Extreme Diagnostics and the University of Michigan (UM) propose to fly the autonomous SmallSat we built under a Phase I/II SBIR supported by this NASA JPL technical topic. We are well experienced with nanosatellites and are confident in our flight readiness. Members of our team built the flight computer and power systems for the JPL MarCO Mars A and B deep-space CubeSats. We are ready to launch.
The MARIO (Measurement of Actuator Response In Orbit) project utilizes our existing 3U CubeSat in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to demonstrate active submicron optomechanical control for autonomous robotic assembly of large telescopes. MARIO matures this technology to TRL 8/9 through closed loop control demonstrations based on Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) piezocomposite actuators. MFCs are rugged piezoelectrics developed at NASA Langley Research Center specifically for space.
Phase II will mature active optomechanical control through these LEO activities:
Phase I established the ability of MARIO to robotically deploy and control telescope modules. This set the stage for flying MARIO.
Phase I used MARIO technology to control mirror elements. Phase II conducts a 6–12 month LEO mission demonstrating active submicron optomechanical control. Phase II also leverages MARIO flight data by exploring multi-dimensional actuators using new 3D printing methods.
Phase II provides new technology able to autonomously assemble, self-align and control a near-complete large structure deployed in space and subjected to quasi-static thermal effects.
MARIO provides space validation of optomechanical control using MFCs. Applications include control of large reflectors and other active structures. MARIO autonomous closed-loop control is an enabling technology for Lunar and deep-space exploration and supports NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program. MFCs can be used for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and energy harvesting to enable power generation in active vehicles like rovers. MARIO provides risk reduction for Moon to Mars programs and supports human landings and sustainability.
Non-NASA control applications include adaptive optics for SmallSat space telescopes and hypersonic vehicle active jitter-suppression. SHM improves safety in re-useable space vehicles. Homeland Security structural analysis mitigates threats (preparedness) and assesses damage (response). MFCs enable wind turbine SHM (alternative and renewable energy), and energy harvesting for wireless sensors.
Every NASA satellite and launch vehicle that is delivered to low-Earth orbit must have an approved plan for its timely deorbit at end-of-mission. Current NASA programs that can benefit from dragsail technology include the Space Technology Mission Directorate Small Satellite Technology Program, and technology demonstration missions within the NASA Earth Science Technology Office. The Science Mission Directorate Earth Venture program can also utilize dragsails for deorbit capability.
Vestigo will market its dragsail systems to NOAA, the Department of Defense (DoD), the small satellite community, industry satellite providers, and small launch vehicle developers. Planned satellite mega-constellations represent a target market of thousands of units, providing major long-term growth potential for dragsail systems.
In this phase I effort ultra-light BHL composite transfer lines were shown to reduce chill-down time over 90% compared to equivalent stainless steel lines. BHL tubes have ¼ the mass of comparable systems, and 5-10 times less thermal mass. These benefits are also applicable to BHL tanks. The use of BHL in cryogenic storage and transfer systems will significantly reduce propellant required for pre-chilling lines or tanks, which will reduce waste propellant 5-10 fold. Furthermore, the reduced thermal mass will allow for easier no-vent filling as the system can chill down far easier. This will open up the operational envelope of cryogenic systems in space, improving the efficiency of a cryogenic propellant economy.
In this phase II effort, full scale transfer lines will be produced and tested using existing cryogenic test facilities. This effort will culminate in the fabrication of a representative full-scale engine transfer line. This article will be delivered to NASA at the end of the phase II effort. In parallel with BHL line development and testing, a test will be performed on a BHL tank to demonstrate the rapid chill-down of BHL tankage. These articles and tests will increase the TRL of BHL lines and cryo-storage to 6. In addition to the TRL advancement within this effort, a transfer line section will be produced to swap into GTL’s ACE-Disruptor sub-orbital rocket. This provides a path to TRL 7 once flown in other efforts.
BHL transfer lines reduce chill-down time by over 90%, reducing wasted propellant for engine pre-chill, and improving transfer efficiency. Line mass is reduced 4-fold, and thermal mass is reduced 5-10 fold.
BHL Cryotanks are similarly represent a 4 fold reduction in mass and chill-down time. This will increase the performance of human exploration systems, including lunar landers, in-space propellant depots, lunar rovers, orbital maneuvering systems, and cargo transport systems.
SLS propellant tank upgrades to increase launch vehicle performance
Cryo-transfer lines and tanks for commercial and DoD launch vehicles.
Cryo-lines for ground systems.
Propellant tanks and lines for missile interceptors and tactical weapons.
Fuel tanks and lines for airplanes and airships that use cryogenic fuels to reduce emissions.
LNG tanks and lines for autos, buses and trucks.
Cardiopulmonary monitoring is of critical importance in a variety of clinical and non-clinical applications ranging from monitoring physiological conditions of crew members during space missions to emotion and stress recognition in applications involving human-machine interaction. Current solutions involve attaching gel-based electrodes for electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring and pulse oximetry sensors connected to fingertips or earlobes for photoplethysmography (PPG) monitoring. Gel-based electrodes require preparation and their application can cause skin irritation. In addition, the use of current contact-based solutions is further complicated by the fact that a relatively large device such as a Holter monitor has to be carried by the subject at all times. Wearable sensors are a step in the right direction, yet the sensor needs to be continuously worn (on the wrist, chest, etc.) by the subject.
We propose to build on our prior research experience in non-invasive remote cardiopulmonary monitoring as well as computer vision and machine learning to develop a non-invasive cardiopulmonary monitoring system and extract clinically important information from multiple subjects in the field of view. Specifically, our proposed sensing framework involves i) an optical camera; ii) a depth-sensing camera, iii) a Doppler radar-based solution; and iv) a sensor fusion component for integration of data received by multiple sensing modalities.
Two simple bolt-on de-orbit device configurations developed during Phase I will be carried to the CDR level for Phase II culminating in a ready-to-fly de-orbiter at the end of the project. The first is a passive de-orbiter suitable for use at altitudes up to 1200 km where no vane sail articulation is needed. For altitudes above 1200 km our analysis showed that in order to decay within the 25-year "requirement" an articulating vane sail type de-orbiter is needed for rough-pointing against solar pressure. Even if the vane sail of the de-orbiter is mis-pointed by 45 degrees, it will still see about 70 percent solar pressure drag. For these higher altitudes a passively articulating bolt-on de-orbit device based on two-way shape memory alloy is used. The two-way shape memory alloy unfurls to a large area against solar pressure during the sun-side of the orbit when it is warmed, and when its "back is turned against the sun" on its way to the eclipse side of the orbit, it cools down and folds back to a low area device decreasing the solar pressure on it as it exits the sun side. The de-orbiter area can be tailored such that after it crosses the 1200 km limit on its way down, the active area against the atmosphere is still sufficient for de-orbiting within 25 years. The SMA based de-orbiter has no need for motors or sources of power and the mass and stowed volume gained can be used for an increase in the amount of material to package making it suitable for both altitude regimes.
The potential NASA applications include the use of the Bolt-On De-orbiter to assure that its LEO satellites de-orbit within the 25-year "requirement". The 2-way shape memory based de-orbiter unfurls when warmed and folds when cooled. This means that another potential application of the passively articulating 2-way shape memory de-orbiter is for use as substrates of solar panels that automatically unfurls during the sun-side of orbit to catch sun and folds during eclipse to reduce drag area thereby increasing the satellite lifetime.
The 2-way shape memory based de-orbiter unfurls when warmed and folds compactly when cooled. This means that another potential application of the passively articulating 2-way shape memory de-orbiter is for use as substrates of solar panels that automatically unfurls during the sun-side of orbit to catch sun and folds during eclipse to reduce drag area thereby increasing the satellite lifetime.
One potential way to achieve N+3 goals is the introduction of ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials into turbine engines. The introduction of CMC vanes and/or blades into turbine engines leads to gains in specific fuel consumption by allowing higher operating temperatures, reductions in required cooling, and reductions in vehicle weight. Environmental barrier coatings (EBCs) will play a crucial role in advance gas turbine engines because of their ability to significantly extend the temperature capability of the CMC engine components in harsh combustion environments. Due to the inherent scatter in both EBCs and CMCs, one needs to analyze the CMC/EBC interface with a probabilistic methodology. The proposed work will further develop a software tool that will facilitate the probabilistic/reliability analysis of the CMC/EBC interface, model time-dependent properties such as creep and/or growth of an oxide layer that induces EBC failure, and integrate uncertainty across scales between the interface and component levels in a global/local approach. The software is intended to allow for a more realistic prediction of component life and failure and to aid in design and fabrication of EBC/CMC systems and gas turbine components by government and commercial entities.
Determining important design and fabrication properties in EBC systems used for advanced CMC components for high pressure turbine engines and life/failure of such EBC systems and components.
Any applications that use the advanced CMCs, such as aircraft propulsion or land based gas turbines for power generation, require the development of a robust EBC system. The DOD, DOE, and commercial aeroengine manufacturers would benefit from this EBC system lifing software.
Deep space human exploration missions present a number of challenges. The distance from Earth makes communication less reliable and mission management more complex, and places a greater burden on human crews. Managing the complexity of the various onboard systems, processes, and resources, including health systems, payloads, etc., will present new kinds of crew challenges and stresses not experienced in Earth orbit where the ground station manages much of the mission. Autonomous cognitive agents that act as “virtual assistants” could interact with the crew and with the onboard systems to help with tasks that would be too burdensome or time-consuming for the crew alone. Cognitive agents based on modular, extensible cognitive architectures are needed to enable effective interaction, reasoning, problem solving, and teaming with human crews. In Phase I, we explored different use cases and design concepts, developed designs and simple prototypes, and conducted an initial feasibility assessment. Based on our findings in Phase I, SoarTech proposes in Phase II to develop a comprehensive working prototype cognitive architecture-based virtual assistant to support human exploration in deep space, and to demonstrate it in a representative environment. In performing this Phase II work, we will leverage our team’s considerable background in cognitive architectures, interactive systems, cognitive systems engineering, user-centered design, and space operations. SoarTech has been researching, developing, evaluating, and integrating interactive cognitive systems for the past 20+ years, including the design and use of cognitive architectures to develop multi-modal interfaces, synthetic teammates, and cognitive agents that allow for natural and intuitive interaction with computing systems. Our two astronaut subject matter experts have a combined 438 days of spaceflight time over five missions on the ISS and space shuttles, including multiple EVAs.
As NASA moves toward more independent astronaut crews and to deep space missions, the Autonomous Virtual Assistant (AVA) will help astronauts perform tasks, diagnose problems, and brainstorm solutions without help from ground teams. AVA could serve on board the Orion and Lunar Gateway as well as on the ISS and bases on the Moon or Mars. AVA could support ground teams performing complex tasks, terrestrial NASA researchers doing data analysis and experiment design, or help astronauts train or refresh on specific systems or procedures.
Defense applications include helping to operate complex automated weapon systems, or helping in complex ISR tasks across the services. Civilian uses include virtual assistants in power and manufacturing plants to help manage, monitor, and analyze operations. Medical teams need tools that can be used to query data (e.g., medical records), to support diagnosis and for treatment assessment.
CU Aerospace (CUA) proposes the further development of an alternative very low-toxicity Monopropellant Propulsion Unit for Cubesats (MPUC) and delivery of a brassboard MPUC system (TRL 5) which comprises a 150 mN main thruster subsystem (tested to TRL 6) and its TRL 5 feed system at the end of Phase II. CMP-X (CUA Mono-Propellant 10) is a non-detonable yet energetic COTS formulation that possesses many system-level advantages including lower cost (COTS propellant and non-refractory thruster construction), lower thermal load (~950 C flame temp), water-like viscosity, and common materials compatibility (aluminum, stainless steels, and most elastomers). CMP-X thrusters have demonstrated 180 s specific impulse at 174 mN thrust during thrust stand testing and continuous firing times > 10 min. Phase I demonstrated an improved catalyst for CMP-X with higher reactivity and longer life with minimal warmup time, enabling scaling to >500 mN. An earlier, slightly more concentrated formulation (CMP-8) has demonstrated shelf life exceeding 1200 days. Phase II studies will include long-duration CMP-X storage testing, UN/DOT Series 6 testing to establish a formal hazard classification of CMP-X (anticipated to be permitted on common commercial air transport such as UPS), further catalyst risk reduction studies / characterizations, and brassboard feed system development. CMP-X is designed not for highest performance Isp, but as a monopropellant option for customers who can accept a modest 20% performance penalty (relative to AF-315E and LMP-103S) for the advantages of lower cost, air transportability, considerably fewer range safety concerns, lower flame temperature resulting in considerably less thermal soakback into the spacecraft, and longer continuous thrust burns. The estimated total impulse of a 2U-sized flight MPUC is >2400 N-sec with a peak power draw of ~6 W and 180 s specific impulse.
MPUC responds to goals in NASA’s Roadmap for In-Space Propulsion with a focus on long life and cost reduction both with common COTS construction materials. MPUC has demonstrated performance that will yield volumetric impulse levels above those of legacy hydrazine systems. Its lack of detonation and demonstrated storability makes it a prime candidate for missions where costs and logistics are dominated by system transportation and range safety concerns. Potential missions include orbit change, drag makeup, and deorbiting.
Potential MPUC applications include drag makeup allowing extended-duration low altitude orbits, orbit raising, deorbiting for micro/nanosatellites, and/or deep space missions. The MPUC green monopropellant system offers affordable access to Cubesat propulsion and is easily scalable to larger sizes depending on mission requirements to meet needs of differing users in DOD, industry, and academia.
The complexity and round-the-clock nature of NASA operations in low Earth orbit (LEO) and future cis-lunar deep space missions, along with isolation in the extremely hostile environment of space, can induce levels of acute and chronic stress that could compromise astronaut performance, leading to errors that could affect science payloads, crew safety and mission success. For the exploration of space, therefore, a method is needed to assess operator state, quickly and reliably detect stress, and provide objective feedback to the individual, crew, and ground support, in order to mitigate adverse events and mishaps. Due to the unique challenges of NASA missions, Quantum Applied Science and Research (QUASAR) proposes to develop a system to identify Individualized, Noninvasive Speech Indicators for Tracking Elevations in Stress (INSITES). The overall goal of this INSITES project is to develop an unobtrusive, objective, and reliable detector of stress that measures changes in speech and vocalizations using equipment that would be present or used (microphones, communications systems, computers) used during operations, thus not requiring additional sensors or dedicated processing hardware. QUASAR and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) will build a database of audio stress recordings acquired under laboratory conditions in order to construct normative models of stress, using vocal stress-related features identified in Phase I. A methodology for recalibrating normative models to individuals using minimal additional training data in order to optimize model performance will be developed. QUASAR will also prepare and validate an INSITES prototype that will provide a real-time visual output describing an individual’s stress level. The prototype will be based upon an app that can be readily installed on a mobile device or implemented in NASA spacecraft and habitats to detect changes in stress acutely and over time.
Unobtrusive, low volume, easily-integrated stress detection for all NASA missions involving constrained space and weight, including Earth-based training, low Earth orbit, and deep space.
Multiple markets across both military and civilian mission critical environments where personnel operate and communicate in stressful environments. In particular, this technology could extend to military and commercial pilots, air traffic control operators, security or first response teams, as well as elite performance teams where audio communication is enabled by wearable headsets.
This NASA SBIR Phase II proposal presents a novel method to achieve high emissivity, with a femtosecond (fs) fiber laser. It is the enabling technology for manufacturing high temperature, high strength, and high emissivity metal and ceramic surfaces for electric propulsion components. With our successful history in laser processing, this proposal has a great potential to succeed. A proof of concept demonstration has been carried out and samples were delivered at the end of Phase I. Prototypes with various types of components in compliant with the NASA electric propulsion system requirement will be delivered at the end of Phase II.
In addition to NASA’s Hall thruster component fabrication, the proposed short pulse high power fiber laser 3D manufacturing approach can also be used in other applications, such as rocket, aircraft, and satellite manufacturing. Esp. it will find great potential in BN and SiC large area manufacturing for NASA’s deep space missions, such as Hall thruster program, NTP, PCOS, COR, HabEx, and LUVOIR programs. PolarOnyx will develop a series of products to meet various requirements for NASA/military deployments.
This SBIR proposal requesCts follow-on Phase 2 funding under the 2019 NASA SBIR/STTR solicitation Subtopic Z5.04 (Sensor-Fused Interactive Perception for Adaptive Space Robotics). Building upon its successful Phase I feasibility demonstration, Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems Corporation (IFOS) proposes to develop and demonstrate photonic-based Intra-Vehicular Activity (IVA) robot enablers to capture objects using tactile and force feedback and provide diagnostic measurements.
In Phase 1, IFOS addressed the proof-of-concept feasibility of embedding optical fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors into 3D printed sensory pads that could detect tactile, multi-axis force, and temperature inputs similar to the sensitivity of the human hand. By using a single type of sensor for multiple sensing applications, the design process for all projects is highly streamlined. In addition, optical fiber is robust and can be used to create extremely reliable yet sensitive distributed sensing systems that can be exposed to and operate in harsh and extreme environments.
In Phase 2, IFOS will demonstrate a robotic hand with embedded optical sensing. The project will develop a miniature PIC-based FBG interrogator suitable for incorporation in Gateway compatible robots, demonstrate a multiplexed gripper sensing suite for infusion into Gateway compatible robots, and perform MISSE orbital testing on ISS.
IFOS’ innovative platform will provide NASA and the commercial space community a robotic gripper providing fiber-optic sensor multiplexibility, electromagnetic and RF interference (EMI/RFI) immunity, radiation hardness, the ability to operate over large temperature ranges (76 K - 2073 K), and a high-speed sampling rate. Such a tool has application to intra- and extra-vehicular activity (IVA and EVA) tasks. Specifically, we envision FBG sensors enabling robotic caretakers on NASA’s future Gateway program to maintain the lunar base both from within and outside.
Toy Industry: Enhancement of specimens resembling the functions of people or pets.
ATA Engineering, Inc. (ATA) and partners propose a Phase II SBIR project to further develop methods to efficiently characterize and predict noise performance of aircraft with substantial propulsion airframe aeroacoustics (PAA) effects. The methods utilize near-field surface source models informed by high-spatial-resolution acoustic measurements. Over the last decade, ATA has matured the multireference continuous-scan (CS) acoustic measurement technology that is needed to define and validate such source models. Previous demonstrations of CS measurements include beamforming, near-field acoustical holography, and turbofan tone order tracking.
In Phase I, the team applied such measurements to canonical experiments along with a small-scale ducted fan using fixed and scanning sensors in the near, mid, and far field to define stochastic source models. These models supported novel acoustic shielding predictions by directly detecting the wavepacket-like nature of acoustic events that propagate to the far field as well as using this information to define surface-based source models to predict noise shielding/scattering from PAA using the boundary element method (BEM). Additionally, a 60-channel 2D rotating array characterized the sound field generated by a speaker with and without scattering bodies at an unprecedented high-resolution of nearly 10,000 virtual sensors. This provided a clear visualization of the interference patterns of a complex sound field in the presence of a rigid body and demonstrated the ability to couple isolated source characterization measurements to BEM for PAA problems.
In Phase II, ATA proposes to extend the methods to more complex geometries in order to (1) define an efficient BEM-based noise prediction process that utilizes PAA sources derived from high-resolution CS measurements and/or state-of-the-art predictive tools, and (2) integrate the process into far-field noise prediction frameworks such as NASA’s Aircraft NOise Prediction Program (ANOPP).
This technology provides NASA new capabilities to develop next-generation airframes and propulsion systems. The tools will find use at NASA centers like the AAPL and 9′ × 15′ LSWT, the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnels, and the 14′ × 22′ subsonic tunnel and Structural Acoustics Loads and Transmission (SALT) facility. NASA can test PAA in these facilities with devices such as the Compact Jet Engine Simulator, Broadband Engine Noise Simulators, fan engine simulators, and a small turbofan.
Non-NASA applications of this high-resolution technology include air mobility vehicle noise, automotive and heavy equipment noise, consumer audio, and factory equipment. Many of these applications rely on source localization using acoustic cameras, implying immediate commercialization opportunities for the superior diagnostics resulting from this effort.
Novel aircraft concepts enable a future Air Transportation System (ATS) with reduced emissions, reduced noise, improved mobility, and radically new modes of transportation, such as urban air taxis, autonomous deliveries of goods, and improved weather and ground traffic monitoring. The future ATS will need to support an incredibly diverse set of vehicles operating from urban vertiports in addition to conventional airfields.
Approach and landing systems were originally designed for tube and wing aircraft operating between large airfields with long, clear approach paths free from obstacles. Similar performance characteristics across the fleet enabled the creation and publication of standardized approach and landing trajectories. Future aircraft, especially those designed for high cruise efficiency, may not be capable of meeting standardized approach and landing performance criteria.
Urban air mobility concepts typically require small vertiports without clear approach paths increasing the likelihood of encountering wind shear and turbulence during approach and landing. Low wing loaded and disc loaded vehicles, which include many future air vehicle concepts, are more susceptible to turbulence and face larger deviations from the desired trajectory in turbulent conditions.
We propose researching, developing, and commercializing an innovative solution to these challenges called the Performance-based Approach and Landing System (PALS). PALS will use information about the air vehicle’s performance and estimates of current turbulence and wind shear levels to autonomously create safe performance-based trajectories for approach and landing. PALS will be able to estimate and control the aircraft’s future position along the generated trajectory to coordinate with air traffic control or directly with other aircraft. PALS is a key component in enabling a future air transportation system consisting of a diverse set of vehicles operating from urban vertiports and conventional airfields.
HARPOON (High Access Raman Probe with Onboard Optical Numerization) is a next-generation ultra-compact laser Raman Spectrometer equipped with multiplexed fiber optic sensing points. HARPOON’s superior performance meets the top-level scientific requirements of multiple planetary missions to the inner and outer Solar System.
HARPOON boasts an innovative combination of adaptive spatial coding optics and detector that enables unique measurements: in-situ chemical identification and sub-ppb quantitation of complex organic compounds, including pre-biotic compounds (e.g. amino acids); biomolecules (organic biomarkers such as proteins, lipids, and nucleic acid polymers); minerals; salts; volatiles.
HARPOON has five science objectives traceable to observational requests of high-priority mission objectives and specific science investigations. HARPOON informs these five science objectives by performing high-resolution, high-sensitivity quantitative analyses of samples via an innovative approach to Raman spectroscopy. Raman is probably the most powerful tool available for in-situ, non-invasive molecular and mineralogical characterizations. Based on the inelastic scattering of light, the Raman technique identifies molecular species and their chemical and structural nature. HARPOON changes paradigm in in-situ planetary Raman exploration: it enhances the sensitivity of Raman intruments by several orders of magnitude.
Our strategies for maximizing the likelihood of mission infusion are: cost-effective scheme, versatile design, and operational flexibility. This makes HARPOON suitable for multiple spacecraft configurations. The use of remote fiber optic sensing: (1) enables the placement of multiple Raman heads both external and internal to the spacecraft; (2) allows to concurrently or sequentially analyze different types of samples (non-contact and contact; solid and liquid); and (3) provides flexibility to couple Raman analysis to other analytical tools.
Our innovation significantly improves instrument measurement capabilities for planetary science missions such as Discovery, New Frontiers, Mars Exploration, and other planetary programs. It has potential to become a critical new instrument in NASA’s exploration toolbox that can replace already-flown in-situ sensing technologies in future mission opportunities, including: a) landed exploration missions to Venus, Moon, Mars, Europa, Titan, comets, and asteroids; b) sample return missions to Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids; d) ISRU
HARPOON-derived technologies currently being commercialized in the resource development industry both speeds up and expands data analysis capabilities for core logging operations by moving the lab to the borehole and removing the need for coring. Our follow-on commercial application, WireLog, replaces core logging with wireline logging.
Plume-surface interaction during propulsive landings on unprepared regolith in extra-terrestrial environments is recognized as a major risk factor facing exploration missions. Dust and debris particles are liberated and may strike the landing vehicle and surrounding assets and may obscure ground observation for safe landing. In addition, craters are formed on the landing surface, posing an additional challenge to vehicle stability and surface operations. CFDRC has developed the Gas-Granular Flow Solver (GGFS) capable of simulating the multi-phase gas-particle interaction and the complex granular physics within Moon and Mars regolith. Eulerian-Eulerian models are applied to efficiently model the gas and particle phases as continuum fluids. This capability has successfully been introduced into NASA project applications for Mars lander development including the InSight lander and future human Mars lander architectures. With the current focus on returning to the Moon in the near future, this plume-surface effects simulation capability must be extended for applicability to lunar vacuum environments where a mixed continuum/rarefied approach must be used to properly simulate the gas-phase dynamics. In Phase I, the gas-granular capability was adapted for use in mixed continuum/rarefied regimes by coupling with a kinetic solver using a novel multi-fluid coupling approach. This combination facilitates a local switch to continuum or rarefied gas flow in a seamless automated process, distinctively accounting the gas-particle interactions. In Phase II, the multi-fluid continuum and rarefied gas and solid particles coupling algorithm will be implemented and extended for use with realistic gas and granular mixtures. A procedure will be implemented for generating realistic lunar regolith composition material models. The validation effort will include simulations with reduced gravity, varied atmospheric rarefication, supersonic flow, realistic and ideal granular mixtures.
Potential NASA commercial applications include all NASA and commercial partner lunar lander development projects. Small commercial lander activities and NASA sponsored instrument payloads under the CLEPS program, to safely deliver payloads to the lunar surface, and eventually human lunar lander systems under the Artemis program will require accurate definition of the plume-particle distribution environment below the landers near the surface encountered by the landers and the payload instruments.
Non-NASA applications include mixing in pharmaceutical industries, where flow and heat transfer through particle beds can force local conditions to be non-continuum due to the small length scales. Other applications include ablation through porous media in low-pressure environments, such as high-altitude missile warhead re-entry applications.
Fission power systems (FPS) are a candidate power source for long duration NASA surface missions to the Moon and Mars, and offer significant advantages over competing options, including longer life, operational robustness, and mission flexibility. Electronics associated with the power conversion and power management and distribution (PMAD) systems in FPS have to operate reliably under high temperature (100s of deg C), high power (1-10 kWe), and severe radiation. Silicon carbide (SiC) is a promising solution with superior electronic properties for power applications. SiC devices offer higher temperature operation, higher breakdown voltages, and higher power conversion efficiency than silicon devices. However, vulnerability to heavy-ion induced failure and uncertainty in response to nuclear radiation are challenges facing FPS applications of SiC technology. CFDRC, Vanderbilt University, and Wolfspeed propose a modeling and experiment-based approach using commercial SiC technology to address this challenge. In Phase I, we applied the MRED radiation transport code to determine neutron-induced secondary ion spectra, developed a physics-based model of the selected SiC MOSFET using CFDRC’s NanoTCAD software, and performed simulations to investigate sensitivity to design parameters, ion characteristics, and applied bias. In Phase II, we will transition to a higher-voltage SiC MOSFET technology for greater relevance to FPS applications, and characterize electrical and radiation performance via experiments. We will use the MRED toolkit for higher fidelity calculations of secondary particles and compare the impact of heavy ions (background environment) and fission neutrons. We will adapt the existing TCAD model, perform detailed simulations to understand key underlying mechanisms, and parametrically analyze design features to identify guidelines for higher radiation tolerance. Promising solutions will be prototyped, tested, and delivered to NASA.
Radiation tolerant, high voltage/high temperature SiC power electronics can lead to lower PMAD system weight, and is an enabling technology for Kilowatt-class fission power systems. It supports NASA science and exploration missions such as: Moon and Mars missions for in-situ resource utilization experiments, pre-crew surface stations, etc. The developed modeling and analysis tools will be a Cross-Cutting Technology that provides capability to all NASA missions that require power electronics.
Radiation tolerant SiC power electronics are applicable in DoD space systems (communication, surveillance, missile defense), commercial satellites, and nuclear power systems. High-voltage/high-temperature SiC power devices, through applications in high-voltage converters, motor drives, etc., are promising for all-electric and hybrid cars, grid-scale energy storage systems, engine sensors, etc.
Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes to develop a solar concentrator system for lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) applications. In this system, solar radiation is collected using a concentrator array that transfers the concentrated solar radiation to the optical waveguide (OW) transmission cable made of low loss optical fibers. The OW transmission line directs the solar radiation to the thermal receiver for thermochemical processing of lunar regolith. Key features of the proposed system are:
PSI proposes to develop component and subsystem technologies for the solar concentrator system for lunar ISRU applications including: oxygen extraction from lunar regolith. At the conclusion of the proposed effort, PSI will have demonstrated collection and transmission of the solar power using an optical waveguide consistent with the requirements of the Lunar ISRU application of oxygen production. The Phase II demonstration will use a single facet solar collector, capture of the solar radiation using a light-weight, space qualifiable optical waveguide and transmission and illumination of a simulated regolith material consistent with the requirements of a carbothermal reactor used for the production of oxygen for Lunar applications.
The primary application of the proposed solar concentrator system is for the production of oxygen and other useful materials on the lunar surface. The solar concentrator system can be used for sintering lunar regolith for surface stabilization and construction. In addition, the system can be used for thermal or electric power generation and plant lighting and illumination for the lunar base. Therefore, the solar concentrator system is the key enabling technology for building up the infrastructure for the lunar base.
There are a number of terrestrial uses for the solar concentrator system related to heating applications including water heating (for domestic and industrial usage), transportable heat source for the detoxification of contaminated soil, heat engine for small power plants and industrial process heat. Also concentrator subsystems may find applications for building and indoor plant growth lighting.
We propose a new approach for to the design and fabrication of miniaturized Interferometric Fiber Optical Gyroscope (FOG) that enables the production of smaller IRU and IMU with substantially reduced noise (ARW) and better bias performance as well as environmental robustness combined with radiation hardness.
The gyro noise is reduced by a factor of 4 by utilizing an innovative approach for the light source noise reduction. The gyro’s sensitivity to vibration is substantially reduced by implementation of new signal processing algorithm and advance sensor’s optical and mechanical design enabling the gyros’ operation without the need for mechanical isolation, enabling smaller and lighter system size. The sensor is using a new radiation hard fiber that can operate with little degradation in harsh radiation environment i.e. during Jovian missions without the need for additional shields for the gyro optical head.
The combination of these attributes supports smaller, lower cost, and higher performance IMUs that can serve future NASA mission needs.
These innovative technologies enable a concept for a miniaturized tactical IMU based on the above technology (< 0.5 deg/hr bias over temperature and ARW of 0.0065 deg/rt-hr) with a volume as small <26 cubic inches and potential miniaturization to < 15 cube inch. Other possible applications include < 35 cube inch IMU (about LN200 size) delivering closer to navigation grade performance, with ARW <0.0035 deg/rt-hr and bias residual over temperature of < 0.2 deg/hr; and 90 cube inch IMU is expected to enable ARW <0.0006 deg/rt/hr with < 0.01 deg/hr bias.
Future missions demand increased navigation performance to support general science, communication, or difficult spacecraft docking or landing operations. Small spacecraft are taking increasingly prominent roles due to their relatively inexpensive cost. We offer a substantial reduction of the system size especially beneficial for complex missions to be carried out with such small platforms. Such may include scientific exploration missions, on-board navigation, autonomous approach & landing, precision pointing and formation-flying navigation.
The Navigational and high-end tactical IMU market is an expanding market with a push for higher performance. This expansion will be driven by cost and size reduction. The technology enables the smallest volume IRU/IMU on the market today for such a performance level. Our proposed system offers an alternative to existing products like the Northrop Grumman LN200, LN250 or Honeywell MIMU
NASA is seeking to develop real-time realistic nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and structural health monitoring (SHM) physics-based simulations and automated data reduction/analysis methods for large datasets. We propose the combination of a neural network approach with a traditional finite element simulation to generate realistic thermal-based NDE methods for precise determination of structural defects such as cracks, delaminations, and ageing. The proposed approach will allow simulating the structural behavior of complex structures and different types of materials, including any metal alloy and composites. Although the method will be first developed to simulate thermal-based measurements such as thermography, flash thermography, and vibrothermography, the framework could be expanded to other domains including, ultrasonic, microwave, Terahertz, and X-ray. The proposed method has the potential to reduce simulation time by 2 orders of magnitude and an increase the compression rate by 2 orders of magnitude also. Due to the machine learning approach of the method, the accuracy and reliability will increase overtime as the number of validated experimental data increases.
The method will improve the quantitative data interpretation and understanding of large amounts of NDE/SHM data that will lead to safer, more robust, and more enduring structures operating in space. Performance prediction and defect characterization will also be greatly improved, leading to more efficient and timely maintenance operations and scheduling, which will also reduce costs. Application of this technology is envisioned in the very near future, such as inspection of fuel tanks, reusable rockets, and reentry vehicles.
The Real-time realistic simulations capability of this technology allows integration within existing software as a plugin in popular computational packages such as COMSOL. The method could also be implemented in existing commercially available NDE setups (flash thermography and vibrothermography) to provide robust extraction of defect features in virtually any type of experimental setup.
A novel injector is proposed in response to "Robust design solutions for liquid oxygen injection and subsequent stable combustion with high temperature (>1700 R) hydrogen flowing at low pressure (<25 psia) and high velocity (~Mach 0.2)" subtopic, listed under "Advanced Propulsion Systems Ground Test Technology" focus area. This injector features fully 3D-printed Liquid Oxygen (LOX)-centered swirl coaxial design with high-speed hydrogen flowing peripherally and impinging axially on central LOX conical spray. We believe that due to ability of the center swirl element to atomize LOX to a fine degree and penetrate into Gaseous Hydrogen (GH) free stream, this injector would be able to sustain combustion in a stable and efficient manner. Because of its potential to be easily tunable in response to combustion dynamics observed in operation, we expect to develop this injector for a stable operation at a rapid pace. This injector can be used in any system flowing hot high-speed hydrogen or hydrogen-rich mixture needed to be burned or neutralized, such as NASA's ground testing of nuclear rocket engines or similar hydrogen-rich combustion devices. Phase I has focused on technical feasibility demonstration and procurement of two sub-scale prototype injectors, with and without premix of LOX-GH propellants upstream of primary combustion zone, completing at TRL 3. If this project proceeds into Phase II, it will focus on sub-scale hot-fire development testing and demonstration, for follow-on commercialization and field operations, completing at TRL 6.
Ultrasonic Technology Solutions (UTS) aims to develop a transformative human solid waste management system for the International Space Station (ISS) that uses our unique, efficient and fast direct-contact ultrasonic drying method. Human metabolic solid waste (feces) contains 75% water by mass which is currently not recovered on the ISS and is instead transported back to earth. Return transportation of this waste results in significant cost and unneeded payload utilization. Water recovery and stabilization of solid waste is a critical technology gap for long-duration human planetary exploration and future missions to the moon and Mars. Under SBIR Phase Ι, direct contact ultrasonic results showed that it is feasible to remove 80-100% of the water from human solid waste at the rate exceeding >140 kg/m2.hr, which is about 2 orders of magnitude faster than conventional thermal (evaporative) based drying at a fraction of the energy input.
The direct contact ultrasonic drying technology was invented at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 2015. During 2015-2017, the ORNL team demonstrated five times higher drying energy efficiency for clothing (1/5th of the energy input) and two times faster drying rates compared to state-of-the-art residential clothes dryers. In September 2018 the lead inventor, Dr. Ayyoub Momen, along with a team of seasoned professionals launched UTS, and exclusively licensed the direct contact ultrasonic drying technology from ORNL for commercial and industrial fields of use. Phase Ι of SBIR showed a promising result for removing water from feces. Under SBIR Phase II, the team is planning to design, develop and evaluate the performance of a full-scale ultrasonic drying machine that is compatible with the established solid waste management system at ISS.
Removing water using direct contact ultrasonic drying can potentially reduce the operational cost of space travel and improve crew hygiene and comfort. Excess water in feces adds up to approximately 680 kgs (1,496 lbs.) of unnecessary waste for a 1,000-day mission by a crew of four.
Direct contact ultrasonic drying is a platform technology that has the potential to dry many types of material. Many other industries and markets have strong potential for long term business. UTS has also chosen the niche market of industrial textile drying machines as a complementary industrial market to enter.
ADA Technologies, Inc. (ADA) successfully demonstrated ADA advanced lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery technology through material engineering of battery cell components with the following main achievements. (1) Successfully developed sulfur-carbon (S-C) composite electrodes with high S content, high electrode loading and excellent electrochemical performance in the resultant Li-S cells projecting conservatively a specific energy of >400 Wh/kg at cell level. (2) Successfully developed Li metal anode protection and coating methodologies with demonstrated superior electrochemical performance to the uncoated Li anode including high specific capacity/energy, improved cycle stability and suppressed Li dendrite formation for improved battery operation and safety of the resultant Li-S cells or batteries. (3) Using the advanced battery cell components developed under the Phase I program, the advanced Li-S cells demonstrated highly stable cycle life performance showing a great promise of achieving cycle life of 1,000 cycles at 70% depth-of-discharge (DOD). (4) ADA successfully demonstrated a Li-S pouch cell of 350 mAh in size, which delivered a high specific capacity and a stable Coulombic efficiency. This result will guide Phase II scale up efforts.
The successful Phase I program laid a solid foundation and justification for a continued Phase II development effort where a technical readiness level (TRL) of 6 is anticipated at the end of the Phase II program. ADA proposes the following Phase II development efforts: (1) Further develop/mature the Li-S battery technology via material engineering to achieve multiple performance goals including >400 Wh/kg at cell level, 1,000 cycles at 70% DOD and wide temperature operation (-20°C to +70°C). (2) Demonstrate the Li-S battery technology in large format prototype cells with a subsequent manufacturing/commercialization efforts for NASA lunar/space applications and non-NASA applications (e.g., defense, commercial).
An immediate potential application for the ADA Li-S chemistry is thrust vector control (TVC) systems used in flight control systems of launchers and space vehicles. These systems demand high energy and power to control the flight surfaces of high value vehicles. The technology would also play very well in interplanetary spacecraft. This Li-S chemistry would provide high energy density for the modest number of battery cycles these missions require. Another potential application for this chemistry is planetary rovers.
Mission-critical battery back-up systems are a potential application for this technology. Remotely located back-up energy storage for critical government communications and mobile lightweight UPS power to back-up rocket launch computing and communications equipment can also be addressed with this Li-S technology. DOD spacecraft have similar energy storage needs as NASA and are in play.
The process of chilling propellant transfer lines, before ignition of liquid rocket engines is initiated is a critical step before launch and in-space propulsion. Similarly, reliable engine operations, require flow to be conditioned, devoid of two-phase content and pool/flow boiling considerations impact cryogenic tank propellant management. The chilling/quenching of propellant lines undergo complex flow patterns involving film boiling, transition boiling, nucleate boiling and single phase convective heat transfer. In Phase I, a mesoscopic boiling model was integrated into a high-fidelity multi-physics simulation framework and quenching of vertical tubes with cryogenic fluids under terrestrial and microgravity conditions were demonstrated. In Phase II, experiments providing data of important sub-model closures involving bubble departure diameter, frequency and nucleation site density for cryogenic fluids are planned. These measurements aided with machine learning algorithms will help in improving the accuracy of correlations and closure models. Furthermore, the boiling model will be enhanced involving additional physics related to surface wettability, bubble sliding effects, solid wall quenching etc along with substrate roughness that affects convective heat transfer and nucleation. Detailed validation studies are planned with hydrogen and nitrogen under normal gravity and microgravity conditions and boiling model framework will be ported to NASA’s codes to support mission related activities.
Cryogenic propellant storage and transfer are integral to nearly all NASA’s future human exploration missions. The tools developed here can result in efficient and reliable protocols for propellant transfer addressing important needs for such missions from launch, in-space engine start-up to orbital refueling. Furthermore, pool boiling and flow boiling impact several key elements of propellant tank cryogenic fluid management in microgravity.
Since the chilling of transfer lines is an indispensable part of launch, the commercial launch operators can use our prediction tools to estimate propellant quantities and transfer times. Other important applications include the medical industry where applications vary from the preservation of tissues and organs to life-support systems.
The Phase I portion of this SBIR initiative researched ways in which the resiliency and robustness of UAS Traffic Management (UTM) ecosystems can and should be improved. The primary result of those activities was the formulation of a flexible, service-based architecture for Health & Integrity (H&I) monitoring, assessment, and mitigation of complex, federated System of Systems (SoS). This aptly named Health & Integrity Management System (HIMS) adds another dimension of capability to the UTM architecture wherein it is intended to holistically monitor and respond to the ecosystem, providing continuity between independent UTM services from a system reliability perspective.
The proposed HIMS is in direct alignment with NASA’s Strategic Thrust 5 relating to In-time System-wide Safety Assurance (ISSA) capabilities development and integration. Specifically, the HIMS supports progress towards achievement of the first major ISSA milestone, namely the development of domain-specific safety monitoring and alerting tools.
Phase 2 of this SBIR effort proposes to build on our HIMS concept. We will take the research and innovative conceptual design produced under Phase I and conduct the detailed development, test, and demonstration of capability that is necessary to provide a commercialized product of valuable to both NASA and industry.
The CAL Team is well positioned to commercialize our innovation. We have a proven track record of integrating UAS into the National Airspace System and are working with the leading UTM/UAM firms around the world. Our team also has multiple complementary efforts which not only enhance this research but show that the commercial market for the resulting product is already forming. With the additions of AIS and ResilienX to the team as commercialization partners, we have developed a strong commercialization approach.
Our Phase 2 SBIR has applications throughout the NASA portfolio, where a HIMS product would further NASA efforts and research. This includes the following areas:
UAM Grand Challenge - ResilienX on a participating team
Strategic Thrust 5 – ISSA research and validation platform
NextGen - ISSA research and validation platform
FAA UTM RTT – Operationalization enabling technology
Our architecture is loosely coupled, making it an ideal platform to perform research around many additional safety critical applications such as NASA’s space-based endeavors.
The HIMS concept has already gained traction with DOTs and ANSPs looking to operationalize UTM ecosystems. We are solving critical pain points for complex system of systems with safety, availability or uptime requirements. Our market research has shown that this same technology is applicable to additional markets such as Counter UAS, Smart Cities, Industrial Internet of Things, and Vertiports.
Long-term monitoring of Titan’s atmosphere and planetary surface requires a robust autonomous vehicle capable of interacting with Titan’s surface and profiling its chemically dynamic atmosphere. Creare proposes the Titan Ringlet, a drone capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) that can transition to horizontal flight to extend the range beyond that of a multirotor vehicle. VTOL capabilities simplify the interaction of the vehicle with the surface and enable true vertical profiling of the atmosphere, while the ability to transition to horizontal flight increases the spatial range of possible observations. Creare’s Titan Ringlet drone utilizes a novel nonplanar wing geometry and mechanically simple controls without the need or complexity of traditional fixed-wing control surfaces. The drone packs efficiently into an aeroshell for safe entry into the Titan atmosphere and then separates from the aeroshell for a precision vertical landing on the surface. Compared to a pure rotorcraft, the fixed-wing cruise flight of Creare’s drone increases range by three times, increases endurance by two times, and increases altitude by four times. A small variant of the Titan Ringlet can support a larger mobile lander, e.g., the Dragonfly spacecraft, and increase the flight range of the lander threefold by pre-scouting landing sites.
The primary intended application for Creare’s Titan Ringlet drone is to support NASA and its planetary exploration missions. The design resulting from this effort could be adapted to planetary exploration missions to other planetary bodies with an atmosphere. This design can also be adapted for terrestrial applications to help achieve NASA’s Earth observation objectives.
The applications for Creare’s Titan Ringlet drone are broad and far reaching for terrestrial applications. These could include routine commercial services such as drone delivery services, atmospheric profiling, and monitoring and surveillance activities for agriculture and utility companies. Each application would likely entail application-specific requirements and customization of the system.
DiSCO (Dual in-situ Spectroscopy and COring) is an innovative arm-mounted instrument for acquiring and analyzing planetary subsurface materials. The instrument extracts 5 × 1 cm cores, and immediately performs in-situ, time-resolved, coregistered imaging and spectroscopic mapping at high resolution – 10 µm and 50 µm, respectively. The significant attribute of our technology is the ability to focus on a specific layer or location on the core surface – something that none of the previous, current, or even future surface missions have capability to do. The Mars Exploration Rovers clearly illustrated the need for such a capability by exposing rock surface and identifying round nodules. Unfortunately, the arm mounted instruments were unable to analyze the nodules themselves, but rather took an ‘average’ of the area.
DiSCO is the first instrument that boasts integrated drilling/coring/caching, imaging, and laser spectroscopic mapping systems. DiSCO integrates a combined fiber-based optical imaging, laser Raman spectroscopy (LRS), laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), and laser-induced native fluorescence (LINF) system into an SBIR-funded, demonstrated drilling and coring platform.
DiSCO delivers three game-changing advantages in lander/rover based planetary exploration: a) unprecedented analytical capabilities – in-situ, coregistered high-resolution imaging and LRS+LIBS+LINF core mapping, b) minimization of the resources and complexity required to perform subsurface science analyses – no need for core processing and delivery systems and robotic arm movement between the rock and an instrument onboard of the rover, and c) possibility for novel mission architectures – coring + analysis + caching capabilities are offered within a single, highly modular arm-mounted instrument.
DiSCO supports the characterization of both surface and subsurface materials, significantly improving instrument measurement capabilities for planetary science missions such as Discovery, New Frontiers, Mars Exploration, and other planetary programs, including: a) landed exploration missions to Venus, Moon, Mars, Europa, Titan, comets, and asteroids; b) sample return missions to Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids, and ISRU.
DiSCO-derived technologies currently being commercialized in the resource development industry both speeds up and expands data analysis capabilities for core logging operations by moving the lab to the borehole and removing the need for coring. Our follow-on commercial application, WireLog, replaces core logging with wireline logging.
The portable life support system for the exploration space suit (xPLSS) must control CO2 and humidity levels inside the space suit pressure garment. The preferred approach is to use a pressure swing adsorption process based on amine swingbed technology. One of the key technical challenges for xPLSS operation on the Martian surface is the need to vent CO2 and water vapor from the swingbeds to an ambient pressure that is generally greater than the bed desorption pressure. We propose to develop a boost compressor that will enable the swingbeds to operate on the Martian surface. The boost compressor will pump CO2 and water vapor from the beds to the external environment with a pressure rise that is high enough to overcome the local ambient pressure. Compact size and high efficiency will enable use of the system as part of a portable life support system. In Phase I, we demonstrated the feasibility of our approach through proof-of-concept testing, analysis of boost compressor performance, and design of a prototype boost compressor. In Phase II, we will build a prototype boost compressor and demonstrate its operation under conditions that simulate Martian surface operation of the xPLSS.
The primary NASA application will be CO2 and humidity control for future exploration space suits. Scaled-up versions could be used for CO2 and humidity control for rovers and habitats on the Martian surface. Relevant NASA activities include the xEMU program, the International Space Station, and the Deep Space Gateway. Small vacuum pumps are also needed for scientific instruments used by unmanned planetary surface rovers.
Miniature, efficient vacuum pumps will have numerous terrestrial applications for use in portable analysis instruments. Applications include natural resource discovery, forensics, explosive and chemical agent detection, and biological tissue characterization.
The purpose of this effort, titled Lunar Solar Array Monolithic Truss Segment (MTS), is to directly support NASA’s need for improved technologies for a vertically deployed, retractable, sun tracking solar array through structural and manufacturing innovation of the telescoping truss segment (TTS) of the Compact Telescoping Array (CTA). The scope of work is limited to developing and validating a modular molding process to enable the fabrication of a monolithic truss composite truss segment and generating manufacturing method mitigates risk of bonded members, increases compaction, and structural performance of the truss segment. Primary methods applied during this effort are to include mold tooling redesign for machining, design and evaluation of co-cured latching and deployment mechanisms. Additionally, a nested two truss segment prototype will be fabricated and tested to evaluate high cycle deployment/retraction capability and structural performance of the integrated mechanisms and composite truss.
NASA programs involving high power solar arrays may be particularly interested in the Compact Telescoping Array (CTA) technology as it directly supports the lightweight needs of future very high-power SEP mission requirements both near and far term. The MTS also supports NASA’s vision for robotic assembly in the form of the Tension Actuated in Space Manipulator or TALISMAN. Long reach manipulators will be constructed from high performance truss assemblies. This is true of the proposed designs for Talisman.
The CTA architecture an MTS can supply high amounts of solar electric power for a variety of space a terrestrial operation. The CTA’s highly scalable, low mass, high compaction, deployable and retractable capability paired with the low cost and high performance of the MTS offer high power capability for commercial lunar landers, rovers, space stations, satellites and terrestrial systems.
High-spatial (<10-m/pixel) resolution orbital instruments are only capable of detecting surficial ice and subsurface ice estimates for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) are ambiguous and remain controversial. Orbiting neutron spectrometer instruments are capable of measuring hydrogen within the top 10s of cms of regolith but are limited to spatial resolution in the 100’s of km^2. Reducing the spatial resolution of such an instrument via collimation is technically challenging. Alternatively, a neutron spectrometer instrument on a lunar rover would be able to measure hydrogen and He-3 within the top meter of regolith with a spatial resolution of ~1-m^2, similar to the cancelled RESOLVE mission. The RESOLVE rover was a large rover capable of prospecting for lunar ice, drilling into such ice, and determining the actual ice content. Thus, the area at which RESOLVE could prospect was hampered by the objectives of the other instruments. Therefore, this work aims to resurrect the prospecting part of the RESOLVE rover by allowing a small size and low cost of the micro-sized detector/rover package “the NeuRover” that will allow for a single mission to disperse numerous micro-rovers over a much wider range than is possible with a single rover. The high-resolution data will be invaluable for future lunar exploration as it would allow future in-situ exploration to of highly concentrated locations of hydrogen. Additionally, such a mission could revolutionize our understanding of trapped volatiles on planetary bodies (e.g., Moon, Mercury, Ceres), as it will better map the heterogeneity vertically and laterally of hydrogen deposits. The innovation proposed is a small-mass, low-power, Neutron Energy Spectrometer (NES) for Mapping of Sub-Surface Lunar water content that can be supported by a micro-sized rover. The Team has previously developed an instrument that can measure the hydrogen content (water) of soil by stacking alternating layers of neutron absorber, moderator, and detectors.
Provide a viable semiconductor-based neutron energy spectrometer (NES) for remote lunar soil moisture determination CONOPS. A compact, low-power NES/NeuRover would yield benefits to the NASA mission beyond the search for hydrogen below the lunar surface as proposed. A major hurdle to overcome to ensure the success of the human exploration of space and extraterrestrial bodies is to limit the radiation dose to astronauts. A commercially-available NeuRover system could inexpensively map unknown areas before human astronauts arrive for missions.
An application for a roving (autonomous), robust neutron energy spectrometer would be in the field of nuclear waste monitoring and mapping. It is possible that with the increase in nuclear fuel and waste storage, and along with the unfortunate radiological accidents at various sites, e.g., Hanford, Fukushima Daiichi, NeuRover’s remote roving capability may be beneficial for inspecting these sites.
KalScott proposes to complete the development of a chip-based ADS-B for high-density, low-altitude UAV operations in the national airspace. This effort will consist of designing and fabricating a multi-band transceiver chip that can provide ADS-B functionality. In addition, the chip will also have the ability to port vehicle data into other formats for dissemination over multiple bands to enable integration into multi-vehicle missions. In Phase II, the components of this chip will be developed and tested individually, and then integrated into a final design as a single chip. This will be tested in the lab, on the ground in a moving vehicle, and finally in flight on KalScott's small UAV.
The ADS-B chip can be integrated into several NASA UTM projects underway, aimed at the safe integration of UAVs into the national airspace. Discussions with the NASA COTR have identified insertion points for this technology. An interesting feature is the ability of this chip to serve as a bridge between ADS-B and other emerging IoT messaging protocols. This would enable exchange of information between aerial vehicles, ground vehicles, fixed nodes, etc. to support multi-node robotic/automated operations.
The ADS-B chip is aimed at the manufacturers and operators of civilian UAVs, specially small UAVs operated in dense urban environments. It can also be adapted for larger UAVs to enable ADS-B In/Out for longer range operations.
Nabla Zero Labs proposes to continue the development of the Astrodynamics Cloud: A technology enabling the collaborative design, analysis, and optimization of spacecraft trajectories. We aim to support autonomous, integrated, and inter-operable modeling capabilities throughout NASA’s mission portfolio, as well as the rapidly-growing small-satellite industry, where newcomers possess extraordinary hardware capabilities, but more limited astrodynamics and flight mechanics expertise.
Our platform is expressly designed to support the next generation of astrodynamics research, which we have called Large-Scale Astrodynamics: a field where the challenges are no longer how to solve one astrodynamical problem, but how to solve thousands or millions, simultaneously, continuously, and in near real-time. All while providing relevant and actionable information to a broad set of stakeholders and ensuring that such information is trustworthy and protected against cyberattacks.
During Phase II, we will implement 7 services to be offered through the Astrodynamics Cloud platform: GMAT to solve GMAT-based mission design scenarios; MONTE to encode MONTE-based workflows; CRTBP to analyze trajectories in the cislunar space; SSA to perform large-scale situational awareness calculations; RAPTOR to perform low-thrust trajectory optimization; INTERVALDB an interval-oriented database to manage large-scale trajectory and interval-oriented Big Data; and CHECK a service for validation of trajectories against requirements.
We are fortunate that our system comes into existence at a time when our field can barely keep up with the vast number of satellite launches, situational awareness calculations, NASA missions currently in all lifecycle stages, and the ever-increasing pressure of new entrants and stakeholders.
From the beginning of the Phase II effort, the Astrodynamics Cloud will support ongoing trajectory design, analysis, and optimization of trajectories in the cislunar space in support of the NASA Artemis mission and in mission concepts to Icy Giants currently under development. In addition, the Astrodynamics Cloud aims to support planetary protection calculations for the Europa Clipper mission and mission concepts to the inner planets.
There will be more satellites launched during this decade than have been launched since the dawn of the Space Age. The Astrodynamics Cloud aims to provide these new entrants with a platform expressly designed to design, analyze and optimize trajectories for these constellations via high-performance, collaborative platform. The Astrodynamics Cloud aims to be the Git of Space Mission Design.
Future NASA missions that include Earth Science and Planetary Science missions will benefit from the development of nanostructured antireflection (AR) coatings. Broadband AR optical coatings covering the infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) spectral bands have many potential applications for various NASA systems. Tunable nanoengineered optical layers enable realization of optimal nanostructured AR coatings with high laser damage thresholds and high reliability in low temperature environments. The AR coatings offer omnidirectional suppression of light reflection/scattering allowing increased optical transmission to enhance detector and system performance for various NASA applications.
Phase I AR coating designs and prototype demonstrations promise to nearly eliminate reflection losses across critical IR and UV bands. Key technical accomplishments of the Phase I effort include:
The proposed Phase II Program technical objectives are to design, develop, demonstrate, and implement high-performance nanostructured AR coatings. Phase II technical objectives include:
Magnolia's AR coatings will enhance the performance of detectors and sensors by significantly reducing reflection/scattering losses. This will benefit a wide variety of detectors and sensors for future NASA missions.
Optical coating technologies for UV and IR spectral bands are very useful for NASA missions. The antireflection optical coatings technology will improve detector and sensor performance by minimizing reflection/scattering losses to around 1% from around 25-30% for uncoated devices and sensors. Thus, Magnolia’s nanostructured AR coatings offer exciting possibilities for enhanced UV/IR sensor signal-to-noise ratios and fast response times providing substantial benefits for NASA applications.
The nanostructured antireflection coating technology being developed by Magnolia can benefit optical components such as: lenses, optical windows; opto-electronic devices for sensors, photovoltaic panels; and electronic displays in smartphone and tablet devices. The market for commercial UV and IR sensors is expected to grow rapidly over the next 10 years. Magnolia is exploring these applications.
Based on the successful results of the Phase I project, Ozark IC will develop a prototype multi-chip package for high-temperature, high-density electronic systems. Ozark IC will create a 500⁰C RISC-V multi-chip system in package as a vehicle to illustrate the design procedures, the multi-chip package and the high-temperature components that go into creating a high-temperature electronic system. The integrated circuit technology that will be used to create the RISC-V microprocessor is the NASA Glenn silicon carbide (SiC) JFET-R integrated circuit process.
The general approach that will be used by Ozark IC is to first update all JFET-R device models from the most recent fabrication run at NASA Glenn. Ozark IC will then perform a complete characterization of the devices over a very wide temperature range. Ozark IC’s proprietary design tools will be updated to allow for the design of each of the components as well as the final assembly of the components into the complete 500⁰C RISC-V microprocessor inside the multi-chip package. The interactions between the components themselves and between the components and the package are considered within the proprietary design tools. As a result, this provides the ability to include many chips inside the package. This, in turn, allows for complex circuits, like the RISC-V microprocessor, to be developed for these high temperatures. The high temperature multi-chip package and Ozark IC’s design tools significantly extend the complexity of electronic systems that can function at high temperatures.
The components of the microprocessor system will be fabricated at NASA Glenn and Ozark IC will perform the functional testing of the components, the package and the complete 500⁰C RISC-V microprocessor. At which point Ozark IC will develop the multi-layer substrate system that will allow heterogeneous chip integration. The modular substrate and component packages also provide for agile repair of the packaged system, should that be required.
Complex electronic systems that can operate at high temperatures are necessary for space exploration, especially on the Venus surface (~470⁰C). A 500⁰C RISC-V microprocessor is a fundamental computing building block for almost all space exploration functions (such as actuation, environment sensing, robotic motion etc.) on the Venus surface. High temperature environments that can use this computing building block are also found in rockets.
In response to the 2019 NASA SBIR solicitation topic Z2.01, “Spacecraft Thermal Management”, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. proposed the development of a Variable Conductance Cold Plate to provide spatial and temporal isothermality over a 0.5 m2 area despite changes in heat load or inlet coolant temperature. The proposed design builds on ACT’s experience with passive two-phase devices, as well as our pumped two-phase expertise, to address the needs outlined in the subtopic titled, “Mechanically Pumped Two-Phase Flow Thermal Control System Technology Development”. In Phase I, ACT designed and demonstrated, through simulation and experiment, a prototype cold plate capable of managing heat fluxes up to 5 W/cm2 while maintaining spatial isothermality to within 3 K and temporal isothermality to within 0.05 K/min. This capability results from a passive design that exploits two-phase phenomena and the unique behavior of fluids at saturation conditions.
Compared to single-phase systems at significant heat loads, two-phase thermal management systems reduce spacecraft mass, volume, and power usage while providing performance improvements such as enhanced heat transfer and temperature uniformity. The Thermal Management Systems Roadmap (TA14) challenges researchers to develop two-phase thermal management systems that can manage high heat loads with improved temperature control. Such systems have been described by numerous NASA research papers and, as outlined there, these systems have significant mass- and power-saving potential, as well as additional capabilities such as isothermality and heat sharing. The purpose of the work proposed here is to support pumped two-phase thermal management system development by addressing technology gaps that are related to heat collection as identified in the referenced work and outlined in the solicitation.
The potential applications for the proposed cold plate are NASA missions that require spatial and temporal temperature control for improved instrumentation functionality. Additional applications for this cold plate and associated two-phase system would include spacecraft with thermal demands beyond the capabilities of capillary systems and those interested in low-cost alternatives to conventional thermal management systems.
In Phase II, ACT will extend the development of the cold plate to a complete two-phase thermal management system. During this phase, ACT will investigate application with the growing commercial satellite and spacecraft market. We currently provide passive thermal management solutions for this market and the proposed design would add to this product line.
Contractor proposes further research and engineering for modeling in order to manufacture and deliver two safe, reliable and leak-tight 12 in. Class 300 Cryogenic Cam Butterfly Valves (CCV) prototypes and two safe, reliable and leak-tight 1 (2) 10” Class 300 prototypes for testing and acceptance at SSC; the design and engineering of the Phase II will build upon the feasibility study submitted in a Phase I delivery
The Phase I deliverable was a drawing package for the manufacture of a 6 in. Class 300 CCV prototype; it will be modified to meet the more widely used cryogenic valve diameters of 12” and 10”. Successful prototypes will solve a long-standing of problem of cryogenic valve leakage that has been experienced with existing butterfly valve alternatives.
In addition to NASA’s requirement, Contractor has identified a large commercial U.S. and global market, namely the LNG and industrial gas value chains. Resolving the problem of leakage will address safety and environmental (fugitive emissions), as well as valve reliability issues for NASA as well as for the private sector.
The following are technical objectives for the CCV in SBIR Phase II.
-Identify risks that might challenge feasibility or practicality of the CCV
-Prove that the CCV functions well in temperatures of 100 – 423°F and pressures of 0 – 400 psi
-Validate design and materials that was selected.
-Confirm that CCV exhibits safe and reliable performance
NASA has prioritized near-term operational cost reduction and improvement for ground test components by improving ground, launch, and flight systems. Phase II will build upon the Phase I feasibility and bring the CCV close to regular production, which is expected to satisfy NASA and commercial market demand; two (2) successful prototypes will provide additional technical and financial information. Protype will be leak-free, safe & reliable cryogenic butterfly valve for LOX, LN2 and LH2.
Initially, Contractor will pursue large, new LNG and industrial gas projects in the U.S., including large storage terminals; Contractor will also pursue cryogenic logistics opportunities om the value chain. Any commercial opportunity where cryogenic liquid leakage from valves provides an opportunity to eliminate fugitive emissions (and EPA penalties associated with them) and lost product value.
The general motivation for this project, starting with Phase I, has been the need for systematic control co-design of power provision to the emerging vehicle architectures. Instead of designing specific hardware for the best static ratings and functionalities of the key equipment, dynamic inter-dependencies and functionalities must be modeled and controlled. This nonlinear fast control has become possible by progress in power electronics and materials. However, missing is the control logic for integrating these highly diverse technologies into a system which must meet difficult multiple performance objectives. This project is intended to fill this void. The unique contributions of this project are control and protection logic for providing power to vehicles operating over broad ranges of conditions. These include challenging missions as well as faults.
In this project we view a vehicle as a composition of dynamically-controlled subsystems whose interactions depend on how sensing, control and protection are designed and integrated. The overall approach is the one of ``co-design” by which the candidate architecture is selected for its functionalities, control is designed and the hardware-control-protection integrated system is re-assessed for its performance. This approach is one of the major new R&D&D pursued for changing terrestrial sources and the emerging power systems, including stand-alone microgrids. The problem of power train design for vehicle architectures is even harder because of the needs to reduce their weight and thermal effects, all else being equal. This requires control co-design selection of machines (DC, permanent magnet (PM), synchronous machines SM), doubly fed induction machines (DFIM)) and their power electronically-controlled conversion logic so that the integrated system meets previously unmet functionalities. This is achievable through cooperative control and protection of vehicle resources, loads and their interfaces.
The energy based control framework developed here directly addresses the need to integrate individual aircraft energy system components into electric power systems that operate in ways to ensure fault-tolerance, stability and efficiency. It introduces a multi-layered interactive approach so the desired power is provided in transiently stable ways in response to varying aircraft situations. The approach can be extended to controlling electric power systems for single vehicle and future multi-vehicle manned deep-space missions.
The non-NASA commercial applications primarily concern the operation of terrestrial electric power systems such as utility systems, “smart” grids and micro-grids. The proposed framework enables a significantly new approach to the modeling and control of future electric power systems which require the integration of diverse energy storage and intermittent resources.
To support NASA’s future Europa Subsurface Exploration missions, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) proposes a thermal probe that can penetrate the thick and cryogenic ice layer on Europa in an efficient and reliable manner. This nuclear-powered thermal probe consists of multiple novel thermal features that are meant to minimize time of penetration and mitigate a series of challenges specific to the mission considered, including:
In Phase I, a preliminary full-scale ice melting probe with multiple thermal features was designed and analyzed. A proof-of-concept prototype was developed and tested in an ice environment. The functionality of key features was successfully demonstrated. In Phase II, ACT will further mature the proposed thermal technology and develop a full-scale thermal probe for an envisioned Europa mission. ACT will perform detailed trade studies and optimize thermal components, including P2P, vapor chamber, variable conductance wall etc. ACT will also work closely with JPL to integrate their liquid jet ice cutting concept into ACT’s current design. An initial prototype will be developed by integration of all thermal features. An ice environment system that can replicate Europa ice conditions will be developed for prototype testing. A full-scale ice melting probe that considers both thermal and non-thermal subsystems will be designed and its performance under Europa environmental conditions will be analyzed. A reduced scale prototype will be developed and delivered to NASA JPL for further performance validation.
The immediate application for the proposed concept is Europa subsurface exploration. The probe functionality is based on several passive thermal features that would allow both ice penetration and potentially subsurface liquid water navigation. Additional NASA applications could be represented by exploration of other icy planets or moons.
The nature of the power source (radioisotope or fission based) that the proposed melting probe uses may drastically reduce its potential for use in non-NASA applications. However, the probe’s architecture and its thermal features may be useful in an electrically powered configuration for subsurface exploration in Antarctic and/or Arctic regions.
A high cycle life and high energy density rechargeable battery will address an important growing demand for safe, efficient, low-cost, environmentally sustainable air transportation. These advances will enable “thin-haul” aircraft with low-carbon propulsion systems that provide low-cost passenger and package transportation. Advances in electrified aircraft propulsion (EAP) will also introduce a new class of small aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability for on-demand, urban air taxi and regional commuter service applications. Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries are promising next-generation energy storage devices for NASA EAP program applications because of their high theoretical gravimetric energy density of 2500 Wh/kg, which is up to 5 times higher than today’s commercial lithium-ion batteries. However, their use has been limited by poor cycle life caused in part by the poor stability of Li metal anodes during cycling.
In Phase II, Giner will build on a successful Phase I feasibility demonstration to scale up its novel coating technology for stabilizing Li metal anodes in prototype Li-S pouch cells.
The developed technology will enable the use of high energy density Li-S batteries with increased cycle life for various NASA missions and programs such as: EAP applications (urban air mobility, thin haul, and short haul aircraft), EVA applications (life support, communications, power tools, glove heaters, lights and other devices), satellites, and other spacecraft and vehicles such as JUNO and the planned new Mars rover.
This technology will enable commercialization of high energy density Li-S batteries with increased cycle life. This improvement will make Li-S batteries more practical for electric vehicle applications. Additional markets include power for unmanned aerial vehicles, aerospace vehicles, military satellites, large-scale grid energy storage, and consumer electronics.
Radiation in space poses threats for both astronauts and electronic equipment. While it is relatively easy to shield against non-ionizing RF and microwave radiation, shielding against higher energy ionizing radiation – gamma rays, protons, neutrons and galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) – is much more challenging. With longer missions to Jupiter or future manned missions (higher cumulative radiation exposure for astronauts) and with the use of smaller spacecraft that cannot accommodate additional weight needed for shielding, the importance of lightweight radiation shielding to NASA has increased. To be effective, conventional shielding materials typically need to be thick and material thickness increases the total unwanted mass to be carried by a small satellite, and the amount of power required to create a deflection field would require significant fuel, so again unwanted additional weight.
NanoSonic proposes to continue to refine our lightweight composites consisting of multiple layers of graded atomic number (Z-number) materials as effective ionizing radiation shields beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Radiation attenuation as a function of areal density was researched during Phase I and NanoSonic’s material was 71% higher attenuation vs. polyethylene. The shielding composites possess a tough woven Kevlar and Boron Nitride (BN) wound composite which could be used as the structural shells and support members of small satellites so serve multiple purposes (shielding, micrometeoroid impact protection, and structural support). Preliminary research results with NanoSonic’s materials in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State University (CSU), and at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL/BNL), have shown that our materials significantly attenuate X-rays and gamma rays without secondary radiation, and structurally survive simulated 50-year exposure to solar energetic particles (SEP) and GCR.
This Phase II program would develop a lightweight radiation shielding composite. We foresee integration with future spacecraft as a path to market materials on a much larger scale. These radiation shielding composites offer enhanced safety and reliability for space structures as they include components for moderate protection against galactic cosmic radiation, solar energetic particles, and secondary neutrons. This radiation shielding methodology could represent a large market to improve virtually any existing NASA spacecraft shielding needs.
Similar, multifunctional nanocomposite shielding materials are being developed for other applications by NanoSonic building on our Metal Rubber family of materials, in the 1) electronics, 2) aerospace and defense, and 3) biomedical engineering areas. We foresee integration with current commercial partners such as Lockheed Martin and others as a path to market our materials on a much larger scale.
Creating a ground penetrating radar (GPR) antenna for both Earth and planetary science applications requires high efficiency, robust operational frequency, as well as low size, weight, and power (SWaP) features. Furthermore, the value of an antenna that provides these core competencies and that is versatile enough to be integrated on numerous platforms is of high value to NASA and the commercial space industry. The benefits of such technology could enable the characterization of lunar lava tubes, subsurface water-ice, and the location of planetary ore deposits in a manner that is both affordable and simple to integrate with larger systems. The challenge is that this solution does not currently exist in the market. Choosing a solution that meets these criteria often requires combining multiple antennas, thereby increasing SWaP and complexity. The proposed antenna solution intends to resolve this challenge, and the proposing team of Astrobotic Technology, Inc. (Astrobotic) and the Ohio State University (OSU) have the expertise and technological development to do so. The performance and operational requirements of the proposed antenna are summarized as follows:
The success of the Phase I research will lead to a novel under-rover ultra-wide band GPR antenna design. Manufacturability will be assessed and real performance will be validated during Phase II and will culminate with an engineering model of the antenna that can be easily infused into future missions through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, Tipping Point program, or a Phase III opportunity that leverages any of Astrobotic's exiting Phase I or Phase II related contracts.
In addition to surveying planetary subsurfaces, there are numerous applications that demand mobile GPR. These applications include construction, land surveying, mapping building integrity, characterizing hazardous waste leakage, and identifying archeological artifacts. Furthermore, Astrobotic would be a user of this antenna for future rovers that require GPR capabilities.
From a hardware perspective, NASA’s currently deployed state-of-the-art (SOA) in space computing may be inadequate for future missions. NASA's intention is that the new SOA for in space processing will be HPSC Chiplet based. However, in order to provide advanced computing capabilities and application programming support, a fault tolerant, reliable real-time (RT) Linux OS that makes available the full capabilities of the HPSC Chiplet is highly desired. During the Phase I effort, Antara established a foundational framework with a repeatable, deterministic RT kernel minimization, build and test methodology utilizing stable mainline Linux kernels. RT test results show that the Worst-Case Execution Time (WCET) of Antara's prototype is significantly lower and more deterministic than those of the vanilla Linux kernels. Phase II efforts will further enhance and harden Antara's RT Linux Prototype for HPSC. Antara will also benchmark and analyze its RT Linux kernel with the HPSC Middleware and the cFE/cFS scheduler. The RT Linux Prototype will be bench-tested and optimized on HPSC Chiplet based boards to establish and demonstrate deterministic performance to achieve TRL 7. Antara's fully configurable Reliable RT Linux will provide a natively multi-threaded, secure and re-entrant kernel with near-time determinism and advanced preemptive scheduling. The proposed innovation is significant and will enable rapid development and infusion of a flight qualifiable, reliable, dynamically upgradeable RT Linux to the HPSC Ecosystem. Since many science applications already start off development in Linux, Antara's RT Linux will remove any extra porting steps saving effort and reducing risk. Successful infusion of the cross-cutting innovation will enhance the HPSC Ecosystem and support major programs. The innovation will support potential near-term infusion targets such as Mars Fetch Rover, Lunar Gateway, SPLICE/Lunar Lander and the Moon to Mars campaign.
Antara's robust, fault-tolerant and reliable RT Linux is a cross-cutting capability that will enhance the HPSC Ecosystem, enable parallel processing and support multiple major programs in Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and Science Mission Directorate.
Potential near-term infusion targets include Mars Fetch Rover, WFIRST/Chronograph, Lunar Gateway, SPLICE/Lunar Lander and the Moon to Mars campaign.
Space Situational Awareness Data Integration, Exploitation, Characterization SOA will be significantly enhanced by the capabilities of the HPSC Chiplet and Antara’s Reliable RT Linux.
Commercial space companies and primes adopting the HPSC Chiplet will be able to license Antara's innovation for advanced parallel and heterogeneous processing.
Remote Scientific Edge Sensing/Computing will be enhanced.
In this proposed effort, DornerWorks will develop a software development kit (SDK) to help developers defeat the steep learning curve of using the formally proved seL4 microkernel as a high assurance bare metal hypervisor for the HPSC. Doing so supports the SBIR topic interest in having a fault tolerant, bare metal hypervisor for the HPSC, supporting asymmetric and symmetric multi-processing for operating systems, such as Linux and RTEMS.
seL4 is a member of the L4 family of high-performance microkernels developed, maintained, and formally verified by the Trustworthy Systems Group at Data61. seL4 is owned by General Dynamics, which released it under the open source GPLv2 license in 2014. This microkernel has been proven correct via a formal mathematical proof using Isabelle/HOL, an interactive Higher Order Logic theorem prover. The proof guarantees that seL4 correctly implements its specifications, e.g., is free from buffer overflows, has no null pointer exceptions, never hangs, etc. A second proof guarantees that the binary executable is a correct translation of the source code. Thus, the kernel is proven correct “end to end”, from specification to executable. Furthermore, the architecture of seL4 is cleverly designed to provide important security properties while retaining good performance. The seL4 follows microkernel design principles by delegating typical operating system (OS) features up to user applications via Capability objects that determine specifics feature and access privileges. The result is that seL4 is one of the fastest microkernels on the supported platforms.
However, there is a steep learning curve with seL4, which is further complicated when using the hypervisor functionality to host multiple virtual machines running different operating systems, an HPSC system requirement. The proposed SDK will handle the complexity of configuring and building the various OS kernels, files systems, and configuration files needed to support VM-based systems.
This effort will simplify use of virtual machine-based architectures on the HPSC, Xilinx MPSoC/RFSoC-based, and Raspberry Pi 4 platforms. The HPSC is targeted for Rover, Landers, High Bandwidth Instrument, and SmallSat/Constellation missions, with immediate possible projects including Mars Fetch Rover, WFIRST/Chronograph, Gateway, and SPLICE/Lunar Lander. Innoflight’s CFC-400 and NASA’s SpaceCube 3.0 use the MPSoC. The Raspberry Pi 4 can be used for low cost prototyping or creation of a low cost distributed mission test bed.
An easy-to-use, provably correct micro-hypervisor is valuable for applications and products requiring high assurance software design for safety and/or security. Traditionally these kinds of products have been found in aerospace, defense, and industrial markets, but cyber-security is becoming increasingly critical for medical, IoT, and automotive markets.
The proposed innovation, neural networks (NNs) for electric propulsion (EP) — NNEP, leverages the fundamental principles of optimal control (OC) and a rich field of recent advancements in the area of artificial intelligence to automate spacecraft maneuver correction, resulting in improved spacecraft maneuver accuracy, lowered operations complexity, and cost savings. NNs are used as function approximators, learning the complex relationship between spacecraft state and the costates defining the OC to return to a reference trajectory.
The NNEP technology builds on the variety of technologies that exist for onboard navigation (such as GPS, CAPS, or OpNav). Once the spacecraft has generated a state estimate, it evaluates a pre-trained NN to find the corresponding costates (non-physical terms created in the process of solving an OC problem). The NNEP technology maps state errors to costates because the costates are always smoothly-varying, even for non-smooth OC. Within seconds of the nav update, the spacecraft autonomously determines the control required for the next several days and checks for constraint violations.
The NNEP technology consists of both a novel application of NNs to relevant astrodynamics problems and an architecture for implementing this technology in real operational environments and in flight software (FSW). A proof of concept of the technology was developed during Phase I, including demonstration of the building blocks for a FSW implementation. Phase II funding will mature the technology further and result in a prototype FSW implementation running on representative space hardware.
Many research groups are now investigating the use of NNs to automate spacecraft trajectory corrections. NNEP combines Advanced Space’s practical institutional experience of mission design, navigation, and operations for a wide variety of cutting-edge space missions with the powerful theoretical advantages of NNs and OC.
The proposed innovation has wide applicability to NASA space missions. Some examples of where the autonomous trajectory correction capabilities would benefit operations include: the lunar Gateway or other elements of the Artemis program, including correction maneuvers en route to the NRHO, stationkeeping in the NRHO, and correction maneuvers for transfers between cislunar orbits; interplanetary trajectory correction; and constellation maintenance. All of these can be automated with either chemical or electric propulsion.
The proposed innovation has wide applicability to non-NASA space missions. Some examples of where the autonomous trajectory correction capabilities would benefit operations include: GEO stationkeeping; LEO constellation stationkeeping; commercial lunar landers; and electric propulsion (EP) transfers between GTO and GEO. All of these can be automated with either chemical or electric propulsion.
Simulating science objectives is an essential component of NASA missions to reduce risk, whether the target is Earth or any solar system body. As technology has improved, so has the fidelity, complexity, and precision of scientific instrumentation. In addition, modern communications bandwidth of the spacecraft allows for the transmit of more data than ever. These increased capabilities have placed extra demands on science data generation. Simulated science data for use in planning are required for a successful mission, not only in flight, but through all stages of mission planning as well. Unprecedented collaboration between science teams and operations teams require large swaths of cumbersome technology for sharing, integrating, and visualizing simulated data. This significant complexity hinders the ability of responsible parties to make informed, sensible, and rapid decisions.
The proposed Spaceline tool will directly facilitate NASA in their goal of developing Mission Design Analysis tools to increase the accuracy of science modeling and enable design of future observing systems by predicting and optimizing their impacts on science data collection. Spaceline will be a welcome addition to any mission wherever science planning will reduce costs and risk. Spaceline’s architecture calls for a well-maintained server architecture and a very simple browser based front end to drive a real-time, interactive experience.
Spaceline will support commercial Earth orbiting constellations as well as Space Situational Awareness applications. Spaceline can test the efficacy of constellation-based sensors that monitor the activities of other spacecraft to provide a training tool for operations team members. Spaceline's visualization features will be easy to insert into third-party, education curriculums, or museum kiosks.
Cornerstone Research Group (CRG) proposes the development of a modular palletizing system to facilitate automated transport, placement, and exchange of mission payloads in space. CRG will demonstrate a mechanically robust, self-aligning, and electrically isolating payload module connector system capable of supporting integrated electrical and communication connections. The proposed approach can be expanded to later include other types of integrated connections. This state-of-the-art palletizing system, will facilitate self-aligning and reversible mounting of both pallet decking onto backbone structures (e.g. trusses) and multiple payloads onto the pallet. This unique joining system provides NASA with a reliable, scalable structural assembly capability that can be used with autonomous systems. Leveraging CRG’s prior development work on shape memory polymer fastening systems and actuators, the proposed R&D herein will provide NASA with a multifunctional joining system with technology readiness level (TRL) of 5 at the conclusion of the Phase II effort.
This proposal aims to make fundamental progress in one of NASA’s core objectives: to explore Earth-like exo-planets using space-based Coronagraphs. Coronagraphs null starlight speckles using deformable mirrors, enabling planet detection. One NASA-identified technology gap is the need for compact, ultraprecise, multi-thousand actuator deformable mirrors (DMs). Boston Micromachines Corporation is a leading producer of such DMs, which have been used in space-based applications and NASA Coronagraph test beds. However, their surface quality is currently limited to ~10nm-rms by topographic print-through on the mirror surface. BMC proposes to employ a modified manufacturing process developed in Phase I research to eliminate print-through. The new process will lead to production of DMs with surface figure errors measuring 1nm-rms. Such DMs are needed for all space-based coronographs that have been proposed for future NASA missions including WFIRST, HabEx, and LUVOIR
Deformable mirrors that can enable 1x10-10 contrast in NASA Coronagraph test beds and are candidates for use in space-based Coronagraphs used to search for Earth-like exo-planets. Planned NASA space-based observatories such as LUVOIR and HabEx require the control provided by the proposed DMs. These devices will fill a critical technology gap in NASA’s vision for high-contrast imaging and spectroscopy instruments.
High-resolution, ultra-smooth MEMS deformable mirrors have non-NASA applications. They can improve the performance of terrestrial telescopes such as TMT and E-ELT. They can also be used as high-resolution wavefront correctors in laser communication, microscopy, and imaging.
NASA is currently developing an xPLSS for the next generation xEMU which is planned to replace existing space suits used for the ISS. NASA has identified technology gaps in using the xPLSS for deep space and surface missions, specifically Mars missions due to the amine swing-bed system not being designed for the partial atmosphere of Mars. To bridge this technological gap and simplify future adoption, Air Squared successfully fabricated the novel Spinning Scroll Boost Compressor (SSBC) designed to meet NASAs specification pulling vacuums down to 0.1 torr and outlet pressures tolerance over 15.2 PSIA in Phase I. The SSBC is a compact and ultra-reliable boost compressor which can run at a wide range of operating conditions and doesn’t need to run at tens of thousands of RPM’s to achieve performance.
For Phase I, the primary technical objective was to run the SSBC as fast as possible in order to confirm the high speed capability of the SSBC and select the operating speed for the ground up prototype to be developed during Phase II. This objective was accomplished. For Phase II, Air Squared will develop an Alpha Prototype in year one and a Beta prototype in year two. The Alpha will demonstrate the operation of the SSBC in a simulated Martian environment while the Beta prototype will include design updates which more aggressively decrease size and weight and increase life.
The SSBC will define next-generation PSA for xPLSS xEMU in Mars and Deep Space exploration. Capable of operating over several different partial atmospheric environments in a compact footprint, the SSBC will provide flexible and reliable xPLSS design adaptable to varied NASA missions and provide a foundation for both Lunar Gateway habitation and human exploration of Mars. This will accelerate the SSBC’s adaptability for the ORION Spacecraft. The SSBC would fulfill a vital function of PLSS CO2 removal in advanced extravehicular activities.
Given the improved pressure and flow rate, adaptability as a compressor and vacuum pump, and reduced complexity of spinning scrolls, several positive displacement solutions would benefit from the development of the SSBC. Qualified spinning scroll machines would upgrade the performance of aerospace environmental control systems, vacuum mass spectrometry, and the commercial space industry.
In-space welding is a valuable manufacturing technology for long duration, long endurance space missions. The Mobile End-effector Laser Device (MELD) is a groundbreaking laser welding system from Made In Space, Inc. (MIS). MELD autonomously welds aerospace-grade metals to assemble large, stable structures on-orbit or on the lunar or Martian surface. These include trusses, arrays, habitats, and pressure vessels. Almost as important, MELD repairs existing structures damaged by micrometeorites or orbital debris without human intervention. MELD offers the only welding and repair system capable of functioning in conditions such as reduced pressure, microgravity, and intense radiation.
MELD is a fully functional system containing a laser welding end effector and subsystems including power, cooling, communications, verification and validation, and a foreign object debris collection mechanism. In Phase I, the MELD end effector successfully welded aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, and Inconel alloys. In Phase II, MIS proposes to build a vacuum rated end effector, refine and build optimized subsystems for the relevant testing environment, and continue testing welding both at ambient and in vacuum. Success criteria is the fabrication of welds of correct geometry without cracking or voids. Ground testing includes tensile, hardness, and helium leak testing according to ASTM standards.
MIS has extensive experience in developing in-space manufacturing capabilities. MIS has operated multiple payloads on the International Space Station and is currently working on Archinaut, a NASA Tipping Point project, developing a satellite for autonomous in-space manufacturing and assembly. MELD with its welding ability fits well into Archinaut and other MIS efforts to revolutionize living and working in space.
MELD is platform agnostic and benefits several NASA missions. Artemis is one direct mission set that MELD can be utilized upon. When developing the lunar gateway, future habitats on the surface, or exploration vehicles, MELD provides a means for manufacturing and assembling structural segments of each of these. MELD could also be used after the system has been completed to repair or augment the systems with additional supports, patching micrometeroid damage, or adding of functional structures such as antennas or solar array segments.
The welding ability of MELD is a valuable addition to the multitude of ongoing or upcoming satellite servicing and repair missions including the DARPA Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) mission, and the Northrop Grumman Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV). As part of these missions, MELD repairs structural damage or welds propulsion or power structures to a damaged vehicle.
Goddard Space Flight center is developing a novel LIDAR instrument which will be capable of tracking both ground vegetation as well as ice and snow simultaneously, with high resolution. In this program, we will develop a key component to be used in the LIDAR instrument, a low SWaP tunable laser seed source operating in the 1030nm wavelength range. This laser will be based on Freedom Photonics’ swept laser platform, which is commercially available on other wavelengths.
This program was inspired by an existing need within NASA (GSFC) for new, more precise and powerful remote sensing instrument implementations.
Another key application area that we will pursue with a derivative product is the area of ophthalmic optical coherence tomography. The entire OCT market is expected to be valued at $1.8 billion by 2024. An inexpensive, chip-scale solution for a laser source operating in the 1060nm range is highly desirable.
Space weather benchmarks are recognized as a crucial product for a variety of government and industry stakeholders. Until now, they have been computed primarily from a scientific perspective, on an individual basis, and, to a large extent, without cross-validation. We propose to develop a tool that combines the most robust techniques currently available, together with a wide range of data from the Heliophysics System Observatory (HSO), and the option to upload user-supplied data, to produce the most accurate estimates of benchmarks, together with their uncertainties. During our Phase I effort, we developed a prototype web-based tool that illustrates how space weather benchmarks can be estimated using the most sophisticated statistical methodologies, which have been previously investigated by our team. Importantly, we carefully quantified the uncertainties with these benchmark estimates, a quantity that is at least as useful as the actual benchmark value. We incorporated a selection of sophisticated methodologies (e.g., Peaks-Over-Threshold). In Phase II we propose to refine this tool substantially by: (1) carefully migrating all code from R to Python; (2) migrating the Shiny app to Dash; (3) incorporating a range of new numerical techniques into the pipeline; (4) Generalizing the analysis to include spatially resolved datasets; (5) Adding multivariate analysis; and (6) Providing additional refinements to the model fitting. We anticipate that this tool will find broad appeal within the NASA community, and, ultimately, across many other scientific and engineering disciplines where an accurate assessment of risk likelihood is necessary. We plan to commercialize this work by providing tailor-made solutions for customers, including support and service.
Our tool would be valuable to a variety of NASA groups, including the Space Physics Data Facility (SPDF) and the Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC). The SPDF, who manage Heliophysics Observatories and web service APIs, such as CDAWeb, provides web-based and command-line interfaces for accessing NASA mission data. Our tool would complement these models by adding a new and unique capability. More generally, it would be useful wherever time series data are collected and analyzed, which would include many groups at ARC, JPL, and LaRC.
NOAA, and SWPC in particular, collect time series data from a fleet of satellites, with a particular emphasis on forecasting terrestrial and space weather. The tool we are developing would complement their current capabilities, allowing them to make probabilistic forecasts. Further afield, in industrial applications, we anticipate that a general-purpose benchmark tool would be hugely beneficial.
The proposed effort is focused on developing a data-driven forecast of the physical drivers of geomagnetically-induced currents. Building on our successful demonstration of geomagnetic activity forecasts of 30 minutes or more using a classification-based approach to machine learning, we are now seeking developing a diversified framework of complementary forecasting models based on classification, regression, deep learning, and reduced-complexity physics. In addition to expanding the scope of modeling paradigms, we are also expanding the scope of our data used by our models to include measurements from solar wind monitoring spacecraft and are further enhancing the value of this new data by using realistic models of uncertainty for key solar wind parameters. Using these uncertainty models, we will develop ensemble forecasts from each of our models and will use these ensembles to provide quantified uncertainties for each forecast. Finally, we will develop a metaforecasting algorithm that intelligently combines the forecasts from individual model forecasts using the tools of Ensemble Learning. This work purposefully embraces the uncertainty and variability that is inherent within both our data sources and our models. Discoveries in the fields of data science and machine learning have revealed that when uncertainty is acknowledged and properly leveraged, forecasts from multiple independent models can be combined into a single forecast with far fewer weaknesses than that of any of its constituent forecasts. By predicting an outcome using multiple diverse base models and combining the results from this ensemble of models, the generalization error of the prediction can be significantly reduced, and its accuracy can be greatly improved, enabling us to achieve unprecedented accuracy with sufficiently long lead times to be of use to operators and decision makers.
Data processing tool to enable real-time geoelectric field/GIC calculation and forecasting
Operational monitoring of space weather impacts on critical infrastructure and early warning of potentially hazardous activity
The goal is a compact and reliable amplifier module with one-watt output
power and high power added efficiency (PAE) within the frequency band of interest. As described in the
solicitation, NASA applications include SmallSat based cloud, water, and precipitation missions, similar
to the highly successful RainCube (which operated at 37.5 GHz). Compact size and power efficiency are
required for the SmallSat form factor as well as to reduce costs for the envisioned swarm mission
technology. The Phase I research included the completion of the design study for the new amplifier chip
and the demonstration of the power combining technology that is required to achieve the one-watt goal.
The deliverables include two primary items that demonstrate the feasibility of the technology. These are
the Teledyne design report showing the expected performance of the new amplifier MMIC and the
prototype amplifier module that demonstrates the four-way power combining. Although significant
challenges remain, VDI is confident that the primary solicitation goals can be achieved through Phase II
NASA applications include cloud, water, and precipitation remote sensing missions that require radar sources above 100 GHz, particularly SmallSat and CubeSat missions, as well as swarm missions. This include both Earth and planetary missions. Higher power amplifier modules will also enable higher power terahertz sources for radio astronomy local oscillators; the most relevant are astronomical measurements of molecular lines at including ~1.4, ~1.9, ~2.6, and 4.7 THz; especially for the case of large arrays with many dozens of pixels.
The SSPAs are required for a broad range of scientific an commercial applications. These include DNP-NMR and ESR systems for biology and chemistry, transmitters for 6G R&D, plasma diagnostic systems, imaging systems for security scanners. The new amplifiers can also be paired with high power frequency multipliers to create more powerful and efficient sources throughout the 300 - 5,000 GHz range.
The goal of this work is to develop a low power machine learning anomaly detector. The low power comes from the type of machine learning (Spiking Neural Network (SNN)) and the hardware the neuromorphic anomaly detector runs on. The ability to detect and react to anomalies in sensor readings on board resource constrained spacecraft is essential, now more than ever, as enormous satellite constellations are launched and humans push out again beyond low Earth orbit to the Moon and beyond.
Spacecraft are autonomous systems operating in dynamic environments. When monitored parameters exceed limits or watchdog timers are not reset, spacecraft can automatically enter a 'safe' mode where primary functionality is reduced or stopped completely. During safe mode the primary mission is put on hold while teams on the ground examine dozens to hundreds of parameters and compare them to archived historical data and the spacecraft design to determine the root cause and what corrective action to take. This is a difficult and time consuming task for humans, but can be accomplished faster, in real-time, by machine learning.
As humans travel away from Earth, light travel time delays increase, lengthening the time it takes for ground crews to respond to a safe mode event. The few astronauts onboard will have a hard time replacing the brain power and experience of a team of experts on the ground. Therefore, a new approach is needed that augments existing capabilities to help the astronauts in key decision moments.
We provide a new machine learning approach that recognizes nominal and faulty behavior, by learning during integration, test, and on-orbit checkout. This knowledge is stored and used for anomaly detection in a low power neuromorphic chip and continuously updated through regular operations. Anomalies are detected and context is provided in real-time, enabling both astronauts onboard, and ground crews on Earth, to take action and avoid potential faults or safe mode events.
The software developed in Phase II can potentially be used by NASA for anomaly detection onboard the ISS, the planned Lunar Gateway, and future missions to Mars. The NSFM software can also be used by ground crews to augment their ability to monitor spacecraft and astronaut health telemetry once it reaches the ground. The NSFM software can furthermore be used during integration and test to better inform test operators of the functionality of the system during tests in real time.
The software developed in Phase II can potentially be used for anomaly detection onboard any of the new large constellations planned by private companies. It can also be applied to crewed space missions, deep space probes, UUVs, UAVs, and many industrial applications on Earth. The NSFM software developed in Phase II can also be used during Integration and Test of any commercial satellite.
In Phase I, we have begun development of an advanced nanometer coordinate measuring machine (ANCMM; pronounced ’aŋ-kem) to complement the metrology probe and complete the metrology solution. The ANCMM will enable larger, lower cost, and higher quality freeform and aspheric optics, bridging the present gap between commercial coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and interferometry, and, for many applications, replacing areal interferometry as the primary means of feedback to optical fabrication and requirements verification. This work will push CMM technology into the realm currently dominated by expensive, complex, and error-prone optical testing. Current and near-future, large optics applications would benefit from the ANCMM by reducing their fabrication cost and schedule and improving their technical risk posture. Current optical metrology techniques struggle to meet requirements and are rife with potential for systematic error. For many manufacturers, the expense of optical testing often precludes the types of cross checks that are important to protecting their products from systematic error. Cross checks that show that presumed superior, unverifiable, optical tests that have uncertainties which overlap higher-uncertainty, flexible, metrology can identify “gross errors”. Large, meter-class optics with figure error tolerances better than or of-order 10 nm RMS are required for current and near-future telescopes for astrophysics. The ANCMM platform concept proposed herein will incorporate new laser measurement components and strategies with the metrology loop separate from the motion control feedback loop. This concept will also incorporate a tactile and non-contact probe sensor system for datum and surface form metrology.
Primary and secondary concept mirror designs for the LUVOIR, OST and Lynx x-ray mirror assembly and off axis parabolics have been reviewed and we have developed the requirements for a next level metrology platform. The current reliance on standard interferometric measurement methods limits the geometric concept design of mirrors in new missions. Freeform surface metrology is fundamental for the success of future NASA missions in Astrophysics, Earth Science, Planetary Science and Cubesat platforms including the SAFE Minispec instrument.
OptiPro Systems provides state of the art manufacturing and measurement solutions for prime contractors and a host of precision optics manufacturers. The proposed ANCMM platform will provide a method to measure freeform optics, parabolic mirrors, Acylinder and toric geometries to lower uncertainty than currently available.
The OptiPro Nanometric Probe is a spectral chromatic interferometer that can measure the displacement to a surface, such as an astronomical telescope mirror, with outstanding performance. Indeed, in Phase I we designed and built a Probe that demonstrated 0.48nm repeatability (one sigma). When scanned across the surface of the mirror a full topographical map of the surface – and its surface errors – can be produced.
While the Phase I probe could only operate at rates of 10 measurements/second, we have developed optical power budget spreadsheets that model how 10,000 measurement can eventually be reached with currently available off-the-shelf components. Furthermore, the Probe is generally not light-limited, and we believe that it can function with the weak back-scattered (non-specular) light from highly-polished highly-tilted surfaces, although this assertion will be tested in Phase II.
Other work proposed in Phase II for the Nanometric Probe is directed at improving the current performance of the Probe to a level consistent with its full performance expectations. In particular, the Probe’s light throughput and align-ability will be improved substantially. With light throughput improvement we also expect to see a corresponding improvement in the Probe’s signal-to-noise ratio, which we are hopeful will reduce the Probe’s measurement uncertainty five-fold to less than 100 picometers (one sigma).
Also, other factors limiting the measurement rate of the Probe, such as the capture rate of the spectrometer and the processing speed of the digital hardware, will be upgraded so that a rate of 1000 measurements/second can be achieved by the end of Phase II. Finally, infrastructure will be procured and installed so that the Probe’s displacement measurements can be calibrated, and the Probe’s performance over its full operational envelope can be characterized.
The Nanometric Probe is ideal for mirror surface error (including mid-spatials) metrology of HabEx and LUVOIR missions, as well as X-Ray missions such as Lynx and AXIS. In each case the measurement uncertainty of the Probe is expected to be less than 10% of the surface error budget of the mirror being measured. The usage of the Probe in such applications requires that the Probe is mounted on a high-performance CMM so the Probe's position above the mirror is known. The ANCMM featured in a co-pending Phase II proposal meets that requirement.
Researchers in the field of synchrotron X-Ray generation at Argonne National Labs have discovered our activities in nanometric metrology, and we have had in-depth conversations with them about X-Ray mirror metrology. The Nanometric Probe can also be applied to the measurement of aspheric optics used in the lithography industry in which the surface error tolerances are often less than 2nm RMS.
Heliospace Corp. proposes to develop a process to fabricate Helical Booms that will allow a length increase of 85% over similar currently available booms at reduced cost, to greatly increase the speed of optimization and iteration of such boom designs, and to allow much more rapid manufacturing. This will lead to the ability to propose improved deployable mechanism solutions for NASA science missions and other applications requiring deployable booms and antennas. Our work under Phase I utilized an in-house prototype fabrication machine to develop a process of producing single coils with the necessary properties. In Phase II, enhancements to the fabrication process will enable production of Helical segments of sufficient length and quality to be integrated into functional deployable booms. After a successful demonstration of a Helical Boom, a production grade manufacturing machine will be constructed, and used to make deployable booms that then undergo testing to bring the technology to TRL 6. The results of this work are immediately applicable to S1.06 of Focus Area 9, as an enabling technology for particles and fields investigations on NASA Heliophysics missions.
Applicable NASA programs and missions benefiting from the technology include Sounding Rockets, Missions of Opportunity, Small and Mid-Class Explorer missions, and larger missions as the Geodynamics Constellation and others as part of the Living with a Star and Solar Terrestrial Probe programs. Additional applications in radar antennas are also candidates for mission infusion.
Additional applications include use on cubesats and other small spacecraft missions either planned or under development from startup space companies, Department of Defense and related military programs, and any terrestrial application requiring a deployable antenna or boom with an extremely compact stowing factor. Additional uses for Helical Booms include as actuators for other mechanisms.
In recent years, industry and government have begun adopting Model Based Engineering (MBE) practices in an unprecedented way. No longer exclusively the domain of isolated experts, MBE has been implemented across the full product lifecycle. This success is, however, giving rise to new challenges. The ability to share disparate models across teams, organizational boundaries, and among communities of practice is important for collaboration on complex projects. Model reuse is important because it minimizes the need to “re-invent the wheel” for each new project or initiative. Additionally, organizations face the challenge of model traceability and results repeatability. Both these qualities are critical in the lifecycle of an engineering product, and far too often is not attended to until a crisis occurs. Phoenix Integration proposes to address these challenges by developing an analysis model sharing platform, coupled with a reliable and repeatable way of deploying those analysis models. This platform will be easy-to-use, web-based, and built on the Git version control system. This model-sharing platform will have provision for documentation, tags and metadata. Software containerization is used to ensure a stable and repeatable analysis execution platform. This ensures that given a set of inputs, running the same analysis or workflow will always yield the same results. Shared analyses and workflows would be easily run in ModelCenter®, as well as on web-interfaces. It will rely on cloud computing resources with on-demand provisioning and execute the analyses and workflows on them when requested. Additionally, published analyses and workflows would be verified automatically whenever supporting software versions change.
A successful project will help NASA further advance the MBE vision and will help enable more comprehensive, broader, and deeper modeling efforts across all of NASA’s programs. Specifically, the project will help NASA to share engineering models and workflows across teams, organizational boundaries, and among communities of practice. It will also enable model traceability, repeatability and reusability. These capabilities will directly benefit ongoing and future NASA projects and initiatives, such as the Mars 2020 and Europa Clipper missions.
We propose developing an easy-to-use analysis sharing platform, while enabling reliable model executions. Executing these analyses on cloud computing resources opens the possibility of easy accessibility, including automatic model verification. This can be used across all areas of engineering, including those in the aerospace & defense, automotive, scientific research and heavy industries.
The ultimate goal of the SPAM project is to increase the reliability of satellite operations by giving commercial and government satellite operators and designers a tool to monitor the real time likelihood of on-orbit satellite anomalies and quickly identify the cause. More specifically, the first phase of the project developed and assessed a model that provides information needed to identify whether a satellite anomaly is likely to occur or was caused by an impact from a Solar Energetic Particle (SEP). These high energy ions stream from the sun and can pass through satellite components causing instantaneous failure, latent damage, or uncommanded mode changes. Fortunately, Earth’s magnetic field deflects some of these particles and shields some regions of near Earth space. To assess the anomaly likelihood, these access regions must be well defined. The SPAM model maps the access regions and gives the ion flux along any satellite orbit as it traverses these hazardous areas. There are two main objectives for Phase II to move this innovation forward. The first is to integrate the model into an online application that will allow users to easily access and interpret the model output. This aspect of the project will make real time monitoring and anomaly analysis feasible and routine. The second objective is to further improve the accuracy of the model, extend the domain to apply to more particle species and energies that may impact satellites, estimate uncertainties, and also enable forecasting. This aspect of the project will make real time monitoring and anomaly analysis precise and actionable. This project fully addresses the ‘Space Weather O2R/R2O Technology Development’ subtopic solicitation by providing both an energetic particle model and the means for spacecraft operators and designers to access, analyze, and act on the model information to minimize hazards to operations.
Phase II of the SPAM project will create a tool to monitor the real time likelihood of on-orbit satellite anomalies and identify the cause. This tool can be used by NASA satellite operators to monitor the fleet of NASA satellite missions near Earth. The tool will provide operators with insights into the radiation hazards and allow them to make informed decisions about managing the satellite fleet resulting in more reliable missions.
The satellite anomaly monitoring and analysis tool developed by this project will be useful to both NASA and non-NASA satellite operators and designers. The tool will be accessible to all interested users via a web application. It tool will also include web services so that it can be easily integrated into satellite design tools commonly used by commercial satellite companies.
Most satellite contact scheduling programs use deconfliction algorithms to optimize access and use of earth stations. These contact schedules are developed without an awareness of customer mission objectives and often require arduous human-in-the-loop iteration to ensure the resulting contact schedule also supports mission objectives. ATLAS has demonstrated the capability of an algorithmic solution to develop satellite ground station contact schedules designed to optimize around a customer’s goals. This capability offers substantial savings in man hours over the use of current scheduling systems which simply deconflict satellite contacts from interfering with one another but do not necessarily resolve solutions optimized to meet a customer’s mission goals. A cognitive constellation management scheduler is made aware of the customers goals and seeks to produce and select the ground station contact schedule that best satisfies a customer’s goals among all possible/feasible schedules. This exciting capability will be further developed into a stand-alone prototype cognitive constellation management scheduler as a precursor to an operational capability. This prototype will enable:
System Wide Load Balancing: Define clear goals and allow the customer to adjust their importance, generates task requests, and feed them into the lower lever Flex Scheduler
Time Reduction: Abstract the management into a simple to understand set of goals that the customer can adjust on a day to day basis.
Rapid Re-Scheduling via Machine to Machine: Define a concise, cloud hosted, API that allows the submission of external data such as spacecraft state parameters and event queuing information and alerts.
NASA can benefit from a Cognitive Constellation Management scheduling solution from efficiencies gained through the reduction in manpower to produce satellite contact schedules. NASA can utilize the cognitive scheduler on existing and future satellite constellations to optimize contact schedules around mission objectives and utilize machine-to-machine communication to rapidly modify contact schedules when there is a need to respond to emergent events/triggers in dynamic environments.
It will soon become impossible to keep up with demand as data and satellite contacts increase in volume, particularly with “mega” constellations. Satellite operations must transition to a cognitive and machine-to-machine approach. A cognitive scheduler enables non-NASA operators to efficiently increase the scale and complexity of their systems without a commensurate growth in human resources.
This proposal addresses subtopic S4.04 Extreme Environments Technology and specifically interest in long life bearings, tribological surfaces, and lubricants. NASA is expanding its ability to explore deep atmosphere and surface of gas giants, moon surfaces, asteroids, and comets through use of long-lived balloons and landers. Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive in 2034 on Titan. Future Mars missions will return samples from the surface of Mars to Earth. The Artemis program will land humans on the Moon by 2024. Conceptual landing probes for Europa and Venus have been proposed. These missions will experience extreme temperatures ranging from -220°C on Europa to 462°C on Venus, and environmental pressures ranging from vacuum on the Moon to 9.3 MPa on Venus. At these extreme atmospheric conditions, traditional oil lubricants and greases are infeasible, resulting in dry sliding conditions with detrimental effects on component performance. Tribological experiments are therefore necessary to simulate relevant environments so as to mitigate mission risk. This proposal offers unique solutions for these extreme conditions:
Superhydrophobic (SH) surfaces have tremendous applications potential for essentially non-contact water and aqueous solution processing aboard spacecraft for life support. However, such surfaces have not been aptly exploited aboard spacecraft to date. In our Phase I work we (1) successfully demonstrated the marked improvements in system performance that can be achieved in microgravity environments with the use of SH surfaces, (2) we identified the many life support systems that can benefit from such surfaces, (3) we identified and documented an exhaustive variety of SH monolithic materials and coatings suitable for spacecraft deployment with holistic considerations of the complete life support system, and (4) we designed, constructed, low-g demonstrated, and delivered a high-performance passive urine collection and transport device. We also (5) devoted a significant effort to demonstrate the impact of surface contamination and fouling for 8 substrates during 57-day trials. The impact of the SH surface is to render the ‘wetted parts’ largely untouched by the contaminated urine streams. The result is that the device remains ‘contaminant-free’ and the number of replacement hoses can be substantially reduced or eliminated saving on cost, mass, volume, and crew time. We intend to develop and deliver a flight certified urine receptacle/hose device to NASA for flight tests aboard the ISS. Our long term objective is to deploy our manufacturing capabilities and judiciously apply the overall approach to any number of water processing unit operations for life support including urine collection and distillation elements, bubble separations, droplet/mist filters, plant watering systems, condensing heat exchangers, and more. The design approach provides a dramatic reduction of fouling and contamination in the microgravity environment because urine jets and drops simply rebound from the internal non-wetting surfaces without making physical contact.
In general, spacecraft are replete with applications for superhydrophobic surfaces including potable water storage and transport, hydrolysis for breathing oxygen, condensing heat exchangers, urine processors, portable life support systems, laundering and hygiene, food rehydration and dispensing, plant and animal habitats, and others. In fact, nearly all liquid systems on spacecraft might benefit from such wettability gradients: coolants, water, aqueous solutions, bio-fluids, experimental fluids, lubricants, propellants, and fuels.
We expect the resulting products to appeal to commercial space operators and as well as certain terrestrial markets. Potential products include passive bubble diverters, passive two-phase flow separators, low pressure-drop distillation systems, and the novel combination of complex geometry in the superhydrophobic non-wetting state: non-occluding conduits, fittings, and valves.
In this SBIR Phase II project, Benchmark Space Systems proposes to build a resistojet micropropulsion system based on proprietary warm gas generator technology. Results from Phase I of this project indicate that a system built around a resistojet thruster could increase specific impulse by up to 110% while remaining within the power budget of a typical CubeSat/SmallSat mission. That level of specific impulse would make the proposed propulsion system useful for Lunar and deep space missions, as well as enhancing the capabilities of low Earth orbit missions.
The key advantages of the proposed system include:
This technical effort will take the concept evaluated and tested in Phase I and bring it to a flight-ready propulsion system that can be inserted into a range of upcoming commercial, DoD, or NASA technology demonstrations.
NASA has identified CubeSats and SmallSats as a valuable platform for performing technology demonstrations and scientific research on a modest budget. Past, planned, or anticipated missions using CubeSats include Earth observation, Low Earth Orbit activities, and Lunar and deep space missions. Propulsion is a key enabling technology for many future mission concepts, and the characteristics of the system developed and tested in this Phase II SBIR Project offer a meaningful enhancement to current state-of-the-art.
There are dozens of announced commercial constellations based around CubeSats/SmallSats, representing tens of thousands of potential new small satellites in orbit. The propulsion system developed and tested during Phase II of this project would be well-suited to the safety, performance, and cost considerations of the commercial market.
Metron proposes to develop a software service that monitors airspace message streams, makes predictions about flight trajectories, identifies anomalous behaviors, and generates alerts when certain risky or anomalous events occur. Our key innovations include novel neural network architectures and training methods designed to learn relevant flight behaviors and to detect anomalous deviations from normal behaviors.
We will address the technical questions of how to build a system that monitors the NAS continuously and automatically identifies flights that indicate safety or efficiency issues or precursors to such, while reducing the false alarm rate. Such a system will make predictions “in time” for ATC and pilots to take corrective action to minimize the effect of such events. To build this system, Metron will redesign and extend the Phase I neural network model and package it as a software service that makes predictions of important flight events.
Metron has teamed with ATAC who will provide subject matter expertise to visualize and assess the operational utility of the events identified by the system.
Our flight anomaly detection and risk prediction software will provide a key capability for NASA’s In-time System-wide Safety Assurance (ISSA) initiative. Integration into NASA’s Traffic Data Manager (TDM) will help pilots manage the increasingly congested and complex airspace by supplying factors used to determine the relevance of nearby aircraft. Additional integration into air traffic control systems via the consumption of SWIM data feed messages will provide controllers with operationally relevant alerts.
Terminal ATC users can be alerted both to flights exhibiting anomalous behavior and to predictions of various safety or efficiency related outcomes. We identified and plan to integrate into a specific overseas air traffic control system to improve the efficiency of airspace operations.
Atom interferometry offers the potential to deliver high-performance, compact, and robust gyroscopes that are suitable for inertial navigation. Critical requirements for such a gyroscope include a high sensitivity to rotations, insensitivity to accelerations, and a simple scheme that is well-suited to miniaturization. An atomic gyroscope based on the combination of point source interferometry (PSI) and large momentum transfer (LMT) beam splitters is well-suited to meet these requirements. A conventional PSI is based on the use of cold atoms released from a trap, and subjected to two-photon Raman transitions that act as beam splitters and mirrors for a Mach-Zehnder light-pulse atom interferometer. In a PSI, the rotation signal is observed by monitoring the fringes develop across the spatial profile of the expanded cloud, and is unaffected by acceleration. The spacing and the orientation of the fringes are analyzed to determine the components of the rotation vector that are orthogonal to the laser pulses, thus realizing a multi-axes gyroscope. The sensitivity of a conventional PSI is limited by the relatively small area enclosed, since the conventional Raman pulses produce a momentum separation equivalent to only two photon recoil momenta. Under the work carried out in Phase I, we have established the feasibility of realizing a PSI that makes use of the technique of large momentum transfer (LMT) based on alternating Raman pulses. For experimentally feasible parameters, our Phase I work shows that such a gyroscope would be able to achieve a rotation sensitivity of about 2.5 micro-degree/hour per root-Hz. This sensitivity would be nearly a factor of 50 better that the best atom interferometric gyroscope, which is large and based on atomic beams, demonstrated to date. The LMT-PSI can be compact, occupying a volume of 10 cm X 10 cm X 10 cm, holding the potential for revolutionary advancement in inertial navigation, for NASA, civilian and military applications.
• Improved space vehicle positioning and navigation
• Ultra-precise pointing and platform stabilization for telescopes
• Space vehicle health monitoring
• Tests of general relativity via measurement of gravitational frame dragging effect
• Improved positioning and navigation of missiles
• Positioning and navigation for atmospheric and ground vehicles in GPS-denied environments
• Guidance of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs)
• Guidance of smart ammunitions
• Advanced laser beam pointing/steering systems
The innovation proposed is a second-generation Software Toolkit enabling improved predictions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) as well as particulate matter like soot in high-fidelity yet computationally-tractable Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analyses of combustor concepts applicable to Commercial Supersonic Transport (CST) designs. Given the technical challenges to meet the more stringent NOx emission limits at the higher CST cruising altitudes and the unique characteristics of the CST thermodynamic cycle, the proposed innovation intends to enhance the capabilities of the first-generation Software Toolkit for NASA’s OpenNCC CFD code. The second-generation Software Toolkit will feature (i) enhanced predictive accuracy of the primary turbulent flame with real fuels, NOx and soot, (ii) computational efficiency and (iii) software portability, e.g., to NASA’s OpenNCC. Since CST combustor concepts will operate at higher temperatures and with higher fuel flow rates, a detailed understanding of flame dynamics is required, in particular within the context of parametric or trade studies. Given the competing performance and emission targets to be considered, a large number of design parameters needs to be considered, including both geometric parameters as well as parameters associated with combustor operation, for instance use of alternative fuels as a means to reduce NOx emissions. The significance of the innovation is that it addresses NASA’s core needs for an economically feasible and environmentally acceptable propulsion technology suitable for a supersonic commercial aircraft. Historically, commercial supersonic transport has received significant opposition with respect to economic viability (e.g., due to excessive fuel consumption) and environmental impact, both in terms of sonic boom and noise generation for communities along the flight path as well as negative effects on the climate and on public health.
This product addresses (i) NASA’s core needs for an economically feasible and environmentally acceptable CST propulsion technology, (ii) NASA ARMD core needs for enabling safe and reliable operation of next-generation (e.g., "N+3" and beyond) ultra low-emission conventional gas-turbine engine as well hybrid electric aircraft propulsion and (iii) core needs of NASA’s vision for next-generation aircraft systems with hybrid integrated wing/body systems with significant improvements in engine performance, emissions and noise reduction.
The commercial market includes the broad aerospace, power-generation and defense industry. Commercial aircraft gas turbine engines are the primary driver for this product. Other applications encompass power-generation turbines and IC/HCCI/diesel engines. DoD applications include gas-turbine engines, scramjets, RDEs, augmentors, UAVs propulsion systems and rocket engines.
Because of the formidable problem formulation and computational challenges associated with bringing high-fidelity modeling in an integrated way to the actively-controlled airplane design process, this SBIR project proposes major innovations in computational aeroservoelastic optimization technology, including the construction and utilization of Projection-Based Reduced-Order Models (PROMs) using linear as well as nonlinear, State-of-the-Art (SoA) Galerkin and Petrov-Galerkin Projection-based Model Order Reduction (PMOR) methods. These include recently developed approaches for mitigating the curse of dimensionality when training PROMs, SoA hyperreduction methods for achieving practical wall-clock solution times in the presence of structural nonlinearities and/or turbulence modeling, and various approaches for incorporating PMOR and PROMs in MultiDisciplinary Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) processes.
The main goal of all innovations outlined above is to make high-fidelity aeroservoelastic MDAO problems feasible and practical, including for a relatively large number of design variables and constraints when needed for capturing the design problem in a realistic way -- that is, of relevance and interest to industrial problems.
The proposed development will contribute to NASA multidisciplinary design optimization studies of a variety of aircraft configurations of current and future interest controlled by many control effectors, including variable camber continuous trailing edge wings, distributed propulsion, morphing supersonic configurations, etc. NASA will benefit from the new technology by either using the numerical capabilities developed or by integrating selected modules of the new capabilities into NASA’s multidisciplinary optimization environment.
The new technology will create numerical capabilities not yet available for multidisciplinary design of aircraft controlled by many control effectors. All developers of new aircraft utilizing active control of large numbers of control effectors would benefit. Customers of the new capability will be able to also integrate its key modules into their multidisciplinary design optimization systems.
A new class of material has been synthesized and demonstrated feasible at the laboratory level, as a potential integral neutron and gamma shield for the Kilopower Project and other small fission reactor technologies under development. The new material will have a competitive mass and volume-to-shielding effectiveness and offer a superior stable integral form as compared to the current best available technology discrete combinations - Lithium Hydride or B4C and Tungsten or Depleted Uranium. In the Phase II effort, optimization of the forming method will be completed, with an eye towards manufacturability of large geometry shields. Radiation exposure testing of material samples will continue/expand from the Phase I testing that was completed, and be performed at the actual levels of the expected reactor environment. Post-irradiation characterization will be performed on the samples for durability assessments. Nuclear simulation models will be further optimized from the Phase I level, to guide the design of the shield geometry using the integral material. By the end of the Phase II, a full-scale prototype shield section will be designed, manufactured, and delivered to NASA for hardware integration purposes.
The new material being developed will be immediately applicable to the Kilopower Project, as well as other future fission power generation programs under development, such as Nuclear Thermal Propulsion. The ability to have an integrally combined neutron and gamma shield will enable NASA shielding component designers to realize freedom of design not possible with the best available technology in current material combinations.
The new shield material being developed has significant potential beyond spaceflight applications, including terrestrial fission reactor shielding, spent fuel casket shielding, medical and industrial radiation shielding. The non-nuclear application opportunities for this new class of material include high volume industrial wear and cutting parts.
The Adaptive RuGgedized Ubiquitous Sensor Network for Aircraft Health Monitoring System (ARGUS-4AHM) provides flexible non-intrusive wireless connectivity in NASA aerospace vehicles with integrated monitoring capability, environmental effects resilience, and high maturity. Specifically, this technology: (1) aims to improve traditional instrumentation where issues are weight, wire routing to penetrate aircraft structures, long down-times, wiring labor, etc.; (2) expands the reach of avionic networks by connecting devices through boundaries without penetrations using non-intrusive, safe, and secure wireless Ultrasonic Transceiver Modules (UTMs); (3) is reliable and robust, where the energy and data transfer processes are resilient to large temperature swings and vibrations as common for aircraft operation; (4) is designed for aerospace materials (composites, aluminum), standard avionic communication buses (e.g. ARINC 429), transparent and plug-&-play deployment, and common sensor interfaces; and (5) provides flexibility with two configurations: Bus Passthrough and Node-On-ComBus. The first allows to extend multiple avionics data and power channels through a wall acoustically without wires or RF in a way that is invisible to the network nodes. The Node-On-ComBus shares these features but also enables deployment of sensors and health monitoring features in previously inaccessible spaces. Phase II tasks involve: (1) full development and implementation of Passthrough configuration for composites; (2) extending Passthrough configuration to support multiple ARINC 429 buses concurrently; (3) full development and implementation of Node-On-ComBus; (4) adding measurement and instrumentation capabilities; (5) expanding the Node-On-ComBus with health monitoring capability and customizing to NASA systems; (6) packaging and environmental design; (7) advanced and complementary features for an integral networking and monitoring solution; and (8) demonstrating the complete system.
NASA AFRC’s testbed aircraft used to conduct flight research and technology integration, validate space exploration concepts, and conduct airborne remote sensing and science observations can benefit from the ARGUS-4AHM system which advances Instrumentation and Measurement as well as Health Monitoring capabilities. Examples are Science Platforms (e.g. SOFIA, DC-8 Airborne Science Laboratory), Research and Testbed Platforms (e.g. Eagle F-15, Gulfstream G-III, X-57), Support Aircraft (e.g. Hornet F/A-18), Unmanned Aerial Platforms and many others.
Due to its compatibility with ARINC 429, the system can be used in various commercial or other aircraft to expand the reach of networks which opens sensing possibilities without compromising the integrity of the aircraft structures (e.g. sensors can be deployed outside airframe and data and power sent using safe and secure ultrasonic channels). Many other non-aerospace industries can also benefit.
Long range optical communications using Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detectors (SNSPDs) is a new and promising technology for deep spacecraft communications. SNSPDs are planned for use in future NASA space-to-ground laser communication. In the current state of the art, the clock rates are limited in part by the timing jitter of the SNSPD. Improving the timing jitter of SNSPDs results in higher clock rates, higher data rates and longer ranges. Currently timing jitters of 2.7pS have been demonstrated in laboratory research. The Phase 1 SBIR Project focused on the feasibility of a low power, low noise cryogenic differential amplifier. It is expected that integrating the amplifier with the SNSPD will lower the timing jitter to less than 1pS, allowing higher data rates and longer ranges without requiring additional mass and power on a spacecraft. Higher data rates will also result in higher resolution images received from space probes. The successful completion of Phase 1 resulted in the delivery of a differential amplifier prototype for integration and testing with a SNSPD. The delivered amplifier exhibits 20db of gain, 5K noise temperature with 2.0mW of power dissipation. The next phase towards a long-range communication system is to fabricate a multi-channel MMIC and construct a 64channel receiver. A 64 channel receive allows 64 digital bits of information. The large number of digital bits are necessary for high speed communications and high-resolution images. The scope of the Phase 2 research will focus on miniaturization of the differential amplifier and design of the 64channel receiver. Delivery of the receiver will push the efforts for a longer-range optical communications system.
Communications between Deep Space Network stations and spacecraft use large single dish microwave antennas. The ability of the dishes to receive and process large amounts of data is limited. The solution is using Long Range Optical Transceivers. Super Conducting Nanowire Single Photon Detectors are moving this technology into reality. A low-noise cryogenic differential amplifier completed during Phase 1 is a critical component for a 64channel receiver. The new receiver will increase data rates and ranges for deep-space optical communication.
Commercial applications will benefit from the high performance of Long-Range Optical Transceivers. Applications include Cloud data systems, back haul systems, commercial satellite communications and imaging in the medical field. The amplifier coupled with the Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detector will extend the useful distance, data rate and reliability of the optical receiver.
The Innovation: A monolithically grown device consisting of a solar cell integrated modulating retroreflector is proposed. This “DataCell” device allows for simultaneous electrical energy harvesting (photovoltaic effect) AND high-speed optical data communication (quantum-confined Stark effect) for free-space optical (FSO) links up to GHz rates in a single integrated device.
Free Space Optical Cubesat Communication
Planetary Landers – Lunar Surface Relays
Satellite Orbit Determination
Department of Defense: FSO for ground, UAS, underwater and space applications, directed energy applications
Internet of Things
The goal of this research is to accelerate the use of NASA’s hyperspectral data by combining powerful open source tools into an easily understood workflow that will distribute the computation of hyperspectral data across clusters of machines hosted in public cloud infrastructure, while also leveraging low cost object storage in order to maximize accessibility and use. Hyperspectral data collects and processes information across the electromagnetic spectrum, dividing the spectrum into many more bands than are visible to the human eye. The collected images are combined to form a three-dimensional data cube, where two spatial dimensions of the same scene are joined by a third dimension comprised of a range of spectral wavelengths. These data cubes are capable of supporting many surface biology and geology applications, with particular potential for improving the discovery and management of energy, mineral, and soil resources. That said, the ability to efficiently process hyperspectral data is currently limited by the complexity of the data itself, and the inability to present and store it in formats and public cloud environments useful to data scientists.
In addition to building standalone tools that can be used independently, this project will enable efficient consumption, reformatting, and processing of hyperspectral datasets in the NASA-funded Raster Foundry platform, an open source solution for finding, analyzing, and publishing geospatial imagery on the web. In so doing, the proposed research will build on previous agency investments that are making additional remotely sensed imagery from NASA and other public resources more broadly accessible for global application to contemporary geospatial challenges. Furthermore, it will provide access to a rich ecosystem of image processing and scientific computing libraries that will support data science studies in industries ranging from precision agriculture to security and defense.
The proposed research provides potential benefit for the Goddard Space Flight Center and Jet Propulsion Lab, where hyperspectral data tools could support the following missions: the planned Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI), Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), and the planned Mapping Imaging Spectrometer for Europa (MISE). Through its use of Raster Vision, Franklin, Raster Foundry, and other open source tools, the work also addresses NASA’s need for robust software solutions supported by open source communities.
Several primary markets have already demonstrated significant interest: commercial satellite and aerial imagery data users/customers, large prime contractors, the oil and natural gas industry, insurance industry, and international multilateral development organizations. Potential use cases include oil spill detection, pipeline safety/maintenance, tree mortality analysis, and fire risk modeling.
In this program, Freedom Photonics will develop a photonic integrated circuit to serve as a miniature seed source for methane LIDAR applications, in collaboration with NASA Langley Research Center. This low-SWaP technology, based on Freedom Photonics’ 1650 nm tunable laser platform, will facilitate the widespread deployment of gas-sensing LIDAR aboard small satellites and UAVs.
This program was inspired by an existing need within NASA (LaRC) for new, more precise and powerful remote sensing instrument implementations. The PIC is also applicable to Freedom Photonics’ PIC platforms at other wavelengths, so it is relevant for LIDAR sensing of water vapor or other atmospheric gases.
Methane and other gas detection, optical fiber sensing, optical communications, test and measurement instrumentation.
The Interdisciplinary Consulting Corporation (IC2) proposes to develop a field-deployable wireless data acquisition system (WDAS) for microphone phased arrays that are applicable in noise-source localization or beamforming measurements such as those encountered during airframe noise flyover measurement tests. This proposed technology is in response to the NASA FY 2019 SBIR/STTR solicitation subtopic A1.02 Quiet Performance - Airframe Noise Reduction for the improvement of “innovative source identification techniques for airframe noise sources, such as landing gear and high lift systems.”
The proposed measurement system expands NASA’s technology portfolio to allow for faster, higher-accuracy, lower-effort/cost testing by minimizing the technological, logistical, and cost-prohibitive issues of performing field-deployed microphone phased-array tests. These improvements will allow for increased usage of phased-array flyover testing, and increased size/resolution arrays. Potential applications for the system include field-deployed noise flyover-measurement tests, and field-deployed engine-stand noise emissions tests.
The realization of this capability not only benefits the testing of next-generation innovative noise-reduction airframe structures, but also impacts turbine test facilities, extending the current capabilities of NASA’s flight- and ground-test facilities.
The target application for entry into NASA is microphone flyover phased array measurement for low-noise commercial airplane technology development testing and for development of low boom technology of supersonic aircraft. The proposed system is applicable to other NASA test interests such as full-scale static engine testing where large microphone phased arrays may be deployed to detect various sources of engine noise. Rotorcraft acoustics and UAV acoustics are other potential areas of interest.
The initial target market is flyover acoustic phased array testing for the aerospace industry and full-scale static engine testing. Other possible markets are: military detection testing where large distributed arrays of microphones are required to measure the noise “footprint” of an aircraft as it flies by; and wind energy for noise source location on wind turbines.
To address the need for compact, lightweight, and cost-effective high-magnification beam-expanding optics for missions such as NASA Langley Research Center’s Doppler Aerosol Wind (DAWN) lidar system, a Voxtel-led team—including Dr. Julie Bentley of Bentley Optical Design, collocated with the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester—proposes to implement a novel distortion-free beam-expanding optical assembly based on 3D freeform gradient-index (GRIN) optical materials. Specifically in this effort, the goal is to implement a very compact folded-light-path four-mirror beam expander, optimized for 2,053-nm wavelength laser light, that implements a custom-engineered aberration-reducing 3D GRIN phase-corrector plate (PCP) to simultaneously minimize aberrations and maximize beam quality.
The PCP will be manufactured using Voxtel’s Volumetric Index-of-Refraction Gradient-Index Optics (VIRGO) technology platform, which deposits variable index-of-refraction transparent nanocomposite materials with optical properties that vary voxel by voxel in an additive manufacturing process to realize high-performance freeform GRIN optics. The ability to form freeform gradient optical-index functions enables the use of previously unavailable complex higher-order polynomial functions in optical path design, while also providing the capability to reduce geometric and chromatic aberrations.
The technology is applicable to the NASA Doppler Aerosol Wind (DAWN) lidar program employing pulsed laser to measure atmospheric wind profiles, the Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL) program for atmospheric measurements of aerosol profiles in the visible and infrared band, the Thickness from Offbeam Returns (THOR) cloud measurement program, and the Near Earth Orbit (NEO) Nanosat-based Earth observation program.
Freeform GRIN lens technology will enable low-profile otherwise-impossible lenses, most notably for the cellphone camera market. Other markets include virtual-reality headsets, which will embody the technology in the form of light-field lens arrays, and medical optics, including endoscopy equipment, eyeglasses for patients with particularly difficult prescriptions, and contact lenses.
Future exploration and planetary missions will generate large quantities of fecal matter which contain 75% water by mass which is currently not recovered onboard the ISS. The matter is not biologically stabilized and requires disposal within impermeable containers. Quantified, this represents as much as 680kg for a 1,000-day long-duration human exploration mission. STOOLE allows the recovery of this water in concert with the traditional ECLSS and the high-level of feces dehydration will limit ongoing biological risks.
STOOLE also improves the overall logistics of long-duration and planetary exploration by eliminating the disposable Universal Waste Management System (UWMS) canisters and bags and replacing them with a reusable canister and potentially up-cycleable expanded PTFE bags that can be fused into useful end products or allow the solid waste to be likewise upcycled as filler and reinforcement of 3D printed objects. On a long duration mission or stay, this upcycling allows the waste to be used to create useful products to outfit habitation modules, and/or repurpose storage areas that used to contain the food and other consumables that led to the waste.
Future exploration and planetary missions will generate large quantities of fecal matter which contain 75% water by mass. NASA desires to recover water from solid wastes to enable greater water recovery and reduced logistical burden for these missions. STOOLE offers a significant improvement in water recovery over current SOA. After further SBIR development and relevant test completions on the ISS, STOOLE would be a viable subsystem of the Waste Management System on Gateway, Human Lunar Landers, Habitats.
Paragon is on several of the prime’s programs providing the ECLSS system so there is a direct path to commercialization including Dynetics’ Human Lunar Lander.. We are also a team member of Northrop Grumman and SNC. We are on Boeing’s Next Step BAA ECLSS team. Other targets SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Bigelow Aerospace.
Paragon Space Development Corporation proposes an Ellipsoidal Propellant Tank (EPT) innovative pressure vessel designed to provide the lowest cost and mass solution to the long-term containment of cryogenic fluids. The design is based on Thin Red Line Aerospace’s (TRLA) Ultra-High Pressure Vessel (UHPV) technology which has the highest specific strength of any competing design. In EPT, a cryogenic propellant tank design was matured to demonstrate a 500+ psig system with a factory of safety of 2.5. Fluid barrier materials exhibit low helium leak rates and can be used in a launch configuration or launched in a stowed configuration for on-orbit or planetary deployment for use in propellant depot, propellant storage for long-duration exploration missions, and for such innovative uses as surface cryogen storage on the Moon. Results from this effort indicate a more mass efficiency and volume efficient design that utilizes 73% of required volume envelope as compared to 66% for traditional spherical tanks. Additionally, EPT exhibits masses at 70% of the current NASA counterpart with a baselined polar bulkhead design. System integration of EPT based on current SOA tanks was evaluated for integration, as well as bulkhead analysis and pressure restraint analysis. These efforts informed a barrier layer demonstrator design for the EPT which we then evaluate through helium coupon leak testing to validate the barrier materials selection and manufacturing process. The results of Phase I provide feasibility demonstration of the materials and processes to provide a helium leak tight barrier and an overall pressure vessel design for Phase II prototyping and test. Future efforts will mature bulkhead design for greater reductions in mass, system integration, and the barrier laminate. Additionally, thermal management will be evaluated with integration of traditional MLI and our CELSIUS, expandable, deployable, high mass efficiency MMOD/MLI system previously funded by NASA.
The concept proposed is that of an innovative turbopump for a staged combustion bi-propellant rocket engine using monopropellant to drive the turbine. The turbopump has a unique feature in that it has an electric generator used to generate electricity and power an external fuel pump.
By using a monopropellant decomposed over a catalyst pack only one fluid can be used to drive one or more turbines. Typically, a turbopump combusts a fuel and an oxidizer in a gas generator to generate the gases to drive the turbine. This requires two sets of feed lines (one for fuel and one for oxidizer) and careful mixture ratio control so that the two combust at a ratio that does not yield such a high temperature that may destroy the turbine. If the mixture ratio is too close to the stoichiometric ratio it will be hot enough to damage the turbine. If it is too far away from the stoichiometric ratio it may not generate enough of the required gases to drive the turbine or even cease combustion (flame out). This problem does not exist with most monopropellants as their maximum decomposition temperature is about half that of modern turbojet engines. Thus, no exotic materials need to be used for the turbine.
The electric generator generates electricity to power an external fuel pump. This allows the pump for one propellant to be placed anywhere on the rocket engine that is desired and does not necessitate mounting it onto the turbopump itself. this greatly simplifies the plumbing of a rocket engine. It also allows the oxidizer and fuel pump to have different speeds so that the engine can change its mixture ratio in flight.
This turbopump is designed to be used with a rocket engine burning propellant combinations where one of the propellants is a monopropellant. This allows for a relatively simple yet fairly high performing rocket engine. In addition, it can easily change its mixture ratio in flight for optimum propellant utilization and little waste.
A rocket engine using a Turbo-Electric Turbopump would be of significant interest to NASA since it is essentially a staged combustion cycle engine with a lot less headache. It uses non-toxic storable propellants and is ideal for small launch vehicle intended to launch on short notice. It can also be used as spacecraft propulsion where higher chamber pressures than typically used with pressure-fed systems are desired, such as on heavy lunar and Mars landers. Such an engine is highly throttleable and very scalable. No ignition system is required.
A rocket engine using a Turbo-Electric Turbopump offers advantages to commercial space companies since it is a high thrust, staged combustion engine that is drastically simpler (and thus less expensive) than a typical staged-combustion engine. It could be used for both vertical and horizontally launched rocket vehicles as well as spacecraft, especially lunar landers for Moon missions.
The objective of the proposed Phase 2 work is developing prototype non-mechanical single-aperture beam control systems for landing LiDARs. The system, capable of both Doppler and time-of-flight measurements, will enhance navigation precision and reliability while reducing size, weight, power consumption and enhancing reliability due to its all electronic nature. The Phase 1 of the project allowed demonstrating feasibility of such a versatile system while revealing advantages and disadvantages of different system architectures utilizing opportunities inherent to new generation optics principles. Several target performance characteristics have been met: wide angle steering with no mechanically moving parts; a few millimeter thick planar structure with 2” aperture sizes; small weight measured in grams; control voltages as small as 10V with millisecond switching times. The focus of the Phase 2 work is further increasing diffraction efficiency at large angles by improved cycloidal diffractive waveplates, and optimizing device architecture to ensure wavefront uniformity and high transmission of the device. Also, to prepare the prototype devices for field tests, the device architecture will be optimized for resistance to temperature variations as well as shock and vibration. Optimization will include electro-optical and thermodynamic properties of functional materials.
Guidance and auto-navigation systems, topology characterization for space vehicles with planetary landing missions, wind sensing and characterization, free-space optical communications between satellites and deep space optical communication – these are just a few of critical applications of the technology that allows fast steering of laser beams with no-mechanically moving parts. Enhance reliability higher precision navigation will enhance safety and security of NASA missions.
Non-NASA applications include auto-navigation systems for cars, drones, and robots. Non-mechanical beam steering can also be used for commercial free-space optical communications.
NASA has been adopting MBSE vigorously in its Systems Engineering (SE) practices for its Space Missions through the use of the System Markup Language (SysML). Given the structural and functional complexities of modern NASA space missions such as the lunar exploration using the Gateway, and other human exploration missions in development, SE processes need to have extensive Fault Management (FM) support and analytic capabilities right at the onset of system design, to capture their operational relevance during missions. The key focus of the Systems Engineering Handbook is System Level Analysis across the entire Life Cycle performed within Cost and Schedule constraints.
QSI, in partnership with Sanford Friedenthal of SAF Consulting, and Stephen Johnson of Dependable System Technologies (DST) plans to develop a TEAMS-FM (Fault Management) “plugin” capability with the SysML modeling environment, that (1) provides a capability to perform FM analysis of a system-of-systems (SoS) design in SysML, (2) enables the FM design to be evaluated in an operational context by performing System Health Management (SHM), (3) supports Trade Studies to evaluate the merits of a architecture such as Sensor Placement, Fault Protection, etc. and (4) enables a “System” level assessment and visualization of FM qualities in the SysML Diagrams. The proposed effort seeks to aid the integration of FM of system(s) with the MBSE environment in multiple usage scenarios by utilizing existing capabilities and migrating them into the SysML IDE (Integrated Development Environment). The integration of TEAMS-FM plugin in SysML will entail information integration; extending, as necessary, existing SysML conventions to accommodate FM entities; and assessing the effect of implementing ISHM on the overall efficacy of the system design during the SE phase.
The developed capabilities will make TEAMS-FM an essential MBSE extension for use by NASA for comprehensive system FM design, analysis and evaluation.
This FM capability is relevant to future SMD/HEOMD missions, such as such as the Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle, Human Landing System and Orion Crew Vehicle. Deep Space Habitat and selected subsystems of the SLS are prime targets. Artemis Mission – Lunar Lander, Gateway, etc., and Moon to Mars mission, as well as Deep Space missions such as the Europa Orbiter, the InSight lander mission, and Mars Science Laboratory are prime targets. OMG's Thirty Meter Telescope is open-sourced and actively managed, rendering it a very relevant target platform.
DoD, US Air Force, US Navy, and commercial aviation, large scale military systems such as NORAD, Space Command ground segments, JSF, the Navy shipboard platforms, Submarine Commands, BMD systems, UAVs, UMGs and other unmanned submersible vehicle markets are potential targets as well. There has been early research at the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to model system interconnectivity and algorithms.
Zero-G Horizons Technologies (ZGHT), in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is developing a Spacecraft On-Orbit Advanced Refueling and Storage (SOARS) system. SOARS directly supports the Moon to Mars Campaign (NASA’s Space Policy Directive-1). The key innovation of SOARS enables the separation of liquid and gas in microgravity through our unique rotational settling technology. Reliable settling leads to efficient transfer of only the desired liquid propellant with minimal pressure difference, removing the need for expensive pumps and producing a cost-effective solution. ZGHT has pioneered the SOARS technology to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 through the Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology (FAST) program flight testing using NASA’s Reduced Gravity Aircraft (30 seconds microgravity). During Phase I, the ZGHT team successfully designed and validated the SOARS technology, achieving: (1) rotation-based fluid separation and settling to establish predictable fluid distribution, and (2) pressure-driven propellant transfer in a controllable and repeatable fashion. Through Phase II, the SOARS subsystems will be developed and evaluated in two main microgravity test environments: (1) Blue Origin’s New Shepard, and (2) the ISS Astrobee Facility. Phase II will involve the fabrication and flight experimentation to mature the technology to TRL 7. Phase III involves ISS testing and collaboration with partners to fabricate and test the prototype in Low Earth Orbit. The collaboration with commercial partners will accelerate market transition of SOARS technologies into the space travel ecosystem. Ultimately, ZGHT is committed to establish itself as a key player in the area of propellant storage and transfer in space.
SOARS will enable the commercialization of on-orbit propellant depots, which will augment current and future NASA launch systems. SOARS will alleviate high costs associated with Heavy Lift Launch Vehicles, enable refueling of on-orbit Small to Medium Lift Launch Vehicles, and extend mission range and capabilities. SOARS will facilitate Moon to Mars Campaign Missions by providing a waypoint-network of fuel for exploration and support human-autonomous missions in cislunar space. SOARS can effectively support NASA’s Restore-L mission.
SOARS will be an on-orbit or cis-lunar fuel station to meet the demands of the commercial space exploration sector. SOARS can support the requirements of commercial space missions such as space tourism, transportation, research, mining, habitation, and national security missions. Medical field applications include enhanced capillary flows, intravenous catheters (IVs), and centrifuge systems.
Successful completion of our Phase II effort results in an automated, robust, and rapid aircraft drag optimization method (called HeldenDesign) that is an integral part of our vision to revolutionize the aircraft analysis and design process. HeldenDesign couples NASA’s CDISC knowledge-based design method with an optimization wrapper that automatically varies the inputs to CDISC to enable drag-based optimization. In addition, HeldenDesign simplifies and streamlines the setup of new optimization cases and adds a robust mesh movement capability (through the HeldenMorph toolset that is also developed under our Phase II effort) that solves many of the problems encountered during CFD-based design. The goal of HeldenDesign is to enable rapid and easy to use drag-based optimizations of new aircraft for conceptual, preliminary, and detailed design. We plan to follow this effort with a Phase III effort that culminates with commercialization of the HeldenDesign product within 1.5 years of completion of this Phase II effort.
The successful completion of this Phase I effort supports all NASA programs and projects that use CFD for advanced aircraft concept design, launch vehicle design, and planetary entry vehicles. The technology developed under this project will enable design decisions by Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) and Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD).
Helden Aerospace has already successfully transitioned its existing HeldenMesh commercial grid generator to industry. The completion of this Phase II effort would further improve the CFD toolset through drag-based optimization with rapid knowledge-based design methods. This effort results in a product with strong commercial viability as there is a significant need for this capability in industry.
NASA is developing new vehicles for human space flight. Many of these spacecraft are targeted for long-term use, which offers challenges for inspection and maintenance. In orbit or on the Moon or Mars, the use of traditional NDE is prohibitive because of location and inaccessibility, and infrequent inspection can lead to conservative, high-weight designs. NASA is seeking technologies to facilitate inspections on large complex structures and provide reliable assessments of structural health.
Structural health monitoring (SHM) can help overcome inspection difficulties and has shown good results on small structures. However, transition to large complex structures has been slow. Some reasons for the slow adoption are difficulties with large sensor arrays, timely analysis of large data sets, and overall weight of the system. In order to realize the benefits of SHM, there’s a need to reduce the number of sensors and minimize data acquisition processes while maintaining the ability to accurately detect, locate, and characterize damage.
Compressive Sensing (CS) has been shown to greatly reduce data acquisition/processing burdens by providing accurate signal recovery from far fewer samples than conventionally needed. In this project, it is proposed to develop data analysis software and hardware to detect damage in large complex structures using CS at two stages in the data acquisition/analysis process: (1) temporally undersampled sensor signals from (2) spatially undersampled sensor arrays, resulting in faster data acquisition and reduced data sets without any loss in damage detection ability. The overarching goal is to reduce data acquisition requirements (energy consumption, number of sensors, data collection and storage, and total system weight) of NDE/SHM systems without compromising damage detection accuracy or probability of detection.
Post-Phase II, the technology can be tested and used in the Combined Loads Test System (COLTS) facility at NASA Langley Research Center to help reduce sensor data acquisition and processing burdens. It is anticipated that the first application of the technology will be the integration into NASA’s inspection tools for large complex space structures made with composites or thin metals, such as the Orion crew module, Space Launch System, and the Lunar Outpost Platform-Gateway.
Non-NASA applications include large, commercial space launch vehicles. Other industries/applications include aerospace (aircraft wings and fuselage), marine (ship hulls), wind energy (rotor blades), transportation/railways, civil infrastructure (buildings and bridges), oil and gas (pipelines), and the wearable sensors market in healthcare.
IAI’s proposed WITIS technology is GPS independent and capable of providing timing and synchronization for multi-static systems with sub-nanosecond accuracies, while staying within the SWaP goals provided by NASA. The proposed WITIS solution combines key technologies developed at IAI in the areas of:
WITIS can be designed and integrated, either as a standalone solution or as a tightly integrated applique with existing multi-static radar systems.
Potential NASA applications include
Once proven in the NASA domain, WITIS assisted beamforming applications of ultra-precision synchronization and localization could replace or augment differential GPS technologies used in surveying, control of autonomous vehicles, wireless sensor networks, and communication systems.
SeeQC is developing cryogenic multiplexing readout circuitry for superconducting sensor arrays. Our design and advanced multi-layer Niobium fabrication process enable us to make a compact SQUID based readout for large scale superconducting bolometer arrays.
Arrays of superconducting transition edge sensors (TES) are frequently deployed in instruments for far infrared (IR) astronomy, particularly for cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurements. In order to reduce thermal loading due to wiring between the detectors and readout, as well as to reduce the cost of readout electronics, multiplexing (in either time or frequency domains) of multiple detectors on a single readout channel has become a key technology for enabling detector arrays at the kilo-pixel level and beyond. Current NASA missions employing time domain multiplexing (TDM) include HAWC+ and PIPER. These experiments feature a SQUID based TDM readout circuit that is interfaced to the TES array through an Indium bump bonding process.
Next generation missions such as PIPER Dual Polarization Upgrade and PICO require and increase in sensor density. As part of the 2019 SBIR subtopic S1.04, NASA put out a call for kilo-pixel scale cryogenic, multiplexed readout capable of reading out two TES per 1 mm2 pixel. In Phase I, SeeQC designed, fabricated and performed preliminary tests on single pixel and small array TDM readout circuits that meet the area/pixel goal set by NASA. SeeQC also fabricated flux tunable superconducting resonators as a first step towards developing microwave SQUID multiplexing (µmux) as an alternative readout technology with a higher multiplexing factor.
In Phase II we will continue to test and iterate our designs, with a particular aim at demonstrating scalability to larger arrays. In addition, we will develop a process based on our existing superconducting bump technology to enable hybridization of our readout arrays to NASA's TES arrays.
Transition edge sensors are used in both x-ray and far IR astronomy, including polarization sensitive cosmic microwave background measurements. Large format TES arrays, such as used by current NASA missions PIP and HAWC+ require two-dimensional, cryogenic multiplexed readout. The multiplexer designs developed in this work will be compatible with these missions, as well as enabling future NASA missions such as PICO and the dual polarization upgrade to PIPER>
Cryogenic multiplexers enable superconducting sensor arrays. TES bolometer arrays are used in a a variety of far IR astronomy experiments. TES calorimeter arrays are used for high resolution, time-resolved x-ray spectroscopy for applications such as nuclear physics and materials analysis. Multiplexing based on microwave resonators (mu-mux) is closely related to readout of superconducting qubits.
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles are a transportation technology with potentially transformative potential for how passengers and goods are ferried in urban environments. A critical barrier to UAM adoption is ensuring safety of passengers in hard-landing and crash scenarios. Our proposed solution is to develop an advanced materials system that is light-weight, highly energy-absorbent/dissipative, and capable of out-performing current solutions by providing multi-/omnidirectional impact protection. Current solutions typically fail in this latter regard, and instead trade-off between the amount of energy absorbed and the directional sensitivity to a given impact. Our approach circumvents this trade-off by utilizing Origami-Inspired Mechanical Metamaterials (OIMMs), which are a new class of advanced materials systems. Essentially, OIMMs are designed by embedding repeated geometric patterns into a base material to augment and enhance the base material’s properties. The result is a metamaterial that is lighter, stronger, and more multi-functional. Our SBIR Phase I effort was successful at developing OIMMs that satisfy the technical criteria desired in energy absorbing devices without making the trade-offs typically found in such systems. In this SIBR Phase II proposal, we seek to build on the success of our feasibility study to: (1) further validate the properties of our OIMM structures in empirical tests; (2) determine a pathway for scalable manufacturing of high-performance OIMMs; and (3) demonstrate scalable manufacturing of OIMMs for UAM vehicle crash protection. If successful, our deliverables will include new IP that we will commercialize in the trucking/semi-trailer manufacturing industry, where OIMMs have the potential to displace high-density foams currently used in the construction of semi-trailers. Our commercial success in ground-based transportation will ensure OIMM crash protection materials are available for the UAM market as it continues to mature.
We anticipate the greatest opportunities for OIMMs in future NASA applications will arise from the ability to decrease weight while retaining multi-/omnidirectional mechanical function:
-Crash-landing protection for UAV/drones/rover vehicles (ultra-lightweight protection from impact forces)
-Physical protection during planetary exploration (Moon to Mars Campaign)
-Deployable materials for protected habitable spaces on manned missions (Moon to Mars Campaign)
-Lander systems technologies that absorb/dissipate/redirect energy
Our market research has indicated a variety of potential applications in the public/private sector:
-Lightweighting in transportation including semi-trailer manufacturing and electric vehicles
-Advanced materials for defense (USAF/Lockheed Martin/Boeing dual-use)
-Body armor for US Soldier protection (US Army dual-use)
-Protection of vertical lift devices in the commercial UAVs / drone market
The efforts of Phase I demonstrated that a linear regulator can be modified as a class A or AB high voltage (HV) amplifier which can efficiently drive a MEMS or stacked PMN actuator. Furthermore, such an HV amplifier can be designed with low quiescent dissipation so that two ASIC drivers will be prototyped under Phase II support. Each ASIC contains 1024 HV amplifiers, featuring low static dissipation while capable of driving a 1024-actuatorMEMS deformable mirror (DM) with voltages up to 300V at frame rate of 10 kHz, or a 1024-actuator stacked PMN DM with voltages up to 100V. Each proposed amplifier unit consumes low quiescent dissipation that is at least one order of magnitude lower than what the current ASIC market provides. Such low-power, high efficiency, kilo-channel ASICs are ideal devices for developing compact DMs for NASA's future space missions of exoplanet exploration.
PMN and MEMS DMs are the two main DMs that NASA is currently considering for its space missions. The proposed two kilo-channel ASICs are ideal devices for driving these DMs stably with low power. If developed successfully, the two ASICs will be good component candidates for NASA's potential space missions such as HabEx and LUVOIR.
The ASIC for driving a MEMS DM is expected to enable DM users to produce compact kilo-actuator adaptive optics systems capable of precisely compensating for wavefront aberrations in optical systems, such as space- and ground-based telescopes, microscopy, retinal imaging, and optical communication.
NASA seeks innovative tools and technologies that support and enhance the characterization of Large Aperture Mirrors (LAMs). These mirrors are used for space-based segmented large aperture telescopes as well as ground-based observatories. The need to characterize the complex dynamics of recently developed LAMs membrane mirror structures is key to their efficient design, balancing and effective operation in future systems. This proposal by Advanced Systems and Technologies directly responds to the above NASA needs providing a unique testing platform that employs an architecture supporting multiple modalities of optical metrology tailored specifically for LAMs test and evaluation. In this proposal we describe a novel optical non-contact sensor concept with its architecture based on a Reconfigurable Optoelectronic Mirror Evaluation (ROME) technology that provides local and global measurements to support full dynamic characterization of membrane mirrors.
The unparalleled measurement capabilities incorporated in the ROME system are uniquely suited to new sensor technologies sought by NASA for comprehensive LAM dynamics characterization. Already in Phase I we have demonstrated the ability of the ROME breadboard to evaluate the dynamic response of a 30 cm diameter mirror within the frequency range of to 30 Hz to 1 kHz for a normal shift value from 200 pm to 700 um in non-evacuated laboratory conditions. During the Phase II, AS&T will transition to design, integration and validation of a complete ROME system, targeting measurement accuracy of 10 pm within the 20 Hz to 500 Hz bandwidth. The program culminates with ROME system delivery and validation at NASA facilities.
The ROME system contributes towards detection of the vibrational signatures of large-scale space and ground optical systems and their complex dynamics. ROME also offers a new technology for validation of the performance of space and ground telescopes through measurement of complex structural dynamics of their mirror assembly and the support structure.
ROME S&T market area is not limited to validation of the space deployable optical systems. Commerciale potentials arising directly from the proposed program include customers involved in development and manufacturing of various types of MEMS devices, including deformable mirrors and micro-mirror arrays. ROME is equally applicable for characterization of vibrational noise in automotive industry.
To successfully integrate small UAS (sUAS) operations in the NAS it is essential to improve the microscale weather prediction. sUAS weigh less than 55 lbs. and have the risk of losing control in presence of light winds and gusts. The risk is amplified in urban areas due to presence of tall building and other manmade objects. The phenomenon of urban canyon can cause high winds between building that are beyond the capabilities of current meso scale weather prediction models. High demand operations such as package delivery involves the sUAS to take off from fulfilment center, travel to the destination and land where the customers are and takeoff for the return journey. Therefore, the ability to forecast hyperlocal weather is a critical requirement for sUAS operations. During Phase I of the project the team demonstrated the feasibility of the concept by forecasting winds over a nine-block urban area in Manhattan. The technology combines the coarse estimates of mesoscale prediction from NOAA weather products with high fidelity but localized ground station data using machine learning and computation fluid dynamics simulations. For the Phase II effort the team proposes to expand the use of GUMP over a larger urban as well as rural area while validating the results with mobile ground-based sensors. When fully functional, GUMP will fill a critical gap in weather prediction technology that will be beneficial for NASA researchers and industry UAS operators.
Researchers at NASA will find the tool useful for exploration of new concepts in small UAS operations. The service will allow them to identify times of day best suited for specific applications, e.g., package delivery operations should occur at times with very relatively calm weather while surveillance operations can take place in presence of mild winds as these operations do not involve landing. The operations can be designed as per local weather neighborhoods.
GUMP service would be most beneficial for commercial operators of sUAS. At present no such service exists. Companies like Amazon, Google and Uber are investing millions of dollars towards sUAS operations and this service would help them improve the reliability of their operations. General aviation pilots can also use the service then taking off from an un-towered airport.
LambdaVision has developed a protein-based retinal implant to restore vision to the millions of people blinded by retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. Preclinical evaluation of the technology demonstrated the ability to reproducibly stimulate degenerated retinal tissue and safely insert the implant into the subretinal space of both rats and pigs. The implants are manufactured using a layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly technique, in which alternating layers of the light-activated protein, bacteriorhodopsin, and a polycation are sequentially deposited onto a film. However, the current terrestrial LBL approach is influenced by gravity, in which sedimentation and gradients of solutions interfere with the quality of the implants. We hypothesize that manufacturing in a microgravity environment will improve the quality of the films and, as a result, will enhance stability and performance for future preclinical and clinical trials. A pilot manufacturing trial was carried out on the ISS via SpaceX CRS-16, which resulted in the proof of concept of creating multilayered thin films using a LEO platform. Subsequently, a Phase I SBIR effort allowed us to perform a series of parameterization experiments for follow-on spaceflight optimization. In this Phase II proposal, we will build on the terrestrial-based findings to achieve the following: (1) the completion of a LBL prototype with optimized parameters for implementation in microgravity, (2) the design of a chamber configuration that supports scale up for nonclinical non-GLP toxicity studies in a large animal model, and (3) a proof of concept of utilizing the LBL microgravity device for additional applications beyond the proposed use in vision restoration. This Phase II effort fits in to NASA’s strategic plan for commercialization in LEO to build a sustainable production pipeline for this technology and for forthcoming technologies in the biomedical sector.
This Phase II SBIR establishes the capabilities required to support LEO commercialization of protein-based retinal implants. The implant targets patients with retinal degeneration, a leading cause of blindness for millions around the globe, including astronauts exposed to extended-duration spaceflight. The work outlined will support a new sector in the Space economy, which utilizes the impact of microgravity on physical systems to improve current production methods for patient therapies.
An enhanced layer-by-layer manufacturing process can improve the homogeneity, orientation, and stability of multilayered thin films for broad applications, including retinal implants, photovoltaic cells, chemical sensors, drug delivery systems, and tissue engineering. Efficient ordering of biomaterials is of interest to scientists with technologies across therapeutic and biomedical sectors.
Many new revolutionary concepts have emerged recently as viable pathways to invent next generation high performance structural components. With the emergence of additive manufacturing (AM) and its rapid advances for metals and alloys, practical realization of these concepts is imminent. However, the lack of microstructure-informed structural analysis and design tools is a critical gap in the field that the proposed research is intended to fill. Additive Manufacturing LLC, in collaboration with Clarkson University and U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), proposes the development of a microstructure-informed multiscale structural analysis and design framework (MSADF) for the analysis, design, development, testing and validation of high performance structural components built using next generation revolutionary material systems and design concepts.
The MSADF is a software solution that integrates advanced computational and experimental methods to address various challenges arising from the uncertainties associated with the complex heterogeneous microstructure. In essence, it consists of a suite of advanced constitutive models, a multiscale platform such as NASA’s FEAMAC and experimental methods to extract material properties at microstructural length scale. In the proposed Phase II R&D, microstructure informed constitutive models for AM manufactured Ti-64, ME3, and high entropy alloys will be developed and experimentally validated. The performance of MSDAF as an advanced structural analysis tool will be evaluated by performing the analysis of two AM manufactured real life components: a ME3 engine disk and a NAVY bracket. Similarly, to evaluate MSDAF as a design tool, a microstructurally optimal design of the NAVY bracket will be determined. The original and re-designed brackets will be manufactured by choosing appropriate AM process parameters, and their predicted performances will be experimentally validated.
The development of metal and metallic alloys with excellent mechanical properties is extremely important for both the aerospace and aeronautical applications. For future aircraft with hybrid electric or all electric propulsion systems, advanced materials and manufacturing technology are critical for the design, development, and manufacturing of their structural components. The proposed innovation will serve as a vital design tool for its optimal design. It has the potential to make positive impact on all important NASA missions and programs.
The proposed microstructure-informed multiscale structural analysis and design framework will be a powerful tool in the field of additive manufacturing. It can be used as an accurate stress analysis to predict the structural performance of components, a reliable design tool for developing microstructurally optimal high performance components, and an R&D tool for advanced material systems.
We propose to calibrate the DEM microparameters in our YADE soil model to match the stress-strain responses measured from geotechnical laboratory tests. These calibrated DEM inputs will then be used to simulate a known wheel geometry under controlled terramechanics testing conditions to evaluate the predictive capabilities of our models. Following thorough validation of these modeling methods and of our calibrated DEM inputs, additional predictive models will be run to evaluate the tractive performance of wheels with varying geometries operating under different loads and soil conditions. Two primary innovations come from this proposed Phase II work: 1) a grain-based DEM soil model which has been calibrated to the unique behaviors of lunar soil and 2) an automated calibration routine for DEM which can function on a highly generalizable calibration tool for multiple software packages. These innovations add to the existing state of the art in numerical modeling which lacks calibrated grain-based models of lunar soil with realistic grain shape and generalizable calibration tools for DEM.
These proven and proposed modeling advancements mark a dramatic improvement over existing terramechanics models for simulating the lunar soil response during slip conditions and large plastic deformations. These methods incorporate the unique factors at the lunar poles which increase risk of entrapment such as potentially low soil compaction due to reduced diurnal temperature swings. Open source software will be used for all modeling efforts and the majority of our routines will be publicly released to encourage other researchers to use the numerical tools developed through Phase II. Commercialization of our efforts will come in the form of an automated DEM calibration tool which can be licensed by customers through a paid, subscription-based service which will increase ease of use, accuracy of results, and user confidence in selected input parameters for DEM software.
The goals outlined in this Phase II proposal directly support NASA’s Moon-to-Mars campaign and complement NASA’s Strategic Goal 1 to expand human knowledge through new scientific discoveries and Strategic Goal 2 to extend human presence deeper into space and to the Moon for sustainable long-term exploration and utilization. Additional development of this tool will enable more accurate simulations of soil-wheel interactions, de-risk future missions to the Moon, and act as tool for assisting laboratory testing.
The proposed Phase II benefits the broader DEM modeling community by integrating an automated DEM calibration routine into an open-source simulation platform to enable more accurate DEM models and a far simpler user experience. Open source software will be used for all modeling efforts to encourage other researchers to use the numerical tools developed through this project.
Motiv Space Systems is proposing under the Phase II efforts to prototype a Cryogenic Focus Mechanism (CFM) for planetary cameras operating in extreme cold environments. The focus mechanism is intended to augment typical fixed focus cameras or spectrometers which are commonly integrated into NASA rovers and landers. The provision of a variable focus mechanism will enable greater contextual
imagery for future Navcams, Hazcams, robotic workspace cameras, sample inspection instruments, and any other applications addressed by the current fixed focus imagers. Results of Phase I validated that the CFM could be packaged within the typical volume constraints of a a fixed focal length assembly to promote seamless adoption and integration. The mechanism is designed to operate at
temperatures of -180C and vacuum which will mean it will not need additional thermal resources.
Typical applications of the CFM would be in support of future Mars Rover exploration programs or lander missions to destinations such as Enceladus, Ganymede, Titan or Europa. The CFM enhances the capabilities of context cameras required to take panoramic images, survey the robotic work space, or evaluate collected samples during science operations. Satellite servicing technology demonstration missions can also utilize a focus mechanism to augment operations for performing inspection and repair on government satellites.
The advent of the satellite servicing and space assembly industries will evolve to develop more sophisticated on-orbit, robotic operations. As capabilities mature, the need for higher fidelity imagery will arise. Due to the variable stand-off distances associated with inspection and near field robotic operations, a variable focus imager greatly improves the operator's work space knowledge.
NASA intends on building a U.S.-led physical base on the moon capable of supporting human life. This “Sustainability Base” will require habitat environmental control and life sustainment systems. Such systems are necessarily complex, the volumes of sensor data are large and not well-suited for human-only monitoring, and the consequences of system failure are severe. Thus, to sustain optimal performance and avoid catastrophic failures, NASA seeks a health management system that will continuously monitor and quickly and accurately diagnose faulty system behavior.
Navatek proposes to develop a fault prediction and detection solution that improves NASA’s ability to reveal latent, unknown conditions while also improving its detection time and reducing the rate of false positive and negative detections of known conditions that would lead to failure of the life sustainment system. Our approach feeds historical and real-time sensor data to a digital twin of the life sustainment systems, which is a digital simulation of the entire functioning system and its environment. This digital twin is used by a reinforcement learning adversarial agent to simulate many possible scenarios into the future. The adversarial agent autonomously learns the environmental and system perturbations that lead to faults in its simulations, thus providing a method for prediction. These predictions are continuously compared against new incoming data to detect faults and further improve the digital twin’s accuracy.
If successful, our proposed solution will provide NASA with an early warning system for faults in the life sustainment systems on space habitats, particularly integrity of the structural and HVAC systems. We will also show how our digital twin and reinforcement learning adversarial agent approach can be generalized to monitor other space habitat systems.
If successful, the active fault detection architecture we are developing would significantly expand the operational envelope of NASA space environment research by enabling faults to be accurately predicted and prevented by a fault management system, saving lives and infrastructure. Within NASA’s projects this work would contribute to the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) program by improving the safety of deep space exploration capabilities that support extensive human spaceflight missions.
Non-NASA applications of this work includes and sustainment analytics. Sustainment analytics is important in many commercial applications for health monitoring, like autonomous vehicles, power plant, wind turbines, etc.Maintenance costs for these applications can easily exceed the procurement costs.Our active fault detection framework can predict potential faults and prevent catastrophic failures.
Ground based passive sensors such as Pandora, Cimel and Brewer played a major role in improving our understanding of the atmospheric chemistry by monitoring " in real time" local and regional air quality and pollution episodes. They will certainly play an important role in current and future satellite validation efforts and will help in the integration of satellite data in the air quality assessments
We propose to develop a compact Spectrometer system " Pandora-C" capable of improving the capabilities of existing trace gas measuring sensors and of maintain radiometric stability for reliable aerosols products. We propose an improved, compact and lightweight design for Phase 2 " Pandora-C instrument". The proposed system will greatly improve the instrument reliability and long term stability.
Primary NASA applications include satellite calibration and validation (cal/val) activities (PACE, TEMPO, GEMS). Algorithm development and model assimilation studies would all benefit from a successful Pandora-C instrument network that addresses the shortcomings of Cimel and Pandora would achieve greater accuracy in a more cost-effective manner.
Applications and customers include the US EPA, state environmental agencies, universities, and international agencies and universities. Air and water quality regulatory compliance, air quality model validation studies, and transport studies. NOAA fresh water, coastal ocean, and blue water studies would benefit from this system.
High voltage power supplies find many uses in NASA scientific missions. Numerous missions in the past has had uses for high voltage supplies such as the HST High Resolution Spectrograph (HRS), plasma experiment power supplies, particle detection (HAPI LAPI, DE, International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE), etc.) and aboard Cassini. The evolution of high voltage power supplies has proceeded over the years in order to generate higher output voltages and faster slew rates. The underlying functionality of these power supplies invariably include a step up transformer and multistage rectifier to provide additional boost. The power supply must be designed to a particular load in order to assure good impedance matching to the rectifier to allow for fast transients. In addition, supplies can be linearly regulated by using optoisolators in the output. A challenge with the optos is degradation over the life of the platform. In order to avoid this, we propose a fast switching based high voltage power supply that utilized the resonant switching to provide good efficiencies to the high voltage load. The proposed topology allows for very fast transients at the output on the order of 200V/us which will enable new potential scientific missions by allowing for rapid turn on/off and control of the HV supply. Linear control of the output will be achieved with the development of this converter. The design is to provide magnetic-based isolation between the low voltage satellite bus and the high voltage output. The high voltage converter will use Wide Bandgap (WBG) switches in order to provide fast, efficient switching. As the operational environment for the converter is critical, the design will be evaluated in order to ascertain reliability and impact to operation with implementing high reliability components.
Based on the target output voltage and transient response, our targeted NASA applications will be in the electrostatic analyzer (ESA) field in which the power supply could potentially improve the capabilities of these scientific payloads. Another potential aspect is in electronic propulsion with this application taking advantage of the fast transient capabilities of the power supply. The CubeSat class of EP required approximately 10W at under 1kV of potential such as the Pocket Rocket (600V) and Busek class of Eps.
A non-NASA application we would target is with Kearfott and modification to the HV supply to provide a compact, reliable, voltage source for a Monolithic Ring Laser Gyro (MRLG). We know the design parameters for the MRLG and they are lower than NASA’s requirements. The application would thus require modification to the NASA design for the lower specifications.
NTP is a critical technology needed for human missions to Mars due to its high specific impulse (Isp). To reduce cost and potential burdensome security and handling requirements, low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel is desired. The high uranium density of uranium nitride (UN) over uranium oxide (UO2) favors the use of UN for the LEU option. However, similar to UO2, techniques are needed to produce refractory metal coatings on the UN particles to allow fabrication of the cermet fuel element and to protect the UN from the hydrogen propellant. During this investigation, techniques for producing spherical UN particles along with methods for producing refractory metal coatings on the spherical nitride particles were developed. To facilitate development of the spheroidization process and subsequent refractory metal coating of the particles, UN surrogate materials were used. Characterization of these materials showed the as-received nitride powders were comprised of angular particles, which is the morphology of the current UN powders. To produce spherical particles for subsequent coating, plasma processing techniques were used. Analysis of the plasma treated nitride particles demonstrated the ability to produce spherical nitride powder with significant improvements in flowability. Using these powders, the ability to refractory metal coat individual nitride particles was demonstrated, and characterization confirmed continuous, uniform coats were produced. During Phase II, the techniques will be optimized and scaled for producing kilograms of powder per run. Coated particles will be produced and used to make cermet based fuel segments for testing at NASA. At the conclusion of the Phase II effort, refractory metal coated nitride powder will be delivered to NASA for producing an NTR Element Environment Simulator (NTREES) size element. To commercialize the materials and techniques, Plasma Processes will collaborate with BWXT and NASA during Phase II.
The proposed technology supports NASA’s GCD Program and directly benefits Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP). Space nuclear power and propulsion are game changing technologies for space exploration. Potential NASA missions include rapid robotic exploration missions throughout the solar system and piloted missions to Mars and other destinations such as near earth asteroids.
Commercial sectors that will benefit from this technology include medical, power generation, electronics, defense, aerospace, chemicals, and corrosion protection. Targeted commercial applications include refractory metals for rocket nozzles, crucibles, heat pipes, propulsion components, sputtering targets, turbines, rocket engines, nuclear power components, and powder for additive manufacture.
The proposed NASA SBIR Phase-2 project will advance the state-of-the-art of computing acceleration to overcome the barriers of the end of Moore’s Law and power bounded clock rates through the invention of a non-von Neumann architecture that eliminates bottlenecks of incremental practices of conventional architecture. The family of Continuum Computer Architecture (CCA) exposes two orders magnitude efficiency, scalability, and user productivity with respect to energy, space, cost, and user productivity. CCA leapfrogs competing accelerators for irregular time-varying graph processing, their changing metadata through message-driven computing directed by graph-structure metadata and exploiting its intrinsic data parallelism for greatly increased scalability. This project will conduct technology engineering development from early analysis, low-level software, and preliminary breadboarding of parts equivalent accomplishments of Phase-1 to a medium level prototype incorporating all custom on-chip types of mechanisms and PC board closely related to the anticipated commercialization and marketing product to be delivered in Phase-3. The Phase-1 software environment for user programming and control will be enhanced for high language bindings and joint runtime system software between host control and accelerator adaptive task scheduling. This project will focus on NASA mission-critical ground-based, flight-, and space-borne applications including mechanisms for fault tolerance through graceful degradation and for real-time task scheduling. Other application domains will address those of the Intelligence community through its strong graph computing capabilities, GF2 operations and other related ops such as statistical histogramming and industry engineering challenges such as computational fluid dynamics, AMR, autonomous robotic control, and autonomous control. This project will position Simultac LLC to deliver its first product offerings as OEM and end user plug-n-play.
CCA-AMA is targeted to key and broad applications discussed in-depth with NASA AMES
-Data analytics, machine learning, and AI for ground-based HPC systems
-Planning and scheduling of spaceborne missions and real-time robotics
-Ground-based aeronautical material and computation fluid dynamics
-Neural net emulation
-Swarming for satellite constellations and free-flight aero-drones
-Gateway autonomous (when unmanned) condition monitoring and failure recovery
-Deep-space exploration of Titan; reconnaissance helicopter in Titan low atmosphere
-Embedded desk-side workstations or attached scalable mainframe graph acceleration
-Machine/Deep learning for expanding field of data-analytics including pervasive health
-Crash simulation of vehicles for automobile design cycles at lower cost
-Dynamic 3-D computational fluid dynamics and material bending for aeroplane CAD
-Financial markets and actuarial science for insurance
Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that can be harnessed to increase the sensitivity of sensors, create unbreakable communication security, and enable powerful new computers. Space-based applications, however, require entangled photon sources that must operate in the presence of abundant sunlight. Because quantum techniques require the measurement of single photons, background light poses a formidable challenge. One of the major constraints limiting the effectiveness of filtering techniques is the large spectral bandwidth of the entangled photon sources themselves (~1-2nm). To address this problem, Qubitekk proposed to develop narrowband photon pair sources for space-based quantum communication. The Phase I effort revealed two approaches that are feasible with today’s technology and these two will form the basis of the Phase II effort. The first approach is to filter the output of a conventional single-pass downconversion source and to compensate for the reduced output by increasing the pump laser power. The second approach is based on cavity-enhanced downconversion, in which the nonlinear crystal is placed in an optical cavity that has the effect of enhancing emission at resonant wavelengths and suppressing emission elsewhere. Although this approach is more complex, much narrower bandwidths can be achieved, not only offering greater background discrimination but also a source capable of coupling to matter-based qubits. The latter feature is an important element of quantum repeater development. These two approaches will be achieved through the execution of four Technical Objectives: 1) Demonstrate filtered downconversion with strong pump; 2) Conduct studies of filtered downconversion with realistic lighting conditions; 3) Demonstrate cavity-enhanced downconversion; and 4)Demonstrate narrowband photon detection using an etalon filter.
The 2015 NASA Roadmap for Communications, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization identifies Quantum Key Distribution and Quantum Communications as Revolutionary Concepts with high payoff if successful. Photon pair sources with narrow spectral profiles address NASA’s roadmap goals by extending the operational range of quantum communication. In addition, a recent NASA workshop on quantum networks identified the need for narrow-band entangled photon sources for coupling to matter-based qubits for quantum repeaters.
The project will be of interest to non-NASA initiatives. The National Quantum Initiative is dedicated to US superiority in quantum information sciences. The Defense Optical Communications Program is a tri-service effort that includes quantum communication as a primary thrust. The Department of Energy’s Quantum Networks for Open Science has a large-scale quantum network as its goal.
In response to NASA SBIR Focus Area TA6, subtopic H4.01 Exploration Portable Life Support System (xPLSS), Alphacore Inc. have developed a low-profile, lightweight, high efficiency, mixed-signal (analog/digital) controlled Isolated DC/DC converter that addresses one of the listed critical technology gaps for NASA’s deep space and surface missions that involve Exploration EMU (xEMU). For spacesuit life support systems, there are a number of small point of load applications such as smart instruments, controllers that require small, low power output, isolated DC/DC converters with efficiencies 80% after derating. As part of Phase 1 work, Alphacore demonstrated the feasibility of the innovative technical approach which includes a self-calibrating topology to achieve maximum power transfer for a given lightweight isolation transformer and reach both high power conversion efficiency and lightweight profile for the entire converter module. Furthermore, Alphacore developed a full set of strategies utilizing radiation hardness by design (RHBD) techniques for the whole design flows to achieve high radiation hardness of the converter to increase reliability of space applications.
Fully integrated isolated DC-DC converters are essential for power monitoring, biomedical, and motor control applications where ground isolation is required. Several applications require traditional low-voltage CMOS data acquisition circuits to interface with very high common mode voltages. These include current sensors that operate at the high side of a voltage source, solar converters/inverters, DC motor controllers, FET drivers that switch high voltages and eMeter data products for smart grid management. Alphacore’s mixed-signal isolated DCDC converter controller enables use of a wide range of small transformers and capacitors through high frequency operation.
The applications for the ASIC are numerous since almost all spacecrafts need DC-DC converters. It is especially ideal for low power applications such as the next generation xEMU spacesuit and xPLSS for the future manned missions to the Moon, and Moon to Mars missions.
The DC-DC converter is a great match for NASA’s LEO and MEO missions and future deep space and Earth-observing missions. Past similar missions include ECOSTRESS, GeoCARB, HyspIRI, MAIA, InSAR, Pre-ACE, TEMPO, TROPICS and solar system exploration missions such as MAVEN.
The new Alphacore DC-DC converter is application-driven and is meant to be an excellent fit for key Small Size Weight and Power (SWaP) high-reliability (Hi-Rel), high-radiation tolerance levels applications such as the cubesats, nanosats, robotics, autonomous aircrafts/spacecrafts, and constellation satellites that may be operational in space environments.
According to the solicitation topic S1.03, NASA requires a low power, low mass, low volume, and low data rate RFI mitigating receiver back end that can be incorporated into existing and future radiometer designs. Alphacore proposes to design an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that provides significant SWAP (size, weight and power) reduction as compared to the existing board-level systems that use COTS ADCs and FPGAs with their total mass reaching kilograms. Alphacore’s solution will be an ASIC that will have a 5 GS/S (gigasamples per second), 10-bit, <40mW, radiation hard ADC and a 256-channel back-end digital signal processing (DSP) block consuming <100mW.
The ASIC will be developed in a small-geometry CMOS silicon on insulator (SOI) technology (28nm) that is inherently tolerant to relatively high total ionizing dose (at least 500krad(Si) can be expected), and has better immunity to single event effects than bulk CMOS processes (no latchup, better upset rate due to isolation). This system greatly benefits all future NASA missions that need systems to detect interference in different bands of frequencies. The results of this work also enable applications that require low-power receivers that incorporate ADCs and back-end filters, without the need for RFI mitigation. The proposed RFIM ASIC has much higher power efficiency along with expected better radiation hardness than the currently available solutions. The embedded ADC will also be offered as a separate intellectual property (IP) design block, and thus a stand-alone ADC can be fabricated as well. The impressive rad-hard ADC has, 30X lower power than the top-of-the-line space-qualified COTS ADC. Thus, the ADC itself is well-suited as an upgrade for numerous NASA missions.
Alphacore’s solution can be incorporated into future radiometer designs used for short-term and long-term weather predictions, measuring changes in the atmosphere, ocean and land surfaces, and understanding the space environment. Future missions such as GLIMR, FARSIDE and PICO, as well as space exploration missions such as the manned missions to the Moon, followed by the Moon to Mars initiative will benefit from this solution. The technology could have been applied to Iris Version-2, Jason-3, DORIS, GMI and the NASA Space Geodesy Program.
Commercial applications of the technology includes mitigation for weather satellites against interference caused by 5G communication, commercial nanosatellites for weather forecasts, maritime data and aviation data, and well as defense CubeSat constellations for missile defense and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) proposes to further mature a Primary Fuel Cell (PFC) System that will meet NASA’s lunar mission target specifications of (i) high specific power (>2,000 W/kg), (ii) high current density (>200 mA/cm2), (iii) long service life (a final operational life of >10,000 hrs is targeted), and (iv) operability with H2/O2, CH4/O2, and other propellants. The PFC system contains multiple innovations and will comprise SOFC and internal reforming catalyst that permit a potential for high fuel utilization and very high specific power, while allowing SOFC operation with hydrocarbon fuels (e.g., CH4 and scavenged propellants). The innovative design and integration of at-anode reforming elements have been demonstrated for effective internal heat exchange and moderate the operating temperature of the stack. The approach also offers the potential to operate with a wide range of input fuels without forming carbon. At the end of Phase I, a clear path towards a 1 kW PFC system prototype demonstration in Phase II was described. In a follow on Phase III, a complete modular SOFC system will be developed, demonstrated, and delivered to a NASA facility for demonstration testing in a relevant environment. PCI’s approach will result in a system that will be much smaller, lighter, more thermally effective and efficient than current technology or prospective alternative technologies. This effort would be valuable to NASA as it would significantly reduce the known long-duration mission technical risks and increase mission capability/durability/efficiency while at the same time increasing the TRL of the solid oxide systems for lunar/Mars power generation and ISRU application.
The target application is for an advanced solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power generation system that can provide power during lunar surface operations. Future power generation systems and ISRU-integrated concepts for lunar or Martian bases will be explored with NASA and private contractors. PCI’s approach offers a means for utilizing methane/ propellant/ scavenged in-situ reactants with air-independent operation and improved specific power, efficiency and long life. Utility for all-electric aircrafts and auxiliary power units is being explored.
Non-NASA applications include SOFC-based military generators and vehicle APUs; civilian vehicle fuel cell APUs and range extenders; electrified aircraft power generation; and distributed power generation for large stationary and mobile fuel cell applications seeking a cost-effective, multi-fuel capable, power dense fuel cell stack with an integrated fuel reformer.
In this Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II effort, Leiden Measurement Technology (LMT) will build a Sample Pre-processing Instrument for Chemical Exploration (SPICE), an automated sample pre-processing module capable of efficiently extracting chemical analytes from solid samples for delivery to analytical instruments. SPICE will work in conjunction with a number of in-situ analytical instruments, meeting the needs of a large variety of customers, including NASA. More specifically, (SPICE) consists of an ultrasonic sample chamber that can be operated in two different modes: (1) A static mode for mixing and homogenizing the sample, and (2) a dynamic mode that flows solvent (e.g., water) through the ultrasonic chamber during sonication to avoid the re-adsorption of the analytes to the solid surfaces. This second mode is useful for extracting the maximum amount of analyte from the solid sample with a reported increase in extraction efficiency of up to 70 %. Where traditional extraction from soil/mineral samples mostly involves the removal of organics from the exposed surface, ultrasonic acoustic energy can be used to rupture small particles and break apart aggregates to expose inner surfaces that can trap chemicals of interest. The increased efficiency that can be achieved with ultrasonic assisted extraction (UAE) is a technology that supports high precision in-situ measurements, as called out in subtopic S1.07 (In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Lunar and Planetary Science) of the NASA SBIR call.
The detection of life on planets (and other bodies) is an important goal for NASA that requires the identification of molecular biomarkers. It is also important to identify other chemical species that provide insight into makeup of planets, moons and small bodies. Unfortunately, many of the interesting molecules that NASA is interested in are present in very small quantities. The SPICE instrument uses ultrasonic assisted extraction to maximize the removal of these molecules from solid samples and then delivers them to analytical instruments.
The SPICE module will be designed to act as a remote, autonomous instrument which is ideal for processing samples under dangerous circumstances such as in an area of high radiation or an area of severe chemical contamination. The module will also be useful in the analytical laboratory for the consistent extraction of soluble chemicals from solid samples.
Prototypes of a Ground based Ultrawideband Multistatic Positioning System will be built and tested. The system allows position determination of an aircraft using ground nodes that transmit very accurately timed (subnanosecond) short pulses and only propagation time differences are used to determine aircraft position. Two variants are Comms Mode (which uses an active node on the cooperating aircraft) and Radar Mode (which assumes no extra hardware on the aircraft). The advantage of Comms Mode is that its link budget is based on a 1/r^2 propagation loss so it is easy to achieve the required range coverage to 1000’ altitude above a Take Off and Land area (TOLA); and that all processing for position determination can be done locally within the aircraft. The advantage of the Radar Mode is that it can detect non-cooperating aircraft in the service volume, but then has to transmit the position information to the aircraft by some other means. Radar Mode also suffers from the fact that the radar equation propagation loss is 1/r^4, limiting effective range at the low RF power levels desired.
Phase II will begin by developing the hardware, firmware and software for a COTS based Comms Mode prototype. Five nodes will be built and tested on the ground and in flight. The work performed in Phase I to determine operating frequencies, waveforms, pulse coding, positioning algorithms will be realized in working hardware that will be tested. Phase II will also further develop Radar mode operation using same hardware by using multiple pulses and a coherent receiver architecture, though this will be at higher risk than Comms Mode. Flight testing will be carried out with two second generation GUMPS nodes that will be built using custom hardware in a low size, weight and power configuration. These will be based on the preliminary design from Phase I. A three-month flight test program will employ the second generation hardware on a commercial helicopter with ground nodes at its home base.TBD
GUMPS can provide vertical and slant approach conformance and flight guidance integrity monitoring. Using the multi-static nodes that are installed at surveyed sites, and on cooperative air vehicles, ensures that GPS errors and dropouts will not require alternative approach/departure procedures. IFR and non-piloted air vehicle approaches can be provided accurate approach guidance information with GUMPS acting as a GPS integrity monitor . This is true for conventional and vertical flight approaches. A Field expedient GUMPS is also possible.
Placement of non-surveyed GUMPS nodes can provide an expedient landing zone in IFR and for unmanned vertical capable vehicles by tracking their position relative to the system's node orientation. This is valuable for emergency service support (police, fire, medical, Homeland security and FEMA). It provides DoD with an expeditionary Landing Zone capability for unmanned air vehicles and IFR ops.
The regolith particle flow induced by propulsive spacecraft landing on the unprepared surfaces of Moon and Mars occurs in a combination of complex environments that combine low gravity, little or no atmosphere, with rocket exhaust gas flow that is supersonic and partially rarefied, and unusual mechanical properties of the regolith. Of these environmental factors, characterizing the regolith granular material fluidic behavior and gas-granular interactions is the most complex and least developed. In modeling these flows, constitutive relationships are incorporated as collisional, kinetic and frictional stresses as well as drag terms due to momentum exchange with the carrier phase, which become increasingly complex with increasing particle cloud density, compressibility effects in supersonic gas flow, and complexity of multi-size irregularly shaped particle mixtures. Formulation and validation of these closure models is very difficult, mainly due to lack of experimental data covering the broad range of operating conditions and variables. This project aims to generate first of their kind experimental data for gas-granular interaction physics in relevant conditions and implement a constitutive model formulation, maturation and implementation process to arrive at accurate predictive modeling tools for NASA lander project support. In the Phase I, an integrated approach for developing a combined measurement and modeling methodology to further improve accuracy of the gas granular flow solvers used for analysis and design was developed and demonstrated. Targeted experiments analyzing gas-particle flows in high-speed dilute conditions were conducted. Model improvements were made and further modeling requirements were identified. In Phase II the parametric space for gas-particle flows, and conditions will be expanded. Model improvements to gas-granular flow solver will be based on information obtained from high-resolution simulations and experimental data.
NASA commercial applications include NASA and commercial partner lunar lander development projects and future Mars landers. Small commercial lander activities under the CLEPS program and NASA sponsored instrument payloads will require accurate definition of the plume-particle distribution environment near the surface encountered by the landers and payload instruments. Accurate modeling that defines the gas and particle distribution is essential to properly design the instruments to measure spatial features of interest.
Non-NASA applications include wide range of sand and dust related military and civilian applications such as rotorcraft sand/dust brownout and engine dust ingestion. In addition, multiphase flows occur in many applications in chemical, petro-chemical and fossil-energy conversion industries where accurate modeling of particle shape play a huge role in the flow behavior of real particulate systems.
Masten and researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) are modeling plume flow effects in simulated lunar and terrestrial environments to develop methods to scale between the two. This innovative work entails:
This work will create a physical model of entrainment mechanisms and use that to validate current landing damage models and reduce uncertainty in regolith emission models from a factor of ten uncertainty (1000%) to ~20% uncertainty. The results will help ensure reliable and safe landings for NASA Artemis and NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services, without endangering other cislunar assets.
Masten and UCF will provide plume testing services:
SARA’s Passive Acoustic Non-cooperative Collision Avoidance (PANCAS) system is a novel, UAS-borne acoustic sensor that detects collision threat aircraft in support of an overall Detect, Alert and Avoid (DAA) function. PANCAS demonstrates high probability of aircraft detection over a 360o field-of-regard in a remarkably light and low-power system. In Phase I we designed a PANCAS prototype integration for the HQ-90 UAS that NASA will use in its Resilient Autonomy program. This system is designed for rural, low and medium risk air spaces, such as are found in un-populated environments. Acoustic sensing for aviation is a largely untapped capability, offering even greater future capability for autonomous UAS. In Phase II SARA will leverage NASA data collected in Resilient Autonomy to develop detection capabilities that will be critical for NASA’s vision for urban air mobility (UAM). We will leverage the PANCAS integration from Resilient Autonomy to integrate these advanced capabilities and flight test them in a simulated urban environment.
SARA’s introduction of PANCAS for airborne acoustic situational awareness with NASA’s UAM team will help advance the development of an ultra safe and efficient system for air passenger and cargo transportation within urban environments. NASA’s flight tests with PANCAS in support of EVAA versus a wide variety of manned and unmanned aircraft, combined with SARA’s independently developed Metric Evaluation Stack AI analysis tool, will provide relevant DAA data towards understanding the full integration of UAS in the NAS for Urban Air Mobility.
SARA’s PANCAS detect and avoid solutions present the first realistic opportunity for small UAS to operate beyond visual line of sight in the NAS or operate safely and satisfy “due regard” in international waters. This low SWAP, low cost, long range 360 degree capability create an exciting opportunity to unlock airborne robotics in commercial industry and civil / federal government applications.
OEwaves Inc. offers to develop a compact diode laser system producing all the required wavelengths for operation of an Yb Ion Clocks. It will include 370 nm, 935 nm, 436 nm and 760 nm lasers. The system will feature the properties required for long duration space applications. The system will be based on a semiconductor laser locked to monolithic microcavities using self-injection locking technique. This technique results in a complete suppression of mode hops in the laser during its operational lifetime. The microcavity will not only stabilize the frequency of the laser, but will also be used to measure and stabilize the power of the laser. The microcavity provides a modulatable laser that features exceptionally low residual amplitude modulation, allowing a robust lock to the clock transition of interest. The proof of principle validation of the technique was supported by earlier OEwaves efforts. In Phase II of this Project we propose to demonstrate experimentally and deliver to the customer two most critical components of the set, comprising a 370 nm laser system and an ultastable cavity. The other lasers will be demonstrated at OEwaves and the measurement data will be delivered to the customer. The complete set of narrow-line ultra-stable modulatable diode lasers that can be instrumental in integration of a miniature Yb space ion clock will be packaged in Phase III of the project. At the end of Phase II, we expect a prototype of 370nm laser to achieve better than 10-10/g acceleration sensitivity, required frequency stability (varies depending on the laser use). The reference cavity will have the same stability in a wide wavelength (frequency) range determined by the optical transparency of its host material, which typically is broader than 300 nm – 2,000 nm. The quality factor of the device will exceed 108, which will add to simplification in locking optical sources to the modes of the resonator.
High performance atomic frequency standards and clocks have been always an integral part of the NASA Deep Space Network (DSN), responsible for communication, navigation, tracking, as well as related sciences. Once robust high-performance optical clocks become available, they can be deployed in DSN stations to provide an order of magnitude better improvement in stability at the hydrogen maser’s most stable region of (103-104 s).
This products high agility, small size, robust packaging, superior spectral noise characteristics, and low cost of production exceeds all foreseeable competition in all performance areas. Potential customers are oil and gas, fiber optic sensor system integrators, emerging adopters, also the equivalent of fiber optic communication system corporations, LIDAR developers, and medical laser systems.
Masten’s proposed innovation is a warming solution that allows spacecraft systems to survive the lunar night and operate continuously in shaded lunar regions. This metal oxidation warming system (MOWS) employs moderate-temperature chemical reactions to deliver heat for thermal control with order-of-magnitude greater specific energy than battery-based approaches. Similar chemical systems have been used terrestrially, but MOWS for spacecraft systems have not been demonstrated. This system will enable flight computers, payloads, and other components to survive the lunar night, and can be deactivated during the lunar day to prevent overheating. A warming solution using MOWS is low-mass, dust-proof, non-radioactive, and has high system specific energy. In this Phase II effort, Masten will develop a MOWS demonstration unit intended to universally interface with NASA or commercial payloads. Masten will mature the design of this system through multiple Design and Analysis Cycles (DACs) interspersed with component-level and integrated testing. This work will include development of a robust and autonomous control system for MOWS, maturation of components to improve stability and specific energy, and payload interface design. Masten will then manufacture and test a high-fidelity MOWS demonstration unit, which will be delivered to NASA for additional integration and testing work.
NASA systems operating on the lunar surface that use MOWS will:
As the cislunar domain becomes an increasingly populated environment, the demand for technologies, like MOWS, that enable extended and persistent missions will grow. MOWS increases mission durations by 100-1,000% or more; at a low multi-million dollar cost point, MOWS may be an attractive option for lunar stakeholders that desire increased mission durations.
In response to NASA SBIR FY 2018 topic A1.10, Hypersonic Technology, ThermAvant Technologies, LLC (ThermAvant) proposes to develop a high temperature, conformal thermal-mechanical leading edge skin for hypersonic aircraft. The proposed structure will provide high temperature, high heat flux acquisition and dissipation, as well as providing the structural integrity required to meet mission objectives. ThermAvant's research team will demonstrate the proposed concepts and innovations through design, manufacturing and laboratory testing. In response to NASA SBIR FY 2018 topic A1.10, Hypersonic Technology, ThermAvant Technologies, LLC (ThermAvant) proposes to develop a high temperature, conformal thermal-mechanical leading edge skin for hypersonic aircraft. Specifically, the proposed structure will provide high temperature, high heat flux acquisition and dissipation, as well as providing the structural integrity required to meet stringent mission objectives. ThermAvant's research team will demonstrate the proposed concepts and innovations through design, manufacturing and laboratory testing.
NASA’s Hypersonic Technology (HT) project resides within the Advanced Air Vehicles Program (AAVP), under the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). 2017 NASA Aeronautics Strategic Implementation Plan, “ARMD will also address more foundational challenges associated with aerodynamic heating, boundary layer transition, and overall thermal management”.
ThermAvant is aware of a number of applications that could potentially use such a high temperature device, e.g. materials processing, such as high temperature wafer production, and reactor cooling. ThermAvant believes there are a multi-million-dollar annual revenue opportunities within each of these industries if the high temperature prototypes are able to successfully be produced.
The technical objective of this work is to develop a low power, high throughput neuromorphic system for online learning. The system will be based on an FPGA to enable low cost development and easy deployment. We propose to implement a transfer learning system as this will allow the FPGA to train a convolutional neural network with new data quickly and without significant hardware resource requirements. The system will be integrated with a software defined radio to be able to collect communications data continuously to be utilized for transfer learning. We have developed a prototype of the FPGA based transfer learning system in Phase I and aim to make the system more efficient, scaled up, more accurate, and general purpose so that it would be more adept at learning cognitive communications modulations in a cubesat environment. In addition to the FPGA based online learning system, we will investigate the design of accurate and efficient deep learning algorithms for the FPGA system to process cubesat communications data. This dual pronged approach of developing hardware and software will lead to the most efficient overall system, having low power, high accuracy, and high speed. We will integrate the system with a software defined radio to mimic satellite communications and carry out field tests of the system to ensure proper reliability and functionality. Our key deliverables will be the FPGA system design, deep learning algorithm evaluation and best algorithm for cognitive communications learning on the FPGA, and software defined radio integration of the FPGA system.
This SBIR project proposes a specialized high-throughput and low power processor for deep learning algorithms geared towards cognitive radio communications systems. It is suitable for Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) constrained environments, such as satellites and cubesats. Specific advantages include signal processing to reduce the amount of data transmitted, cognitive radio applications, and system self-diagnosis.
The commercial product foreseen from this project is an effective, low SWaP capable deep learning processor chip. This will have applications in multiple areas including cognitive communications, including satellites, 5G networks, smart infrastructure, autonomous systems, electronic warfare, robotics, big data analytics, bioinformatics, data mining and military systems.
Near Earth Autonomy proposes to extend the NASA SBIR Phase I to develop the key technologies that enable urban air mobility (UAM) and its applications: delivery of goods, personal transportation, emergency/disaster response, etc. This work will contribute to advance NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) program, which focuses on “enabling emerging aviation markets that will provide substantial benefit to the U.S. public and industry.” In addition to serving the needs of the UAM market, our proposal builds fundamental technologies that can be used to address the needs of Simplified Vehicle Operation (SVO) as identified by the AAM program. By enabling intuitive safe operation, SVO can bridge the gap between the high skill level needed to operate fully manual aircraft and fully autonomous aircraft that have a long certification process to be operational.
Successful integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace system (NAS), especially in urban environments, will require technologies that enable UAS to fly safely and are able to manage contingencies without resorting to remote pilots to guide them. This work will address three primary challenges related to this topic: (1) GPS-denied navigation must deal with complex, dynamic environments, (2) safe landing requires consideration of dynamic objects on the ground, and (3) critical component failure during flight requiring a rapid response for the aircraft to land safely.
In Phase I we demonstrated the feasibility of the baseline technologies in a series of flight tests using a small unmanned aircraft and a full-size helicopter, including GPS-free aircraft localization over an 11-km flight over urban terrain. In Phase II we will further develop and mature the technologies and demonstrate them in flight on a self-contained sensing and computing payload. In Phase II we will also pursue various commercialization channels based on our existing relationships with aerospace and avionics manufacturers.
Technology that enables autonomous and safe unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations in complex, dynamic urban environments over long periods of time will contribute to NASA's testing related to UAS operations in the NAS. The technology specified in this solicitation will enable NASA and any of its contractors involved with other UAS programs to accomplish testing with increased safety and decreased cost. The technology may also enable improved atmospheric and climate research missions.
Other government and civilian agencies comprise a significant market for the technology. The commercial UAS market is forecast to grow rapidly after the FAA establishes regulatory procedures for the operation of UAS in the national airspace system. An enhanced capability for safe, autonomous long-term operations of UAS in complex, dynamic environments will fuel the market's forecast growth.
The overall objective of the Phase II program is to develop a domestically-available needled (2.5D) C-C composite and demonstrate its use as a nozzle extension for future lunar lander and upper-stage propulsion applications. This will be accomplished through a design and analysis trade study, coupled with the fabrication of a representative nozzle structure. In the past decade, a number of NASA research and development programs have been aimed at improving the capability and readiness of domestically available C-C for use as a lightweight nozzle extension. Lyocell-based carbon cloth composites continue to be a leading candidate in the quest for a domestically available C/C material. Although Lyocell-based CMC materials have been previously fabricated, there is still a great need to better understand the process of fabricating Lyocell-based composites due to the brittle nature of the fabric and the thermal expansion mismatch with likely matrix constituents. Within the Phase II program, MR&D will lead a team consisting of Allcomp, Southern Research and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). Allcomp will be responsible for fabricating Lyocell-based carbon fiber composite plates and nozzle extensions. Material characterization testing will be performed at Southern Research. Sierra Nevada Corporation will serve as the prime partner and supply information relative to the nozzle extension geometry and relevant propulsion environment. Additionally, hot fire testing will be performed at one of SNC’s facilities.
NASA has many recent and ongoing propulsion applications which would benefit from the development of a domestically-available C-C material. Examples include the space launch system (SLS) upper stage engines, the Orion Launch Abort System and a variety of in-space and lander descent/ascent propulsion systems. Similarly, there is a desire to expand the industrial base and technology readiness level of U.S carbon-carbon and ceramic matrix composite technology.
MR&D has engaged in discussions with Sierra Nevada Corporation about ongoing and future propulsion development programs. Among the candidate propulsion systems for transition are a hybrid rocket motor under development for DoD for tactical applications and an RCS thruster using non-toxic propellants and intended for use on the first stage of a reusable launch vehicle.
ProtoInnovations, LLC proposes to continue applied research and development of intelligent robotic lunar wheels (IRLWs) with integrated sensing and perception to improve or enable robust mobility on the Moon. The IRLW uses robust slip estimation, explicit sinkage measurements, and perception algorithms to identify entrapment risks in challenging terrain containing soft-soil, and real-time controls to respond to such risks. Offloading entrapment risk assessment capabilities to an intelligent robotic wheel would allow a rover to allocate more of the main computing power for higher-level mission objectives while simultaneously improving the critical reaction time to entrapment risks such as wheel slip and wheel sinkage. The IRLW would aid robotic or manned rovers on the Moon by assessing and promptly responding to mobility hazards.
The IRLW technology has significant potential for near-term and long-term NASA missions to the Moon and Mars. NASA has outlined the need for additional robotic mobility capabilities for missions to the lunar surface to assist humans and provide additional exploration capabilities. This technology boasts several important innovations relevant to robotic mobility for exploration and work using manned or robotic rover by detecting, assessing, and responding to hazards that could significantly limit the mobility or cause entrapment of a rover.
The IRLW technology will benefit manned and robotic vehicles in numerous applications and especially those involving work in agriculture, construction, material handling, mining, and off-road transportation. We will pursue commercialization of this technology through collaborative advanced development with and licensing to Original Equipment Manufacturers.
The Operational Risk Coordination Assistant (ORCA) offers an integrated data and advanced analytics solution to provide airlines and the FAA with models to predict potential operational risks to flight operations into high-traffic airports. We define operational risk from the airline perspective as the likelihood that flights will be delayed, re-routed, or cancelled due to weather, congestion, and FAA decisions. Using algorithms based on analysis of historical data and current weather and forecasts, ORCA generates conditional capacity probabilities and combines them with airline cost data to define the possible scenarios and quantify the expected cost of airline actions under the possible outcomes.
ORCA will provide airlines with an improved ability to predict possible operational conditions at destination airports, allowing them to build better plans and manage their network operations to improve on-time performance, customer satisfaction, and assist the FAA in matching demand to available capacity. Our tool provides a guide for airlines to make decisions under uncertainty, estimating the expected costs of different actions for a set of possible outcomes. For the FAA, ORCA offers a tool to integrate multiple factors into a probabilistic assessment of ever-changing conditions and their potential impact on flight safety and efficiency.
Our concept aims to support airlines operating in an environment in which they collaborate with the FAA to define objectives, share constraint information, develop plans, and share responsibility in the execution. In that vision, operators require the ability to predict with greater accuracy than today what the operating conditions and constraints will be over the next several hours. Improved predictive capability will enable airlines to build more flexible plans and prepare alternatives should operating conditions change.
ORCA supports achievement of NASA milestones for Increasing Diverse Operations under the ATM-X project. By integrating multiple technologies and developing new predictive algorithms, ORCA offers IDO the potential for improving traffic flows into high-density airports. We offer an innovative integration of multiple data services with predictive analytics to help airlines to better manage and respond to the uncertainty in their operations. We offer an approach that enables the airline to better forecast and plan for potential disruptions.
ORCA meets a stated industry need for tools to assist in decision making in an uncertain environment and help them identify potential disruptions and evaluate options for mitigating the costs of disrupted operations from dynamic shifts in weather, traffic density, and airspace constraints. ORCA can be used in the airline operations center with existing dispatch systems, with no upfront investment.
In the proposed Phase II SBIR program, QuesTek Innovations LLC will build off of the successful design framework developed in the Phase I effort to optimize, scale up, and commercialize a novel cermet tool material with enhanced high temperature properties to enable friction stir weld (FSW) processing of high melting point materials such as Ni-based alloys. Having demonstrated a robust proof-of-concept design in the Phase I, QuesTek will leverage its expertise in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) and Materials by Design® approach to design and model binder phase properties, optimize processing pathways, and predict cermet performance to achieve longer tool life with more affordable tool materials. The development of such a tool material would significantly enhance NASA’s efforts to implement fully friction stir-welded space exploration system elements (i.e. SLS, Orion and ground systems). The efforts here would be invaluable in advancing the solid-state welding technologies at NASA in conventional friction stir-welding (C-FSW), Hybrid-FSW, thermal stir welding (TSW) of high melting point materials. In the current proposed Phase II effort, QuesTek will further improve the designed cermet materials by focusing on aspects such as improving feedstock materials, optimizing ball-milling and sintering conditions, tuning the ratio of binder to ceramic phase in the cermet, and others which were not able to be evaluated in the short 6-month phase I program. Detailed microstructural characterization and mechanical properties evaluation and modeling will be carried out to validate achievement of all requisite performance objectives for the tool material. The 2-year Phase II program will also aim at prototyping of larger sintered samples that would be utilized to fabricate actual FSW tool components. These fabricated tools will be used to perform initial FSW plunge tests on Ni-based superalloys to investigate the component fracture toughness.
The development of tool material described in this proposal would be significant support to the efforts at NASA to implement fully friction stir-welded space exploration system elements (SLS, Orion and ground systems). The efforts here would be invaluable in advancing the solid-state welding technologies at NASA in conventional-FSW, Hybrid-FSW, TSW of high melting point materials. An ICME approach on developing FSW tool materials will enable the tailoring of material microstructure and processing to achieve required properties.
QuesTek has consulted multiple OEMs working in space-related research who have admitted that the availability of an FSW weld tool for high strength Ni-based alloys would be of considerable interest as it opens the possibility of solid-state welding of the associated components. The developed tool material would enable FSW of Ni-based alloys used in the turbine engines, nozzles.
NASA aero-science ground test facilities, including transonic, supersonic and hypersonic wind tunnels, provide critical data and fundamental insight required to understand complex phenomena and support the advancement of computational tools for modeling and simulation. In these facilities, real-time, high-repetition-rate (10 kHz–1 MHz) 2D or 3D measurement techniques are needed to track the high-speed turbulence dynamics. Current state-of-the-art measurement capabilities in harsh wind tunnelenvironments are effective but limited to sample rates of 10 hertz, which is insufficient to track the dynamic of the turbulent reacting and non-reacting flows. This proposal offers an integrated package of truly cutting-edge, high-repetition-rate (up to 1 MHz rate), narrow-linewidth, burst-mode Optical Parametric Oscillator (OPO) system for multi-species laser induced fluorescence (LIF) detection in NASA ground test facilities. The concepts and ideas proposed are ranging from proof-of-principles demonstration of novel methodologies using a pulse-burst laser pumped OPO system for multi-parameter measurements (density, temperature, species concentration, and flow visualization, etc.) in realistic tunnel conditions. The proposed high-repetition-rate OPO-based LIF technique which is suitable for 2D and 3D multi-parameter measurements is a state-of-the-art technique for analysis of unsteady and turbulent flows.
The proposed research effort will provide new instrumentation capabilities and methodologies, together with a convenient and user-friendly software package for the burst-mode OPO system control, data analysis and interpretation, for tracking turbulence evolution that is required as inputs to model and predict complicate turbulence flow behavior in NASA supersonic and hypersonic large-scale wind tunnels.
The high-speed OPO and PLIF system could also be applied in various large test facilities in many universities, research institutes and aviation companies for accurate flow and combustion measurements. Potential customers could be from research facilities in DoD, DARPA, DOE, and companies, such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, GE, Pratt-Whitney, and other industrial aerospace interests.
Computational Pixel Imager (CPI) technology enables advanced capability for smaller satellites with reduced size, weight and power (SWaP) for missions such as Earth science. We will develop an advanced CPI readout integrated circuit (ROIC) that can be mated to various detector materials from shortwave through very longwave infrared (SWIR – VLWIR). We use the Landsat 9 Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) as a boilerplate example for the benefits of the technology. Using CPI technology, the performance of the TIRS could be improved significantly while also reducing the mechanical complexity of the sensor system. Alternatively, it may be possible to build a smaller, simpler, less expensive sensor with the same performance as TIRS-2.
We will develop a 640x512 format, 20m pixel pitch ROIC design, compatible with HOT infrared detectors to offer significant performance benefits for future NASA missions such as Landsat TIRS. We will develop the architecture for performing on-chip TDI with high dynamic range using HOT LWIR detectors. The architecture will support:
- High dynamic range - to accommodate the LWIR background and dark current pedestal, which could be high using HOT detectors.
- Dual band – 2 optical bands can be supported simultaneously with 2 independent frontends and ADCs per pixel
- On-chip TDI scanning – Up to 512 rows of TDI gain can be accomplished while scanning without the need to readout the image sensor to accumulate data in a separate processor.
- Pseudo simultaneous dual band scanning – Both bands will be accumulated on-chip, and with high dynamic range at the same time.
We will develop the architecture and design the ROIC in this program. We will develop, fabricate, and characterize test chips to support the design and validation of the full format ROIC. Although the program will result in a fully functional ROIC design, funding limits will not allow us to fabricate the ROIC. Also, we will not specially design a Rad-Hard device in this program.
Disinfection of potable water, using a simple yet reliable approach is vital for continuing a manned presence in space. Maintaining an antimicrobial residual is crucial for assuring water potability. The Halogen Binding Resin (HBR) technology is directed toward developing halogen (chlorine or bromine) based water disinfection using an approach that resembles that currently used for iodine delivery. The aim of the research is to develop flow-through devices containing a novel HBR for the controlled release of halogen for water disinfection. Previous materials that bind chlorine and bromine fall short of meeting NASA’s biocide residual needs. Successful syntheses of two slow-release resins during the Phase I effort should be expanded upon. Both of these resins function exceptionally well for bromine slow-release, however, our initial attempts to develop a resin for the slow-release of chlorine have been unsuccessful. Although a continued effort to develop a chlorine based resin will be ongoing, a bromine based resin may be well suited to NASA’s needs. Bromine has been adopted by the US NAVY as their primary means of disinfecting potable water aboard naval vessels. Our resin will be used in a simple flow-through cartridge that will act as both a contact kill biocide device and as a source of free chlorine or bromine. A halogen residual of 0.5 to 4 mg/L will be delivered to the water. This concentration range is generally accepted as being safe and therefore removal is not required prior to crew consumption. The residual concentration will remain within this range over a wide range of flows. This Halogen Binding Resin will be entirely analogous to the original MCV® resin but will release chlorine or bromine instead of iodine. The next generation Microbial Check Valve (MCV2) made with this resin can be used as a direct replacement for the currently used MCV®.
The NASA application will be as Flight Hardware for deployment in support of future manned missions. The production and storage of safe potable water is a requirement for all manned operations in space. MCV2 technology will be microgravity compatible, reliable (>3-year life), and will remain functional with system pressures exceeding 30 psig. The MCV2 will find application in various deep space manned exploration mission phases including Mars transit.
Non-NASA applications of this MCV2 technology will find widespread use in terrestrial markets. MCV2 technology is particularly applicable towards water disinfection in locations where access to safe drinking water is unavailable. In many third world nations, the occurrence of diseases such as typhoid and cholera, which originate from waterborne pathogens, could be prevented by MCV2 use.
We propose to advance the state of the art in multi-pass optical cell technology by bringing several novel, previously unpublished, cell architectures to better maturity and to the attention of other researchers. Optical multi-pass cells are devices that are fundamental to achieving high sensitivity in spectroscopic instruments for gas detection and measurement. The proposed project is a unique opportunity for NASA to advance multi-pass optical cell technology in several new directions at once, addressing multiple fundamental design advances with potentially large and lasting impact on the future design of optical instrumentation. The specific NASA SBIR solicitation technical topic that we address, S1.08 Suborbital instruments and sensor systems for earth science measurements, includes development needs for reduced volume multi-pass cell designs and optical subsystems for open path measurements. The solicitation topic also calls for small trace gas sensors suitable for UAV’s, which need low-volume multipas cells. The work we propose addresses stated needs for advances in optical absorption cells and related subsystems, both for open path as well as closed path (low volume) measurements. One of the cell designs we have conceived is specifically for open path measurements, where the base length may vary with the experimental circumstances. That design, the “Retro-Cat Cell” combines a remote retroreflector with an “inboard” mirror combination that acts like a variable focal length mirror, so it can adapt to variable base length. We present four different pathways for improving path-length per unit volume in multi-pass cells. These pathways range from simple filling of excess volumes, to re-injection systems to a new cell architecture. These development pathways are expected to yield results that improve existing commercial multi-pass cells, improve existing instrumentation and make new more compact instrumentation possible.
These multi-pass cell advances will positively impact NASA scientific endeavors that rely upon optical detection of gases, particularly in its Earth Sciences Division. Our new open-path cell design may be useful for increasing the path-length of measurement systems such as the NASA LaRC Diode Laser Hygrometer. New closed path cell designs may be of benefit to numerous NASA centers involved in trace gas measurements, such as: Goddard, Langley, JPL and Glenn. We note those centers because we previously sold then trace gas instruments or cells.
The new open-path cell design will have application to industrial settings with variable base paths, such as fence-line monitoring, or in environmental measurements where the measurement circumstances change. Closed path cells are integral to the set of trace gas instruments produced and sold by ARI, so new designs will enhance our products and capabilities.
Deployable photovoltaic solar arrays are currently the most widely used power source for spacecraft applications. These deployable array systems have been optimized for maximum specific power (W/kg) and maximum specific packaging volume (W/m3) for a given array size and power requirement in a microgravity environment. The structural requirements for these systems have traditionally been derived from minimum stiffness requirements and/or spacecraft guidance, navigation and control (GNC) acceleration rates, not from terrestrial or lunar gravity. The proposed array concept can perform multiple deployment and retraction cycles, and is simple and reliable, and will be relatively low cost compared to more complex fully mechanical systems. The proposed system will also be modular and scalable such that elements of the lunar lander array will be directly applicable to building a power infrastructure for lunar surface arrays in the future.
A new light weight deployable solar power array module is proposed to address the need for a retractable solar array for the initial human lunar lander and future lunar surface applications. The proposed concept leverages recent advancements in thin film solar cell array technology which enables the array to be rolled into a compact cylindrical shape for stowage. The proposed concept uses a very simple pneumatic deployment system to deploy the system and a passive constant torque spring to retract the array. The simplicity and reliability of pneumatic/hydraulic systems have led to their widespread use in aircraft applications. The constant force/torque spring mechanism for retraction requires no power, motors, or controls. The combination of current state of the art flexible thin film solar array technology with a very simple and reliable deployment/retraction system will result in a highly reliable solar array system capable of multiple deployments and retractions in space and lunar surface environments.
Current NASA programs and applications that would benefit from the development of this technology are: Lunar Gateway, Lunar Human Lander, Lunar Outpost, High Power Electric Propulsion, Orbit Transfer Vehicles
Commercial and DoD spacecraft with high power requirements or launch volume constraints
Commercial targets include One Web, Starlink, and Project Kuiper
DoD satellites that need to retain stealth capabilities
We propose to develop and commercialize a deep learning-based image classification capability that detects fine-scale and rapidly changing land surface features, using relatively low resolution and low-cost imagery and an architecture that is simple and fast to train. The proposed system promises to substantially improve the study of high frequency land cover dynamics in heterogeneous landscapes by addressing two principal roadblocks to higher spatial resolution and more frequent land cover classification: 1) the high cost of acquiring high resolution multispectral imagery on a frequent basis, and 2) the general complexity of using machine learning techniques to improve classification capabilities. Our innovation involves using time series of multispectral imagery with relatively rich spectral content as a trade-off with spatial resolution, and applying it on a pixel by pixel basis. Our Phase II focus will be on agricultural areas that frequently change on a small scale. Annual vegetable crops are a key set of relevant land cover classes. But our methodology is extensible to other land cover types, such as urban settlements and their change, and other data inputs in addition to imagery, such as time series of weather data.
Related follow-on opportunities for NASA program infusion include integration with the TOPS-SIMs irrigation management program at the Ecological Forecasting Lab at NASA Ames, and NASA Goddard’s Harvest Consortium led by the University of Maryland to enhance the use of satellite data in decision making related to food security and agriculture, and the Surface Biology and Geology (SBG) Decadal Designated Observable Study.
Related commercialization opportunities include monitoring and forecasting for industrial agriculture, particularly for fresh vegetable crops, improved cropland classification for USDA’s Cropland Data Layer, and food waste and sustainability applications addressing prioritized actions of the EPA, USDA and FDA.
Building on successful proof-of-principle hardware developed in Phase I, Millimeter Wave Systems, LLC proposes to design, fabricate, and demonstrate the performance of two 65-70GHz latching waveguide ferrite circulator configurations: 1) An innovative Multimode Latching Circulator (MLC™), exploiting two circulating Eigenmodes in a ferrite junction, and 2) latching turnstile ferrite circulators with extended bandwidth using matching networks. The MLC™ takes advantage of the small dimensions, scaling by wavelength, at millimeter wave frequencies to quickly switch the magnetic field. The driver circuitry for both configurations were demonstrated in Phase I and will be enhanced in Phase II. Both topologies have different strengths providing options to the radar designer. The MLC™ innovation allows for a scaling the switch to higher frequencies where the decreasing waveguide dimensions benefit the design trades rather than becoming prohibitive as they do with traditional approaches. With our current fabrication methods, we are confident in reaching frequencies beyond 200GHz.
The proposed work will provide NASA with millimeter wave latching switches for use in remote sensing applications like differential absorption radar for measuring surface level pressure. With low SWAP, the resulting switch would benefit cubesat/smallsat instruments such as RainCube. This work would also benefit high power tube-based radars and radars operating above 200 GHz.
Commercial weather radar companies would benefit from an off-the-shelf solution for high power radar applications. Redundancy switching in hi-reliability communications applications would also benefit from high frequency latching circulators. Recent advances in NMR instrumentation have also created a demand for >200GHz circulators that could be addressed using the developed technology.
In Subtopic Z4.01, NASA has identified a critical need for lightweight structures and advanced materials for deep-space exploration. International Scientific has developed a number of advanced multifunctional materials to protect against the hazards of space radiation, including protons, alpha particles and heavy ions from galactic cosmic rays and other ions from solar particle events. In order to raise the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of these advanced polymeric radiation-shielding materials, International Scientific Technologies, Inc. proposes to develop an active-monitoring experimental package for use on the MISSE-FF platform. The Phase I SBIR program demonstrated the feasibility of developing a flight-qualified Technology Demonstration Experiment to be carried on the MISSE-FF platform to facilitate Technology Infusion of developed advanced radiation-shielding materials. Phase II Technical Objectives include fabrication of advanced lightweight materials and structures for use in the active monitoring of radiation-shield effectiveness, evaluation of active radiation detector/dosimeter for measurement of total ionizing dose to determine radiation-shielding effectiveness of advanced materials in the external environment of the International Space Station, design, construction and optimization of an experimental package for integration on the MISSE-FF Platform on the International Space Station, and field testing and integration of a MISSE package in conjunction with NASA and Alpha Space personnel. The anticipated results of the Phase II research program is the delivery of a flight-qualified demonstration package for inclusion on a MISSE mission to advance the TRL of advanced polymeric radiation-shielding materials to facilitate commercialization.
NASA directorates that can use the proposed space radiation-shielding technology are the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), and Science Mission Directorate (SMD). Other programs that can benefit using this technology include the Flight Opportunities Program (FOP), International Space Station Program (ISSP), Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Program, and In-space Robotic Manufacturing and Assembly (IRMA) Project.
The DoD and DHS will find applications that include protection of soldiers, first responders and emergency medical personnel against radiation resulting from so-called dirty bombs as well as from hazards brought about through accidental release of radiological materials. Workers in medical and industrial facilities will also benefit from shielding garments having reduced weight and thermal stress.
Makel Engineering, Inc., John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and Wesleyan University propose to develop the Venus In-Situ Mineralogy Reaction Array (VIMRA) Sensor Platform. VIMRA is a harsh environment sensor array suitable for measuring reactions of Venus gases with surface minerals using a platform which could be part of the science instrument payload for planetary landers such as the Long Lived In-Situ Solar System Explorer (LLISSE). Phase I of the program focused on design and demonstration of sensor material systems and sensing capability with several mineral types of interest for Venus. such as anhydrite, calcite, augite (pyroxene), olivine, albite (feldspar), hematite, magnetite, pyrite, apatite, cassiterite, gold. The Phase II deliverable VIMRA system can be used on Venus simulation chambers such as NASA Glenn Extreme Environment Rig (GEER) and Mini-GEER for extended durations to support fundamental mineralogy science. Phase I demonstrated pure mineral sample sensor platforms suitable for real-time, in-situ measurement of changes in electrical properties of the samples due to reaction with Venus type atmospheric gases. Phase I also demonstrated the capability of VIMRA as a component suitable for an in-situ instrument that could provide information on the type and rate of gas-solid type reactions by monitoring an array of minerals and thus constrain type and rate of atmospheric gas interactions with selected minerals. The proposed VIMRA sensor platform will complement recent and ongoing efforts on the development of harsh environment instruments suitable for atmospheric analysis in future Venus missions, addressing a technology gap by developing sensors to monitor mineral/gas reactions. In Phase II, the platform will be combined with silicon electronics to facilitate demonstration. Follow on integration of SiC electronics will provide a high temperature capable payload suitable for extended operation on the surface of Venus.
The primary application is to enable in-situ monitoring of gas-mineral reaction chemistry in Venus atmosphere. In addition, the sensor platform can be used to monitor mineralogy in any planetary bodies, and can support in-situ analysis of soil sources that may be used for in situ resource utilization (ISRU).
The VIMRA sensor platform combined with high temperature SiC electronics is suitable as a low-cost approach for in-situ evaluation of protective coatings (oxidation resistance materials, ceramics, nanomaterials) for these applications. A commercial version of the technology could be used for both test and evaluation or as permanent in-situ monitoring in power generation and conversion systems.
Astrobotic proposes the development and prototyping of UltraNav, a low size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) visual relative navigation system capable of implementing modern vision-based navigation and modeling methods including Terrain Relative Navigation (TRN), Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), Visual-Inertial Odometry (VIO), and Structure-from-Motion (SfM). The UltraNav system components will provide a compact form factor that fits within approximately 1.5U (10 x 10 x 15 cm), weighs less than 2 kg, and requires less than 5 W to power, enabling its use in power-, mass-, and volume-constrained applications, such as CubeSats and SmallSats. The UltraNav system interfacing will be designed to enable flexibility of use as either a part of a larger navigation solution or as a standalone sensor on a small exploration spacecraft. A efficient radiation-tolerant System-on-Chip (SoC) will be integrated into a larger system that includes a camera and inertial measurement unit (IMU). This system will be used to test a version of the Astrobotic Terrain Relative Navigation (TRN) algorithm that is modified to utilize UltraNav's processing capabilities and balance performance with the computational limits of the low SWaP system.
Vision techniques are viable in many missions and across a variety of domains, in applications such as Entry, Decent, and Landing (EDL); Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking (AR&D); and deep-space navigation. Phase II work will culminate with a low-cost, small form factor, stand-alone visual navigation platform, with a cost that is affordable to commercial and small-budget missions and the flexibility to be added to large-scale missions as a piece of a larger navigation system. The final product will have space applications ranging from CubeSats to AR&D and EDL assistance on large-scale human missions.
NASA applications of the technology include exploration CubeSats and SmallSats, as well as microlanders for precision science instrument deployment to planetary bodies. Interplanetary exploration satellites similar to MarCO-A and MarCO-B and others being developed for deployment on Artemis 1 are prime examples of missions that could infuse UltraNav technologies proposed. Larger-scale mission architectures such as LunaNet could incorporate UltraNav as an additional sensor for positioning, navigation, and timing purposes.
The CLPS program can infuse UltraNav into space applications. As one of the first selected CLPS providers, Astrobotic has established a payload customer community and can fly internal company payloads.
UltraNav may form a component for lunar rovers such as Astrobotic’s CubeRover and MoonRanger.
Astrobotic may license this technology to lunar payload customers as well as to SmallSat developers.
Deployable Space Systems has developed an innovative deployable solar array for CubeSat and SmallSat applications that offers a 2X increase in deployed solar array area / power given the very restrictive CubeSat stowed volume when compared to State-of-the-Art (SOA) CubeSat solar array systems. The basic array structure is also dual-use and can be configured as a deployable radiator. This innovative and simple array design provides a robust, linear solar array deployment, maximizes the amount of solar power that can be deployed from the side of a 3U CubeSat (>50W+ per wing or +100W for the CubeSat) and is significantly stronger and stiffer than current State-of-the-Art CubeSat-class solar arrays. The solar array design features a deployable stiffening structure for ultra-high deployed strength and stiffness. All of the solar array components are chosen to minimize the stowed height of the array. Once successfully qualified thru the proposed Phase 2 program, the innovative CubeSat / SmallSat solar array will be mission-enabling for future high-power missions.
NASA applications include future science, exploration and earth observation missions requiring significant advances in CubeSat and SmallSat deployable solar array and/or radiator technology. The increase in power / deployed area, extremely small stowage volume, and high deployed strength/stiffness of the proposed array system over state-of-the-art technologies is mission enabling for future higher power missions of interest.
Non-NASA space applications are comprised of practically all missions that require CubeSat class satellites and deployable solar arrays and radiators with increased power capacity or area capacity, respectively. The solar array small stowed volume, high power capability, affordability, and configurability are attractive for the end user.
Windhover Labs proposes to create an inexpensive fault tolerant avionics package for Groups 1 and 2 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) (less than 55 lbs). Windhover Labs has already developed an open-source flight software backbone and ecosystem, called Airliner, built upon Core Flight System (CFS) created by NASA, with a path to FAA certification. The new avionics will have 2 sets of computing cores. One high speed set of cores running Linux and hosting non-critical software. The other computing cores run in lock-step and host critical software. The two zones of criticality execute completely separate operating systems, preventing faults from crossing zones and allowing zones to be reset independently of one another. The avionics package also includes an Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), allowing limitless extensibility. Combined, the platform provides maximum flexibility with reconfigurable hardware and high speed computing as well as maximum reliability with a lock-step processor, all in a low cost package about the size of a deck of playing cards.
In addition to the increased safety and flexibility, this proposal also includes integration of NASA’s Autonomy Operating System (AOS) directly into Airliner as native applications, providing Airliner a path to Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) integration. This proposal makes this possible with the increased performance, with no sacrifice in safety. Current avionics platforms capable of running Airliner flight software take up to 80% of the processing power performing just minimal stable flight. The proposed avionics has up to an 1100% increase in performance, depending on the configuration, providing ample processing power to run both Airliner and AOS with margin to spare for growth and additional functionality. Integration with AOS not only provides a significant increase in functionality, but the development process of AOS fits well with the Airliner development, providing a smooth path to FAA certification.
There are numerous NASA projects that could use this avionics board, including both Autonomy Operating System (AOS) as well as Independent Configurable Architecture for Reliable Operations of Unmanned Systems with Distributed On-board Services (ICAROUS, https://software.nasa.gov/software/LAR-19281-1). Both projects use hobbyist grade drone autopilots, which are the only ones currently available. We intend to also target all the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) projects currently in work.
We intend to initially target all government agencies with drones built by China-based manufacturer, DJI. The American Security Drone Act of 2019, introduced to Congress in late 2019, will make all DJI drones illegal for government use. The first product will be a drop-in replacement to the DJI A2 and A3 drone autopilots, to start replacing some of the 80,000 soon to be grounded DJI drones.
The 2017 decadal survey called out a need to reduce mission costs for space-based earth observation. To help meet this need, Quartus Engineering Incorporated (Quartus) is proposing leveraging analytical models and existing opto-mechanical designs to provide a shift in the approach to the development of Custom Optical Science Telescope Payloads-as-a-Service (COSTPaaS) for deployment on CubeSats and small satellite platforms. It is common for technology to be leveraged from mission to mission, such as customizable CubeSat, small sat, or larger satellite buses. This is less common with precision optical subsystems, which are often designed from the ground up to meet the science needs of a mission. If the appropriate work is done to validate the analytical tools used to design optical components and subsystem designs, beyond a particular use case, these tools could be used to adapt current component and subsystem designs to new missions.
Quartus will perform correlation of analytical data to as-tested thermal data on a system-level basis, with the system being an afocal reflective telescope consisting of three optics. The fine-tuned analytical approach will then be able to be translated to other optical systems, for trustworthy, validated thermal optical performance results, without the need for thermal testing.
In addition to the thermal testing of an afocal reflective system for correlation results, Quartus will also validate a flight-ready design of the afocal system for Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment IV (SAGE IV) for thermal performance. This system will be a deliverable at the conclusion of the SBIR Phase II effort, to be used either as a flight instrument or spare for a future SBIR Phase III SAGE IV flight mission.
Quartus is building the COSTPaaS approach around the SAGE IV instrument, thus the immediate potential NASA application is an anticipated Phase III SAGE IV technical flight demo. Beyond the immediate benefits to the SAGE IV program, any number of low TRL programs could engage with Quartus during initial systems engineering to leverage the work done to date. One example that can leverage results from lessons learned and actual hardware from this work is DEMETER IIP, an instrument which Quartus is currently working on with LaRC to develop.
The COSTPaaS approach can save cost and schedule by taking a program TRL from 2-6 in relatively short order. This can open up high-end science instrument development for smaller missions who may lack the funding and timelines to be able to “start from scratch” each time, such as universities. Prime contractors have also expressed interest in accelerating their missions with COSTPaaS instruments.
Leiden Measurement Technology LLC proposes to design and construct the HYMDOL: a high-resolution, compact microscope utilizing a
micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) digital micromirror device (DMD) to enable hyperspectral Raman and/or fluorescence
microimaging with micron to sub-micron resolution (determined by the microscope objective used). HYMDOL will be designed as a rugged, compact instrument, suitable for mission deployments on icy worlds where it could be used for life-detection and mineralogy studies. This technology seeks to replace traditional laser-scanning confocal microscopy as it has the advantage of being able to take traditional full-frame images of a sample using both coherent and incoherent light sources without the need for a second condenser, enabling temporally-resolved imaging and fast, triage imaging capabilities; operates on significantly lower power; and is inherently robust ( DMDs are immune to more than 1500 g shock, 20 g vibration).
The main objectives are to build from the successful Phase I work to (1) optimize the optical and optomechanical design of all subsystems of the microscope; (2) manufacture those designs; (3) integrate all subsystems to create a hyperspectral DMD-based imaging microscope suitable for life-detection missions and other applications.
HYMDOL will have many potential NASA applications, especially as a highly-capable life-detection instrument on icy worlds. With its ability to perform down to sub-micron Raman/fluorescence hyperspectral imaging, HYMDOL will be able to identify materials, especially biomarkers, at a scale relevant to microorganisms and life-detection. HYMDOL could also be used as a mineralogical microscope or even on the space station to study biological processes.
There are many non-NASA applications for HYMDOL, including characterizing graphene/CNT materials and pharmaceuticals; performing forensics studies; studying mineral (micro-)structures and other geologic applications; studying geomicrobiological systems; micro 3D printing; performing medical diagnostics of tissue samples; and working with novel bead-based solid phase suspension arrays.
The commercial UAM market creates unique weight and safety requirements based around frequent take-offs and landings in densely populated areas. To ensure passenger safety during hard or crash landings, a new array of technologies must be developed to bring superior safety to the industry in lightweight and compact forms that meet the needs of UAM vehicles. To address this need, Urbineer plans to use our unique background and market position to bring proven crashworthiness technology from the open-wheel Formula racing industry in the form of composite impact attenuators tailored to effectively disintegrate on impact, dispelling large amounts of energy and protecting both the occupants and the expensive fuselage. Urbineer’s approach is a fixed carbon fiber composite design optimized for maximum energy dissipation through controlled crush and minimum weight while being fully faired and integrated into the lower OML aero skin of the vehicle. The team envisions simple, externally-mounted, and replaceable attenuators that are standardized across platforms in design requirements, placement, and certification. Further following the model used in Formula racing, Urbineer sees a standardized protocol with design guidelines and clear dynamic test procedures to reduce crash attenuator certification cost and simplify the development and qualification of vehicle crashworthiness. NASA possesses the necessary technical background and influence to guide these efforts. The SBIR process provides a great resource to accelerate the development, and Urbineer possesses the technical expertise and strategic industry partners to develop and commercialize composite crash attenuators. Urbineer Inc is an engineering firm composed of experienced, hands-on, multidisciplinary engineers with a strong background in driving concepts to completion. The team has extensive experience in composite airframes, impact attenuator design/analysis, fabrication, and program management of complex systems.
NASA has VTOL vehicles and existing designs such as NASA GL-10 Greased Lightning. NASA is an official partner of Uber Elevate and this technology is important to overcoming safety barriers in support of flight operation goals of 2023. NASA has a drop test center in Langley and this would be a great build off of the previous test performed for Crash Test of an MD-500 Helicopter with a Deployable Energy Absorber Concept. NASA can help test UAM vehicles standardize mission and testing requirements for energy absorption.
Army FVL and FARA program VTOL designs are an ideal area to explore multifunctional composite crush structures. The On-Demand Air Taxi market vehicle concepts are without a real standard for crashworthiness with a unique mission profile and safety need. To reduce development cost our crash attenuators allow the vast vehicle configurations to be standardized without significant redesign.
Deployable Space Systems, Inc. (DSS) has developed a next-generation high performance solar array system specifically for NASA’s future Lunar Lander and sample return missions. The proposed Lunar Lander / Surface solar array has game-changing performance metrics in terms of extremely high specific power, ultra-compact stowage volume, affordability, low-risk, high environmental survivability/operability, high power capability, high deployed strength, high strength during deployment (for mission environments that have high gravity and wind loading from atmospheres as examples), high deployed stiffness, high reliability, retraction and re-deployment capability, and broad modularity / adaptability to many missions. Most importantly, the proposed innovation has a demonstrated in-space capability to provide multiple and reliable deployments, retractions, and re-deployment operations allowing for continuous mobility operations and shuttling. No other solar array has demonstrated the ability to deploy, retract and re-deploy multiple times in space or through ground testing. The proposed technology innovation significantly enhances Lunar Lander and sample return vehicle capabilities by providing a low-cost alternative renewable power generating system in place of standard RTG systems currently being used. The proposed innovation greatly increases performance and autonomy/mobility, decreases risk, and ultimately enables missions.
The technology is particularly suited for Lunar Lander and sample return missions that require game-changing performance in terms of affordability, high power, compact stowed packaging, high deployed strength and stiffness, unsupported deployment in 1G, deployment / retraction / re-deployment capability, and lightweight. NASA space applications are comprised of practically all Exploration, Space Science, Earth Science, Planetary Surface, and other missions.
The technology is particularly suited for reconnaissance missions that require game-changing performance in terms of affordability, ultra-lightweight, compact stowage volume, deployment / retraction / re-deployment capability, and high deployed strength and stiffness. The technology is applicable for non-NASA LEO, MEO & GEO missions.
The use of a Passive Q-Switch (PQS) in a high power MOPA configuration with multiple tens of watts output will enable a smaller, compact, lightweight lidar transmitter with significantly increased reliability over existing legacy transmitters for space applications. The proposed MOPA transmitter will reduce transmitter size and weight by integrating a Passive Q-switch (PQS) into the master oscillator, which will eliminate the Active Q-switch (AQS) used in high power MOPA’s. Replacing the AQS with a PQS eliminates the high voltage power supply, high voltage AQS driver, and intracavity AQS crystal. This also eliminates the sensitive alignment and locking of the intracavity AQS and mount. Cr:YAG PQS crystals have been used as a separate component in a resonator to produce Nd:YAG and Nd:YVO4 PQS lasers.They can be designed to produce longer output pulse widths around 8-10 nsec and use QCW laser diode pumping to fix the laser rep rate. The MO output can be amplified up to the level required for lidar applications. The proposed transmitter will use a Carbon Fiber (CF) optical bench to reduce weight and increase stiffness in an aluminum housing. The resonator, amplifiers and second harmonic generation optics and mounts will occupy the top side of the optical bench, with the beam expander located on the bottom side. Two amplifiers will be used with the MO to amplify the energy per pulse up to 5-10 mJ at 4.0-5.0 kHz rep rate, depending on application requirements. The MOPA output can be configured with SHG, THG and OPO wavelength conversion options to operate from the UV to IR. For environmental monitoring applications the laser will operate at 1064 nm and 532 nm. We propose the engineering model phase II deliverable laser to be configured with 6 mJ total output energy/pulse at 4 kHz rep rate, with 3 mJ at 1064 nm, and 3 mJ at 532 nm, and a proposed rep rate of 4 kHz and pulse width of 10 nsec. The laser will use Nd:YVO4 laser slabs pumped at 878.6 nm with VBG stabilization.
This effort proposes miniaturization and reliability over existing lidar transmitter configurations for use SmallSats including environmental research and monitoring. The proposed transmitter applications include Earth Sciences lidar systems, such as use in Cloud Physics Lidar systems based at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center at code 610 (Dr. Matthew McGill). The transmitter would enable smaller, lighter, more reliable lidar instruments for space-based systems, particularly in SmallSats where lidar system weight and volume must be minimized.
Applications include military lidar for ranging and imaging, particularly with the emerging use of UAV military platforms, and military space based lidar in SmallSats for surveillance and other military applications. Lidar systems are also used on UAV’s for commercial applications. Lidar can also be used in underwater imaging in UUV's at 532 nm wavelength for bathymetry and object detection.
There is substantial evidence suggesting that a Lithium-ion cell undergoes internal structural and mechanical changes prior to a catastrophic failure. Some of these changes include electrode expansion, electrode ruffling, dendrite formation, internal gas formation, and internal density changes. A key characteristic of these changes is that most of them occur prior to any external measurable parameter variation, such as in terminal voltage, surface temperature, or mechanical surface strain. Therefore, detecting internal cell structural and mechanical changes early and with adequate resolution has several benefits, including the prevention of catastrophic accidents sufficiently ahead of time, and the gathering of additional information that can be used to more accurately assess the health and life of cells during operation. We propose a novel approach that simultaneously detects and corrects these internal cell changes early and using hardware that can be permanently installed externally on the surface of a lithium-ion cell. Our approach enhances the safety and prognostics associated with lithium-ion batteries, and its reconstruction capability has the added benefit of rejuvenating a cell to extend its life. Finally, the proposed solution will be implemented on small, low cost, and low power hardware to ensure its seamless integration to existing commercial cells and systems.
It is estimated that the proposed system can have a substantial impact in the following NASA projects: Advanced Air Transport Technology (AATT) project, Flight Demonstrations and Capabilities (FDC) project, Transformation Tools and Technologies (TTT) project, as well as the NASA X-57 prototype and other efforts where electric and/or hybrid-electric propulsion systems are being engineered at NASA.
Battery technologies are critical for renewable systems, such as solar, wind, and hybrid/electric vehicles. Batteries are also a critical component in large data centers and in aerospace systems where failures must be detected early, accurately, reliably, and cost effectively. Our customers should include DOD, NASA, DOE, and Boeing, GE, Tesla, GM, Ford, among others.
The innovation proposed here is a novel tank‑and‑aeroshell arrangement that exploits the latest composite manufacturing practices to advance the state‑of‑the‑art beyond what was possible during the NASA/Lockheed Martin X-33/VentureStar program (Ref. 1). By using advanced stitched‑composite design and manufacturing methods, a more efficient airframe design becomes possible that fundamentally addresses the manufacturing flaws, scale‑up challenges, and permeability issues that caused the X-33 tank specimen failure. The approach proposed in this SBIR is a highly‑integrated, load‑bearing, unitized skin‑stringer‑frame composite propellant tank that would be infused‑and‑cured in an oven, before being mechanically‑joined to a separately processed, discretely‑stiffened, carbon‑carbon aeroshell that would be capable of meeting the stringent structural weight fractions required for single‑stage‑to‑orbit vehicles. This SBIR Phase I proposal focuses on a few key development activities that would demonstrate the feasibility prospects of a unitized tank concept relative to the weight and permeability parameters that were achieved for the X‑33/VentureStar multi‑piece composite tank design approach.
Innovative material and structural concepts that provide reductions in mass and volume for next‑generation space vehicles shows up as a key focus area in nearly all NASA and Air Force technology roadmaps for futuristic high-speed air vehicles.
The technology presented here is directly applicable to numerous Air Force and commercial launch applications.
Mainstream proposes a single-loop vapor compression thermal control system (VCTCS) to replace currently-used two-loop TCSs. NASA uses two-loop TCSs to mitigate crew toxicity risk whereby one loop collects heat within a crew module with a low-toxicity fluid and transfers the heat to a second loop in the external module that rejects heat through the radiators. This architecture is used for crew safety (most very low freezing point fluids are somewhat toxic or untested) but comes with a mass penalty due to the duplication of prime movers (pumps), mass of the intermediate heat exchanger, and extra radiator surface area to account for the additional temperature delta required for the intermediate heat exchange process.
The two-loop mass penalty is a driving force toward reducing the TCS to a single working fluid. However, the toxicity risk must be mitigated for this architecture to be realized. Mainstream proposes to replace the two loop TCS architecture with a single loop TCS architecture that has toxicity mitigating technology. In Phase I, Mainstream demonstrated the performance of the lightweight and compact compressor, by far the most critical component in the single-loop system. In Phase II, Mainstream will refine the compressor design, and then will build and test a full-scale 8-kW capacity single-loop thermal system prototype.
NASA applications for the proposed toxicity mitigating thermal control system include future Orion-like manned missions, Deep Space Gateway and Transport missions, and lunar habitation modules. Any manned space vehicle would benefit from the expected weight and crew safety advantage offered by the innovative thermal control system proposed.
The compressor designed in Phase I expands our commercial compressor line. The compressors in this family can be used where size or mass are key requirements. Sub-ambient compressor operation further targets applications that involve close proximity or confined spaces. The negative-pressure VCTCS can also be downsized and integrated into a cooling system for personal protective equipment.
In the pursuit of supplying the highest quality 3D woven material, for Woven Thermal Protection Systems (W-TPS), Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) is proposing a diagnostic tool to measure and monitor the motions of a 3D weaving loom. Current weaving techniques rely on the loom operator to see or hear variations in the weaving process and detect problems early so defective material is kept to a minimum. Many times, even for the most experienced weavers, when variations are identified a defect is already woven into the product. BRM is proposing to modify the typical loom motion on the 24-inch-wide NASA HEEET loom to incorporate measurement devices to monitor real time activities.
The specialized equipment used to weave 3D woven preforms is based on standard textile equipment that is substantially modified to allow hundreds of layers to be interwoven together. As these complex woven structures are scaled up, it is critical to understand the dynamics of the 3D weaving equipment and how interactions between different components will affect the unit cell of the woven structure and ultimately the material properties.
The Phase I work has confirmed, that monitoring the looms motions a closed loop system feasible. Monitoring was the first step to creating a “smart” loom. A “smart” loom capable of diagnosing variables and automatically adjust to ensure consistent high quality preforms are supplied, preforms with uniform and consistent unit cells and crimp levels.
BRM believes the material properties gathered during this SBIR work would be directly applicalbe to the NASA HEEET program. BRM also believe that the money invested on this SBIR would reduce material cost on future missions by providing the NASA enineers with another design option when developing Woven Thermal Protection Systems (W-TPS).
Potential hypersonic applications
AFA is pleased to present this proposal to continue development of our breakthrough capability in the additive manufacture (a.k.a. 3-D printing) of extremely fine meshes, which can be used as a direct replacement for Rigimesh. Our meshing technology provides equivalent propellant flow and transpiration cooling behavior as Rigimesh, but eliminates the need for welding that faceplate in place, which results in a drastic reduction in both cost and lead time for a modern propellant injector.
Importantly, our mesh is not based upon either a CAD representation of a faceplate that contains thousand or tens of thousand of individual orifices, which makes the STL and slice files (needed for actual printing) prohibitively large (~5 GB) and extremely low-quality. Equally importantly, our mesh is of regular orientation and is not stochastic in any way. We proved in Phase I that such meshes do not flow in a manner consistent with good injector compatibility or in a repeatable manner.
Instead, our regular mesh is printed by direct, but simple (in hindsight) manipulation of the selective laser melting (SLM) process itself. The porosity of the mesh can be manipulated by the designer and tailored (within the same faceplate) to the local flowfield. The CAD file for such meshes is very small (~10kB), which results in very small STL and slice files. It also means the resultant mesh prints very quickly compared to both alternative approaches.
Critically, our mesh printing technology enabled a breakthrough in the printing of small orifices: AFA was among the best AM vendors in the printing of small holes using traditional CAD depictions, and the smallest holes were able to print prior to this Phase I was on the order of 0.012". With this new technology we have developed, holes as small as 0.003" were printed during Phase I and showed excellent repeatability and excellent flow behavior.
In the end, AFA clearly demonstrated feasibility in printing a mesh faceplate.
Artemis program Lunar Lander main propulsion
Mars ascent vehicle main propulsion
Commercial launch main propulsion
Valve and fluid control devces
Heat exchanger components
RC Integrated Systems LLC (RISL), with support from Lockheed Martin Space and in collaboration with Kansas State University (KSU) and TechOpp Consulting Inc., proposes to advance the development of a novel Fiber Optic Multimodal Sensing (FOMS) System, providing accurate simultaneous measurement of multiple parameters including pressure, temperature, and strain in high temperature and/or radiation environment. The FOMS addresses NASA’s need for measurement of pressure, temperature, and strain in a high temperature and radiation environment to support rocket ground testing. The FOMS sensors are based on fabrication of unique multimodal sensors along the length of a single unique optical fiber and coating of the fiber with a novel high-temperature-resistance ceramic material. The FOMS system is capable of measuring temperature as high as 1500 degrees C with 0.1 degree C accuracy, strains of up to 10,000 microstrains with 1 microstrain accuracy, and pressure of over 5000 psi with accuracy of 0.2%. The outcome of the Phase I FOMS program was the successful feasibility demonstration of the FOMS technology through extensive design, modeling, prototype development, and laboratory testing and demonstration. A Technology Readiness Level (TRL-) 3 prototype was tested in a laboratory environment at temperatures up to 1100 degrees C with the capability to operate up to 1500 degrees C. Laboratory testing showed less than 0.1 degree C in temperature measurement and about 1 microstrain in strain measurement had been achieved with the prototype sensor. In addition, the prototype sensor was tested to show high stability and repeatability. At the end of Phase II, RISL will perform a TRL-5 prototype demonstrations of the FOMS technology at RISL or a NASA facility, and will deliver to NASA a fully operational FOMS system prototype.
FOMS can be used in the nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) ground test facility for evaluation of nuclear rocket fuel elements. It can be incorporated into Stennis Space Center (SSC) NTP Ground Test Exhaust Capture System. It can also be incorporated into the Nuclear Thermal Rocket Element Environmental Simulator (NTREES) at the Marshall Center's Propulsion Research and Development Laboratory. Future mission applications for this technology include Human Missions to Mars, Science Missions to Outer Planets, and Planetary Defense.
FOMS can be used for measuring turbine engine exhaust gas temperature (EGT) and pressure and structural strain. It can also be used for monitoring EGT and pressure in coal-fired power plants, natural-gas-based power plants, and geothermal plants. Lockheed Martin Space has expressed their interest in FOMS technology for mapping structural temperatures and strains on spacecraft platforms.
The cause of most adverse situations during unmanned aerial system operation is system, subsystem, or component faults or failure which are caused by damage, degradation, or environmental hazards that occur during flight. The Hiawatha Onboard Electronic Sensing System can unobtrusively monitor the electronic health of the unmanned vehicle in real-time, identifying and assessing the threat of any transient high stress events which can affect the ongoing health and safety of the system to prevent system failure or unsafe conditions. The system relies on identifying changes in unintended RF emissions and characterizing them using a hybrid of spectral quantification metrics and machine learning algorithms. Leveraging mature RF hardware, Nokomis will integrate and test machine learning algorithms capable of assessing emissions changes in real time identify imminent fault states caused by normal wear or stress events which cause temporary or permanent disability of the system. The system is envisioned to operate autonomously, alerting the operator or initiating countermeasures as needed.
In Phase II, a prototype of the system will be built and tested supported by the following tasks:
The primary application is for use in by unmanned vehicles to provide a safety system to identify any threats to vehicle performance and mission. The real-time threat analysis system will enhance vehicle safety without the need for an operator to either identify issues or initiate measures to compensate for unsafe operating states. The cause of most adverse situations is system, subsystem, or component faults or failure which are caused by damage degradation, or environmental hazards that occur during flight.
The market for UAS includes commercial applications such as surveillance, visual monitoring of remote infrastructure, and package delivery in densely populated areas. These applications benefit from increased security of operations, to prevent loss of valuable equipment, ensuring the safety of people, and limiting damage to other infrastructure due to a critical failure of an aerial platform.