traditional computing architectures now struggle to meet and are of relevance to Lunar return and Mars for autonomous operations, as well as of interest to HEOMD and Science Mission Directorate (SMD) for in situ avionics capabilities.

                            References:

                            Several reference papers that have been published at the Cognitive Communications for Aerospace Applications (CCAA) workshop are available at: http://ieee-ccaa.com.

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                          • H6.23Spacecraft Autonomous Agent Cognitive Architectures for Human Exploration

                              Lead Center: ARC

                              Participating Center(s): JSC

                              Solicitation Year: 2021

                              Scope Title: Learning and Adaptation for Space Cognitive Agents Scope Description: This subtopic solicits intelligent autonomous agent cognitive architectures that are open, modular, make decisions under uncertainty, and learn in a manner that the performance of the system is assured and improves… Read more>>

                              Scope Title:

                              Learning and Adaptation for Space Cognitive Agents

                              Scope Description:

                              This subtopic solicits intelligent autonomous agent cognitive architectures that are open, modular, make decisions under uncertainty, and learn in a manner that the performance of the system is assured and improves over time. Cognitive agents for space applications need to adapt and learn from observation, instruction, and interaction as missions proceed. The value of preprogrammed agents that do not adapt over time will diminish in extended missions. Building upon the success of the previous solicitations, this extended scope will enable small businesses to develop both the learning technology and the necessary assurance technology within the scope of cognitive agents that forward base mission control to spacecraft and habitats, and multiply the cognitive assets available to the crew.

                              It should be feasible for cognitive agents based on these architectures to be certified or licensed for use on deep space missions to act as liaisons that interact both with the mission control operators, the crew, and most, if not all, of the spacecraft subsystems. With such a cognitive agent that has access to all onboard data and communications, the agent could continually integrate this dynamic information and advise the crew and mission control accordingly by multiple modes of interaction including text, speech, and animated images. This agent could respond to queries and recommend to the crew courses of action and direct activities that consider all known constraints, the state of the subsystems, available resources, risk analyses, and goal priorities.

                              Cognitive architectures capable of being certified for crew support on spacecraft are required to be open to NASA with interfaces open to NASA partners who develop modules that integrate with the agent, in contrast to proprietary black-box agents. A cognitive agent suitable to provide crew support on spacecraft may be suitable for a wide variety of Earth applications, but the converse is not true requiring this NASA investment.

                              Proposals should emphasize analysis and demonstration of the feasibility of various configurations, capabilities, and limitations of a cognitive architecture suitable for crew support on deep space missions. The software engineering of a cognitive architecture is to be documented and demonstrated by implementing a prototype goal-directed software agent that interacts as an intermediary/liaison between simulated spacecraft systems and humans.

                              Proposals should emphasize analysis and demonstration of the feasibility of various configurations, capabilities, and limitations, and address learning and adaptation during mission scenarios of a cognitive architecture suitable for crew support on deep space missions. The software engineering of a cognitive architecture is to be documented and demonstrated by implementing a prototype goal-directed software agent that interacts as an intermediary/liaison between simulated spacecraft systems and humans.

                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                              Level 1: TX 10 Autonomous Systems 
                              Level 2: TX 10.3 Collaboration and Interaction 
                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                              • Research
                              • Analysis
                              • Prototype
                              • Software

                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                              For Phase I, a preliminary cognitive architecture, preliminary feasibility study, and a detailed plan to develop a comprehensive cognitive architecture feasibility study are expected. A preliminary demonstration prototype of the proposed cognitive architecture is highly encouraged.

                              For Phase II, the Phase I proposed detailed feasibility study plan is executed generating a comprehensive cognitive architecture, comprehensive feasibility study report including design artifacts such as System Modeling Language/Unified Modeling Language (SysML/UML) diagrams, a demonstration of an extended prototype of an agent that instantiates the architecture interacting with a spacecraft simulator and humans executing a plausible Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) design reference mission beyond cislunar orbit (e.g., Human Exploration of Mars Design Reference Mission: https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/373665main_NASA-SP-2009-566.pdf), and a detailed plan to develop a comprehensive cognitive architecture feasibility study suitable for proposing to organizations interested in funding this flight capability is expected. A Phase II prototype suitable for a compelling flight experiment on the ISS is encouraged.

                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                              Long-term crewed spacecraft, such as the International Space Station, are so complex that a significant portion of the crew's time is spent keeping it operational even under nominal conditions in low-Earth orbit and still require significant real-time support from Earth. Autonomous agents performing cognitive computing can provide crew support for future missions beyond cislunar by providing them robust, accurate, and timely information, and perform tasks enabling the crew more time to perform the mission science. The considerable challenge is to migrate the knowledge and capability embedded in current Earth mission control, with tens to hundreds of human specialists ready to provide instant knowledge, to onboard agents that team with flight crews to autonomously manage a space-flight mission.

                              The majority of Apollo missions required the timely guidance of mission control for success, typically within seconds of an off-nominal situation. Outside of cislunar space, the time delays will become untenable for Earth to manage time-critical decisions as was done for Apollo. The emerging field of cognitive computing is a vast improvement on previous information retrieval and integration technology, and is likely capable to provide this essential capability.

                              Investments continue to be made in a wide variety of cognitive agents. However, a critical gap that this subtopic addresses is assured learning for cognitive agents enabling it to appropriately adapt to the crew it interacts with in a manner that assures performance improves and not degrades over time mitigating risks related to learning systems.

                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                              This subtopic is directly relevant to the HEOMD Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) domain: Foundational Systems - Autonomous Systems and Operations.

                              There is growing interest in NASA to support long-term human exploration missions to the Moon and eventually to Mars. Human exploration up to this point has relied on continuous communication with short delays. To enable missions with intermittent communication with long delays, new artificially intelligent technologies must be developed in order to keep the crew sizes small. Technologies developed under this subtopic are expected to be suitable for testing on Earth analogues of deep space spacecraft as well as the Deep Space Gateway envisioned by NASA.

                              References:

                              1. P. Ye, T. Wang and F. Wang, "A Survey of Cognitive Architectures in the Past 20 Years," in IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, vol. 48, no. 12, pp. 3280-3290, Dec. 2018, doi: 10.1109/TCYB.2018.2857704.
                              2. COGNITIVE 2020 : The Twelfth International Conference on Advanced Cognitive Technologies and Applications: https://www.iaria.org/conferences2020/COGNITIVE20.html
                              3. ACC'20 - The 4th International Conference on Applied Cognitive Computing:https://americancse.org/events/csce2020/conferences/acc20
                              4. 2020 International Conference on Cognitive Computing: http://thecognitivecomputing.org/2020/
                              5. C. Gkiokas, "Cognitive agents and machine learning by example: Representation with conceptual graphs", Computational  Intelligence Vol. 34 Issue 2 May 2018.
                              6. M. Zaharija, "Cognitive Agents and Learning Problems", International Journal of Intelligent Systems and Applications March 2017.
                              7. Human Exploration of Mars Design Reference Mission: https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/373665main_NASA-SP-2009-566.pdf

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                            • S5.05Fault Management Technologies

                                Lead Center: JPL

                                Participating Center(s): ARC, MSFC

                                Solicitation Year: 2021

                                Scope Title: Development, Design, and Implementation of Fault Management Technologies Scope Description: NASA’s science program has well over 100 spacecraft in operation, formulation, or development, generating science data accessible to researchers everywhere. As science missions have… Read more>>

                                Scope Title:

                                Development, Design, and Implementation of Fault Management Technologies

                                Scope Description:

                                NASA’s science program has well over 100 spacecraft in operation, formulation, or development, generating science data accessible to researchers everywhere. As science missions have increasingly complex goals—often on compressed timetables—and have more pressure to reduce operations costs, system autonomy must increase in response.

                                Fault Management (FM) is a key component of system autonomy, serving to detect, interpret, and mitigate failures that threaten mission success. Robust FM must address the full range of hardware failures, and also must consider failure of sensors or the flow of sensor data, harmful or unexpected system interaction with the environment, and problems due to faults in software or incorrect control inputs—including failure of autonomy components themselves.  Despite lessons learned from past missions, spacecraft failures are still not uncommon and reuse of FM approaches is limited, illustrating deficiencies in our approach to handling faults in all phases of the flight project lifecycle.

                                While this subtopic addresses particular interest in onboard FM capabilities (viz. onboard sensing approaches, computing, algorithms, and models to assess and maintain spacecraft health), the goal isto provide a system capability for management of future spacecraftOffboard components such as modeling techniques and tools, development environments, and verification and validation (V&V) technologies are also relevant, provided they contribute to novel or capable on-board fault management. 

                                Needed innovations in FM can be grouped into the following two categories:

                                1. Fault Management Operations Approaches:  This category encompasses FM "in-the-loop," including algorithms, computing, state estimation/classification, machine learning, and model-based reasoning.  Further research into fault detection and diagnosis, prognosis, fault recovery, and mitigation of unrecoverable faults is needed to realize greater system autonomy. 
                                2. Fault Management Design and Implementation Tools:  Also sought are methods to formalize and optimize onboard FM, such as model-based system engineering (MBSE).  New technologies to improve or guarantee fault coverage, manage and streamline complex FM, and system modeling and analysis significantly contribute to the quality of FM design and may prove decisive in trades of new versus traditional FM approaches.  Automated test case development, false positive/false negative test tools, model V&V tools, and test coverage risk assessments are examples of contributing technologies.

                                Specific algorithms and sensor technologies are in scope, provided their impact is not limited to a particular subsystem, mission goal, or failure mechanism.   Novel artificial-intelligence-inspired algorithms, machine learning, etc., should apply to this and only this subtopic if their design or application is specific to detection, classification, or mitigation of system faults and off-nominal system behavior.  While the core interests of this subtopic are spacecraft resilience and enabling spacecraft autonomy, closed-loop FM for other high-value systems such as launch vehicles and test stands is also in scope, particularly if techniques can be easily adapted to spacecraft.

                                Related technologies, but without a primary focus on resolution of system faults, such as machine-learning approaches to spacecraft characterization or science data preprocessing, autonomy architectures, or generalized system modeling and design tools, should be directed to other subtopics such as S5.03, Accelerating NASA Science and Engineering through the Application of Artificial Intelligence, or S5.04, Integrated Science Mission Modeling.

                                Expected outcomes and objectives of this subtopic are to mature the practice of FM, leading to better estimation and control of FM complexity and development costs, more flexible and effective FM designs, and accelerated infusion into future missions through advanced tools and techniques. Specific objectives include the following:

                                • Increased spacecraft resilience against faults and failures.
                                • Increased spacecraft autonomy through greater onboard fault estimation and response capability.
                                • Increase collection and quality of science data through mitigation of interruptions and fault tolerance.
                                • Enable cost-effective FM design architectures and operations.
                                • Determine completeness and appropriateness of FM designs and implementations.
                                • Decrease the labor and time required to develop and test FM models and algorithms.
                                • Improve visualization of the full FM design across hardware, software, and operations procedures.
                                • Determine extent of testing required, completeness of verification planned, and residual risk resulting from incomplete coverage.
                                • Increase data integrity between multidiscipline tools.
                                • Standardize metrics and calculations across FM, systems engineering (SE), safety and mission assurance (S&MA), and operations disciplines.
                                • Bound and improve costs and implementation risks of FM while improving capability, such that benefits demonstrably outweigh the risks, leading to mission infusion.

                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 4
                                Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                Level 1: TX 10 Autonomous Systems
                                Level 2: TX 10.2 Reasoning and Acting
                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                • Analysis
                                • Prototype
                                • Software

                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                The aim of the Phase I project should be to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the proposed innovation and thereby bring the innovation closer to commercialization. Note, however, the research and development (R&D) undertaken in Phase I is intended to have high technical risk, and so it is expected that not all projects will achieve the desired technical outcomes.

                                 

                                The required deliverable at the end of an SBIR Phase I contract is a report that summarizes the project’s technical accomplishments. As noted above, it is intended that proposed efforts conduct an initial proof of concept, after which successful efforts would be considered for follow-on funding by Science Mission Directorate (SMD) missions as risk-reduction and infusion activities. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility and NASA relevance during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II prototype demonstration.

                                 

                                The Final Report should thoroughly document the innovation, its status at the end of the effort, and as much objective evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses as is practical. The report should include a description of the approach, foundational concepts and operating theory, mathematical basis, and requirements for application. Results should include strengths and weaknesses found, measured performance in tests where possible.

                                 

                                Additional deliverables may significantly clarify the value and feasibility of the innovation. These deliverables should be planned to demonstrate retirement of development risk, increasing maturity, and targeted applications of particular interest. Although the wide range of innovations precludes a specific list, some possible deliverables are listed below:

                                • For innovations that are algorithmic in nature this could include development code or prototype applications, demonstrations of capability, and results of algorithm stress-testing.
                                • For innovations that are procedural in nature, this may include sample artifacts such as workflows, model prototypes and schema, functional diagrams, examples, or tutorial applications.
                                • Where a suitable test problem can be found, documentation of the test problem and a report on test results, illustrating the nature of the innovation in a quantifiable and reproducible way. Test reports should discuss maturation of the technology, implementation difficulties encountered and overcome, and results and interpretation.

                                Phase II proposals require at minimum a report describing the technical accomplishments of the Phase I award and how these results support the underlying commercial opportunity.  Describing the commercial potential is best done through experiment:  Ideally the Phase II report should describe results of a prototype implementation to a relevant problem, along with lessons learned and future work expected to adapt the technology to other applications.  Further demonstration of commercial value and advantage of the technology can be accomplished through steps such as the following:

                                • Delivery of the technology in software form, as a reference application, or through providence of trial or evaluation materials to future customers.
                                • Technical manuals, such as functional descriptions, specifications, and users guides.
                                • Conference papers or other publications.
                                • Establishment of a preliminary performance model describing technology metrics and requirements.

                                Each of these measures represents a step taken to mature the technology and further reduce the difficulty in reducing it to practice.  Although it is established that further development and customization will continue beyond Phase II, ideally at the conclusion of Phase II a potential customer should have access to sufficient materials and evidence to make informed project decisions about technology suitability, benefits, and risks.

                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                Many recent SMD missions have encountered major cost overruns and schedule slips due to difficulty in implementing, testing, and verifying FM functions. These overruns are invariably caused by a lack of understanding of FM functions at early stages in mission development and by FM architectures that are not sufficiently transparent, verifiable, or flexible enough to provide needed isolation capability or coverage. In addition, a substantial fraction of SMD missions continue to experience failures with significant mission impact, highlighting the need for better FM understanding early in the design cycle, more comprehensive and more accurate FM techniques, and more operational flexibility in response to failures provided by better visibility into failures and system performance. Furthermore, SMD increasingly selects missions with significant operations challenges, setting expectations for FM to evolve into more capable, faster-reacting, and more reliable onboard systems.

                                 

                                The SBIR program is an appropriate venue because of the following factors:

                                • Traditional FM design has plateaued, and new technology is needed to address emerging challenges. There is a clear need for collaboration and incorporation of research from outside the spaceflight community, as fielded FM technology is well behind the state of the art and failing to keep pace with desired performance and capability.
                                • The need for new FM approaches spans a wide range of missions, from improving operations for relatively simple orbiters to enabling entirely new concepts in challenging environments. Development of new FM technologies by SMD missions themselves is likely to produce point solutions with little opportunity for reuse and will be inefficient at best compared to a focused, disciplined research effort external to missions.
                                • SBIR level of effort is appropriately sized to perform intensive studies of new algorithms, new approaches, and new tools. The approach of this subtopic is to seek the right balance between sufficient reliability and cost appropriate to each mission type and associated risk posture. This is best achieved with small and targeted investigations, enabled by captured data and lessons learned from past or current missions, or through examination of knowledge capture and models of missions in formulation. Following this initial proof of concept, successful technology development efforts under this subtopic would be considered for follow-on funding by SMD missions as risk-reduction and infusion activities. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility and NASA relevance during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II prototype demonstration.

                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                FM technologies are applicable to all SMD missions, albeit with different emphases. Medium-to-large missions have very low tolerance for risk of mission failure, leading to a need for sophisticated and comprehensive FM. Small missions, on the other hand, have a higher tolerance for risks to mission success but must be highly efficient, and are increasingly adopting autonomy and FM as a risk mitigation strategy.

                                 

                                A few examples are provided below, although these may be generalized to a broad class of missions:

                                • Lunar Flashlight (currently in assembly, test, and launch operations (ATLO), as an example of many similar future missions): Enable very low-cost operations and high science return from a 6U CubeSat through onboard error detection and mitigation, streamlining mission operations. Provide autonomous resilience to onboard errors and disturbances that interrupt or interfere with science observations.
                                • Europa Lander: Provide onboard capability to detect and correct radiation-induced execution errors. Provide reliable reasoning capability to restart observations after interruptions without requiring ground in-the-loop. Provide MBSE tools to model and analyze FM capabilities in support of design trades, V&V of FM capabilities, and coordinated development with flight software.  Maximize science data collection during an expected short mission lifetime due to environmental challenges.
                                • Rovers and Rotorcraft (Mars Sample Return, Dragonfly): Provide onboard capability for systems checkout, enabling lengthy drives/flights between Earth contacts and mobility after environmentally induced anomalies (e.g., unexpected terrain interaction). Improve reliability of complex activities (e.g., navigation to features, drilling and sample capture, capsule pickup and remote launch).
                                • Search for Extrasolar Planets (observation): Provide sufficient system reliability through onboard detection, reasoning, and response to enable long-period, stable observations. Provide onboard or onground analysis capabilities to predict system response and optimize observation schedule. Enable reliable operations while out of direct contact (e.g., deliberately occluded from Earth to reduce photon, thermal, and radio-frequency background).

                                References:

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                              • T10.03Coordination and Control of Swarms of Space Vehicles

                                  Lead Center: JPL

                                  Participating Center(s): LaRC

                                  Solicitation Year: 2021

                                  Scope Title: Enabling Technologies for Swarm of Space Vehicles Scope Description: This subtopic is focused on developing and demonstrating technologies that enable cooperative operation of swarms of space vehicles in a dynamic environment. Primary interest is in technologies appropriate for… Read more>>

                                  Scope Title:

                                  Enabling Technologies for Swarm of Space Vehicles

                                  Scope Description:

                                  This subtopic is focused on developing and demonstrating technologies that enable cooperative operation of swarms of space vehicles in a dynamic environment. Primary interest is in technologies appropriate for low-cardinality (4- to 15-vehicle) swarms of small spacecraft, as well as planetary rovers and flyers (e.g., Mars helicopter). Large swarms and other platforms are of interest if well motivated in connection to NASA’s Strategic Plan and needs identified in decadal surveys.

                                  The proposed technology must be motivated by a well-defined "design reference mission" presented in the proposal with clear connection to the needs identified in decadal surveys. The proposed design reference mission is used to derive the high-level requirements for the technology development effort.

                                  Areas of high interest are:

                                  • Distributed estimation for exploration and inspection of a target object or phenomena by various assets with heterogenous sensors and from various vantage points.
                                  • High-precision relative localization and time synchronization in orbit and on planet surface.
                                  • Operations concepts and tools that provide situational awareness and commanding capability for a team of spacecraft or swarm of robots on another planet.
                                  • Coordinated task recognition and planning, operation, and execution with realistic communication limitations.
                                  • Communicationless coordination by observing and estimating the actions of other agents in the multiagent system.

                                  NASA has plans to purchase services for delivery of payloads to the Moon through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. Under this subtopic, proposals may include efforts to develop payloads for flight demonstration of relevant technologies in the lunar environment. The CLPS payload accommodations will vary depending on the particular service provider and mission characteristics. Additional information on the CLPS program and providers can be found at this link: https://www.nasa.gov/content/commercial-lunar-payload-services. CLPS missions will typically carry multiple payloads for multiple customers. Smaller, simpler, and more self-sufficient payloads are more easily accommodated and would be more likely to be considered for a NASA-sponsored flight opportunity. Commercial payload delivery services may begin as early as 2020 and flight opportunities are expected to continue well into the future. In future years, it is expected that larger and more complex payloads will be accommodated. Selection for award under this solicitation will not guarantee selection for a lunar flight opportunity.

                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6
                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                  Level 1: TX 10 Autonomous Systems
                                  Level 2: TX 10.3 Collaboration and Interaction
                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                  • Research
                                  • Prototype
                                  • Software
                                  • Hardware

                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                  Phase I awards will be expected to develop theoretical frameworks, algorithms, and software simulation and demonstrate feasibility (TRL 3). Phase II awards will be expected to demonstrate capability on a hardware testbed (TRL 4 to 6).

                                  • Phase I and Phase II: Algorithms and research results clearly depicting metrics and performance of the developed technology in comparison to state of the art (SOA). Software implementation of the developed solution along with simulation platform must be included as a deliverable.
                                  • Phase II only: Prototype of the sensor or similar if proposal is to develop such subsystem.

                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                  Technologies developed under this subtopic enable and are critical for multi-robot missions for collaborative planetary exploration. Distributed task recognition, allocation, and execution, collaborative motion planning for larger science return, and distributed estimation and shared common operational picture are examples of technology needs in this area.

                                  These technologies also enable successful formation flying spacecraft missions, robust distributed GNC, precision relative navigation, distributed tasking and execution, and distributed estimation of the swarm state as well as the science target are examples of the technology gaps in this area.

                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                  Subtopic technology directly supports NASA Space Technology Roadmap TA4 (4.5.4 Multi-Agent Coordination, 4.2.7 Collaborative Mobility, and 4.3.5 Collaborative Manipulation) and Strategic Space Technology Investment Plan (Robotic and Autonomous Systems: Relative GNC and Supervisory control of an S/C team), and is relevant to the following concepts:

                                  • Multi-robot follow-on to the Mars 2020 and Mars helicopter programs are likely to necessitate close collaboration among flying robots as advanced scouts and rovers.
                                  • PUFFERs are being developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and promise a low-cost swarm of networked robots that can collaboratively explore lava tubes and other hard-to-reach areas on planet surfaces.
                                  • A convoy of spacecraft is being considered, in which the lead spacecraft triggers detailed measurement of a very dynamic event by the following spacecraft.

                                  Multiple concepts for distributed space telescopes and distributed synthetic apertures are proposed that rely heavily on coordination and control technologies developed under this subtopic.

                                  References:

                                  [1] D. P. Scharf, F. Y. Hadaegh and S. R. Ploen, "A survey of spacecraft formation flying guidance and control (part 1): guidance," Proceedings of the 2003 American Control Conference, 2003. Denver, CO, USA, 2003, pp. 1733-1739.

                                  [2] D. P. Scharf, F. Y. Hadaegh and S. R. Ploen, "A survey of spacecraft formation flying guidance and control. Part II: control," Proceedings of the 2004 American Control Conference, Boston, MA, USA, vol. 4, 2004, pp. 2976-2985.

                                  [3] Evan Ackerman, "PUFFER: JPL's Pop-Up Exploring Robot; This little robot can go where other robots fear to roll,“ https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/space-robots/puffer-jpl-popup-exploring-robot(link is external).

                                  [4] "Precision Formation Flying,” https://scienceandtechnology.jpl.nasa.gov/precision-formation-flying.

                                  [5] "Mars Helicopter to Fly on NASA’s Next Red Planet Rover Mission," https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/mars-helicopter-to-fly-on-nasa-s-next-red-planet-rover-mission/.

                                  [6] Miller, Duncan, Alvar Saenz-Otero, J. Wertz, Alan Chen, George Berkowski, Charles F. Brodel, S. Carlson, Dana Carpenter, S. Chen, Shiliang Cheng, David Feller, Spence Jackson, B. Pitts, Francisco Pérez, J. Szuminski and S. Sell. "SPHERES: A Testbed for Long Duration Satellite Formation Flying In MicroGravity Conditions." Proceedings of the AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, AAS 00-110, Clearwater, FL, Jan. 2000.

                                  [7] S. Bandyopadhyay, R. Foust, G. P. Subramanian, S.-J. Chung and F. Y. Hadaegh, "Review of Formation Flying and Constellation Missions Using Nanosatellites," Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, vol. 53, no. 3, 2016, pp. 567-578.

                                  [8] S. Kidder, J. Kankiewicz and T. Vonder Haar. "The A-Train: How Formation Flying is Transforming Remote Sensing," https://atrain.nasa.gov/publications.php.

                                  [9] T. Huntsberger, A. Trebi-Ollennu, H. Aghazarian, P. Schenker, P. Pirjanian and H. Nayar. "Distributed Control of Multi-Robot Systems Engaged in Tightly Coupled Tasks," Autonomous Robots 17, 79–92, 2004.

                                  [10] Space Studies Board, "Achieving Science with CubeSats: Thinking Inside the Box," National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2016, http://sites.nationalacademies.org/SSB/CompletedProjects/SSB_160539.

                                  [11] Planetary Science Decadal Survey 2013-2022, https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/science-goals/about/.

                                  [12] Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, https://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/special-events/astro2010-astronomy-and-astrophysics-decadal-survey.

                                  [13] Astro2020: Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020, https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/decadal-survey-on-astronomy-and-astrophysics-2020-astro2020.

                                  [14] Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space 2018, https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work-decadal-survey-for-earth-scie....

                                   

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                                • T10.04Autonomous Systems and Operations for the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway

                                    Lead Center: ARC

                                    Participating Center(s): JSC, KSC, SSC

                                    Solicitation Year: 2021

                                    Scope Title: Artificial Intelligence for the Gateway Lunar Orbital Platform Scope Description: Gateway is a planned lunar-orbit spacecraft that will have a power and propulsion system, a small habitat for the crew, a docking capability, an airlock, and logistics modules. Gateway is expected to serve… Read more>>

                                    Scope Title:

                                    Artificial Intelligence for the Gateway Lunar Orbital Platform

                                    Scope Description:

                                    Gateway is a planned lunar-orbit spacecraft that will have a power and propulsion system, a small habitat for the crew, a docking capability, an airlock, and logistics modules. Gateway is expected to serve as an intermediate way station between the Orion crew capsule and lunar landers as well as a platform for both crewed and uncrewed experiments. Gateway is also intended to test technologies and operational procedures for suitability on long-duration space missions such as a mission to Mars. As such, it will require new technologies such as autonomous systems to run scientific experiments onboard, including biological experiments; perform system health management, including caution and warning; autonomous data management; and other functions. In contrast to the International Space Station, Gateway is much more representative of lunar and deep space missions—for example, the radiation environment.

                                    This subtopic solicits autonomy, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies to manage and operate engineered systems to facilitate long-duration space missions, with the goal of testing proposed technologies on Gateway. The current concept of operations for Gateway anticipates uncrewed (dormant) periods of up to 9 months. Technologies need to be capable of or enable long-term, mostly unsupervised autonomous operation. While crew are present, technologies need to augment the crew’s abilities, allow more autonomy from Earth-based Mission Control, and learn how to perform or improve their performance of autonomous operations by observing the crew. Additionally, the technologies may need to allow for coordination with the Orion crew capsule, lunar landers, Earth, and their various systems and subsystems.

                                    Examples of needs include but are not limited to:

                                    1. Autonomous operations and tending of science payloads, including environmental monitoring and support for live biological samples, and in situ automated analysis of science experiments.
                                    2. Prioritizing data for transmission from Gateway. Given communications limitations, it may be necessary to determine what data can be stored for transmission when greater bandwidth is available, and what data can be eliminated as it will turn out to be useless, based on criteria relevant to the conduct of science and/or maintenance of the physical assets. Alternatively, it may be useful to adaptively compress data for transmission from the Gateway, which could include scientific experiment data and status, voice communications, scientific experiment data and status, and/or systems health management data.
                                    3. Autonomous operations and health management of Gateway. When Gateway is unoccupied, unexpected events or faults may require immediate autonomous detection and response, demonstrating this capability in the absence of support from Mission Control (which is enabling for future Mars missions and time-critical responses in lunar environment as well). Efforts to develop smart habitats will allow long-term human presence on the Moon and Mars such as the Space Technology Research Institutes (https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-two-new-space-tech-research-institutes-for-smart-habitats) are relevant.

                                    The deliverables range from research results to prototypes demonstrating various ways that autonomy and artificial intelligence (e.g., automated reasoning, machine learning, and discrete control) can be applied to aspects of Gateway operations and health management individually and/or jointly. As one example, for autonomous biological science experiments, the prototype could include hardware to host live samples for a minimum of 30 days that provide monitoring and environmental maintenance, as well as software to autonomously remedy issues with live science experiments. As another example, software that monitors the Gateway habitat while uncrewed, automatically notifies of any off-nominal conditions, and then, when crew arrive, transitions Gateway from quiescent status to a status capable of providing the crew with life support. As another example, machine learning from the data stream of Gateway sensors to determine anomalous versus nominal conditions and prioritize and compress data communications to Earth.

                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 6
                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                    Level 1: TX 10 Autonomous Systems
                                    Level 2: TX 10.3 Collaboration and Interaction
                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                    • Research
                                    • Analysis
                                    • Prototype
                                    • Software
                                    • Hardware

                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                    Phase I deliverables minimally include a detailed concept for autonomy technology to support Gateway operations such as experiments. Prototypes of software and/or hardware are strongly encouraged. Phase II deliverables will be full technology prototypes that could be subsequently matured for deployment on Gateway.

                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                    The current state of the art in human spaceflight allows for autonomous operations of systems of relatively limited scope, involving only a fixed level of autonomy (e.g., amount of human involvement needed), and learning at most one type of function (e.g., navigation). Gateway will require all operations and health management to be autonomous at different levels (almost fully autonomous when no astronauts are on board versus limited autonomy when astronauts are present), the autonomy to learn from human operations, and the autonomy across all functions. The autonomy will also need to adapt to new missions and new technologies. Proposers should be aware of and consider potential interfaces and interactions such as those between Gateway and smart habitats. Proposers may want to be aware of pertinent related efforts such as those being conducted by the Space Technology Research Institutes.

                                    As NASA continues to expand with the eventual goal of Mars missions, the need for autonomous tending of science payloads will grow substantially. In order to address the primary health concerns for crew on these missions, it is necessary to conduct science in the most relevant environment. Acquisition of this type of data will be challenging while the Gateway and Artemis missions are being performed due to limited crewed missions and limited crew time.

                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                    Gateway and other space-station-like assets in the future will need the ability to execute an increasingly large number of autonomous operations over longer durations with higher degrees of complexity and less ability to have human intervention due to increasing duration space missions such as missions to Mars.

                                    References:

                                     

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                                  • T10.05Integrated Data Uncertainty Management and Representation for Trustworthy and Trusted Autonomy in Space

                                      Lead Center: LaRC

                                      Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

                                      Solicitation Year: 2021

                                      Scope Title: Integrated Data Uncertainty Management and Representation for Trustworthy and Trusted Autonomy in Space Scope Description: Multi-agent Cyber-Physical-Human (CPH) teams in future space missions must include machine agents with a high degree of autonomy. In the context of this subtopic,… Read more>>

                                      Scope Title:

                                      Integrated Data Uncertainty Management and Representation for Trustworthy and Trusted Autonomy in Space

                                      Scope Description:

                                      Multi-agent Cyber-Physical-Human (CPH) teams in future space missions must include machine agents with a high degree of autonomy. In the context of this subtopic, by “autonomy” we mean the capacity and authority of an agent (human or machine) for independent decision-making and execution in a specified context. We refer to machine agents with these attributes as autonomous systems (AS). In multi-agent CPH teams, humans may serve as remote mission supervisors or as immediate mission teammates, along with AS. AS may function as teammates with specified independence, but under the ultimate human direction. Alternatively, AS may exercise complete independence in decision-making and operations in pursuit of given mission goals; for instance, for control of uncrewed missions for planetary infrastructure development in preparation for human presence, or maintenance and operation of crew habitats during the crew’s absence.

                                      In all cases, trustworthiness and trust are essential in CPH teams. The term “trustworthiness” denotes the degree to which the system performs as intended and does not perform prohibited actions in a specified context. “Trust” denotes the degree of readiness by an agent (human or machine) to accept direction or advice from another agent (human or machine), also in a specified context. In common sense terms, trust is a confidence in a system’s trustworthiness, which in turn, is the ability to perform actions with desired outcomes.   

                                      Because behind every action lies a decision-making problem, trustworthiness of a system can be viewed in terms of the soundness of decision-making by the system participants. Accurate and relevant information forms the basis of sound decision-making. In this subtopic, we focus on data that inform CPH team decision-making, both in human-machine and machine-machine interactions, from two perspectives: the quality of the data and the representation of the data in support of trusted human-machine and machine-machine interactions.

                                      We consider data exchanges in multi-agent CPH teams that include AS. Data exchanges in multi-agent teams must be subject to the following conditions:

                                      • Known data accuracy, noise characteristics, and resolution, as a function of the physical sensors in relevant environments.
                                      • Known data accuracy, noise characteristics, and resolution as a function of data interpretation if the contributing sensors have a perception component or if data are delivered to an agent via another perception engine (e.g., visual recognition based on deep learning).
                                      • Known data provenance and integrity.
                                      • Dynamic anomaly detection in data streams during operations.
                                      • Comprehensive uncertainty quantification (UQ) of data from a single source.
                                      • Data fusion and combined UQ, if multiple sources of data are used for decision-making.
                                      • If data from either a single source or fused data from multiple sources are used for decision-making by an agent (human or machine), the data and the attendant UQ must be transformed into a representation conducive to and productive for decision-making. This may include data filtering, compression, or expansion, among other approaches.
                                      • UQ must be accompanied by a sensitivity analysis of the mission/operation/action goals with respect to uncertainties in various data, to enable appropriate risk estimation and risk-based decision-making by relevant agents, human or machine.
                                      • Tools for real-time, a priori, and aposteriori data analysis, with explanations relevant to participating agents. For instance, if machine learning is used for visual data perception in decision-making by humans, methods of interpretable or explainable AI (XAI) may be in order.

                                       

                                      We note that deep learning and machine learning, in general, are not the chief focus of this subtopic. The techniques are mentioned as an example of tools that may participate in data processing. If such tools are used, the representation of the results to decision-makers (human or machine) must be suitably interpretable and equipped with UQ.

                                      Addressing the entire set of the conditions listed above would likely be impractical in a single proposal. Therefore, proposers may offer methods and tools for addressing a subset of conditions.

                                      Proposers should offer both a general approach to achieving a chosen subset of the listed conditions and a specific application of the general approach to appropriate data types. The future orbiting or surface stations are potential example platforms, because the environment would include a variety of autonomous systems used for habitat maintenance when the station is uninhabited, continual system health management, crew health, robotic assembly, and cyber security, among other functions. However, the proposers may choose any relevant design reference mission for demonstration of proposed approaches to integrated data uncertainty management and representation, subject to a convincing substantiation of the generalizability and scalability of the approach to relevant practical systems, missions, and environments.

                                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                      Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                      Level 1: TX 10 Autonomous Systems 
                                      Level 2: TX 10.1 Situational and Self Awareness 
                                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                      • Research
                                      • Analysis
                                      • Software

                                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                                      Since UQ and management in data is an overarching theme in this subtopic, an analysis of uncertainties in the processes and data must be present in all final deliverables, both in Phases I and II.

                                      Phase I: For the areas selected in the proposal, the following deliverables would be in order:

                                      1. Thorough but succinct analysis of the state of the art in the proposed area under investigation.
                                      2. Detailed description of the problem used as the context for algorithm development, including substantiation for why this is a representative problem for a set of applications relevant to NASA missions.
                                      3. Detailed description of the approach, including pseudocode, and the attendant design of experiments for testing and evaluation.
                                      4. Hypotheses about the scalability and generalizability of the proposed approach to realistic problems relevant to NASA missions.
                                      5. Preliminary software and process implementation.
                                      6. Preliminary demonstration of the software.
                                      7. Thorough analysis of performance and gaps.
                                      8. Detailed plan for Phase II, including the design reference mission and the attendant technical problem.
                                      9. Items 1 to 8 documented in a final report for Phase I.

                                      Phase II:

                                      1. Detailed description and analysis of the design reference mission and the technical problem selected in Phase I, in collaboration with NASA Contracting Officer Representative (COR)/Technical Monitor (TM).
                                      2. Detailed description of the approach/algorithms developed further for application to the Phase II design reference mission and problem, including pseudocode, and the design of experiments for testing and evaluation.
                                      3. Demonstration of the algorithms, software, methods, and processes.
                                      4. Thorough analysis of performance and gaps, including scalability and applicability to NASA missions.  
                                      5. Resulting code.
                                      6. Detailed plan for potential Phase III.
                                      7. Items 1 to 5 documented in a final report for Phase II.

                                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                      Despite progress in real-time data analytics, serious gaps remain that will present an obstacle to the operation of systems in NASA missions that require heavy participation of autonomous systems, both in human-machine teams and in uncrewed environments, whether temporary or permanent. The gaps come under two main categories:

                                      1. Quality of the information based on various data sources—Trustworthiness of the data is essential in making decisions with desired outcomes. This gap can be summarized as the lack of reliable and actionable UQ associated with data, as well as the difficulty of detecting anomalies in data and combining data from disparate sources, ensuring appropriate quality of the result.
                                      2. Representation of the data to decision-makers (human or machine) that is conducive to trustworthy decision-making—We distinguish raw data from useful information of appropriate complexity and form. Transforming data, single-source or fused, into information productive for decision-making, especially by humans, is a challenge.

                                      Specific gaps are listed under the Scope Description as conditions the subsets of which must be addressed by proposers.

                                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                      The technologies developed as a result of this subtopic would be directly applicable to the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), Science Mission Directorate (SMD), Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), and  Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), as all of these mission directorates are heavy users of data and growing users of autonomous systems. For instance, the Gateway mission will need a significant presence of autonomous systems, as well as human-machine team operations that rely on autonomous systems for habitat maintenance when the station is uninhabited, continual system health management, crew health, robotic assembly, among other functions. Human presence on the Moon surface will require similar functions, as well as future missions to Mars. All trustworthy decision-making relies on trustworthy data. This topic addresses gaps in data trustworthiness, as well as productive data representation to human-machine teams for sound decision-making.

                                      The subtopic is also directly applicable to ARMD missions and goals, because future airspace will heavily rely on autonomous systems. Thus, the subtopic is applicable to such projects as Airspace Operations and Safety Program (AOSP)/Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and Air Traffic Management—eXploration ATM-X. The technologies developed as a result of this subtopic would be applicable to the National Airspace System (NAS) in the near future as well, because of the need to process data related to vehicle and system performance.

                                      References:

                                       

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                                  • Lead MD: STMD

                                    Participating MD(s): SMD, STTR

                                    This focus area includes development of robotic systems technologies (hardware and software) that will enable and enhance future space exploration missions. In the coming decades, robotic systems will continue to change the way space is explored. Robots will be used in all mission phases: as independent explorers operating in environments too distant or hostile for humans, as precursor systems operating before crewed missions, as crew helpers working alongside and supporting humans, and as caretakers of assets left behind. As humans continue to work and live in space, they will increasingly rely on intelligent and versatile robots to perform mundane activities, freeing human and ground control teams to tend to more challenging tasks that call for human cognition and judgment. Technologies are needed for robotic systems to improve transport of crew, instruments, and payloads on planetary surfaces, on and around small bodies, and in-space. This includes hazard detection, sensing/perception, active suspension, grappling/anchoring, legged locomotion, robot navigation, end-effectors, propulsion, and user interfaces.

                                    Innovative robot technologies provide a critical capability for space exploration. Multiple forms of mobility, manipulation and human-robot interaction offer great promise in exploring planetary bodies for science investigations and to support human missions. Enhancements and potentially new forms of robotic systems can be realized through advances in component technologies, such as actuation and structures (e.g. 3D printing). Mobility provides a critical capability for space exploration. Multiple forms of mobility offer great promise in exploring planetary bodies for science investigations and to support human missions. Manipulation provides a critical capability for positioning crew members and instruments in space and on planetary bodies. Robotic manipulation allows for the handling of tools, interfaces, and materials not specifically designed for robots, and it provides a capability for drilling, extracting, handling, and processing samples of multiple forms and scales. This increases the range of beneficial tasks robots can perform and allows for improved efficiency of operations across mission scenarios. Furthermore, manipulation is important for human missions, human precursor missions, and unmanned science missions.  Moreover, sampling, sample handling, transport, and distribution to instruments, or instrument placement directly on in-place rock or regolith, is important for robotic missions to locales too distant or dangerous for human exploration.

                                    Future space missions may rely on co-located and distributed teams of humans and robots that have complementary capabilities. Tasks that are considered "dull, dirty, or dangerous" can be transferred to robots, thus relieving human crew members to perform more complex tasks or those requiring real-time modifications due to contingencies. Additionally, due to the limited number of astronauts anticipated to crew planetary exploration missions, as well as their constrained schedules, ground control will need to remotely supervise and assist robots using time-delayed and limited bandwidth communications.  Advanced methods of human-robot interaction over time delay will enable more productive robotic exploration of the more distant reaches of the solar system.  This includes improved visualization of alternative future states of the robot and the terrain, as well as intuitive means of communicating the intent of the human to the robotic system.

                                    • S4.02Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling

                                        Lead Center: JPL

                                        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC

                                        Solicitation Year: 2021

                                        Scope Title: Robotic Mobility, Manipulation, and Sampling Scope Description: Technologies for robotic mobility, manipulation, and sampling are needed to enable access to sites of interest as well as acquisition and handling of samples for in situ analysis or return to Earth from planets and other… Read more>>

                                        Scope Title:

                                        Robotic Mobility, Manipulation, and Sampling

                                        Scope Description:

                                        Technologies for robotic mobility, manipulation, and sampling are needed to enable access to sites of interest as well as acquisition and handling of samples for in situ analysis or return to Earth from planets and other planetary bodies including the moon, Mars, Venus, Ceres, Europa, Titan, Enceladus, comets, and asteroids.

                                         

                                        Mobility technologies are needed to enable access to steep and rough terrain for planetary bodies where gravity dominates, such as Earth’s Moon and Mars. Wheeled, legged, and aerial solutions are of interest. Wheel concepts with good tractive performance in loose sand while being robust to harsh rocky terrain are of interest. Technologies to enable mobility on small bodies and access to liquid below the surface (e.g., in conduits or deep oceans) are desired, as well as the associated sampling technologies.

                                         

                                        Manipulation technologies are needed to deploy sampling tools to the surface, transfer samples to in situ instruments and sample storage containers, and hermetically seal sample chambers. Sample acquisition tools are needed to acquire samples on planetary and small bodies through soft and hard materials, including ice. Minimization of mass and ability to work reliably in the harsh mission environment are important characteristics for the tools. Finally, design for planetary protection and contamination control is important for sample acquisition and handling systems.

                                         

                                        Component technologies for low-mass and low-power systems tolerant to the in situ environment (e.g., temperature, radiation, and dust) are of particular interest. Technical feasibility and value should be demonstrated during Phase I via analysis or prototype demonstration, and a full capability unit of at least TRL 4 should be delivered in Phase II. Proposals should show an understanding of relevant science needs and engineering constraints and present a feasible plan (to include a discussion of challenges and appropriate testing) to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Specific areas of interest include the following (order does not reflect priority):

                                        • Surface mobility and sampling systems for planets, small bodies, and moons.
                                        • Near-subsurface sampling tools such as icy-surface drills to 30 cm depth deployed from a manipulator.
                                        • Subsurface ocean access such as via a deep drill system.
                                        • Sample handling technologies that minimize cross contamination and preserve mechanical integrity of samples.
                                        • Pneumatic sample transfer systems and particle flow measurement sensors.
                                        • Low-mass/power vision systems and processing capabilities that enable fast surface traverse.
                                        • Active lighting stereo systems for landers and rovers.
                                        • Force-torque sensors that can operate in cryogenic and high-radiation environments such as Europa.
                                        • Electromechanical connectors enabling tool change-out in dirty environments.
                                        • Tethers and tether play-out and retrieval system.
                                        • Miniaturized flight motor controllers.
                                        • Cryogenic operation actuators.
                                        • Robotic arms for low-gravity environments.

                                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
                                        Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                        Level 1: TX 04 Robotics Systems
                                        Level 2: TX 04.3 Manipulation
                                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                        • Research
                                        • Analysis
                                        • Prototype
                                        • Hardware
                                        • Software

                                        Desired Deliverables Description:

                                        Hardware, software, and designs for component robotic systems.

                                        • Phase I: proof of concept to include research and analysis along with design in a final report.
                                        • Phase II: prototype for further testing.

                                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                        Scoops, powder drills, and rock core drills and their corresponding handling systems have been developed for sample acquisition on Mars and asteroids. Non-flight systems have been developed for sampling on comets, Venus, and Earth's Moon.  Some of these environments still present risk and have gaps that need to be addressed (i.e. Venus). 

                                         

                                        Ocean worlds exploration presents new environments and unique challenges not met by existing mobility and sampling systems.   New mobility, manipulation, and sampling technologies are needed to enable new types of missions and missions to different and challenging environments. 

                                        Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                        The subtopic supports multiple programs within Science Mission Directorate (SMD). The Mars program has had infusion of technologies such as a force-torque sensor in the Mars 2020 mission. Recent awards would support the Ocean Worlds program with surface and deep drills for Europa, and future awards could include technologies to support missions to Enceladus, Titan, and other planetary bodies with subsurface oceans.  Sample-return missions could be supported such as from Ceres, comets, and asteroids. Products from this subtopic have been proposed for New Frontiers program missions. With renewed interest in return to Earth's Moon, the mobility and sampling technologies could support future robotic missions to the Moon.

                                        References:

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                                      • T7.04Surface Construction

                                          Lead Center: KSC

                                          Participating Center(s): GRC, MSFC

                                          Solicitation Year: 2021

                                          Scope Title: Surface Construction Scope Description: Surface construction technologies must be developed to support long-term sustainable human presence on the lunar and eventually Martian surfaces. To enable a sustained human presence on the Moon, multiple assets are likely to be landed proximal… Read more>>

                                          Scope Title:

                                          Surface Construction

                                          Scope Description:

                                          Surface construction technologies must be developed to support long-term sustainable human presence on the lunar and eventually Martian surfaces. To enable a sustained human presence on the Moon, multiple assets are likely to be landed proximal to each other. While the Apollo landers demonstrated that it is possible to land on an unprepared surface, landing multiple proximal assets under Artemis will pose an unacceptable risk to nearby hardware.

                                          For this reason, launch and landing pads are a high initial priority due to significant risks associated with these operations. When a lander vehicle launches or lands on an extraterrestrial body, the rocket engine exhaust plume impinges on the surface and interacts with the regolith, and blast ejecta is created along with associated cratering of the surface. Lunar regolith blast ejecta travels at high velocities (>2,000 m/s) for long distances (kilometers) in a vacuum environment creating hazards for surrounding assets. Ejecta can also impact the bottom of the lander vehicle, risking damage to the engines, thermal insulation, and sensors. Regolith ejecta can enter cislunar space as debris if the ejecta is sufficiently energetic to achieve orbit. The cratering can affect the stability of the landing gear and expose subsurface hazards. 

                                          As a part of a Launch and Landing Pad (LLP) system, concepts for construction of blast ejecta barriers such as berms, walls, curtains, deflectors, or other solutions are also sought. These blast ejecta barriers will protect the lunar base in the vicinity of the LLP during routine launches and landings and will also provide protection in the event of an anomalous energy release in the lander.

                                          Upon the completion of an LLP system, follow-on surface construction projects will reduce risk to other parts of the lunar infrastructure and are expected to include:

                                          • Stabilized roads and pads to mitigate trafficability and operational risks.
                                          • Radiation shielding for nuclear power plants.
                                          • Trenching for cables and other below-grade operations.
                                          • Site preparation including establishing grade, leveling, compaction, and rock clearing.
                                          • Unpressurized structures for radiation, thermal, and micrometeoroid protection.
                                          • Pressurized structures.

                                          This subtopic is focused on applied research to enable the design, testing, and verification of civil engineering products suitable for use in lunar surface architecture. New analysis methods and specialized construction equipment will be required to meet the unique lunar environment. The desired outcome of this work is the definition of feasible civil engineering system solutions with associated methods, analysis, structural designs, construction equipment concept prototypes, and concepts of operations.

                                          The construction operations shall be robotically competed using indigenous lunar resources to the highest degree possible to minimize crew interaction and minimize the transportation mass from Earth to the Moon. Proposers need to consider operations and hardware designs in a Global Positioning System (GPS-) denied environment for positioning, leveling, and control. In selecting and developing procedures and materials for surface stabilization and landing pad construction, proposers should consider the ability to perform maintenance and repair for long-term operations. 

                                          For hardware, processes, and operations that require mobility, proposers should define the interface and operation requirements, but may refrain from designing specific mobility units as these may be available through other development activities. Proposers should also specify the interfaces to other lunar systems that might be required such as power, regolith size sorting, beneficiation, etc., and include the source of all feedstocks for construction materials and associated processing required.

                                          Proposed techniques can utilize Earth-supplied consumables (such as binders, water, purge gases, etc.) but need to quantify the types and amounts needed for the proposed construction operations. Emphasis should be given to consumables that can eventually be extracted or produced from in situ resources. The proposed lunar methods, materials, and technologies shall be traceable to Mars applications to the highest degree possible. The lunar construction technologies proposed should also contain methodologies for verification of the as-built or finished construction to ensure it will perform as required.

                                          Research institute partnering is anticipated to provide analytical, research, and engineering support to the proposers. Examples may include helping apply civil engineering principles and planning methods, identification and development of needed standards or specifications for lunar operations, or the development of analytical and verification methods for the design and prototyping of structures, hardware, and associated software.

                                          Specific figures of merit for proposed solutions include the following for Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) and human-class landers:

                                          • Performance of infrastructure in intended applications (e.g., under launch/landing conditions).
                                          • Performance under lunar surface environmental conditions (e.g., thermal cycling, ultraviolet (UV), vacuum, and radiation).
                                          • Required payload mass.
                                          • Estimated power requirements.
                                          • Feedstock sources and requirements.
                                          • Construction time.
                                          • Surface preparation/analysis requirements.
                                          • Strategy for verification of as-built structural performance.
                                          • Concepts of operation.
                                          • Expected life of infrastructure.

                                          All proposals need to identify the state-of-the-art of applicable technologies and processes. Prototypes to be delivered at the conclusion of Phase II will be required to operate under lunar equivalent vacuum, temperature, and dust conditions, so thermal management and dust mitigation strategies utilized during the operation of the proposed technology will need to be specified in the Phase I proposal. The Phase I proposals should at least result in a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 2 to 4.

                                          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 6 
                                          Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                          Level 1: TX 07 Exploration Destination Systems 
                                          Level 2: TX 07.2 Mission Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Supportability 
                                          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                          • Research
                                          • Analysis
                                          • Prototype
                                          • Hardware
                                          • Software

                                          Desired Deliverables Description:

                                          Phase I must include the design and test of critical attributes or high risk areas associated with the proposed surface construction technology or process used to achieve the objectives of the Phase II delivered prototype as described in a final report.

                                          By the end of Phase II, the prototype hardware should be advanced by appropriately justified demonstration(s) to TRL 4 to 6, and be capable of further testing in more relevant environments (TRL 7 to 8) beyond Phase II.

                                          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                          The state of the art for robotic construction on the lunar surface includes regolith excavation and manipulation systems such as the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR). Sintered regolith interlocking pavers and emplacement systems were jointly developed and tested by NASA and the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES). Robotic construction of blast ejecta barriers was completed by NASA where a lunar teleoperated robotic bulldozer was able to clear and level an area of 100 by 100 m and then build a 2-m-high berm in the sand dunes of Moses Lake in Washington. Sintered basalt and ablative polymer concrete materials that have been tested at high plasma temperatures in the Arc Jet facility at NASA Ames Research Center performed well as a heat shield material. Specialized concrete formulations and emplacement systems have been developed by Marshall Space Flight Center and others.

                                          Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                          Surface construction of infrastructure directly addresses the STMD Strategic Thrust, “Land: Increase Access to Planetary Surfaces.” It also addresses the strategic thrust of “Explore: Expand Capabilities Through Robotic Exploration and Discovery.” The risks of landing on the Moon were demonstrated in the lunar Surveyor and Apollo missions. The robotic Surveyor spacecraft had difficulty landing safely, and during Apollo, five of six landings had close calls such as avoiding hazardous terrain, dust obscuration during landing, and slopes that tipped the lander as far as 11°, which happened on Apollo 15. The need for trafficability risk mitigation is highlighted by Spirit rover becoming immobilized in Martian regolith. Lunar dust and radiation mitigations are considered major risks for long-term lunar operations.

                                          References:

                                          Metzger, Philip, et al. "ISRU Implications for Lunar and Martian Plume Effects." 47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, 2009.

                                          Plemmons, D. H., Mehta, M., Clark, B. C., Kounaves, S. P., Peach, L. L., Renno, N. O., Tamppari, L., and Young, S. M. M. "Effects of the Phoenix Lander Descent Thruster Plume on the Martian Surface." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 113(E3), 2008.

                                          Mehta, M., Sengupta, A., Renno, N. O., Norman, J. W. V., Huseman, P. G., Gulick, D. S., and Pokora, M. "Thruster Plume Surface Interactions: Applications for Spacecraft Landings on Planetary Bodies." AIAA Journal, 51(12), 2800-2818, 2013.

                                          Mueller, Robert P., and King, Robert H. "Trade Study of Excavation Tools and Equipment for Lunar Outpost Development and ISRU." AIP Conference Proceedings, Vol. 969. No. 1, AIP, 2008.

                                          Mueller, R. P., et al. "Additive Construction with Mobile Emplacement (ACME)." Proceedings of the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Adelaide, Australia (IAC-17-D3. 2.1), 2017.

                                          Vangen, Scott, et al. "International Space Exploration Coordination Group Assessment of Technology Gaps for Dust Mitigation for the Global Exploration Roadmap." AIAA SPACE 2016, 5423, 2016.

                                          Mueller, Robert P., et al. “Design of an Excavation Robot: Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) 2.0." ASCE Earth and Space 2016: Engineering for Extreme Environments, 2016.

                                          Wagner, S.: An Assessment of Dust Effects on Planetary Surface Systems to Support Exploration Requirements. 2004.

                                          Afshar-Mohajer, N., et al.: "Review of Dust Transport and Mitigation Technologies in Lunar and Martian Atmospheres." Advances in Space Research, 56(6), Sept. 15, 2015, 1222-1241.

                                          Gaier, J.: "The Effects of Lunar Dust on EVA Systems During the Apollo Missions." National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2005, NASA/TM-213610.

                                          Lee, L.-H.: "Adhesion and Cohesion Mechanism of Lunar Dust on the Moon's Surface." J. Adhes. Sci. Technol. 1995, 9 (8): 1103-1124.

                                           

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                                        • Z5.04Technologies for Intravehicular Activity Robotics

                                            Lead Center: ARC

                                            Participating Center(s): JSC

                                            Solicitation Year: 2021

                                            Scope Title: Improve the Capability or Performance of Intravehicular Activity Robots Scope Description: To support human exploration beyond Earth orbit, NASA is developing Gateway, which will be an orbiting facility near the Moon. This facility will serve as a starting point for missions to cislunar… Read more>>

                                            Scope Title:

                                            Improve the Capability or Performance of Intravehicular Activity Robots

                                            Scope Description:

                                            To support human exploration beyond Earth orbit, NASA is developing Gateway, which will be an orbiting facility near the Moon. This facility will serve as a starting point for missions to cislunar space and beyond. It could enable assembly and servicing of telescopes and deep space exploration vehicles. It could also be used as a platform for astrophysics, Earth observation, heliophysics, and lunar science.

                                            In contrast to the International Space Station (ISS), which is continuously manned, Gateway is expected to be occupied by humans only intermittently—perhaps only 1 month per year. Consequently, there is a significant need for Gateway to have autonomous capabilities for performing payload operations and spacecraft caretaking, particularly when astronauts are not present. Similar capabilities are needed for future lunar or planetary surface habitats. Intravehicular activity (IVA) robots can potentially perform a wide variety of tasks, including systems inspection, monitoring, diagnostics and repair, logistics and consumables stowage, exploration capability testing, aggregation of robotically returned destination surface samples, and science measurements and operations.

                                            The objective of this subtopic is to develop technologies that can improve the capability or performance of IVA robots to perform payload operations and spacecraft caretaking. Proposals are specifically sought to create technologies that can be integrated and tested with the NASA Astrobee, Robonaut 2, or other NASA robots in the following areas:

                                            • Sensors and perception systems for performing contact tasks; manipulation; and/or interior environment monitoring, inspection, modeling, and navigation.
                                            • Robotic tools for manipulating logistics and stowage or performing maintenance, housekeeping, or emergency management operations (e.g., fire detection and suppression in multiple constrained locations or cleaning lunar dust out of air filters).
                                            • Operational subsystems that enable extended robot operations (power systems, efficient propulsion, etc.); increase robot autonomy via computationally efficient methods (planning, scheduling, and task execution); or improve human-robot interaction between IVA robots and human teams on the ground under communications constraints, including low bandwidth and extended loss-of-signal periods (software architecture, remote operations methods, etc.).

                                            This subtopic also seeks to advance technologies that will enable the next generation of IVA robots to operate in lunar surface habitats, including:

                                            • Novel robotic end effectors capable of reliably performing fine grasping tasks, such as plugging and unplugging MIL-STD-38999 electrical connectors and fluid quick-disconnect connectors.
                                            • Compact, reliable, modular robotic actuators and controllers for IVA robots.
                                            • Software that enables autonomous management of robot operational and hardware faults such that the robot can “fail operational.” For example, the software may use algorithms to determine how to automatically respond to a failure in a motion planner for move to a commanded location by taking into account a projected collision and replanning to the next closest point not in collision.

                                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 5 
                                            Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                            Level 1: TX 04 Robotics Systems 
                                            Level 2: TX 04.X Other Robotic Systems 
                                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                            • Research
                                            • Analysis
                                            • Prototype
                                            • Hardware
                                            • Software

                                            Desired Deliverables Description:

                                            Proposals must describe how the technology will make a significant improvement over the current state of the art, rather than just an incremental enhancement, for a specific IVA robot application.

                                            Deliverables should focus on prototype components, subsystems, and the demonstration thereof. Specifically, Phase I awards shall deliver an interim and final report discussing these results. Phase II awards shall deliver demonstration reports along with supporting software, design information, and documentation.

                                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                            The technology developed by this subtopic would both enable and enhance the Astrobee free-flying robot and Robonaut 2 humanoid robot, which are the state of the art for IVA robots. SBIR technology would improve the capability and performance of these robots to routinely and robustly perform IVA tasks, particularly internal spacecraft payload operations and logistics. New technology created by 2021 SBIR awards could potentially be tested with these, or other, robots in ground testbeds at Ames Research Center (ARC) and Johnson Space Center (JSC) in follow-on awards. Likewise, on-orbit testing on ISS may be possible during follow-on awards.

                                             

                                            The technology developed by this subtopic would also fill technical gaps identified by the proposed Game Changing Development (GCD) Integrated System for Autonomous and Adaptive Caretaking (ISAAC) project, which will mature autonomy technology to support the caretaking of human exploration spacecraft. In particular, the SBIR technology would help provide autonomy and robotic capabilities that are required for in-flight maintenance (both preventive and corrective) of Gateway during extended periods when crew are not present.

                                            Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                            This subtopic is directly relevant to the following STMD (Space Technology Mission Directorate) investments:

                                            • Astrobee freeflying robot, GCD
                                            • Integrated System for Autonomous and Adaptive Caretaking (ISAAC), GCD
                                            • Smart Deep Space Habitats (SmartHabs), Space Technology Research Institutes (STRI)

                                            This subtopic is directly relevant to the following HEOMD (Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate) investments:

                                            • SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite)/Astrobee facility, ISS
                                            • Robonaut 2 humanoid robot, ISS
                                            • Gateway program, Advanced Exploration Systems (AES)
                                            • Logistics Reduction project, AES
                                            • Autonomous Systems Operations project, AES

                                            References:

                                            What is Astrobee? https://www.nasa.gov/astrobee

                                            What is a Robonaut? https://www.nasa.gov/robonaut2

                                            J. Crusan, et al. 2018. "Deep space gateway concept: Extending human presence into cislunar space." In Proceedings of IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT.

                                            M. Bualat, et al. 2018. "Astrobee: A new tool for ISS operations." In Proceedings of AIAA SpaceOps, Marseille, France. [https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20180006684]

                                            T. Fong, et al. 2013. "Smart SPHERES: A telerobotic free-flyer for intravehicular activities in space." In Proceedings of AIAA Space 2013, San Diego, CA. [https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20160006694]

                                            M. Diftler, et al. 2011. "Robonaut 2 - The first humanoid robot in space." In Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Shanghai, China. [https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20100040493]

                                            M. Deans, et al. 2019. "Integrated System for Autonomous and Adaptive Caretaking (ISAAC)." Presentation, Gateway Intra-Vehicular Robotics Working Group Face to Face, Houston, TX; NASA Technical Reports Server [https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20190029054]

                                            N. Radford, et al. 2015. “Valkyrie: NASA's First Bipedal Humanoid Robot.” In Journal of Field Robotics, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 397-419, 2015.

                                             

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                                        • Lead MD: HEOMD

                                          Participating MD(s): SMD, STTR

                                          NASA seeks proposals to produce novel, innovative technologies in the communications and navigation discipline to support Exploration, Science and Space Technology missions, including the eventual return of humans to the Lunar surface. Missions are generating ever-increasing data volumes that require increased performance from communications systems while minimizing spacecraft impact. This requires higher peak throughput from the communications systems with lower flight communication system cost, mass, and power per bit transmitted.  Long range, deep-space optical communications systems are needed to support data-intensive missions to Mars and beyond. Reliable, secure communications on a non-interference basis are also required in complex radio frequency (RF) environments such as inside a launch vehicle fairing or spacecraft cavity, where new analysis methods are needed for predicting the RF environment. Future missions that perform rendezvous and docking; on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing; or precision landing need increased autonomy to reduce dependence on ground-based tracking, orbit determination and maneuver planning.

                                          This requires new and more efficient trajectory planning methods, robust autonomous onboard navigation, and improved precision of onboard instrumentation while minimizing cost, mass, and power. This focus area supports the development of innovative technologies for optical and quantum communications systems, cognitive communications, flight dynamics and navigation, transformational communications approaches, electric and magnetic field prediction methods, positioning and timing, guidance, navigation, and control that will provide a significant improvement over the current state of the art.

                                          • H9.01Long-Range Optical Telecommunications

                                              Lead Center: JPL

                                              Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC

                                              Solicitation Year: 2021

                                              Scope Title: Free-Space Optical Communications Technologies Scope Description: This subtopic seeks innovative technologies for advancing free-space optical communications by pushing future data volume returns to and from space missions in multiple domains with return data rates >100 Gbps… Read more>>

                                              Scope Title:

                                              Free-Space Optical Communications Technologies

                                              Scope Description:

                                              This subtopic seeks innovative technologies for advancing free-space optical communications by pushing future data volume returns to and from space missions in multiple domains with return data rates >100 Gbps (cislunar, i.e., Earth or lunar orbit to ground), >10 Gbps (Earth-Sun L1 and L2), >1 Gbps/AU2 (deep space), and >1 Gbps (planetary lander to orbiter and/or inter-spacecraft).  Ground-to-space forward data rates >25 Mbps at ranges extending to farthest Mars ranges are targeted.  Optical metrology (optimetrics) services, including high-precision ranging, Doppler, and astrometric measurements derived from the optical communications signal, are sought as well.

                                                 

                                              Innovative technologies offering low size, weight, and power (SWaP) with improved efficiency, reliability, robustness, are sought for novel state-of-the-art spaceflight laser communication systems, with supporting ground technologies.    

                                               

                                              Photon-counting sensitivity, near infrared (NIR), spaceflight worthy detectors/detector arrays for supporting laser ranging for potential navigation and science are of particular interest. Ground-based technologies that support operations of large-aperture daytime light collectors are needed to transition deep space optical communications to operational status.  High-power, NIR, intensity-modulated lasers with fast rise times and low-timing jitter (subnanosecond) are needed to support high forward data rates and laser ranging.

                                               

                                              Proposals are sought in the following specific areas:

                                               

                                              Flight Laser Transceivers:

                                               

                                              Low-mass, high-effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) laser transceivers for links over planetary distances with:

                                              • 30- to 50-cm clear aperture diameter telescopes for laser communications.
                                              • Targeted mass of optomechanical assembly per aperture area, less than 200 kg/m2.
                                              • Cumulative wave-front error and transmission loss not to exceed 2 dB.
                                              • Advanced thermal-mechanical designs to withstand planetary launch loads and flight temperatures by the optics and structure, at least -20 to 70 °C operational range.
                                              • Design to mitigate stray light while pointing transceivers 3° from edge of Sun.
                                              • Survive direct Sun pointing for extended duration (few hours to days).
                                              • Transceivers fitting the above characteristics should support robust link acquisition tracking and pointing characteristics, including point-ahead implementation from space for beacon assisted and/or "beaconless" architectures. Innovative solutions for mechanically stiff, light-weighted thermally stable structural properties are sought.
                                              • Acquisition, tracking, and pointing architectures that can operate with dim laser beacons (irradiance of few pW/m2 as entrance of flight aperture) from Mars farthest ranges.
                                              • Pointing loss allocations not to exceed 1 dB (pointing errors associated loss of irradiance at target less than 20%).
                                              • Receiver field-of-view (FOV) of at least 1 mrad angular radius for beacon assisted acquisition, tracking, and pointing.
                                              • As a goal, additional focal plane with wider FOV (>10 mrad) to support onboard astrometry is desired.
                                              • Beaconless pointing subsystems for space-to-ground operations beyond 3 AU.
                                              • Assume integrated spacecraft microvibration angular disturbance of 150 µrad (<0.1 Hz to ~500 Hz).
                                              • Low-complexity small-footprint agile laser transceivers for bidirectional optical links (>1 to 10 Gbps at a nominal link range of 1,000 to 20,000 km) for planetary lander/rover-to-orbiter and/or space-to-space cross links.
                                              • Disruptive low-SWaP technologies that can operate reliably in space over extended mission duration.
                                              • Vibration isolation/suppression systems that will integrate to the optical transceiver in order to reject high frequency base disturbance by at least 50 dB.
                                              • Desire integrated launch locks and latching mechanism.
                                              • Robust for spaceflight.
                                              • Should afford limited +/-5 to +/-12 mrad actuated field-of-regard for the optical line of sight of the transceiver.

                                              Flight Laser Transmitters:

                                              • High-Gbps laser transmitters.
                                              • 1,550-nm wavelength.
                                              • Lasers, electronics, and optical components ruggedized for extended space operations.
                                              • High rate 10 to 100 Gbps for cislunar.
                                              • 1 Gbps for deep space.
                                              • Integrated hardware with embedded software/firmware for innovative coding/modulation/interleaving schemes that are being developed as a part of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS).
                                              • High peak-to-average power laser transmitters for regular or augmented M-ary pulse-position modulation (M-PPM) with M = 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256 operating at NIR wavelengths, preferably 1,550 nm, with average powers from 5 to 50 W.
                                              • Subnanosecond pulse.
                                              • Low-pulse jitter.
                                              • Long lifetime and reliability operating in space environment ( >5 and as long as 20 yr).
                                              • High-modulation and polarization extinction ratio with 1 to 10 GHz line width.
                                              • Space-qualifiable wavelength division multiplexing transmitters and amplifiers with 4 to 20 channels and average output power >20 W per channel; peak-to-average power ratios >200; >10 Gbps channel modulation capability.
                                              • >20% wall-plug efficiency (direct current- (DC-) to-optical, including support electronics) with description of approach for stated efficiency of space-qualifiable lasers.
                                              • Multiwatt Erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA), or alternatives, with high-gain bandwidth (>30 nm, 0.5 dB flatness) concepts will be considered.
                                              • Radiation tolerance better than 50 krad is required (including resilience to photodarkening).

                                              Receivers/Sensors:

                                              • Space-qualifiable high-speed receivers and low-light-level sensitive acquisition, tracking, pointing, detectors, and detector arrays.
                                              • NIR wavelengths: 1,064 and/or 1,550 nm.
                                              • Sensitive to low-irradiance incident at flight transceiver aperture (~ fW/m2 to pW/m2) detection.
                                              • Low subnanosecond timing jitter and fast rise time.
                                              • Novel hybridization of optics and electronic readout schemes with in-built preprocessing capability.
                                              • Characteristics compatible with supporting time-of-flight or other means of processing laser communication signals for high-precision range and range rate measurements.
                                              • Tolerant to space radiation effects, total dose >50 krad, displacement damage and single event effects.

                                              Novel technologies and accessories:

                                              • Narrow bandpass optical filters.
                                              • Space-qualifiable, subnanometer to nanometer, noise equivalent bandwidth with ~90% throughput, large spectral range out-of-band blocking (~40 dB).
                                              • NIR wavelengths from 1,064- to 1,550-nm region, with high transmission through Earth’s atmosphere.
                                              • Reliable tuning over limited range.
                                              • Novel photonics integrated circuit (PIC) devices targeting space applications with objective of reducing SWaP of modulators, without sacrificing performance.
                                              • Proposed PIC solutions should allow improved integration and efficient coupling to discrete optics, when needed.
                                              • Concepts for offering redundancy to laser transmitters in space.
                                              • Optical fiber routing of high-average powers (10s of watts) and high-peak powers (1 to 10 kW).
                                              • Redundancy in actuators and optical components.
                                              • Reliable optical switching.

                                              Ground assets for optical communication:

                                              Low-cost, large aperture receivers for faint optical communication signals from deep-space subsystem technologies:

                                              • Demonstrate innovative subsystem technologies for >10-m-diameter deep-space ground collector.
                                              • Capable of operating to within 3° of solar limb.
                                              • Better than 10-µrad spot size (excluding atmospheric seeing contribution).
                                              • Desire demonstration of low-cost, primary-mirror segment fabrication to meet a cost goal of less than $35K per square meter.
                                              • Low-cost techniques for segment alignment and control, including daytime operations.
                                              • Partial adaptive correction techniques for reducing the FOV required to collect signal photons under daytime atmospheric "seeing" conditions.
                                              • Innovative adaptive techniques not requiring a wave-front sensor and deformable mirror of particular interest.
                                              • Mirror cleanliness monitor and control systems.
                                              • Active metrology systems for maintaining segment primary figure and its alignment with secondary optics.
                                              • Large-core-diameter multimode fibers with low temporal dispersion for coupling large optics to detectors remote (30 to 50 m) from the large optics.
                                              • 1,550-nm sensitive photon counting detector arrays compatible with large-aperture ground collectors with a means of coupling light from large-aperture diameters to reasonably sized detectors/detector arrays, including optical fibers with acceptable temporal dispersion.
                                              • Integrated time tagging readout electronics for >5 gigaphotons/sec incident rate.
                                              • Time resolution <50 ps at 1-sigma.
                                              • Highest possible single photon detection efficiency, at least 50% at highest incident photon-flux rates.
                                              • Total detector active area >0.3 to 1 mm2
                                              • Integrated dark rate <3 megacount/sec.
                                              • Optical filters.
                                              • Subnanometer noise equivalent bandwidths.
                                              • Tunable in a limited range in the 1,550-nm spectral region.
                                              • Transmission losses <0.5 dB.
                                              • Clear aperture >25 mm, and acceptance angle >40 mrad or similar etendue.
                                              • Out-of-band rejection of >50 dB from 0.7 to 1.8 µm.
                                              • Multikilowatt laser transmitters for use as ground beacon and uplink laser transmitters.
                                              • NIR wavelengths in 1.0- or 1.55-µm spectral region.
                                              • Capable of modulating with narrow nanosecond and subnanosecond rise times.
                                              • Low-timing jitter and stable operation.
                                              • High-speed real-time signal processing of serially concatenated PPM operating at a few bits per photon with user interface outputs.
                                              • 15- to 60-MHz repetition rates.

                                              Examples of potential outcomes are, prototype hardware with embedded software and/or firmware of components or assemblies for free-space optical communications (FSOC) optical transceivers, flight and ground laser transmitters, high-sensitivity space-worthy detectors, and novel FSOC photonics targeting near-earth and deep-space applications. 

                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 5
                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                              Level 1: TX 05 Communications, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization Systems
                                              Level 2: TX 05.1 Optical Communications
                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                              • Prototype
                                              • Hardware
                                              • Software

                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                              For all technologies lowest cost for small volume production (5 to 20 units) is a driver. Research must convincingly prove technical feasibility (proof of concept) during Phase I, ideally with hardware deliverables that can be tested to validate performance claims, with a clear path to demonstrating and delivering functional hardware meeting all objectives and specifications in Phase II.

                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                              The state of the art (SOA) for FSOC can be subdivided into near-Earth (extending to cislunar and translunar distances) and planetary ranges with the Lagrange points falling in between.

                                               

                                              Near-Earth FSOC technology has matured through a number of completed and upcoming technology demonstrations from space. Transition from technology demonstration to an operational service demands low-SWaP, novel high-speed (10 to 100 Gbps) space-qualified laser transmitters and receivers. Transmitters and receivers servicing near-Earth applications can possibly be repurposed for deep-space proximity links, such as landed assets on planetary surfaces to orbiting assets with distances of 5,000 to 100,000 km or inter-satellite links. Innovative light-weight space-qualified modems for handling multiple optical-modulation schemes.  Emerging photonics technologies that can benefit space FSOC applications are sought.

                                               

                                              Deep space FSOC is motivated by NASA's initiative to send humans to Mars. Critical gaps following a successful technology demonstration will be light-weighted 30- to 50-cm optical transceivers with a wide operational temperature range -20 to 50 °C over which wave-front error and focus is stable; high peak-to-average power space qualified lasers with average powers of 20 to 50 W; and single photon-sensitive radiation-hardened flight detectors with high-detection efficiency, fast rise times, and low-timing jitter. The detector size should be able to cover 1 mrad FOV with an instantaneous FOV comparable to the transmitted laser beam width. Laser pointing control systems that operate with dim laser beacons transmitted from Earth or use celestial beacon sources. For Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) ground laser transmitters with high-average power (kW class) but narrow line-widths (<0.25 nm) and high-variable repetition rates are required. Innovative optical coatings for large aperture mirrors that are compatible with near-Sun pointing applications for efficiently collecting the signal and lowering background and stray light. Reliability through space-qualified materials and component selection and implementation of redundancy are highly sought after to enable sending humans to planetary destinations, as well as enable higher resolution science instruments. Deriving auxiliary optimetrics from the FSOC signals to support laser ranging and time transfer will also be critical for providing services to future human missions to Mars. High-rate uplink from the ground to Mars with high-modulation rate high-power lasers are also currently lacking.

                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                              A number of FSOC-related NASA projects are ongoing with launch expected in the 2019-2022 time frame. The Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) is an Earth-to-geostationary satellite relay demonstration to launch in 2021. The Illuma-T Project will follow to extend the relay demonstration to include a low Earth orbit (LEO) node on the International Space Station (ISS). In 2023, the Optical to Orion (O2O), Artemis II, demonstration will transmit data from the Orion crewed capsule as it performs a translunar trajectory and return to Earth.

                                               

                                              In 2022, the DSOC Project technology demonstration will be hosted by the Psyche Mission spacecraft extending FSOC links to AU distances.

                                               

                                              These missions are being funded by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) Technology Demonstrations Mission (TDM) program and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program.

                                               

                                              Of the 6 technologies recently identified by NASA for sending humans to Mars, laser communications was identified (https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/6_Technologies_NASA_is_Advancing_to_Send_Humans_to_Mars)

                                              References:

                                              https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/lcrd/index.html

                                              https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/scan/opticalcommunications/illuma-t
                                              https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-laser-communications-to-provide-orion-faster-connections
                                              https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/dsoc/index.html

                                               

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                                            • H9.03Flight Dynamics and Navigation Technologies

                                                Lead Center: GSFC

                                                Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

                                                Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                Scope Title: Advanced Techniques for Trajectory Design and Optimization Scope Description: NASA seeks innovative advancements in trajectory design and optimization for Earth orbit, cislunar, and interplanetary missions, including: Low-thrust trajectories in a multibody dynamical environment… Read more>>

                                                Scope Title:

                                                Advanced Techniques for Trajectory Design and Optimization

                                                Scope Description:

                                                NASA seeks innovative advancements in trajectory design and optimization for Earth orbit, cislunar, and interplanetary missions, including:

                                                • Low-thrust trajectories in a multibody dynamical environment.
                                                • Small-body (moons, asteroids, and comets) exploration.
                                                • Distributed space systems (swarms, constellations, or formations).

                                                In particular, NASA is seeking innovative techniques for optimization of trajectories that account for:

                                                • System uncertainties (i.e., navigation errors, maneuver execution errors, etc.).
                                                • Spacecraft and operational constraints (power, communications, thermal, etc.).
                                                • Trajectory impacts on ability to make required navigational and/or science observations.

                                                Furthermore, innovative techniques that allow rapid exploration of mission design trade spaces, address high-dimensionality optimization problems (i.e., multimoon/multibody tours; low thrust, multispiral Earth orbits), apply novel artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) algorithms or provide unique methods for visualizing and manipulating trajectory designs are sought.

                                                Proposals that leverage state-of-the-art capabilities already developed by NASA, or that can optionally integrate with those packages, such as the General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT), Collocation Stand Alone Library and Toolkit (CSALT), Copernicus, Evolutionary Mission Trajectory Generator (EMTG), Mission Analysis Low-Thrust Optimization (MALTO), Mission Analysis, Operations, and Navigation (MONTE), and Optimal Trajectories by Implicit Simulation (OTIS), or other available software tools are encouraged. Proposers who contemplate licensing NASA technologies are highly encouraged to coordinate with the appropriate NASA technology transfer offices prior to submission of their proposals.

                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6 
                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                Level 1: TX 15 Flight Vehicle Systems 
                                                Level 2: TX 15.2 Flight Mechanics 
                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                • Research
                                                • Analysis
                                                • Prototype
                                                • Software

                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                Phase I research should demonstrate technical feasibility, with preliminary software being delivered for NASA testing, as well as show a plan towards Phase II integration.

                                                Phase II new technology development efforts shall deliver components at the TRL 5 to 6 level with mature algorithms and software components complete and preliminary integration and testing in an operational environment.

                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                Algorithms and software for optimizing trajectories while considering system uncertainties, spacecraft and operational constraints, and trajectory impacts on making navigational or science observations, do not currently exist. In addition, designing trajectories for complex missions, such as low-thrust cislunar or multibody tour missions rely heavily on hands-on work by very experienced people. That works reasonably well for designing a single-reference trajectory but not as well for exploring trade spaces or when designing thousands of trajectories for a Monte-Carlo or missed-thrust robustness analysis.

                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                Relevant missions include:

                                                • Artemis - Lunar Gateway.
                                                • Europa Clipper.
                                                • Lucy.
                                                • Psyche.
                                                • Dragonfly.
                                                • Lunar IceCube.
                                                • Roman Space Telescope.

                                                Trajectory design for these complex missions can take weeks or months to generate a single reference trajectory. Providing algorithms and software to speed up this process will enable missions to more fully explore trade spaces and more quickly respond to changes in the mission.

                                                References:

                                                Scope Title:

                                                Autonomous Onboard Spacecraft Navigation, Guidance, and Control

                                                Scope Description:

                                                Future NASA missions require precision landing, rendezvous, formation flying, proximity operations (e.g., servicing and assembly), noncooperative object capture, and coordinated platform operations in Earth orbit, cislunar space, libration orbits, and deep space. These missions require a high degree of autonomy. The subtopic seeks advancements in autonomous, onboard spacecraft navigation and maneuver planning and execution technologies for applications in Earth orbit, lunar, cislunar, libration, and deep space to reduce dependence on ground-based tracking, orbit determination, and maneuver planning, including:

                                                • Onboard relative and proximity navigation, multiplatform relative navigation (relative position, velocity and attitude, or pose), which support cooperative and collaborative space operations such as On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (OSAM).
                                                • Advanced filtering techniques that address rendezvous and proximity operations as a multisensor, multitarget tracking problem; handle nonGaussian uncertainty; or incorporate multiple-model estimation.
                                                • Advanced algorithms for safe, precision landing on small bodies, planets, and moons, including real-time 3D terrain mapping, autonomous hazard detection and avoidance, terrain relative navigation, and small body proximity operations.
                                                • Machine vision techniques to support optical/terrain relative navigation and/or spacecraft rendezvous/proximity operations in low and variable lighting conditions, including artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) algorithms.
                                                • Onboard spacecraft trajectory planning and optimization algorithms for real-time mission resequencing, onboard computation of large divert maneuvers, primitive body/lunar proximity operations, and pinpoint landing, including robust onboard trajectory planning and optimization algorithms that account for system uncertainty (i.e., navigation errors, maneuver execution errors, etc.).

                                                Proposals that leverage state-of-the-art capabilities already developed by NASA, or that can optionally integrate with those packages, such as the Goddard Enhanced Onboard Navigation System (GEONS), Navigator NavCube, core Flight System (cFS), or other available NASA hardware and software tools are encouraged. Proposers who contemplate licensing NASA technologies are highly encouraged to coordinate with the appropriate NASA technology transfer offices prior to submission of their proposals.

                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6 
                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                Level 1: TX 17 Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C) 
                                                Level 2: TX 17.2 Navigation Technologies 
                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                • Research
                                                • Analysis
                                                • Prototype
                                                • Hardware
                                                • Software

                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                Phase I research should demonstrate technical feasibility, with preliminary software being delivered for NASA testing, as well as show a plan towards Phase II integration. For proposals that include hardware development, delivery of a prototype under the Phase I contract is preferred, but not necessary.

                                                Phase II new technology development efforts shall deliver components at the TRL 5 to 6 level with mature algorithms and software components with complete and preliminary integration and testing in an operational environment.

                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                Currently navigation, guidance, and control functions rely heavily on the ground for tracking data, data processing, and decision making. As NASA operates farther from Earth and performs more complex operations requiring coordination between vehicles, round trip communication time delays make it necessary to reduce reliance on Earth for navigation solutions and maneuver planning. Spacecraft that arrive at a near-Earth asteroid (NEA) or a planetary surface, may have limited ground inputs and no surface or orbiting navigational aids, and may require rapid navigation updates to feed autonomous trajectory guidance updates and control. NASA currently does not have the navigational, trajectory, and attitude flight control technologies that permit fully autonomous approach, proximity operations, and landing without navigation support from Earth-based resources.

                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                Relevant missions include:

                                                • Artemis (Lunar Gateway, Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, Human Landing Systems).
                                                • On-orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing (OSAM).
                                                • LunaNet.
                                                • autonomous Navigation, Guidance and Control (autoNGC).
                                                • Roman Space Telescope.
                                                • Europa Clipper.
                                                • Lucy.
                                                • Psyche.

                                                These complex, deep space missions require a high degree of autonomy. The technology produced in this subtopic enables these kinds of missions by reducing or eliminating reliance on the ground for navigation and maneuver planning. The subtopic aims to reduce the burden of routine navigational support and communications requirements on network services, increase operational agility, and enable near real-time replanning and opportunistic science. It also aims to enable classes of missions that would otherwise not be possible due to round-trip light time constraints.

                                                References:

                                                1. Goddard Enhanced Onboard Navigation System (GEONS): (https://software.nasa.gov/software/GSC-14687-1), (https://goo.gl/TbVZ7G)
                                                2. Navigator:  (http://itpo.gsfc.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/gsc_14793_1_navigator.pdf)
                                                3. NavCube:  (https://goo.gl/bdobb9)
                                                4. core Flight System (cFS): https://cfs.gsfc.nasa.gov/
                                                5. On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (OSAM): https://nexis.gsfc.nasa.gov/osam/index.html
                                                6. LunaNet: https://esc.gsfc.nasa.gov/news/_LunaNetConcept
                                                7. autonomous Navigation, Guidance and Control (autoNGC): https://techport.nasa.gov/view/94817

                                                Scope Title:

                                                Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis (CARA)

                                                Scope Description:

                                                The U.S. Space Surveillance Network currently tracks more than 22,000 objects larger than 10 cm and the number of objects in orbit is steadily increasing, which causes an increasing threat to human spaceflight and robotic missions in the near-Earth environment. The NASA CARA team receives screening data from the 18th Space Control Squadron concerning predicted close approaches between NASA satellites and other space objects. CARA determines the risk posed by those events and recommends risk mitigation strategies, including collision avoidance maneuvers, to protect NASA non-human-spaceflight assets in Earth orbit. The ability to perform CARA more accurately and rapidly will improve space safety for all near-Earth operations. This subtopic seeks innovative technologies to improve the CARA process including:

                                                • Improved conjunction assessment (CA) event evolution prediction methods, models, and algorithms with improved ability to predict characteristics for single and ensemble risk assessment, especially using artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML).
                                                • AI/ML applied to CA risk assessment parameters.
                                                • Middle-duration risk assessment (longer duration than possible for discrete events but shorter than decades-long analyses that use gas dynamics assumptions). 
                                                • Methods for combining commercial data (observations or ephemerides) with 18th Space Control Squadron (18 SPCS) derived solutions (available as Vector Covariance Messages, Conjunction Data Messages, or Astrodynamics Support Workstation output) to create a single improved orbit determination solution including more data sources.

                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 5 
                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                Level 1: TX 05 Communications, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization Systems 
                                                Level 2: TX 05.6 Networking and Ground Based Orbital Debris Tracking and Management 
                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                • Research
                                                • Analysis
                                                • Prototype
                                                • Software

                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                Phase I research should demonstrate technical feasibility, with preliminary software being delivered for NASA testing, as well as show a plan toward Phase II integration.

                                                Phase II new technology development efforts shall deliver components at the TRL 5 to 6 level with mature algorithms and software components complete and preliminary integration and testing in a quasi-operational environment.

                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                Current state of the art has been adequate in performing CA and collision mitigation for space objects that fall under the high interest events (HIE). With the incorporation of the Space Fence and the deployment of large constellations, the number of objects tracked and assessed for conjunctions is expected to greatly increase. This presents a critical gap in which current approaches may not suffice. Thus, smarter ways to perform conjunction analysis and assessments such as methods for bundling events and performing ensemble risk assessment, middle-duration risk assessment (longer duration than possible for discrete events but shorter than decades-long analyses that use gas dynamics assumptions), improved CA event evolution prediction, and AI/ML applied to CA risk assessment parameters and/or event evolution are needed. The decision space for collision avoidance relies on not only the quality of the data (state and covariance) but also the tools and techniques for CA.

                                                Collision avoidance maneuver decisions are based on predicted close approach distance and probability of collision. The  accuracy of these numbers depend on underlying measurements and mathematics used in estimation. Current methods assume Gaussian distributions for errors and that all objects are shaped like cannon balls for nongravitational force computations. These assumptions and others cause inaccurate estimates that can lead decision makers to perform unnecessary collision avoidance maneuvers, thus wasting propellant. Better techniques are needed for orbit prediction and covariance characterization and propagation. Better modeling of nongravitational force effects is needed to improve orbit prediction. Modeling of nongravitational forces relies on knowledge of individual object characteristics.

                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                This technology is relevant and needed for all human spaceflight and robotic missions in the near-Earth, cislunar, and lunar environments. The ability to perform CARA more accurately will improve space safety for all near-Earth operations, improve operational support by providing more accurate and longer term predictions, and reduce propellant usage for collision avoidance maneuvers.

                                                References:

                                                1. NASA Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis (CARA) Office: https://satellitesafety.gsfc.nasa.gov/cara.html.
                                                2. NASA Orbital Debris Program Office: https://www.orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/.
                                                3. Newman, Lauri, K., "The NASA robotic conjunction assessment process: Overview and operational experiences," Acta Astronautica, Vol. 66, Issues 7-8, Apr-May 2010, pp. 1253-1261, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0094576509004913.
                                                4. Newman, Lauri K., et al. "Evolution and Implementation of the NASA Robotic Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis Concept of Operations." (2014). https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20150000159.
                                                5. Newman, Lauri K., and Matthew D. Hejduk. "NASA Conjunction Assessment Organizational Approach and the Associated Determination of Screening Volume Sizes." (2015). https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20150011461.
                                                6. Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, “NASA Procedural Requirements for Limiting Orbital Debris and Evaluating the Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Environments”, NPR 8715.6B, https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/displayDir.cfm?t=NPR&c=8715&s=6B.

                                                 

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                                              • H9.05Transformational Communications Technology

                                                  Lead Center: GRC

                                                  Participating Center(s): GSFC

                                                  Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                  Scope Title: Revolutionary Concepts Scope Description: NASA seeks revolutionary transformational communications technologies, for lunar exploration and beyond, that emphasize not only dramatic reduction in system size, mass, and power but also dramatic implementation and operational cost savings… Read more>>

                                                  Scope Title:

                                                  Revolutionary Concepts

                                                  Scope Description:

                                                  NASA seeks revolutionary transformational communications technologies, for lunar exploration and beyond, that emphasize not only dramatic reduction in system size, mass, and power but also dramatic implementation and operational cost savings while improving overall communications architecture performance. The proposer is expected to identify new ideas, create novel solutions, and execute feasibility demonstrations. Emphasis for this subtopic is on the far-term (≈10 yr) insofar as mission insertion and commercialization but it is expected that the proposer proves fundamental feasibility via prototyping within the normal scope of the SBIR program. The transformational communications technology development will focus research in the following areas:

                                                  • Systems optimized for energy efficiency (information bits per unit energy).
                                                  • Hybridization of communications and sensing systems to maximize performance and minimize size, weight, and power (SWaP), especially for harsh environments.
                                                  • Advanced materials; smart materials; electronics embedded in structures; functional materials; graphene-based electronics/detectors.
                                                  • Techniques to overcome traditional analog-to-digital converter speed and power consumption limitations.
                                                  • Technologies that address flexible, scalable digital/optical core processing topologies to support both radio-frequency (RF) and optical communications in a single terminal.
                                                  • Nanoelectronics and nanomagnetics; quantum logic gates; single electron computing; superconducting devices; technologies to leapfrog Moore’s law.
                                                  • Energy harvesting technologies to enhance space communication system efficiency.
                                                  • Human/machine and brain-machine interfacing to enable new communications paradigms; the convergence of electronic engineering and bioengineering; neural signal interfacing.
                                                  • Quantum communications, methods for probing quantum phenomenon, methods for exploiting exotic aspects of quantum theory.

                                                  The research should be conducted to demonstrate theoretical and technical feasibility during the Phase I and Phase II development cycles and be able to demonstrate an evolutionary path to insertion within approximately 10 years. Delivery of a prototype of the most critically enabling element of the technology for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract is expected.

                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                  Level 1: TX 05 Communications, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization Systems
                                                  Level 2: TX 05.5 Revolutionary Communications Technologies
                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                  • Research
                                                  • Analysis
                                                  • Prototype

                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                  Phase I deliverables shall include a final report describing theoretical analysis and prototyping concepts. The technology should have eventual commercialization potential.

                                                  For Phase II consideration, the final report should include a detailed path towards Phase II prototype hardware.

                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                  While according to the Business R&D and Innovation Survey of the $323 billion of research and development performed by companies in the United States in 2013, Information and Computing Technology industries accounted for 41%. But it must be understood that the majority of these investments seek short-term returns and that most of the investment is in computer technology, cloud computing and networking, semiconductor manufacturing, etc.—not new and futuristic "over-the-horizon" technologies with uncertain returns on investment. As a concrete example, deep-space mission modeling indicates a need for a 10× improvement in data rate per decade out to 2040. How will that be achieved? To some extent that goal will be achieved by moving to Ka-band and optical communications and perhaps antenna arraying on a massive scale. But given the ambitiousness of the goal, disruptive technologies like what is being sought here, will be required.

                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                  NASA seeks revolutionary, transformational communications technologies that emphasize not only dramatic reduction in system size, mass, and power but also dramatic implementation and operational cost savings while improving overall communications architecture performance. This is a broad subtopic expected to identify new ideas, create novel solutions, and execute feasibility demonstrations. Emphasis for this subtopic is on the far-term (≈10 yr) insofar as mission insertion and commercialization but it is expected that the proposer proves fundamental feasibility via prototyping within the normal scope of the SBIR program.

                                                  References:

                                                  NASA Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) Network Architecture Definition Document Executive Summary

                                                  https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/SCaN_ADD_Vol1Rev4.pdf

                                                   

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                                                • H9.07Cognitive Communication

                                                    Lead Center: GRC

                                                    Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

                                                    Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                    Scope Title: Lunar Cognitive Capabilities Scope Description: NASA's Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) program seeks innovative approaches to increase mission science data return, improve resource efficiencies for NASA missions and communication networks, and ensure resilience in the… Read more>>

                                                    Scope Title:

                                                    Lunar Cognitive Capabilities

                                                    Scope Description:

                                                    NASA's Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) program seeks innovative approaches to increase mission science data return, improve resource efficiencies for NASA missions and communication networks, and ensure resilience in the unpredictable space environment. The Cognitive Communication subtopic specifically focuses on advances in space communication driven by onboard data processing and modern space networking capabilities. A cognitive system is envisioned to sense, detect, adapt, and learn from its experiences and environment to optimize the communications capabilities for the user mission satellite or network infrastructure. The underlying need for these technologies is to reduce both the mission and network operations burden. Examples of these cognitive capabilities include:

                                                    • Link technologies—reconfiguration and autonomy, maximizing use of bandwidth while avoiding interference.
                                                    • Network technologies—robust intersatellite links, data storage/forwarding, multinode routing in unpredictable environments.
                                                    • System technologies—optimal scheduling techniques for satellite and surface relays in distributed and real-time environments.

                                                    Through Space Policy Directive-1, NASA is committed to landing American astronauts on the Moon by 2024. In support of this goal, cognitive communication techniques are needed for lunar communication satellite and surface relays. Cognitive agents operating on lunar elements will manage communication, provide diagnostics, automate resource scheduling, and dynamically update data flow in response to the types of data flowing over the lunar network. Goals of this capability are to improve communications efficiency, mitigate channel impairments, and reduce operations complexity and cost through intelligent and autonomous communications and data handling. Examples of research and/or technology development include:

                                                    • Onboard processing technology and techniques to enable data switching, routing, storage, and processing on a relay spacecraft.
                                                    • Data-centric, decentralized network data routing and scheduling techniques that are responsive to quality of service metrics.
                                                    • Simultaneous wideband sensing and communications for S-, X-, and Ka-bands, coupled with algorithms that learn from the environment.
                                                    • Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms applied to optimize space communication links, networks, or systems.
                                                    • Flexible communication platforms with novel signal processing technology to support cognitive approaches.
                                                    • Other innovative, related areas of interest to the field of cognitive communications.

                                                    Proposals to this subtopic should consider application to a lunar communications architecture consisting of surface assets (e.g., astronauts, science stations, and surface relays), lunar communication relay satellites, Gateway, and ground stations on Earth. The lunar communication relay satellites require technology with low-size, -weight, and -power (-SWaP) attributes suitable for small satellite (e.g., 50 kg) or CubeSat operations. Proposed solutions should highlight advancements to provide the needed communications capability while minimizing use of onboard resources, such as power and propellant. Proposals should consider how the technology can mature into a successful demonstration in the lunar architecture.

                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 6 
                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                    Level 1: TX 05 Communications, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization Systems 
                                                    Level 2: TX 05.5 Revolutionary Communications Technologies 
                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                    • Prototype
                                                    • Hardware
                                                    • Software

                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                    Phase I will study technical feasibility, infusion potential for lunar operations, clear/achievable benefits, and show a path towards a Phase II implementation. Phase I deliverables include a feasibility assessment and concept of operations of the research topic, simulations and/or measurements, validation of the proposed approach to develop a given product (TRL 3 to 4) and a plan for further development of the specific capabilities or products to be performed in Phase II. Early development, integration, test, and delivery prototype hardware/software is encouraged.

                                                     

                                                    Phase II will emphasize hardware/software development with delivery of specific hardware or software product for NASA targeting demonstration operations on a small satellite or CubeSat platform. Phase II deliverables include a working prototype (engineering model) of the proposed product/platform or software, along with documentation of development, capabilities, and measurements, and related documents and tools, as necessary, for NASA to modify and use the cognitive software capability or hardware component(s). Hardware prototypes shall show a path towards flight demonstration, such as a flight qualification approach and preliminary estimates of thermal, vibration, and radiation capabilities of the flight hardware. Software prototypes shall be implemented on platforms that have a clear path to a flight qualifiable platform. Algorithms must be implemented in software. Opportunities and plans should be identified for technology commercialization. Software applications and platform/infrastructure deliverables for software defined radio platforms shall be compliant with the latest NASA standard for software defined radios, the Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS), NASA-STD-4009, and NASA-HNBK-4009. The deliverable shall be demonstrated in a relevant emulated environment and have a clear path to Phase III flight implementation on a SWaP-constrained platform.

                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                    To summarize NASA Technology Roadmap TA5: "As human and science exploration missions move further from Earth and become increasingly more complex, they present unique challenges to onboard communications systems and networks.... Intelligent radio systems will help manage the increased complexity and provide greater capability to the mission to return more science data.... Reconfigurable radio systems...could autonomously optimize the RF [radio-frequency] links, network protocols, and modes used based on the needs of the various mission phases. A cognitive radio system would sense its RF environment and adapt and learn from its various configuration changes to optimize the communications links throughout the system in order to maximize science data transfer, enable substantial efficiencies, and reduce latency. The challenges in this area are in the efficient integration of different capabilities and components, unexpected radio or system decisions or behavior, and methods to verify decision-making algorithms as compared to known, planned performance."

                                                     

                                                    The technology need for the lunar communication architecture includes:

                                                    • Data routing from surface assets to a lunar communication relay satellite, where data is unscheduled, a-periodic, and ad-hoc.
                                                    • Data routing between lunar relay satellites, as necessary, to conserve power, route data to Earth, and meet quality of service requirements.
                                                    • Efficient use of lunar communication spectrum while coexisting with future/current interference sources.
                                                    • On-demand communication resource scheduling.
                                                    • Multihop, delay tolerant routing.

                                                    Critical gaps between the state of the art and the technology need include:

                                                    • Implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques on SWaP-constrained platforms.
                                                    • Integrated wide-band sensing and narrow-band communication on the same radio terminal.
                                                    • Intersatellite networking and routing, especially in unpredictable and unscheduled environments.
                                                    • On-demand scheduling technology for communication links.
                                                    • Cross-layer optimization approaches for optimum communication efficiency at a system level.

                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                    Cognitive technologies are critical for the lunar communications architecture. The majority of lunar operations will be run remotely from Earth, which could require substantial coordination and planning as NASA, foreign space agencies, and commercial interests all place assets on the Moon. As lunar communications and networks become more complex, cognition and automation are essential to mitigate complexity and reduce operations costs. Machine learning will configure networks, choose radio configurations, adjust for impairments and failures, and monitor short- and long-term performance for improvements.

                                                    References:

                                                    Several related reference papers and articles include:

                                                    A related conference, co-sponsored by NASA and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Cognitive Communications for Aerospace Applications Workshop, has additional information available at: http://ieee-ccaa.com/

                                                     

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                                                  • S3.04Guidance, Navigation, and Control

                                                      Lead Center: GSFC

                                                      Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

                                                      Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                      Scope Title: Guidance, Navigation, and Control Scope Description: NASA seeks innovative, groundbreaking, and high-impact developments in spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control technologies in support of future science and exploration mission requirements. This subtopic covers mission-enabling… Read more>>

                                                      Scope Title:

                                                      Guidance, Navigation, and Control

                                                      Scope Description:

                                                      NASA seeks innovative, groundbreaking, and high-impact developments in spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control technologies in support of future science and exploration mission requirements. This subtopic covers mission-enabling technologies that have significant size, weight and power, cost, and performance (SWaP-CP) improvements over the state-of-the-art commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) capabilities in the areas of S, Absolute and Relative Navigation Systems, and Pointing Control Systems, and Radiation-Hardened Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Hardware.

                                                      Component technology developments are sought for the range of flight sensors, actuators, and associated algorithms and software required to provide these improved capabilities. Technologies that apply to most spacecraft platform sizes will be considered.

                                                      Advances in the following areas are sought:

                                                      • Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control Systems: Sensors and actuators that enable <0.1 arcsecond-level pointing knowledge and arcsecond-level control capabilities for large space telescopes, with improvements in size, weight, and power requirements.
                                                      • Absolute and Relative Navigation Systems: Autonomous onboard flight navigation sensors and algorithms incorporating both spaceborne and ground-based absolute and relative measurements. For relative navigation, machine vision technologies apply. Special considerations will be given to relative navigation sensors enabling precision formation flying, astrometric alignment of a formation of vehicles, robotic servicing and sample return capabilities, and other GNC techniques for enabling the collection of distributed science measurements.  In addition, flight sensors and algorithms that support onboard terrain relative navigation are of interest.
                                                      • Pointing Control Systems: Mechanisms that enable milliarcsecond-class pointing performance on any spaceborne pointing platforms. Active and passive vibration isolation systems, innovative actuation feedback, or any such technology that can be used to enable other areas within this subtopic applies.
                                                      • Radiation-Hardened Hardware: GNC sensors that could operate in a high radiation environment, such as the Jovian environment.
                                                      • Increasing the fundamental precision of gyroscopes and accelerometers that utilize optical cavities could benefit autonomous navigation and open up new science possibilities. Two strategies may be pursued to increase the precision. First, can the scale factor be increased without a concomitant increase in the quantum noise? Possible approaches include but are not limited to: (a) the use of fiber optics to increase cavity length without increasing SWaP and (b) exploitation of the degeneracies known as exceptional points (EPs) that occur in non-Hermitian systems. Prominent examples of such systems include parity-time symmetric systems and cavities containing a fast-light medium. It remains to be seen, however, whether the boost in scale factor near an EP can result in increased precision or is entirely counteracted by additional quantum noise. Proposals are sought that seek to answer this question through theoretical or experimental means in passive and active systems, including continuous-wave and pulsed lasers. Second, can the quantum noise be reduced without a concomitant reduction in scale factor? The frequency measurement in a laser gyro or accelerometer only involves the uncertainty in phase. Therefore, the relevant quantum noise might be reduced by squeezing. Proposals are sought that investigate and utilize squeezing, for example via the propagation of quantum solitons, for the improvement of inertial sensors.

                                                      Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science or exploration needs and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.

                                                      This subtopic is for all mission-enabling GNC technology in support of Science Mission Directorate (SMD) missions and future mission concepts. Proposals for the development of hardware, software, and/or algorithms are all welcome. The specific applications could range from CubeSats/SmallSats, to ISS payloads, to flagship missions.

                                                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 6 
                                                      Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                      Level 1: TX 17 Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C) 
                                                      Level 2: TX 17.X Other Guidance, Navigation, and Control 
                                                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                      • Prototype
                                                      • Hardware
                                                      • Software

                                                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                      Prototype hardware/software, documented evidence of delivered TRL (test report, data, etc.), summary analysis, supporting documentation.

                                                      • Phase I research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility as well as show a plan towards Phase II integration and component/prototype testing in a relevant environment as described in a final report.
                                                      • Phase II technology development efforts shall deliver a component/prototype at the TRL 5 to 6 level consistent with NASA SBIR/STTR Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Descriptions. Delivery of final documentation, test plans, and test results are required. Delivery of a hardware component/prototype under the Phase II contract is preferred.

                                                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                      Capability area gaps:

                                                      • Spacecraft GNC Sensors—highly integrated, low-power, low-weight, radiation-hard component sensor technologies, and multifunctional components.
                                                      • Spacecraft GNC Estimation and Control Algorithms—sensor fusion, autonomous proximity operations algorithm, robust distributed vehicle formation sensing and control algorithms.

                                                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                      Science areas: Heliophysics, Earth Science, Astrophysics, and Planetary missions’ capability requirement areas:

                                                      • Spacecraft GNC Sensors—optical, radio-frequency (RF), inertial, and advanced concepts for onboard sensing of spacecraft attitude and orbit states
                                                      • Spacecraft GNC Estimation and Control Algorithms—innovative concepts for onboard algorithms for attitude/orbit determination and control for single spacecraft, spacecraft rendezvous and docking, and spacecraft formations.

                                                      References:

                                                       

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                                                    • T5.04Quantum Communications

                                                        Lead Center: GRC

                                                        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

                                                        Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                        Scope Title: Quantum Communications Scope Description: NASA seeks to develop quantum networks to support the transmission of quantum information for aerospace applications. This distribution of quantum information could potentially be utilized in secure communication, sensor arrays, and quantum… Read more>>

                                                        Scope Title:

                                                        Quantum Communications

                                                        Scope Description:

                                                        NASA seeks to develop quantum networks to support the transmission of quantum information for aerospace applications. This distribution of quantum information could potentially be utilized in secure communication, sensor arrays, and quantum computer networks. Quantum communication may provide new ways to improve sensing the entangling of distributed sensor networks to provide extreme sensitivity for applications such as astrophysics, planetary science, and Earth science. Also of interest are ideas or concepts to support the communication of quantum information between quantum computers over significant free-space distances (greater than 10 km up to geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO)) for space applications or supporting linkages between terrestrial fiber-optic quantum networks. Technologies that are needed include quantum memory, quantum entanglement distribution systems, quantum repeaters, high-efficiency detectors, quantum processors, and quantum sensors that make use of quantum communication for distributed arrays and integrated systems that bring several of these aspects together using Integrated Quantum Photonics. A key need for all of these are technologies with low size, weight, and power that can be utilized in aerospace applications. Some examples (not all inclusive) of requested innovation include:

                                                        • High-rate free-space quantum entanglement distribution systems.
                                                        • Photonic waveguide integrated circuits for quantum information processing and manipulation of entangled quantum states; requires phase stability, low propagation loss, that is, <0.1 dB/cm, and efficient fiber coupling, that is, coupling loss <1.5 dB.
                                                        • Waveguide-integrated single-photon detectors for >100 MHz incidence rate, 1-sigma time resolution of <25 ps, dark count rate <100 Hz, and single-photon detection efficiency >50% at highest incidence rate.
                                                        • Integrated sensors that support arrays of distributed sensors, such as an entangled interferometric imaging array.
                                                        • Integrated photonic circuit quantum memory.
                                                        • Quantum entanglement fidelity measurement capabilities.
                                                        • Scalable quantum memory.

                                                        Quantum sensor-focused proposals that do not include an aspect of quantum communication should propose to the Quantum Sensing and Measurement subtopic as individual quantum sensors are not covered by this subtopic.

                                                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
                                                        Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                        Level 1: TX 05 Communications, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization Systems
                                                        Level 2: TX 05.5 Revolutionary Communications Technologies
                                                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                        • Hardware
                                                        • Analysis
                                                        • Research
                                                        • Prototype

                                                        Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                        Phase I research should (highly encouraged) be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility with preliminary hardware (i.e., beyond architecture approach/theory; a proof-of-concept) being delivered for NASA testing, as well as show a plan toward Phase II integration.

                                                        Phase II new technology development efforts shall deliver components at the TRL 4 to 6 level with mature hardware and preliminary integration and testing in an operational environment. Deliverables are desired that substantiate the quantum communication technology utility for positively impacting the NASA mission. The quantum communication technology should impact one of three key areas: information security, sensor networks, and networks of quantum computers. Deliverables that substantiate technology efficacy include reports of key experimental demonstrations that show significant capabilities, but in general it is desired that the deliverable include some hardware that shows the demonstrated capability.

                                                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                        There is a critical gap between the United States and other countries, such as Japan, Singapore, Austria, and China, in quantum communications in space. Quantum communications is called for in the 2018 National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act, which directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Energy (DOE) to pursue research, development, and education activities related to Quantum Information Science. Applications in quantum communication, networking, and sensing, all proposed in this subtopic, are the contributions being pursued by NASA to integrate the advancements being made through the NQI.

                                                        Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                        This technology would benefit NASA communications infrastructure as well as enable new capabilities that support its core missions. For instance, advances in quantum communication would provide capabilities for added information security for spacecraft assets as well as provide a capability for linking quantum computers on the ground and in orbit. In terms of quantum sensing arrays, there are a number of sensing applications that could be supported through the use of quantum sensing arrays for dramatically improved sensitivity.

                                                        References:

                                                        • Evan Katz, Benjamin Child, Ian Nemitz, Brian Vyhnalek, Tony Roberts, Andrew Hohne, Bertram Floyd, Jonathan Dietz, and John Lekki: “Studies on a Time-Energy Entangled Photon Pair Source and Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors for Increased Quantum System Efficiency,” SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, California (Feb. 6, 2019). 
                                                        • M. Kitagawa and M.Ueda: “Squeezed Spin States," Phys. Rev. A 47, 5138–5143 (1993).
                                                        • Daniel Gottesman, Thomas Jennewein, and Sarah Croke: “Longer-Baseline Telescopes Using Quantum Repeaters,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 109 (Aug. 16, 2012).
                                                        • Nicolas Gisin and Rob Thew: “Quantum Communication,” Nature Photonics, volume 1, pp. 165–171 (2007).
                                                        • H. J. Kimble: “The Quantum Internet,” Nature, volume 453, pp. 1023–1030 (June 19, 2008).
                                                        • C. L. Degen, F. Reinhard, and P. Cappellaro: “Quantum Sensing,” Rev. Mod. Phys. 89 (July 25, 2017).
                                                        • Ian, Nemitz, Jonathan Dietz, Evan Katz, Brian Vyhnalek, and Benjamin Child: “Bell Inequality Experiment for a High Brightness Time-Energy Entangled Source,” SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, CA, (March 1, 2019).

                                                         

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                                                    • Lead MD: HEOMD

                                                      Participating MD(s): STTR

                                                      The Life Support and Habitation Systems Focus Area seeks key capabilities and technology needs encompassing a diverse set of engineering and scientific disciplines, all of which provide technology solutions that enable extended human presence in deep space and on planetary surfaces such as Moon and Mars, including Orion, ISS, Gateway, Artemis and Human Landing Systems. The focus is on systems and elements that directly support human missions and astronaut crews, such as Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS), Extravehicular Activity (EVA) systems, crew provisioning, plant growth for bioregenerative food production, and tools for systems engineering. Because spacecraft and their systems may involve multiple partnerships, with institutional, corporate, and governmental involvement, Model Based Systems Engineering approaches may enable and improve their distributed development.

                                                      For future crewed missions beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO) and into the solar system, regular resupply of consumables and emergency or quick-return options will not be feasible. New technologies must be compatible with attributes of the environments expected, including microgravity or partial gravity, varying atmospheric pressure and composition, space radiation, and the presence of planetary dust. Technologies of interest are those that enable long-duration, safe, economical, and sustainable deep-space human exploration. Special emphasis is placed on developing technologies that will fill existing gaps as described in this solicitation, that reduce requirements for consumables and other resources, including mass, power, volume and crew time, and which will increase safety and reliability with respect to the state-of-the-art. Spacecraft may be untended by crew for long periods, therefore systems must be operable after these intervals of dormancy.

                                                      Environmental Control and Life Support Systems encompass process technologies and monitoring functions necessary to provide and maintain a livable environment within the pressurized cabin of crewed spacecraft, including environmental monitoring, water recycling, and atmosphere revitalization.  Of special note for this solicitation, these processes and functions include non-genetic methods for assessing the microbial burden within spacecraft, monitoring systems for identifying and quantifying a wide spectrum of inorganic and organic constituents in spacecraft wastewater and potable water, and use of novel additive manufacturing methods to print sorbent beds for removal of atmospheric contaminants. Novel methods for microbial assessment may also be useful assessing previously dormant spacecraft before crew entry and supporting planetary protection compliance.

                                                      Unique needs exist for the Exploration Extra-vehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), including innovations to improve the system to supply feed water to the Portable Life Support System (PLSS), and new technologies for the spacesuit’s Pressure Garment Bladder. For intra-vehicular activity (IVA), new flame retardant textiles are needed for crew apparel fabrics to be used in high oxygen environments expected during lunar and planetary exploration.

                                                      Future human missions may include an in-situ capability to produce supplemental fresh food. Advanced technologies for remotely sensing the health status and performance of crop plants within space-based controlled environment production systems are sought. In addition, tailoring the rhizosphere with beneficial microbial consortia, through biopriming seeds or other methods, could potentially promote growth and yield or confer resistance against biotic and abiotic stresses.

                                                      The current collaborative environment between government, commercial and international sectors will result in the distributed development of human spacecraft elements and systems for human missions of the future such as Gateway and lunar surface missions including Artemis. Their integration may benefit from advances in model-based systems engineering approaches.

                                                      Please refer to the description and references of each subtopic for further detail to guide development of proposals within this technically diverse focus area.

                                                      • H3.02Microbial Monitoring for Spacecraft Cabins

                                                          Lead Center: JPL

                                                          Participating Center(s): GRC, JSC, KSC, MSFC

                                                          Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                          Scope Title: Spacecraft Microbial Monitoring for Long Duration Human Missions Scope Description: With the advent of molecular methods, emphasis is now being placed on nucleic acids to rapidly detect microorganisms. However, the sensitivity of current gene-based microbial detection systems is low… Read more>>

                                                          Scope Title:

                                                          Spacecraft Microbial Monitoring for Long Duration Human Missions

                                                          Scope Description:

                                                          With the advent of molecular methods, emphasis is now being placed on nucleic acids to rapidly detect microorganisms. However, the sensitivity of current gene-based microbial detection systems is low (~100 gene copies per reaction), requires elaborate sample process steps, involves destructive analyses, and requires fluids to be transferred and detection systems are relatively large size. Recent advancements in the metabolomics field have potential to substitute (or augment) current gene-based microbial detection technologies that are multistepped, destructive, and labor intensive (e.g., significant crew time). NASA is soliciting nongene-based microbial detection technologies and systems that target microbial metabolites and that quantify the microbial burden of surfaces, air, and water inside for long-duration deep-space habitats.

                                                           

                                                          Potable water:

                                                          A simple integrated, microbial sensor system that enables sample collection, processing, and detection of microbes or microbial activity of the crew potable water supply is sought. A system that is fully-automated and can be in-line in an Environmental Control and Life Support System- (ECLSS-) like water system is preferred.

                                                           

                                                          Habitat surfaces:

                                                          Future crewed habitats in cislunar space will be crew-tended and thus unoccupied for many months at a time. When crew reoccupies the habitat they will want to quickly, efficiently, and accurately assess the microbial status of the habitat surfaces. A microbial assessment/monitoring system or hand-held device that requires little to no consumables is sought.

                                                           

                                                          Airborne contamination:

                                                          Future human spacecraft, such as Gateway and Mars vehicles, may be required to be dormant while crew is absent from the vehicle, for periods that could last from 1 to 3 years. Before crews can return, these environments must be verified prior to crew return. These novel methods have the potential to enable remote autonomous microbial monitoring that does not require manual sample collection, preparation, or processing.

                                                          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
                                                          Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                          Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems
                                                          Level 2: TX 06.4 Environmental Monitoring, Safety, and Emergency Response
                                                          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                          • Research
                                                          • Analysis
                                                          • Prototype
                                                          • Hardware

                                                          Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                          Phase I deliverables: Reports demonstrating proof of concept, test data from proof-of-concept studies, concepts, and designs for Phase II. Phase I tasks should answer critical questions focused on reducing development risk prior to entering Phase II.

                                                           

                                                          Phase II deliverables: Delivery of technologically mature hardware, including components and subsystems that demonstrate performance over the range of expected spacecraft conditions. Hardware should be evaluated through parametric testing prior to shipment. Reports should include design drawings, safety evaluation, test data, and analysis. Prototypes must be full scale unless physical verification in 1g is not possible. Robustness must be demonstrated with long-term operation and with periods of intermittent dormancy. System should incorporate safety margins and design features to provide safe operation upon delivery to a NASA facility.

                                                          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                          The state of the art on the International Space Station (ISS) for microbial monitoring is culturing and counting, as well as grab samples that are returned to Earth. NASA has invested in DNA-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems, partially robotic in some cases, to eliminate the need for on-orbit culturing. However, a fully automated system is still not ready and there is still a gap for a low- or no-crew time detection system.

                                                          Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                          The technologies requested could be proven on the ISS and would be useful to long-duration human exploration missions away from Earth, where sample return was not possible. The technologies are applicable to Gateway, Lunar surface, and Mars, including surface and transit. This subtopic is directed at needs identified by the Life Support Systems (LSS) Capability Leadership Team (CLT) in areas of water recovery and environmental monitoring, functional areas of ECLSS. The LSS Project is under the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Program, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD).

                                                          References:

                                                          1. A list of targeted contaminants for environmental monitoring can be found at "Spacecraft Water Exposure Guidelines for Selected Waterborne Contaminants" located at: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/exposure-guidelines-smacs-swegs
                                                          2. Advanced Exploration Systems Program, Life Support Systems Project: https://www.nasa.gov/content/life-support-systems
                                                          3. NASA Environmental Control and Life Support Technology Development and Maturation for Exploration: 2018 to 2019 Overview", 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES-2019-297   https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/bitstream/handle/2346/84496/ICES-2019-297.pdf
                                                          4. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy, https://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/taxonomy/index.html
                                                          5. NASA Standard 3001 - Requirements:  https://www.nasa.gov/hhp/standards

                                                           

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                                                        • H3.05Additive Manufacturing for Adsorbent Bed Fabrication

                                                            Lead Center: ARC

                                                            Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

                                                            Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                            Scope Title: Additive Manufacturing for Adsorbent Bed Fabrication Scope Description: Current state-of-the-art (SOA) Air Revitalization System (ARS) contaminant-removal systems utilize packed beds. Packed beds have high pressure drop, large void volumes, poor heat management, and poor mechanical… Read more>>

                                                            Scope Title:

                                                            Additive Manufacturing for Adsorbent Bed Fabrication

                                                            Scope Description:

                                                            Current state-of-the-art (SOA) Air Revitalization System (ARS) contaminant-removal systems utilize packed beds. Packed beds have high pressure drop, large void volumes, poor heat management, and poor mechanical stability. Some alternate sorbent technologies (e.g., structural sorbent and monolith) have been proposed previously, but they are at a low TRL and require additional research and development to prove the concepts and resolve scale-up issues. Using robocasting techniques, a type of 3D paste printing, sorbent pastes are used to print sorbent beds with custom flow paths and rod size. With this approach, sorbent beds can be designed and fabricated with controlled pressure drop, tailored flow path, minimized void spaces, good heat management, high mechanical and chemical stability, and optimized structures with high mass transfer. In addition, having the ability to formulate one’s own sorbent paste materials allows variability in binders and co-binder selections for optimal contaminant removal and thermal performance. Previous studies have been completed for a variety of sorbent pastes (activated carbon [Ref. 1], zeolite 13X [Ref. 2], 5A, 4A, polymer, amine functionalized zeolite [Ref. 3], etc.). However, these works did not focus on optimizing the printed structure for cyclic operation and addressing scale-up issues.

                                                             

                                                            NASA aims to use the 3D-printed sorbent beds as drop-in replacements for packed sorbent beds such as those found in the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) on the International Space Station (ISS). Using robocasting techniques to print scale-up sorbent beds is also at a low TRL and requires additional development. However, it is the preferred technique over other options (e.g., structured sorbents) because, if successful, the resulting technology will yield equivalent system mass reduction due to better thermal and fluid management and mass transfer properties. Technology solutions could include, but not be limited to, SOA solid sorbent materials such as zeolite 13X, zeolite 5A, silica gel, metal-organic-frameworks (MOFs), and activated carbon. All proposed technologies should address issues related to scale-up, paste formulation, printability, mechanical and hydrothermal stability, system design, and heaters integration. The components used in the paste formulation must abide by spacecraft chemical safety standards. This subtopic is open for novel ideas that address any of the numerous technical challenges listed below for the design and fabrication of printed sorbent beds for humidity and/or CO2 removal. This subtopic does not seek new sorbent chemistries, instead, zeolite paste formulation and paste printing are desired.

                                                            • Innovative concepts on how to make silica gel paste for use in removing water from air, either in a cabin humidity control system or as part of a CO2 removal process requiring desiccation.
                                                            • Choosing the correct paste formulation for optimal and mechanical stability.
                                                            • Designing the lattice structures to minimize pressure drop, provide large surface area for mass transfer, and prevent channeling.
                                                            • Designing a heater system for thermal regeneration of the sorbent that would minimize contact resistance between heater and sorbent and minimize mass while providing a uniform temperature throughout the bed.  Heaters could be commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) types (e.g. cartridge or Kapton® heaters) or they could be 3D printed.

                                                            NASA is especially interested in technologies that can be incorporated into closed-loop life-support systems. Three life-support functions of particular Interest are CO2 removal, cabin humidity control, and trace contaminant control, as solid sorbents are particularly suited to these applications. Technologies targeting other NASA life-support functions are also of interest.

                                                             

                                                            Proposals targeting CO2 removal applications should consider the following:

                                                            • Improvements in sorbent CO2 capacity and selectivity leading to smaller, more efficient components, lower energy consumption, and operation at lower CO2 partial pressures are highly desirable.
                                                            • Increases in the robustness of sorbent materials to mechanical stresses and temperature and humidity changes/cycling.
                                                            • Full-scale systems must achieve the following performance targets:
                                                              • CO2 removal rate of 4.16 kg/day (a 4-crew load).
                                                              • System must  maintain an environment with 3.0 mmHg ppCO2 for cabin applications (based on the daily average ppCO2).
                                                              • System size ≤0.3 m3 for a 4-crew system.
                                                              • Average system power  ≤500 W of power for a 4-crew system.
                                                              • System mass of ≤450 kg for the 4-person load.
                                                              • System must effectively separate out water vapor from cabin air (less than 100 ppm water vapor in the CO2 product is desired).

                                                            System must effectively separate out oxygen and nitrogen from cabin air (less than 1% O2 and 2% N2 by volume in the CO2 product is desired).

                                                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 1 to 3
                                                            Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                            Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems
                                                            Level 2: TX 06.1 Environmental Control & Life Support Systems (ECLSS) and Habitation Systems
                                                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                            • Analysis
                                                            • Prototype
                                                            • Hardware
                                                            • Research

                                                            Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                            Phase I deliverables: Detailed sorbent paste formulation and analysis, proof-of-concept test data, and predicted performance (mass, volume, and thermal performance) for contaminant removal (e.g., carbon dioxide, water, or trace contaminants). Deliverables should clearly describe and predict performance over the SOA with an estimated scaled-up design for a 4-person crew.

                                                             

                                                            Phase II deliverables: Delivery of technologically mature components/subsystems that demonstrate functional performance with appropriate interfaces. Prototypes should be at least at a 4-crew-member scale.

                                                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                            Current and future human exploration missions require an optimized ARS that can reduce the system mass, volume, and power, and increase reliability. The SOA systems (CDRA, the Carbon Dioxide Reduction Assembly (CRA), and the Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) are adsorbent-based or catalyst-based and their performances are limited because they use COTS sorbent materials. COTS sorbent pellets/beads have fixed performance parameters (e.g., mass transfer capability), which limit the ability to tailor the sorbents to meet specific needs. Spacecraft system design requirements differ from those used in industry. For example, one industrial application focuses on removing carbon dioxide at a relatively high concentration (12% from flue gas), whereas CDRA focuses on removing carbon dioxide at low partial pressure (3 mmHg). Therefore, having the ability to tailor a sorbent to NASA objectives would lead to more efficient adsorbent systems not just for the ARS but also other life support systems that utilize sorbents (e.g., the multifiltration beds). In addition, often times COTS sorbents are sold in bulk (impractical for NASA-scale systems) and become obsolete when manufacturers cease production. Instead of having to reevaluate and redesign systems for new COTS materials to address obsolescence, NASA can use a well-characterized 3D-printed sorbent formulation to remake or even to improve SOA systems. Here, having control over the formulation of these materials could mean continuity in the use of the materials as well and an ability to optimize and tailor the materials for spacecraft use. In addition, as new materials are available for use, (e.g., MOFs), these materials can be adapted using the same 3D-printed design. That is, once the lattice and heater designs are completed, the backbone may be used for other sorbent materials. Moreover, the 3D printing can be done commercially once an acceptable paste formulation has been established. Sorbent paste printing techniques need additional technology investment to reach a level of maturity necessary for consideration for use in a flight Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS). This approach offers high returns and is a paradigm shift from the SOA, as it offers the ability to control flow paths, thermal management, and mass transfer properties.

                                                            Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                            This technology could be a drop-in replacement for the current CO2 adsorption beds and can be proven on the ISS with potential for application in long-duration human exploration missions, including Gateway, Lunar surface, and Mars, including surface and transit. It is imperative that CO2 be removed to support human life during space missions. This subtopic is supported by the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Program in an effort to improve the SOA ARS in the ECLSS.

                                                            References:

                                                            1. Wójtowicz, Marek A., Joseph E. Cosgrove, Michael A. Serio, Andrew E. Carlson, and Cinda Chullen. "Monolithic Trace-Contaminant Sorbents Fabricated from 3D-printed Polymer Precursors." (2019). https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20190028890
                                                            2. Thakkar, Harshul, Stephen Eastman, Amit Hajari, Ali A. Rownaghi, James C. Knox, and Fateme Rezaei. "3D-printed zeolite monoliths for CO2 removal from enclosed environments." ACS applied materials & interfaces 8, no. 41 (2016): 27753-27761.
                                                            3. Lawson, Shane, Connor Griffin, Kambria Rapp, Ali A. Rownaghi, and Fateme Rezaei. "Amine-functionalized MIL-101 monoliths for CO2 removal from enclosed environments." Energy & Fuels 33, no. 3 (2019): 2399-2407.

                                                             

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                                                          • H3.07Flame-Retardant Textiles for Intravehicular Activities (IVA)

                                                              Lead Center: JSC

                                                              Participating Center(s): GRC

                                                              Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                              Scope Title: Flame-Retardant Textiles for Crew Clothing and for Use in Spacecraft Cabins Scope Description: There is a textile technology gap for apparel fabrics for lunar and planetary human exploration.  While there are industrial fabrics that are flame retardant in oxygen-enriched atmospheres… Read more>>

                                                              Scope Title:

                                                              Flame-Retardant Textiles for Crew Clothing and for Use in Spacecraft Cabins

                                                              Scope Description:

                                                              There is a textile technology gap for apparel fabrics for lunar and planetary human exploration.  While there are industrial fabrics that are flame retardant in oxygen-enriched atmospheres up to 100% at ambient pressure, there is no apparel or furnishing fabric that is flame retardant in enriched atmosphere of 36% oxygen at a pressure of 8.2 psi (56.5 kPa).  The challenge for developing next-to-the-skin flame-retardant fabrics comes from the many other requirements these fabrics must satisfy.  They must be comfortable.  This means they must have high drape, be soft to the touch, and have no inherent unpleasant smell.  In addition, they cannot be toxic through the skin or outgas toxic chemicals.  These fabrics must be washable and durable over a period of up to three years of repeated use.  In other words, these fabrics must have physical and mechanical properties (no static cling, color fastness, tensile strength and elongation dry and wet, tear resistance, bending stiffness, torsional stiffness, abrasion resistance, etc.) that make them suitable for use in T-shirts and pants to be worn in an atmosphere containing 36% oxygen.  NASA needs such new fabrics to send astronauts to the Moon in order to later establish a sustainable human presence beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) or on the Moon, and in preparation for a future trip to Mars.

                                                               

                                                              The gap in textile technology that affects IVA results from the need to protect astronauts inside space vehicles and space habitats with atmosphere of 34 ± 2% oxygen at a pressure of 8.2 psi (56.5 kPa).  During the period the astronauts reside in the Lunar Lander, they will need fire protection provided by their clothing as they will not continuously wear their space suits during the entire period the lander is on the Moon.

                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 1 to 3
                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                              Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems
                                                              Level 2: TX 06.1 Environmental Control & Life Support Systems (ECLSS) and Habitation Systems
                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                              • Research
                                                              • Analysis
                                                              • Prototype

                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                              In Phase I, the deliverable should be a report demonstrating the feasibility to produce new flame-retardant, nontoxic apparel fibers and/or finishing treatments on existing fibers that do not support combustion in an atmosphere of 36% oxygen at a pressure of 8.2 psi. The chemical process for developing a synthetic fiber or a finishing treatment, including any test results, should be fully described to understand any toxicity issue related to processing. Furthermore, the researchers should describe the rheological, physical, and mechanical properties of the new fiber or finishing treatment and explain how these properties will make these fibers suitable for apparel applications.

                                                              In Phase II, the deliverable should be a fiber that can withstand the production processes used in the textile industry.  The researchers should therefore process the new fiber and experiment with different processing conditions to determine which conditions will lead to consistent results that will enable scaling-up production.  In other words, the researchers must demonstrate that they can make fine yarns that will not break or produce excessive lint when woven into fabrics. It is highly desirable that samples of fabrics be developed and evaluated. 

                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                              The state of the art in flame-retardant apparel fibers and fabrics for use next to the skin is mostly represented by meta-aramids, modacrylic, and flame-retardant (FR) fibers (FR rayon, FR wool, etc.).  These fibers will not support combustion in air, but they burn in an atmosphere of 36% oxygen.   

                                                              The critical gap is the absence of an inherently strong, flame-retardant (in 36% oxygen), nontoxic, and comfortable fiber to use for next-to-the-skin clothing.  

                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                              This work will benefit several space programs, namely the lunar Human Landing System (HLS), Orion, Gateway, and Artemis, enabling the astronauts to function in habitats, pressurized rovers, and other space vehicles with enriched oxygen atmospheres and to shorten prebreathe times prior to extravehicular activities (EVAs).

                                                              References:

                                                              NASA imagery collection of crew clothing in the Skylab Project. Nonflammable clothing development program, Richard Johnston and Matthew I. Radnofsky, Fire Technology 4, 88-102 (1968) https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/jacket-skylab-2-kerwin/nasm_A19772817000

                                                               

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                                                            • H4.05Advancements in Water and Air Bladder Assemblies and Technology

                                                                Lead Center: JSC

                                                                Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                Scope Title: Advancements in Feedwater Supply Assembly Technology Scope Description: The current technology for the Feedwater Supply Assembly (FSA) has many challenges to overcome including material durability and water capacity. Therefore, new innovative ideas and solutions are sought. The FSA will… Read more>>

                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                Advancements in Feedwater Supply Assembly Technology

                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                The current technology for the Feedwater Supply Assembly (FSA) has many challenges to overcome including material durability and water capacity. Therefore, new innovative ideas and solutions are sought. The FSA will be integrated into the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) Portable Life Support System (PLSS) and contained in the suit hatch compartment. The hatch volume is not a uniform shape and the current design uses cylindrical bladders which are not capable of optimizing water volume quantities. Additionally, many challenges exist in the material currently used for the FSA bladders. This material is known for its ability to maintain cleanliness and sterility; however, when made into these particular bladders, material failure and leakages are common at low cycle counts when tested as a pressurized system. NASA has plans to go to the Moon and as the mission extends further out of low Earth orbit, durability and extensibility will become some of the most important requirements as well.

                                                                The FSA shall be a sterile compliant bladder, capable of storing ultrapure feedwater with a relatively high-cycle life when pressurized. In order for the thermal control loop to operate properly, a water source is needed. A volumetrically adaptable, sterile, and durable feedwater bladder is essential. The suit pressure acts on this bladder and as water evaporates, the bladder resupplies the loop. The bladder must be clean and not leak particulates or polymer chains into the water over long periods of quiescence. The maximum design pressure (MDP) for the system will be 35 psid with a nominal operating pressure of 15 psid. These bladders will be reused in a fill-drain-refill = 1 cycle environment. The current cycle life requirement is 696 cycles per bladder. Additional requirements are captured in the reference located at the following link:  https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20190033446. Having a bladder with these qualities not only buys down the safety risk of rupture, it promotes reliability at higher pressures and provides an avenue to extend Extravehicular Activity (EVA) length.

                                                                This subtopic is relevant to the xEMU, International Space Station (ISS), as well as commercial space companies. The goal is to have proposed solutions to be designed, built, integrated, and tested at the Johnson Space Center and integrated into the xEMU. These solutions have the potential for a direct infusion path as the PLSS is matured to meet the design and performance goals.

                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems 
                                                                Level 2: TX 06.2 Extravehicular Activity Systems 
                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                • Prototype

                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                Phase I products: By the end of Phase I, it would be beneficial to have a concept design for infusion into the Exploration Portable Life Support System (xPLSS). Testing of the concept is desired at this Phase.

                                                                Phase II products: By the end of Phase II, a prototype ready for system-level testing in the xPLSS or in a representative loop of the PLSS is desired.

                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                As the design for the new xEMU is developed, there are obvious gaps in technologies, which need to be fulfilled to meet the new exploration requirements. The FSA is at a stall in technology development and requires new innovative ideas. This solicitation is an attempt to seek new technologies for the FSA. NASA has plans to go to the Moon and as the mission extends further out of low Earth orbit, durability and extensibility will become some of the most important requirements.

                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                This technology may be relevant to the xEMU, ISS, as well as commercial space companies.  As a new Space Suit xPLSS is being designed, built, integrated, and tested at the Johnson Space Center and integrated into the xEMU, solutions will have a direct infusion path as the xPLSS is matured to meet the design and performance goals.

                                                                References:

                                                                Feedwater Supply Assembly Requirements are located at the following links:

                                                                1. Feedwater Supply Assembly (FSA 431) requirements are located at the following link:  https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20190033446
                                                                2. Auxiliary Feedwater Supply Assembly (FSA 531) requirements are located at the following link:  https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20190033446

                                                                Note to offeror: The following two drawings referenced in the requirements shall be provided if offeror is selected for award.

                                                                1. Feedwater Supply Assembly (FSA 431) Drawing SLN 13102397
                                                                2. Auxiliary Feedwater Supply Assembly (FSA 531) Drawing SLN 13102398

                                                                 

                                                                 

                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                Advanced Pressure Garment Bladder Materials

                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                The current pressure garment bladder in the legacy space suit is a urethane-coated Oxford-weave nylon. This bladder material serves as the gas bladder of the space suit and, along with the restraint material, comprises the pressure garment bladder/restraint assembly which is sized and patterned to accommodate both anatomical movement and a range of sizing. The bladder is patterned using heat sealing or radio-frequency (RF) welding techniques. While this material has been acceptable for many years, there are known deficits. The urethane coating has high tack and can result in excessive friction against the skin. Embossing or flocking of the bladder, while not significantly increasing weight, may be viable solutions to this issue, although there may be others.

                                                                In addition, the current bladder needs to be manually wiped with biocide after each Extravehicular Activity (EVA) to prevent microbial growth. This contributes to crew overhead time and may be challenging with advanced suit architectures on the Moon which inhibit routine access to all bladder locations. An antimicrobial treatment or coating on the air-tight side of the pressure bladder will improve long-term performance of the Pressure Garment System (PGS) and reduce crew time and consumables.

                                                                Lastly, while the bladder material is sufficiently strong to contain the pressurization loads of the suit in the event that the restraint layer experiences catastrophic failure, it is not impervious to damage itself through puncture from a sharp edge/corner or from an incoming micrometeorite, impacting mission success and/or crew safety. As such, a self-healing bladder could mitigate this risk and provide a more robust bladder/restraint system in the next-generation suit assembly.

                                                                In addition to one or more of the aforementioned design goals, a successful solution should also meet all of the following requirements:

                                                                1.       The bladder material is capable of being bonded together into gore or convolute patterns without the use of an adhesive;
                                                                2.       The bladder material bonded seams shall have a bond strength of at least 85 lb/in;
                                                                3.       The bladder material shall not leak more than 3.9×10-8 lbm/hr-in2 of oxygen at 4.3 psid.

                                                                This subtopic is relevant to the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), International Space Station (ISS), as well as commercial space companies. The goal is to have proposed solutions to be designed, built, integrated, and tested at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) and integrated into the xEMU. These solutions have the potential for a direct infusion path as the xEMU is matured to meet the design and performance goals.

                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems 
                                                                Level 2: TX 06.2 Extravehicular Activity Systems 
                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                • Prototype

                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                Phase I products: By the end of Phase I, it would be beneficial to have a concept design for infusion into the xEMU. Testing of the concept is desired at this Phase.

                                                                Phase II products: By the end of Phase II, a prototype ready for system-level testing in the xEMU or specific to Pressure Garment Bladder is desired.

                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                As the design for the new xEMU is developed, there are obvious gaps in technologies, which need to be fulfilled to meet the new exploration requirements. This solicitation is an attempt to seek new technologies for the Pressure Garment Bladder.  NASA has plans to go to the Moon and as the mission extends further out of low Earth orbit, durability and extensibility will become some of the most important requirements.

                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                This may be relevant to the xEMU, ISS, as well as commercial space companies.  As a new xEMU PGS is being designed, built, and tested at JSC, solutions will have a direct infusion path as the xEMU is matured to meet the design and performance goals.

                                                                References:

                                                                Note to offeror:

                                                                Sample drawings of patterned gore and/or convolute bladder assemblies shall be provided if offeror is selected for award.

                                                                 

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                                                              • T6.06Enabling Spacecraft Water Monitoring through Nanotechnology

                                                                  Lead Center: JSC

                                                                  Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, JPL, KSC, MSFC

                                                                  Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                  Scope Title: Monitoring Systems for Inorganic and Organic Analytes in Spacecraft Water Streams Scope Description: This subtopic solicits for technologies that fill specific gaps in capabilities needed for spacecraft water management in the area of environmental monitoring. Its focus is on… Read more>>

                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                  Monitoring Systems for Inorganic and Organic Analytes in Spacecraft Water Streams

                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                  This subtopic solicits for technologies that fill specific gaps in capabilities needed for spacecraft water management in the area of environmental monitoring. Its focus is on technologies that identify and quantify inorganic and organic species in water for use during long-duration human missions away from Earth. This subtopic is aligned with the thrust "Enabling Next-Generation Water Monitoring Systems with Nanotechnology," described within a white paper of the Nanotechnology Signature Initiative (NSI) "Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology." 

                                                                  NASA is seeking miniature analytical systems to measure mineral and organic constituents in potable water and wastewater. NASA is interested in sensor suites capable of simultaneous measurement of inorganic or organic species. There is interest in the capability for monitoring species within wastewater, regenerated potable water, thermal control system cooling water, and samples generated from science activities and biomedical operations. Potential wastewater streams, both current and possible in the future, include urine, urine brines, humidity condensate, Sabatier and Bosch product water, wastewater from hygiene, and wastewater from laundry. Multispecies analyte measurement capability is of interest that would provide a similar capability to that available from standard water monitoring instruments such as ion-chromatography, inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy, and high-performance liquid chromatography. Components that enable the miniaturization of these monitoring systems, such as microfluidics and small scale detectors, will also be considered. 

                                                                  Technologies should be targeted to have >3-year service life and at least >50% size reduction compared to current state of the art. Ideally, monitoring systems should require no hazardous reagents, have long-term calibration stability, can be recalibrated in flight, require few consumables, and require very little crew time to operate and maintain. The proposed analytical instrument should be compact, require minimal sample preparation, be compatible with microgravity and partial gravity, and be power efficient. Sample volumes should be minimized and should be identified within the proposal.

                                                                  Monitoring capability is of interest for both identification and quantification of organic and inorganic contaminants, including polyatomic ions and unknowns. Examples of species of interest and their levels for measurement are specified in Spacecraft Water Exposure Guidelines (SWEGs), released as JSC 63414 (last revised July 2017). Targeted inorganic compounds identified in the SWEGs for human exploration missions include ammonium, antimony, barium, cadmium, manganese, nickel, silver, and zinc. But there is also interest in measurement of other cations and anions including iron, copper, aluminum, chromium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, arsenic, lead, molybdenum, fluoride, bromide, boron, silicon, lithium, phosphates, sulfates, chloride, iodine, nitrate, and nitrite. Examples of organics include benzene, caprolactam, chloroform, phthalates, dichloromethane, dimethylsilanediol, glycols, aldehydes, formate, 2-mercaptobenzothiozole, alcohols, ketones, and phenol, N-phenyl-beta-naphthylamine.  

                                                                  Please see references for additional information, including NASA's water quality requirements and guidelines, and the current state of the art in spacecraft water management, including recycling wastewater.

                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                  Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems 
                                                                  Level 2: TX 06.4 Environmental Monitoring, Safety, and Emergency Response 
                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                  • Research
                                                                  • Analysis
                                                                  • Prototype
                                                                  • Hardware

                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                  Phase I Deliverables—Reports demonstrating proof of concept, including test data from proof-of-concept studies, and concepts and designs for Phase II. In addition, Phase I tasks should answer critical questions focused on reducing development risk prior to entering Phase II.

                                                                  Phase II Deliverables—Delivery of technologically mature hardware, including components and subsystems that demonstrate performance over the range of expected spacecraft conditions. Hardware should be evaluated through parametric testing prior to shipment. Reports should include design drawings, safety evaluation, and test data and analysis. Prototypes must be full scale unless physical verification in 1g is not possible. Robustness must be demonstrated with long-term operation and with periods of intermittent dormancy. System should incorporate safety margins and design features to provide safe operation upon delivery to a NASA facility.

                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                  There is limited capability for water quality analysis onboard current spacecraft. Simple measurements of water composition are made on the ISS during flight, and these are limited to conductivity, total organic carbon and iodine concentration. For identification and characterization of ionic or organic species in water and wastewater, samples currently must be returned to Earth.

                                                                  Water recovery from wastewater sources is considered enabling to long-duration human exploration missions away from Earth. Without substantial water recovery, life support system launch weights are prohibitively large. Regenerative systems are utilized on the International Space Station (ISS) to recycle water from humidity condensate, Sabatier product water, and urine into potable water (see ICES-2019-36 for more information). Several hardware failures have occurred onboard the ISS, which demonstrate the need for in situ measurement of inorganic and organic contaminants (for examples, see ICES-2018-123 and ICES-2018-87). This will be especially important for human exploration missions in deep space where return of samples to Earth for analysis on the ground will be impossible. Spacecraft water analysis capability will also benefit onboard science, biomedical, and spacecraft maintenance operations. It will be necessary to confirm that potable water systems are safe for human use following periods of spacecraft dormancy (ICES-2017-43).

                                                                  NASA has unique water needs in space that have analogous applications on Earth. NASA’s goal is zero-discharge water treatment, targeting 100% water recycling and reuse. NASA’s wastewater collection differs from systems used on Earth in that it is highly concentrated with respect to urine, uses minimal flush water, is separated from solid wastes, and contains highly acidic and toxic pretreatment chemicals. NASA is interested in recovery of potable water from wastewater, low toxicity residual disinfection, antifouling treatments for plumbing lines and tanks, "microbial check valves" that prevent microbial cross-contamination where water treatment and potable water systems share connections, and miniaturized sensors and monitoring systems for contaminants in potable water and wastewater. Only the last gap, technologies to monitor contaminants in water, is requested in this subtopic. Spacecraft traveling away from Earth require the capability of a fully functional water analysis laboratory, including identification and quantification of known and unknown inorganic ions, organics, and microbes, as well as pH, conductivity, total organic carbon, and other typical measurements. SWEGs have been published for selected contaminants. Nanotechnology may offer solutions in all of these application areas.

                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                  Technologies developed under this subtopic could be proven on the ISS and would be enabling to long-duration human exploration missions away from Earth, including Gateway and exploration of the Moon and Mars, including both surface and transit.

                                                                  This subtopic is directed at needs identified by the Environmental Control and Life Support—Crew Health and Performance Systems Leadership Team (ECLS-CHP SLT) in areas of water management and environmental monitoring. 

                                                                  This subtopic is directed at meeting NASA's commitments as a collaborating agency with the National Nanotechnology Signature Initiative: "Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology." This initiative was established under the NTSC Committee on Technology, Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology.

                                                                  References:

                                                                  • NASA is a collaborating agency with the NTSC Committee on Technology Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology's Nanotechnology Signature Initiative (NSI): "Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology" (Water NSI). For a white paper on the NSI, see https://www.nano.gov/node/1580
                                                                  • A high-level overview of NASA's spacecraft water management was presented at a webinar sponsored by the Water NSI: "Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology: A Federal Perspective, October 19, 2016" https://www.nano.gov/publicwebinars
                                                                  • A general overview of the state of the art of spacecraft water monitoring and technology needs was presented at a webinar sponsored by the Water NSI: "Water Sustainability through Nanotechnology: Enabling Next-Generation Water Monitoring Systems, January 18, 2017" located at https://www.nano.gov/publicwebinars
                                                                  • For a list of targeted contaminants and constituents for water monitoring, see "Spacecraft Water Exposure Guidelines for Selected Waterborne Contaminants, JSC 63414" located at https://www.nasa.gov/feature/exposure-guidelines-smacs-swegs
                                                                  • 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy, TX06: Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems, TX06.4.1, Sensors: Air, Water, Microbial, and Acoustic https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/2020_nasa_technology_taxonomy.pdf
                                                                  • Layne Carter, Jill Williamson, Daniel Gazda, Chris Brown, Ryan Schaezler, Frank Thomas, Jesse Bazley, Sunday Molina “Status of ISS Water Management and Recovery,” 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES-2019-36 https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346/84720
                                                                  • Molly S. Anderson, Ariel V. Macatangay, Melissa K. McKinley, Miriam J. Sargusingh, Laura A. Shaw, Jay L. Perry, Walter F. Schneider, Nikzad Toomarian, Robyn L. Gatens "NASA Environmental Control and Life Support Technology Development and Maturation for Exploration: 2018 to 2019 Overview," 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES-2019-297 https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346/84496
                                                                  • Dean Muirhead, Layne Carter, Jill Williamson, Antja Chambers "Preventing Precipitation in the ISS Urine Processor," 47th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES-2018-87 https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346/74086
                                                                  • Dean L. Muirhead, Layne Carter “Dimethylsilanediol (DMSD) Source Assessment and Mitigation on ISS: Estimated Contributions from Personal Hygiene Products Containing Volatile Methyl Siloxanes (VMS)” 48th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES-2018-123 https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346/74112
                                                                  • Donald Layne Carter, David Tabb, Molly Anderson "Water Recovery System Architecture and Operational Concepts to Accommodate Dormancy," 47th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Paper ICES-2017-43 https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346/72884

                                                                    Several of the references may also be available at https://ntrs.nasa.gov

                                                                   

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                                                                • T6.07Space Exploration Plant Growth

                                                                    Lead Center: KSC

                                                                    Participating Center(s): ARC, JSC

                                                                    Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                    Scope Title: Remote Sensing Technologies for Monitoring Plants Scope Description: Plant (crop) systems envisioned for future space travel could provide supplemental fresh food for the human crews during early missions and increased amounts of food along with oxygen and carbon dioxide removal for… Read more>>

                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                    Remote Sensing Technologies for Monitoring Plants

                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                    Plant (crop) systems envisioned for future space travel could provide supplemental fresh food for the human crews during early missions and increased amounts of food along with oxygen and carbon dioxide removal for future longer-term missions. This latter concept has been referred to as bioregenerative life support. To do this will require controlled environments for growing the crops, perhaps using techniques similar to recirculating hydroponics used on Earth. But this will require careful monitoring of the environment and the plants themselves to assess their health and performance. In addition, crew time will likely be limited in many space settings, so having the monitoring systems operate autonomously or with little human intervention would be beneficial.

                                                                    This subtopic solicits advanced technologies for remotely sensing the status of plants in controlled environments of space. These environments are typically small in volume, often use narrow band lighting from light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and are subject to reduced gravity. Example methods might include multispectral and hyperspectral sensing of crops, use of bio-indicators in the crops themselves, or other innovative, noninvasive means. Technologies could focus on approaches for (1) monitoring the morphology and growth of plants and possibly standing biomass and/or (2) monitoring stress to the plants, including water stress, nutrient stress, and plant pathogens. Sensing of volatile compounds produced by the plants is not solicited for this subtopic.  

                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                    Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                    Level 2: TX 08.3 In-Situ Instruments/Sensor 
                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                    • Research
                                                                    • Analysis
                                                                    • Prototype
                                                                    • Hardware

                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                    Phase I Deliverables—Reports demonstrating proof of concept, including test data from proof-of-concept studies, and concepts and approaches for Phase II. Phase I tasks should answer critical questions focused on reducing development risk prior to entering Phase II.

                                                                    1. Identification of microbes of interest from literature accounts or current experimentation from existing libraries, including Veggie or the International Space Station (ISS).
                                                                    2. Obtain full genomic profiling to scan for unfavorable genomic components and triage candidates for beneficial effects.

                                                                    Phase II Deliverables—Delivery of isolated microorganisms and/or microbial communities for testing on candidate crops. Preliminary assessment on the safety for use with food crops should be included. Scientific publications and presentations at relevant professional societies.

                                                                    1. Apply to candidate crop seedlings and conduct growth evaluations.
                                                                    2. Assess growth and metabolite content of treated crops.
                                                                    3. Perform toxicity and biofilm tests for candidate microbes both in isolation and in combination. Toxicity screen will be against relevant human cell lines.

                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                    NASA’s Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) growth chamber on the International Space Station (ISS) provides a controlled environment with about 0.2 mgrowing area. Within the APH, environmental control includes light from LEDs, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide concentration, along with water delivery to a solid medium used to support root systems. The APH is used primarily for plant research on the ISS, and the environmental parameters are logged regularly. Plants in the APH chamber can be monitored with visible imagery and infrared sensing for canopy temperatures. The APH is closed atmospherically to allow condensate recovery and water recycling and to also track plant carbon dioxide uptake and evapotranspiration. Larger plant chambers used for crop production on future missions would build on these capabilities, but may or may not be atmospherically closed to the crew cabin.

                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                    This technology could be proven on the ISS and would be useful to long-duration human exploration missions, including Gateway, lunar surface, and Mars, including surface and transit. This subtopic is directed at needs identified by the Life Support and Habitation Systems Capability Leadership Team (CLT) in areas of in situ production of fresh foods.

                                                                    References:

                                                                    Askim, J. R.; Mahmoudi, M.; Suslick, K. S. 2013. Optical sensor arrays for chemical sensing: The optoelectronic nose. Chem. Soc. Rev. 42 (22): 8649-8682.

                                                                    Chaerle, L.; Hagenbeek, D.; De Bruyne, E.; Valcke, R.; Van Der Straeten, D. 2004. Thermal and chlorophyll-fluorescence imaging distinguish plant-pathogen interactions at an early stage. Plant and Cell Physiology 45 (7): 887-896.

                                                                    Clevers, J. G.; Kooistra, L.; Schaepman, M. E. 2010. Estimating canopy water content using hyperspectral remote sensing data. Int. J. Appl. Earth Obs. Geoinformation 12: 119-125.

                                                                    Fahlgren, N.; Gehan, M. A.; Baxter, I. 2015. Lights, camera, action: high-throughput plant phenotyping is ready for a close-up. Cur. Opin. Plant Biol. 24:93-99.

                                                                    Loreto, F.; Barta, C.; Brilli, F.; Nogues, I. 2006. On the induction of volatile organic compound emissions by plants as consequence of wounding or fluctuations of light and temperature. Plant Cell Environ 29 (9): 1820-1828.

                                                                    Richards, J. R.; Schuerger, A. C.; Capelle, G.; Guikema, J. A. 2003. Laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy of dark- and light-adapted bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L) plants grown under three irradiances levels and subjected to fluctuating lighting conditions. Remote Sensing of Environment 84:323-341.

                                                                    Schuerger, A. C.; Copenhaver, K. L.; Lewis, D.; Kincaid, R.; May, G. 2007. Canopy structure and imaging geometry may create unique problems during spectral reflectance measurements of crop canopies in bioregenerative advanced life support systems. Intl. J. Astrobiology 6 (2): 109-121.

                                                                    Serbin, S. P.; Singh, A.; Desai, A. R.; Dubois, S. G.; Jablonski, A. D.; Kingdon, C. C.; Kruger, E. L.; Townsend, P. A. 2015. Remotely estimating photosynthetic capacity, and its response to temperature, in vegetation canopies using imaging spectroscopy. Remote Sens. Environ. 167: 78-87.

                                                                    Ustin, S. L. 2013. Remote sensing of canopy chemistry. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 110: 804-805.

                                                                    Zeidler, C.; Zabel, P.; Vrakking, V.; Dorn, M.; Bamsey, M.; Schubert, D.; Ceriello, A.; Fortezza, R.; De Simone, D.; Stanghellini, C.; Kempkes, F.; Meinen, E.; Mencarelli, A.; Swinkels, G-J.; Paul, A-L.; Ferl, R. J. 2019. The plant health monitoring system of the EDEN ISS space greenhouse in Antarctica during the 2018 experiment phase. Front. Plant Sci. 10:1457 (doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01457).

                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                    Biopriming of Plant Microbiome to Promote Crop Health and Growth

                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                    This subtopic solicits advanced technologies for identifying, selecting, developing, or designing microbes that can promote plant growth in controlled environment crop production systems for space. In the terrestrial environment, the microbiome of the roots (rhizosphere) and the above ground plant (phyllosphere) act as a genetic extension of the plant. The rhizosphere consortia metabolizes precursor compounds that can be further metabolized by the plants and in turn promote growth. This consortia can also produce secondary metabolites that exhibit antimicrobial activity and further protect the plant. Currently, space-bound seeds are surface sterilized, and growth substrates are sterilized, which does away with most microbially conferred advantages—think of a human without its own healthy gut microbes. Therefore, NASA is interested in tailoring a rhizosphere for space crops and “biopriming” plant seeds with a beneficial, probiotic microbial assemblage that is amenable to containment and presents no human health risk. Approaches should consider one or a few organisms that have demonstrated beneficial effects on crops rather than whole communities. These organisms could be applied to seeds or be transferred endophytically (inside the seed or plant material). Crops for these systems would be grown hydroponically or in solid media watered with nutrient solution, or using water along with controlled-release fertilizer. As examples, microbes that confer resistance to stresses such as root zone hypoxia, root zone drought stress, and plant pathogens could be considered. Target crops should focus on leafy greens, such as lettuce, leafy Brassica species, leafy Chenopod species, or small fruiting crops such as pepper and tomato. The ability to put organisms into stasis and then reactivate them in a relevant, operational mode should be considered.

                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 1 to 3 
                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                    Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems 
                                                                    Level 2: TX 06.3 Human Health and Performance 
                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                    • Research
                                                                    • Analysis

                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                    Phase I Deliverables—Reports demonstrating proof of concept, including test data from proof-of-concept studies, and concepts and approaches for Phase II. Phase I tasks should answer critical questions focused on reducing development risk prior to entering Phase II.

                                                                    a. Identification of microbes of interest from literature accounts or current experimentation from existing libraries, including Veggie or the International Space Station (ISS).

                                                                    b. Obtain full genomic profiling to scan for unfavorable genomic components and triage candidates for beneficial effects.

                                                                    Phase II Deliverables—Delivery of isolated microorganisms and/or microbial communities for testing on candidate crops. Preliminary assessment on the safety for use with food crops should be included. Scientific publications and presentations at relevant professional societies.

                                                                    a. Apply to candidate crop seedlings and conduct growth evaluations.

                                                                    b. Assess growth and metabolite content of treated crops.

                                                                    c. Perform toxicity and biofilm tests for candidate microbes both in isolation and in combination. Toxicity screen will be against relevant human cell lines.

                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                    NASA’s Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) and Veggie plant growth chambers on the ISS provide controlled environments with about 0.2 mgrowing area. Plants are grown in a solid medium (arcillite or calcined clay) that is sterilized prior to launch, and plants are typically propagated using surface sterilized seeds. But neither system is sterile in its operations and are open to the cabin environment (Veggie) or occasionally opened and accessed by the crew for horticultural operations (APH). For one Veggie study, a Fusarium fungus was noted growing on zinnia plants, likely due to a malfunction in the air circulation resulting in very high humidity. Similar environmental anomalies (environmental control failures, too little or too much water in the root zone, nutrient stress) can occur in any controlled environment, including those envisioned for future space crop production systems. Having a microbiome that can confer resistance to such perturbations and generally promote healthier growth can reduce the risk of crop failures for these systems. Biocontainment measures are not typically required for probiotic consortia in field settings, but may be an issue in confined environments of space. Introducing a tailored microbiome into a controlled environment such as Veggie aboard the ISS will undoubtedly rule out classes of microbes due to their propensity to become opportunistic pathogens. Therefore, there is a large knowledge gap when it comes to the types of strains that will be beneficial for crop production not only in space, but in closed environments. Storage and handling of these tailored microbiomes for long-duration space exploration also presents a unique challenge.

                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                    This technology could be proven on the ISS and would be useful to long-duration human exploration missions, including Gateway, lunar surface, and Mars, including surface and transit. This subtopic is directed at needs identified by the Life Support and Habitation Systems Capability Leadership Team (CLT) in areas of in situ production of fresh foods. The research is also applicable to the rapidly expanding controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry on Earth.

                                                                    References:

                                                                    Ali, S.; Kim, W-C. 2018. Plant growth promotion under water: Decrease of waterlogging-induced ACC and ethylene levels by ACC deaminase-producing bacteria. Front. Microbiol. Vol. 9, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01096.

                                                                    Cha, J-Y., Han, S.; Hong, H-J., et al. 2016. Microbial and biochemical basis of a Fusarium wilt-suppressive soil. The ISME Journal 10: 119-129.

                                                                    Compant, S., Clément, C.; Sessitsch, A. 2010. Plant growth-promoting bacteria in the rhizo- and endosphere of plants: Their role, colonization, mechanisms involved and prospects for utilization. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 42: 669-678.

                                                                    Deng, S.; Wipf, H. M. -L.; Pierroz, G.; Raab, T. K.;  Khanna, R.; Coleman-Derr, Devin. 2019. Microbial soil amendment dynamically alters the strawberry root bacterial microbiome. Scientific Reports, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-53623-2.

                                                                    Edmonds, J. W.; Sackett, J. D.; Lomprey, H.; Hudson, H. L.; Moser D. P. 2020. The aeroponic rhizosphere microbiome: community dynamics in early succession suggest strong selectional forces. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 113:83-99 (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10482-019-01319-y).

                                                                    Mahnert, A., Moissl-Eichinger, C., Berg, G. 2015. Microbiome interplay: plants alter microbial abundance and diversity within the built environment. Front. Microbiol. 6:887 (doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00887).

                                                                    Marasco, R.; Rolli, E.; Ettoumi, B.; Vigani, G.; Mapelli, F., et al. 2012. A drought resistance-promoting microbiome is selected by root system under desert farming. PLOS ONE 7(10): e48479 (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048479).

                                                                    Mayaka, S.; Tirosh, T.; Glick, B.R. 2004. Plant growth-promoting bacteria that confer resistance to water stress in tomatoes and peppers. Plant Science 166: 525-530.

                                                                    Quiza, L.; St-Arnaud, M.; Yergeau, E. 2015. Harnessing phytomicrobiome signaling for rhizosphere microbiome engineering. Front. Plant Sci. 14 (https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2015.00507).

                                                                    Rosenblueth, M.; Martínez-Romero, E. 2006. Bacterial endophytes and their interactions with hosts. MPMI Vol. 19, No. 8: 827-837 (DOI: 10.1094/ MPMI -19-0827).

                                                                     

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                                                                • Lead MD: HEOMD

                                                                  Participating MD(s):

                                                                  NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to astronaut health and performance for exploration missions. HRP achieves this through a focused program of basic, applied and operational research leading to the development and delivery of:

                                                                  • Human health, performance, and habitability standards.
                                                                  • Countermeasures and other risk mitigation solutions.
                                                                  • Advanced habitability and medical support technologies.

                                                                  HRP has developed an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to describe the requirements and notional approach to understanding and reducing the human health and performance risks. The IRP describes the Program's research activities that are intended to address the needs of human space exploration and serve HRP customers. The Human Research Roadmap (http://humanresearchroadmap.nasa.gov) is a web-based version of the IRP that allows users to search HRP risks, gaps, and tasks.

                                                                  The HRP is organized into several research Elements:

                                                                  • Human Health Countermeasures.
                                                                  • Human Factors and Behavioral Performance.
                                                                  • Exploration Medical Capability.
                                                                  • Space Radiation.

                                                                  Each of the HRP Elements address a subset of the risks. A fifth Element, Research Operations and Integration (ROI), is responsible for the implementation of the research on various space and ground analog platforms. HRP subtopics are aligned with the Elements and solicit technologies identified in their respective research plans.

                                                                  • H12.01Radioprotectors and Mitigators of Space Radiation-Induced Health Risks

                                                                      Lead Center: JSC

                                                                      Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                      Scope Title: Radioprotectors and Mitigators of Space Radiation-Induced Health Risks Scope Description: Space radiation is a significant obstacle when sending humans on long-duration missions beyond low Earth orbit. Although various forms for radiation exist in space, astronauts during Lunar or Mars… Read more>>

                                                                      Scope Title:

                                                                      Radioprotectors and Mitigators of Space Radiation-Induced Health Risks

                                                                      Scope Description:

                                                                      Space radiation is a significant obstacle when sending humans on long-duration missions beyond low Earth orbit. Although various forms for radiation exist in space, astronauts during Lunar or Mars missions will be exposed constantly to galactic cosmic radiation (GCR), which consists of high-energy particles ranging from protons to extremely heavy ions. Astronaut health risks from space radiation exposure are categorized into cancer, late and early central nervous systems (CNS) effects, and degenerative risks, which include cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and premature aging. With the current gender and age-specific exposure limits for cancer risks, few female astronauts will be able to fly long-duration missions without countermeasures.

                                                                      This subtopic solicits proposals to develop biological countermeasures that mitigate one or several of the radiation risks associated with space travel. Compounds that target common pathways (e.g., inflammation) across aging, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegeneration would be preferred. Most of the countermeasure developments in the medical arena have focused on mitigating the effects of X- or gamma rays. The proposed project should focus on repurposing of technology and compounds for high-energy charged-particle applications. Compounds that are under current development or have been proven effective for other applications are both suitable for this subtopic.

                                                                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 5 to 8 
                                                                      Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                      Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems 
                                                                      Level 2: TX 06.5 Radiation 
                                                                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                      • Analysis

                                                                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                      Deliverables for Phase I of the project will be data generated in testing the proposed radioprotectors with high energy protons. The company should test the proposed radioprotectors using high energy protons or other charged particles at space relevant doses. This testing can be performed with cell models at an accelerator facility of choice. After contract award, the company should immediately coordinate with the NASA technical monitor for any special considerations for the testing.

                                                                      In Phase II of the project, the company should conduct in vivo evaluation of the radioprotectors using appropriate animal models, which may include humanized mouse models. Testing in Phase II of the project should be performed with a combination of different particle types and energies that simulate the space radiation environment. NASA will make the accelerator facility at the Brookhaven National Laboratory available for both Phase I and II of the project. Demonstration of the effectiveness in reducing proton-induced biological impacts is needed for a successful Phase II proposal. Deliverables for Phase II of the project will be data generated using animal models and a combination of charged particle types and energies.

                                                                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                      Exposure of crew members to space radiation during Lunar and Mars missions can potentially impact the success of the missions and cause long-term diseases. Space radiation risks include cancer, late and early CNS effects, CVD, and accelerated aging. Abiding by the current exposure limits for cancer risks, few female astronauts will be able to fly long-duration missions. Mitigation of space radiation risks can be achieved with physical (shielding) and biomedical means. This subtopic addresses development of drugs that mitigate one or several of the identified space radiation risks. Development of countermeasures for adverse health effects from radiation exposure is also actively supported by the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National Institute of Health (NIH). However, some of the radioprotectors used in radiotherapy might have toxic levels that are unacceptable for astronauts. Some of the countermeasures developed for DOD/DHS are aimed at mitigating acute radiation syndromes, but not cancer risks. Furthermore, these radioprotectors are mostly for exposure to X- or gamma rays. This SBIR subtopic solicits specifically proposals to evaluate the radioprotectors that have been proven effective in mitigating biological impacts of X- or gamma rays for space radiation applications.

                                                                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                      This subtopic seeks technology development that benefits the Space Radiation Element of the NASA Human Research Program (HRP). Biomedical countermeasures are needed for all of the space radiation risks.

                                                                      References:

                                                                      The following references discuss the different health effects NASA has identified in regard to space radiation exposure:

                                                                       

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                                                                    • H12.03Portable Spatial Disorientation Simulator - Trainer

                                                                        Lead Center: JSC

                                                                        Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                        Scope Title: Portable Spatial Disorientation Simulator - Trainer Scope Description: Astronauts are at risk of spatial disorientation due to vestibular alterations during and following g-level transitions, such as landing on Earth. This disorientation has previously been simulated using a bilateral… Read more>>

                                                                        Scope Title:

                                                                        Portable Spatial Disorientation Simulator - Trainer

                                                                        Scope Description:

                                                                        Astronauts are at risk of spatial disorientation due to vestibular alterations during and following g-level transitions, such as landing on Earth. This disorientation has previously been simulated using a bilateral bipolar Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) delivered in a suprathreshold range (2 to 5 mA) over the mastoid processes independent of head orientation. NASA needs a portable GVS-based system that can be coupled to head orientation and movements to enhance the simulation of the g-transition induced spatial disorientation effect astronauts experience.

                                                                        This system will be used for astronaut crewmembers to simulate performing landing and recovery type tasks while experiencing head-tilt contingent vertigo due to vestibular alterations. This simulator will also be used by recovery operations personnel to validate nominal and contingency procedures with a simulated deconditioned crewmember. Finally, this disorientation simulator will be used experimentally to develop sensorimotor standards related to fitness to perform critical mission tasks.

                                                                         

                                                                        The requirements include:

                                                                        • Phase 1A head-worn inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor that can measure natural head rotation (position and velocity) and linear acceleration in all three planes.
                                                                        • A GVS that is head-coupled and proportional to head tilt orientation as well as pitch and roll velocity, with the ability to adjust the algorithms to alter the IMU sensor combinations that drive the GVS signal.
                                                                        • The system should also allow a user-adjustable manual gain to allow for individual sensitivity, with minimal two-fault current limit at 5 mA and emergency on/off switch.
                                                                        • The system should allow a two-channel multiple electrode configuration that can provide illusory motion in both head roll and pitch axes.
                                                                        • The system should be self-powered for minimally 1 hr with user switchable rechargeable batteries.
                                                                        • The system should include nonvolatile memory (onboard data storage) to record IMU sensor data, GVS current delivery, and external trigger and/or manual synch event push-button timing.
                                                                        • This system should be able to be worn while performing nonsuited crew landing and egress type activities without interfering with other crew-worn equipment.

                                                                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 6 
                                                                        Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                        Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems 
                                                                        Level 2: TX 06.6 Human Systems Integration 
                                                                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                        • Prototype

                                                                        Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                        Phase I deliverable is a laboratory version of the disorientation trainer that successfully demonstrates the proof of concept for the requirements listed under scope description have been met.

                                                                        Phase II deliverable is a portable wearable version of the disorientation trainer that can be deployed in field settings.

                                                                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                        While there are GVS available, there are no GVS devices on the market that are portable or that can be coupled to head movement. This capability would provide the ability to train astronauts on what to expect with regards to spatial disorientation in a realistic mission simulation.

                                                                        Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                        This is relevant to Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), because of its applicability in human research and exploration. For example, this technology would assist in the success of the sensorimotor standards project, sponsored by NASA's Human Research Program.

                                                                        References:

                                                                        Moore ST, Dilda V, MacDougall HG. Galvanic vestibular stimulation as an analogue of spatial disorientation after spaceflight. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2011;82(5):535-542. (download from https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/asma/asem/2011/00000082/00000005/art00006)

                                                                         

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                                                                    • Lead MD: STMD

                                                                      Participating MD(s): STTR

                                                                      In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) involves any hardware or operation that harnesses and utilizes ‘in-situ’ resources (natural and discarded) to create products and services for robotic and human exploration. Local resources include ‘natural’ resources found on extraterrestrial bodies such as water, solar wind implanted volatiles (hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen, etc.), vast quantities of metals in mineral rocks and soils, and atmospheric constituents, as well as human-made resources such as trash and waste from human crew, and discarded hardware that has completed its primary purpose.  The most useful products from ISRU are propellants, fuel cell reactants, life support commodities (such as water, oxygen, and buffer gases), and feedstock for manufacturing and construction.  ISRU products and services can be used to i) reduce Earth launch mass or lander mass by not bringing everything from Earth, ii) reduce risks to the crew and/or mission by reducing logistics, increasing shielding, and providing increased self-sufficiency, and/or iii) reducing costs by either needing less launch vehicles to complete the mission or through the reuse of hardware and lander/space transportation vehicles.  Since ISRU systems must operate wherever the resource of interest exists, technologies and hardware will need to be designed to operate in harsh environments, reduced gravity, and potential non-homogeneous resource physical, mineral, and ice/volatile characteristics. This year’s solicitation will focus on critical technologies needed in the areas of Resource Acquisition and Consumable Production for the Moon and Mars. The ISRU focus area is seeking innovative technology for:

                                                                      • Large, Lightweight, Deployable Solar Concentrators and Thermal Energy Transmission
                                                                      • Critical Components/Subsystems for Oxygen Extraction from Lunar Regolith
                                                                      • Lunar Ice Mining via In Situ Subsurface Heating, Sublimation, and Capture

                                                                      As appropriate, the specific needs and metrics of each of these specific technologies are described in the subtopic descriptions. 

                                                                      • T14.01Advanced Concepts for Lunar and Martian Propellant Production, Storage, Transfer, and Usage

                                                                          Lead Center: GRC

                                                                          Participating Center(s): JSC

                                                                          Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                          Scope Title: Advanced Concepts for Lunar and Martian Propellant Production, Storage, Transfer, and Usage Scope Description: This subtopic seeks technologies related to cryogenic propellant (e.g., hydrogen, oxygen, and methane) production, storage, transfer, and usage to support NASA's in-situ… Read more>>

                                                                          Scope Title:

                                                                          Advanced Concepts for Lunar and Martian Propellant Production, Storage, Transfer, and Usage

                                                                          Scope Description:

                                                                          This subtopic seeks technologies related to cryogenic propellant (e.g., hydrogen, oxygen, and methane) production, storage, transfer, and usage to support NASA's in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) goals. This includes a wide range of applications, scales, and environments consistent with future NASA missions to the Moon and Mars. Anticipated outcome of Phase I proposals are expected to deliver proof of the proposed concept with some sort of basic testing or physical demonstration. Proposals shall include plans for a prototype and demonstration in a defined relevant environment (with relevant fluids) at the conclusion of Phase II. Solicited topics are as follows:

                                                                          • A piecewise-smooth set of correlations for use in lumped node codes that models the complete cryogenic pool boiling curve for heat transfer between fluid and wall encountered in cryogenic storage (e.g., hot spots along the tank wall) or transfer systems. Six submodels should be developed, including (1) onset of nucleate boiling, (2) nucleate boiling heat transfer coefficient (HTC), (3) critical heat flux (CHF), (4) transition boiling HTC, (5) Leidenfrost point, and (6) film boiling HTC. There should be seamless coupling between all five submodels such that the boiling curve is a smooth function (heat flux as a function of wall superheat). Both quenching and heating configurations must be modeled. The model must be anchored to experimental cryogenic pool boiling data for helium, hydrogen, argon, nitrogen, oxygen, and methane. The complete cryogenic pool boiling model should be validated against cryogenic experimental data across the range of fluids, with a target accuracy of 25%. The quenching and heating pool boiling models and implementation scheme should be a deliverable. Phase I should have an emphasis on developing the CHF model for all cryogens while Phase II should include the remaining five models as well as microgravity applications.
                                                                          • Develop and demonstrate methodologies for recovering propellant from lunar and Martian descent stages that have low fill levels (<5%) of liquid oxygen, hydrogen, and/or methane mixed with helium. Methodologies can assume liquid extraction (for a short amount of time) or vapor extraction. Possible uses of the fluids could include fuel cells, life support/breathing air, or other applications. Methodologies should focus on the amount of propellant that might be extractable at different purities (prop/helium). Phase I should focus on defining and refining the methodologies for scavenging, as well as defining what should be done to the landers to enable or facilitate later access for scavenging. Phase II should include some sort of a demonstration, perhaps using simulant or similar fluids.
                                                                          • Advance nonliquid electrolyte technologies for chemical flow cells (e.g., fuel cells, electrolyzers, flow batteries, etc.) that generate electrical power from a chemical reaction or reconstitute a reaction byproduct into fuels and oxidizer for such a chemical flow cell. These electrolytes are required to be cycled through very low temperatures (<150 K) during storage to survive a lunar night or cislunar travel and recover completely (>98%) mechanical, electrical, and chemical performance. Ideally, these electrolytes would be able to process propellants (hydrogen, oxygen, methane, kerosene, etc.) and either tolerate or recover from exposure to standard propellant contaminants with minimal/no performance loss. Due to the potential for high fluid pressures and vibration loads, any proposal will illustrate how the electrolyte could be mechanically supported to operate hermetically under these conditions. To demonstrate that the electrolyte exceeds the state of the  art, the deliverable test article will support an electrical current density of at least 300 mA/cm2 for at least 500 hr, support transient currents >750 mA/cm2 for at least 30 sec, and support slew rates >50 A/cm2/s. Providing test data for the electrolyte performance degradation rate when operated as intended is required with test times >5,000 hr significantly strengthening the proposal. It would be beneficial if the electrolyte operated reversibly with equal efficiently. Liquid electrolytes, loose or contained within a support structure, are excluded from this scope due to the complications that liquid electrolytes pose for an eventual system during launch.

                                                                          NASA has plans to purchase services for delivery of payloads to the Moon through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. Under this subtopic, proposals may include efforts to develop payloads for flight demonstration of relevant technologies in the lunar environment. The CLPS payload accommodations will vary depending on the particular service provider and mission characteristics. Additional information on the CLPS program and providers can be found at this link: https://www.nasa.gov/content/commercial-lunar-payload-services. CLPS missions will typically carry multiple payloads for multiple customers. Smaller, simpler, and more self-sufficient payloads are more easily accommodated and more likely to be considered for a NASA-sponsored flight opportunity. Commercial payload delivery services may begin as early as 2020 and flight opportunities are expected to continue well into the future. In future years, it is expected that larger and more complex payloads will be accommodated. Selection for award under this solicitation will not guarantee selection for a lunar flight opportunity.

                                                                          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
                                                                          Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                          Level 1: TX 14 Thermal Management Systems
                                                                          Level 2: TX 14.1 Cryogenic Systems
                                                                          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                          • Hardware
                                                                          • Software
                                                                          • Prototype

                                                                          Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                          Phase I proposals should at minimum deliver proof of the concept, including some sort of testing or physical demonstration, not just a paper study. Phase II proposals should provide component validation in a laboratory environment preferably with hardware (or model subroutines) deliverable to NASA.

                                                                          Electrolyte technologies for chemical cell product deliverables would be an operational electrochemical test article demonstrating the capability of the electrolyte to support the listed current density by processing the intended propellants when packaged as a flow cell. This test article will have an active area of at least 50 cm2 and would ideally contain multiple cells to demonstrate extensibility to existing stack designs. It would be favorable to include empirical electrochemical performance data of the electrolyte over as much of the pressure range from 5 to 3,015 psia as possible to illustrate the potential viability range for lunar applications.

                                                                          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                          Cryogenic Fluid Management (CFM) is a cross-cutting technology suite that supports multiple forms of propulsion systems (nuclear and chemical), including storage, transfer, and gauging, as well as liquefaction of ISRU-produced propellants. Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has identified that CFM technologies are vital to NASA's exploration plans for multiple architectures, whether it is hydrogen/oxygen or methane/oxygen systems including chemical propulsion and nuclear thermal propulsion. There are no complete cryogenic data-based pool boiling curves for propellants of interest.

                                                                          Existing electrolytes for space applications are limited to a polymeric membrane based on perfluorinated teflon and ceramic electrolyte. While it has the necessary electrochemical and mechanical properties, the polymeric membrane has very tight thermal constraints due to a high moisture content, which complicates thermal system designs for lunar systems during transit. It is also very sensitive to chemical contamination. The ceramic electrolyte has significant mechanical and slew rate limitations, but is more resilient to chemical contamination and has a much larger thermal range, which allows storage in very cold environments. Once operational and at temperature, either existing electrolyte technology operates in cold lunar regions. Should an off-nominal event occur during the lunar night that results in a cold-soak, neither existing electrolyte technology has a meaningful chance of recovering from the exposure to the low temperatures.

                                                                          Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                          STMD strives to provide the technologies that are needed to enable exploration of the solar system, both manned and unmanned systems; CFM is a key technology to enable exploration. Whether liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen or liquid oxygen/liquid methane is chosen by Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) as the main in-space propulsion element to transport humans, CFM will be required to store propellant for up to 5 years in various orbital environments. Transfer will also be required, whether to engines or other tanks (e.g., depot/aggregation), to enable the use of cryogenic propellants that have been stored. In conjunction with ISRU, cryogens will have to be produced, liquefied, and stored, the latter two of which are CFM functions for the surface of the Moon or Mars. ISRU and CFM liquefaction drastically reduces the amount of mass that has to be landed on the Moon or Mars.

                                                                          NASA already has proton-exchange-membrane- (PEM-) based electrochemical hardware in the International Space Station (ISS) Oxygen Generator Assembly and is developing electrochemical systems for space applications through the Evolved Regenerative Fuel Cell. These system designs could be readily adapted to a solid electrolyte with capabilities beyond the existing state of the art for specific applications such as ISRU, lunar fuel cell power systems, or regenerative fuel cell energy storage systems. As CLPS companies have identified primary fuel cell power systems as a required technology, it would be helpful to ensure that there are options available that could survive the lunar night when offline without active thermal control. This would enable a longer period between missions to refuel and recover the electrochemical system.

                                                                          References:

                                                                          1. Kartuzova, O., and Kassemi, M., "Modeling K-Site LH2 Tank Chilldown and no Vent Fill in Normal Gravity" AIAA-2017-4662

                                                                          2. Regenerative Fuel Cell Power Systems for Lunar and Martian Surface Exploration (https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2017-5368(link is external))

                                                                          3. NASA Technology roadmap (https://gameon.nasa.gov/about/space-technology-roadmap/), §TA03.2.2.1.2. Chemical Power Generation and §TA03.2.2.2.3. Regenerative Fuel Cell Energy Storage (NOTE: This may be a dated link as this Roadmap still references ETDP/ETDD.)

                                                                          4. Commercial Lunar Propellant Architecture: A Collaborative Study of Lunar Propellant Production (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.reach.2019.100026(link is external))

                                                                           

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                                                                        • Z12.01Extraction of Oxygen and Water from Lunar Regolith

                                                                            Lead Center: JSC

                                                                            Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL, KSC, MSFC

                                                                            Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                            Scope Title: Solar Concentrator Technologies for Oxygen Extraction and In Situ Construction Scope Description: Solar concentrators have been used to successfully demonstrate multiple in situ resource utilization (ISRU) technologies, including hydrogen and carbothermal reduction, sintering of… Read more>>

                                                                            Scope Title:

                                                                            Solar Concentrator Technologies for Oxygen Extraction and In Situ Construction

                                                                            Scope Description:

                                                                            Solar concentrators have been used to successfully demonstrate multiple in situ resource utilization (ISRU) technologies, including hydrogen and carbothermal reduction, sintering of regolith to produce launch/landing pads, and production of blocks for construction. Terrestrial state-of-the-art solar concentrators are heavy, not designed for easy packaging/shipping and assembly/installation, and can be maintained and cleaned on a periodic basis to maintain performance. For ISRU space applications, NASA is interested in solar concentrators that are able to be packaged into small volumes, are lightweight, easily deployed and set up, can autonomously track the Sun, and can perform self-cleaning operations to remove accumulated dust. Materials, components, and systems that would be necessary for the proposed technology must be able to operate on the lunar surface in temperatures of up to 110 oC (230 oF) during sunlit periods and as as low as -170 oC (-274 oF) during periods of darkness. Systems must also be able to operate for at least 1 year with a goal of 5 years without substantial maintenance in the dusty regolith environment. Proposers should assume that regolith mining operations will be tens of meters away from the solar concentrators, but that regolith processing systems and solar concentrators will be co-located on a single lander. Phase I efforts can be demonstrated at any scale; Phase II efforts must be scalable up to 11.1 kW of delivered solar energy, assuming an incoming solar flux of ~1,350 W/m2 while also considering volumetric constraints for launch and landing. Each of the following specific areas of technology interest may be developed as a standalone technology.

                                                                            • Lightweight mirrors/lenses: Proposals must clearly state the estimated W/kg for the proposed technology. Phase II deliverables must be deployed and supported in Earth 1g (without wind loads) but should include design recommendations for mass reductions for lunar gravity (1/6g) deployment. Proposals should address the following attributes: high reflectivity, low coefficient of thermal expansion, strength, mass, reliability, and cost.
                                                                            • Efficient transmission of energy for oxygen/metal extraction: While the solar concentrator will need to move to track the Sun, reactors requiring direct thermal energy for oxygen extraction will be in a fixed position and orientation. Concentrated sunlight must be directed to a single or multiple spots to effectively heat or melt the regolith. Proposals must define the expected transition losses from collection to delivery and should capture any assumptions made regarding the distance from collection to delivery.
                                                                            • Sintering end effector: Solar concentrators have been used to demonstrate the fabrication of 3D printed components using regolith as the only feedstock. Proposals responding to this specific technology area must produce and maintain a focal point temperature between 1,000 and 1,100 oC for the purpose of sintering lunar regolith. Proposals should assume that the focal point can move along the regolith at a speed between 1 and 10 mm/sec.

                                                                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                            Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                            Level 1: TX 07 Exploration Destination Systems 
                                                                            Level 2: TX 07.1 In-Situ Resource Utilization 
                                                                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                            • Prototype
                                                                            • Analysis
                                                                            • Hardware

                                                                            Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                            Phase I deliverables may be a conceptual design with analysis to show feasibility at relevant scales and/or a small demonstration of the concept. Phase II deliverables should be hardware demonstrations at a relevant scale. See Scope Description for additional information on Phase I and Phase II deliverables. 

                                                                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                            The 2011 paper "Thermal Energy for Lunar In Situ Resource Utilization: Technical Challenges and Technology Opportunities" [Ref. 1] summarized the work performed in this area and recommends future efforts focus on lightweight mirrors (possibly using composite materials) and dust mitigation techniques (dust mitigation is addressed in another subtopic).

                                                                            The last solar concentrator system developed for ISRU had an overall efficiency of ~33%. The performance of the system is captured in the 2011 paper "Solar Thermal System for Lunar ISRU Applications: Development and Field Operation at Mauna Kea, HI" [Ref. 6].

                                                                            Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                            NASA Strategic Knowledge Gap (SKG) 1-F, "Determine the likely efficiency of ISRU processes using lunar simulants in relevant environments," as well as NASA SKG 1-G, "Measure the actual efficiency of ISRU processes in the lunar environment," are both important for the development of future ISRU systems. There are multiple ISRU processes that involve the use of solar concentrators, and determining their efficiency through technology development efforts may address NASA SKGs. 

                                                                            References:

                                                                            1. Gordon, P. E., Colozza, A. J., Hepp, A. F., Heller, R. S., Gustafson, R., Stern, T., & Nakamura, T. (2011). Thermal energy for lunar in situ resource utilization: Technical challenges and technology opportunities. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20110023752
                                                                            2. Gustafson, R., White, B., Fidler, M., & Muscatello, A. (2010). Demonstrating the solar carbothermal reduction of lunar regolith to produce oxygen. In 48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition (p. 1163).
                                                                            3. Mueller, R. P., Sibille, L., Hintze, P. E., Lippitt, T. C., Mantovani, J. G., Nugent, M. W., & Townsend, I. I. (2014). Additive construction using basalt regolith fines. In Earth and Space 2014 (pp. 394-403). https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20150000305
                                                                            4. Muscatello, A., & Gustafson, R. B. (2010). The 2010 Field Demonstration of the Solar Carbothermal Reduction of Regolith to Produce Oxygen. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20110006938
                                                                            5. Muscatello, T. (2017). Oxygen Extraction from Minerals. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20170001458
                                                                            6. Nakamura, T., & Smith, B. (2011, January). Solar thermal system for lunar ISRU applications: Development and field operation at Mauna Kea, HI. In 49th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition (p. 433).

                                                                            Scope Title:

                                                                            Novel Oxygen Extraction Concepts

                                                                            Scope Description:

                                                                            Lunar regolith is approximately 45% oxygen by mass. The majority of the oxygen is bound in silicate minerals. Previous efforts have shown that it is possible to extract oxygen from silicates using various techniques. The target production rates are 1,000 kg of O2 per year for a lunar pilot plant, and 10,000 kg of Oper year for a lunar full-scale plant. Each of the following specific areas of technology interest may be proposed as individual efforts to support existing oxygen extraction development projects.

                                                                            • Contaminant Removal: Proposed concepts should be capable of removing 0.36 g of HCl, 0.68 g of HF, and 0.1 g of H2S per kg of processed regolith from a mixed gas stream of CO, CO2, and H2 in a way that minimizes the use of consumables. Phase I efforts should provide an estimated mass/power as a function of contaminant quantities. Phase II efforts should demonstrate the technology using actual gases.
                                                                            • Regolith Inlet/Outlet Valves: Proposed concepts should be capable of passing abrasive granular material through the valve for at least 1,000 cycles and should be actuated with a type of motor that has flight heritage (e.g., brushless direct current (BLDC) motors or stepper motors). Phase I efforts should provide an estimated mass and power for the concept through analysis and/or demonstration. Phase II efforts should demonstrate the technology using lunar regolith simulant and collect data to predict leak rates for up to 10,000 cycles.
                                                                            • Contamination-Tolerant Vacuum Pump: Some in situ resource utilization (ISRU) processes may require a pressurized volume to be evacuated in order to prevent the loss of products and consumables to the vacuum of space when regolith either enters or exits the volume. The pump may be exposed to corrosive substances such as HCl, HF, and H2S. Proposed concepts should be capable of evacuating a volume of 50 L with an initial pressure of 5 psia down to a pressure of <5 torr at the pump inlet in <2 min while compressing the gases to 1 atm at the pump outlet. Phase I efforts should provide an estimated mass, power, and life for the concept. Phase II efforts should demonstrate the technology using actual gases.

                                                                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 5 
                                                                            Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                            Level 1: TX 07 Exploration Destination Systems 
                                                                            Level 2: TX 07.1 In-Situ Resource Utilization 
                                                                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                            • Research
                                                                            • Analysis
                                                                            • Prototype
                                                                            • Hardware

                                                                            Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                            See Scope Description for definitions of Phase I and II deliverables for each technology.

                                                                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                            The carbothermal reduction process was demonstrated at a relevant scale using an automated reactor in 2010. Multiple efforts are underway to bring carbothermal reduction technology to TRL6. Other techniques that use ionic liquids, molten salts, and molten regolith electrolysis have been demonstrated at the bench scale, but current designs lack a means to move regolith in and out of the oxygen extraction zone. Many of these processes are used terrestrially, but industrial designs do not provide a means to keep gases from escaping to the vacuum of space.

                                                                            Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                            The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has identified the need for oxygen extraction from regolith. The alternative path, oxygen from lunar water, currently has much more visibility. However, we currently do not know enough about the concentration and accessibility of lunar water to begin mining it at a useful scale. A lunar water prospecting mission is required to properly assess the utilization potential of water on the lunar surface. Until water prospecting data becomes available, NASA recognizes the need to make progress on the technology needed to extract oxygen from dry lunar regolith. 

                                                                            References:

                                                                            1. Fox, E. T. (2019). Ionic Liquid and In Situ Resource Utilization. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20190027398
                                                                            2. Gustafson, R. J., White, B. C., & Fidler, M. J. (2009). Oxygen production via carbothermal reduction of lunar regolith. SAE International Journal of Aerospace4(2009-01-2442), 311-316.
                                                                            3. Gustafson, R. J., White, B. C., Fidler, M. J., & Muscatello, A. C. (2010). The 2010 Field Demonstration of the Solar Carbothermal Reduction of Regolith to Produce Oxygen. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20110005526
                                                                            4. Gustafson, R., White, B., & Fidler, M. (2011, January). 2010 field demonstration of the solar carbothermal regolith reduction process to produce oxygen. In 49th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition (p. 434).
                                                                            5. Muscatello, A., & Gustafson, R. B. (2010). The 2010 Field Demonstration of the Solar Carbothermal Reduction of Regolith to Produce Oxygen. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20110006938
                                                                            6. Muscatello, T. (2017). Oxygen Extraction from Minerals. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20170001458
                                                                            7. Paley, M. S., Karr, L. J., & Curreri, P. (2009). Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith using Ionic Liquids. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20090017882
                                                                            8. Sibille, L., Sadoway, D. R., Sirk, A., Tripathy, P., Melendez, O., Standish, E., ... & Poizeau, S. (2009). Production of Oxygen from Lunar Regolith using Molten Oxide Electrolysis. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20090018064

                                                                            Scope Title:

                                                                            Lunar Ice Mining

                                                                            Scope Description:

                                                                            We now know that water ice exists on the poles of the Moon from data obtained from missions like the Lunar Prospector, Chandrayaan-1, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). We know that water is present in permanently shadowed regions (PSRs), where temperatures are low enough to keep water in a solid form despite the lack of atmospheric pressure. One challenge with extracting the water is that desorption and sublimation can occur at temperatures as low as 150 K. The inverse challenge exists with water collection. Unless the water vapor is under pressure, extremely cold temperatures will be necessary to capture it. NASA is seeking methods to acquire lunar water ice from PSRs. Proposals must describe a method for extracting and/or collecting lunar water ice that exists at temperatures between 40 and 100 K and 10-9 torr vacuum.

                                                                            • Phase I demonstrations can be at any scale, but eventually the technology must be able to demonstrate an average rate of 2.78 kg H2O/hr (15 metric tons of water in 225 days).
                                                                            • Phase II demonstrations can be subscale, but must define the number of subscale units necessary to achieve an average extraction rate of 2.78 kg H2O/hr.
                                                                            • Proposals should state expected energy requirements (both electrical and thermal).
                                                                            • Proposers should assume a mobile platform is considered to be available, but should not be necessary for technology demonstration.
                                                                            • Proposers should state their assumptions about water ice concentration.
                                                                            • Proposals should describe a tolerance for a trace amount of organics or volatiles that may accumulate on collection surfaces.
                                                                            • Proposers should estimate Wh/kg H20 for concepts and/or provide a plan to determine that value as part of the effort.
                                                                            • Proposers should address the ability of a concept to be able to operate for at least 1 year, with a goal of 5 years without substantial maintenance.

                                                                            Estimates for mass and volume of the final expected hardware should be specified.

                                                                            In addition, each of the following specific areas of technology interest may be proposed to support existing efforts related to lunar ice mining.

                                                                            • Regolith/Ice Excavation: Proposed concepts should be able to excavate frozen regolith simulant with a water ice content of at least 5% by mass while minimizing a temperature increase in the excavated material. Phase I efforts should provide an estimated mass/power for the excavation concept as well as an estimate for any temperature increase in the frozen regolith caused by the excavation technique. Phase II efforts should demonstrate the technique with lunar simulant at a target production rate of 0.28 kg H20/hr and collect data to predict the estimated wear over time.
                                                                            • Regolith/Ice Crushing: Proposed concepts should be able to crush frozen regolith simulant with a water ice content of at least 5% by mass while minimizing a temperature increase in the excavated material. Phase I efforts should provide an estimated mass/power for the crusher concept as well as an estimate for any temperature increase in the frozen regolith caused by the crushing technique. Phase II efforts should demonstrate the technique with lunar simulant mixed with ice having an initial unconfined compressive strength of 10 MPa at a target production rate of 0.28 kg H20/hr and collect data to predict the estimated wear over time. 
                                                                            • Subsurface Volatile Extraction: Proposed concepts should be able to release volatiles at a depth of 50 cm below the surface with a water ice content of at least 5% by mass. Phase I efforts should provide an estimated mass/power for the concept. Phase II efforts should demonstrate the technique with lunar simulant at a target production rate of 0.28 kg H20/hr and collect data to predict the estimated wear over time if applicable.

                                                                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 5 
                                                                            Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                            Level 1: TX 07 Exploration Destination Systems 
                                                                            Level 2: TX 07.1 In-Situ Resource Utilization 
                                                                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                            • Prototype
                                                                            • Analysis
                                                                            • Hardware

                                                                            Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                            See Scope Description for definitions of Phase I and II deliverables for each technology.

                                                                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                            Scoops and bucket-wheel excavators have been demonstrated for the collection of unconsolidated material but may not be effective at excavating consolidated regolith-ice composites. The Planetary Volatiles Extractor (PVEx) developed by Honeybee Robotics is the state of the art for heated core drills, but life testing is required to determine the rate of wear due to repeated excavation. Multiple groups have investigated the use of thermal mining methods to separate water from regolith, but the depth of water removed is relatively shallow. Very little work has been performed on the ability to capture water in a lunar environment after it has been released from the surface.

                                                                            Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                            The current NASA Administrator has referenced water ice as one of the reasons we have chosen the lunar poles as the location to establish a sustained human presence. STMD has identified the need for water extraction technologies. The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is currently funding the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission to investigate lunar water ice. 

                                                                            References:

                                                                            1. Colaprete, A., Schultz, P., Heldmann, J., Wooden, D., Shirley, M., Ennico, K., & Goldstein, D. (2010). Detection of water in the LCROSS ejecta plume. Science330(6003), 463-468.
                                                                            2. Hibbitts, C. A., Grieves, G. A., Poston, M. J., Dyar, M. D., Alexandrov, A. B., Johnson, M. A., & Orlando, T. M. (2011). Thermal stability of water and hydroxyl on the surface of the Moon from temperature-programmed desorption measurements of lunar analog materials. Icarus213(1), 64-72.
                                                                            3. Poston, M. J., Grieves, G. A., Aleksandrov, A. B., Hibbitts, C. A., Darby Dyar, M., & Orlando, T. M. (2013). Water interactions with micronized lunar surrogates JSC‐1A and albite under ultra‐high vacuum with application to lunar observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets118(1), 105-115.
                                                                            4. Andreas, E. L. (2007). New estimates for the sublimation rate for ice on the Moon. Icarus186(1), 24-30.

                                                                             

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                                                                        • Lead MD: SMD

                                                                          Participating MD(s): STTR

                                                                          NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) (https://science.nasa.gov/) encompasses research in the areas of Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics and Planetary Science. The National Academy of Science has provided NASA with recently updated Decadal surveys that are useful to identify technologies that are of interest to the above science divisions. Those documents are available at https://sites.nationalacademies.org/SSB/SSB_052297

                                                                          A major objective of SMD instrument development programs is to implement science measurement capabilities with smaller or more affordable aerospace platforms so development programs can meet multiple mission needs and therefore make the best use of limited resources. The rapid development of small, low-cost remote sensing and in-situ instruments capable of making measurements across the electromagnetic spectrum is essential to achieving this objective. For Earth Science needs, in particular, the subtopics reflect a focus on instrument development for airborne and uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms. Astrophysics has a critical need for sensitive detector arrays with imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetric capabilities, which can be demonstrated on ground, airborne, balloon, or suborbital rocket instruments. Heliophysics, which focuses on measurements of the sun and its interaction with the Earth and the other planets in the solar system, needs a significant reduction in the size, mass, power, and cost for instruments to fly on smaller spacecraft. Planetary Science has a critical need for miniaturized instruments with in-situ sensors that can be deployed on surface landers, rovers, and airborne platforms. For the 2021 program year, we are continuing to update the Sensors, Detectors and Instruments Topic, adding new, rotating out, and retiring some of the subtopics. Please read each subtopic of interest carefully. We continue to emphasize Ocean Worlds and solicit development of in-situ instrument technologies and components to advance the maturity of science instruments focused on the detection of evidence of life, especially extant of life, in the Ocean Worlds. The microwave technologies continue as two subtopics, one focused on active microwave remote sensing and the second on passive systems such as radiometers and microwave spectrometers. NASA has additional interest in advancing quantum sensing technologies to enable wholly new quantum sensing and measurement techniques focused on the development and maturation towards space application and qualification of atomic systems that leverage their quantum properties.  Furthermore, photonic integrated circuit technology is sought to enable size, weight, power, and cost reductions, as well as improved performance of science instruments, subsystems, and components which is particularly critical for enabling use of affordable small spacecraft platforms.

                                                                          A key objective of this SBIR topic is to develop and demonstrate instrument component and subsystem technologies that reduce the risk, cost, size, and development time of SMD observing instruments and to enable new measurements. Proposals are sought for development of components, subsystems and systems that can be used in planned missions or a current technology program. Research should be conducted to demonstrate feasibility during Phase I and show a path towards a Phase II prototype demonstration. The following subtopics are concomitant with these objectives and are organized by technology.

                                                                          • S1.01Lidar Remote-Sensing Technologies

                                                                              Lead Center: LaRC

                                                                              Participating Center(s): GSFC

                                                                              Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                              Scope Title: Lidar Remote-Sensing Technologies Scope Description: NASA recognizes the potential of lidar technology to meet many of its science objectives by providing new capabilities or offering enhancements over current measurements of atmospheric, geophysical, and topographic parameters from… Read more>>

                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                              Lidar Remote-Sensing Technologies

                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                              NASA recognizes the potential of lidar technology to meet many of its science objectives by providing new capabilities or offering enhancements over current measurements of atmospheric, geophysical, and topographic parameters from ground, airborne, and space-based platforms. To meet NASA’s requirements for remote sensing from space, advances are needed in state-of-the-art lidar technology with an emphasis on compactness, efficiency, reliability, lifetime, and high performance. Innovative lidar subsystem and component technologies that directly address the measurement of atmospheric constituents and surface features of the Earth, Mars, the Moon, and other planetary bodies will be considered under this subtopic. Compact, high-efficiency lidar instruments for deployment on unconventional platforms, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, SmallSats, and CubeSats are also considered and encouraged.  Proposals must show relevance to the development of lidar instruments that can be used for NASA science-focused measurements or to support current technology programs. Meeting science needs leads to four primary instrument types:

                                                                              • Backscatter: Measures beam reflection from aerosols and clouds to retrieve the optical and microphysical properties of suspended particulates.  
                                                                              • Laser spectral absorption: Measures laser absorption by trace gases from atmospheric or surface backscatter and volatiles on surfaces of airless planetary bodies at multiple laser wavelengths to retrieve concentration of gas within measurement volume.
                                                                              • Ranging: Measures the return beam’s time of flight to retrieve distance.
                                                                              • Doppler: Measures wavelength changes in the return beam to retrieve relative velocity

                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6
                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                              Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                              • Hardware
                                                                              • Software

                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                              Phase I research should demonstrate technical feasibility and show a path toward a Phase II prototype unit.  A typical Phase I deliverable could be a technical report demonstrating the feasibility of the technology and a design that is to be built under a Phase II program.  In some instances where a small subsystem is under investigation, a prototype deliverable under the Phase I is acceptable.

                                                                              Phase II prototypes should be capable of laboratory demonstration and preferably suitable for operation in the field from a ground-based station, an aircraft platform, or any science platform amply defended by the proposer.  Higher fidelity Phase II prototypes that are fielded in harsh environments such as aircraft often require follow on programs such as Phase III SBIR to evaluate and optimize performance in relevant environment.

                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                              • Compact, efficient, and rugged narrow-linewidth continuous-wave and pulsed lasers operating between ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths suitable for lidar. Specific wavelengths are of interest to match absorption lines or atmospheric transmission: 290 to 320 nm (ozone absorption), 450 to 490 nm (ocean sensing), 532 nm, 817 nm (water vapor line), 935 nm (water vapor line), 1064 nm, 1550 nm (Doppler wind), 1645 to 1650 nm (methane line), and 3000 to 4000 nm (hydrocarbon lines and ice measurement).   Architectures involving new developments in high-efficiency diode laser, quantum cascade laser, and fiber laser technologies are especially encouraged. For pulsed lasers two different regimes of repetition rate and pulse energies are desired: from 1 to 10 kHz with pulse energy greater than 1 mJ and from 20 to 100 Hz with pulse energy greater than 100 mJ. For laser spectral spectral absorption applications such as Differential Absorption Lidar or Integrated Path Absorption Lidar a frequency-agile source is required to tune >100 pm on a shot-by-shot basis while maintaining high spectral purity of >1000:1. Laser sources of wavelength at or around 780 nm are not sought this year.  Also, laser sources of wavelength at or near 2050 nm are not sought this year.  Laser sources for lidar measurements of carbon dioxide are not sought this year.  
                                                                              • Novel approaches and components for lidar receivers such as: integrated optical/photonic circuitry, frequency-agile ultra-narrow-band solar blocking filters at 817 and/or 935 nm, and phased-array or electro-optical beam scanners for large ( >10 cm) apertures.  Development of telescopes should be submitted to a different subtopic within S2 “Advanced Telescope Technologies,” unless the design is specifically a lidar component, such as a telescope integrated with other optics.  Infrared photodetectors involving new semiconductor materials/architectures should be submitted to a different subtopic, S1.04 “Sensor and Detector Technologies for Visible, IR, Far-IR, and Submillimeter,” unless the design is specifically a lidar component, such as a photodetector combined with electronics or optics for lidar application that match wavelength ranges listed for lasers in the above bullet.  Receivers for direct-detection wind lidar are not sought this year.
                                                                              • New 3D mapping and hazard detection lidar with compact and high-efficiency diode and fiber lasers to measure range and surface reflectance of planets or asteroids from >100 km altitude during mapping to <1 m during landing or sample collection, within size, weight, and power fit into a 4U CubeSat or smaller. New lidar technologies are sought that allow system reconfiguration in orbit, single photon sensitivities and single beam for long distance measurement, and variable dynamic range and multiple beams for near-range measurements.
                                                                              • Transformative technologies and architectures are sought to vastly reduce the cost, size, and complexity of lidar instruments. Advances are needed in generation of high-efficiency and high-pulse energy (>>1 mJ) from compact (SmallSat to CubeSat size) packages, avoiding the long cavity lengths associated with current solid-state laser transmitter designs. Mass-producible laser designs, perhaps by a hybrid diode/fiber/crystal architecture, are desirable for affordable sensor solutions and reducing parts count. Heat removal from lasers is a persistent problem, requiring new technologies for thermal management of laser transmitters. New materials concepts could be of interest for the reduction of weight for optical benches and subcomponents. Novel low-SWaP (size, weight, and power) electrical systems are of interest for data acquisition from multipixel linear mode photon detector arrays in future multichannel lidar receivers, capable of fast waveform capturing, onboard signal processing, and data compression.

                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                              The proposed subtopic addresses missions, programs, and projects identified by the Science Mission Directorate, including:

                                                                              • Atmospheric Water Vapor—Profiling of tropospheric water vapor supports studies in weather and dynamics, radiation budget, clouds, and aerosols processes.
                                                                              • Aerosols—Profiling of atmospheric aerosols and how aerosols relate to clouds and precipitation. 
                                                                              • Atmospheric Winds—Profiling of wind fields to support studies in weather and atmospheric dynamics on Earth and atmospheric structure of planets.
                                                                              • Topography—Altimetry to support studies of vegetation and the cryosphere of Earth, as well as the surface of planets and solar system bodies.
                                                                              • Greenhouse Gases—Column measurements of atmospheric gases, such as methane, that affect climate variability.
                                                                              • Hydrocarbons—Measurements of planetary atmospheres.
                                                                              • Gases Related to Air Quality—Sensing of tropospheric ozone, nitrogen dioxide, or formaldehyde to support NASA projects in atmospheric chemistry and health effects.
                                                                              • Automated Landing, Hazard Avoidance, and Docking—Technologies to aid spacecraft and lander maneuvering and safe operations.

                                                                              References:

                                                                               

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                                                                            • S1.02Technologies for Active Microwave Remote Sensing

                                                                                Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                Participating Center(s): GSFC

                                                                                Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                Scope Title: High-Efficiency Solid-State Power Amplifiers Scope Description: This subtopic supports technologies to aid NASA in its active microwave sensing missions. Specifically, we are seeking L- and/or S-band solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs) to achieve a power-added efficiency (PAE) of… Read more>>

                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                High-Efficiency Solid-State Power Amplifiers

                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                This subtopic supports technologies to aid NASA in its active microwave sensing missions. Specifically, we are seeking L- and/or S-band solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs) to achieve a power-added efficiency (PAE) of >50% for 1 kW peak transmit power, through the use of efficient multidevice power combining techniques or other efficiency improvements. There is also a need for high-efficiency ultra-high-frequency (335 to 535 MHz) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifiers, with saturated output power greater than 20 W, high efficiency of >70%, and gain flatness of 1 dB over the band.

                                                                                Solid-state amplifiers that meet high efficiency (>50% PAE) requirements and have small form factors would be suitable for SmallSats, support single satellite missions (such as RainCube), and enable future swarm techniques. No such devices at these high frequencies, high powers, and efficiencies are currently available. We expect a power amplifier with TRL 2 to 4 at the completion of the project.

                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors 
                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                • Research
                                                                                • Analysis
                                                                                • Prototype
                                                                                • Hardware

                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                Phase I: Provide research and analysis to advance scope concept as a final report.

                                                                                Phase II: Design and simulation of 1-kW S-/L-band amplifiers with >50% PAE, with prototype.

                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                Surface Deformation and Change is strongly desired for Earth remote sensing, for land use, natural hazards, and disaster response. NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) is a Flagship-class mission, but only able to revisit locations on ~weekly basis, whereas future constellation concepts, using SmallSats would decrease revisit time to less than 1 day, which is game changing for studying earthquake precursors and postrelaxation. For natural hazards and disaster response, faster revisit times are critical.  MMIC devices with high saturated output power in the few to several watts range and with high PAE (>50%) are desired.

                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                Surface Deformation and Change science is a continuing Decadal Survey topic, and follow-ons to the science desired for NISAR mission are already in planning. Cloud, water, and precipitation measurements increase capability of measurements to smaller particles and enable much more compact instruments.

                                                                                References:

                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                Deployable Antenna Technologies

                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                Low-frequency deployable antennas for Earth and planetary radar sounders: antennas capable of being hosted by SmallSat/CubeSat platforms are required for missions to icy worlds, large/small body interiors (i.e., comets, asteroids), and for Earth at center frequencies from 5 to 100 MHz, with fractional bandwidths >=10%. Dual-frequency solutions or even tri-frequency solutions are desired; for example, an approximately 5- to 6-MHz band, with an approximately 85- to 95-MHz band. Designs need to be temperature tolerant; that is, not changing performance parameters drastically over flight temperature ranges of ~100 °C.

                                                                                High-frequency (V-band) deployable antennas for SmallSats and CubeSats: Small format, deployable antennas are desired (for 65 to 70 GHz) with an aperture size of ~1 m2 that when stowed, fit into form factors suitable for SmallSats—with a desire for similar on the more-challenging CubeSat format. Concepts that remove, reduce, or control creases/seams in the resulting surface, on the order of a fraction of a wavelength at 70 GHz are highly desired.  

                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors 
                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                • Research
                                                                                • Analysis
                                                                                • Prototype

                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                For both antenna types (low and high frequency) a paper design is desired for Phase I, and a prototype for Phase II. Concepts and prototypes for targeted advances in deployment technologies are welcome and do not need to address every need for mission-ready hardware.

                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                Low-frequency antennas, per physics, are large, and so are deployable, even for large spacecraft. For Small/CubeSats the challenges are to get enough of an antenna aperture with the proper length to achieve relatively high bandwidths. No such 10% fractional antenna exists for the Small/CubeSat form factors. 

                                                                                High-frequency antennas can often be hosted without deployment, but a ~1-m2-diameter antenna on a Small/CubeSat is required to be deployable. Specific challenge for high-frequency deployable antennas is to deploy the aperture with enough accuracy such that the imperfections (i.e., residual folds, support ribs, etc.) are flat enough for antenna performance.

                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                Low-frequency-band antennas are of great interest to subsurface studies, such as those completed by MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) and SHARAD (Shallow Radar) for Mars, and planned for Europa by the REASON (Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surface) on the Europa Clipper. Studies of the subsurfaces of other icy worlds is of great interest to planetary science, as is tomography of small bodies such as comets and asteroids. Because of the impact of the ionosphere, low-frequency sounding of Earth is very challenging from space, but there is great interest in solutions to make this a reality. Lastly, such low-frequency bands are also of interest to radio-astronomy, such as that being done for OLFAR, https://research.utwente.nl/files/5412596/OLFAR.pdf

                                                                                V-band deployable antennas are mission enabling for pressure sounding from space.

                                                                                References:

                                                                                For low-frequency deployables, see similar missions (on much larger platforms):

                                                                                For high-frequency deployable, see similar, but lower frequency mission:

                                                                                 

                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                Steerable Aperture Technologies

                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                Technologies enabling low-mass steerable technologies, especially for L or S bands—including, but not limited to—antenna or radio-frequency (RF) electronics, enabling steering: cross track +/-7° and along track +/-15°. This would enable a complete antenna system with a mass density of 10 kg/m2 (or less) with a minimum aperture of 12 m2.

                                                                                Examples of different electronics solutions include completely integrated TR (transmit/receive) modules, with all control features for steering included; or alternatively, an ultra-compact TR module controller, which can control N modules, thus allowing reduction in size and complexity of the TR modules themselves. 

                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors 
                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                • Research
                                                                                • Analysis
                                                                                • Prototype

                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                Phase I: A paper study with analysis.

                                                                                Phase II: Prototype of subcomponent.

                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                No technology currently exists for such low mass density for steerable arrays.

                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                Surface Deformation and Change science is a key Earth Science Decadal Survey topic. 

                                                                                References:

                                                                                NISAR follow-on and Surface Deformation: 

                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                Low-Power W-Band Transceiver

                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                Require a low-power compact W-band (monolithic integrated circuit or application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) preferred) transceiver with up/down converters with excellent cancellers to use the same antenna for transmit and receive. Application is in space landing radar altimetry and velocimetry. Wide-temperature-tolerant technologies are encouraged to reduce thermal control mass, either through designs insensitive to temperature changes or active compensation through feedback. Electronics must be tolerant to a high-radiation environment through design (rather than excessive shielding). In the early phases of this work, radiation tolerance must be considered in the semiconductor/materials choices, but it is not necessary to demonstrate radiation tolerance until later. For ocean worlds around Jupiter, bounding (worse case) radiation rates are expected to be at less than 50 rad(Si)/sec—with minimal shielding—during the period of performance (landing or altimeter flyby), but overall total dose is expected to be in the hundreds of krad total ionizing dose (TID). Most cases will be less extreme in radiation.

                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                Level 2: TX 08.X Other Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                • Research
                                                                                • Analysis
                                                                                • Prototype

                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                Phase I: Paper study/design.

                                                                                Phase II: Prototype.

                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                Low-power-consumption transceivers for W-band are critical for studies of atmospheric science, pressure sounding, and atmospheric composition for both Earth and planetary science. Such transceivers currently do not exist.

                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                References:

                                                                                Missions for atmospheric science and altimetry applications:

                                                                                 

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                                                                              • S1.03Technologies for Passive Microwave Remote Sensing

                                                                                  Lead Center: GSFC

                                                                                  Participating Center(s): JPL

                                                                                  Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                  Scope Title: Components or Methods to Improve the Sensitivity, Calibration, or Resolution of Microwave/Millimeter-Wave Radiometers Scope Description: NASA requires novel solutions to challenges of developing stable, sensitive, and high-resolution radiometers and spectrometers operating from… Read more>>

                                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                                  Components or Methods to Improve the Sensitivity, Calibration, or Resolution of Microwave/Millimeter-Wave Radiometers

                                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                                  NASA requires novel solutions to challenges of developing stable, sensitive, and high-resolution radiometers and spectrometers operating from microwave frequencies to 1 THz. Novel technologies are requested to address challenges in the current state of the art of passive microwave remote sensing. Technologies could improve the sensitivity, calibration, or resolution of remote-sensing systems or reduce the size, weight, and power (SWaP). Companies are invited to provide unique solutions to problems in this area. Possible technologies could include:

                                                                                  • Low-noise receivers at frequencies up to 1 THz.
                                                                                  • Solutions to reduce system 1/f noise over time periods greater than 1 sec.
                                                                                  • Internal calibration systems or methods to improve calibration repeatability over time periods greater than days or weeks.

                                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 4
                                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                  Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                  Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                  • Prototype
                                                                                  • Research
                                                                                  • Analysis
                                                                                  • Software

                                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                  Research, analysis, software, or hardware prototyping of novel components or methods to improve the performance of passive microwave remote sensing. 

                                                                                  • Depending on the complexity of the proposed work, Phase I deliverables may include a prototype system or a study.
                                                                                  • Phase II deliverables should include a prototype component or system with test data verifying functionality.

                                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                  Depending on frequency, current passive microwave remote-sensing instrumentation is limited in sensitivity (as through system noise, 1/f noise, or calibration uncertainty), resolution, or in SWaP. Critical gaps depend on specific frequency and application.

                                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                  Critical need: Creative solutions to improve the performance of future Earth-observing, planetary, and astrophysics missions. The wide range of frequencies in this scope are used for numerous science measurements such as Earth science temperature profiling, ice cloud remote sensing, and planetary molecular species detection.

                                                                                  References:

                                                                                  • Ulaby, Fawwaz; and Long, David: Microwave radar and radiometric remote sensing, Artech House, 2015.

                                                                                   

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                                  Photonic Systems for Microwave Remote Sensing

                                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                                  Photonic systems are an emerging technology for passive microwave remote sensing. This topic solicits photonic systems and subsystems to process microwave signals for passive remote sensing applications. Example applications include spectrometers, beam-forming arrays, correlation arrays, oscillators, noise sources, and other active or passive microwave instruments. Proposals should compare predicted performance and size, weight, and power (SWaP) to conventional radio frequency and digital processing methods. Proposers for specific Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) technology should instead see related STTR subtopic T8.02.

                                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5
                                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                  Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                  Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                  • Research
                                                                                  • Analysis
                                                                                  • Prototype
                                                                                  • Hardware

                                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                  Photonic systems to enable increased capability in passive microwave remote sensing instruments. This is a low-TRL emerging technology, so offerors are encouraged to identify and propose designs where photonic technology would be most beneficial.

                                                                                  • Depending on the complexity of the proposed work, Phase I deliverables may include a prototype system or a study.
                                                                                  • Phase II deliverables should include a prototype component or system with test data verifying functionality.

                                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                  The state of the art is currently the use of conventional microwave electronics for frequency conversion and filtering. Photonic systems for microwave remote sensing are an emerging technology not used in current NASA microwave missions, but they may enable significant increases in bandwidth or reduction in SWaP.

                                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                  Photonic systems may enable significantly increased bandwidth of Earth viewing, astrophysics, and planetary science missions. In particular, this may allow for increased bandwidth or resolution receivers, with applications such as hyperspectral radiometry.

                                                                                  References:

                                                                                  • Chovan, Jozef; and Uherek, Frantisek: "Photonic Integrated Circuits for Communication Systems," Radioengineering, vol. 27, issue 2, pp. 357-363, June 2018.
                                                                                  • Ulaby, Fawwaz; and Long, David: Microwave radar and radiometric remote sensing, Artech House, 2015.

                                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                                  Spectrometer Processing Technology for Microwave Radiometers

                                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                                  Microwave spectrometry is used for characterizing radiances over absorption spectra and for mitigating radio-frequency interference (RFI). NASA requires technology for low-power, rad-tolerant broad-band microwave spectrometers. Possible Implementations could include:

                                                                                  • Digitizers starting at 20 Gsps, 20 GHz bandwidth, 4 or more bit. and simple interface to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA).
                                                                                  • Application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) implementations of polyphase spectrometer digital signal processing with ~1 W/GHz; 10 GHz bandwidth polarimetric-spectrometer with 1,024 channels; Radiation-hardened and minimized power dissipation.
                                                                                  • Analog or photonic spectrum processors with size, weight, and power (SWaP) or performance advantages over digital technology.

                                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5
                                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                  Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                  Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                  • Analysis
                                                                                  • Prototype
                                                                                  • Hardware

                                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                  The desired deliverable of this Subtopic Scope is a low-power spectrometer for application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) or other component that can be incorporated into multiple NASA radiometers. 

                                                                                  • Depending on the complexity of the proposed work, Phase I deliverables may include a prototype system or a study.
                                                                                  • Phase II deliverables should include a prototype component or system with test data verifying functionality.

                                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                  Current FPGA-based spectrometers require ~10 W/GHz and are not flight qualifiable. High-speed digitizers exist but have poorly designed output interfaces. Specifically designed ASICs could reduce this power by a factor of 10, but pose challenges in design and radiation tolerance. A low-power solution could be used in a wide range of NASA remote-sensing applications.

                                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                  Broadband spectrometers are required for Earth-observing, planetary, and astrophysics missions. Improved digital spectrometer capability is directly applicable to planetary science and enables radio-frequency interference (RFI) mitigation for Earth science.

                                                                                  References:

                                                                                  • Johnson, Joel T., et al.: "Real-Time Detection and Filtering of Radio Frequency Interference Onboard a Spaceborne Microwave Radiometer: The CubeRRT Mission," IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 13, pp. 1610-1624, 2020.
                                                                                  • Le Vine, David M.: "RFI and Remote Sensing of the Earth from Space," Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation 8.01 (2019), https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20170003103

                                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                                  Deployable Antenna Apertures at Frequencies up to Millimeter-Wave

                                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                                  Deployable antenna apertures are required for a wide range of NASA passive remote-sensing applications from SmallSat platforms. Current deployable antenna technology is extremely limited above Ka-band. NASA requires low-loss deployable antenna apertures at frequencies up to 200 GHz. Deployed aperture diameters of 0.5 m or larger are desired, but proposers are invited to propose concepts for smaller apertures at higher frequencies.

                                                                                  NASA also requires low-loss broad-band deployable or compact antenna feeds with bandwidths of two octaves. Frequencies of interest start at 500 MHz. Loss should be as low as possible (less than 1%). The possibility of active thermal control is desired to improve system calibration stability.

                                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5
                                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                  Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                  Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                  • Analysis
                                                                                  • Prototype
                                                                                  • Hardware

                                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                  Phase I deliverables should consist of analysis and potential prototyping of key enabling technologies.

                                                                                  Phase II deliverables should include a deployable antenna prototype.

                                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                  Current low-loss deployable antennas are limited to Ka-band. Deployable apertures at higher frequencies are required for a wide range of applications, as aperture size is currently a instrument size, weight, and power (SWaP) driver for many applications up to 200 GHz.

                                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                  Antennas at these frequencies are used for a wide range of passive and active microwave remote sensing, including measurements of water vapor and temperature.

                                                                                  References:

                                                                                  • Passive remote sensing such as performed by the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI): https://gpm.nasa.gov/missions/GPM/GMI
                                                                                  • Chahat, N. et al.: "Advanced CubeSat Antennas for Deep Space and Earth Science Missions: A review," IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, vol. 61, no. 5, pp. 37-46, Oct. 2019, doi: 10.1109/MAP.2019.2932608.

                                                                                   

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                                                                                • S1.04Sensor and Detector Technologies for Visible, Infrared (IR), Far-IR, and Submillimeter

                                                                                    Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                    Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, LaRC

                                                                                    Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                    Scope Title: Sensor and Detector Technologies for Visible, Infrared (IR), Far-IR, and Submillimeter Scope Description: NASA is seeking new technologies or improvements to existing technologies to meet the detector needs of future missions, as described in the most recent decadal surveys: Earth… Read more>>

                                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                                    Sensor and Detector Technologies for Visible, Infrared (IR), Far-IR, and Submillimeter

                                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                                    NASA is seeking new technologies or improvements to existing technologies to meet the detector needs of future missions, as described in the most recent decadal surveys:

                                                                                    Please note:

                                                                                    1. Technologies for visible detectors are not being solicited this year.

                                                                                    2. Proposers should direct proposals to S1.01 for technologies that don’t address fundamental photodetection process improvements, (i.e., improvement in detection efficiency, excess noise, dark count rate, gain characteristics, afterpulsing, etc.), but instead focus on lidar-only solutions for detection and readout technologies not widely applicable to other fields.  Please see the S1.01 scope for further clarification on what is being solicited.   

                                                                                    LOW-POWER AND LOW-COST READOUT INTEGRATED ELECTRONICS

                                                                                    • Photodiode Arrays: In-pixel Digital Readout Integrated Circuit (DROIC) for high-dynamic-range IR imaging and spectral imaging (10 to 60 Hz operation) focal plane arrays to circumvent the limitations in charge well capacity, by using in-pixel digital counters that can provide orders-of-magnitude larger effective well depth, thereby affording longer integration times.
                                                                                    • Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector/Transition-Edge Sensor (MKID/TES) Detectors: A radiation-tolerant, digital readout system is needed for the readout of low-temperature detectors such as MKIDs or other detector types that use microwave-frequency-domain multiplexing techniques. Each readout channel of the system should be capable of generating a set of at least 1,500 carrier tones in a bandwidth of at least 1 GHz with 14-bit precision and 1-kHz frequency placement resolution. The returning-frequency multiplexed signals from the detector array will be digitized with at least 12-bit resolution. A channelizer will then perform a down-conversion at each carrier frequency with a configurable decimation factor and maximum individual subchannel bandwidth of at least 50 Hz. The power consumption of a system consisting of multiple readout channels should be at most 20 mW per subchannel or 30 W per 1-GHz readout channel. That requirement would most likely indicate the use of a radio-frequency (RF) system on a chip (SoC) or application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) with combined digitizer and channelizer functionality.
                                                                                    • Bolometric Arrays: Low-power, low-noise, cryogenic multiplexed readout for large format two-dimensional (2D) bolometer arrays with 1,000 or more pixels, operating at 65 to 350 mK. We require a superconducting readout capable of reading two TESs per pixel within a 1 mm2 spacing. The wafer-scale readout of interest will be capable of being indium-bump bonded directly to 2D arrays of membrane bolometers. We require row and column readout with very low crosstalk, low read noise \, and low detector noise-equivalent power degradation.
                                                                                    • Thermopile Detector Arrays: Mars Climate Sounder (MCS), the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment (DLRE), and the Polar Radiant Energy in the Far Infrared Experiment (PREFIRE) are NASA space-borne radiometers that utilize custom thermopile detector arrays. Next-generation radiometers will use larger format thermopile detector arrays, indium bump bonding to hybridize the detector arrays to the Readout Integrated Circuits (ROICs), low input-referred noise, and low power consumption. ROICs compatible with 128×64 element Bi-Sb-Te thermopile arrays with low 1/f noise, an operating temperature between 200 and 300 K, radiation hardness to 300 krad, and on-ROIC analog-to-digital converter (ADC) will be desirable.    

                                                                                    LIDAR DETECTORS

                                                                                    • Enhanced photon detection efficiency (PDE), low excess noise, low dark noise, radiation-tolerant detectors for space-based 1.064-µm cloud profiling lidar applications. Detector should operate at a noncryogenic temperature. Solutions could include patterned/black silicon and III-V materials, but should optimize for signal-to-noise ratio in the ~3.7 fW to 190 nW optical power range (~2×104 to 1×1012 photons/sec) at 1.064 µm. Architectures might include massively parallel, fast-photon counting arrays of diodes operated in Geiger mode, or avalanche photodiodes (APDs) operated in linear mode with higher PDE than existing silicon APDs (PDE > 40%), but with a comparable or lower excess noise factor (ENF < 3). Improved absorption of 1.064 µm than bulk silicon is desired for better radiation tolerance and lower noise. A timing resolution of 67 ns (~10 m) is desired for atmospheric profiling, but resolutions of 1 ns (~15 cm) or better would make this detector more widely applicable to hard target ranging in areas such as planetary surface mapping, and vegetation/canopy lidar.  Sensitivity of such a detector to the near-IR from 800 to 950 nm would also enable high-precision atmospheric profiling of key trace gases such as water vapor.

                                                                                    IR & Far-IR/SUBMILLIMETER-WAVE DETECTORS

                                                                                    • Novel Materials and Devices: New or improved technologies leading to measurement of trace atmospheric species (e.g., CO, CH4, N2O) or broadband energy balance in the IR and far-IR from geostationary and low-Earth orbital platforms. Of particular interest are new direct detector or heterodyne detector technologies made using high-temperature superconducting films (YBCO, MgB2) or engineered semiconductor materials, especially 2D electron gas (2DEG) and quantum wells (QW).
                                                                                    • Array ReceiversDevelopment of a robust wafer-level packaging/integration technology that will allow high-frequency-capable interconnects and allow two dissimilar substrates (i.e., silicon and GaAs) to be aligned and mechanically 'welded' together. Specially develop ball grid and/or through-silicon via (TSV) technology that can support submillimeter-wave (frequency above 300 GHz) arrays. Compact and efficient systems for array receiver calibration and control are also needed.
                                                                                    • Receiver Components: Local oscillators capable of spectral coverage 2 to 5 THz; Output power up to >2 mW; frequency agility with >1 GHz near chosen THz frequency; Continuous phase-locking ability over the terahertz-tunable range with <100-kHz line width. Both solid-state (low-parasitic Schottky diodes) as well as quantum cascade lasers (for f > 2 THz) will be needed. Components and devices such as mixers, isolators, and orthomode transducers, working in the terahertz range, that enable future heterodyne array receivers are also desired. GaN-based power amplifiers at frequencies above 100 GHz and with power-added efficiency (PAE) > 25% are also needed. ASIC-based SoC solutions are needed for heterodyne receiver backends. ASICs capable of binning >6 GHz intermediate frequency bandwidth into 0.1- to 0.5-MHz channels with low power dissipation <0.5 W would be needed for array receivers.

                                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
                                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                    Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                    Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                    • Analysis
                                                                                    • Prototype

                                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                    For Phase I activities the deliverables are nominally feasibility studies, detailed design, or determination of the trade space and detailed optimization of the design, as described in a final report. In some circumstances simple prototype models for the hardware can be demonstrated and tested. 

                                                                                    For Phase II studies a working prototype that can be tested at one of the NASA centers is highly desirable. 

                                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                    Efficient multipixel readout electronics are needed both for room-temperature operation as well as cryogenic temperatures. We can produce millions-of-pixel detector arrays at IR wavelengths up to about 14 µm, only because there are ROICs available on the market. Without these, high-density, large-format IR arrays such as quantum well infrared photodetectors, HgCdTe, and strained-layer superlattice would not exist. The Moore's Law corollary for pixel count describes the number of pixels for the digital camera industry as growing in an exponential manner over the past several decades, and the trend is continuing. The future of long-wave detectors is moving toward tens of thousands of pixels and beyond. Readout circuits capable of addressing their needs do not exist, and without them the astronomical community will not be able to keep up with the needs of the future. These technology needs must be addressed now, or we are at risk of being unable to meet the science requirements of the future.

                                                                                    • Commercially available ROICs typically have well depths of less than 10 million electrons.
                                                                                    • 6- to 9-bit, ROACH-2 board solutions with 2,000 bands, <10 kHz bandwidth in each are state of the art (SOA).
                                                                                    • IR detector systems are needed for Earth imaging based on the recently released Earth Decadal Survey.
                                                                                    • Direct detectors with D ~ 109 cm-rtHz/W achieved in this range. Technologies with new materials that take advantage of cooling to the 30 to 100 K range are capable of D ~ 1012 cm-rtHz/W. Broadband (>15%) heterodyne detectors that can provide sensitivities of 5× to 10× the quantum limit in the submillimeter-wave range while operating at 30 to 77 K are an improvement in the state of the art due to higher operating temperature.
                                                                                    • Detector array detection efficiency <20% at 532 nm (including fill factor and probability of detection) for low after pulsing, low dead time designs is SOA.
                                                                                    • Far-IR bolometric heterodyne detectors are limited to 3-dB gain bandwidth of around 3 GHz. Novel superconducting material such a MgB2 can provide significant enhancement of up to 9 GHz intermediate frequency (IF) bandwidth.
                                                                                    • Cryogenic Low Noise Amplifiers (LNAs) in the 4 to 8 GHz bandwidth with thermal stability are needed for focal plane arrays, Origins Space Telescope (OST) instruments, Origins Survey Spectrometers (OSS), MKIDs, far-IR imager and polarimeters (FIPs), Heterodyne Instrument on OST (HERO), and the Lynx Telescope. DC power dissipation should be only a few milliwatts.
                                                                                    • Another frequency range of interest for LNAs is 0.5 to 8.5 GHz. This is useful for HERO. Other NASA systems in the Space Geodesy Project (SGP) would be interested in bandwidths up to 2 to 14 GHz.
                                                                                    • 15 to 20 dB gain and <5 K noise over the 4 to 8 GHz bandwidth has been demonstrated.
                                                                                    • -Currently, all space-borne heterodyne receivers are single pixel. Novel architectures are needed for ~100 pixel arrays at 1.9 THz
                                                                                    • The current SOA readout circuit is capable of reading one TES per pixel in a 1-mm2 area. 2D arrays developed by NIST have been a boon for current NASA programs. However, NIST has declined to continue to produce 2D circuits or to develop one capable of two TES-per-pixel readout. This work is extremely important to NASA’s filled, kilopixel bolometer array program.
                                                                                    • 2D cryogenic readout circuits are analogous to semiconductor ROICs operating at much higher temperatures. We can produce millions-of-pixel detector arrays at IR wavelengths up to about 14 µm, only because there are ROICs available on the market. Without these, high-density, large-format IR arrays such as quantum well infrared photodiode, HgCdTe, and strained-layer superlattice would not exist.
                                                                                    • For lidar detectors, extended-wavelength InGaAs detector/preamplifier packages operating at 2- to 2.1-µm wavelengths with high quantum efficiency (>90%) operating up to about 1 GHz bandwidth are available, as are packages operating up to about 10 GHz with lower quantum efficiency.  Detectors that have >90% quantum efficiency over the full bandwidth from near DC to >5 GHz and capable of achieving near-shot-noise limited operation are not currently available.

                                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                    • Future short-, mid-, and long-wave IR Earth science and planetary science missions all require detectors that are sensitive and broadband with low power requirements.
                                                                                    • Future astrophysics instruments require cryogenic detectors that are supersensitive and broadband and provide imaging capability (multipixel).
                                                                                    • Aerosol spaceborne lidar as identified by 2017 decadal survey to reduce uncertainty about climate forcing in aerosol-cloud interactions and ocean ecosystem carbon dioxide uptake. Additional applications in planetary surface mapping, vegetation, and trace-gas lidar.
                                                                                    • Earth radiation budget measurement per 2007 decadal survey Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) Tier-1 designation to maintain the continuous radiation budget measurement for climate modeling and better understand radiative forcings.
                                                                                    • Astrophysical missions such as OST will need IR and far-IR detector and related technologies.
                                                                                    • LANDSAT Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS), Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO), BOReal Ecosystem Atmosphere Study (BOREAS), Methane Trace Gas Sounder, or other IR Earth-observing missions.
                                                                                    • Current science missions utilizing 2D, large-format cryogenic readout circuits:
                                                                                      (1) HAWC + (High Resolution Airborne Wideband Camera Upgrade) for SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) future missions:
                                                                                      • PIPER (Primordial Inflation Polarization Experiment), balloon-borne.
                                                                                      • PICO (Probe of Inflation and Cosmic Origins), a probe-class cosmic microwave background mission concept.
                                                                                    • Lidar detectors are needed for 3D wind measurements from space.

                                                                                    References:

                                                                                    • Meixner, M. et al., OST Science paper found at https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/firs/docs/ or  “Overview of the Origins Space telescope: science drivers to observatory requirements,” Proc. SPIE 10698 (2018).
                                                                                    • Leisawitz, D. et al.: OST mission concept manuscript found at https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/firs/docs/ or “The Origins Space telescope: mission concept overview,” Proc. SPIE 10698 (2018).
                                                                                    • Allan, L. N., East, N. J., Mooney, J.T., Sandin, C." “Materials for large far-IR telescope mirrors,” Proc. SPIE 10698, Paper 10698-58 (2018).
                                                                                    • Dipierro, M. et al.: Cryo-thermal Design and Technology manuscript found at https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/firs/docs/ or “The Origins Space telescope cryogenic-thermal architecture,” Proc. SPIE 10698, Paper 10698-44 (2018).
                                                                                    • Sakon, I., et al.: MISC Instrument description found at https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/firs/docs/ or “The mid-infrared imager/spectrometer/coronagraph instrument (MISC) for the Origins Space Telescope,” Proc. SPIE 10698, Paper 10698-42 (2018).
                                                                                    • Staguhn, J. G., et al.: FIP Instrument description found at https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/firs/docs/ or “Origins Space Telescope: the far infrared imager and polarimeter FIP,” Proc. SPIE 10698, Paper 10698-45 (2018).
                                                                                    • Risacher, C. et al.: “The upGREAT 1.9 THz multi-pixel high resolution spectrometer for the SOFIA Observatory,” A&A 595, A34 (2016).
                                                                                    • Goldsmith, P.: Sub--Millimeter Heterodyne Focal-Plane Arrays for High-Resolution Astronomical Spectroscopy,'' Goldsmith, P. 2017, The Radio Science Bulletin, 362, 53.
                                                                                    • "Performance of Backshort-Under-Grid Kilopixel TES arrays for HAWC+," DOI 10.1007/s10909-016-1509-9.
                                                                                    • Characterization of Kilopixel TES detector arrays for PIPER," Bibliographic link: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018AAS...23115219D
                                                                                    • A Time Domain SQUID Multiplexing System for Large Format TES Arrays": https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=31361
                                                                                    • Mellberg, A., et al.: “InP HEMT-Based,Cryogenic, Wideband LNAs for 4-8 GHz operating at very low DC Power,” https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1014467
                                                                                    • Montazeri, S. et al.: “A Sub-milliwatt 4-8 GHz SiGe Cryogenic Low Noise Amplifier," https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8058937
                                                                                    • Montazeri, S. et al.: “Ultra-Low-Power Cryogenic SiGe Low-Noise Amplifiers: Theory and Demonstration,” IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON MICROWAVE THEORY AND TECHNIQUES, VOL. 64, NO. 1, JANUARY 2016.
                                                                                    • Schleeh, J. et al.: “Ultralow-Power Cryogenic InP HEMT with Minimum Noise Temperature of 1 K at 6 GHz,” IEEE ELECTRON DEVICE LETTERS, VOL. 33, NO. 5, MAY 2012.

                                                                                     

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                                                                                  • S1.05Detector Technologies for Ultraviolet (UV), X-Ray, Gamma-Ray Instruments

                                                                                      Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                      Participating Center(s): GSFC, MSFC

                                                                                      Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                      Scope Title: Detectors Scope Description: This subtopic covers detector requirements for a broad range of wavelengths from UV through to gamma ray for applications in Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science. Requirements across the board are for greater numbers of readout… Read more>>

                                                                                      Scope Title:

                                                                                      Detectors

                                                                                      Scope Description:

                                                                                      This subtopic covers detector requirements for a broad range of wavelengths from UV through to gamma ray for applications in Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science. Requirements across the board are for greater numbers of readout pixels, lower power, faster readout rates, greater quantum efficiency, single photon counting, and enhanced energy resolution. The proposed efforts must be directly linked to a requirement for a NASA mission. These include Explorers, Discovery, Cosmic Origins, Physics of the Cosmos, Solar-Terrestrial Probes, Vision Missions, and Earth Science Decadal Survey missions. Proposals should reference current NASA missions and mission concepts where relevant. Specific technology areas are:

                                                                                      • Large-format, solid-state single-photon-counting radiation-tolerant detectors in charge-coupled device (CCD) or complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) architecture—including 3D stacked architecture—for astrophysics, planetary, and UV heliophysics missions.
                                                                                      • Solid-state detectors with polarization sensitivity relevant to astrophysics as well as planetary and Earth science applications, for example, in spectropolarimetry as well as air quality and aerosol monitoring.
                                                                                      • UV detectors for O3, NO2, SO2, H2S, and ash detection. Refer to National Research Council's Earth Science Decadal Survey (2018).
                                                                                      • Significant improvement in wide-band-gap semiconductor materials (such as AlGaN, ZnMgO, and SiC), individual detectors, and detector arrays for astrophysics missions and planetary science composition measurements. For example, SiC avalanche photodiodes (APDs) must show:
                                                                                        • Extreme-UV (EUV) photon counting, a linear mode gain >10×106 at a breakdown reverse voltage between 80 and 100 V;
                                                                                        • detection capability of better than 6 photons/pixel/s down to 135 nm wavelength.
                                                                                      • Solar-blind (visible-blind) UV, far-UV (80 to 200 nm), and EUV sensor technology with high pixel resolution, large format, high sensitivity and high dynamic range, and low voltage and power requirements—with or without photon counting.
                                                                                      • UV detectors suitable for upcoming ultra-high-energy cosmic ray (UHECR) mission concepts.
                                                                                      • Solar x-ray detectors with small independent pixels (10,000 count/s/pixel) over an energy range from <5 to 300 keV.
                                                                                      • Supporting technologies that would help enable the X-ray Surveyor mission that requires the development of x-ray microcalorimeter arrays with much larger field of view, ~105 to 106 pixels, of pitch ~25 to 100 µm, and ways to read out the signals. For example, modular superconducting magnetic shielding is sought that can be extended to enclose a full-scale focal plane array. All joints between segments of the shielding enclosure must also be superconducting. Improved long-wavelength blocking filters are needed for large-area, x-ray microcalorimeters.
                                                                                      • Filters with supporting grids are sought that, in addition to increasing filter strength, also enhance electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding (1 to 10 GHz) and thermal uniformity for decontamination heating. X-ray transmission of greater than 80% at 600 eV per filter is sought, with infrared transmissions less than 0.01% and ultraviolet transmission of less than 5% per filter. A means of producing filter diameters as large as 10 cm should be considered.
                                                                                      • Detectors with fast readout that can support high count rates and large incident flux from the EUV and x-rays for heliophysics applications, especially solar-flare measurements.

                                                                                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                      Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                      Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                      Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors 
                                                                                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                      • Research
                                                                                      • Analysis
                                                                                      • Prototype
                                                                                      • Hardware

                                                                                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                      Phase I deliverables: results of tests and analysis of designs, as described in a final report. 

                                                                                      Phase II deliverables: prototype hardware or hardware for further testing and evaluation is desired.

                                                                                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                      This subtopic aims to develop and advance detector technologies focused on UV, x-ray, and gamma ray spectral ranges. The science needs in this range span a number of fields, focusing on astrophysics, planetary science, and UV heliophysics. A number of solid-state detector technologies promise to surpass the traditional image-tube-based detectors. Silicon-based detectors leverage enormous investments and promise high-performance detectors, while more complex material such as gallium nitride and silicon carbide offer intrinsic solar blind response. This subtopic supports efforts to advance technologies that significantly improve the efficiency, dynamic range, noise, radiation tolerance, spectral selectivity, reliability, and manufacturability in detectors.

                                                                                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                      Missions under study: Large Ultraviolet Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR), Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx), Lynx, New Frontier-IO, Discovery-IVO

                                                                                      References:

                                                                                       

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                                                                                    • S1.06Particles and Fields Sensors and Instrument Enabling Technologies

                                                                                        Lead Center: GSFC

                                                                                        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

                                                                                        Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                        Scope Title: Particles and Fields Sensors and Instrument Enabling Technologies Scope Description: The 2013 National Research Council’s "Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society" motivates this subtopic: “Deliberate investment in new instrument concepts is necessary to… Read more>>

                                                                                        Scope Title:

                                                                                        Particles and Fields Sensors and Instrument Enabling Technologies

                                                                                        Scope Description:

                                                                                        The 2013 National Research Council’s "Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society" motivates this subtopic: “Deliberate investment in new instrument concepts is necessary to acquire the data needed to further solar and space physics science goals, reduce mission risk, and maintain an active and innovative hardware development community.” This subtopic solicits development of advanced in-situ instrument technologies and components suitable for deployment on heliophysics missions. Advanced sensors for the detection of elementary particles (atoms, molecules, and their ions) and electric and magnetic fields in space along with associated instrument technologies are often critical for enabling transformational science from the study of the Sun's outer corona, to the solar wind, to the trapped radiation in Earth's and other planetary magnetic fields, and to the atmospheric composition of the planets and their moons. These technologies must be capable of withstanding operation in space environments, including the expected pressures, radiation levels, launch and impact stresses, and range of survival and operational temperatures. Technology developments that result in a reduction of mass, power, volume, and data rates for instruments and instrument components without loss of scientific capability are of particular importance. In addition, technologies that can increase instrument resolution and sensitivity or achieve new and innovative scientific measurements are solicited.

                                                                                        Improvements in particles and fields sensors and associated instrument technologies enable further scientific advancement for upcoming NASA missions such as CubeSats, Explorers, Solar Terrestrial Probe (STP), Living With a Star (LWS), and planetary exploration missions. Specifically, this year the subtopic solicits instrument development that provides significant advances in the following areas:

                                                                                        • Faraday cup: 2-kHz alternating-current (AC) power supply with direct-current (DC) offset up to 40 kV and AC peak-to-peak at 10% of DC offset, operating temperature range -35 to +55 ºC, and radiation hardness >1 ~ 200 krad.
                                                                                        • Magnetically clean >2 m compact deployable booms for CubeSats.
                                                                                        • Innovative high-efficiency neutral particle ionizers based on thermionic, cold electron emission, or ultraviolet (UV) ionization.
                                                                                        • Direct neutral particle detectors to energies <1 eV.

                                                                                        Smaller, simpler, and more self-sufficient payloads are more easily accommodated and would be more likely to be considered for a NASA-sponsored flight opportunity.

                                                                                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                        Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                        Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                        Level 2: TX 08.X Other Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                        • Prototype
                                                                                        • Hardware

                                                                                        Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                        Phase I deliverables: Concept study report, preliminary design, and test results.

                                                                                        Phase II deliverables: Detailed design, prototype test results, and a prototype deliverable with guidelines for in-house integration and test (I&T).

                                                                                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                        High-Voltage Power Supplies DC and AC:

                                                                                        Low-energy particle instruments often require significant high-voltage DC power supplies up to 40 kV. Some applications such as Faraday cups require sine wave power supplies with a DC offset 0 to 40 kV and AC peak-to-peak at 10% of DC offset at oscillating frequency of 2 kHz, an operating temperature range from -35 to +55 °C, and radiation hardness >1 ~ 200 krad. 

                                                                                        Importance:  – Critical need for next-generation Faraday cups in order to extend the upper limit of solar wind speed measurement to >2,500 km/sec. Current Faraday cup high-voltage (HV) power supplies support maximum solar wind speeds of up to 1,500 km/sec. Very important for future space weather missions.

                                                                                        Existing direct neutral particle detectors are not capable of detecting, without ionization, neutral particles with energy <1 eV.

                                                                                        There is a need for nonthermionic ionizers to reduce power dissipation.

                                                                                        There is a need for magnetically clean, small booms for CubeSat magnetometers.

                                                                                        Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                        Particles and fields instruments and technologies are essential bases to achieve SMD's Heliophysics goals summarized in the National Research Council’s, Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. In situ instruments and technologies play indispensable roles for NASA’s LWS and STP mission programs, as well as a host of smaller spacecraft in the Explorers Program. In addition, there is growing demand for particles and fields technologies amenable to CubeSats and SmallSats. NASA SMD has two excellent programs to bring this subtopic technologies to higher level: Heliophysics Instrument Development for Science (H-TIDeS) and Heliophysics Flight Opportunities for Research and Technology (H-FORT). H-TIDeS seeks to advance the development of technologies and their application to enable investigation of key heliophysics science questions. This is done through incubating innovative concepts and development of prototype technologies. It is intended that Page 2 of 3 technologies developed through H-TIDeS would then be proposed to H-FORT to mature by demonstration in a relevant environment. The H-TIDES and H-FORT programs are in addition to Phase III opportunities. Further opportunities through SMD include Explorer Missions, New Frontiers Missions, and the upcoming Geospace Dynamic Constellation.

                                                                                        References:

                                                                                        • For example missions, see: http://science.nasa.gov/missions (e.g., NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, Fast Plasma Instrument).
                                                                                        • For details of the specific requirements, see the National Research Council’s Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society, http://nap.edu/13060

                                                                                         

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                                                                                      • S1.07In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Lunar and Planetary Science

                                                                                          Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                          Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC, MSFC

                                                                                          Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                          Scope Title: In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Planetary Science Scope Description: This subtopic solicits development of advanced instrument technologies and components suitable for deployment on in situ planetary and lunar missions. These technologies must be capable of withstanding operation… Read more>>

                                                                                          Scope Title:

                                                                                          In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Planetary Science

                                                                                          Scope Description:

                                                                                          This subtopic solicits development of advanced instrument technologies and components suitable for deployment on in situ planetary and lunar missions. These technologies must be capable of withstanding operation in space and planetary environments, including the expected pressures, radiation levels, launch and impact stresses, and range of survival and operational temperatures. Technologies that reduce mass, power, volume, and data rates for instruments and instrument components without loss of scientific capability are of particular importance—for both conventional missions as well as for small-satellite missions. In addition, technologies that can increase instrument resolution and sensitivity or achieve new and innovative scientific measurements are solicited. For examples of NASA science missions, see https://science.nasa.gov/missions-page. For details of the specific requirements see the National Research Council report "Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022" (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/2013decadal/), hereafter referred to as the Planetary Decadal Survey). Of particular interest are technologies to support future missions under the New Frontiers and Discovery programs.

                                                                                          Specifically, this subtopic solicits instrument development that provides significant advances in the following areas, broken out by planetary body:

                                                                                          • Mars: 
                                                                                            • Subsystems relevant to current in situ instrument needs (e.g., lasers and other light sources from UV to microwave, x-ray and ion sources, detectors, mixers, mass analyzers, and front-end ion/neutrals separation/transport technologies, etc.) or electronics technologies (e.g., field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) implementations, advanced array readouts, miniature high-voltage power supplies).
                                                                                            • Technologies that support high-precision in situ measurements of the elemental, mineralogical, and organic composition of planetary materials.
                                                                                            • Conceptually simple, low-risk technologies for in situ sample extraction and/or manipulation including fluid and gas storage, pumping, and chemical labeling to support analytical instrumentation.
                                                                                            • Seismometers, mass analyzers, technologies for heat flow probes, and atmospheric trace gas detectors. Improved robustness and g-force survivability for instrument components, especially for geophysical network sensors, seismometers, and advanced detectors (intensified charge-coupled devices (iCCDs), photomultiplier tube (PMT) arrays, etc.).
                                                                                            • Instruments geared towards rock/sample interrogation prior to sample return. Sensors to measure dimensions of laser ablation pits in natural rock samples with unprepared rough surfaces to support geochronology measurements on rock samples collected by a rover (spatial and depth resolution of 10 µm or better from a working distance of tens of centimeters desired to characterize ~1-mm-deep by ~0.5-mm-wide pits).
                                                                                          • Venus: 
                                                                                            • Sensors, mechanisms, and environmental chamber technologies for operation in Venus's high-temperature, high-pressure environment with its unique atmospheric composition.
                                                                                            • Approaches that can enable precision measurements of surface mineralogy and elemental composition and precision measurements of trace species, noble gases, and isotopes in the atmosphere.
                                                                                          • Small bodies:
                                                                                            • Technologies that can enable sampling from asteroids and from depth in a comet nucleus, improved in situ analysis of comets.
                                                                                            • Imagers and spectrometers that provide high performance in low light environments.
                                                                                            • Dust environment measurements and particle analysis, small body resource identification, and/or quantification of potential small-body resources (e.g., oxygen, water, and other volatiles; hydrated minerals; carbon compounds; fuels; metals; etc.).
                                                                                            • Advancements geared towards instruments that enable elemental or mineralogy analysis (such as high-sensitivity x-ray and UV-fluorescence spectrometers, UV/fluorescence systems, scanning electron microscopy with chemical analysis capability, mass spectrometry, gas chromatography and tunable diode laser sensors, calorimetry, imaging spectroscopy, and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS).
                                                                                          • Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune and their moons:
                                                                                            • Components, sample acquisition, and instrument systems that can enhance mission science return and withstand the low temperatures/high pressures of the atmospheric probes during entry. Note that in situ instruments and components focused on ocean worlds life detection are specifically solicited in S1.11 and are encouraged to be submitted to S1.11.
                                                                                          • The Moon:
                                                                                            • This topic seeks advancement of concepts and components to develop a Lunar Geophysical Network as envisioned in the Planetary Decadal Survey. Understanding the distribution and origin of both shallow and deep moonquakes will provide insights into the current dynamics of the lunar interior and its interplay with external phenomena (e.g., tidal interactions with Earth). The network is envisioned to comprise multiple free-standing seismic stations that would operate over many years in even the most extreme lunar temperature environments.
                                                                                            • Technologies to advance all aspects of the network including sensor emplacement, power, and communications in addition to seismic, heat flow, magnetic field and electromagnetic sounding sensors are desired. 
                                                                                            • This topic also seeks technologies for quantifying lunar water and measuring the D/H ratio in lunar water. Several evidences point to the presence of water ice at cold spots in the permanently shadowed regions at the lunar poles, with estimated abundance of ~5 to 10 wt%.

                                                                                          Novel instrument concepts are encouraged particularly if they enable a new class of scientific discovery. Technology developments relevant to multiple environments and platforms are also desired. Proposers should show an understanding of relevant space science needs and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA mission. 

                                                                                          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                          Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                          Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                          Level 2: TX 08.3 In-Situ Instruments/Sensor 
                                                                                          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                          • Analysis
                                                                                          • Prototype
                                                                                          • Hardware
                                                                                          • Software

                                                                                          Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                          The Phase I project should focus on feasibility and proof-of-concept demonstration (TRL 2-3). The required Phase I deliverable is a report documenting the proposed innovation, its status at the end of the Phase I effort, and the evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses compared to the state of the art. The report can include a feasibility assessment and concept of operations, simulations and/or measurements, and a plan for further development to be performed in Phase II. 

                                                                                          The Phase II project should focus on component and/or breadboard development with the delivery of specific hardware for NASA (TRL 4-5). Phase II deliverables include a working prototype of the proposed hardware, along with documentation of development, capabilities, and measurements.

                                                                                          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                          In situ instruments and technologies are essential bases to achieve Science Mission Directorate's (SMD's) planetary science goals summarized in the Planetary Decadal Survey. In situ instruments and technologies play indispensable role for NASA’s New Frontiers and Discovery missions to various planetary bodies (Mars, Venus, small bodies, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Moon, etc.).

                                                                                          There are currently various in situ instruments for diverse planetary bodies. However, there are ever-increasing science and exploration requirements and challenges for diverse planetary bodies. For example, there is urgent need for exploring RSL (recurring slope lineae) on Mars and plumes from planetary bodies, as well as a growing demand for in situ technologies amenable to small spacecraft.

                                                                                          To narrow the critical gaps between the current state of art and the technology needed for the ever-increasing science/exploration requirements, in situ technologies are being sought to achieve much higher resolution and sensitivity with significant improvements over existing capabilities with lower mass, power, and volume.

                                                                                          Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                          In situ instruments and technologies are essential bases to achieve SMD's planetary science goals summarized in the Planetary Decadal Survey. In situ instruments and technologies play an indispensable role for NASA’s New Frontiers and Discovery missions to various planetary bodies. 

                                                                                          In addition to Phase III opportunities, SMD offers several instrument development programs as paths to further development and maturity. These include the Planetary Instrument Concepts for the Advancement of Solar System Observations (PICASSO) Program, which invests in low-TRL technologies and funds instrument feasibility studies, concept formation, proof-of-concept instruments, and advanced component technology, as well as the Maturation of Instruments for Solar System Exploration (MatISSE) Program and the Development and Advancement of Lunar Instrumentation (DALI) Program, which invest in mid-TRL technologies and enable timely and efficient infusion of technology into planetary science missions.

                                                                                          References:

                                                                                          • Li et al.: “Direct evidence of surface exposed water ice in the lunar polar regions,” PNAS 115 (2018), 8907-8912, https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/115/36/8907.full.pdf
                                                                                          • Colaprete, A., Schultz, P., Heldmann, J., Wooden, D., Shirley, M., Ennico, K., and Goldstein, D.: “Detection of water in the LCROSS ejecta plume,” Science, 330 (2010), 463-468.
                                                                                          • Schultz, P. H., Hermalyn, B., Colaprete, A., Ennico, K., Shirley, M., and Marshall, W. S.: “The LCROSS cratering experiment,” Science, 330 (2010), 468-472.
                                                                                          • Paige et al.: “Diviner Lunar Radiometer Observations of Cold Traps in the Moon’s South Polar Region,”  Science, 330 (2010), 479-482.

                                                                                           

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                                                                                        • S1.08Suborbital Instruments and Sensor Systems for Earth Science Measurements

                                                                                            Lead Center: LaRC

                                                                                            Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JPL

                                                                                            Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                            Scope Title: Sensors and Sensor Systems Targeting Aerosols and Clouds Scope Description: Earth science measurements from space are considerably enhanced by observations from generally far less costly suborbital instruments and sensor systems. These instruments and sensors support NASA’s Earth… Read more>>

                                                                                            Scope Title:

                                                                                            Sensors and Sensor Systems Targeting Aerosols and Clouds

                                                                                            Scope Description:

                                                                                            Earth science measurements from space are considerably enhanced by observations from generally far less costly suborbital instruments and sensor systems. These instruments and sensors support NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD) science, calibration/validation, and environmental monitoring activities by providing ancillary data for satellite calibration and validation, algorithm development/refinement, and finer scale process studies. NASA seeks measurement capabilities that support current satellite and model validation, advancement of surface-based remote-sensing networks, and targeted Airborne Science Program and ship-based field campaign activities as discussed in the Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES) solicitation. Data from such sensors also inform process studies to improve our scientific understanding of the Earth System. In situ sensor systems (airborne, land, and water-based) can comprise stand-alone instrument and data packages; instrument systems configured for integration on ship-based (or alternate surface-based platform) and in-water deployments, NASA’s Airborne Science aircraft fleet or commercial providers, UAS, balloons, ground networks; or end-to-end solutions providing needed data products from mated sensor and airborne/surface/subsurface platforms. An important goal is to create sustainable measurement capabilities to support NASA’s Earth science objectives, with infusion of new technologies and systems into current/future NASA research programs. Instrument prototypes as a deliverable in Phase II proposals and/or field demonstrations are highly encouraged.

                                                                                            Complete instrument systems are generally desired, including features such as remote/unattended operation and data acquisition as well as minimum size, weight, and power consumption. All proposals must summarize the current state of the art and demonstrate how the proposed sensor or sensor system represents a significant improvement over the state.

                                                                                            Specific desired sensors or mated platform/sensors include:

                                                                                            • Combined aerosol absorption and scattering/extinction of atmospheric aerosols with calibrated accuracy and a particular emphasis on the ultraviolet (UV) or near-UV wavelengths.
                                                                                            • Spectrally resolved aerosol absorption, scattering, or extinction (UV to near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths).
                                                                                            • Aerosol scattering as a function of scattering angle (phase function or, preferably, phase matrix).
                                                                                            • Aerosol complex refractive index.
                                                                                            • Aerosols and cloud particle number and size distribution covering the diameter size range of 0.01 to 200 µm with 10% accuracy. Probes targeting cloud particles in the lower end of this size range (0.01 to 5 µm) are particularly encouraged.
                                                                                            • Cloud probes able to differentiate and quantify nonsphericity and phase of cloud particles.
                                                                                            • Liquid and ice water content in clouds with calibrated accuracy and precision.
                                                                                            • Liquid and ice water path in relevant tropical, midlatitude, and/or polar environments, including data inversion and analysis software.
                                                                                            • Spectrally resolved cloud extinction.
                                                                                            • Static air temperature measured from aircraft to better than 0.1 ºC accuracy.
                                                                                            • A well-calibrated airborne hyperspectral imager with spectral sensitivity in the UV to visible (VIS) (340 to 900 nm; preferably 320 to 1,080 nm) with spectral sampling of at least 2.5 nm, spectral resolution of at least 5 nm, and a wide dynamic range and sensitivity spanning from ocean radiances to cloud radiances for use in comparison to the PACE Ocean Color Instrument and other sensors.
                                                                                            • Portable hyperspectral UV-VIS-NIR (340 to 900 nm; preferably 320 to 1,100 nm) radiometric calibration system with a stabilized optical light source for verification of field radiometer stability by traceable National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards with variable flux levels. 
                                                                                              System must include thermal stabilization for the instrument to be independent of the ambient temperature for evaluation of radiometric stability as a function of time.
                                                                                            • Innovative, high-value sensors directly targeting a stated NASA need (including trace gases and ocean) may also be considered. Proposals responding to this specific bullet are strongly encouraged to identify at least one relevant NASA subject matter expert.

                                                                                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 7 
                                                                                            Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                            Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                            Level 2: TX 08.3 In-Situ Instruments/Sensor 
                                                                                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                            • Prototype
                                                                                            • Hardware
                                                                                            • Software

                                                                                            Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                            The ideal Phase I proposal would demonstrate a clear idea of the problem to be solved, potential solutions to this problem, and an appreciation for potential risks or stumbling blocks that might jeopardize the success of the Phase I and II projects. The ideal Phase I effort would then address and hopefully overcome any major challenges to (1) demonstrate feasibility of the proposed solution and (2) clear the way for the Phase II effort. These accomplishments would be detailed in the Phase I final report and serve as the foundation for a Phase II proposal.

                                                                                            The ideal Phase II effort would build, characterize, and deliver a prototype instrument to NASA including necessary hardware and operating software. The prototype would be fully functional, but the packaging may be more utilitarian (i.e., less polished) than a commercial model.

                                                                                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                            The S1.08 subtopic is and remains highly relevant to NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Earth Science research programs, in particular the Earth Science Atmospheric Composition, Climate Variability & Change, and Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems focus areas. Suborbital in situ and remote sensors sensors inform NASA ground, ship, and airborne science campaigns led by these programs and provide important validation of the current and next generation of satellite-based sensors (e.g., PACE, OCO-2, TEMPO, SGB, and A-CCP; see links in References). The solicited measurements will be highly relevant to current and future NASA campaigns with objectives and observing strategies similar to past campaigns; e.g., ACTIVATE, NAAMES, EXPORTS, CAMP2EX, FIREX-AQ, KORUS-AQ, DISCOVER-AQ (see links in References).

                                                                                            Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                            The S1.08 subtopic is and remains highly relevant to NASA SMD and Earth Science research programs, in particular the Earth Science Atmospheric Composition, Climate Variability & Change, and Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems focus areas. In situ and ground-based sensors inform NASA ship and airborne science campaigns led by these programs and provide important validation of the current and next generation of satellite-based sensors (e.g., PACE, OCO-2, TEMPO, and A-CCP—see links in references). The solicited measurements will be highly relevant future NASA campaigns with objectives and observing strategies similar to past campaigns; e.g., NAAMES, EXPORTS, CAMP2EX, FIREX-AQ, KORUS-AQ, DISCOVER-AQ (see links in references). The need horizon of the subtopic sensors and sensors systems is BOTH near term (<5 yr) and midterm (5 to 10 yr).

                                                                                            Relevant Programs and Program Officers include:

                                                                                            • NASA ESD Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program (Paula Bontempi and Laura Lorenzoni, HQ Program Managers)
                                                                                            • NASA ESD Tropospheric Composition Program (Barry Lefer, HQ Program Manager)
                                                                                            • NASA ESD Radiation Sciences Program (Hal Maring, HQ Program Manager)
                                                                                            • NASA ESD Airborne Science Program (Bruce Tagg, HQ Program Manager)

                                                                                            References:

                                                                                            Relevant current and past satellite missions and field campaigns include:

                                                                                             

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                                                                                          • S1.09Cryogenic Systems for Sensors and Detectors

                                                                                              Lead Center: GSFC

                                                                                              Participating Center(s): JPL

                                                                                              Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                              Scope Title: Low-Temperature/High-Efficiency Cryocoolers Scope Description: NASA seeks improvements to multistage low-temperature spaceflight cryocoolers. Coolers are sought with the lowest temperature stage typically in the range of 4 to 10 K, with cooling power at the coldest stage larger than… Read more>>

                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                              Low-Temperature/High-Efficiency Cryocoolers

                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                              NASA seeks improvements to multistage low-temperature spaceflight cryocoolers. Coolers are sought with the lowest temperature stage typically in the range of 4 to 10 K, with cooling power at the coldest stage larger than currently available, and high efficiency. The desired cooling power is application specific, but an example is 0.2 W at 4 K. Devices that produce extremely low vibration, particularly at frequencies below a few hundred hertz, are of special interest. System- or component-level improvements that improve efficiency and reduce complexity and cost are desirable. In addition to the large coolers, there has recently been interest in small, low-power (~10-mW) 4 K coolers. For example, the Origins Space Telescope mission concept includes a cold telescope, requiring cooling to 4 K; and the Lynx X-ray Observatory mission concept requires a state-of-the-art cryogenic system to enable high-precision and high-resolution x-ray spectroscopy. 

                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 5
                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                              Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                              • Hardware

                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                              Phase I: Proof-of-concept demonstration.

                                                                                              Phase II: Functioning hardware ready for functional and possibly environmental testing.

                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                              Current spaceflight cryocoolers for this temperature range include linear piston-driven Stirling cycle or pulse tube cryocoolers with Joule-Thompson low-temperature stages. One such state-of-the-art cryocooler provides 0.09 W of cooling at 6 K. For large future space observatories, large cooling power and much greater efficiency will be needed. For cryogenic instruments or detectors on instruments with tight point requirements, orders-of-magnitude improvement in the levels of exported vibration will be required. Some of these requirements are laid out in the "Advanced cryocoolers" Technology gap in the latest (2017) Cosmic Origins Program Annual Technology Report.

                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                              Science traceability: Goal 1 and Objective 1.6 of NASA’s Strategic Plan: Goal 1: Expand the frontiers of knowledge, capability, and opportunity in space Objective 1.6: Discover how the universe works, explore how it began and evolved, and search for life on planets around other stars. Low-temperature cryocoolers are listed as a "Technology Gap" in the latest (2017) Cosmic Origins Program Annual Technology Report. Future missions that would benefit from this technology include two of the large missions under study for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey: Origins Space Telescope and Lynx microcalorimeter instrument.

                                                                                              References:

                                                                                              For more information on the Origins Space Telescope, see: https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/firs/

                                                                                              For more information on LYNX, see: https://wwwastro.msfc.nasa.gov/lynx/docs/science/observatory.html

                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                              Actuators and Other Cryogenic Devices

                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                              NASA seeks devices for cryogenic instruments, including:

                                                                                              • Small, precise motors and actuators, preferably with superconducting windings, that operate with extremely low power dissipation. Devices using standard NbTi conductors, as well as devices using higher temperature superconductors that can operate above 5 K, are of interest.
                                                                                              • Cryogenic heat pipes for heat transport within instruments. Heat pipes using hydrogen, neon, oxygen, argon, and methane are of interest. Length should be at least 0.3 m.  Devices that have reduced gravitational dependence and that can be made low profile, or integrated into structures such as radiators, are of particular interest.

                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 4
                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                              Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                              • Hardware

                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                              Phase I: Proof-of-concept test on a breadboard-level device.

                                                                                              Phase II: Working prototypes ready for testing in the relevant environments.

                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                              Motors and actuators: Instruments often have motors and actuators, typically for optical elements such as filter wheels and Fabry-Perot interferometers.  Current cryogenic actuators are typically motors with resistive (copper) windings.  While heat generation is naturally dependent on the application, an example of a recent case is a stepper motor used to scan a Fabry-Perot cavity; its total dissipation (resistive + hysteric) is ~0.5 W at 4 K.  A flight instrument would need heat generation at least 20× smaller.

                                                                                              Cryogenic heat pipes: Heat transport in cryogenic instruments is typically handled with solid thermal straps, which do not scale well for larger heat loads. Currently available heat pipes are optimized for temperatures above ~ 20 K.  They have limited capacity to operate against a gravitational potential. 

                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                              Science traceability: NASA Strategic plan 2018, Objective 1.1: Understand The Sun, Earth, Solar System, and Universe

                                                                                              Almost all instruments have motors and actuators for changing filters, adjusting focus, scanning, and other functions. On low-temperature instruments, for example on mid- to far-IR observatories, dissipation in actuators can be a significant design problem.

                                                                                              References:

                                                                                              For more information on earlier low-temperature heat pipes, see:

                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                              Ultra-Lightweight Dewars

                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                              NASA seeks extremely lightweight thermal isolation systems for scientific instruments. An important example is a large cylindrical, open-top dewar to enable large, cold balloon telescopes. In one scenario, such a dewar would be launched warm and so would not need to function at ambient pressure, but at altitude, under ~4 mbar external pressure, it would need to contain cold helium vapor. The ability to rapidly pump and hold a vacuum at altitude is necessary. An alternative concept is that the dewar would be launched at operating temperature, with some or all of the needed liquid helium. In both cases, heat flux through the walls should be less than 0.5 W/m2, and the internal surfaces must be leak tight against superfluid helium. Initial demonstration units of greater than 1 m inner diameter and height are desired, but the technology must be scalable to an inner diameter of 3 to 4 m with a mass that is a small fraction of the net lift capability of a scientific balloon (~2,000 kg).

                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 4
                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                              Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                              • Hardware

                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                              Phase I: Subscale prototypes that demonstrate critical properties of the concept, including scalability and leak-free containment of superfluid helium

                                                                                              Phase II: A working prototype of the scale described is desired.

                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                              Currently available liquid helium dewars have heavy vacuum shells that allow them to be operated in ambient pressure. Such dewars have been used for balloon-based astronomy, as in the Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophsyics, and Diffuse Emission (ARCADE) experiment. However, the current dewars are already near the limit of balloon lift capacity and cannot be scaled up to the required size for future astrophysics measurements.

                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                              Science traceability: NASA Strategic plan 2018, Objective 1.1: Understand the Sun, Earth, Solar System, and Universe.

                                                                                              The potential for ground-based far-infrared astronomy is extremely limited. Even in airborne observatories, such as SOFIA, observations are limited by the brightness of the atmosphere and the warm telescope itself. However, high-altitude scientific balloons are above enough of the atmosphere that, with a telescope large enough and cold enough, background-limited observations are possible. The ARCADE project demonstrated that at high altitudes, it is possible to cool instruments in helium vapor. Development of ultra-lightweight dewars that could be scaled up to large size, yet still be liftable by a balloon would enable ground-breaking observational capability.

                                                                                              References:

                                                                                              For a description of a state-of-the art balloon cryostat, see:

                                                                                              • Singal, et al.: "The ARCADE 2 instrument," The Astrophysical Journal, 730:138 (12pp), 2011 April 1.

                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                              Miniaturized/Efficient Cryocooler Systems

                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                              NASA seeks miniature, highly efficient cryocoolers for instruments on Earth and planetary missions. A range of cooling capabilities is sought. Two examples include 0.2 W at 30 K with heat rejection at 300 K and 0.3 W at 35 K with heat rejection at 150 K. For both examples, an input power of ≤5 W and a total mass of ≤400 g is desired. The ability to fit within the volume and power limitations of a SmallSat platform would be highly advantageous.  Cryocooler electronics are also sought in two general categories: (1) low-cost devices that are sufficiently radiation hard for lunar or planetary missions, and (2) very low cost devices for a relatively short term (~1 year) in low Earth orbit.  The latter category could include controllers for very small coolers, such as tactical and rotary coolers.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              For many infrared (IR) spectrometer instrument systems, the spectrometer can operate at a temperature more than 60 K higher than the focal plane array. A miniature two-stage cryocooler is ideal for this type of application to minimize the cooler input power. Therefore, NASA is seeking an innovative miniature two-stage cryocooler technology with low-exported vibrations. The lowest cooling temperature of interest for the lower stage is 80 K, and the maximum cooling power is about 1 W. The cooling temperature of the second stage should be 60 to 80 K higher than the lower stage, and the cooling power should be about 2 W. It is desirable that the cooler can efficiently operate over a wide heat sink temperature range, from -50 to 70 ºC.  

                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                              Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                              • Hardware

                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                              Phase I: Proof-of-concept demonstration.

                                                                                              Phase II: Desired deliverables include miniature coolers and components, such as electronics, that are ready for functional and environmental testing.

                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                              Present state-of-the-art capabilities provide 0.1 W of cooling capacity with heat rejection at 300 K at approximately 5 W input power with a system mass of 400 g.

                                                                                              Cryocoolers enable the use of highly sensitive detectors, but current coolers cannot operate within the tight power constraints of outer planetary missions. Cryocooler power could be greatly reduced by lowering the heat rejection temperature, but presently there are no spaceflight systems that can operate with a heat rejection temperature significantly below ambient.

                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                              Science traceability: NASA Strategic plan 2018, Objective 1.1: Understand the Sun, Earth, Solar System, and Universe.

                                                                                              NASA is moving toward the use of small, low-cost satellites to achieve many of its Earth science—and some of its planetary—science goals. The development of cryocoolers that fit within the size and power constraints of these platforms will greatly expand their capability, for example, by enabling the use of infrared detectors.

                                                                                              In planetary science, progress on cryogenic coolers will enable the use of far- to mid-infrared sensors with orders-of-magnitude improvement in sensitivity for outer planetary missions. These will allow thermal mapping of outer planets and their moons.

                                                                                              References:

                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                              Sub-Kelvin Cooling Systems

                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                              Future NASA missions will require requiring sub-Kelvin coolers for extremely low temperature detectors. Systems are sought that will provide continuous cooling with high cooling power (>5 mW at 50 mK), low operating temperature (10 K), while maintaining high thermodynamic efficiency and low system mass. 

                                                                                              Improvements in components for adiabatic demagnetization refrigerators are also sought. Specific components include:

                                                                                              1) Compact, lightweight, low-current superconducting magnets capable of producing a field of at least 4 tesla (T) while operating at a temperature of at least 10 K, and preferably above 15 K. Desirable properties include:

                                                                                              • A high engineering current density (including insulation and coil packing density), preferably >300 A/mm2.
                                                                                              • A field/current ratio of >0.33 T/A, and preferably >0.66 T/A.
                                                                                              • Low hysteresis heating.
                                                                                              • Bore size between 22 and 60 mm, depending on the application.

                                                                                              2) Lightweight active/passive magnetic shielding (for use with 4-T magnets) with low hysteresis and eddy current losses as well as low remanence. Also needed are lightweight, highly effective outer shields that reduce the field outside an entire multistage device to <5 µT. Outer shields must operate at 4 to 10 K and must have penetrations for low-temperature, noncontacting heat straps.

                                                                                              3) Heat switches with on/off conductance ratio >30,000 and actuation time of <10 s. Materials are also sought for gas gap heat switch shells: these are tubes with extremely low thermal conductance below 1 K; they must be impermeable to helium gas, have high strength, have stability against buckling, and have an inner diameter >20 mm.

                                                                                              4) High cooling power density magnetocaloric materials. Examples of desired materialsinclude GdLiF4, Yb3Ga5O12, GdF3, and Gd elpasolite. High-quality single crystals are preferred because of their high conductivity at low temperature, but high-density polycrystals are acceptable in some forms.  Volume must be >40 cm3.

                                                                                              5) 10 to 300 mK high-resolution thermometry.

                                                                                              6) Suspensions with the strength and stiffness, but lower thermal conductance from 4 to 0.050 K.

                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                              Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                              • Hardware

                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                              Phase I: For components, a subscale prototype that proves critical parameters. For systems, a proof-of-concept test.

                                                                                              Phase II: For components, functioning hardware that is directly usable in NASA systems. For systems, a prototype that demonstrates critical performance parameters.

                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                              The adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator in the Soft X-ray Spectrometer instrument on the Hitomi mission represents the state of the art in spaceflight sub-Kelvin cooling systems. The system is a 3-stage, dual-mode device. In the more challenging mode, it provides 650 µW of cooling at 1.625 K, while simultaneously absorbing 0.35 µW from a small detector array at 0.050 K. It rejects heat at 4.5 K. In this mode, the detector is held at temperature for 15.1-h periods, with a 95% duty cycle. Future missions with much larger pixel count will require much higher cooling power at 0.050 K or lower, higher cooling power at intermediate stages, and 100% duty cycle. Heat rejection at a higher temperature is also needed to enable the use of a wider range of more efficient cryocoolers.

                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                              Science traceability: NASA Strategic plan 2018, Objective 1.1: Understand The Sun, Earth, Solar System, And Universe

                                                                                              Sub-Kelvin coolers are listed as a "Technology Gap" in the latest (2017) Cosmic Origins Program Annual Technology Report.

                                                                                              Future missions that would benefit from this technology include two of the large missions under study for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey:
                                                                                              • Origins Space Telescope (contact: michael.j.dipirro@nasa.gov)
                                                                                              • LYNX (microcalorimeter instrument) (contact: simon.r.bandler@nasa.gov)

                                                                                              Also: Probe of Inflation and Cosmic Origins, POC: Shaul Hanany, University of Minnesota

                                                                                              References:

                                                                                              For a description of the state-of-the-art sub-Kelvin cooler in the Hitomi mission, see:

                                                                                              • Shirron, et al.: "Thermodynamic performance of the 3-stage ADR for the Astro-H Soft-X-ray Spectrometer instrument," Cryogenics 74 (2016) 24–30, and references therein.

                                                                                              For articles describing magnetic sub-Kelvin coolers and their components, see the July 2014 special issue of Cryogenics:

                                                                                              • Cryogenics 62 (2014) 129–220.

                                                                                               

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                                                                                            • S1.10Atomic Quantum Sensor and Clocks

                                                                                                Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                                Participating Center(s): GSFC

                                                                                                Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                Scope Title: Atomic Quantum Sensor and Clocks Scope Description: Space exploration relies on sensors for science measurements as well as spacecraft operation. As sensing precisions push their limits, quantum phenomena inevitably must be exploited. It is expected that sensors utilizing… Read more>>

                                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                                Atomic Quantum Sensor and Clocks

                                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                                Space exploration relies on sensors for science measurements as well as spacecraft operation. As sensing precisions push their limits, quantum phenomena inevitably must be exploited. It is expected that sensors utilizing quantum properties will offer new and significantly improved capabilities. NASA is interested in advancing quantum sensing technologies and infusing them into space science missions. In particular, this call seeks the development and maturation towards space application and qualification of atomic systems that leverage their quantum properties (e.g., optical atomic clocks, atom interferometers, Rydberg atom sensors, and artificial-atom-based sensors such as nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center point-defect sensors, etc.). 

                                                                                                Recent developments of laser control and manipulation of atoms have led to new types of quantum sensors and clocks. Atomic particles, being intrinsically quantum mechanical, have demonstrated their unique advantages in metrology and sensing. Perhaps the most celebrated atomic metrology tool is the atomic clock. Atomic clocks in the optical frequency domain (i.e., optical primary frequency standards) have approached, and are expected to exceed, a frequency uncertainty beyond 1 part in 1018. These optical clocks can be used, in turn, as precision sensors; for example, sensitivity to the fundamental physics constants have been explored for detection of dark matter and time variations in those fundamental constants. These approaches, when made Doppler sensitive, become exquisite inertial sensors, mostly in the form of atom interferometers. Because the center-of-mass motion is involved, atom interferometers use atomic particles as test masses and quantum matter-wave interferometry for motional measurements. Indeed, clocks and sensors are two sides of the same coin, sharing many common physical processes, technology approaches, and salient performance features. Therefore, this subtopic combines the two subject areas for leveraged and coordinated technology advancement. 

                                                                                                The gaps to be filled and technologies to be matured include, but are not limited to, the following: 

                                                                                                (1) Optical atomic clocks  

                                                                                                • Subsystem and components for high-performance and high-accuracy optical clocks, mostly notably Sr and Yb lattice clocks as well as Sr+ and Yb+ singly trapped ion clocks. They comprise atomic physics packages, which are necessarily laser systems, and include clock lasers, optical frequency combs, as well as advanced electronics and controllers based on microprocessors or field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). They should have a path to a flight system. 
                                                                                                • Space-qualifiable small-size low-power clock lasers at, or subsystems that can lead to, better than 3×10-15 Hz/√τ near 0.1 to 10 s (wavelengths for Yb+, Yb, and Sr clock transitions are of special interest). 
                                                                                                • Technical approaches and methods for beyond state-of-the-art compact and miniature clocks for space with emphasis on the performance per size, power, and mass.   

                                                                                                (2) Atom interferometers  

                                                                                                • Space-qualifiable high-flux ultra-cold atom sources, related components, and methods: e.g., >1×106 total atoms near the point at <1 nK: Rb, K, Cs, Yb, and Sr.
                                                                                                • Ultra-high vacuum technologies and approaches for atom interferometer applications that allow small-size and low-power, completely sealed, nonmagnetic enclosures with high-quality optical access and are capable of maintaining  <1×10-9 torr residual gas pressure. Consideration should be given to the inclusion of cold atom sources of interest, such as switchable and/or regulated atom vapor pressure or flux.  
                                                                                                • Beyond the state-of-the-art photonic components at wavelengths for atomic species of interest, particularly visible and ultraviolet (UV):
                                                                                                  • Efficient acousto-optic modulators: e.g., low radio-frequency (RF) power ~200 mW, low thermal distortion, ~80% or greater diffraction efficiency.
                                                                                                  • Efficient electro-optic modulators: e.g., low bias drift, residual AM, and return loss; fiber-coupled preferred. 
                                                                                                  • Miniature optical isolators: e.g., ~30 dB isolation or greater, ~ -2 dB loss or less.
                                                                                                  • Robust high-speed high-extinction shutters: e.g., switching time <1 ms and extinction >60 dB are highly desired.
                                                                                                • Flight qualifiable: i.e., rugged and long-life lasers or laser systems of narrow linewidth, high tunability, and/or higher power for clock and cooling transitions of atomic species of interest; 
                                                                                                  Also, cooling and trapping lasers of 10 kHz linewidth and ~1 W or greater total optical power are generally needed, but offerors may define and justify their own performance specifications. 
                                                                                                • Analysis and simulation tool of a cold atom system in trapped and freefall states relevant to atom interferometer and clock measurements in space. 

                                                                                                (3) Other atomic and artificial atomic sensors 

                                                                                                • Rydberg sensors or their subsystems/components for electric field or microwave measurements. 
                                                                                                • Space qualifiable NV diamond or chip-scale atomic magnetometers.
                                                                                                • High-performance, miniaturized or chip-scale optical frequency combs.
                                                                                                • Other innovative atomic quantum sensors for high-fidelity field measurements that have space applications and can be developed into a space-quantifiable instrument.  
                                                                                                • Because of the breath and diversity of the portfolio, performers are expected to be aware of specific gaps for specific application scenarios. All proposed system performances may be defined by offeror with clear justifications. Subsystem technology development proposals should clearly state the relevance to the anticipated system-level implementation and performance; define requirements, relevant atomic species, and working laser wavelengths; and indicate its path to a space-borne instrument. Finally, for proposals interested in quantum sensing methodologies for achieving the optimal collection of light for photon-starved astronomical observations, it is suggested to consider the STTR subtopic T8.06.

                                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                     Level 2: TX 08.3 In-Situ Instruments/Sensor 
                                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                • Prototype
                                                                                                • Hardware
                                                                                                • Research
                                                                                                • Analysis
                                                                                                • Software

                                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                Phase I deliverables: results of a feasibility study, analysis, and preliminary laboratory demonstration, as described in a final report.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Phase II deliverables: prototype or demonstration hardware; summary of performance analysis; and applicable supporting documentation, data, and/or test reports.

                                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                Many technology gaps exist in the development state of atomic sensors and clocks intended for NASA space applications. These gaps are mainly in the areas of reducing size, mass, and power, while increasing their performance and advancing them towards space qualification. These gaps may pertain to components, subsystems, instruments/devices, novel approaches and/or theoretical analysis tools. Most of the needed improvements are elements which are beyond current state-of-the art. These needed improvements include high-flux ultra-cold atom sources, atomic physics packages and atomic vacuum cell technology specific for clock and atom interferometer applications, miniature optical isolators, efficient modulators, active wave front and polarization devices, fast high-extension-ratio switches, efficient detectors, and novel frequency conversion methods/devices. Also needed are lasers and laser-optics system approaches with a high degree of integration and robustness, and suitable for atomic devices; small ultra-stabilized laser systems, and miniature self-referenced optical frequency combs. These are examples and not an exhaustive list.    

                                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                Currently, no technology exists that can compete with the (potential) sensitivity, (potential) compactness, and robustness of atom optical-based gravity and time measurement devices. Earth science, planetary science, and astrophysics all benefit from unprecedented improvements in gravity and time measurement. Specific roadmap items supporting science instrumentation include, but are not limited to:

                                                                                                • TX07.1.1: Destination Reconnaissance, Prospecting, and Mapping (gravimetry)
                                                                                                • TX08.1.2: Electronics (reliable control electronics for laser systems)
                                                                                                • TX08.1.3: Optical Components (reliable laser systems)
                                                                                                • TX08.1.4: Microwave, Millimeter, and Submillimeter-Waves (ultra-low noise microwave output when coupled w/ optical frequency comb)
                                                                                                • TX08.1.5: Lasers (reliable laser system w/ long lifetime)

                                                                                                References:

                                                                                                 

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                                                                                              • S1.11In Situ Instruments/Technologies and Plume Sampling Systems for Ocean Worlds Life Detection

                                                                                                  Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                                  Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC

                                                                                                  Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                  Scope Title: In Situ Instruments/Technologies and Plume Sampling Systems for Ocean Worlds Life Detection Scope Description: This subtopic solicits development of in situ instrument technologies and components to advance the maturity of science instruments and plume sample collection systems focused… Read more>>

                                                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                                                  In Situ Instruments/Technologies and Plume Sampling Systems for Ocean Worlds Life Detection

                                                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                                                  This subtopic solicits development of in situ instrument technologies and components to advance the maturity of science instruments and plume sample collection systems focused on the detection of evidence of life, especially extant life, in the ocean worlds (e.g., Europa, Enceladus, Titan, Ganymede, Callisto, Ceres, etc.). Technologies that can increase instrument resolution and sensitivity or achieve new and innovative scientific measurements are of particular interest. Technologies that allow collection during high-speed (>1 km/sec) passes through a plume are solicited as are technologies that can maximize total sample mass collected while passing through tenuous plumes. This fly-through sampling focus is distinct from S4.02, which solicits sample collection technologies from surface platforms.

                                                                                                  These technologies must be capable of withstanding operation in space and planetary environments, including the expected pressures, radiation levels, launch and impact stresses, and range of survival and operational temperatures. Technologies that reduce mass, power, volume, and data rates for instruments and instrument components without loss of scientific capability are of particular importance.

                                                                                                  Specifically, this subtopic solicits instrument technologies and components that provide significant advances in the following areas, broken out by planetary body:

                                                                                                  • General to Europa, Enceladus, Titan, and other ocean worlds: Technologies and components relevant to life detection instruments (e.g., microfluidic analyzer, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) chromatography/mass spectrometers, laser-ablation mass spectrometer, fluorescence microscopic imager, Raman spectrometer, tunable laser system, liquid chromatography/mass spectrometer, X-ray fluorescence, digital holographic microscope-fluorescence microscope, antibody microarray biosensor, nanocantilever biodetector, etc.). Technologies for high-radiation environments (e.g., radiation mitigation strategies, radiation-tolerant detectors, and readout electronic components), which enable orbiting instruments to be both radiation hard and undergo the planetary protection requirements of sterilization (or equivalent).
                                                                                                    • Collecting samples for a variety of science purposes is also sought. These include samples that allow for determination of the chemical and physical properties of the source ocean, samples for detailed characterization of the organics present in the gas and particle phases, and samples for analysis for biomarkers indicative of life. Front-end system technologies include sample collection systems and subsystems capable of capture, containment, and/or transfer of gas, liquid, ice, and/or mineral phases from plumes to sample processing and/or instrument interfaces.
                                                                                                    • Technologies for characterization of collected sample parameters including mass, volume, total dissolved solids in liquid samples, and insoluble solids. Sample collection and sample capture for in situ imaging. Systems capable of high-velocity sample collection with minimal sample alteration to allow for habitability and life detection analyses. Microfluidic sample collection systems that enable sample concentration and other manipulations. Plume material collection technologies that minimize risk of terrestrial contamination, including organic chemical and microbial contaminates. These technologies would enable high-priority sampling and potential sample return from the plumes of Enceladus with a fly-by mission. This would be a substantial cost savings over a landed mission.
                                                                                                  • Europa: Life detection approaches optimized for evaluating and analyzing the composition of ice matrices with unknown pH and salt content. Instruments capable of detecting and identifying organic molecules (in particular biomolecules), salts and/or minerals important to understanding the present conditions of Europa's ocean are sought (such as high resolution gas chromatograph or laser desorption mass spectrometers, dust detectors, organic analysis instruments with chiral discrimination, etc.). These developments should be geared towards analyzing and handling very small sample sizes (µg to mg) and/or low column densities/abundances. Also of interest are imagers and spectrometers that provide high performance in low-light environments (visible and near-infrared (NIR) imaging spectrometers, thermal imagers, etc.), as well as instruments capable of improving our understanding of Europa's habitability by characterizing the ice, ocean, and deeper interior and monitoring ongoing geological activity such as plumes, ice fractures, and fluid motion (e.g., seismometers, magnetometers). Improvements to instruments capable of gravity (or other) measurements that might constrain properties such as ocean and ice shell thickness will also be considered.
                                                                                                  • Enceladus (including plume material and E-ring particles): Life detection approaches optimized for analyzing plume particles as well as for determining the chemical state of Enceladus icy surface materials (particularly near plume sites). Instruments capable of detecting and identifying organic molecules (in particular biomolecules), salts and/or minerals important to understand the present conditions of the Enceladus ocean are sought (such as high resolution gas chromatograph or laser desorption mass spectrometers, dust detectors, organic analysis instruments with chiral discrimination, etc.). These developments should be geared towards analyzing and handling very small sample sizes (µg to mg) and/or low column densities/abundances. Also of interest are imagers and spectrometers that provide high performance in low-light environments (visible and NIR imaging spectrometers, thermal imagers, etc.), as well as instruments capable of monitoring the bulk chemical composition and physical characteristics of the plume (density, velocity, variation with time, etc.). Improvements to instruments capable of gravity (or other) measurements that might constrain properties such as ocean and ice shell thickness will also be considered.
                                                                                                  • Titan: Life detection approaches optimized for searching for biosignatures and biologically relevant compounds in Titan's lakes, including the presence of diagnostic trace organic species, and also for analyzing Titan's complex aerosols and surface materials. Mechanical and electrical components and subsystems that work in cryogenic (95 K) environments; sample extraction from liquid methane/ethane, sampling from organic "dunes" at 95 K, and robust sample preparation and handling mechanisms that feed into mass analyzers are sought. Balloon instruments, such as IR spectrometers; imagers; meteorological instruments; radar sounders; solid, liquid, and air sampling mechanisms for mass analyzers; and aerosol detectors are also solicited. Low-mass and low-power sensors, mechanisms and concepts for converting terrestrial instruments such as turbidimeters and echo sounders for lake measurements, weather stations, surface (lake and solid) properties packages, etc. to cryogenic environments (95 K). Other ocean worlds targets may include Ganymede, Callisto, Ceres, etc.

                                                                                                  Proposers are strongly encouraged to relate their proposed development to:

                                                                                                  • NASA's future ocean worlds exploration goals (see references).
                                                                                                  • Existing flight instrument capability, to provide a comparison metric for assessing proposed improvements.

                                                                                                  Proposed instrument architectures should be as simple, reliable, and low risk as possible while enabling compelling science. Novel instrument concepts are encouraged, particularly if they enable a new class of scientific discovery. Technology developments relevant to multiple environments and platforms are also desired.

                                                                                                  Proposers should show an understanding of relevant space science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. 

                                                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5
                                                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                  Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                                  Level 2: TX 08.3 In-Situ Instruments/Sensor
                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                  • Analysis
                                                                                                  • Prototype
                                                                                                  • Hardware
                                                                                                  • Software

                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                  The Phase I project should focus on feasibility and proof-of-concept demonstration (TRL 2-3). The required Phase I deliverable is a report documenting the proposed innovation, its status at the end of the Phase I effort, and the evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses compared to the state of the art. The report can include a feasibility assessment and concept of operations, simulations and/or measurements, and a plan for further development to be performed in Phase II. 

                                                                                                  The Phase II project should focus on component and/or breadboard development with the delivery of specific hardware for NASA (TRL 4-5). Phase II deliverables include a working prototype of the proposed hardware, along with documentation of development, capabilities, and measurements.

                                                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                  In situ instruments and technologies are essential bases to achieve NASA's ocean worlds exploration goals. There are currently some in situ instruments for diverse ocean worlds bodies. However, there are ever increasing science and exploration requirements and challenges for diverse ocean worlds bodies. For example, there are urgent needs for the exploration of icy or liquid surface on Europa, Enceladus, Titan, Ganymede, Callisto, etc., and plumes from planetary bodies such as Enceladus.

                                                                                                  To narrow the critical gaps between the current state of art and the technology needed for the ever-increasing science/exploration requirements, in situ technologies are being sought to achieve much higher resolution and sensitivity with significant improvements over existing capabilities, and at the same time with lower resource (mass, power, and volume) requirements.

                                                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                  In situ instruments and technologies are essential bases to achieve Science Mission Directorate's (SMD) planetary science goals summarized in Decadal Study (National Research Council’s Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022.) In situ instruments and technologies play indispensable role for NASA’s New Frontiers and Discovery missions to various planetary bodies.

                                                                                                  NASA SMD has two programs to bring this subtopic technologies to higher level: PICASSO and MatISSE. The Planetary Instrument Concepts for the Advancement of Solar System Observations (PICASSO) Program invests in low-TRL technologies and funds instrument feasibility studies, concept formation, proof-of-concept instruments, and advanced component technology. The Maturation of Instruments for Solar System Exploration (MatISSE) Program invests in mid-TRL technologies and enables timely and efficient infusion of technology into planetary science missions. The PICASSO and MatISSE are in addition to Phase III opportunities.

                                                                                                  References:

                                                                                                   

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                                                                                                • S1.12Remote Sensing Instrument Technologies for Heliophysics

                                                                                                    Lead Center: GSFC

                                                                                                    Participating Center(s): HQ

                                                                                                    Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                    Scope Title: Remote-Sensing Instruments/Technologies for Heliophysics Scope Description: The 2013 National Research Council’s, Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society (http://nap.edu/13060) motivates this subtopic: “Deliberate investment in new instrument concepts is… Read more>>

                                                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                                                    Remote-Sensing Instruments/Technologies for Heliophysics

                                                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                                                    The 2013 National Research Council’s, Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society (http://nap.edu/13060) motivates this subtopic: “Deliberate investment in new instrument concepts is necessary to acquire the data needed to further solar and space physics science goals, reduce mission risk, and maintain an active and innovative hardware development community.” This subtopic solicits development of advanced remote-sensing instrument technologies and components suitable for deployment on heliophysics missions. These technologies must be capable of withstanding operation in space environments, including the expected pressures, radiation levels, launch and impact stresses, and range of survival and operational temperatures. Technologies that reduce mass, power, volume, and data rates for instruments and instrument components without loss of scientific capability are of particular importance. In addition, technologies that can increase instrument resolution and sensitivity or achieve new and innovative scientific measurements are solicited. For example missions, see https://science.nasa.gov/missions-page?field_division_tid=5&field_phase_tid=All. For details of the specific requirements see the Heliophysics Decadal Survey. Technologies that support science aspects of missions in NASA’s Living With a Star and Solar-Terrestrial Probe programs are of top priority, including long-term missions like Interstellar Probe mission (as called out in the Decadal Survey).

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Remote-sensing technologies are being sought to achieve much higher resolution and sensitivity with significant improvements over existing capabilities. Remote-sensing technologies amenable to CubeSats and SmallSats are also encouraged. Specifically, this subtopic solicits instrument development that provides significant advances in the following areas:

                                                                                                    • Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems for high-power, high-frequency geospace remote sensing, such as sodium and helium lasers.
                                                                                                    • Technologies or components enabling auroral, airglow, geospace, and solar imaging at visible, far and extreme ultraviolet (FUV/EUV), and soft x-ray wavelengths (e.g., mirrors and gratings with high-reflectance coatings, multilayer coatings, narrowband filters, blazed gratings with high ruling densities, diffractive and metamaterial optics).
                                                                                                    • Electromagnetic sounding of ionospheric or magnetospheric plasma density structure at radio-frequencies from kHz to >10 MHz.
                                                                                                    • Passive sensing of ionospheric and magnetospheric plasma density structure using transmitters of opportunity (e.g., global navigation satellite system (GNSS) or ground-based transmissions).
                                                                                                    • Technologies that enable the development of dedicated solar flare sensors with intrinsic ion suppression and sufficient angular resolution in the EUV to soft x-ray wavelength range such as fast cadence charge-coupled devices and complementary metal-oxide semiconductor devices.
                                                                                                    • Technologies that enable x-ray detectors to observe bright solar flares in x-ray from 1 to hundreds of keV without saturation.
                                                                                                    • Technologies that attenuate solar x-ray fluences by flattening the observed spectrum by a factor of 100 to 1,000 across the energy range encompassing both low- and high-energy x-rays—preferably flight programmable.
                                                                                                    • X-ray optics technologies to either reduce the size, complexity, or mass or to improve the point spread function of solar telescopes used for imaging solar x-rays in the ~1 to 300 keV range.
                                                                                                    • Technologies, including metamaterials and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) that enable polarization, wavelength, or spatial discrimination without macroscale moving parts.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Proposers are strongly encouraged to relate their proposed development to NASA's future heliophysics goals as set out in the Heliophysics Decadal Survey (2013-2022) and the NASA Heliophysics Roadmap (2014-2033). Proposed instrument components and/or architectures should be as simple, reliable, and low risk as possible, while enabling compelling science. Novel instrument concepts are encouraged, particularly if they enable a new class of scientific discovery. Technology developments relevant to multiple environments and platforms are also desired. Proposers should show an understanding of relevant space science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Detector technology proposals should be referred to the S116 subtopic.

                                                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5
                                                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                    Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                                    Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                    • Analysis
                                                                                                    • Prototype
                                                                                                    • Hardware
                                                                                                    • Software

                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                    Phase I deliverables may include an analysis or test report, a prototype of an instrument subcomponent, or a full working instrument prototype.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Phase II deliverables must include a prototype or demonstration of a working instrument or subcomponent and may also include analysis or test reports. 

                                                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                    Remote-sensing instruments and technologies are essential bases to achieve Science Mission Directorate's (SMD) Heliophysics goals summarized in National Research Council’s, Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. These instruments and technologies play indispensable roles for NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) and Solar Terrestrial Probe (STP) mission programs as well as a host of smaller spacecraft in the Explorers Program. In addition, there is growing demand for remote-sensing technologies amenable to CubeSats and SmallSats. To narrow the critical gaps between the current state of art and the technology needed for the ever increasing science/exploration requirements, remote-sensing technologies are being sought to achieve much higher resolution and sensitivity with significant improvements over existing capabilities—and at the same time with lower mass, power, and volume.

                                                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                    Remote-sensing instruments and technologies are essential bases to achieve SMD's Heliophysics goals summarized in National Research Council’s, Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. These instruments and technologies play indispensable roles for NASA’s LWS and STP mission programs, as well as a host of smaller spacecraft in the Explorers Program. In addition, there is growing demand for remote-sensing technologies amenable to CubeSats and SmallSats. NASA SMD has two excellent programs to bring this subtopic technologies to a higher level: Heliophysics Technology and Instrument Development for Science (H-TIDeS) and Heliophysics Flight Opportunities for Research and Technology (HFORT). H-TIDeS seeks to advance the development of technologies and their application to enable investigation of key heliophysics science questions. This is done through incubating innovative concepts and development of prototype technologies. It is intended that technologies developed through H-TIDeS would then be proposed to HFORT to mature by demonstration in a relevant environment. The H-TIDeS and H-FORT programs are in addition to Phase III opportunities.

                                                                                                    References:

                                                                                                     

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                                                                                                  • T8.06Quantum Sensing and Measurement

                                                                                                      Lead Center: GSFC

                                                                                                      Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL, LaRC

                                                                                                      Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                      Scope Title: Quantum Sensing and Measurement Scope Description: This Quantum Sensing and Measurement subtopic calls for proposals using quantum systems to achieve unprecedented measurement sensitivity and performance, including quantum-enhanced methodologies that outperform their classical… Read more>>

                                                                                                      Scope Title:

                                                                                                      Quantum Sensing and Measurement

                                                                                                      Scope Description:

                                                                                                      This Quantum Sensing and Measurement subtopic calls for proposals using quantum systems to achieve unprecedented measurement sensitivity and performance, including quantum-enhanced methodologies that outperform their classical counterparts. Shepherded by advancements in our ability to detect and manipulate single quantum objects, the so-called Second Quantum Revolution is upon us. The emerging quantum sensing technologies promise unrivaled sensitivities and are potentially game changing in precision measurement fields. Significant gains include technology important for a range of NASA missions such as efficient photon detection, optical clocks, gravitational wave sensing, ranging, and interferometry. Proposals focused on atomic quantum sensor and clocks and quantum communication should apply to those specific subtopics and are not covered in this Quantum Sensing and Measurement subtopic.

                                                                                                      Specifically identified applications of interest include quantum sensing methodologies achieving the optimal collection light for photon-starved astronomical observations, quantum-enhanced ground penetrating radar, and quantum-enhanced telescope interferometry.

                                                                                                      • Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) systems for enhanced multiplexing factor reading out of arrays of cryogenic energy-resolving single-photon detectors, including the supporting resonator circuits, amplifiers, and room temperature readout electronics.
                                                                                                      • Quantum light sources capable of efficiently and reliably producing prescribed quantum states including entangled photons, squeezed states, photon number states, and broadband correlated light pulses. Such entangled sources are sought for the visible infrared (vis-IR) and in the microwave entangled photons sources for quantum ranging and ground-penetrating radar.
                                                                                                      • On-demand single-photon sources with narrow spectral linewidth are needed for system calibration of single-photon counting detectors and energy-resolving single-photon detector arrays in the midwave infrared (MIR), near infrared (NIR), and visible. Such sources are sought for operation at cryogenic temperatures for calibration on the ground and aboard space instruments.

                                                                                                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                                      Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                      Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                      Level 2: TX 08.X Other Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                      • Research
                                                                                                      • Analysis
                                                                                                      • Prototype

                                                                                                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                      NASA is seeking innovative ideas and creative concepts for science sensor technologies using quantum sensing techniques. The proposals should include results from designs and models, proof-of-concept demonstrations, and prototypes showing the performance of the novel quantum sensor.

                                                                                                      Phase I does not need to include a physical deliverable to the government but it is best if it includes a demonstration of feasibility through measurements. This can include extensive modeling, but a stronger proposal will have measured validation of models or designs that support the viability of the planned Phase II deliverable. 

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      Phase II should include prototype delivery to the government. (It is understood that this is a research effort and the prototype is a best effort delivery where there is no penalty for missing performance goals.) The Phase II effort should be targeting a commercial product that could be sold to the government and/or industry. 

                                                                                                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                      Quantum entangled photon sources.

                                                                                                      Sources for generation of quantum photon number states. Such sources would utilize high detection efficiency photon energy-resolving single-photon detectors (where the energy resolution is used to detect the photon number) developed at NASA for detection. Sources that fall in the wavelength range from 20 μm to 200 nm are of high interest. Photon number state generation anywhere within this spectral range is also highly desired including emerging photon-number quantum state methods providing advantages over existing techniques. (Stobińska et al., Quantum interference enables constant-time quantum information processing. Sci. Adv. 5 (2019)).

                                                                                                      Quantum dot source produced entangled photons with a fidelity of 0.90, a pair generation rate of 0.59, a pair extraction efficiency of 0.62, and a photon indistinguishability of 0.90, simultaneously. (881 nm light) at 10 MHz. (Wang Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 113602 (2019)). Further advances are sought.

                                                                                                      Spectral brightness of 0.41 MHz/mW/nm for multimode and 0.025 MHz/mW/nm for single-mode coupling. (Jabir: Scientific Reports volume 7, Article number: 12613 (2017)).

                                                                                                      Higher brightness and multiple entanglement and heralded multiphoton entanglement and boson sampling sources. Sources that produce photon number states or Fock states are also sought for various applications including energy-resolving single-photon detector applications.

                                                                                                      For energy-resolving single-photon detectors, current state-of-the-art multiplexing can achieve kilopixel detector arrays, which with advances in microwave SQUID mux can be increased to megapixel arrays. (Morgan Physics Today 71, 8, 28 (2018)).

                                                                                                      Energy-resolving detectors achieving 99% detection efficiency have been demonstrated in the NIR. Even higher quantum efficiency absorber structures are sought (either over narrow bands or broadband) compatible with transition-edge sensor (TES) detectors.  Such ultra-high- (near-unity-) efficiency absorbing structures are sought in the UV, vis-IR, NIR, mid-infrared, far-infrared, and microwave.

                                                                                                      Absolute detection efficiency measurements (without reference to calibration standards) using quantum light sources have achieved detection efficiency relative uncertainties of 0.1% level. Further reduction in detection efficiency uncertainty is sought to characterize ultra-high-efficiency absorber structures. Combining calibration method with the ability to tune over a range of different wavelengths is sought to characterize cryogenic single-photon detector's energy resolution and detection efficiency across the detection band of interest. For such applications, the natural linewidth of the source lines must be much less than the detector resolution (for NIR and higher photon energies, resolving powers R=E/ΔEFWHM=λ/ΔλFWHM << 100 are required). Quantum sources operating at cryogenic temperatures are most suitable for cryogenic detector characterization and photon number resolving detection for wavelengths of order 1.6 μm and longer.

                                                                                                      For quantum sensing applications that would involve a squeezed light source on an aerospace platform, investigation of low SWaP (size, weight, and power) sources of squeezed light would be beneficial. From the literature, larger footprint sources of squeezed light have demonstrated 15 dB of squeezing [1]. For a source smaller in footprint, there has been a recent demonstration of parametric downconversion in an OPO (optical parametric oscillator) resulting in 9.3 dB of squeezing [2]. Further improvement of the state-of-the-art light squeezing capability (i.e., >10 dB), while maintaining low-SWaP parameters, is desired.    

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      [1] . H. Vahlbruch, M. Mehmet, K. Danzmann, and R. Schnabel, “Detection of 15 dB Squeezed States of Light and their Application for the Absolute Calibration of Photoelectric Quantum Efficiency,” Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 117, no. 11, p. 110801 (2016).

                                                                                                      [2] J. Arnbak, C. S. Jacobsen, R. B. Andrade, X. Guo, J. S. Neergaard-Nielsen, U. L. Andersen, and T. Gehring, “Compact, Low-Threshold Squeezed Light Source,” Optics Express, vol. 27, issue 26, pp. 37877–37885 (2019).

                                                                                                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                      Quantum technologies enable a new generation in sensitivities and performance and include low baseline interferometry and ultraprecise sensors with applications ranging from natural resource exploration and biomedical diagnostic to navigation.

                                                                                                      HEOMD—Astronaut health monitoring.

                                                                                                      SMD—Earth, planetary, and astrophysics including imaging spectrometers on a chip across the electromagnetic spectrum from x ray through the infrared.

                                                                                                      STMD—Game-changing technology for small spacecraft communication and navigation (optical communication, laser ranging, and gyroscopes).

                                                                                                      STTR—Rapid increased interest.

                                                                                                      Space Technology Roadmap 6.2.2, 13.1.3, 13.3.7, all sensors 6.4.1, 7.1.3, 10.4.1, 13.1.3, 13.4.3, and 14.3.3.

                                                                                                      References:

                                                                                                       

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                                                                                                    • T8.07Photonic Integrated Circuits

                                                                                                        Lead Center: GSFC

                                                                                                        Participating Center(s): GRC, LaRC

                                                                                                        Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                        Scope Title: Photonic Integrated Circuits Scope Description: Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) generally integrate multiple lithographically defined photonic and electronic components and devices (e.g., lasers, detectors, waveguides/passive structures, modulators, electronic control, and optical… Read more>>

                                                                                                        Scope Title:

                                                                                                        Photonic Integrated Circuits

                                                                                                        Scope Description:

                                                                                                        Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) generally integrate multiple lithographically defined photonic and electronic components and devices (e.g., lasers, detectors, waveguides/passive structures, modulators, electronic control, and optical interconnects) on a single platform with nanometer-scale feature sizes. PICs can enable size, weight, power, and cost reductions and improve the performance of science instruments, subsystems, and components. PIC technologies are particularly critical for enabling small spacecraft platforms. Proposals are sought to develop PIC technologies including the design and fabrication of PICs that use nanometer-scale structures and optical metamaterials. On-chip generation, manipulation, and detection of light in a single-material system may not be practical or offer the best performance, so hybrid packaging of different material systems are also of interest. This subtopic solicits methods, technology, and systems for development and incorporation of active and passive circuit elements for PICs for:

                                                                                                        • PICs for in situ and remote sensors—NASA application examples include but are not limited to lab-on-a-chip systems for landers, 3D mapping lidar, front end and back end for remote-sensing instruments including trace gas lidars, optical spectrometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers.
                                                                                                        • PICs for analog radiofrequency (RF) applicationsNASA applications require new methods to reduce the size, weight, and power of passive and active microwave signal processing. As an example, PICs having very low insertion loss (e.g., ~1 dB) and high spurious-free dynamic range for analog and RF signal processing and transmission that use monolithic high-Q waveguide micro-resonators or other filters with a few GHz RF passbands. These components should be suitable for designing chip-scale tunable optoelectronic RF oscillator and high-precision optical clock modules. Example applications include terahertz spectroscopy, microwave radiometry, and hyperspectral microwave sounding.

                                                                                                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4
                                                                                                        Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                        Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                                        Level 2: TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors
                                                                                                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                        • Research
                                                                                                        • Analysis
                                                                                                        • Prototype
                                                                                                        • Hardware

                                                                                                        Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                        Phase I does not need to include a physical deliverable to the government but it is best if it includes a demonstration of feasibility through measurements. This can include extensive modeling but a stronger proposal will have measured validation of models or designs.

                                                                                                        Phase II should include prototype delivery to the government. (It is understood that this is a research effort and the prototype is a best effort delivery where there is no penalty for missing performance goals.) The phase II effort should be targeting a commercial product that could be sold to the government and/or industry.

                                                                                                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                        There is a critical gap between discrete and bulk photonic components and waveguide multifunction PICs. The development of PICs permits size, weight, power, and cost reductions for spacecraft microprocessors, communication buses, processor buses, advanced data processing, and integrated optic science instrument optical systems, subsystems, and components. This is particularly critical for small spacecraft platforms.

                                                                                                        Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                        HEOMD—Astronaut health monitoring. 

                                                                                                        SMD—Earth, planetary, and astrophysics compact science instrument (e.g., optical and terahertz spectrometers and magnetometers on a chip).

                                                                                                        STMD—Game-changing technology for small spacecraft communication and navigation (optical communication, laser ranging, and gyroscopes).

                                                                                                        STTR—Exponentially increasing interest and programs at universities and startups in integrated photonics.

                                                                                                        Space Technology Roadmap 6.2.2, 13.1.3, 13.3.7, all sensors, 6.4.1, 7.1.3, 10.4.1, 13.1.3, 13.4.3, 14.3.3

                                                                                                        References:

                                                                                                        1. AIM integrated photonics: http://www.aimphotonics.com.
                                                                                                        2. System-on-Chip Photonic Integrated Circuits. By: Kish, Fred; Lal, Vikrant; Evans, Peter; et al.: IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, vol. 24, issue 1, Article Number 6100120, Published Jan.-Feb. 2018.
                                                                                                        3. Integrated Photonics in the 21st Century. By: Thylen, Lars; Wosinski, Lech: Photonics Research, vol. 2, issue 2, pp. 75-81, Published April 2014.
                                                                                                        4. Photonic Integrated Circuits for Communication Systems. By: Chovan, Jozef; Uherek, Frantisek: Radioengineering, vol. 27, issue 2, pp. 357-363, Published June 2018.
                                                                                                        5. Mid-infrared Integrated Photonics on Silicon: A Perspective. By: Lin, Hongtao; Luo, Zhengqian; Gu, Tian; et al.: Nanophotonics, vol. 7, issue 2, pp. 393-420, Published Feb. 2018.
                                                                                                        6. Photonic Integrated Circuit Based on Hybrid III-V/Silicon Integration. By: de Valicourt, Guilhem; Chang, Chia-Ming; Eggleston, Michael S.; et al.: Journal of Lightwave Technology, vol. 36, issue 2, Special Issue, pp. 265-273, Published Jan. 15, 2018.
                                                                                                        7. Silicon Nitride Photonic Integration Platforms for Visible, Near-Infrared and Mid-Infrared Applications. By: Munoz, Pascual; Mico, Gloria; Bru, Luis A.; et al.: Sensors, vol. 17, issue 9, Article Number 2088, Published Sept. 2017.

                                                                                                         

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                                                                                                    • Lead MD: SMD

                                                                                                      Participating MD(s):

                                                                                                      The NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) seeks technology for cost-effective high-performance advanced space telescopes for astrophysics and Earth science. Astrophysics applications require large aperture light-weight highly reflecting mirrors, deployable large structures and innovative metrology, control of unwanted radiation for high-contrast optics, precision formation flying for synthetic aperture telescopes, and cryogenic optics to enable far infrared telescopes. A few of the new astrophysics telescopes and their subsystems will require operation at cryogenic temperatures as cold as 4 K. This topic will consider technologies necessary to enable future telescopes and observatories collecting electromagnetic bands, ranging from UV to millimeter waves, and also include gravity waves. The subtopics will consider all technologies associated with the collection and combination of observable signals. Earth science requires modest apertures in the 2 to 4 meter size category that are cost effective. New technologies in innovative mirror materials, such as silicon, silicon carbide and nanolaminates, innovative structures, including nanotechnology, and wavefront sensing and control are needed to build telescopes for Earth science.

                                                                                                      • S2.01Proximity Glare Suppression for Astronomical Direct Detection of Exoplanets

                                                                                                          Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                                          Participating Center(s): GSFC

                                                                                                          Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                          Scope Title: Control of scattered starlight with coronagraphs and starshades Scope Description: The goal of this subtopic is to address the unique problem of imaging and spectroscopic characterization of faint astrophysical objects that are located within the obscuring glare of much brighter stellar… Read more>>

                                                                                                          Scope Title:

                                                                                                          Control of scattered starlight with coronagraphs and starshades

                                                                                                          Scope Description:

                                                                                                          The goal of this subtopic is to address the unique problem of imaging and spectroscopic characterization of faint astrophysical objects that are located within the obscuring glare of much brighter stellar sources. Examples include planetary systems beyond our own, the detailed inner structure of galaxies with very bright nuclei, binary star formation, and stellar evolution. Contrast ratios of one million to ten billion over an angular spatial scale of 0.05 to 1.5 arcsec are typical of these objects. Achieving a very low background requires control of both scattered and diffracted light. The failure to control either amplitude or phase fluctuations in the optical train severely reduces the effectiveness of starlight cancellation schemes.

                                                                                                          This innovative research focuses on advances in coronagraphic instruments, starlight cancellation instruments, and potential occulting technologies that operate at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. The ultimate application of these instruments is to operate in space as part of a future observatory mission concepts such as the Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx) and Large Ultraviolet Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR). Measurement techniques include imaging, photometry, spectroscopy, and polarimetry. There is interest in component development and innovative instrument design, as well as in the fabrication of subsystem devices to include, but not limited to, the following areas:

                                                                                                          Starlight Suppression Technologies:

                                                                                                          • Hybrid metal/dielectric and polarization apodization masks for diffraction control of phase and amplitude for coronagraph-scaled starshade experiments.
                                                                                                          • Low-scatter, low-reflectivity, sharp, flexible edges for control of solar scatter in starshades.
                                                                                                          • Low-reflectivity coatings for flexible starshade optical shields.
                                                                                                          • Methods to distinguish the coherent and incoherent scatter in a broadband speckle field.

                                                                                                          Wavefront Measurement and Control Technologies:

                                                                                                          • Small-stroke, high-precision, deformable mirrors and associated driving electronics scalable to 10,000 or more actuators (both to further the state of the art towards flightlike hardware and to explore novel concepts). Multiple deformable mirror technologies in various phases of development and processes are encouraged to ultimately improve the state of the art in deformable mirror technology. Process improvements are needed to improve repeatability, yield, and performance precision of current devices.
                                                                                                          • Multiplexers with ultralow power dissipation for electrical connection to deformable mirrors.
                                                                                                          • Low-order wavefront sensors for measuring wavefront instabilities to enable real-time control and postprocessing of aberrations.
                                                                                                          • Thermally and mechanically insensitive optical benches and systems.

                                                                                                          Optical Coating and Measurement Technologies:

                                                                                                          • Instruments capable of measuring polarization crosstalk and birefringence to parts per million.
                                                                                                          • Polarization-insensitive coatings for large optics.
                                                                                                          • Methods to measure the spectral reflectivity and polarization uniformity across large optics.

                                                                                                          In addition this subtopic solicits proposals to develop components that improve the footprint, robustness, power consumption, reliability, and wavefront quality of high-contrast, low-temporal bandwidth, adaptive optics systems. These include application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) drivers that easily integrate with the deformable mirrors, improved connectivity technologies, as well as high-actuator-count deformable mirrors  with high-quality, ultrastable wavefronts.

                                                                                                          It also seeks coronagraph masks that can be tested in ground-based high-contrast testbeds in place at a number of institutions, as well as devices to measure the masks to inform optical models. The masks include transmissive scalar, polarization-dependent, and spatial apodizing masks, including those with extremely low reflectivity regions that allow them to be used in reflection.

                                                                                                          The subtopic seeks samples of optical coatings that reduce polarization and can be applied to large optics as well as methods and instruments to characterize them over large optical surfaces.

                                                                                                          Finally, for starshades, the subtopic seeks low-reflectivity and potentially diffraction-controlling edges that minimize scattered sunlight while also remaining robust to handling and cleaning.  Low-reflectivity optical coatings that can be applied to the surfaces for the large (hundreds of square meters) optical shield are also desired.

                                                                                                          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                                          Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                          Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                          Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories 
                                                                                                          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                          • Research
                                                                                                          • Analysis
                                                                                                          • Prototype
                                                                                                          • Hardware
                                                                                                          • Software

                                                                                                          Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                          Under this Subtopic a concept study provided as a final report in Phase I is acceptable and a prototype for Phase II is acceptable.

                                                                                                          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                          Coronagraphs have been demonstrated to achieve high contrast in moderate bandwidth in laboratory environments. Starshades will enable even deeper contrast over broader bands but to date have demonstrated deep contrast in narrow band light. The extent to which the telescope optics will limit coronagraph performance is a function of the quality of the optical coating and the ability to control polarization over the full wavefront. Neither of these technologies is well characterized at levels required for 1010 contrast. Wavefront control using deformable mirrors is critical. Controllability and stability to picometer levels is required. To date, deformable mirrors have been up to the task of providing contrast approaching 1010, but they require thousands of wires, and overall wavefront quality and stroke remain concerns.

                                                                                                          Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                          These technologies are directly applicable to the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (NGRST) coronagraph instrument (CGI), and the HabEx and LUVOIR concept studies.

                                                                                                          References:

                                                                                                          See SPIE conference papers and articles published in the Journal of Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation on high-contrast coronagraphy, segmented coronagraph design and analysis, and starshades.

                                                                                                          Websites:

                                                                                                           

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                                                                                                        • S2.02Precision Deployable Optical Structures and Metrology

                                                                                                            Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                                            Participating Center(s): GSFC

                                                                                                            Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                            Scope Title: Assembled Deployable Optical Metering Structures and Instruments Scope Description: Future space astronomy missions from ultraviolet to millimeter wavelengths will push the state of the art in current optomechanical technologies. Size, dimensional stability, temperature, risk,… Read more>>

                                                                                                            Scope Title:

                                                                                                            Assembled Deployable Optical Metering Structures and Instruments

                                                                                                            Scope Description:

                                                                                                            Future space astronomy missions from ultraviolet to millimeter wavelengths will push the state of the art in current optomechanical technologies. Size, dimensional stability, temperature, risk, manufacturability, and cost are important factors, separately and in combination. The Large Ultraviolet Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR) calls for deployed apertures as large as 15 m in diameter; the Origins Space Telescope (OST), for operational temperatures as low as 4 K; and LUVOIR and the Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx), for exquisite optical quality. Methods to construct large telescopes in space are also under development.  Additionally, sunshields for thermal control and starshades for exoplanet imaging require deployment schemes to achieve 30- to 70-m-class space structures.

                                                                                                            This subtopic addresses the need to mature technologies that can be used to fabricate 10- to 20-m-class, lightweight, ambient or cryogenic flight-qualified observatory systems and subsystems (telescopes, sunshields, starshades). Proposals to fabricate demonstration components and subsystems with direct scalability to flight systems through validated models will be given preference. The target launch volume and expected disturbances, along with the estimate of system performance, should be included in the discussion. Novel metrology solutions to establish and maintain optical alignment will also be accepted.

                                                                                                            Technologies including, but not limited to, the following areas are of particular interest:

                                                                                                            Precision structures/materials:

                                                                                                            • Low coefficient of thermal expansion/coefficient of moisture expansion (CTE/CME) materials/structures to enable highly dimensionally stable optics, optical benches, metering structures.
                                                                                                            • Materials/structures to enable deep-cryogenic (down to 4 K) operation.
                                                                                                            • Novel athermalization methods to join materials/structures with differing mechanical/thermal properties.
                                                                                                            • Lightweight materials/structures to enable high-mass-efficiency structures.
                                                                                                            • Precision joints/latches to enable submicron level repeatability.
                                                                                                            • Mechanical connections providing microdynamic stability suitable for robotic assembly.

                                                                                                            Deployable technologies:

                                                                                                            • Precision deployable modules for assembly of optical telescopes (e.g., innovative active or passive deployable primary or secondary support structures).
                                                                                                            • Hybrid deployable/assembled architectures, packaging, and deployment designs for large sunshields and external occulters (20 to 50 m class).
                                                                                                            • Packaging techniques to enable more efficient deployable structures.

                                                                                                            Metrology:

                                                                                                            • Techniques to verify dimensional stability requirements at subnanometer level precisions (10 to 100 pm).
                                                                                                            • Techniques to monitor and maintain telescope optical alignment for on-ground and in-orbit operation.

                                                                                                            A successful proposal shows a path toward a Phase II delivery of demonstration hardware scalable to 5-m diameter for ground test characterization. Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop the relevant subsystem technologies and to transition into future NASA program(s).

                                                                                                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5
                                                                                                            Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                            Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                                            Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories
                                                                                                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                            • Research
                                                                                                            • Analysis
                                                                                                            • Prototype
                                                                                                            • Hardware

                                                                                                            Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                            For Phase I, a successful deliverable would include a demonstration of the functionality and/or performance of a system/subsystem with model predictions to explain observed behavior as well as make predictions on future designs.

                                                                                                            For Phase II this should be demonstrated on units that can be scaled to future flight sizes.

                                                                                                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                            The James Webb Space Telescope, currently set to launch in 2021, represents the state of the art in large deployable telescopes. The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope’s (WFIRST) coronagraph instrument (CGI) will drive telescope/instrument stability requirements to new levels. The mission concepts in the upcoming Astro2020 decadal survey will push technological requirements even further in the areas of deployment, size, stability, lightweighting, and operational temperature. Each of these mission studies have identified technology gaps related to their respective mission requirements.

                                                                                                            Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                            These technologies are directly applicable to the WFIRST CGI and the HabEx, LUVOIR, and OST mission concepts.

                                                                                                            References:

                                                                                                             

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                                                                                                          • S2.03Advanced Optical Systems and Fabrication/Testing/Control Technologies for Extended-Ultraviolet/Optical and Infrared Telescope

                                                                                                              Lead Center: MSFC

                                                                                                              Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC, JPL, LaRC

                                                                                                              Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                              Scope Title: Optical Components and Systems for Large Telescope Missions Scope Description: Accomplishing NASA’s high-priority science at all levels (flagship, probe, Medium-Class Explorers (MIDEX), Small Explorers (SMEX), rocket, and balloon) requires low-cost, ultrastable, normal-incidence… Read more>>

                                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                                              Optical Components and Systems for Large Telescope Missions

                                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                                              Accomplishing NASA’s high-priority science at all levels (flagship, probe, Medium-Class Explorers (MIDEX), Small Explorers (SMEX), rocket, and balloon) requires low-cost, ultrastable, normal-incidence mirror systems with low mass-to-collecting area ratios. Here, a mirror system is defined as the mirror substrate, supporting structure, and associated actuation and thermal management systems. After performance, the most important metric for an advanced optical system is affordability or areal cost (cost per square meter of collecting aperture).
                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Current normal-incidence space mirrors cost $4 million to $6 million per square meter of optical surface area. This research effort seeks to improve the performance of advanced precision optical components while reducing their cost by 5× to 50×, to between $100K/m2 and $1M/m2

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Specific metrics are defined for each wavelength application region:

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              1. Aperture diameter for all wavelengths, except far-infrared (IR):

                                                                                                              • Monolithic: 1 to 8 m
                                                                                                              • Segmented: 3 to 20 m

                                                                                                              2. For ultraviolet (UV)/optical:

                                                                                                              • Areal cost: <$500K/m2
                                                                                                              • Wavefront figure: <5 nm rms (via passive design or active deformation control)
                                                                                                              • Wavefront stability: <10 pm/10 min
                                                                                                              • First mode frequency: 60 to 500 Hz
                                                                                                              • Actuator resolution: <1 nm rms
                                                                                                              • Optical pathlength stability: <1 pm/10,000 sec for precision metrology
                                                                                                              • Areal density: <15 kg/m2 (<35 kg/m2 with backplane)
                                                                                                              • Operating temperature range: 250 to 300 K

                                                                                                              3. For far-IR:

                                                                                                              • Aperture diameter: 1 to 4 m (monolithic) or 5 to 10 m (segmented)
                                                                                                              • Telescope: diffraction-limited at <30 µm at operating temperature 4 K
                                                                                                              • Cryodeformation: <100 nm rms
                                                                                                              • Areal cost: <$500K/m2
                                                                                                              • Production rate: >2 m2 per month
                                                                                                              • Areal density: <15 kg/m2 (<40 kg/m2 with backplane)
                                                                                                              • Thermal conductivity: at 4 K, >2 W/m·K
                                                                                                              • Survivability at temperatures ranging from 315 to 4 K

                                                                                                              4. For extreme ultraviolet (EUV):

                                                                                                              • Surface slope: <0.1 µrad

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Also needed is the ability to fully characterize surface errors and predict optical performance.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Proposals must show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs and present a feasible plan to develop the proposed technology for infusion into a NASA program: suborbital rocket or balloon; competed SMEX or MIDEX; or Decadal-class mission. Successful proposals will demonstrate an ability to manufacture, test, and control ultra-low-cost optical systems that can meet science performance requirements and mission requirements (including processing and infrastructure issues). Material behavior, process control, active and/or passive optical performance, and mounting/deploying issues should be resolved and demonstrated.

                                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                   Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories 
                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                              • Research
                                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                                              • Hardware

                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase I deliverable would be a precision optical system of at least 0.25 m; a relevant subcomponent of a system; a prototype demonstration of a fabrication, test, or control technology leading to a successful Phase II delivery; or a reviewed preliminary design and manufacturing plan that demonstrates feasibility. While detailed analysis will be conducted in Phase II, the preliminary design should address how optical, mechanical (static and dynamic), and thermal designs and performance analyses will be done to show compliance with all requirements. Past experience or technology demonstrations that support the design and manufacturing plans will be given appropriate weight in the evaluation.
                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase II project would further advance the technology to produce a flight-qualifiable optical system greater than 0.5 meters or relevant subcomponent (with a TRL in the 4 to 5 range) or a working fabrication, test, or control system. Phase I and Phase II mirror system or component deliverables would be accompanied by all necessary documentation, including the optical performance assessment and all data on processing and properties of its substrate materials. A successful mission-oriented Phase II would have a credible plan to deliver for the allocated budget a fully assembled and tested telescope assembly that can be integrated into the potential mission as well as demonstrate an understanding of how the engineering specifications of their system meets the performance requirements and operational constraints of the mission (including mechanical and thermal stability analyses).

                                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                              Current normal incidence space mirrors cost $4 million to $6 million per square meter of optical surface area. This research effort seeks a cost reduction for precision optical components by 5× to 50×, to between $100K/m2 and $1M/m2.

                                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                              S2.03 primary supports potential Astrophysics Division missions. S2.03 has made optical systems in the past for potential balloon experiments. Future potential Decadal missions include Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx), Large UV/Optical/Near-IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) and the Origins Space Telescope (OST).

                                                                                                              References:

                                                                                                              The HabEx and LUVOIR space telescope studies are developing concepts for UVOIR space telescopes for exo-Earth discovery and characterization, exoplanet science, general astrophysics and solar system astronomy.

                                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                                              Balloon Planetary Telescope

                                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                                              Astronomy from a stratospheric balloon platform offers numerous advantages. At typical balloon cruise altitudes (100,000 to 130,000 ft.), 99%+ of the atmosphere is below the balloon, and the attenuation due to the remaining atmosphere is small, especially in the near-ultraviolet (NUV) band and in the infrared (IR) bands near 2.7 and 4.25 µm. The lack of atmosphere nearly eliminates scintillation and allows the resolution potential of relatively large optics to be realized, and the small amount of atmosphere reduces scattered light and allows observations of brighter objects even during daylight hours.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Potential balloon science missions are either in the UV/optical (UVO) or in the infrared/far-infrared (IR/FIR). 

                                                                                                              • UVO science missions require a 1-m-class telescope diffraction limited at 500 nm or a primary mirror system that can maintain <10 nm rms surface figure error for elevation angles ranging from 0° to 60° over a temperature range of 220 to 280 K.
                                                                                                              • IR science missions require 1.5-m-class telescopes diffraction limited at 5 µm. 
                                                                                                              • FIR missions require 2-m-class (or larger) telescopes diffraction limited at 50 µm. 

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              In all cases, the telescopes need to achieve:

                                                                                                              • Mass: <300 kg
                                                                                                              • Shock: 10G without damage
                                                                                                              • Elevation: 0° to 60°
                                                                                                              • Temperature: 220 to 280 K

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              For packaging reasons, the primary mirror assembly must have a radius of curvature 3 m (nominal) and a mass <150 kg.

                                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                   Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories 
                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                              • Analysis
                                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                                              • Hardware

                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                              • Phase I will produce a preliminary design and report including initial design requirements such as wavefront error budget, mass allocation budget, structural stiffness requirements, etc. as well as trade studies performed and and analysis that compares the design to the expected performance over the specified operating range. Development challenges shall be identified during Phase I, including trade studies and challenges to be addressed during Phase II with subsystem proof-of-concept demonstration hardware.
                                                                                                              • If Phase II can only produce a subscale component, then it should also produce a detailed final design, including final requirements (wavefront error budget, mass allocation, etc.) and a performance assessment over the specified operating range.

                                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                              Current SOA (state-of-the-art) mirrors made from Zerodur(C) or ULE(C), for example, require lightweighting to meet balloon mass limitations and cannot meet diffraction limited performance over the wide temperature range due to the coefficient of thermal expansion limitations.

                                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                              “Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022”

                                                                                                              • Page 22, last paragraph of NASA Telescope Facilities within the Summary Section:
                                                                                                                Balloon- and rocket-borne telescopes offer a cost-effective means of studying planetary bodies at wavelengths inaccessible from the ground. Because of their modest costs and development times, they also provide training opportunities for would-be developers of future spacecraft instruments. Although NASA’s Science Mission Directorate regularly flies balloon missions into the stratosphere, there are few funding opportunities to take advantage of this resource for planetary science because typical planetary grants are too small to support these missions. A funding line to promote further use of these suborbital observing platforms for planetary observations would complement and reduce the load on the already oversubscribed planetary astronomy program.
                                                                                                              • Page 203, 5th paragraph of section titled Earth and Space-Based Telescopes:
                                                                                                                Significant planetary work can be done from balloon-based missions flying higher than 45,000 ft. This altitude provides access to electromagnetic radiation that would otherwise be absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere and permits high-spatial-resolution imaging unaffected by atmospheric turbulence. These facilities offer a combination of cost, flexibility, risk tolerance, and support for innovative solutions that is ideal for the pursuit of certain scientific opportunities, the development of new instrumentation, and infrastructure support. Given the rarity of giant-planet missions, these types of observing platforms (high-altitude telescopes on balloons and sounding rockets) can be used to fill an important data gap.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Potential advocates include planetary scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), and Southwest Research Institute, etc.

                                                                                                              References:

                                                                                                              • For additional discussion of the advantages of observations from stratosphere platforms, refer to: 
                                                                                                                Dankanich et. al.: “Planetary Balloon-Based Science Platform Evaluation and Program Implementation - Final Report,” available from:  https://ntrs.nasa.gov/ (search for "NASA/TM-2016-218870").
                                                                                                              • Additional information about scientific balloons can be found at: https://www.csbf.nasa.gov/docs.html

                                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                                              Large Ultraviolet/Optical/near-IR (LUVOIR) Surveyor and Habitable Exoplanet (HabEx) Missions

                                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                                              Potential ultraviolet/optical (UVO) missions require 4- to 16-m monolithic or segmented primary mirrors with <5 nm rms surface figures. Active or passive alignment and control is required to achieve system-level diffraction-limited performance at wavelengths less than 500 nm (<40-nm rms wavefront error, WFE). Additionally, a potential exoplanet mission, using an internal coronagraph, requires total telescope wavefront stability on the order of 10 pm rms per 10 min. This stability specification places severe constraints on the dynamic mechanical and thermal performance of 4-m and larger telescope. Potential enabling technologies include: active thermal control systems, ultrastable mirror support structures, athermal telescope structures, athermal mirror struts, ultrastable joints with low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and high stability, and vibration compensation.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Mirror areal density depends upon available launch vehicle capacities to Sun-Earth L2 (i.e., 15 kg/m2 for a 5-m-fairing Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) versus 150 kg/m2 for a 10-m-fairing Space Launch (SLS)). Regarding areal cost, a good goal is to keep the total cost of the primary mirror at or below $100M. Thus, an 8-m-class mirror (with 50 m2 of collecting area) should have an areal cost of less than $2M/m2. And, a 16-m-class mirror (with 200 m2 of collecting area) should have an areal cost of less than $0.5M/m2.
                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Key technologies to enable such a mirror include new and improved:

                                                                                                              • Mirror substrate materials and/or architectural designs.
                                                                                                              • Processes to rapidly fabricate and test UVO quality mirrors.
                                                                                                              • Mirror support structures, joints, and mechanisms that are athermal or have zero CTE at the desired scale.
                                                                                                              • Mirror support structures, joints, and mechanisms that are ultrastable at the desired scale.
                                                                                                              • Mirror support structures with low mass that can survive launch at the desired scale.
                                                                                                              • Mechanisms and sensors to align segmented mirrors to <1 nm rms precisions.
                                                                                                              • Thermal control (<1 mK) to reduce wavefront stability to <10 pm rms per 10 min.
                                                                                                              • Dynamic isolation (>140 dB) to reduce wavefront stability to <10 pm rms per 10 min.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Also needed is the ability to fully characterize surface errors and predict optical performance via integrated optomechanical modeling.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Potential solutions for substrate material/architecture include, but are not limited to: ultra-uniform low-CTE glasses, silicon carbide, nanolaminates, or carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer. Potential solutions for mirror support structure material/architecture include, but are not limited to: additive manufacturing, nature-inspired architectures, nanoparticle composites, carbon fiber, graphite composite, ceramic or SiC materials, etc. Potential solutions for new fabrication processes include, but are not limited to: additive manufacture, direct precision machining, rapid optical fabrication, roller embossing at optical tolerances, slumping, or replication technologies to manufacture 1- to 2-m- (or larger) precision quality components. Potential solutions for achieving the 10-pm wavefront stability include, but are not limited to: metrology, passive, and active control for optical alignment and mirror phasing; active vibration isolation;  metrology; and passive and active thermal control.

                                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                               Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                   Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories 
                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                              • Research
                                                                                                              • Analysis
                                                                                                              • Hardware
                                                                                                              • Software

                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase I deliverable would be a precision optical system of at least 0.25 m; a relevant subcomponent of a system; a prototype demonstration of a fabrication, test, or control technology leading to a successful Phase II delivery; or a reviewed preliminary design and manufacturing plan that demonstrates feasibility. While detailed analysis will be conducted in Phase II, the preliminary design should address how optical, mechanical (static and dynamic), and thermal designs and performance analyses will be done to show compliance with all requirements. Past experience or technology demonstrations that support the design and manufacturing plans will be given appropriate weight in the evaluation.
                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase II project would further advance the technology to produce a flight-qualifiable optical system greater than 0.5 m or relevant subcomponent (with a TRL in the 4 to 5 range) or a working fabrication, test, or control system. Phase I and Phase II mirror system or component deliverables would be accompanied by all necessary documentation, including the optical performance assessment and all data on processing and properties of its substrate materials. A successful mission-oriented Phase II would have a credible plan to deliver for the allocated budget a fully assembled and tested telescope assembly that can be integrated into the potential mission as well as demonstrate an understanding of how the engineering specifications of their system meets the performance requirements and operational constraints of the mission (including mechanical and thermal stability analyses).

                                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                              The precision fabrication of large mirrors is a daunting task. The fabrication process needs to be scaled from the state-of-the-art (SOA) Hubble mirror at 2.4 m both in precision and dimensions of the mirrors.

                                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                              S2.03 primary supports potential Astrophysics Division missions. S2.03 has made optical systems in the past for potential balloon experiments. Future potential Decadal missions include Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx), Large UV/Optical/Near-IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) and the Origins Space Telescope (OST).

                                                                                                              References:

                                                                                                              The HabEx and LUVOIR space telescope studies are developing concepts for UVOIR space telescopes for exo-Earth discovery and characterization, exoplanet science, general astrophysics, and solar system astronomy.

                                                                                                              The OST is a single-aperture far-infrared telescope concept.

                                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                                              Near-Infrared Lidar Beam Expander Telescope

                                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                                              Potential airborne coherent lidar missions need compact 15-cm diameter 20× magnification beam expander telescopes. Potential space-based coherent lidar missions need at least 50-cm 65× magnification beam expander telescopes. Candidate coherent lidar systems (operating with a pulsed 2-µm laser) have a narrow, almost diffraction-limited field-of-view, close to 0.8 lambda/D half angle. Aberrations, especially spherical aberration, in the optical telescope can decrease the signal.
                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Additionally, the telescope beam expander should maintain the laser beam’s circular polarization. The incumbent telescope technology is a Dall-Kirkham beam expander. Technology advance is needed to make the beam expander more compact with less mass while retaining optical performance, and to demonstrate the larger diameter. Additionally, technology for nonmoving scanning of the beam expander output is needed.

                                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 4 
                                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                   Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories 
                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                              • Research
                                                                                                              • Analysis
                                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                                              • Hardware

                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase I deliverable would be a precision optical system of at least 0.15 m or a relevant subcomponent of a system.  While detailed analysis will be conducted in Phase II, the preliminary design should address how optical, mechanical (static and dynamic), and thermal designs and performance analysis will be done to show compliance with all requirements. Past experience or technology demonstrations that support the design and manufacturing plans will be given appropriate weight in the evaluation.
                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase II project would further advance the technology to produce a flight-qualifiable optical system greater than 0.5 m or relevant subcomponent (with a TRL in the 4 to 5 range). Phase I and Phase II system or component deliverables would be accompanied by all necessary documentation, including the optical performance assessment and all data on processing and properties of its substrate materials. A successful mission-oriented Phase II would have a credible plan to deliver for the allocated budget a fully assembled and tested telescope assembly that can be integrated into the potential mission as well as demonstrate an understanding of how the engineering specifications of their system meets the performance requirements and operational constraints of the mission (including mechanical and thermal stability analyses).

                                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                              The current state of the art (SOA) is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) beam expander with a 15-cm-diameter primary mirror, a heavy aluminum structure, an Invar rod providing thermally insensitive primary-to-secondary mirror separation, and a manually adjustable and lockable variable-focus setting by changing the mirror separation. Critical gaps include (1) a 50 -to 70-cm-diameter primary mirror beam expander that features near-diffraction-limited performance; low mass design; minimal aberrations with an emphasis on spherical; characterization of the polarization changes versus beam cross section, assuming input circular polarization; a lockable electronic focus adjustment; both built-in and removable fiducial aids for aligning the input laser beam to the optical axis; and a path to space qualification and (2) a 15-cm-diameter primary mirror beam expander with the same features for airborne coherent lidar systems.

                                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                              Science Mission Directorate (SMD) desires both an airborne coherent-detection wind-profiling lidar systems and space-based wind measurement. The space mission has been recommended to SMD by both the 2007 and 2017 Earth Science Decadal Surveys. SMD has incorporated the wind lidar mission in its planning and has named it "3-D Winds". SMD recently held the Earth Venture Suborbital competition for 5 years of airborne science campaigns. The existing coherent wind lidar at Langley, Doppler Aerosol Wind (DAWN), was included in three proposals that are under review. Furthermore, SMD is baselining DAWN for a second Convective Processes Experiment (CPEX-) type airborne science campaign and for providing calibration/validation assistance to the European Space Agency (ESA) Aeolus space mission. DAWN flies on the DC-8, and it is highly desired to fit DAWN on other NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aircraft. DAWN needs to lower its mass for several of the aircraft, and a low-mass telescope retaining the required performance is needed. Additionally, an electronic remote control of telescope focus is needed to adapt to aircraft cruise altitude and weather conditions during science flights.

                                                                                                              References:

                                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                                              Fabrication, Test, and Control of Advanced Optical Systems

                                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                                              Future ultraviolet (UV)/optical/near-infrared (NIR) telescopes require mirror systems that are very precise and ultrastable.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Regarding precision, this subtopic encourages proposals to develop technology that makes a significant advance in the ability to fabricate and test an optical system.

                                                                                                              One area of current emphasis is the ability to nondestructively characterize coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) homogeneity in 4-m-class Zerodur and 2-m-class ULE mirror substrates to an uncertainty of 1 ppb/K and a spatial sampling of 100×100. This characterization capability is needed to select mirror substrates before they undergo the expense of turning them into a lightweight space mirror.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Regarding stability, to achieve high-contrast imaging for exoplanet science using a coronagraph instrument, systems must maintain wavefront stability to <10 pm rms over intervals of ~10 min during critical observations. The ~10-min time period of this stability is driven by current wavefront sensing and control techniques that rely on stellar photons from the target object to generate estimates of the system wavefront. This subtopic aims to develop new technologies and techniques for wavefront sensing, metrology, and verification and validation of optical system wavefront stability.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Current methods of wavefront sensing include image-based techniques such as phase retrieval, focal-plane contrast techniques such as electric field conjugation and speckle nulling, and low-order and out-of-band wavefront sensing that use nonscience light rejected by the coronagraph to estimate drifts in the system wavefront during observations. These techniques are limited by the low stellar photon rates of the dim objects being observed (~5 to 11 Vmag), leading to 10s of minutes between wavefront control updates.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              New methods may include: new techniques of using out-of-band light to improve sensing speed and spatial frequency content, new control laws incorporating feedback and feedforward for more optimal control, new algorithms for estimating absolute and relative wavefront changes, and the use of artificial guide stars for improved sensing signal-to-noise ratio and speed.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Current methods of metrology include edge sensors (capacitive, inductive, or optical) for maintaining segment cophasing, and laser distance interferometers for absolute measurement of system rigid body alignment. Development of these techniques to improve sensitivity, speed, and component reliability is desired. Low-power, high-reliability electronics are also needed.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Finally, metrology techniques for system verification and validation at the picometer level during integration and test (I&T) are needed. High speed spatial and speckle interferometers are currently capable of measuring single-digit picometer displacements and deformations on small components in controlled environments. Extension of these techniques to large-scale optics and structures in typical I&T environments is needed.

                                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                   Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                   Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories 
                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                              • Research
                                                                                                              • Analysis
                                                                                                              • Hardware
                                                                                                              • Software

                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase I deliverable would be a prototype demonstration of a fabrication, test or control technology leading to a successful Phase II delivery, or a reviewed preliminary design and manufacturing plan that demonstrates feasibility.
                                                                                                              • While detailed analysis will be conducted in Phase II, the preliminary design should address how optical, mechanical (static and dynamic), and thermal designs and performance analyses will be done to show compliance with all requirements. Past experience or technology demonstrations that support the design and manufacturing plans will be given appropriate weight in the evaluation.

                                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                              Wavefront (WF) sensing using star images, including dispersed-fringe and phase-retrieval methods, is at TRL 6, qualified for space by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). WF sensing and control for coronagraphs, including electric field conjugation and low-order WF sensing (LOWFS), is at TRL4 and is being developed and demonstrated by Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope Coronagraph Instrument (WFIRST/CGI).

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Laser-distance interferometers for point-to-point measurements with accuracies from nanometers to picometers have been demonstrated on the ground by the Space Interferometry Mission and other projects, and on orbit by the LISA Pathfinder and Grace Follow-On mission. Application to telescope alignment metrology has been demonstrated on testbeds, to TRL4 for nanometer accuracy. Picometer accuracy for telescopes awaits demonstration.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Edge sensors are in use on segmented ground telescopes but are not yet on space telescopes. New designs are needed to provide picometer sensitivity and millimeter range in a space-qualified package.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Higher order WF sensing for coronagraphs using out-of-band light is beginning development, with data limited to computer simulations.

                                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                              These technologies are enabling for coronagraph-equipped space telescopes, segmented space telescopes, and others that utilize actively controlled optics. The  Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) and Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx) mission concepts currently under study provide good examples.

                                                                                                              References:

                                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                                              Optical Components and Systems for Potential Infrared/Far-Infrared Missions

                                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                                              Far-infrared surveyor mission described in NASA's Astrophysics Roadmap, "Enduring Quests, Daring Visions":

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              In the context of subtopic S2.03, the challenge is to take advantage of relaxed tolerances stemming from a requirement for long-wavelength (30 µm) diffraction-limited performance in the fully integrated optical telescope assembly to minimize the total mission cost through innovative design and material choices and novel approaches to fabrication, integration, and performance verification.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              A far-infrared surveyor is a cryogenic far-infrared (IR) mission, which could be either a large single-aperture telescope or an interferometer. There are many common and a few divergent optical system requirements between the two architectures.

                                                                                                              Common requirements:

                                                                                                              • Telescope operating temperature of ~4 K.
                                                                                                              • Telescope diffraction-limited at 30 µm at the operating temperature.
                                                                                                              • Mirror survivability at temperatures ranging from 315 to 4 K.
                                                                                                              • Mirror substrate thermal conductivity at 4 K of >2 W/m·K.
                                                                                                              • Zero or low CTE mismatch between mirror substrate and backplane.

                                                                                                              Divergent requirements:

                                                                                                              • Large single-aperture telescope:
                                                                                                                • Segmented primary mirror, circular. or hexagonal.
                                                                                                                • Primary mirror diameter 5 to 10 m.
                                                                                                                • Possible 3 degree-of-freedom (tip, tilt, and piston) control of mirror segments on orbit.
                                                                                                              • Interferometer:
                                                                                                                • Monolithic primary mirrors.
                                                                                                                • Afocal, off-axis telescope design.
                                                                                                                • Primary mirror diameter 1 to 4 m.

                                                                                                              Success metrics:

                                                                                                              • Areal cost <$500K/m2.
                                                                                                              • Areal density <15 kg/m2 (<40 kg/m2 with backplane).
                                                                                                              • Production rate >2 m2 per month.
                                                                                                              • Short time span for optical system integration and test.

                                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                              Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                   Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories 
                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                              • Research
                                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                                              • Hardware

                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase I deliverable would be a cryogenic optical system of at least 0.25 m and suitable for a far-infrared mission or a relevant subcomponent of a system. While detailed analysis will be conducted in Phase II, the preliminary design should address how optical, mechanical (static and dynamic), and thermal designs and performance analyses will be done to show compliance with all requirements. Past experience or technology demonstrations that support the design and manufacturing plans will be given appropriate weight in the evaluation.
                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase II project would further advance the technology to produce a flight-qualifiable optical system greater than 0.5 m; a relevant subcomponent (with a TRL in the 4 to 5 range); or a working fabrication, test, or control system. Phase I and Phase II mirror system or component deliverables would be accompanied by all necessary documentation, including the optical performance assessment and all data on processing and properties of its substrate materials. A successful mission-oriented Phase II would have a credible plan to deliver for the allocated budget a fully assembled and tested telescope assembly that can be integrated into the potential mission as well as demonstrate an understanding of how the engineering specifications of their system meets the performance requirements and operational constraints of the mission (including mechanical and thermal stability analyses).

                                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                              Current state of the art (SOA) is represented by the Herschel Space Observatory (3.5-m monolith; SiC) and James Webb Space Telescope (6.5-m segmented primary mirror; beryllium). Technologies are needed to advance the fabrication precision and the size of the mirrors, both monolithic and segmented, beyond the current SOA.

                                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                              The technology is relevant to the Far-Infrared Surveyor mission described in NASA's Astrophysics Roadmap and prioritized in NASA's Program Annual Technology Reports for Cosmic Origins and Physics of the Cosmos. A future NASA far-IR astrophysics mission will answer compelling questions, such as:

                                                                                                              • How common are life-bearing planets? 
                                                                                                              • How do the conditions for habitability develop during the process of planet formation? 
                                                                                                              • How did the universe evolve in response to its changing ingredients (buildup of heavy elements and dust over time)?

                                                                                                              To answer these questions, NASA will need telescopes and interferometers that reach fundamental sensitivity limits imposed by astrophysical background photon noise. Only telescopes cooled to a cryogenic temperature can provide such sensitivity.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Novel approaches to fabrication and test developed for a far-IR astrophysics mission may be applicable to far-IR optical systems employed in other divisions of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD), or to optical systems designed to operate at wavelengths shorter than the far-IR.

                                                                                                              References:

                                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                                              Low-Cost Compact Reflective Telescope for CubeSAT Missions

                                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                                              The need exists for a low-cost, compact (e.g., CubeSAT-class), scalable, diffraction-limited, athermalized, off-axis reflective telescopes.  Typically, specialty optical aperture systems are designed and built as “one-offs,” which are inherently high in cost and often out of scope for smaller projects.  A Phase I would investigate current compact off-axis reflective designs and develop a trade space to identify the most effective path forward.  The work would include a strategy for aperture diameter scalability, athermalization, and low-cost fabrication.  Detailed optical designs would be developed along with detailed structural, thermal, optical performances (STOP) analyses confirming diffraction limited operation across a wide range of operational disturbances, both structural dynamic and thermal. Phase II may follow up with development of prototypes, built at multiple aperture diameters and fidelities.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              This Scope topic solicits solutions for two applications:  near-infrared- and short-wave-infrared- (NIR/SWIR-) band communication and the Lightning Imaging Sensor.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              NIR/SWIR optical-communication-support hardware should be assumed towards an integrated approach, including fiber optics, fast-steering mirrors, and applicable detectors.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              The Lightning Imaging Sensor application requires a telescope that will fit inside a 6U or smaller CubeSAT with an 80° field-of-view, is diffraction limited at 500 nm (nominal), and has high spectral transmission at both 337 and 777 nm.

                                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                 Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                   Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories 
                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                                              • Hardware
                                                                                                              • Analysis

                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase I deliverable would be a prototype unobscured telescope with the required performance and size, or a reviewed preliminary design and manufacturing plan that demonstrates feasibility. While detailed analysis will be conducted in Phase II, the preliminary design should address how optical, mechanical (static and dynamic), and thermal designs and performance analyses will be done to show compliance with all requirements. Past experience or technology demonstrations that support the design and manufacturing plans will be given appropriate weight in the evaluation.
                                                                                                              • An ideal Phase II project would further advance the technology to produce a flight-qualifiable optical system with the required performance for a CubeSAT mission.  Phase I and Phase II mirror system or component deliverables would be accompanied by all necessary documentation, including the optical performance assessment and all data on processing and properties of its substrate materials. A successful mission-oriented Phase II would have a credible plan to deliver for the allocated budget a fully assembled and tested telescope assembly that can be integrated into the potential mission as well as demonstrate an understanding of how the engineering specifications of their system meets the performance requirements and operational constraints of the mission (including mechanical and thermal stability analyses).

                                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                              Currently, the state of the art for reflective optical system for communications applications are:

                                                                                                              1. On-axis or axisymmetric designs are typically used for (space) optical communications and imaging, which inherently are problematic due to the central obscuration.
                                                                                                              2. Off-axis designs provide superior optical performance due to the clear aperture, however, are rarely considered due to complex design, manufacturing, and metrology procedures needed.
                                                                                                              3. Currently flying Lightning Imaging Sensor is a large refractive lens optimized for single-wavelength operation.  A reflective system is required for dual-wavelength operation.  Also, a compact design is required to fit inside a CubeSAT.

                                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                              Optical communications enable high-data-rate downlink of science data. The initial motivation for this scalable off-axis optical design approach is for bringing high-performance reflective optics within reach of laser communication projects with limited resources. However, this exact optical hardware is applicable for any diffraction-limited, athermalized, science imaging application. Any science mission could potentially be able to select from a “catalog” of optical aperture systems that would already have (flight) heritage and reduced risks.

                                                                                                              References:

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Read less>>
                                                                                                            • S2.04X-Ray Mirror Systems Technology, Coating Technology for X-Ray-UV-OIR, and Free-Form Optics

                                                                                                                Lead Center: GSFC

                                                                                                                Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

                                                                                                                Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                Scope Title: X-Ray Mirror Systems Technology, Coating Technology for X-Ray-UV-OIR, and Free-Form Optics Scope Description: The National Academy Astro2010 Decadal Report identifies studies of optical components and ability to manufacture, coat, and perform metrology needed to enable future x-ray… Read more>>

                                                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                                                X-Ray Mirror Systems Technology, Coating Technology for X-Ray-UV-OIR, and Free-Form Optics

                                                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                                                The National Academy Astro2010 Decadal Report identifies studies of optical components and ability to manufacture, coat, and perform metrology needed to enable future x-ray observatory missions.

                                                                                                                The Astrophysics Decadal specifically calls for optical coating technology investment for future ultraviolet (UV), optical, exoplanet, and infrared (IR) missions, and the Heliophysics 2009 Roadmap identifies the coating technology for space missions to enhance rejection of undesirable spectral lines and improve space/solar-flux durability of extreme UV (EUV) optical coatings, as well as coating deposition to increase the maximum spatial resolution.

                                                                                                                Future optical systems for NASA's low-cost missions, CubeSat, and other small-scale payloads, are moving away from traditional spherical optics to nonrotationally symmetric surfaces with anticipated benefits of free-form optics such as fast wide-field and distortion-free cameras.

                                                                                                                This subtopic solicits proposals in the following three focus areas:

                                                                                                                • X-ray manufacturing, coating, testing, and assembling complete mirror systems in addition to maturing the current technology.
                                                                                                                • Coating technology including carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for a wide range of wavelengths from x-ray to IR (x-ray, EUV, Lyman UV (LUV), vacuum UV (VUV), visible, and IR).
                                                                                                                • Free-form optics design, fabrication, and metrology for CubeSat, SmallSat, and various coronagraphic instruments.

                                                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6
                                                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                                Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                                                Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories
                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                • Research
                                                                                                                • Analysis
                                                                                                                • Prototype
                                                                                                                • Hardware
                                                                                                                • Software

                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                Typical deliverables based on sub-elements of this subtopic:

                                                                                                                Phase I: 

                                                                                                                • X-ray optical mirror system: Analysis, reports, prototype.
                                                                                                                • Coating: Analysis, reports, software, demonstration of the concept and prototype.
                                                                                                                • Free-form optics: Analysis, design, software and hardware prototype of optical components.

                                                                                                                Phase II:

                                                                                                                • X-ray optical mirror system: Analysis and prototype.
                                                                                                                • Coating: Analysis, reports, software, demonstration of the concept and prototype.
                                                                                                                • Free-form optics: Analysis, design, software and hardware prototype of optical components

                                                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                This subtopic focuses on three areas of technology development:

                                                                                                                • This work is a very costly and time consuming. Most of SOA (state of the art) requiring improvement is ~10 arcsec angular resolution. SOA straylight suppression is bulky and ineffective for wide-field of view telescopes. We seek significant reduction in both expense and time. Reduce the areal cost of telescope by 2× such that the larger collecting area can be produced for the same cost or half the cost.
                                                                                                                • Coating technology for wide range of wavelengths from x-ray to IR (x-ray, EUV, LUV, VUV, visible, and IR). The current x-ray coating is defined by NuSTAR. Current EV is defined by Heliophysics (80% reflectivity from 60 to 200 nm). Current UVOIR is defined by Hubble. MgFI2 over coated aluminum on 2.4-m mirror. This coating has birefringence concerns and marginally acceptable reflectivity between 100 to 200 nm.
                                                                                                                • Free-form optics design, fabrication, and metrology for package constrained imaging systems. This field is in early stages of development. Improving the optical surfaces with large field of view and fast F/#s is highly desirable.

                                                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                S2.04 supports variety of Astrophysics Division missions. The technologies in this subtopic encompasses fields of x-ray, coating technologies ranging from UV to IR, and free-form optics in preparation for Decadal missions such as HabEx, LUVOIR, and OST.

                                                                                                                Optical components, systems, and stray light suppression for x-ray missions: The 2010 National Academy Decadal Report specifically identifies optical components and the ability to manufacture and perform precise metrology on them needed to enable several different future missions (Next Generation x-ray Optics, NGXO). The National Research Council (NRC) NASA Technology Roadmap Assessment ranked advanced mirror technology for new x-ray telescopes as the #1 Object C technology requiring NASA investment.

                                                                                                                Free-form optics: NASA missions with alternative low-cost science and small-size payload are increasing. However, the traditional interferometric testing as a means of metrology are unsuited to free-form optical surfaces because of changing curvature and lack of symmetry. Metrology techniques for large fields of view and fast F/#s in small-size instruments is highly desirable, specifically if they could enable cost-effective manufacturing of these surfaces (CubeSat, SmallSat, NanoSat, various coronagraphic instruments).

                                                                                                                Coating for x-ray, EUV, LUV, UV, visible, and IR telescopes: Astrophysics Decadal specifically calls for optical coating technology investment for: Future UV/Optical and Exoplanet missions (Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx) or Large Ultraviolet Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR)). Heliophysics 2009 Roadmap identifies optical coating technology investments for: Origins of Near-Earth Plasma (ONEP); Ion-Neutral Coupling in the Atmosphere (INCA); Dynamic Geospace Coupling (DGC); Fine-scale Advanced Coronal Transition-Region Spectrograph (FACTS); Reconnection and Micro-scale (RAM); and Solar-C Nulling polarimetry/coronagraph for exoplanet imaging and characterization, dust and debris disks, extra-galactic studies, and relativistic and nonrelativistic jet studies.

                                                                                                                References:

                                                                                                                The Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx) is a concept for a mission to directly image planetary systems around Sun-like stars. HabEx will be sensitive to all types of planets; however, its main goal is, for the first time, to directly image Earth-like exoplanets, and characterize their atmospheric content. By measuring the spectra of these planets, HabEx will search for signatures of habitability such as water, and be sensitive to gases in the atmosphere possibility indicative of biological activity, such as oxygen or ozone.

                                                                                                                The study pages are available at:

                                                                                                                • Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx): https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/habex/
                                                                                                                • LUVOIR: https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/luvoir/
                                                                                                                • Origins Space Telescope: https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/firs/
                                                                                                                • The LYNX Mission Concept: https://wwwastro.msfc.nasa.gov/lynx/
                                                                                                                • The Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) is a concept for a highly capable, multiwavelength space observatory with ambitious science goals. This mission would enable great leaps forward in a broad range of science, from the epoch of re-ionization, through galaxy formation and evolution, star and planet formation, to solar system remote sensing. LUVOIR also has the major goal of characterizing a wide range of exoplanets, including those that might be habitable—or even inhabited. The LUVOIR Interim Report is available at: 
                                                                                                                  https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/luvoir/
                                                                                                                • The Origins Space Telescope (OST) is the mission concept for the Far-IR Surveyor study. NASA's Astrophysics Roadmap, Enduring Quests, Daring Visions, recognized the need for an Origins Space Telescope mission with enhanced measurement capabilities relative to those of the Herschel Space Observatory, such as a 3-order-of-magnitude gain in sensitivity, angular resolution sufficient to overcome spatial confusion in deep cosmic surveys or to resolve protoplanetary disks, and new spectroscopic capability. The community report is available at:
                                                                                                                   https://science.nasa.gov/science-committee/subcommittees/nac-astrophysics-subcommittee/astrophysics-roadmap

                                                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                                                X-Ray Mirror Systems Technology

                                                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                                                NASA large x-ray observatory requires low-cost, ultrastable, lightweight mirrors with high-reflectance optical coatings and effective stray-light suppression. The current state of the art of mirror fabrication technology for x-ray missions is very expensive and time consuming. Additionally, a number of improvements such as 10 arcsec angular resolutions and 1 to 5 m2 collecting area are needed for this technology. Likewise, the stray-light suppression system is bulky and ineffective for wide-field-of-view telescopes.

                                                                                                                In this area, we are looking to address the multiple technologies including: improvements to manufacturing (machining, rapid optical fabrication, slumping, or replication technologies), improved metrology, performance prediction and testing techniques, active control of mirror shapes, new structures for holding and actively aligning of mirrors in a telescope assembly to enable x-ray observatories while lowering the cost per square meter of collecting aperture and effective design of stray-light suppression in preparation for the Decadal Survey of 2020. Additionally, we need epoxies to bond mirrors that are made of silicon. The epoxies should absorb infrared (IR) radiation (with wavelengths between 1.5 and 6 µm that traverses silicon with little or no absorption) and therefore can be cured quickly with a beam of IR radiation. Currently, x-ray space mirrors cost $4 million to $6 million per square meter of optical surface area. This research effort seeks a cost reduction for precision optical components by 5 to 50 times, to less than $1M to $100K per square meter.

                                                                                                                Additionally, proposals are solicited to develop new advanced-technology computer-numerical-control (CNC) machines to polish inside and/or outside surfaces of full-shell (between 100 and 1,000 mm in height, 100 to 2,800 mm in diameter, varying radial prescription along azimuth, and ~2 mm in thickness), grazing-incidence optics to x-ray quality surface tolerances (with surface figure error <1 arcsec half-power diameter (HPD), radial slope error <1 µrad, and out-of-round <2 µm). Current state-of-the-art technology in CNC polishing of full-shell, grazing-incidence optics yields 2.5 arcsec HPD on the outside of a mandrel used for replicating shells. Technology advances beyond current state of the art include application of CNC and deterministic polishing techniques that (1) allow for direct force closed-loop control, (2) reduce alignment precision requirements, and (3) optimize the machine for polishing cylindrical optics through simplifying the axis arrangement and the layout of the cavity of the CNC polishing machine.

                                                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6
                                                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                                Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                                                Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories
                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                • Research
                                                                                                                • Analysis
                                                                                                                • Prototype
                                                                                                                • Hardware
                                                                                                                • Software

                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                Typical deliverable based on sub-elements of this subtopic:
                                                                                                                X-ray optical mirror system—Demonstration, analysis, reports, software, and hardware prototype:

                                                                                                                • Phase I deliverables:  Reports, analysis, demonstration, and prototype
                                                                                                                • Phase II deliverables: Analysis, demonstration, and prototype

                                                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                X-ray optics manufacturing, metrology, coating, testing, and assembling complete mirror systems in addition to maturing the current technology. This work is very costly and time-consuming. Most of the SOA (state of the art) requiring improvement is ~10 arcsec angular resolution. SOA stray-light suppression is bulky and ineffective for wide-field of view telescopes. We seek a significant reduction in both expense and time. Reduce the areal cost of a telescope by 2× such that the larger collecting area can be produced for the same cost or half the cost.

                                                                                                                The gaps to be covered in this track are:

                                                                                                                • Lightweight, low-cost, ultrastable mirrors for large x-ray observatory.
                                                                                                                • Stray-light suppression systems (baffles) for large advanced x-ray observatories.
                                                                                                                • Ultrastable, inexpensive lightweight x-ray telescope using grazing-incidence optics for high-altitude balloon-borne and rocket-borne mission.

                                                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                The 2010 National Academy Decadal Report specifically identifies optical components and the ability to manufacture and perform precise metrology on them needed to enable several different future missions (Lynx and Advanced X-ray Imaging Satellite (AXIS)).

                                                                                                                The National Research Council NASA Technology Roadmap Assessment ranked advanced mirror technology for new x-ray telescopes as the #1 Object C technology requiring NASA investment.

                                                                                                                References:

                                                                                                                NASA High Energy Astrophysics (HEA) mission concepts including x-ray missions and studies are available at:

                                                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                                                Coating Technology for X-Ray-UV-OIR

                                                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                                                The optical coating technology is a mission-enabling feature that enhances the optical performance and science return of a mission. Lowering the areal cost of coating determines if a proposed mission could be funded in the current cost environment. The most common forms of coating used on precision optics are antireflective (AR) coating and high-reflective (HR) coating.

                                                                                                                The current coating technology of optical components needed to support the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal process. Historically, it takes 10 years to mature mirror technology from TRL 3 to 6.

                                                                                                                To achieve these objectives requires sustained systematic investment.

                                                                                                                The telescope optical coating needs to meet low-temperature operation requirement. It’s desirable to achieve 35 K in future.

                                                                                                                A number of future NASA missions require suppression of scattered light. For instance, the precision optical cube utilized in a beam-splitter application forms a knife-edge that is positioned within the optical system to split a single beam into two halves. The scattered light from the knife-edge could be suppressed by carbon nanotube (CNT) coating. Similarly, the scattered light for gravitational-wave application and lasercom system where the simultaneous transmit/receive operation is required, could be achieved by a highly absorbing coating such as CNT. Ideally, the application of CNT coating needs to:

                                                                                                                • Achieve broadband (visible plus near infrared (IR)) reflectivity of 0.1% or less.
                                                                                                                • Resist bleaching of significant albedo changes over a mission life of at least 10 years.
                                                                                                                • Withstand launch conditions such as vibration, acoustics, etc.
                                                                                                                • Tolerate both high continuous-wave (CW) and pulsed power and power densities without damage: ~10 W for CW and ~0.1 GW/cm2 density, and 1-kW/nsec pulses.
                                                                                                                • Adhere to the multilayer dielectric or protected metal coating, including ion beam sputtering (IBS) coating.

                                                                                                                NASA's Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission on-axis design telescope operates both in transmission and reception simultaneously where the secondary mirror sends the transmitted beam directly back at the receiver. The apodized petal-shaped mask inherently suppress the diffraction once patterned at the center of the secondary mirror.  The emerging cryogenic etching of black-silicon has demonstrated bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) ultralow specular reflectance of 1×10-7 in the range of 500 to 1,064 nm. The advancement of this technology is desired to obtain ultralow reflectivity.

                                                                                                                • Improve the specular reflectance to 1×10-10 and hemispherical reflectance better than 0.1%.
                                                                                                                • Improve the cryogenic etching process to provide a variation of the reflectance (apodization effect) by increasing or decreasing the height of the grass.
                                                                                                                • Explore etching process and duration.

                                                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6
                                                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                                Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                                                Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories
                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                • Research
                                                                                                                • Analysis
                                                                                                                • Prototype
                                                                                                                • Hardware
                                                                                                                • Software

                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                Coating—Analysis, reports, software, demonstration of the concept, and prototype:

                                                                                                                • Phase I deliverables: Report, analysis, demonstration, and prototype.
                                                                                                                • Phase II deliverables: Analysis, demonstration and prototype.

                                                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                Coating Technology (for wide range of wavelengths from x-ray to IR: x-ray, extended UV (EUV), Lyman UV (LUV), vacuum UV (VUV), visible, and IR):

                                                                                                                • The current x-ray coating is defined by Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR).
                                                                                                                • Current EUV is defined by Heliophysics (80% reflectivity from 60 to 200 nm).
                                                                                                                • Current UVOIR is defined by Hubble. MgFI2 overcoated aluminum on 2.4-m mirror. This coating has birefringence concerns and marginally acceptable reflectivity between 100 and 200 nm.

                                                                                                                Metrics for X-Ray:

                                                                                                                • Multilayer high-reflectance coatings for hard x-ray mirrors.
                                                                                                                • Multilayer depth gradient coatings for 5 to 80 keV with high broadband reflectivity.
                                                                                                                • Zero-net-stress coating of iridium or other high-reflectance elements on thin substrates (<0.5 mm).

                                                                                                                Metrics for EUV:

                                                                                                                • Reflectivity >90% from 6 to 90 nm onto a <2 m mirror substrate.

                                                                                                                Metrics for Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR):

                                                                                                                • Broadband reflectivity >70% from 90 to 120 nm (LUV) and >90% from 120 nm to 2.5 µm (VUV/visible/IR).
                                                                                                                • Reflectivity non-uniformity <1% 90 nm to 2.5 µm.
                                                                                                                • Induced polarization aberration <1% 400 nm to 2.5 µm spectral range from mirror coating applicable to a 1- to 8-m substrate.

                                                                                                                Metrics for LISA:

                                                                                                                • HR: Reflectivity >99% at 1,064+/-2 nm with very low scattered light and polarization-independent performance over apertures of ~0.5 m.
                                                                                                                • AR: Reflectivity <0.005% at 1,064+/-2 nm.
                                                                                                                  • Low-absorption, low-scatter, laser-line optical coatings at 1,064 nm.
                                                                                                                  • High reflectivity, R > 0.9995.
                                                                                                                  • Performance in a space environment without significant degradation over time, due for example to radiation exposure or outgassing.
                                                                                                                  • High polarization purity, low optical birefringence over a range of incident angles from ~5° to ~20°.
                                                                                                                  • Low coating noise (thermal, photothermal, etc.) for high-precision interferometric measurements.
                                                                                                                  • Ability to endure applied temperature gradients (without destructive effects, such as delamination from the substrate).
                                                                                                                  • Ability to clean and protect the coatings and optical surfaces during mission integration and testing. Cleaning should not degrade the coating performance.

                                                                                                                Nonstationary Optical Coatings:

                                                                                                                • Used in reflection and transmission that vary with location on the optical surface.

                                                                                                                CNT Coatings:

                                                                                                                • Broadband visible to NIR, total hemispherical reflectivity of 0.01% or less, adhere to the multilayer dielectric or protected metal coating.

                                                                                                                Black-Silicon Cryogenic Etching (new):

                                                                                                                • Broadband UV+visible+NIR+IR, reflectivity of 0.01% or less, adhere to the multilayer dielectric (silicon) or protected metal.

                                                                                                                Software tools to simulate and assist the anisotropic etching by employing variety of modeling techniques such as rigorous coupled wave analysis (RCWA), method of moments (MOM), finite-difference time domain (FDTD), finite element method (FEM), transfer matrix method (TMM), and effective medium theory (ETM).

                                                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                • Coating for x-ray, EUV, LUV, UV, visible, and IR telescopes: Astrophysics Decadal specifically calls for optical coating technology investment for: Future UV/optical and exoplanet missions.
                                                                                                                • Heliophysics 2009 Roadmap identifies optical coating technology investments for: Origins of Near-Earth Plasma (ONEP), Ion-Neutral Coupling in the Atmosphere (INCA), Dynamic Geospace Coupling (DGC), Fine-scale Advanced Coronal Transition-Region Spectrograph (FACTS), Reconnection and Micro-scale (RAM), and Solar-C.
                                                                                                                • LISA requires low-scatter HR coatings and low reflectivity coatings for scatter suppression near 1064 nm. Polarization-independent performance is important.
                                                                                                                • Nulling polarimetry/coronagraphy for exoplanets imaging and characterization, dust and debris disks, extra-galactic studies, and relativistic and nonrelativistic jet studies.

                                                                                                                References:

                                                                                                                Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a space-based gravitational wave observatory building on the success of LISA Pathfinder and Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Led by the European Space Agency (ESA), the new LISA mission (based on the 2017 L3 competition) is a collaboration between ESA and NASA.

                                                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                                                Free-Form Optics

                                                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                                                Future NASA science missions demand wider fields of view in a smaller package. These missions could benefit greatly by free-form optics as they provide nonrotationally symmetric optics, which allow for better packaging while maintaining desired image quality. Currently, the design and fabrication of free-form surfaces is costly. Even though various techniques are being investigated to create complex optical surfaces, small-size missions highly desire efficient small packages with lower cost that increase the field of view and expand operational temperature range of un-obscured systems. In addition to the free-form fabrication, the metrology of free-form optical components is difficult and challenging because of the large departure from planar or spherical shapes accommodated by conventional interferometric testing. New methods such as multibeam low-coherence optical probe and slope sensitive optical probe are highly desirable.

                                                                                                                Specific metrics are:

                                                                                                                • Design: Innovative design methods/tools for free-form systems, including applications to novel reflective optical designs with large fields of view (>30°) and fast F/#s (<2.0).
                                                                                                                • Fabrication: 10-cm-diameter optical surfaces (mirrors) with free-form optical prescriptions >1 mm, spherical departure with surface figure error <10 nm rms, and roughness <5 Angstroms.  10-cm-diameter blazed optical reflective gratings on free-form surface shapes with >1 mm departure from a best-fit-sphere, and grating spacings from 1 to 100 µm.  Larger mirrors are also desired for flagship missions for ultraviolet (UV) and coronagraphy applications, with 10-cm- to 1-m-diameter surfaces having figure error <5 nm rms and roughness <1 Angstroms rms.
                                                                                                                • Metrology: Accurate metrology of "free-form" optical components with large spherical departures (>1 mm), independent of requiring prescription-specific null lenses or holograms.

                                                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6
                                                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                                Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments
                                                                                                                Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories
                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                • Research
                                                                                                                • Analysis
                                                                                                                • Prototype
                                                                                                                • Hardware
                                                                                                                • Software

                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                Optical components—Demonstration, analysis, design, metrology, software, and hardware prototype:

                                                                                                                • Phase I deliverables: Report, analysis, demonstration, and prototype.
                                                                                                                • Phase II deliverables: Analysis, demonstration, and prototype.

                                                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                Free-form optics design, fabrication, and metrology for package constrained imaging systems. This field is in early stages of development. Improving the optical surfaces with large field-of-view and fast F/#s is highly desirable.

                                                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                NASA missions with alternative low-cost science and small-size payload are increasing. However, the traditional interferometric testing as a means of metrology is unsuited to freeform optical surfaces due to changing curvature and lack of symmetry. Metrology techniques for large fields-of-view and fast F/#s in small size instruments are highly desirable specifically if they could enable cost-effective manufacturing of these surfaces. (CubeSat, SmallSat, and NanoSat). Additionally, design studies for large observatories such as Origins Space Telescope (OST) and Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR, currently being proposed for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey) have demonstrated improved optical performance over a larger field-of-view afforded by free-form optics. Such programs will require advances in free-form metrology to be successful.

                                                                                                                References:

                                                                                                                A presentation on application of Freeform Optics at NASA is available at: 

                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                Read less>>
                                                                                                              • S2.05Technology for the Precision Radial Velocity Measurement Technique

                                                                                                                  Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                                                  Participating Center(s): GSFC

                                                                                                                  Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                  Scope Title: Components, Assemblies, and Subsystems for Extreme Precision Radial Velocity Measurements and Detection of Extrasolar Planets Scope Description: Astronomical spectrographs have proven to be powerful tools for exoplanet searches. When a star experiences periodic motion due to the… Read more>>

                                                                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                                                                  Components, Assemblies, and Subsystems for Extreme Precision Radial Velocity Measurements and Detection of Extrasolar Planets

                                                                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                                                                  Astronomical spectrographs have proven to be powerful tools for exoplanet searches. When a star experiences periodic motion due to the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet, its spectrum is Doppler modulated in time. This is the basis for the precision radial velocity (PRV) method, one of the first and most efficient techniques for detecting and characterizing exoplanets. Because spectrographs have their own drifts, which must be separated from the periodic Doppler shift, a stable reference is always needed for calibration. Optical frequency combs (OFCs) and line-referenced etalons are capable of providing the spectral rulers needed for PRV detection of exoplanets. Although “stellar jitter” (a star’s photospheric velocity contribution to the RV signal) is unavoidable, the contribution to the error budget from Earth’s atmosphere would be eliminated in future space missions. Thus, there is a need to develop robust spectral references, especially at visible wavelengths to detect and characterize Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of their Sun-like host stars, with size, weight, and power (SWaP) suitable for space-qualified operation to calibrate the next generation of high-resolution spectrographs with precision corresponding to <~1 cm/s over multiple years of observations.

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                  This subtopic solicits proposals to develop cost-effective component and subsystem technology for low-SWaP, long-lived, robust implementation of RV measurement instruments both on the ground and in space. Research areas of interest include but are not limited to:

                                                                                                                  • Integrated photonic spectrographs.
                                                                                                                  • Spectrograph gratings.
                                                                                                                  • PRV spectrograph calibration sources.
                                                                                                                  • High efficiency photonic lanterns.
                                                                                                                  • Advanced optical fiber delivery systems and subsystems with high levels of image scrambling and modal noise reduction.
                                                                                                                  • Software for advanced statistical techniques to mitigate effects of telluric absorption and stellar jitter on RV precision and accuracy.

                                                                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                  Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                  Level 2: TX 08.2 Observatories 
                                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                  • Hardware
                                                                                                                  • Software

                                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                  • Phase I will emphasize research aspects for technical feasibility, infusion potential into ground or space operations, clear and achievable benefits (e.g., reduction in SWaP and/or cost, improved RV precision), and show a path towards a Phase II proposal. Phase I deliverables include feasibility and concept-of-operations of the research topic, simulations and measurements, validation of the proposed approach to develop a given product (TRL 3 to 4), and a plan for further development of the specific capabilities or products to be performed in Phase II. Early development and delivery of prototype hardware/software is encouraged.
                                                                                                                  • Phase II will emphasize hardware/software development with delivery of specific hardware or software products for NASA targeting demonstration operations at a ground-based telescope in coordination with the lead NASA center. Phase II deliverables include a working prototype or engineering model of the proposed product/platform or software along with documentation of development, capabilities, and measurements (showing specific improvement metrics); and tools as necessary. Proposed prototypes shall demonstrate a path towards a flight-capable platform. Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization or NASA infusion. 

                                                                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                  High-resolving-power spectrographs (R ~ 150,000) with simultaneous UV, visible, and NIR coverage and exquisite long-term stability are required for PRV studies. Classical bulk optic spectrographs traditionally used for PRV science impose architectural constraints due to their large mass and limited optical flexibility. Integrated photonic spectrographs are wafer-thin devices that could reduce instrument volume by up to 3 orders of magnitude. Spectrometers that are fiber fed, with high illumination stability, excellent wavelength calibration, and precise temperature and pressure control represent the immediate future of precision RV measurements.

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                  Traditional RV spectrographs would benefit from improvements in grating technology. Diffraction-limited PRV spectrographs require echelle gratings with low wavefront error and high efficiency, both of which are very challenging to achieve. Echelle spectrographs are designed to operate at high angle-of-incidence and very high diffraction order. Hence, the grating must have very accurate groove placement (for low wavefront error) and very flat groove facets (for high efficiency). For decades, echelle gratings have been fabricated by diamond ruling, but it is difficult to achieve all aspects of the performance required for PRV instruments. Newer grating fabrication techniques using lithographic methods to form the grooves may be a promising approach. As spectrograph stability imposes limits on how precisely RV can be measured, spectral references play a critical role in characterizing and ensuring this precision. Only laser frequency combs (LFCs) and line-referenced Fabry-Pérot etalons are capable of providing the broad spectral coverage and long-term stability needed for extreme PRV detection of exoplanets. Although both frequency combs and etalons can deliver high-precision spectrograph calibration, the former requires relatively complex hardware in the visible portion of the spectrum.

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                  Commercial fiber laser astrocombs covering 450 to 1400 nm at 25 GHz line spacing and <3-dB intensity variations over the entire bandwidth are available for ground-based astronomical spectrographs. However, the cost for these systems is often so prohibitive that recent RV spectrograph projects either do not use a LFC or include it only as a future upgrade. Alternatively, astrocombs produced by electro-optic modulation (EOM) of a laser source have been demonstrated in the NIR. EOM combs produce modes spaced at a radiofrequency (RF) modulation frequency, typically 10 to 30 GHz. Significantly, EOM combs avoid the line filtering step required by commercial mode-locked fiber laser combs. Comb frequency stabilization can be accomplished by referencing the laser pump source to a molecular absorption feature or another frequency comb. Where octave spanning EOM combs are available, f-2f self-referencing provides the greatest stability. EOM combs must be spectrally broadened to provide the bandwidth necessary for PRV applications. This is accomplished through pulse amplification followed by injection into highly nonlinear fiber or nonlinear optical waveguides. 

                                                                                                                  Power consumption of the frequency comb calibration system will be a significant driver of mission cost for space-based PRV systems and motivates the development of a comb system that operates with less than 20 W of spacecraft power. Thus, for flight applications, it is highly desirable to develop frequency comb technology with low power consumption; ~10 to 30 GHz mode spacing; compact size; broad (octave spanning) spectral grasp across both the visible and NIR; low phase noise; stability traceable to the International System of Units definition of the second; and importantly, long life.

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                  The intrinsic illumination stability of the spectrometer also sets a fundamental measurement floor. As the image of the star varies at the entrance to the spectrometer because of atmospheric effects and telescope guiding errors, so too does the recorded stellar spectrum, leading to a spurious RV offset. Current seeing-limited PRV instruments use multimode optical fibers, which provide some degree of azimuthal image scrambling, to efficiently deliver stellar light from the telescope focal plane to the spectrometer input. Novel-core-geometry fibers, in concert with dedicated optical double-scramblers, are often used to further homogenize and stabilize the telescope illumination pattern in both the image and pupil planes. However, these systems still demonstrate measurable sensitivity to incident illumination variations from the telescope and atmosphere. Furthermore, as spectral resolution requirements increase, the commensurate increase in instrument size becomes impractical. Thus, the community has turned to implementing image and pupil slicers to reformat the near or far fields of light entering the spectrometer by preferentially redistributing starlight exiting the fiber to maintain high spectral resolution, efficiency, and compact spectrometer size.

                                                                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                  The NASA Strategic Plan (2018) and Space Mission Directorate Science Plan (2014) both call for discovery and characterization of habitable Earth analogs and the search for biosignatures on those worlds. These goals were endorsed and amplified upon in the recent National Academy of Science (NAS) Exoplanet Report, which emphasized that a knowledge of the orbits and masses is essential to the complete and correct characterization of potentially habitable worlds. PRV measurements are needed to follow up on the transiting worlds discovered by Kepler, K2, and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The interpretation of the transit spectra that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will obtain will depend on knowledge of a planet’s surface gravity, which comes from its radius (from the transit data) and its mass (from PRV measurements or, in some cases, transit timing variations). Without knowledge of a planet's mass, the interpretation of its spectrum is subject to many ambiguities.

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                  These ambiguities will only be exacerbated for the direct-imaging missions such as the proposed Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx) and Large Ultraviolet Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR) flagships, which will obtain spectra of Earth analogs around a few tens to hundreds of stars. Even if a radius can be inferred from the planet's brightness and an estimate of its albedo, the lack of a dynamical mass precludes any knowledge of the planet's density, bulk composition, and surface gravity, which are needed to determine, for example, absolute gas column densities. Moreover, a fully characterized orbit is challenging to determine from just a few direct images and may even be confused in the presence of multiple planets. Is a planet in a highly eccentric orbit habitable or not? Only dynamical (PRV) measurements can provide such information. Thus, highly precise and highly stable PRV measurements are absolutely critical to the complete characterization of habitable worlds.

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                  The NAS report also noted that measurements from space might be a final option if the problem of telluric contamination cannot be solved. The Earth’s atmosphere will limit precise radial velocity measurements to ~10 cm/s at wavelengths longer than ~700 nm and greater than 30 cm/s at wavelengths >900 nm, making it challenging to mitigate the effects of stellar activity without a measurement of the color dependence due to stellar activity in the PRV time series. A space-based PRV mission, such as has been suggested in the NASA EarthFinder mission concept study, may be necessary. If so, the low SWaP technologies developed under this SBIR program could help enable space-based implementations of the PRV method.

                                                                                                                  References:

                                                                                                                  Precision Radial Velocity:

                                                                                                                  Photonic Lanterns:

                                                                                                                  • Gris-Sanchez et al. (2018): Multicore fibre photonic lanterns for precision radial velocity Science, https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article/475/3/3065/4769655
                                                                                                                  • Jvanovic, N. et al. (2012): Integrated photonic building blocks for next-generation astronomical instrumentation I: the multimode waveguide. Optics Express, 20:17029.

                                                                                                                  Astrocombs:

                                                                                                                  • Yi, X. et al. (2016): Demonstration of a near-IR line-referenced electro-optical laser frequency comb for precision radial velocity measurements in astronomy. Nature Communications, 7:10436.
                                                                                                                  • Halverson, S. et al. (2014): The habitable-zone planet finder calibration system. Proc. SPIE 9147, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V, 91477Z, https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2054967
                                                                                                                  • Suh, M.-G., et al. (2019): Searching for exoplanets using a microresonator astrocomb. Nature Photonics, 13(1):25–30.
                                                                                                                  • Obrzud, E., et al. (2019): A Microphotonic Astrocomb. Nature Photonics, 13 (1):31–35.
                                                                                                                  • Metcalf, A., et al. (2019): Stellar Spectroscopy in the Near-infrared with a Laser Frequency Comb, Optica, Vol 6, issue 2.
                                                                                                                  • Lee, S.H., Oh, D.Y., Yang, Q. et al. (2017): Towards visible soliton microcomb generation. Nat Commun 81295.

                                                                                                                  Nonlinear Waveguides:

                                                                                                                  Spectral Flattening:

                                                                                                                   

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                                                                                                              • Lead MD: SMD

                                                                                                                Participating MD(s): STMD

                                                                                                                The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) will carry out the scientific exploration of our Earth, the planets, moons, comets, and asteroids of our solar system, and the universe beyond. SMD’s future direction will be moving away from exploratory missions (orbiters and flybys) into more detailed/specific exploration missions that are at or near the surface (landers, rovers, and sample returns) or at more optimal observation points in space. These future destinations will require new vantage points or would need to integrate or distribute capabilities across multiple assets. Future destinations will also be more challenging to get to, have more extreme environmental conditions and challenges once the spacecraft gets there, and may be a challenge to get a spacecraft or data back from. A major objective of the NASA science spacecraft and platform subsystems development efforts are to enable science measurement capabilities using smaller and lower cost spacecraft to meet multiple mission requirements thus making the best use of our limited resources. To accomplish this objective, NASA is seeking innovations to significantly improve spacecraft and platform subsystem capabilities while reducing the mass and cost that would in turn enable increased scientific return for future NASA missions. A spacecraft bus is made up of many subsystems such as: propulsion; thermal control; power and power distribution; attitude control; telemetry command and control; transmitters/antenna; computers/on-board processing/software; and structural elements. High performance space computing technologies are also included in this focus area. Science platforms of interest could include unmanned aerial vehicles, sounding rockets, or balloons that carry scientific instruments/payloads, to planetary ascent vehicles or Earth return vehicles that bring samples back to Earth for analysis. This topic area addresses the future needs in many of these sub-system areas, as well as their application to specific spacecraft and platform needs. For planetary missions, planetary protection requirements vary by planetary destination, and additional backward contamination requirements apply to hardware with the potential to return to Earth (e.g., as part of a sample return mission). Technologies intended for use at/around Mars, Europa (Jupiter), and Enceladus (Saturn) must be developed so as to ensure compliance with relevant planetary protection requirements. Constraints could include surface cleaning with alcohol or water, and/or sterilization treatments such as dry heat (approved specification in NPR 8020.12; exposure of hours at 115° C or higher, non-functioning); penetrating radiation (requirements not yet established); or vapor-phase hydrogen peroxide (specification pending). The National Academies’ Decadal Surveys for Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science discuss some of NASA’s science mission and technology needs and are available at https://sites.nationalacademies.org/SSB/SSB_052297. In addition, the Heliophysics roadmap “The Solar and Space Physics of a New Era: Recommended Roadmap for Science and Technology 2009­2030” is available at   http://hpde.gsfc.nasa.gov/2009_Roadmap.pdf.

                                                                                                                • S3.05Terrestrial Balloons and Planetary Aerial Vehicles

                                                                                                                    Lead Center: GSFC

                                                                                                                    Participating Center(s): AFRC, JPL

                                                                                                                    Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                    Scope Title: Planetary Aerial Vehicles for Venus Scope Description: NASA is interested in scientific exploration of Venus using aerial vehicles to perform in situ investigations of its atmosphere, surface, and interior structure. The 2019 Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG) Strategic… Read more>>

                                                                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                                                                    Planetary Aerial Vehicles for Venus

                                                                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                                                                    NASA is interested in scientific exploration of Venus using aerial vehicles to perform in situ investigations of its atmosphere, surface, and interior structure. The 2019 Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG) Strategic Plan identified several key science objectives that are ideally suited to aerial platforms. The areas of scientific interest include:
                                                                                                                    Atmospheric Gas Composition, Cloud and Haze Particle Characterization, Atmospheric Structure, Surface Imaging, and Geophysical Investigations.

                                                                                                                    Venus features a challenging atmospheric environment that significantly impacts the design and operation of aerial vehicles. NASA is currently developing concepts for controlled-variable-altitude balloons with payloads of up to 200 kg operating at an altitude range between 52 and 62 km over a latitude range of 0° to +/-60°. Proposals for the following Venus aerial vehicle components are encouraged: (1) Entry, deployment, inflation technologies for a Venus balloon, (2) Instrument sondes, and (3) Helium transfer pump.

                                                                                                                    1. The most critical phase of a Venus balloon mission is the transition from atmospheric entry to a free-flying configuration. Concepts for any or all of the critical phases of the transition are desired: deployment of the balloon from the atmospheric entry vehicle, inflation of the balloon, and separation of the balloon from the inflation system and parachute system.
                                                                                                                    2. Deployment of instrument sondes from the payload could enhance and lengthen the balloon mission operating lifetime by reducing payload mass as lift capability is lost over time. Sondes with a mass up to 5 or 10 kg should be capable of operating for several hours, carry a small science instrument payload, and be able to communicate with the primary balloon mission. The sondes envisioned for this solicitation are categorized into ascending and descending investigations. Ascending science investigations carry small science payloads up to 70 km altitude, and descending science investigations carry a small science payload down to near the surface (i.e., <10 km altitude). Proposals offering both heavier-than-air and lighter-than-air (relative to the Venus atmosphere) solutions are solicited. Furthermore, the sonde concepts may have powered propulsion or unpowered flight. Suggested vehicle types include, but are not limited to:
                                                                                                                      • Solar-heated balloons that would operate on the sunlit side. This kind of sonde would be deployed from the payload gondola, auto-inflate in a free fall through the atmosphere, and attain float as the solar balloon heats from the Sun. This could possibly operate either above or below the primary balloon mission altitude range.
                                                                                                                      • Probes deployed from the payload gondola that perform stabilized vertical descents, gliding descents, powered ascents, or a combination of both ascents and descents.
                                                                                                                    3. A controlled-variable-altitude balloon may use a pump to transfer helium from a zero-pressure balloon into a superpressure balloon. Pumping technologies capable of pumping helium with a pressure rise of 50 kPa at 100 liters per minute are desired. Multistage or parallel flow pump solutions are acceptable for consideration. Light weight and high efficiency are important factors in the pump since it must fly with the balloon payload.

                                                                                                                    It is expected that a Phase I effort will consist of a system-level design and a proof-of-concept experiment on one or more key components. Proposers should be familiar with the atmospheric pressure, temperature, solar, infrared (IR) heating, and corrosion aspects of the Venus atmosphere as described in this call. The atmospheric temperature ranges from -30°C at 62 km to 62°C at 52 km, the pressure ranges from about 18 kPa at 62 km to 80 kPa at 52 km (Venus International Reference Atmosphere, VIRA [see Kliore, 1985]), the solar flux can be as high as 2,300 W/m2 at 62 km, and the IR heat flux coming up from the lower atmosphere can be as high as 830 W/m2 at 52 km [Crisp, 1986]. The sulfuric acid vapor abundance is less than less than 1 ppmv at 52 km and above [Oschlisniok, 2012]. The sulfuric acid liquid aerosols have a concentration between 75% (pH -1.5) and 90% (pH -2.0) [Titov, 2018]. Although the cloud droplets are highly acidic, they are very small, typically in the range of 1 to 10 µm in diameter, and fairly diffuse, with cloud droplet abundance only on the order of 100 droplets/cm3 for the 1-µm-sized particles; and on the order of 10 droplets/cm3 for the larger (r > 3µm) particles. The maximum observed aqueous H2SO4 content in the balloon operating environment is on the order of only 30 mg/m3 [Knollenberg, 1980]. Additional information on the Venus atmospheric environment can be found in the References section.

                                                                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 3 
                                                                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                     Level 1: TX 04 Robotics Systems 
                                                                                                                         Level 2: TX 04.2 Mobility 
                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                    • Research
                                                                                                                    • Analysis
                                                                                                                    • Prototype

                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                    It is expected that a Phase I effort will consist of a system-level design and a proof-of-concept experiment on one or more key components. Deliverable items for Phase I shall be a final report describing the results of the concept analysis and demonstration of any key component technology developed.

                                                                                                                    The Phase II effort will focus on the development of a concept prototype and feasibility testing. Phase II deliverable should include a final report on design concept documentation, test reports, and photos of any prototypes that were built and tested.

                                                                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                    Terrestrial-based aerial vehicles, including lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air vehicles, are mature technologies and continue advancing in capability, reliability, and autonomy. However, these need adaptation for operation in the Venus environment.
                                                                                                                    Several gaps exist in aerial vehicle technology for Venus atmospheric flight:

                                                                                                                    1. There is a strong need for aerial deployment systems for balloons and their payloads since most balloons are launched from the ground and from the upper atmosphere. Methods for deployment may leverage techniques for Mars entry vehicle systems that deploy from an aeroshell and eventually separate from a parachute. However, a balloon inflation inserted into the middle of this sequence is a complicating element and preventing damage to the balloon is paramount.
                                                                                                                    2. Small instrument sondes or vehicles for expanding the exploration range and mission duration have not been sufficiently developed for a Venus mission to be included as part of future mission proposals. Novel vehicles for conducting science that can be deployed from the balloon payload could play an important role in meeting these objectives. The guidance, stabilization, and control of sondes has been identified as a need for collecting images of the surface during a deep atmospheric descent.
                                                                                                                    3. Altitude variation of a balloon requires changing the density of the lifting gas. There are no commercially available pumps in the market today that have the pressure rise and flow rate capabilities needed for a Venus balloon. Most pumps or compressors are not built to be lightweight, which is of critical importance on a balloon mission.

                                                                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                    Relevance: The Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, and the Titan Dragonfly mission show there is significant interest in planetary aerial vehicles for science investigations. It is in NASA's interest through the SBIR program to continue fostering innovative ideas to extend our exploration capabilities by developing technologies for Venus aerial mission concepts.

                                                                                                                    JPL's Solar System Mission Formulation Office and the NASA Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Science Division advocate Venus aerial vehicle platform development. NASA recently completed the Venus Flagship Mission concept study, which included a balloon system for the Planetary Decadal Survey [Gilmore, 2020].

                                                                                                                    Science Traceability: The 2019 VEXAG Venus Strategic Plan identified several key science investigations that are ideally suited to aerial platforms. The areas of scientific interest include: Atmospheric Gas Composition, Cloud and Haze Particle Characterization, Atmospheric Structure, Surface Imaging and Geophysical Investigations. The variable-altitude aerial vehicle platform is ideal for investigating these science goals and objectives. Building the variable-altitude balloon requires the development of several key components as identified in this call.

                                                                                                                    References:

                                                                                                                    • Crisp, D. (1986): “Radiative forcing of the Venus mesosphere I: Solar fluxes and heating rates,” Icarus, 67, 484-514.
                                                                                                                    • Gilmore, M., et al. (2020): “Venus Flagship Mission Planetary Decadal Study,” Planetary Mission Concept Studies Virtual Workshop.
                                                                                                                    • Knollenberg and Hunten (1980): "The microphysics of the clouds of Venus: Results of the Pioneer Venus Particle Size Spectrometer Experiment," JGR, 85:8039-8058, doi:10.1029/JA085iA13p08039.
                                                                                                                    • Oschlisniok, J. et al. (2012): "Microwave absorptivity by sulfuric acid in the Venus atmosphere: First results from the Venus Express Radio Science experiment VeRa," Icarus 221, 940.
                                                                                                                    • Titov, D., Ignatiev, N. I., K. McGouldrick, Wilquet, V., and  Wilson, C. F. (2018): “Venus III: Clouds and hazes of Venus,” Space Sci. Rev. 214, 126.
                                                                                                                    • The VEXAG Strategic Plan 2019 is found at: https://www.lpi.usra.edu/vexag/reports/Combined_VEXAG_Strategic_Documents_Current.pdf
                                                                                                                    • The Venus Atmospheric Properties are available in Kliore, A. J., Moroz, V. I., Keating G. M., Eds. (1985): “The Venus International Reference Atmosphere,” Adv. Space Res., Vol. 5, No. 11, pp 8+305, ISBN 0-08-034631-6.

                                                                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                                                                    Improved Downlink Satellite Communications for Balloons

                                                                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                                                                    Improved downlink bit rates and innovative solutions using satellite relay communications from balloon payloads are needed. Long-duration balloon flights currently utilize satellite communications systems to relay science and operations data from the balloon to ground-based control centers. The current maximum downlink bit rate is 150 kbps, operating continuously during the balloon flight. Future requirements are for bit rates of 1 Mbps or more. Improvements in bit rate performance, reduction in size and mass of existing systems, or reductions in cost of high-bit-rate systems are needed. Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) and Iridium satellite communications are currently used for balloon payload applications. A commercial S-band TDRSS transceiver and a mechanically steered 18 dBi gain antenna provide 150 kbps continuous downlink. TDRSS K-band transceivers are available but are currently cost prohibitive. Open port Iridium service is also in use, but the operational cost is high per byte transferred.

                                                                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 1 to 6 
                                                                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                        Level 1: TX 05 Communications, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization Systems 
                                                                                                                         Level 2: TX 05.5 Revolutionary Communications Technologies 
                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                    • Research
                                                                                                                    • Analysis
                                                                                                                    • Prototype
                                                                                                                    • Hardware
                                                                                                                    • Software

                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                    Phase I: Desired deliverables include: (1) results of analysis or simulation or (2) test results of actual prototype hardware and/or software.

                                                                                                                    Phase II: Deliverables could include a prototype that could be test flown on a balloon mission.

                                                                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                    Current commercially available satellite relays systems that could be used for balloon flight are either too costly or do not provide the needed downlink data rates. Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) and Iridium satellite communications are currently used for balloon payload applications. A commercial S-band TDRSS transceiver and a mechanically steered 18-dBi-gain antenna provide 150 kbps continuous downlink. TDRSS K-band transceivers are available but are currently cost prohibitive. Open port Iridium service is also in use, but the operational cost is high per byte transferred.

                                                                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                    Science Mission Directorate (SMD) - NASA HQ (Astrophysics Division) enables multiple Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES) opportunities, Small Explorer (SMEX) Announcement of Opportunity (AO) (Astrophysics), Astrophysics Mission of Opportunity, and Hands-On Project Experience (HOPE) (annually).

                                                                                                                    Improvements to satellite communications for research balloons would enable greater and better data collection, possibly extended flight duration, and other such potential benefits.

                                                                                                                    References:

                                                                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                                                                    Steerable Recovery/Parachute System

                                                                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                                                                    NASA is looking for an innovative way to reduce the termination dispersions from a few miles to within 1/2 to 1/4 mile of the predicted termination point by the use of a steerable parachute recovery system (SPRS).  The SPRS will need to be able to maneuver around infrastructure (e.g., oil wells, power lines, wind mills), protected areas (e.g., national parks, special habitats), natural resources (e.g., rivers, mountains, lakes), and other areas of interest (e.g., farm land).  The SPRS will need to be provide real-time maneuverability for a science gondola from a remote operations control room using the communications and telemetry systems provided by the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF).  The system should be lightweight, no more than 75 lb including power.

                                                                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 1 to 6 
                                                                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                    Level 1: TX 17 Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C) 
                                                                                                                         Level 2: TX 17.X Other Guidance, Navigation, and Control 
                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                    • Research
                                                                                                                    • Analysis
                                                                                                                    • Prototype

                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                    The deliverables for Phase I include a trade study of the potential systems, a simulation of how each system should work, and a report on the recommendation of one to two systems to be further developed in Phase II.  It is anticipated that these products are achievable given the SBIR time and funding constraints. 

                                                                                                                    The deliverables for Phase II includes an engineering development unit and testing with a report of the results.

                                                                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                    A scientific balloon floats at an average altitude of 110,000 ft or more and carries science payloads up to 8,000 lb.  At the end of a scientific balloon mission, the science payload on the gondola (from this point on “science gondola”) is separated from the balloon and falls to Earth on a parachute following the wind currents at the time of release and lands on cardboard crush pads.  In most cases this allows recovery of the science gondola, though the payload and gondola may be in areas that are hard to reach using conventional recovery trucks.  However, there are rare cases where the science gondola falls either in water or in areas that require special equipment or are difficult for recovery (e.g., inaccessible area).

                                                                                                                    Currently, trajectory predictions for termination are within a few miles and are dependent on models, map overlays (showing restricted air space, national/state parks), and observations from a plane on areas along the trajectory to determine the best area to terminate the balloon and bring the science gondola safely to the ground.  Some items that are considered during the termination discussions are science mission minimums, trajectory predications (e.g., national or state parks, lakes, mountains, rivers, infrastructure, crop lands), weather conditions, and risk to the public.  Current state of the art does not include steerable systems in balloon parachutes.  Success in this endeavor will entail primarily steerability, but this also results frequently in a safety analysis, which will allow more “green lights” for launch than would otherwise be the case.

                                                                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                    This subtopic will be relevant to any mission directorate, commercial entity, or other government agency that drops payloads from an altitude, including the Balloon Program.  Other potentially interested projects include NASA sounding rockets, UAV, and aircraft programs.

                                                                                                                    References:

                                                                                                                    https://patents.google.com/patent/EP1463663A4/en

                                                                                                                    https://www.airforce-technology.com/features/featurejpads-circumventing-gps-for-next-gen-precision-airdrops-4872436/

                                                                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                                                                    Relative Wind Speed Sensor for Scientific Balloons

                                                                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                                                                    A trajectory control system (TCS) for high-altitude scientific ballooning has been a long-term goal of NASA’s Balloon Program Office (BPO). One milestone in the critical path of TCS development is the ability to measure the speed of the winds seen by the gondola during a balloon mission. In addition, NASA has identified wind-speed measurements from a balloon explorer under the TX10.1.2 of the 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy (see References below). Currently, the BPO has no method of measuring relative winds (wind speed relative to the gondola) in situ above ~15 km in altitude for terrestrial applications. Although several methods of wind speed measurement exist for a variety of applications, there is effort required to port those technologies for the conventional balloon float environment. The goal of this technology development is to develop a sensor to meet the following specifications:

                                                                                                                    1. Measure relative wind in three axes (u, v, and w).
                                                                                                                    2. Operate at 4.4 mbar (~36.5 km altitude) or lower pressure.
                                                                                                                    3. Operate in air temperature from -70 to +65 °C.
                                                                                                                    4. Accuracy of 10 cm/s or better.
                                                                                                                    5. Resolution of 5 cm/s or better.
                                                                                                                    6. Sample rate of 1 Hz or faster.
                                                                                                                    7. Power consumption of 30 W or less at steady state.
                                                                                                                    8. Mass of 20 kg or less.
                                                                                                                    9. Withstand shocks of 10g or greater.

                                                                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 6 
                                                                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                         Level 2: TX 08.3 In-Situ Instruments/Sensor 
                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                    • Prototype
                                                                                                                    • Hardware
                                                                                                                    • Software

                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                    Phase I: Deliver a conceptual design package for a prototype unit that meets the design goals and accuracy.

                                                                                                                    Phase II: Deliver a prototype and an accompanying acceptance package that describes the prototype unit in detail and provides experimental validation of the unit having met the design goals and accuracy as well as all accompanying software/firmware required for operation of the sensor.

                                                                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                    Wind speed measurements at balloon float altitudes have several benefits: First, a relative wind sensor will enable the TCS development by providing a means to measure the speed imparted to the balloon by a future TCS concept. Second, science gondolas with fine pointing requirements must point against the relative wind. Currently, a data set of example relative wind does not exist, which requires science groups to design robust control systems for their telescopes or instruments. Third, relative wind is responsible for any convective cooling seen on large structures, such as baffles on telescopes, which is currently poorly understood. In general, relative wind speed measurements will aide in prolonging flights (both with a TCS and by refining flight prediction capabilities) and enable more informed design of gondola structures and heating systems.
                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    Commercially available wind speed sensors (anemometers) have been shown to not be capable of accurately measuring the wind speed above ~15 km in altitude. In addition, this technology (if realized) would enable the development of a trajectory control system for balloon missions, which is critical for achieving the goal of 100-day missions at 36 km in the Southern Hemisphere.

                                                                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                    A relative wind sensor for balloon missions would benefit the Science Mission Directorate (SMD)/Astrophysics mission by furthering the state of the art in sensor technology. In addition, the development of a relative wind sensor is a key milestone in the path towards a trajectory control system for high-altitude balloons. Specifically, NASA’s Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) would benefit from trajectory control while pursuing 100-day flights in the Southern Hemisphere.

                                                                                                                    References:

                                                                                                                    Scientific balloon information: https://sites.wff.nasa.gov/code820/technology_capabilities.html

                                                                                                                    2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy: https://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/taxonomy/index.html

                                                                                                                     

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                                                                                                                  • S3.08Command, Data Handling, and Electronics

                                                                                                                      Lead Center: GSFC

                                                                                                                      Participating Center(s): JPL, LaRC, MSFC

                                                                                                                      Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                      Scope Title: Command, Data Handling, and Electronics Scope Description: NASA's space-based observatories, flyby spacecraft, orbiters, landers, and robotic and sample-return missions require robust command and control capabilities. Advances in technologies relevant to command and data handling and… Read more>>

                                                                                                                      Scope Title:

                                                                                                                      Command, Data Handling, and Electronics

                                                                                                                      Scope Description:

                                                                                                                      NASA's space-based observatories, flyby spacecraft, orbiters, landers, and robotic and sample-return missions require robust command and control capabilities. Advances in technologies relevant to command and data handling and instrument electronics are sought to support NASA's goals and several missions and projects under development.

                                                                                                                      The 2021 subtopic goals are to develop platforms for the implementation of miniaturized highly integrated avionics and instrument electronics that:

                                                                                                                      • Are consistent with the performance requirements for NASA missions.
                                                                                                                      • Minimize required mass/volume/power as well as development cost/schedule resources.
                                                                                                                      • Can operate reliably in the expected thermal and radiation environments.

                                                                                                                      Successful proposal concepts should significantly advance the state of the art. Furthermore, proposals developing hardware should indicate an understanding of the intended operating environment, including temperature and radiation. Note that environmental requirements vary significantly from mission to mission. For example, some low-Earth-orbit missions have a total ionizing dose (TID) radiation requirement of less than 10 krad(Si), whereas planetary missions can have requirements well in excess of 1 Mrad(Si).

                                                                                                                      Specific technologies sought by this subtopic include:

                                                                                                                      • Radiation-hardened mixed-signal structured application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) platforms to enable miniaturized and low-power science sensor readout and control, with sufficient capability to implement 12-bit digital-to-analog converters (DACs) monotonic and 12- to 16-bit digital-to-analog converters (ADCs) (<100 kHz 16-bit and 1 to 2 MHz 12-bit) and also charge-sensitive amplifiers for solid-state detectors and readout integrated circuit (ROIC) for silicon photomultipliers. 
                                                                                                                      • Radiation-hardened ASIC devices to enable direct capture of analog waveforms.  
                                                                                                                      • Multiple-output point-of-load power regulator: This module, preferably implemented utilizing one or more controller ASICs, will source a minimum of three settable output voltages when provided with an input voltage between +5 and +12 V. Output voltages shall be independently settable to any voltage between 3.3 and 0.9 V with efficiency of at least 95%. Regulation, noise filtering, and other operational specifications should be commensurate with industry standards for space-based systems. Output current in the 10 A range to handle field-programmable gate array (FPGA) core requirements. The module should provide standard spacecraft power supply features, including overvoltage protection, fault tolerance, load monitoring, sequencing, synchronization, and soft start and should allow control and status monitoring by a remote power system controller. Using fewer external components is also highly desirable. There is also interest in a capability to provide data over power line communication to the converter for control and monitoring functions. The offeror should determine radiation-tolerance levels achievable utilizing commercially available processes and indicate, in the proposal, the radiation-tolerance goals.
                                                                                                                      • High-density high-reliability interconnections: A high-reliability connector or interconnect mechanism that can operate in space environments (vacuum, vibration) and deliver hundreds of signal/power connections while using as little physical board area as possible is desired. The connector wiring and cabling in addition to the connector shape and size should be considered in providing a complete system that further reduces the size and weight of the harnessing. The design should handle everything from carrying power to high-speed (10+ Gbps) impedance-controlled connections. The design should be scalable in different sizes to accommodate fewer connections and save board space. Low insertion force is desirable. Right angle and stacking design options should be considered.

                                                                                                                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                                                      Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                      Level 1: TX 08 Sensors and Instruments 
                                                                                                                      Level 2: TX 08.3 In-Situ Instruments/Sensor 
                                                                                                                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                      • Prototype
                                                                                                                      • Hardware
                                                                                                                      • Software

                                                                                                                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                      Desired Phase I deliverables include designs, simulations, and analyses to demonstrate viability of proposed components.

                                                                                                                      Desired Phase II deliverables:

                                                                                                                      • For mixed-signal structured ASIC platforms—include a prototype mixed-signal ASIC implemented with a proof-of-concept end-user design. The proof-of-concept design should demonstrate the stated performance capabilities of the ASIC.
                                                                                                                      • For the direct analog waveform capture ASIC—should include a prototype ASIC device implemented on a test board and demonstration of the wave form capture capabilities of the device.
                                                                                                                      • For the multiple output point of load switcher—a prototype multi-output point of load regulator. The regulator should be integrated onto a test board and be performance tested under varying resistive, capacitive, and transient load conditions.
                                                                                                                      • For the high density high-reliability interconnect—prototypes of the connection system (different size, orientations, wiring, etc.). The connector should be integrated onto a test board where its performance (speed, cross talk, etc.) can be verified. 

                                                                                                                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                      There is a need for a broader range of mixed-signal structured ASIC architectures. This includes the need for viable options for mixed ASICs with high-resolution, low-noise analog elements, especially 12-bit DACs and 12- to 16-bit ADCs. The current selection of mixed-signal structured ASICs is limited to 10-bit designs, which do not provide the accuracy or resolution to perform the science required of many of the instruments currently being flown. Mixed-signal structured ASICs can integrate many functions and therefore can save considerable size, weight, and power over discrete solutions—significantly benefiting NASA missions. The lack of parts with high-precision analog is greatly limiting their current application.

                                                                                                                      There are multiple output point-of-load converters available from commercial companies. The existing commercial parts require many external components, eliminating their space savings. Commercial parts are not built on radiation-tolerant processes.

                                                                                                                      Current connectors and interconnect harnessing are too large, especially for small satellites and CubeSats. As the size of the printed circuit boards has shrunk, the percent of board space being used by the input/output (I/O) connectors has become unacceptable. The connectors are taking away from circuitry and sensors that could be providing additional functionality and science products. High-density commercial connectors tend to be lacking in their general ruggedness, outgassing, and ability to prevent intermittent connections in high-vibration environments like orbital launches.

                                                                                                                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                      Mixed-signal structured ASIC architectures are relevant to increasing science return and lowering costs for missions across all Science Mission Directorate (SMD) divisions. However, the benefits are most significant for miniaturized instruments and subsystems that must operate in harsh environments. These missions include interplanetary CubeSats and SmallSats, outer planets instruments, and heliophysics missions to harsh radiation environments. For all missions, the higher accuracy would provide better science or allow additional science through the higher density integration.

                                                                                                                      Multi-output point-of-load converters and high-density high-reliability interconnects are relevant to miniaturizing electronics. Miniaturized flight electronics allows one to fit more functionality into less volume, allowing smaller spacecraft to perform science that was previously done by larger satellites. These missions include interplanetary CubeSats and SmallSats, outer planets instruments, and heliophysics missions.

                                                                                                                      References:

                                                                                                                      The following resources may be helpful for descriptions of radiation effects in electronics:

                                                                                                                       

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                                                                                                                    • S4.03Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions

                                                                                                                        Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                                                        Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC

                                                                                                                        Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                        Scope Title: Critical Technologies for Sample-Return Missions Scope Description: This Subtopic focuses on robotic sample-return (SR) missions that require landing on large bodies (e.g., Luna, Mars Sample Return (MSR)), as opposed to particulate-class SR missions (e.g., Genesis, Hayabusa) or… Read more>>

                                                                                                                        Scope Title:

                                                                                                                        Critical Technologies for Sample-Return Missions

                                                                                                                        Scope Description:

                                                                                                                        This Subtopic focuses on robotic sample-return (SR) missions that require landing on large bodies (e.g., Luna, Mars Sample Return (MSR)), as opposed to particulate-class SR missions (e.g., Genesis, Hayabusa) or touch-and-go (TAG) missions to relatively small asteroids or comets (e.g., OSIRIS-Rex, Hayabusa2). The mission destinations envisioned are dwarf planets (e.g., Vesta, Ceres) and planet or planet moons (e.g., Phobos, Europa). These are the most challenging missions in NASA's portfolio but also the most scientifically promising, given the vast array of instruments available on Earth to study the retrieved samples. The challenges associated with these SR missions may be grouped into four categories: (1) Mass-efficient spacecraft architectures (e.g., efficient propulsion or materials that significantly reduce the mass of the launch payload required), (2) Sample handling (e.g., subsurface acquisition mechanisms), (3) Sample integrity (e.g., surviving reentry), and (4) Planetary protection/contamination control (PP/CC) (e.g., preventing leakage into the orbital sample (OS) canister). This Subtopic seeks potential solutions to areas (1), (3), and (4), considering it best that technologies associated with (2), sample handling, be directed to Subtopic S4.02. The intent is to have this Subtopic S4.03 manage only those technologies in areas (1), (3), and (4) that are specifically related to SR missions; technology solutions related to other classes of missions should instead be directed to Subtopics S4.04 (Extreme Environments) and S4.05 (Contamination Control and Planetary Protection).

                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                        The heightened need for mass-efficient solutions in these SR missions stems from their extreme payload mass “gear ratio.” For example, the entire MSR campaign will require three heavy launch vehicle launches with rough spacecraft mass of 5,000 kg each in order to bring back multiple samples with an estimated total mass of 0.5 kg. Clearly, any mass savings in the ascent vehicle’s gross liftoff mass (GLOM) or in the lander mass, for example, would yield many times more savings in the launch payload mass, enhancing the feasibility of these missions.

                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                        Once acquired, samples must be structurally and thermally preserved through safe landing and transport to Johnson Space Center (JSC) for analyses. Sample integrity technology solutions that address the long, high-radiation return trip, as well as the dynamic and high-temperature environment of reentry, are sought. Potential solutions include near isotropic and crushable high-strength energy-absorbent materials that can withstand the ballistic impact landing. Materials that offer thermal isolation in addition to energy absorption are highly desirable given the reentry environment. In the case of cryogenically preserved samples, the technical challenge includes development of thermal control systems to ensure volatiles are conserved.

                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                        Finally, acquired samples must be chemically and biologically preserved in their original condition. Examples of PP/CC technology solutions sought include:

                                                                                                                        • Materials selection: selection of metallic materials (non-organic) for the interior of the OS capsule as well as materials that allow preferable surface treatments and bake-out sterilization approaches.
                                                                                                                        • Surface science topics: Adsorber coatings/materials for contaminant adsorption (getter-type materials, such as aluminum oxide, porous polymer resin) and/or low-surface-energy materials to minimize contaminant deposition.
                                                                                                                        • Characterization of contamination sources on lander, rover, capsule, ascent vehicle, and orbiter, for design of adequate mitigation measures.

                                                                                                                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6 
                                                                                                                        Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                        Level 1: TX 04 Robotics Systems 
                                                                                                                        Level 2: TX 04.3 Manipulation 
                                                                                                                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                        • Research
                                                                                                                        • Analysis
                                                                                                                        • Prototype

                                                                                                                        Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                        A Phase I deliverable would be a final report that describes the requisite research and detailed design accomplished under the project. 

                                                                                                                        A Phase II deliverable would be successful demonstration of an appropriate-TRL performance test, such as at representative scale and environment, along with all the supporting analyses, design, and hardware specifications.

                                                                                                                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                        The kind of SR missions targeted in this solicitation are those that require landing on an extraterrestrial body. This most challenging kind of SR mission has only been successfully done in the Soviet Luna program that returned 326 g of Moon samples in three missions—out of eleven attempts—in the early 1970s. Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-Rex are TAG SR missions that are expected to return samples in December 2020 from asteroid Ryugu and in September 2023 from asteroid Bennu, respectively. The first segment of NASA's MSR mission is the sample collection rover Perseverance, launch of which took place in July 2020. The MSR sample retrieval segment (lander, fetch rover, Mars Ascent Vehicle) is scheduled to begin Phase A development in October 2020 for a 2026 launch. The third MSR segment will be ESA's Earth return vehicle (ERV).

                                                                                                                        The content and breath of this Solicitation is informed by lessons learned in MSR over the Pre-Phase A years. Future SR missions are in need of technology improvements in each of the critical areas targeted: mass efficiency, sample acquisition, sample integrity, and planetary protection.

                                                                                                                        This solicitation seeks proposals that have the potential to increase the Technology Readiness Level from 3 or 4 to 6 within 5 years, and within the cost constraints of the Phases I, II, and III of this SBIR Program. Such progress would allow full flight qualification of the resulting hardware within 5 to 10 years.

                                                                                                                        Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                        Medium- and large-class SR missions address fundamental science questions such as whether there is evidence of ancient life or prebiotic chemistry in the sampled body. Table S.1 of Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 (2011) correlates ten "Priority Questions" drawn from three Crosscutting Science Themes, with "Missions in the Recommended Plan that Address Them". SR missions are shown to address eight out of the ten questions and cover every crosscutting theme, including Building New Worlds, Planetary Habitats, and Workings of Solar Systems.

                                                                                                                        References:

                                                                                                                        Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022, http://nap.edu/13117

                                                                                                                        Visions into Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022: A Midterm Review (2018), http://nap.edu/25186

                                                                                                                        Mars Sample Return (MSR), https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/mars-sample-return-msr/

                                                                                                                        Comet Nucleus Sample Return (CNSR), https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20180002990

                                                                                                                         

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                                                                                                                      • S4.04Extreme Environments Technology

                                                                                                                          Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                                                          Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC, LaRC

                                                                                                                          Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                          Scope Title: Extreme Environments Technology Scope Description: This subtopic addresses NASA's need to develop technologies for producing space systems that can operate without environmental protection housing in the extreme environments of NASA missions. Key performance parameters of interest are… Read more>>

                                                                                                                          Scope Title:

                                                                                                                          Extreme Environments Technology

                                                                                                                          Scope Description:

                                                                                                                          This subtopic addresses NASA's need to develop technologies for producing space systems that can operate without environmental protection housing in the extreme environments of NASA missions. Key performance parameters of interest are survivability and operation under the following conditions:

                                                                                                                          1. Very low temperature environments (e.g., temperatures at the surface of Titan and of other Ocean Worlds as low as -180 °C; and in permanently shadowed craters on the Moon).
                                                                                                                          2. Combination of low-temperature and radiation environments (e.g., surface conditions at Europa of -180 °C with very high radiation).
                                                                                                                          3. Very high temperature, high pressure, and chemically corrosive environments (e.g., Venus surface conditions, having very high pressure and temperature of 486 °C).

                                                                                                                          NASA is interested in expanding its ability to explore the deep atmospheres and surfaces of planets, asteroids, and comets through the use of long-lived (days or weeks) balloons and landers. Survivability in extreme high temperatures and high pressures is also required for deep atmospheric probes to the giant planets. Proposals are sought for technologies that are suitable for remote-sensing applications at cryogenic temperatures and in situ atmospheric and surface explorations in the high-temperature, high-pressure environment at the Venusian surface (485 °C, 93 atm) or in low-temperature environments such as those of Titan (-180 °C), Europa (-220 °C), Ganymede (-200 °C), Mars, the Moon, asteroids, comets, and other small bodies.

                                                                                                                          Also, Europa-Jupiter missions may have a mission life of 10 years, and the radiation environment is estimated at 2.9 Mrad total ionizing dose (TID) behind 0.1-in-thick aluminum. Proposals are sought for technologies that enable NASA's long-duration missions to extreme wide-temperature and cosmic radiation environments. High reliability, ease of maintenance, low volume, low mass, and low outgassing characteristics are highly desirable. Special interest lies in development of the following technologies that are suitable for the environments discussed above:

                                                                                                                          • Wide-temperature-range precision mechanisms: for example, beam-steering, scanner, linear, and tilting multi-axis mechanisms.
                                                                                                                          • Radiation-tolerant/radiation-hardened low-power, low-noise, mixed-signal mechanism control electronics for precision actuators and sensors.
                                                                                                                          • Wide-temperature-range feedback sensors with sub-arcsecond/nanometer precision.
                                                                                                                          • Long-life, long-stroke, low-power, and high-torque force actuators with sub-arc-second/nanometer precision.
                                                                                                                          • Long-life bearings/tribological surfaces/lubricants.
                                                                                                                          • High-temperature analog and digital electronics, electronic components, and in-circuit energy storage (capacitors, inductors, etc.) elements.
                                                                                                                          • High-temperature actuators and gear boxes for robotic arms and other mechanisms.
                                                                                                                          • Low-power and wide-operating-temperature radiation-tolerant/radiation-hardened radio-frequency (RF) electronics.
                                                                                                                          • Radiation-tolerant/radiation-hardened low-power/ultra-low-power, wide-operating-temperature, low-noise mixed-signal electronics for space-borne systems such as guidance and navigation avionics and instruments.
                                                                                                                          • Radiation-tolerant/radiation-hardened wide-operating-temperature power electronics.
                                                                                                                          • Radiation-tolerant/radiation-hardened electronic packaging (including shielding, passives, connectors, wiring harness, and materials used in advanced electronics assembly).

                                                                                                                          Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.

                                                                                                                          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5
                                                                                                                          Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                                          Level 1: TX 04 Robotics Systems
                                                                                                                          Level 2: TX 04.2 Mobility
                                                                                                                          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                          • Prototype
                                                                                                                          • Hardware
                                                                                                                          • Research
                                                                                                                          • Analysis

                                                                                                                          Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                          Provide research and analysis for Phase I as a final report. 

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                          Deliverables for Phase II include proof-of-concept working prototypes that demonstrate the innovations defined in the proposal and enable direct operation in extreme environments. 

                                                                                                                          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                          Future NASA missions to high-priority targets in our solar system will require systems that have to operate at extreme environmental conditions. NASA missions to the surfaces of Europa and other Ocean Worlds bodies will be exposed to temperatures as low as -180 °C and radiation levels that are at megarad levels. Operation in permanently shadowed craters on the Moon is also a region of particular interest. In addition, NASA missions to the Venus surface and deep atmospheric probes to Jupiter or Saturn will be exposed to high temperatures, high pressures, and chemically corrosive environments.

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                          Current state-of-practice for development of space systems for the above missions is to place hardware developed with conventional technologies into bulky and power-inefficient environmentally protected housings. The use of environmental protection housing will severely increase the mass of the space system and limit the life of the mission and the corresponding science return. This solicitation seeks to change the state of the practice by support technologies that will enable development of lightweight, highly efficient systems that can readily survive and operate in these extreme environments without the need for the environmental protection systems.

                                                                                                                          Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                          Relevance to SMD (Science Mission Directorate) is high.

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                          Low-temperature survivability is required for surface missions to Titan (-180 °C), Europa (-220 °C), Ganymede (-200 °C), small bodies, and comets. Mars diurnal temperatures range from -120 °C to +20 °C. For the Europa Clipper baseline concept with a mission life of 10 years, the radiation environment is estimated at 2.9 Mrad TID behind 0.1-in-thick aluminum. Lunar equatorial region temperatures swing from -180 °C to +130 °C during the lunar day/night cycle, and shadowed lunar pole temperatures can drop to -230 °C.

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                          Advanced technologies for high-temperature systems (electronics, electromechanical, and mechanical) and pressure vessels are needed to ensure NASA can meet its long-duration (days instead of hours) life target for its science missions that operate in high-temperature and high-pressure environments.

                                                                                                                          References:

                                                                                                                          Proceedings of the Extreme Environment Sessions of the IEEE Aerospace Conference, https://www.aeroconf.org/ or via IEEE Xplore Digital Library.

                                                                                                                          Proceedings of the meetings of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG), https://www.lpi.usra.edu/vexag/

                                                                                                                          Proceedings of the meetings of the Outer Planet Assessment Group (OPAG), https://www.lpi.usra.edu/opag/

                                                                                                                           

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                                                                                                                        • S4.05Contamination Control and Planetary Protection

                                                                                                                            Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                                                            Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                            Scope Title: CC and PP Implementation and Verification Scope Description: The planetary protection (PP) and contamination control (CC) subtopic focuses on mission-enabling and capability-driven technologies to improve NASA's ability to prevent forward and backward contamination. Forward… Read more>>

                                                                                                                            Scope Title:

                                                                                                                            CC and PP Implementation and Verification

                                                                                                                            Scope Description:

                                                                                                                            The planetary protection (PP) and contamination control (CC) subtopic focuses on mission-enabling and capability-driven technologies to improve NASA's ability to prevent forward and backward contamination. Forward contamination is the transfer of viable organisms from Earth to another body. Backward contamination is the transfer of material posing a biological threat back to Earth's biosphere. NASA is seeking innovative technologies or applications of technologies to facilitate meeting portions of forward and backward contamination requirements to include:

                                                                                                                            • Improvements to spacecraft cleaning and sterilization that remain compatible with spacecraft materials and assemblies.
                                                                                                                            • Prevention of recontamination and cross contamination throughout the spacecraft lifecycle.
                                                                                                                            • improvements to detection and verification of organic compounds and biologicals on spacecraft, to include microbial detection and assessments for viable organism and deoxyribonucleic-acid- (DNA-) based verification technologies to encompass sampling devices, sample processing, and sample analysis pipelines.
                                                                                                                            • Active in situ recontamination/decontamination approaches (e.g., in situ heating of sample containers to drive off volatiles prior to sample collection) and in situ/in-flight sterilization approaches (e.g., UV or plasma) for surfaces.
                                                                                                                            • Enabling end-to-end sample return functions to assure containment and pristine preservation of materials gathered on NASA missions.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            For CC efforts, understanding contaminants and preventing contamination supports the preservation of sample science integrity and ensures spacecraft function nominally. NASA is seeking analytical and physics-based modeling technologies and techniques to quantify and validate submicron particulate contamination, low-energy surface material coatings to prevent contamination, and modeling and analysis of particles to ensure hardware and instrumentation meet organic contamination requirements.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Examples of outcomes:

                                                                                                                            • End-to-end microbial reduction/sterilization technology for larger spacecraft subsystems.
                                                                                                                            • Microbial reduction/sterilization technology for spacecraft components.
                                                                                                                            • Ground-based biological contamination/recontamination mitigation system that can withstand spacecraft assembly and testing operations.
                                                                                                                            • In-flight spacecraft component-to-component cross-contamination mitigation system.
                                                                                                                            • Viable organism and/or DNA sample collection devices, sample processing (e.g., low biomass extraction), and sample analysis (e.g., bioinformatic pipelines for low biomass).
                                                                                                                            • Real-time, rapid device for detection and monitoring of viable organism contamination on low-biomass surfaces or in cleanroom air.
                                                                                                                            • Bioburden spacecraft cleanliness monitors for assessing surface cleanliness throughout flight and surface operations during missions.
                                                                                                                            • DNA-based system to elucidate abundance, diversity, and planetary protection relevant functionality of microbes present on spacecraft surfaces.
                                                                                                                            • An applied molecular identification technology to tag/label biological contamination on outbound spacecraft.
                                                                                                                            • Low surface area energy coatings.
                                                                                                                            • Molecular adsorbers (“getters”).
                                                                                                                            • Experimental technologies for measurement of outgassing rates lower than 1.0×10-15 g/cm2/s with mass spectrometry, under flight conditions (low and high operating temperatures) and with combined exposure to natural environment (e.g., high-energy radiation, ultraviolet radiation, atomic oxygen exposure).
                                                                                                                            • Physics-based technologies for particulate transport modeling and analysis for continuum, rarefied, and molecular flow environments, with electrostatic, vibro-acoustic, particle detachment and attachment capabilities.
                                                                                                                            • Modeling and analysis technologies for view-factor computation technologies for complex geometries with articulation (e.g., rotating solar arrays, articulating robotic arms).

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 6
                                                                                                                            Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                                            Level 1: TX 07 Exploration Destination Systems
                                                                                                                            Level 2: TX 07.3 Mission Operations and Safety
                                                                                                                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                            • Research
                                                                                                                            • Analysis
                                                                                                                            • Prototype
                                                                                                                            • Hardware
                                                                                                                            • Software

                                                                                                                            Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                            Phase I deliverable: proof-of-concept study for the approach to include data validation and modeling. 

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Phase II: detailed analysis and prototype for testing.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Areas to consider for deliverables are, technologies, approaches, techniques, models, and/or prototypes, including accompanying data validation reports and modeling code demonstrating how the product will enable spacecraft compliance with PP and CC requirements. 

                                                                                                                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                            PP state of the art leverages the technologies resulting from the 1960s to 1970s Viking spacecraft assembly and test era. The predominant means to control biological contamination on spacecraft surfaces is using some combination of heat microbial reduction processing and solvent cleaning (e.g., isopropyl alcohol cleaning). Notably, vapor hydrogen peroxide is a NASA-approved process, but the variability of the hydrogen peroxide concentration, delivery mechanism, and material compatibility concerns still tends to be a hurdle to infuse it on a flight mission with complex hardware and multiple materials for a given component. Upon microbial reduction, the hardware then is protected in a cleanroom environment (ISO 8 or better) using protective coverings when hardware is not being assembled or tested. Biological cleanliness is then verified through the NASA standard assay, which is a culture-based method. Rapid cleanliness assessments can be performed, but are not currently accepted as a verification methodology, to inform engineering staff about biological cleanliness during critical hardware assembly or tests that include the total adenosine triphosphate (tATP) and limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) assays. Terminal sterilization has been conducted with recontamination prevention for in-flight biobarriers employed for the entire spacecraft (Viking) or a spacecraft subsystem (Phoenix spacecraft arm). In addition to the hardware developed approaches for compliance, environmental assessments are implemented to understand recontamination potential for cleanroom surfaces and air. Although the NASA standard assay is performed on the cleanroom surfaces, DNA-based methodologies have been adopted to include 16S and 18S ribosomal-ribonucleic-acid- (rRNA-) targeted sequencing, while metagenomic approaches are currently undergoing development. Thus, the critical PP gaps include the assessment of DNA from low-biomass surfaces (<0.1 ng/µL DNA, using current technologies, from 1 to 5 m2 of surface), sampling devices that are suitable for low biomass and compounds (e.g., viable organisms, DNA) but also compliant with cleanroom and electrostatic discharge limits, quantification of the widest spectrum of viable organisms, enhanced microbial reduction/sterilization modalities that are compatible with flight materials, and a ground- and flight-based recontamination systems.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            CC requirements and practices are also evolving rapidly as mission science objectives targeting detection of organics and life are driving stricter requirements and improved characterization of flight-system- and science-instrument-induced contamination. State-of-the-art CC includes:

                                                                                                                            • Testing and measurement of outgassing rates down to 3.0×1015 g/cm2/s with massspectrometry, under flight conditions (low and high operating temperatures) and with combined exposure to natural environment (high-energy radiation, ultraviolet radiation, atomic oxygen exposure).
                                                                                                                            • Particulate transport modeling and analysis for continuum, rarefied, and molecular flow environments with electrostatic, vibro-acoustic, particle detachment and attachment capabilities.
                                                                                                                            • Modeling and analysis of molecular return flux using direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) and the Bhatnagar–Gross–Krook (BGK) formulations.

                                                                                                                            Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                            Protection requirements has emerged in recent years with increased interest in investigating bodies with the potential for life detection such as Europa, Enceladus, Mars, etc. and the potential for sample return from such bodies. The development of such technologies would enable missions to be able to be responsive to PP requirements as they would be able to assess viable organisms and establish microbial reduction technologies to achieve acceptable microbial bioburden levels for sensitive life detection instruments to prevent inadvertent “false positives,” to ensure compliance sample return planetary protection and science requirements, and to provide a means to comply with probabilistic-based planetary protection requirements for biologically sensitive missions (e.g., outer planets and sample return). 

                                                                                                                            References:

                                                                                                                            Planetary  Protection, https://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov/

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Handbook for the Microbial Examination of Space Hardware, https://explorers.larc.nasa.gov/2019APSMEX/SMEX/pdf_files/NASA-HDBK-6022b.pdf

                                                                                                                             

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                                                                                                                          • Z2.02High-Performance Space Computing Technology

                                                                                                                              Lead Center: JPL

                                                                                                                              Participating Center(s): GSFC

                                                                                                                              Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                              Scope Title: High-Performance Space Computing Technology Scope Description: Most current NASA missions utilize 20-year-old space computing technology that is inadequate for future missions. Newer processors with improved performance are becoming available from industry but still lack the… Read more>>

                                                                                                                              Scope Title:

                                                                                                                              High-Performance Space Computing Technology

                                                                                                                              Scope Description:

                                                                                                                              Most current NASA missions utilize 20-year-old space computing technology that is inadequate for future missions. Newer processors with improved performance are becoming available from industry but still lack the performance, power efficiency, and flexibility needed by the most demanding mission applications. The NASA High-Performance Spaceflight Computing (HPSC) project is addressing these needs. This subtopic solicits technologies that can enable future high-performance, multicore processors, along with the supporting technologies needed to fully implement avionics systems based on these processors.

                                                                                                                              • Runtime system software security: Software support to enable secure boot, signed applications, and runtime system monitoring is needed to ensure the integrity of onboard, real-time computing systems.
                                                                                                                              • Compilers that support software-implemented fault tolerance (SIFT) capabilities (e.g., control flow checking, coordinated checkpoint/rollback, recovery block) for multicore processors are desired.
                                                                                                                              • Technologies are needed to enable radiation-tolerant and fault-tolerant onboard networks with >10 Gbps bandwidth per lane, including intellectual property (IP) cores for endpoints and switches, software stack, and verification and test tools.
                                                                                                                              • A fault-tolerant RISC-V processor IP core is needed that is augmented to provide data parallelism, which is needed to accelerate image processing and science data processing.
                                                                                                                              • Solid-state data recorders are needed that are suitable for operation in the space environment, support the space extensions to Serial Rapid IO, and have redundant interfaces.

                                                                                                                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 6 
                                                                                                                              Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                              Level 1: TX 02 Flight Computing and Avionics 
                                                                                                                              Level 2: TX 02.X Other Flight Computing and Avionics 
                                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                              • Analysis
                                                                                                                              • Prototype
                                                                                                                              • Hardware
                                                                                                                              • Software

                                                                                                                              Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                              Phase I Deliverables:

                                                                                                                              For software and hardware elements, a solid conceptual design, plan for full-scale prototyping, and simulations and testing results to justify prototyping approach. Detailed specifications for intended Phase II deliverables.

                                                                                                                              Phase II Deliverables:

                                                                                                                              For software and hardware elements, a prototype that demonstrates sufficient performance and capability and is ready for future development and commercialization.

                                                                                                                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                              Most NASA missions utilize processors with in-space qualifiable high-performance computing that has high power dissipation (approximately 18 W), and the current state of practice in Technology Readiness Level 9 (TRL-9) space computing solutions have relatively low performance (between 2 and 200 DMIPS (Dhrystone million instructions per second) at 100 MHz). A recently developed radiation-hardened processor provides 5.6 GOPS (giga operations per second) performance with a power dissipation of 17 W.  Neither of these systems provide the performance, the power-to-performance ratio, or the flexibility in configuration, performance, power management, fault tolerance, or extensibility with respect to heterogeneous processor elements. Onboard network standards exist that can provide >10 Gbps bandwidth, but not everything is available to fully implement them.

                                                                                                                              Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                              The HPSC ecosystem is enhancing to most major programs in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD). It is also enabling for key Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) technologies that are needed by HEOMD, including the Safe and Precise Landing - Integrated Capabilities Evolution (SPLICE) project. Within the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), strong mission pull exists to enable onboard autonomy across Earth science, astrophysics, heliophysics, and planetary science missions. There is also relevance to other high-bandwidth processing applications within SMD, including adaptive optics for astrophysics missions and science data reduction for hyperspectral Earth science missions. 

                                                                                                                              References:

                                                                                                                              RISC-V: https://riscv.org/news/2019/09/risc-v-gains-momentum-as-industry-demands-custom-processors-for-new-innovative-workloads/

                                                                                                                              Next Generation Space Interconnect Standard: http://www.rapidio.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/RapidIO-NGSIS-Seminar-July-23-2014.pdf

                                                                                                                              He, J. et al. Provably Correct Systems. Formal Techniques in Real-Time and Fault-Tolerant Systems. pp 288-335. ProCoS. 1994.

                                                                                                                              Reis, G.A. SWIFT: software implemented fault tolerance. International Symposium on Code Generation and Optimization. IEEE. 2004.

                                                                                                                               

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                                                                                                                          • Lead MD: STMD

                                                                                                                            Participating MD(s): HEOMD, STTR

                                                                                                                            The SBIR focus area of Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) includes the suite of technologies for atmospheric entry as well as descent and landing on both atmospheric and non-atmospheric bodies. EDL mission segments are used in both robotic planetary science missions and human exploration missions beyond Low Earth Orbit, and many technologies have application to emerging commercial space capabilities such as lunar landing, low-cost space access, small spacecraft, and asset return.

                                                                                                                            Robust, efficient, and predictable EDL systems fulfill the critical function of delivering payloads to lunar and planetary surfaces through challenging environments, within mass and cost constraints. Future NASA Artemis and planetary science missions will require new technologies to break through historical constraints on delivered mass, enable sustained human presence, or to go to entirely new planets and moons. Even where heritage systems exist, no two planetary missions are exactly “build-to-print,” leading to frequent challenges from environmental uncertainty, risk posture, and resource constraints that can be dramatically improved with investments in EDL technologies. EDL relies on validated models, ground tests, and sensor technologies for system development and certification. Both new capabilities and improved assessment and prediction of state-of-the-art systems are important facets of this focus area.

                                                                                                                            The subtopics in this Focus Area have been renamed, this year, with the intent of more comprehensive coverage of the Entry, Descent, and Landing flight regimes, as well as ground and flight test and instrumentation areas. In future solicitations, the intent is to maintain these four subtopic titles, and to rotate the content within the subtopics as Agency needs and priorities change and as technologies are matured. 

                                                                                                                            The renamed subtopics and their overarching content descriptions are:

                                                                                                                            Z7.01 Entry, Descent and Landing Flight Sensors and Instrumentation: Seeks sensors and components for precision landing and hazard detection, as well as heatshield instrumentation and other EDL flight systems diagnostics and electronics

                                                                                                                            Z7.03 Entry and Descent Systems Technologies: Contains hypersonic materials, aeroshell systems, and modeling advances, including deployable aeroshells for EDL and asset return and recovery. Includes smaller-scale systems appropriate for small spacecraft applications.

                                                                                                                            Z7.04 Landing Systems Technologies: Covers landing engines, plume-surface interaction modeling, testing, and instrumentation, and landing attenuation systems

                                                                                                                            Z7.06 EDL Terrestrial Testing Technologies: Solicits for new diagnostic, characterization, and uncertainty quantification capabilities related to EDL-specific ground test facilities, including arcjets, wind tunnels, shock tubes, and ballistic ranges

                                                                                                                            Please refer to the subtopic write-ups for the specific content and scope solicited this year.

                                                                                                                            • H5.02Hot Structure Technology for Aerospace Vehicles

                                                                                                                                Lead Center: MSFC

                                                                                                                                Participating Center(s): AFRC, JSC, LaRC

                                                                                                                                Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                                Scope Title: Hot Structures Technology for Aerospace Vehicles Scope Description: This subtopic deals with the development of reusable nonmetallic hot structure technology for structural components exposed to extreme heating environments on aerospace vehicles. Desired hot structure systems encompass… Read more>>

                                                                                                                                Scope Title:

                                                                                                                                Hot Structures Technology for Aerospace Vehicles

                                                                                                                                Scope Description:

                                                                                                                                This subtopic deals with the development of reusable nonmetallic hot structure technology for structural components exposed to extreme heating environments on aerospace vehicles. Desired hot structure systems encompass multifunctional structures that can reduce or eliminate the need for active cooling or separate thermal protection system (TPS) materials. The potential advantages of using hot structure systems in place of actively cooled structures or a TPS with underlying cool structure include reduced mass, increased mission performance (such as reusability), improved aerodynamics for aeroshell components, improved structural efficiency, and increased ability for nondestructive inspections. Hot structure is an enabling technology for reusability between missions or mission phases, such as advanced propulsion systems requiring multiple engine firings and vehicles requiring aerocapture/aerobraking followed by entry, descent, and landing. The development of hot structure technology for (a) combustion-device liquid rocket engine propulsion systems and (b) aerodynamic structures for aeroshells, control surfaces, wing leading edges, and heatshields is of great interest. Examples of prior flight-proven hot structures include: (a) the nozzle extension for the Centaur RL10B-2 upper-stage rocket engine, and (b) wing leading edges and control surfaces for the Space Shuttle Orbiter, Hyper-X (X-43A), and/or X-37B.

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                This subtopic seeks to develop innovative, low-cost, damage-tolerant, reusable, and lightweight fiber-reinforced hot structure technology applicable to aerospace vehicles and components exposed to extreme temperatures. At a minimum, materials developed under this subtopic should be capable of operating at a temperature of at least 1,371 °C (2,500 °F)—higher temperatures are of even greater interest, such as up to 2,204+ °C (4,000+ °F). These aerospace vehicle applications are unique in requiring the hot structure to carry primary structure vehicle loads and to be reusable after exposure to extreme temperatures during liquid rocket engine firings and/or atmospheric entry. The material systems of interest for use in developing hot structure technology include advanced carbon-carbon (C-C) and ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials. Potential applications of interest for hot structure technology include: (a) propulsion system components (hot-gas valves, combustion chambers, and nozzle extensions), and (b) primary load-carrying aeroshell structures, control surfaces, leading edges, and heatshields.

                                                                                                                                Proposals should present approaches to address the current need for improvements in operating temperature capability, toughness/durability, reusability, and material system properties, as well as the need to reduce cost and manufacturing time requirements. Focus areas should address one or more of the following:

                                                                                                                                • Improvements in manufacturing processes and/or material designs to achieve repeatable uniform material properties, while minimizing data scatter, that are representative of actual vehicle components: specifically, material property data obtained from flat-panel test coupons should correlate directly to the properties of prototype and flight test articles.
                                                                                                                                • Material/structural architectures and multifunctional systems providing significant toughness and/or durability improvements over typical 2D interlaminar mechanical properties while maintaining in-plane and thermal properties when compared to state-of-the-art C-C or CMC materials. Examples include incorporating through-the-thickness stitching, braiding, or 3D woven preforms. Advancements in oxidation protection that enhance durability are also of interest: matrix inhibition, oxidation resistant matrices, exterior environmental coatings, etc.
                                                                                                                                • Manufacturing process methods that enable a significant reduction in the cost and time required to fabricate materials and components. There is a great need to reduce cost and processing time for hot structure materials and components – current state-of-the-art materials are typically expensive and have fabrication times often in the range of 6 to 12 months, which can limit or exclude the use of such materials. Approaches enabling reduced costs and manufacturing times should not lead, however, to significant reductions in material properties. Advanced manufacturing methods may include but are not limited to the following: (a) rapid densification cycles, (b) high char-yield resins, (c) additive manufacturing (AM), and (d) automated weaving, braiding, layup, etc.

                                                                                                                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                                                                Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                                Level 1: TX 12 Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems, and Manufacturing 
                                                                                                                                Level 2: TX 12.1 Materials 
                                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                                • Prototype
                                                                                                                                • Hardware
                                                                                                                                • Research
                                                                                                                                • Analysis

                                                                                                                                Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                                Research, testing, and analysis should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path towards Phase II hardware demonstrations. Phase I feasibility studies should also address cost and the risks associated with the hot structures technology.

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                In addition to the final report, delivery of a representative sample(s) of the material and/or technology addressed by the Phase I project should be provided at the conclusion of the Phase I contract—for example: (a) coupons appropriate for thermal and/or mechanical material property tests, or (b) arc-jet test specimens. Plans for potential Phase II contracts should include the delivery of manufacturing demonstration units to NASA or a Commercial Space industry partner during Phase II. Testing of such test articles should be a part of the anticipated Phase II effort. Depending upon the emphasis of the Phase II work, such test articles may include subscale nozzle-extension test articles or arc-jet test specimens/hot structure components. 

                                                                                                                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                                The current state of the art for composite hot structure components is limited primarily to applications with maximum use temperatures in the 1,093 to 1,593 °C (2,000 to 2,900 °F) range. While short excursions to higher temperatures are possible, considerable degradation may occur. Reusability is limited and may require considerable inspection before reuse. Critical gaps or technology needs include:(a) increasing operating temperatures to 1,649 to 2,204+ °C (3,000 to 4,000+ °F); (b) increasing resistance to environmental attack (primarily oxidation); (c) increasing manufacturing technology capabilities to improve reliability, repeatability, and quality control; (d) increasing durability/toughness and interlaminar mechanical properties (or introducing 3D architectures); (e) decreasing cost, and (f) decreasing overall manufacturing time required.

                                                                                                                                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                                Hot structure technology is relevant to the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), where the technology can be infused into spacecraft and launch vehicle applications. Such technology should provide either improved performance or enable advanced missions requiring reusability, increased damage tolerance, and the durability to withstand long-duration space exploration missions. The ability to allow for delivery and/or return of larger payloads to various space destinations, such as the lunar South Pole, is also of great interest.

                                                                                                                                The Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Program would be ideal for further funding a prototype hot structure system and technology demonstration effort. Commercial Space programs, such as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS), Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), and Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP), are also interested in this technology for flight vehicles. Additionally, NASA HEOMD programs that could use this technology include the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Human Landing System (HLS) for propulsion applications.

                                                                                                                                Potential NASA users of this technology exist for a variety of propulsion systems, including the following:

                                                                                                                                • Upper-stage engine systems, such as those for the Artemis SLS.
                                                                                                                                • In-space propulsion systems, including nuclear thermal propulsion systems.
                                                                                                                                • Lunar/Mars lander descent/ascent propulsion systems.
                                                                                                                                • Propulsion systems for the Commercial Space industry, which is partnering with and supporting NASA efforts.

                                                                                                                                Finally, the U.S. Air Force is interested in such technology for its National Security Space Launch (NSSL), ballistic missile, and hypersonic vehicle programs. Other non-NASA users include the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  The subject technology can be both enhancing to systems already in use or under development, as well as enabling for applications that may not be feasible without further advancements in high temperature composites technology.

                                                                                                                                References:

                                                                                                                                Liquid Rocket Propulsion Systems:

                                                                                                                                Hypersonic Hot Structures:

                                                                                                                                • "Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) and Hot Structures for Hypersonic Vehicles;" David E. Glass; 15th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Dayton, OH; AIAA-2008-2682; April-May 2008; https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20080017096.pdf
                                                                                                                                • "A Multifunctional Hot Structure Heatshield Concept for Planetary Entry;" Sandra P. Walker, Kamran Daryabeigi, Jamshid A. Samareh, Robert Wagner, and Allen Waters; 20th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Glasgow, Scotland; AIAA 2015-3530; July 2015; https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/pdf/10.2514/6.2015-3530

                                                                                                                                Note: The above references are open literature references.  Other references exist regarding this technology, but they are International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) restricted.  Numerous online references exist for the subject technology and projects/applications noted, both foreign and domestic.

                                                                                                                                 

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                                                                                                                              • T9.02Rapid Development of Advanced High-Speed Aerosciences Simulation Capability

                                                                                                                                  Lead Center: ARC

                                                                                                                                  Participating Center(s): JSC, LaRC

                                                                                                                                  Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                                  Scope Title: Aerothermal Simulation on Advanced Computer Architectures Scope Description: Aerothermodynamic simulations of planetary entry vehicles such as Orion and Dragonfly are complex and time consuming. These simulations, which solve the multispecies, multitemperature Navier-Stokes equations,… Read more>>

                                                                                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                                                                                  Aerothermal Simulation on Advanced Computer Architectures

                                                                                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                                                                                  Aerothermodynamic simulations of planetary entry vehicles such as Orion and Dragonfly are complex and time consuming. These simulations, which solve the multispecies, multitemperature Navier-Stokes equations, require detailed models of the chemical and thermal nonequilibrium processes that take place in high-temperature shock layers. Numerical solution of these models results in a large system of highly nonlinear equations that are exceptionally stiff and difficult to solve efficiently. As a result, aerothermal simulations routinely consume 20 to 50 times the compute resources required by more conventional supersonic computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis, limiting the number of simulations delivered in a typical engineering design cycle to only a few dozen. Moreover, entry system designs are rapidly increasing in complexity, and unsteady flow phenomena such as supersonic retropropulsion are becoming critical considerations in their design. This increases the compute resources required for aerothermal simulation by an additional one to two orders of magnitude, which precludes the delivery of such simulations in engineering-relevant timescales.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  In order to deliver the aerothermal simulations required for NASA’s next generation of entry systems, access to greatly expanded compute resources is required. However, scaling up conventional central processing unit (CPU-) based supercomputers is problematic due to cost and power constraints. Many-core accelerators, such as Nvidia’s general-purpose graphical processing units (GPGPUs), offer increased compute capability with reduced cost and power requirements and are seeing rapid adoption in top-end supercomputers. As of June 2020, 144 of the top 500 fastest supercomputers leveraged accelerators or co-processors, including 6 of the top 10 [1]. All three of the U.S. Department of Energy’s upcoming exascale supercomputers will be accelerated using GPGPUs [2]. NASA has deployed Nvidia v100 GPGPUs to the Pleiades supercomputer [3]. Critically, NASA’s aerothermal simulation tools are fundamentally unable to run on many-core accelerators, and must be reengineered from the ground up to efficiently exploit such devices.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  This scope seeks to revolutionize NASA’s aerothermal analysis capability by developing novel simulation tools capable of efficiently targeting the advanced computational accelerators that are rapidly becoming standard in the world’s fastest supercomputers. A successful solution within this scope would demonstrate efficient simulation of a large-scale aerothermal problem of relevance on an advanced many-core architecture, for example, the Nvidia Volta GPGPU, using a prototype software package.

                                                                                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 5 
                                                                                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                                  Level 1: TX 09 Entry, Descent, and Landing 
                                                                                                                                  Level 2: TX 09.1 Aeroassist and Atmospheric Entry 
                                                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                                  • Software

                                                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                                  The desired deliverable at the conclusion of Phase I is a prototype software package capable of solving the multispecies, multitemperature, reacting Euler equations on an advanced many-core accelerator such as an Nvidia v100 GPGPU. Parallelization across multiple accelerators and across nodes is not required. The solver shall demonstrate offloading of all primary compute kernels to the accelerator, but may do so in a nonoptimal fashion, for example, using managed memory, serializing communication and computation, etc. Some noncritical kernels such as boundary condition evaluation may still be performed on a CPU. The solver shall demonstrate kernel speedups (excluding memory transfer time) when comparing a single accelerator to a modern CPU-based, dual-socket compute node. However, overall application speedup is not expected at this stage. The solver shall be demonstrated for a relevant planetary entry vehicle such as FIRE-II, Apollo, Orion, or the Mars Science Laboratory.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  A successful Phase II deliverable will mature the Phase I prototype into a product ready for mission use and commercialization. Kernels for evaluating viscous fluxes shall be added, enabling computation of laminar convective heat transfer to the vehicle. Parallelization across multiple accelerators and multiple compute nodes shall be added. Good weak scaling shall be demonstrated for large 3D simulations (>10M grid cells). The implementation shall be sufficiently optimized to achieve an ~5x reduction in time-to-solution compared to NASA's Data-Parallel Line Relaxation (DPLR) aerothermal simulation code, assuming each dual-socket compute node is replaced by a single accelerator (i.e., delivered software running on eight GPGPUs shall be 5 times faster than DPLR running on eight modern, dual-socket compute nodes). Finally, the accuracy of the delivered software shall be verified by comparing to the DPLR and/or LAURA codes. The verification study shall consider flight conditions from at least two of the following planetary destinations: Earth, Mars, Titan, Venus, and Uranus/Neptune.

                                                                                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                                  NASA’s existing aerothermal analysis codes (LAURA, DPLR, US3D, etc.) all utilize domain-decomposition strategies to implement coarse-grained, distributed-memory parallelization across hundreds or thousands of conventional CPU cores. These codes are fundamentally unable to efficiently exploit many-core accelerators, which require the use of fine-grained, shared-memory parallelism over hundreds of thousands of compute elements. Addressing this gap requires reengineering our tools from the ground up and developing new algorithms that expose more parallelism and scale well to small grain sizes.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  Many-core accelerated CFD solvers exist in academia, industry, and government. Notable examples are PyFR from Imperial College London [4], the Ansys Fluent commercial solver [5], and NASA Langley’s FUN3D code, which recently demonstrated a 30x improvement in node-level performance using Nvidia v100 GPUs [6]. However, nearly all previous work has focused on perfect gas flow models, which have different algorithmic and resource requirements compared to real gas models. The Sandia Parallel Aerodynamics and Reentry Code (SPARC) solver is the only project of note to have demonstrated efficient real-gas capability at scale using many-core accelerators [7].

                                                                                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                                  This scope is directly relevant to NASA space missions in both HEOMD and SMD with an entry, descent, and landing (EDL) segment. These missions depend on aerothermal CFD to define critical flight environments and would derive large, recurring benefits from a more responsive and scalable simulation capability. This scope also has potential cross-cutting benefits for tools used by ARMD to simulate airbreathing hypersonic vehicles. Furthermore, this scope directly supports NASA’s CFD Vision 2030 Study, which calls for sustained investment to ensure that NASA’s computational aeroscience capabilities can effectively utilize the massively parallel, heterogeneous (i.e., GPU-accelerated) supercomputers expected to be the norm in 2030.

                                                                                                                                  References:

                                                                                                                                  1. Japan Captures TOP500 Crown with Arm-Powered Supercomputer,” June 22, 2020.
                                                                                                                                  2. R. Smith: “El Capitan Supercomputer Detailed: AMD CPUs & GPUs To Drive 2 Exaflops of Compute,” March 4, 2020.
                                                                                                                                  3. NASA HECC Knowledge Base: “New NVIDIA V100 Nodes Available,” 21 June, 2019.
                                                                                                                                  4. F. Witherden, et al.: "PyFR: An Open Source Framework for Solving Advection–Diffusion Type Problems on Streaming Architectures Using the Flux Reconstruction Approach," Computer Physics Comm., vol. 185, no. 11, pp. 3028-3040, 2014.
                                                                                                                                  5. V. Sellappan and B. Desam: "Accelerating ANSYS Fluent Simulations with NVIDIA GPUs," 2015.
                                                                                                                                  6. E. Neilsen, et al.: "Unstructured Grid CFD Algorithms for NVIDIA GPUs," March 2019.
                                                                                                                                  7. M. Howard, et al.: "Employing Multiple Levels of Parallelism for CFD at Large Scales on Next Generation High-Performance Computing Platforms," ICCFD10, Barcelona, Spain, 2018.
                                                                                                                                  8. J. Slotnick, et al.: “CFD Vision 2030 Study: A Path to Revolutionary Computational Aerosciences,” NASA/CR–2014-218178, March 2014.

                                                                                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                                                                                  Robust Aerothermal Simulation of Complex Geometries

                                                                                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                                                                                  NASA’s production aerothermodynamic flow solvers all share a common characteristic: they utilize second-order accurate finite volume schemes to spatially discretize the governing flow equations. Schemes of this type are ubiquitous in modern compressible CFD solvers. They are simple to implement, perform well on current computer architectures, and provide reasonable accuracy for a wide range of problems. Unfortunately, one area where these schemes struggle to deliver high accuracy is at hypersonic speeds when a strong shock wave forms ahead of the vehicle. In such cases, the computed surface heat flux exhibits extreme sensitivity to the design of the computational grid near the shock [1], which must be constructed from cell faces that are either parallel or perpendicular to the shock to minimize error.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  This stringent requirement for shock-aligned grids precludes the use of fully unstructured tetrahedral meshes in aerothermal simulation. While this restriction is manageable for simple or idealized entry systems [2], unstructured grids have significant accuracy and efficiency benefits for complex vehicle geometries, for example, ADEPT, and flow fields, for example, Mars 2020 reaction control system (RCS) firings, where large disparities in length scales must be resolved accurately. Moreover, unstructured grids can be developed much more rapidly and with a much higher degree of automation than traditional structured grid topologies [3]. As such, they are widely used in most other CFD subdisciplines.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  Fortunately, recent research has demonstrated that high-order, finite-element schemes such as the Discontinuous Galerkin (DG) method can achieve high-quality solutions for shock-dominated flows on unstructured grids when appropriate stabilization mechanisms are employed [4][5]. This research also suggests high-order methods are largely insensitive to the choice of the upwind flux function, potentially resolving a long-standing deficiency of second-order finite volume schemes at high speeds. However, while DG methods are robust and commonly applied in subsonic regimes, their continued development for aerothermal applications is hampered by ad hoc implementations in research-level codes.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  This scope seeks to revolutionize NASA’s aerothermal analysis capability by enabling rapid, robust, and highly automated analysis of complex entry systems using fully unstructured tetrahedral grids. A successful solution within this scope would demonstrate accurate simulation of a 3D capsule geometry at conditions relevant to planetary entry using DG or an equivalent numerical scheme in a prototype software package.

                                                                                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 5 
                                                                                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                                  Level 1: TX 09 Entry, Descent, and Landing 
                                                                                                                                  Level 2: TX 09.1 Aeroassist and Atmospheric Entry 
                                                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                                  • Software
                                                                                                                                  • Prototype

                                                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                                  The desired deliverable at the conclusion of Phase I is a prototype software package capable of solving the two-dimensional, multispecies, multitemperature, reacting Euler equations on unstructured triangular grids at planetary entry velocities (>7 km/s). The software shall demonstrate robust capturing of the bow shock ahead of a simple cylinder at a variety of flight conditions without requiring adjustment of algorithm parameters, for example, artificial viscosity scale factors. The postshock flow field shall be free of the numerical noise in the entropy field, which is typical of conventional second-order finite volume schemes on triangular grids. Convergence to machine precision shall be demonstrated for all calculations.

                                                                                                                                  A successful Phase II deliverable will mature the Phase I prototype into a product ready for use on mission-relevant engineering problems. Extension to the laminar, multispecies, multitemperature Navier-Stokes equations shall be implemented. Extension to three spatial dimensions using unstructured tetrahedral grids shall be implemented, with efficient multinode parallelization targeting modern high-performance computing (HPC) platforms such as the NASA Pleiades supercomputer. The software shall be demonstrated on a range of planetary entry problems that include at least two of the following destinations: Earth, Mars, Titan, Venus, and Uranus/Neptune. Surface heat flux predictions shall be verified by comparison with NASA's DPLR and/or LAURA simulation codes, and must be free of numerical noise typically observed when using second-order finite volume codes on unstructured tetrahedral grids. Computational performance, as measured by total time-to-solution for a given heat flux accuracy, shall be characterized and compared to DPLR/LAURA, but no specific performance targets are required.

                                                                                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                                  Multiple academic [4][5][6][7] and NASA [8] groups have demonstrated promising results when using high-order DG/finite element methods (FEMs) to perform steady-state aerothermodynamic analysis at conditions relevant to planetary entry. The bulk of these studies were conducted using structured grids with some degree of shock alignment (though not sufficient alignment to support a second-order finite volume scheme). However, [4] and [5] demonstrate equally accurate results on fully unstructured grids, suggesting that their technologies are capable of meeting the objectives of this scope. An additional shortcoming of current research is that all efforts examine the same 5 km/s flight condition (relatively slow for planetary entry) with simplistic, nonionized flow models. An infusion of resources is needed to mature these promising algorithms into scalable, production-ready software that can be tested across a full entry trajectory with best-practice thermochemical models.

                                                                                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                                  This scope is directly relevant to NASA space missions in both Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) and Science Mission Directorate (SMD) with an EDL segment. These missions depend on aerothermal CFD to define critical flight environments and would see significant, sustained reductions in cost and time-to-first-solution if an effective unstructured simulation capability is deployed. This scope also has strong crosscutting benefits for tools used by ARMD to simulate airbreathing hypersonic vehicles, which have stringent accuracy requirements similar to those in aerothermodynamics. Finally, this scope aligns with NASA’s CFD Vision 2030 Study, which calls for a “much higher degree of automation in all steps of the analysis process” with the ultimate goal of making “mesh generation and adaptation less burdensome and, ultimately, invisible to the CFD process.” In order for the aerothermal community to realize these goals, we must eliminate our dependence on manually designed, carefully tailored, block structured grids. This scope is an enabling technology for that transition.

                                                                                                                                  References:

                                                                                                                                  1. Candler, et al.: “Unstructured Grid Approaches for Accurate Aeroheating Simulations.” AIAA-2007-3959, 2007.
                                                                                                                                  2. Saunders, et al.: “An Approach to Shock Envelope Grid Tailoring and Its Effect on Reentry Vehicle Solutions.” AIAA 2007-0207, 2007.
                                                                                                                                  3. Kleb, et al.: “Sketch-to-Solution: A Case Study in RCS Aerodynamic Interaction.” AIAA-2020-067, 2020.
                                                                                                                                  4. Ching, et al.: “Shock Capturing for Discontinuous Galerkin Methods With Application to Predicting Heat Transfer in Hypersonic Flows.” Journal of Computational Physics, Issue 376, pp. 54-75, 2019.
                                                                                                                                  5. Gao, et al.: “A Finite Element Solver for Hypersonic Flows in Thermochemical Non-equilibrium, Part II.” International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 575-606, 2020.

                                                                                                                                  Scope Title:

                                                                                                                                  Efficient Grid Adaption for Unsteady, Multiscale Problems

                                                                                                                                  Scope Description:

                                                                                                                                  The current state of the art for production CFD simulation in EDL is the solution of steady-state problems on fixed computational grids. However, most of the current challenge problems in the discipline are unsteady. Examples include supersonic retropropulsion, where engine plumes exhibit unsteady behavior across a wide range of timescales [1]; capsule dynamic stability, where the vehicle pitch motion is amplified by the unsteady wake dynamics [2]; and single-event drag modulation, where a high-drag decelerator is separated from the main vehicle at hypersonic speeds [3]. Successful analysis of these phenomena require simulating many seconds of physical time while simultaneously resolving all features of the flow field with high accuracy. Since critical features, for example, shocks, shear layers, etc., will evolve and move through the computational domain over time, current practice requires large, globally refined grids and stringent limitations on simulation time step. This makes these problems computationally infeasible without dedicated access to leadership-class supercomputers.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  One promising method to reduce the cost of these simulations is to employ feature-based grid adaption such that the computational grid is only refined in the vicinity of critical flow features. Adaptive techniques, particularly metric-aligned anisotropic adaption [4], have been shown to dramatically reduce computational cost for a wide range of steady-state flow problems, often by as much as an order of magnitude. These techniques have been successfully used to solve large-scale, EDL-relevant problems with high Reynolds number boundary layers by incorporating prismatic near-wall layers [5]. Application of efficient adaptive techniques to unsteady problems is less established, but recent advancements have demonstrated a nearly 100x reduction in compute time required to achieve an equivalent level of space-time accuracy relative to globally refined grids [6].

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  This scope seeks to accelerate the infusion of cutting-edge algorithms for unsteady grid adaption that promise to radically reduce the time required to simulate unsteady fluid phenomena. A successful solution within this scope would demonstrate an order of magnitude reduction in computational cost without compromising solution accuracy for an unsteady supersonic or hypersonic flow problem relevant to EDL.

                                                                                                                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 4 
                                                                                                                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                                  Level 1: TX 09 Entry, Descent, and Landing 
                                                                                                                                  Level 2: TX 09.4 Vehicle Systems 
                                                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                                  • Prototype
                                                                                                                                  • Software

                                                                                                                                  Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                                  The desired deliverable at the conclusion of Phase I is a prototype software package employing adaptive grid refinement algorithms for the simulation of unsteady, shocked flows in at least two spatial dimensions. An inviscid, perfect gas model is acceptable for Phase I efforts. The prototype software shall be demonstrated on a suitable challenge problem. Suggested challenge problems are prescribed motion of a cylinder relative to the computation domain subject to Mach 6+ supersonic flow or 2D axisymmetric simulation of a shock tube with an initial pressure ratio >50. Other challenge problems of similar complexity are acceptable. The prototype software is not expected to be scalable or performant at this stage.

                                                                                                                                  A successful Phase II deliverable will mature the Phase I prototype into a product ready for use on mission-relevant engineering problems. The code shall be extended to solve the unsteady laminar Navier-Stokes equations in three spatial dimensions with appropriate controls to manage adaption in the boundary layer and the far field, if needed. Extension to reacting, multitemperature gas physics is desired, but not required. The software shall be parallelized to enable simulation of large-scale problems using modern HPC platforms such as the NASA Pleiades supercomputer. The software shall be demonstrated on a 3D challenge problem such as a single jet supersonic retropropulsion configuration at zero angle of attack; free-to-pitch simulation of the Orion entry capsule at supersonic free-stream conditions; or aerodynamic interaction and separation of multiple spheres in a supersonic free stream. The software shall demonstrate a 10x speedup relative to a nonadaptive, time-marched calculation without significantly degrading simulation accuracy as measured by an appropriate solution metric (average reflectance measurement system (RMS) pressure fluctuation, final capsule pitch angle, etc.).

                                                                                                                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                                  Multiple academic, government, and commercial software packages exist that implement some form of solution-adaptive mesh refinement. NASA’s LAURA and DPLR codes offer simplistic clustering algorithms for structured grids that solve the limited problem of resolving strong bow shocks [7][8]. NASA’s FUN3D code implements an advanced metric-based, anisotropic refinement capability that has been demonstrated on large-scale aerospace calculations [7]. However, unsteady solution-adaptive algorithms have yet to be demonstrated for EDL-relevant problems outside of academic research codes. Significant investment is required to implement these algorithms into a production-quality flow solver with the performance and scaling characteristics required to address NASA’s requirements for unsteady flow simulation.

                                                                                                                                  Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                                  This scope has extremely broad applicability across multiple NASA mission directorates. In particular, ARMD, HEOMD, SMD, and STMD each contend with complex, unsteady flow phenomena that could be more readily analyzed with the aid of the proposed technology: flutter analysis, parachute inflation, fluid slosh, and atmospheric modeling are just a few examples. In EDL specifically, a robust time-space adaption capability would enable simulation of supersonic retropropulsion at Mars using NASA’s existing supercomputing assets. Capsule stability could be analyzed in the preliminary design phase, allowing mission designers to utilize low-heritage capsule shapes without adding significant cost or risk to the project. Drag skirt separation could be modeled in detail to reduce risk prior to a technology demonstration mission. The potential benefits of this technology are widespread, making this a critical investment area for the Agency.

                                                                                                                                  References:

                                                                                                                                  1. Korzun, et al.: “Effects of Spatial Resolution on Retropropulsion Aerodynamics in an Atmospheric Environment.” AIAA-2020-1749, 2020.
                                                                                                                                  2. Hergert, et al.: “Free Flight Trajectory Simulation of the ADEPT Sounding Rocket Test Using US3D.” AIAA-2017-446, 2017.
                                                                                                                                  3. Rollock, et al.: “Analysis of Hypersonic Dynamics During Discrete-Event Drag Modulation for Venus Aerocapture.” AIAA-2020-1739.
                                                                                                                                  4. Alauzet, et al.: “A decade of progress on anisotropic mesh adaptation for computational fluid dynamics.” Computer Aided Design, Issue 72, pp. 13-39, 2016.
                                                                                                                                  5. Sahni, et al.: “Parallel Anisotropic Mesh Adaptation with Boundary Layers for Automated Viscous Flow Simulations.” Engineering With Computers, Issue 33, pp. 767–795, 2016.
                                                                                                                                  6. Alauzet, et al.: “Time-accurate multi-scale anisotropic mesh adaptation for unsteady flows in CFD.” J. of Computational Physics, Issue 373, pp. 28-63, 2018.
                                                                                                                                  7. Saunders, et al.: “An Approach to Shock Envelope Grid Tailoring and Its Effect on Reentry Vehicle Solutions.” AIAA 2007-020, 2007.
                                                                                                                                  8. Gnoffo: “A finite-volume, adaptive grid algorithm applied to planetary entry flowfields.” AIAA Journal, Volume 21, No. 9, 1983.
                                                                                                                                  9. Bartels, et al.: “FUN3D Grid Refinement and Adaptation Studies for the Ares Launch Vehicle.” AIAA-2010-4372, 2010.

                                                                                                                                   

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                                                                                                                                • Z7.01Entry, Descent, and Landing Flight Sensors and Instrumentation

                                                                                                                                    Lead Center: JSC

                                                                                                                                    Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JPL, LaRC

                                                                                                                                    Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                                    Scope Title: High-Accuracy, Lightweight, Low-Power Fiber-Optic or Recession Sensing System for Thermal Protection Systems and Low-Cost Data Acquisition System Scope Description: Current NASA state-of-the-art entry, descent, and landing (EDL) instrumentation and associated data acquisition are very… Read more>>

                                                                                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                                                                                    High-Accuracy, Lightweight, Low-Power Fiber-Optic or Recession Sensing System for Thermal Protection Systems and Low-Cost Data Acquisition System

                                                                                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                                                                                    Current NASA state-of-the-art entry, descent, and landing (EDL) instrumentation and associated data acquisition are very expensive to design and incorporate on planetary missions because they must meet functional and performance requirements during and after exposure to loads and environments associated with spaceflight and atmospheric entry.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    Commercial fiber-optic systems offer an alternative to traditional sensors that could result in a lower overall cost and weight reduction while actually increasing the number of measurements. Fiber-optic systems are also immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI), which reduces design and qualification efforts. This would be highly beneficial to future planetary missions requiring thermal protection systems (TPSs). In addition, as NASA looks to the future of science missions to the outer planets, extreme entry environments will require the new, 3D-woven Heatshield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology (HEEET) TPS recently matured within the Agency. Gathering flight performance data on this new material will be key—particularly the measurement of recession, which was so very important on the Galileo probe mission to Jupiter. Minimizing the sensor intrusion of the outer mold line is critical in this case because the extreme environment dictates that the TPS be as aerothermally monolithic as possible. In applications to planetary entry vehicles greater than about 1 m in diameter, however, the HEEET TPS is expected to contain seams that might be used for accommodating instrumentation.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    Recession measurements in carbon fiber/phenolic TPSs such as Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) and AVCOAT are also of interest. When ablation is not severe and/or rapid, accurate measurements have proven difficult with the historic Galileo-type sensor, which was based on the differential resistance resulting from sensor materials that have charred.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    To be considered against NASA state-of-the-art TPS sensing systems for future flight missions, fiber-optic systems must be competitive in sensing capability (measurement type, accuracy, and quantity) and associated data acquisition system mass, size, power, and cost. Therefore, NASA is looking for a fiber-optic system that can meet the following requirements:

                                                                                                                                    • TPS Temperature
                                                                                                                                      • Measurement Range: -200 to 1,250 ºC (up to 2,000 ºC is preferred).
                                                                                                                                      • Accuracy: +/-5 ºC desired.
                                                                                                                                    • Surface Pressure
                                                                                                                                      • Measurement Range: 0 to 15 psi.
                                                                                                                                      • Accuracy: < +/-0.5%.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    Destinations such as Mars, Venus, and Titan pose many challenges for EDL data acquisition systems, including radiation, g-loading, and volume constraints. Recent notable examples of such systems are the Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrument (MEDLI) sensor suite, which successfully acquired EDL data in 2012, and the upcoming MEDLI2 system, which will gather data during EDL at Mars in February of 2021. The NASA MEDLI and MEDLI2 data systems are very well designed and robust to the extreme environments of space transit and EDL, but this comes at a great financial burden to these missions. The high cost prohibits smaller mission classes such as Discovery and New Frontiers from using MEDLI-like systems, therefore limiting the EDL science that can be conducted by NASA. In an effort to bring EDL instrumentation to all missions, NASA is seeking a low-cost, robust, high-accuracy data acquisition system that can meet the following requirements:

                                                                                                                                    • Performs instrument signal conditioning and analog-to-digital conversion, and includes a spacecraft bus serial interface.
                                                                                                                                    • Weight: 5 kg or less.
                                                                                                                                    • Size: Modularity encouraged; maximum module size 10 cm3; 4 modules maximum.
                                                                                                                                    • Power: 16 W or less.
                                                                                                                                    • Measurement Resolution: 12-bit or higher.
                                                                                                                                    • Accuracy: +/-0.5% of full-scale output.
                                                                                                                                    • Acquisition Rate per Measurement: 8 Hz or higher.
                                                                                                                                    • Radiation Tolerant by Design: Minimum of 10 kRad (30 kRad or better desired).
                                                                                                                                    • Axial Loading Capability: Minimum 15g (Venus missions could require 100g to 400g).
                                                                                                                                    • Operating Temperature Capability: -40 °C to 85 °C.
                                                                                                                                    • Cost: Fully qualified target of ~$1M (recurring).
                                                                                                                                    • Sensor Compatibility.
                                                                                                                                      • Minimum 15 thermocouples with at least 2 Type R and 8 Type K.
                                                                                                                                      • Minimum 8 pressure transducers (120 or 350 ohm bridge).

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    For recession measurements acquired in extreme entry environments requiring 3D woven TPSs, NASA is seeking novel concepts that fit into the sensor/electronics architecture described above and meet the following requirements:

                                                                                                                                    • Up to 5,000 W/cm2 total heat flux (convective plus radiative).
                                                                                                                                    • Up to 5 atmospheres of pressure on the vehicle surface.
                                                                                                                                    • Minimum recession measurement accuracy within +/-1 mm.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    For recession measurements in moderate entry environments requiring carbon fiber/phenolic TPSs, NASA is seeking novel concepts that fit into the sensor/electronics architecture described above, and meet the following requirements:

                                                                                                                                    • 150 to 2,000 W/cm2 total heat flux (convective plus radiative).
                                                                                                                                    • Up to 1 atmosphere of pressure on the vehicle surface.
                                                                                                                                    • Minimum recession measurement accuracy within +/-1 mm.

                                                                                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 5 
                                                                                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                                    Level 1: TX 09 Entry, Descent, and Landing 
                                                                                                                                    Level 2: TX 09.X Other Entry, Descent, and Landing 
                                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                                    • Analysis
                                                                                                                                    • Prototype
                                                                                                                                    • Hardware
                                                                                                                                    • Software

                                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                                    Phase I Goals: Design and proof of concept, including the production approach to achieve the cost goals.

                                                                                                                                    Phase II Goals: Prototype/breadboard validation in laboratory environment.

                                                                                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                                    NASA now requires instrumentation on all EDL missions, including competed science missions, and these cost- and mass-constrained missions cannot use the state-of-the-art instrumentation.

                                                                                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                                    EDL instrumentation directly informs and addresses the large performance uncertainties that drive the design, validation, and in-flight performance of planetary entry systems. Improved understanding of entry environments and TPS performance could lead to reduced design margins, enabling a greater payload mass-fraction and smaller landing ellipses. Improved real-time measurement knowledge during entry could also minimize the landing dispersions for placing advanced payloads onto the surface of atmospheric and airless bodies. 

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    NASA science missions are frequently proposed that include high-speed Earth return (New Frontiers, Discovery, and Mars Sample Return) and Venus and Mars entry. Capsules used for these missions must withstand both convective and radiative aeroheating, and NASA now requires EDL instrumentation for these missions. Current radiative measurement techniques (radiometers) provide only an integrated heating over a limited wavelength range; past interpretation of such flight data [Ref. 3, 4] shows the need for spectrally resolved measurements from spectrometers. For Earth and Venus, the radiative component may be the dominant source of heating, and emission comes from the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV), which NASA currently has no capability to measure. For Mars and Venus, the aftbody radiation is dominated by midwave infrared (MWIR). Again, NASA does not have a method to measure MWIR radiation in flight; the current radiometers integrate across several band systems. Miniaturized spectrometers that can measure in VUV and MWIR would have immediate application to Science Mission Directorate (SMD) planetary missions. Such spectrometers may also inform what ablation species are emitted from the heat shield and backshell during entry. 

                                                                                                                                    References:

                                                                                                                                    1. M. Munk, A. Little, C. Kuhl, D. Bose, and J. Santos, "The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI) Hardware," Proc. AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Conference, AAS 13-310, Kauai, HI, 2013.
                                                                                                                                    2. F. Milos, "Galileo Probe Heat Shield Ablation Experiment," Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 34, No. 6, Nov-Dec 1997.
                                                                                                                                    3. B. A. Cruden and C. O. Johnston, "Characterization of EFT-1 Radiative Heating and Radiometer Data," 46th AIAA Thermophysics Conference, Washington, D.C., June 2016.
                                                                                                                                    4. A. Brandis, C. O. Johnston, B. A. Cruden, D. Prabhu, and D. Bose, "Uncertainty Analysis and Validation of Radiation Measurements for Earth Reentry," Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2015, pp. 209-221.

                                                                                                                                    Scope Title:

                                                                                                                                    Novel Lidar Component Technologies Applicable to Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C) for Precise Safe Landing

                                                                                                                                    Scope Description:

                                                                                                                                    NASA is seeking the development of component technologies for advanced lidar sensors that will be utilized within Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) and Deorbit, Descent, and Landing (DDL) Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C) systems for precise safe landing on solid solar system bodies, including planets, moons, and small celestial bodies (e.g., asteroids and comets). The EDL phase applies to landings on bodies with atmospheres, whereas DDL applies to landings on airless bodies. For many of these missions, EDL/DDL represents one of the riskiest flight phases. NASA has been developing technologies for precision landing and hazard avoidance (PL&HA) to minimize the risk of the EDL/DDL phase of a mission and to increase the accessibility of surface science targets through precise and safe landing capabilities. One flight instrumentation focus of PL&HA technology has been in the development of lidar technologies that either provide terrain mapping (range point cloud) capability or direct velocity measurement. The continued maturation of these technologies is targeting (1) further size, mass, and power reductions of components; (2) multicomponent integration; and (3) multimodal operation (i.e., combing mapping and velocimetry functions). 

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    This solicitation is requesting specific lidar system components and not complete lidar solutions. To be considered, all component technologies proposed must show a development path to operation within the applicable EDL/DDL spaceflight environment (radiation, thermal, vacuum, vibration, etc.). The specific lidar component technologies desired include the following:

                                                                                                                                    • Dense focal plane arrays for simultaneous ranging and Doppler velocimetry, plus associated signal processing approaches including photonic integrated circuits (PICs), with the following characteristics:
                                                                                                                                      • Simultaneous measurements from each pixel or from subsets of pixels.
                                                                                                                                      • Functionality (when integrated into a lidar system) that would operate up to 8 km range.
                                                                                                                                      • Functionality (when integrated into a lidar system) for measuring velocity from 0 m/sec along the line of sight (LOS) up to 200 m/sec or greater.
                                                                                                                                      • PICs approaches that integrate multiple components into a single device or provide a single component in a miniaturized robust package (e.g., master laser, modulator, and detectors).
                                                                                                                                      • Ability to reject false locks on dust plumes due to exhaust.
                                                                                                                                      • Implementation for low power, mass, and size.
                                                                                                                                      • Optical losses comparable with fiber-optic or bulk optical components.
                                                                                                                                    • High-speed (5 MHz) wavelength tuning laser modules with low power driving electronics, which have random wavelength access or predefined wavelength-lookup-table tuning, and meet the following requirements:
                                                                                                                                      • Semiconductor laser module.
                                                                                                                                      • Tuning range: 1550 nm with tuning range of C-band.
                                                                                                                                      • Tuning speed: 5 MHz, and less than 100 ns settling time.
                                                                                                                                      • Wavelength grid: 10,000 evenly distributed over the whole tuning range.
                                                                                                                                      • Tuning fashion: Random wavelength grid access, or sequential predefined wavelength lookup table tuning.
                                                                                                                                      • High wavelength and power repeatability.
                                                                                                                                      • Low temperature or environmental dependency.

                                                                                                                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 6 
                                                                                                                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                                    Level 1: TX 09 Entry, Descent, and Landing 
                                                                                                                                    Level 2: TX 09.X Other Entry, Descent, and Landing 
                                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                                    • Analysis
                                                                                                                                    • Prototype
                                                                                                                                    • Hardware
                                                                                                                                    • Software

                                                                                                                                    Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                                    The following deliverables are desired for Phase I: (1) Hardware demonstrations of sensor components and applicable support hardware and/or (2) Analysis and software simulations of component proofs of concept within simulated environments. Responses must show a path for the proposed capabilities to be compatible with the environmental conditions of spaceflight.

                                                                                                                                    The following deliverables are desired for Phase II: (1) Hardware demonstrations of sensor components and applicable support hardware and (2) Analysis of components in laboratory or relevant environment (depending on TRL). Phase II products will need to demonstrate a path for the capabilities to be compatible with the environmental conditions of spaceflight.

                                                                                                                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                                    The EDL GN&C and sensors community has been developing for more than a decade the technologies to enable precise safe landing. Infusion of these capabilities into spaceflight missions and spinoff into the commercial sector remains the critical gap. Bridging this gap requires additional component technology advancements for specific lidar sensors that enhance operational performance, increase dynamic envelope, reduce size/mass/power/cost, and enable spaceflight qualification.

                                                                                                                                    Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                                    GN&C/PL&HA technologies for precise safe landing are critical for future robotic science and human exploration missions to locations with hazardous terrain and/or pre-positioned surface assets (e.g., cached samples or cargo) that pose significant risks to successful spacecraft touchdown and mission surface operations. The PL&HA technologies enable spacecraft to land with minimum position error from targeted surface locations, and they implement hazard-avoidance diverts to land at locations safe from lander-sized or larger terrain hazards (e.g., craters, rocks, boulders, sharp slopes, etc.). PL&HA has maintained consistent prioritization within the NASA and National Research Council (NRC) space technology roadmaps for more than a decade, and multiple near-term science missions, such as Mars 2020, are starting to infuse some of the PL&HA capabilities.

                                                                                                                                    References:

                                                                                                                                    1. A. Martin et al., "Photonic integrated circuit-based FMCW coherent LiDAR," in Journal of Lightwave Technology, vol. 36, no. 19, 4640-4645, Oct.1, 2018, doi: 10.1109/JLT.2018.2840223.
                                                                                                                                    2. C.V. Poulton, A. Yaacobi, D.B. Cole, M.J. Byrd, M. Raval, D. Vermeulen, and M.R. Watts, "Coherent solid-state LIDAR with silicon photonic optical phased arrays," Opt. Lett. 42, 4091-4094 (2017).
                                                                                                                                    3. F. Amzajerdian, G.D. Hines, D.F. Pierrottet, B.W. Barnes, L.B. Petway, and J.M. Carson, “Demonstration of coherent Doppler lidar for navigation in GPS-denied environments,” Proc. SPIE 10191, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXII, 1019102 (2017).

                                                                                                                                     

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                                                                                                                                  • Z7.03 Entry and Descent System Technologies

                                                                                                                                      Lead Center: LaRC

                                                                                                                                      Participating Center(s): ARC

                                                                                                                                      Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                                      Scope Title: Entry and Descent System Technologies Scope Description: Background: NASA is advancing deployable aerodynamic decelerators to enhance and enable robotic and human space missions. Applications include Mars, Venus, and Titan, as well as payload return to Earth from low Earth orbit. The… Read more>>

                                                                                                                                      Scope Title:

                                                                                                                                      Entry and Descent System Technologies

                                                                                                                                      Scope Description:

                                                                                                                                      Background: NASA is advancing deployable aerodynamic decelerators to enhance and enable robotic and human space missions. Applications include Mars, Venus, and Titan, as well as payload return to Earth from low Earth orbit. The benefit of deployable decelerators is that the entry vehicle structure and thermal protection system are not constrained by the launch vehicle shroud. They have the flexibility to more efficiently use the available shroud volume and can be packed into a much smaller volume for Earth departure, addressing potential constraints for payloads sharing a launch vehicle. For Mars, this technology also enables delivery of very large (20 metric tons or more) usable payload, which will likely be needed to support human exploration. The technology also allows for reduced cost access to space by enabling the recovery of launch vehicle assets. This subtopic area solicits innovative technology solutions applicable to deployable entry concepts. Specific technology development areas include:

                                                                                                                                      1. Advancements in textile manufacturing technologies that can be used to simplify production, reduce the mass, or reduce the stowed volume of mechanically deployed structures, inflatable structures, or their flexible thermal protection system. Thermal protection concepts can also lead to improvements in thermal management efficiency of radiant and conductive heat transport at elevated temperatures (exceeding 1,200 °C). Concepts can be either passive or active dissipation approaches. For smaller scale inflatable systems for small-spacecraft/satellite applications, less than 5 m in diameter, thin-ply or thin-film manufacturing approaches that can be used to reduce the minimum design gauge are of particular interest for inflatable structures. 
                                                                                                                                      2. High-temperature-capable structural elements to support mechanically deployable decelerators that surpass the performance capability of metallic ribs, joints, and struts. Anticipated systems would include composite elements or hybrid approaches that combine metallic structures with high-temperature-capable interface materials to improve thermal performance. Minimum-mass approaches that address volumetric/packing efficiencies at small-scale (approx. 1 to 2 m) implementations are of interest for small-satellite applications.
                                                                                                                                      3. Development of gas-generator technologies used as inflation systems that result in improved mass efficiency and system complexity over both current pressurized cold gas systems and present state-of-the-art gas generators for inflatable structures. Inflation gas technologies can include warm or hot gas generators, sublimating powder systems, or hybrid systems; however, the final delivery gas temperature must not exceed 200 °C. Lightweight, high-efficiency gas inflation technologies capable of delivering gas at 250 to 10,000 standard liters per minute (SLPM) are sought. This range spans a number of potential applications. Thus, a given response need not address the entire range. Additionally, the final delivery gas and its byproducts must not harm aeroshell materials, such as the fluoropolymer liner of the inflatable structure. Minimal solid particulate is acceptable as a final byproduct. Water vapor as a final byproduct is also acceptable for lower flow (250 to 4,000 SLPM) and shorter duration missions, but it is undesirable for higher flow (8,000 to 10,000 SLPM) and longer duration missions. Chillers and/or filters can be included in a proposed solution, but they will be included in assessing the overall system mass versus amount of gas generated.

                                                                                                                                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 1 to 4 
                                                                                                                                      Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                                      Level 1: TX 09 Entry, Descent, and Landing 
                                                                                                                                      Level 2: TX 09.1 Aeroassist and Atmospheric Entry 
                                                                                                                                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                                      • Research
                                                                                                                                      • Analysis
                                                                                                                                      • Prototype
                                                                                                                                      • Hardware
                                                                                                                                      • Software

                                                                                                                                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                                      Reports documenting analysis and development results, including description of any hardware or prototypes developed. Focus for Phase I development should be material coupon up to subscale manufacturing demonstration articles that demonstrate proof of concept, and lead to Phase II manufacturing scaleup and testing in relevant environments for applications related to Mars entry, Earth return, launch asset recovery, or the emergent small-scale satellite community.  

                                                                                                                                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                                      The current state of the art for deployable aerodynamic decelerators is limited due to the novelty of this technology. Developing more efficient, lighter, and thinner flexible thermal protection system component materials with higher temperature capability could potentially enable more efficient designs and extend the maximum range of use of the concepts. Novel and innovative high-temperature structural concepts are needed for the mechanically deployed decelerator. Development of gas generator technologies that improve mass efficiency over current pressurized cold gas systems for inflatable structures is needed. 

                                                                                                                                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                                      NASA needs advanced deployable aerodynamic decelerators to enhance and enable robotic and human space missions. Applications include Mars, Venus, and Titan, as well as payload return to Earth from low Earth orbit. The Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), and Science Mission Directorate (SMD) can benefit from this technology for various exploration missions.

                                                                                                                                      References:

                                                                                                                                      • Hughes, S. J., et al., “Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) Technology Development Overview,” AIAA Paper 2011-2524.
                                                                                                                                      • Bose, D. M, et al., “The Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) Mission Applications Study,” AIAA Paper 2013-1389.
                                                                                                                                      • Olds, A. D., et al., “IRVE-3 Post-Flight Reconstruction,” AIAA Paper 2013-1390.
                                                                                                                                      • Cassell, A., et al., “ADEPT, A Mechanically Deployable Re-Entry Vehicle System, Enabling Interplanetary CubeSat and Small Satellite Missions,” SSC18-XII-08, 32nd Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites.
                                                                                                                                      • Cassell, A., et al., "ADEPT Sounding Rocket One Flight Test Overview," AIAA Paper 2019-2896.

                                                                                                                                       

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                                                                                                                                    • Z7.04Landing Systems Technologies

                                                                                                                                        Lead Center: MSFC

                                                                                                                                        Participating Center(s): GRC, LaRC

                                                                                                                                        Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                                        Scope Title: Landing Systems Technologies Scope Description: Plume-Surface Interaction (PSI) Instrumentation, Ground Testing, and Analysis   As NASA and commercial entities prepare to land robotic and crewed vehicles on the Moon, and eventually Mars, characterization of landing environments is… Read more>>

                                                                                                                                        Scope Title:

                                                                                                                                        Landing Systems Technologies

                                                                                                                                        Scope Description:

                                                                                                                                        Plume-Surface Interaction (PSI) Instrumentation, Ground Testing, and Analysis

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        As NASA and commercial entities prepare to land robotic and crewed vehicles on the Moon, and eventually Mars, characterization of landing environments is critical to identifying requirements for landing systems and engine configurations, instrument placement and protection, and landing stability. The ability to predict the extent to which regolith is liberated and transported in the vicinity of the lander is also critical to understanding the effects on precision landing sensor requirements and landed assets located in close proximity. Knowledge of the characteristics, behavior, and trajectories of ejected particles and surface erosion during the landing phase is important for designing effective sensor systems and PSI risk mitigation approaches. Mission needs to consider include landers with single and multiple engines, both pulsed and throttled systems, landed mass from 400 to 40,000 kg, and both lunar and Mars destinations.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        NASA is seeking support in the following areas:

                                                                                                                                        1. Ground test data, test techniques, and diagnostics across physical scales and environments, with particular emphasis on nonintrusive approaches and methodologies.
                                                                                                                                        2. PSI-specific flight instrumentation, with particular emphasis on in situ measurements of particle size and particle velocity during the landing phase.
                                                                                                                                        3. Solutions to alleviate or mitigate the PSI environments experienced by propulsive landers.
                                                                                                                                        4. Validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models and tools for predicting PSI physics for plumes in low-pressure and rarefied environments, time-evolving cratering and surface erosion, and near-field and far-field ejecta transport.

                                                                                                                                        NASA has plans to purchase services for delivery of payloads to the Moon through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. Under this subtopic, proposals may include efforts to develop payloads for flight demonstration of relevant technologies in the lunar environment. The CLPS payload accommodations will vary depending on the particular service provider and mission characteristics. Additional information on the CLPS program and providers can be found at this link: https://www.nasa.gov/content/commercial-lunar-payload-services. CLPS missions will typically carry multiple payloads for multiple customers. Smaller, simpler, and more self-sufficient payloads are more easily accommodated and would be more likely to be considered for a NASA-sponsored flight opportunity. Commercial payload delivery services may begin as early as 2020, and flight opportunities are expected to continue well into the future. In future years, it is expected that larger and more complex payloads will be accommodated. Selection for award under this solicitation will not guarantee selection for a lunar flight opportunity.

                                                                                                                                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6 
                                                                                                                                        Primary Technology Taxonomy: 
                                                                                                                                        Level 1: TX 09 Entry, Descent, and Landing 
                                                                                                                                        Level 2: TX 09.3 Landing 
                                                                                                                                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                                        • Research
                                                                                                                                        • Analysis
                                                                                                                                        • Prototype
                                                                                                                                        • Hardware
                                                                                                                                        • Software

                                                                                                                                        Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                                        Deliverables of all types can be infused into the prospect missions due to early design maturity.

                                                                                                                                        For PSI ground test data, flight instrumentation, diagnostics, and mitigation approaches, Phase I deliverables should include detailed test plans, with prototype and/or component demonstrations as appropriate. Phase II deliverables should include complete data products, fully functional hardware, and validated performance in relevant environments. 

                                                                                                                                        For PSI modeling and simulation, Phase I deliverables should demonstrate proof of concept and a minimum of component-level verification, with detailed documentation on future data needs to complete validation of the integrated model and uncertainty quantification methodology. Phase II deliverables must demonstrate verification and validation beyond the component level, with validation demonstrated through comparisons with relevant data and documented uncertainty quantification.  

                                                                                                                                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                                        The characteristics and behavior of airborne particles during descent is important for designing descent sensor systems that will be effective. Furthermore, although the physics of the atmosphere and the characteristics of the regolith are different for the Moon, the capability to model PSIs on the Moon will feed forward to Mars, where it is critical for human exploration.

                                                                                                                                        Currently, flight data are collected from early planetary landing, and those data are fed into developmental tools for validation purposes. The validation dataset, as well as the expertise, grows as a result of each mission and is shared across and applied to all other missions. We gain an understanding of how various parameters, including different types of surfaces, lead to different cratering effects and plume behaviors. The information helps NASA and industry make lander design and operations decisions. Ground testing (“unit tests”) is used early in the development of the capability in order to provide data for tool validation.

                                                                                                                                        The current post-landing analysis of planetary landers (on Mars) is performed in a cursory manner with only partially empirically-validated tools, because there has been no dedicated fundamental research investment in this area. Flight test data does not exist in the environments of interest.

                                                                                                                                        Relevance / Science Traceability:

                                                                                                                                        Current and future lander architectures will depend on knowledge of PSI, such as:

                                                                                                                                        • Artemis Human Lander System (HLS)
                                                                                                                                        • Commercial robotic lunar landers (CLPS or other)
                                                                                                                                        • Planetary mission landers (Mars Sample Retrieval Lander and others)
                                                                                                                                        • Human Mars landers

                                                                                                                                        References:

                                                                                                                                        Lander Technologies: https://www.nasa.gov/content/lander-technologies

                                                                                                                                        Metzger, Philip, et al. ISRU implications for lunar and martian plume effects. 47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including The New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition. 2009.

                                                                                                                                        Plemmons, D. H., et al. (2008). Effects of the Phoenix Lander descent thruster plume on the Martian surface. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 113(E3).

                                                                                                                                        Mehta, M., et al. (2013). Thruster plume surface interactions: Applications for spacecraft landings on planetary bodies. AIAA Journal, 51(12), 2800-2818.

                                                                                                                                        Vangen, Scott, et al. International Space Exploration Coordination Group Assessment of Technology Gaps for Dust Mitigation for the Global Exploration Roadmap. AIAA SPACE 2016. 2016. 5423.

                                                                                                                                         

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                                                                                                                                      • Z7.06Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Terrestrial Testing Technologies

                                                                                                                                          Lead Center: ARC

                                                                                                                                          Participating Center(s): LaRC

                                                                                                                                          Solicitation Year: 2021

                                                                                                                                          Scope Title: Optical and Laser-Spectroscopic Imaging Techniques for High-Enthalpy Arc-Heated Test Facilities Scope Description: Arc-heated high-enthalpy test facilities at NASA’s Ames and Langley Research Centers are used for evaluation and certification of high-temperature materials and… Read more>>

                                                                                                                                          Scope Title:

                                                                                                                                          Optical and Laser-Spectroscopic Imaging Techniques for High-Enthalpy Arc-Heated Test Facilities

                                                                                                                                          Scope Description:

                                                                                                                                          Arc-heated high-enthalpy test facilities at NASA’s Ames and Langley Research Centers are used for evaluation and certification of high-temperature materials and structures of an entry vehicle’s thermal protection system (TPS). Future exploration missions will utilize new ablative TPS materials that release decomposition products into the gas stream ahead of the vehicle, influencing flow-field behavior. Data and observations from materials testing programs using NASA’s arc jet facilities are critical for validation of high-fidelity modeling and simulation tools used to design and margin TPS specifications for entry vehicles. However, the complex multiphysics processes that manifest as entry aeroheating of ablative TPSs present formidable challenges for model validation. The available diagnostic techniques for arc jet testing provide little direct evidence of the subject aerothermal and thermophysical processes.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          NASA is seeking advanced and new optical and laser-spectroscopic techniques applied to arc jet testing programs. Experimental methods for arc jet facility characterization strive to quantify thermodynamic and gas dynamic properties of the arc jet stream and serve multiple purposes, such as verification of test conditions (facility operations), validation of arc heater and flow-field simulations, and measurement of incident/boundary conditions for material response simulations. Of equal importance are methods that can detect and identify pyrolysis gases and particles injected into the shocked gas region ahead of TPS material test articles, providing needed insight to the complex interactions of the flow field with material response. Experimental methods that measure recession, temperature, and optical properties of the TPS surface enable characterization of surface thermal response phenomenology.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          The off-body gas phase diagnostics are to detect and quantify:

                                                                                                                                          • Major species in the arc jet stream (N, O, N2, NO for air; CO and CO2 for facilities capable of operating with CO2 mixtures).
                                                                                                                                          • Ablation species and recombination products in the shock layer (C, CN, CH, H, Ca).
                                                                                                                                          • Spalled particles from test articles penetrating the shock layer.

                                                                                                                                          Also of importance are measurements of velocity and free stream and shock layer temperatures, including vibrational temperature. Planar or line imaging techniques are desired to characterize spatial distributions with 1-mm or smaller resolution at kHz data rates. Burst mode (>100 kHz) imaging approaches that enable correlation of temporal-spatial intermittencies are of particular interest.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          The requested surface imaging diagnostics are to measure test-article temperature and spectral emissivity, topology, and recession rate. Hyperspectral techniques are preferred if they enable characterization of multiple surface properties simultaneously while discriminating from shock layer radiation. Spatial resolutions and acquisition rates of <1 mm and >30 Hz, respectively, are desired. Adaptation of standoff surface spectroscopy techniques may hold promise for time-resolved species detection and identification.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          Spallation characterization requires measurements of ejected particle size distributions, 2D and 3D trajectories, and velocity distributions. Techniques for both stagnation and shear testing configurations are desired. Imaging spatial resolution and field of view needs to account for particle trajectories that travel upstream and penetrate shock waves. Methods that provide insight to the chemical composition of spalled particles would be particularly valuable. Anticipated particle size and speeds are 1 to 100 µm and 1 to 200 m/s, respectively.

                                                                                                                                          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 3 to 6
                                                                                                                                          Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                                                                                                                                          Level 1: TX 09 Entry, Descent, and Landing
                                                                                                                                          Level 2: TX 09.1 Aeroassist and Atmospheric Entry
                                                                                                                                          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                                                                                                                                          • Prototype
                                                                                                                                          • Hardware

                                                                                                                                          Desired Deliverables Description:

                                                                                                                                          Phase I: Assessment study of potential diagnostic techniques.
                                                                                                                                          Phase II: Prototype instrument demonstration in relevant environment with hardware delivery to NASA.

                                                                                                                                          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                                                                                                                                          The requirements for spatially resolved, species-specific measurements of high-tem