NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 A1.15-9362
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Vehicle Design for Loss-of-Control Flight Research
PROPOSAL TITLE: Design of Prototype-Technology Evaluator and Research Aircraft (PTERA) Configuration for Loss of Control Flight Research

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
1590 N Roberts Rd, Suite 203
Kennesaw, GA 30144 - 3636
(678) 594-5227

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Nicholas Alley
1590 N Roberts Rd, Suite 203
Kennesaw, GA 30144 - 3636
(678) 594-5227

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 5
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The Area-I team has developed and fabricated the unmanned Prototype-Technology Evaluation and Research Aircraft or PTERA ("ptera" being Greek for wing, or wing-like). The PTERA is an extremely versatile and high-quality, yet inexpensive flight research testbed that serves as a bridge between wind tunnel and manned flight testing by enabling the low-cost, low-risk flight-based evaluation of a wide array of high-risk technologies. For this work, the team proposes to augment the existing PTERA platform such that it is directly tailored for Loss-of-Control (LoC) flight research. The resulting PTERA-LoC configuration will provide the NASA LoC flight research program with the following core capabilities:
1) A large airframe that minimizes scaling and Reynolds number effects, yet is easily disassembled and transported
2) A modular fuselage design that will enable the reconfiguration of the PTERA-LoC fuselage, thus allowing the team to fabricate/assemble fuselage configurations that maintain near geometric similitude with a wide array of "tube-and-wing" aircraft using existing fuselage tooling.
3) Modular wing design that facilitates the integration of advanced aerodynamic treatments, split control surfaces, and aeroelastic and damage emulation mechanisms.
4) Large payload capacity, voluminous payload bays, and large clamshell doors that facilitate the integration of sensor and avionics systems, provide easy access during flight testing, and allow for plenty of payload capacity and volume for integrating ballast for dynamic scaling.
5) A low-cost airframe that facilitates the execution of flight test maneuvers and/or the flight testing of cutting-edge and complex systems whose risks and/or costs are too high for manned flights

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The PTERA will enable NASA to more effectively develop and evaluate the performance of innovative solutions and advanced technologies that improve current and future air transportation by extending the NASA research portfolio to include a low-cost, low-risk flight experiment testbed. Virtually every program within the NASA ARMD can directly or indirectly benefit from the PTERA as it provides the following:
-A low-cost, low-risk high quality flight test facility.
-A platform that enables testing and evaluations of new technologies that, due to cost and risk, would typically be reserved for wind tunnel tests only.
-A platform to investigate the flight performance of technologies such as laminar flow enablers, aeroelastic tailoring, morphing control surfaces/wings, and active flow control. Additionally, the baseline PTERA tooling could be used to enable the fabrication of more exotic designs such a box/joined-wing configuration.
-A testbed with which to perform experiments regarding sense and avoid, UAS-manned aircraft interactions, etc.
-A platform to perform loss-of-control flight research and to evaluate health management and atmospheric hazard sensing systems under actual flight conditions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A technology gap exists between well-controlled wind tunnel tests and full scale flight testing where most of the systems integration issues surface. Allocating these system integration activities to a full scale flight test is replete with safety, schedule and performance risks that dominate flight test costs. The PTERA platform serves as the bridge to integrate and flight test advanced aerodynamic treatments, health management and control systems, and to perform experiments in structures and aero elasticity for a fraction of the cost of a manned flight test program.
The PTERA flight test facility offers several distinct advantages to NASA, and non-NASA customers. The physical configuration is representative of most commercial/transport aircraft, therefore test data will be considered relevant. The PTERA structure is solid, well designed and stable therefore the test data will be free of unwanted variables that may contaminate the data and the airframe was designed from the bottom up to be modular and general purpose which will meet the "common benefit" need that a lab asset must generally satisfy. Finally, PTERA has enough design margin to accommodate multiple treatments such as wings with active twist and active camber, advanced control systems, and prototype "UAV in the NAS" automated airspace separation related payloads.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Air Transportation & Safety
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE; NDT)
Recovery (see also Autonomous Systems)
Recovery (see also Vehicle Health Management)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43