NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-2 A4.02-9670
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Flight Test Techniques and Measurement Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Prototype-Technology Evaluator and Research Aircraft

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

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

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 7
End: 8

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The Area-I team has developed and flight tested the unmanned Prototype-Technology Evaluation and Research Aircraft or PTERA ("ptera" being Greek for wing, or wing-like). The PTERA flew successfully during Phase I of this program, and stands to enhance the already capable NASA Aeronautics Test Program (ATP) by enabling the low-cost, low-risk, flight-based evaluation of everything from advanced aerodynamic treatments to control systems and sensor payloads. The PTERA will bridge the gap between wind tunnel testing and manned flight testing to greatly reduce technology development time, cost, and risk. This work seeks to further mature the PTERA system through rigorous flight testing and will begin the integration of the PTERA into the NASA ATP through the delivery of a new PTERA baseline system to NASA. Several core capabilities that the PTERA would bring to the ATP include:
1) A low-cost, low-risk flight test facility that can be used to expand ATP's role in the testing and validation of NASA's physics-based multi-disciplinary analysis and optimization (MDAO) tools
2) The ability to flight test advanced aerodynamic treatments, health management and control systems, and to perform experiments in structures and aeroelasticity for a fraction of the cost of a manned flight test program.
3) The ability to flight test cutting-edge and complex systems whose cost and risk are too high for manned flights.
4) A testbed with modular airframe that enables the evaluation of multiple technologies with the same airframe.
5) A testbed with a large payload capacity that facilitates the inexpensive and risk-mitigating flight test evaluation of a wide array of sensors and payloads as well as the evaluation of flight-test measurement systems before they transition to manned programs.
6) The ability to perform unmanned, autonomous, flight experiments relating to the burgeoning field of autonomous unmanned aircraft, including experiments supporting UAS integration into the NAS.

POTENTIAL 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 PTERA configuration is representative of most commercial/transport aircraft and will provide relevant test data for these aircraft. PTERA's reconfigurability also allows cost effective testing of more unconventional designs that would otherwise be too dangerous or costly to test. Finally, PTERA's payload capacity and custom avionics allow it to host a multitude of subsystems for flight tests and in-flight tuning. PTERA's capabilities make it a perfect platform to support SFW, ERA, UAS in NAS, and the AvSP programs and has already begun to generate substantial interest from industry partners, who recognize PTERA's significant potential to reduce development time, cost, and risk of new systems including NextGen technologies.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Area-I has already received significant private sector interest in the PTERA as a cost reducing research and development tool. As such, Area-I is currently developing several avenues under which to market the PTERA. Area-I plans to develop PTERA as a production aircraft to sell as a research testbed and to provide flight testing, maintenance, and engineering support to these customers. Area-I will also maintain its own fleet of PTERA aircraft to provide flight testing for a wide range of customers. Several UAV avionics manufacturers and software developers, including gimbal camera, datalink, image processing, air sensor, IMU, and flight test equipment developers have all expressed interest in flying their products on the PTERA. Additionally, several large aircraft manufactures, in connection with the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), have discussed having Area-I maintain an exclusive fleet of PTERA models for communal testing of NextGen developed systems. Phase II efforts to rigorously test the PTERA testbed as a research aircraft will allow the private sector to invest funds in PTERA with lower risk to improve the safety and efficiency of aircraft in the national airspace system. Data from Phase II flight testing will serve as baseline data for future flight tests and provides a clear transition to Phase III commercialization.

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.)
Active Systems
Actuators & Motors
Ad-Hoc Networks (see also Sensors)
Air Transportation & Safety
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Analytical Methods
Attitude Determination & Control
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Avionics (see also Control and Monitoring)
Biological (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Biological Signature (i.e., Signs Of Life)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Coding & Compression
Command & Control
Condition Monitoring (see also Sensors)
Data Acquisition (see also Sensors)
Data Fusion
Data Input/Output Devices (Displays, Storage)
Data Modeling (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Data Processing
Destructive Testing
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Astronautics)
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Heat Exchange
Image Processing
Interferometric (see also Analysis)
Isolation/Protection/Shielding (Acoustic, Ballistic, Dust, Radiation, Thermal)
Knowledge Management
Lasers (Communication)
Lasers (Guidance & Tracking)
Lasers (Ladar/Lidar)
Lasers (Weapons)
Lifetime Testing
Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and smaller
Mission Training
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Navigation & Guidance
Network Integration
Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE; NDT)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)
Passive Systems
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)
Process Monitoring & Control
Recovery (see also Autonomous Systems)
Recovery (see also Vehicle Health Management)
Relative Navigation (Interception, Docking, Formation Flying; see also Control & Monitoring; Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Sensor Nodes & Webs (see also Communications, Networking & Signal Transport)
Sequencing & Scheduling
Simulation & Modeling
Smart/Multifunctional Materials
Software Tools (Analysis, Design)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Training Concepts & Architectures
Transport/Traffic Control
Vehicles (see also Autonomous Systems)
Verification/Validation Tools

Form Generated on 11-06-12 18:12