NASA has been investing in several CO2 reduction technologies which face challenges in high temperature gas purification and/or separation for CO, H2, and hydrocarbon rich streams. A compact hydrogen purification assembly that can be readily installed and steadily operated in the human spacecraft environment is urgently sought.
Being robust at high temperature, capable of efficient H2 separation and excellent hydrothermal stability and chemical resistance, Bettergy is developing composite zeolite membrane system that can separate hydrogen from the acetylene without occurrence of hydrogenation reaction. A two-stage configuration will be employed in the mode of continuous operation to obtain maximum H2 recovery (>95%) with acetylene rejection of >99%. This novel system will be an efficient and reliable unit for the hydrogen separation process in ISS to treat high temperature gas mixtures such as hydrogen and hydrocarbon rich streams. In the Phase II program, the membrane fabrication process will be optimized. Tubular/hollow fiber membrane modules will be fabricated, evaluated and delivered.
A robust, highly efficiency separation system recovery for hydrogen separation without occurrence of hydrogenation reaction can provide additional hydrogen to react with CO2, which will be able to increase the percentage of oxygen recovery from carbon dioxide and realize a fully closing the Air Revitalization System (ARS) loop.
The system could potentially used for hydrogen production from various sources such as methane pyrolysis, water-gas-shift reaction, methane reforming and ammonia cracking.
Pharmaceuticals in general, and biopharmaceuticals specifically, often are best formulated as crystals. The crystalline state is the most stable of matter, allows a high-concentration, low-viscosity parenteral formulation, and facilitates alternate routes of administration. There is a requirement that the crystals be small, below 100 or 50 micrometers, and uniform (the same size within a few percent). The problem: most recombinant protein biopharmaceuticals do not crystallize uniformly. A solution to this problem has been discovered in on-orbit experiments, which produced size coefficients of variation below ~8%. Manufacturers are creating demand for on-orbit testing of uniform crystallization protocols, but suitable hardware and ISS research opportunities are inadequate.
Techshot proposes a business plan utilizing its versatile fleet of flight hardware, and flexible flight opportunities. These will be made available to industrial and institutional customers seeking improvements/refinements in product purification, formulation and/or delivery. Hardware and flight plans will be offered in which factorial and/or real-time photography experiments can be performed. In the Phase I Techshot (1) adapted four different existing hardware modules for this application, (2) tested them in model protein crystallization experiments in the lab, and (3) performed mathematical modeling for a ground-based crystallization reactor with adjustable parameters for approximating the relevant low-gravity physics. In Phase II, Techshot will (a) define and document an experiment design for a flight demonstration, (b) design and integrate hardware for flight readiness, (c) prepare and execute an ISS use plan, (d) and design and construct a flight-like EDU for an innovative dynamic microscope cassette. The intended outcome is a business paradigm for hastening the availability of stable biopharmaceuticals with favorable options for delivery.
NASA has solicited research topics in the area of pharmaceutical production on spacecraft making deep space voyages to solve problems of availability and stowage. Such projects include short-cut production of biopharmaceuticals by stored microbial cells but also need to include short-cut purification schemes. A clever crystallization plan, Techshot’s proposed innovation, could eliminate several traditional (chromatography, extraction, etc.) downstream steps toward such on-orbit formulation.
Companies that succeed in producing a crystalline product will save enormously due to longer ambient stability, lower delivery volume and novel routes of administration, whether it is an approved pharmaceutical or an emerging therapeutic. Patients and insurers likewise benefit. Therefore, Techshot intends to offer for hire a variety of crystallization capabilities in Earth and space-based labs.
In this program, Freedom Photonics will develop a compact, space-qualified LIDAR seed source package at TRL 6. The low SWaP presented by our monolithic photonic integration approach is attractive for small satellite and UAV applications, and the proposed work is necessary in order to mitigate the risk of environmental failure during the harsh conditions of launch and spaceflight. In collaboration with NASA LaRC, the proposed packaging and reliability work proceeds with the qualification study we devised in Phase I, and builds on the prototype hardware package we designed and assembled.
The package assembly and design in this program will directly translate to other wavelengths and photonic architectures, and we have selected water vapor and methane LIDAR as the initial target application in order to leverage the successful 1645 nm integration platforms we developed with the support of NASA GSFC. This space qualification effort will ultimately facilitate satellite-based remote sensing of other atmospheric gases, and paves the way for other spaceborne photonic integrated circuits (PICs).
The Phase II effort will culminate in an interim and a final hardware deliverable. The final LIDAR seed source package will be TRL 6.
This program was inspired by an existing need within NASA (LaRC) for new, more precise and powerful remote sensing instrument implementations. The package is being developed for an instrument capable of high spatial resolution 3D mapping of water vapor and methane. The space qualification campaign focuses on package design and assembly, which is directly applicable to other PIC architectures at other wavelengths, so it is relevant for high-resolution LIDAR mapping of other atmospheric gases such as CFCs, carbon dioxide and other volatiles.
This package technology will help us develop packaging that enables our PICs to survive launch and spaceflight. Space-qualified PIC packages can be used for terrestrial surveys, communications, atomic sensing, structural health monitoring, and other remote sensing. The extensive risk mitigation of the space qualification may also make our PICs attractive for automotive and aerospace applications.
The NDL is used during terminal descent; this is the phase of EDL in which terrain-relative decisions and final preparations for landing are made. During terminal descent, lander maneuvers include vehicle reorientation to facilitate surface relative sensing and using propulsion to divert away from hazards. During EDL, precise knowledge of the spacecraft state, as well as the properties of the landing area, are critically important.
The NDL directly measures radial velocity and line of sight distance, providing precise knowledge of the vehicle state estimates relative to the landing surface. The unprecedented velocity accuracy provided by the NDL is due to the continuous wave (CW) lidar waveform. As such, the only way to obtain distance measurements is to modulate the waveform. The Linear frequency modulation continuous wave (FMCW) waveform employed provides distance measurements without compromising the accuracy of the velocity measurements.
We propose an innovative integrated opto-electronic device hybridized into a new chip-scale waveform modulation system for Navigation Doppler Lidar. The innovation decreases sensor size, mass, power and cost while maintaining the operational performance needs of the GN&C system for precision navigation. Once developed, the complete integrated package of the proposed innovation will provide higher fidelity waveforms, added robustness during operational environments, in miniaturized package.
The NDL is one of several sensors base-lined at NASA for lander GN&C subsystems, as it shows great promise to aide in navigation of the vehicle autonomously to lunar touchdown. The significant innovative advances proposed here reduce size, mass, power, and cost, increases sensitivity, and offers more functional options in order to cover a wider range of vehicles and trajectories. The compactness also opens possibilities for applications in rendezvous and docking, or small lunar hoppers.
Miniaturization and increased efficiency also reduces cost and an increases reliability. On earth, the new architecture opens many possibilities and applications in autonomous navigation of air and land vehicles, for the consumer and for the military. This work paves the way toward a faster transition to highly efficient and inexpensive Lidar sensors.
In this SBIR project, pH Matter, LLC is developing an automated carbon formation reactor (CFR) for the continuous formation of carbon from crew CO2. The team’s approach will allow the CFR to operate continuously in an automated manner without the need for human intervention or the need for large and heavy replacement catalyst inserts. The system to be demonstrated will include an automated catalyst delivery and carbon removal system. A four crew member prototype will be built and delivered to NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
NASA has a need for improved process technologies for life support loop closure to enable extended manned exploration missions beyond earth’s atmosphere. The automated carbon formation reactor is necessary to efficiently recover oxygen for manned missions to deep space, Mars, lunar missions, and for reducing supply requirements to the International Space Station (ISS). A critical component in life support loop closure is the removal of metabolic carbon dioxide (produced by the crew) from the cabin atmosphere.
The CFR reactor demonstrated on this project could be used by other aerospace companies interested in manned space exploration including, Lockheed Martin, Blue Origin, and SpaceX. The reactor technology developed on this program could be used to continuously grow carbon materials which could be used in a wide range of applications including electro-active carbons for fuel cells and batteries.
X-ray computed tomography (XCT/CT) is a widely used nondestructive evaluation (NDE) method for quality control and post-build inspection in additively manufactured (AM) components. AM practitioners increasingly recognize the limitations of such NDE methods and the need to validate the capability of these methods on an ongoing basis. Automated, metallography-based serial sectioning offers a reliable method to establish ground truth data on the flaw populations as well as microstructural variations of AM components. UES proposes a project aimed at establishing comparison methods and workflows for validating CT with ground truth from serial sectioning, and developing probability of detection (POD) curves for multiple materials and defect types. The knowledge gained from these efforts will inform CT scan strategies for improved flaw detection in AM components, evaluate flaw detectability in CT using serial sectioning as a ground truth comparison, and quantify the risk of the flaws absent from the CT data sets. In addition, improving the capabilities of an automated defect recognition (ADR) algorithm can improve NDE throughput.
Both NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) need spacecraft with demanding propulsive performance and greater flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles and extended operations under challenging environmental conditions. Planetary spacecraft need the ability to rendezvous with, orbit, and conduct in situ exploration of planets, moons, and other small bodies. For these applications, Hall Effect thrusters are being designed to meet the propulsion need.
Current Hall effect thrusters make use of hexagonal boron nitride (BN) for the discharge channel in which plasma is generated and accelerated. However, the BN materials have exhibited substantial lot-to-lot variability. Such material property inconsistencies have thus necessitated costly thruster design features to improve survivability margins against mechanical and thermal shock.
ACM has developed PAL BN materials that will reduce the causes of variability and offer predictable performance. ACM’s PAL technology produces a highly uniform microstructure with significant improvements in mechanical properties.
The proposed technology may find use in NASA missions // applications like in HERMES, lunar Gateway, and Psyche propulsion systems. Other applications would be in manned Mars missions, future deep space missions, and for station keeping of near Earth research satellites.
The proposed technology will find primary use in commercial satellite propulsion systems. The materials will also find dual use in the area of machinable ceramics.
Risks posed by sUAS to manned aircraft continue to increase as sUAS operations expand. To improve UAS-NAS aviation safety, Mosaic ATM proposes three UAS technology innovations:
1) An sUAS Collision Avoidance System (sUCAS)
2) A prototype Remote ID beacon, and
3) A prototype Remote ID receiver
The first proposed innovation, the sUAS Collision Avoidance System (sUCAS), will be an enhancement to existing collision avoidance systems, specifically for mitigating collision risk with sUAS. sUCAS will take advantage of the position data broadcast by sUAS to present timely and situational awareness and maneuver guidance to augment a pilot’s see-and-avoid capability. The ultimate vision for sUCAS is to exist as an application on a pilot’s electronic flight bag (EFB).
The second proposed innovation, a Remote ID beacon, will be a small, low-mass, portable, long range, self-powered module that can be mounted to an sUAS to broadcast Remote ID messages in accordance with the recently passed FAA rule. An integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) chip will provide interpolated position information of the sUAS.
The third proposed innovation, a Remote ID receiver, like the beacon, will be a small, low-mass, portable, self-powered module that can be mounted to the interior windshield of the manned aircraft cockpit. The purpose of the receiver is to extend the effective range of the Remote ID beacon and integrate with sUCAS in the GA cockpit.
Applications within NASA include projects falling under the Airspace Operation and Safety program, especially those oriented towards future aviation systems like UTM, AAM, and ATM-X which have goals to safely accommodate emergent air vehicles.
Non-government markets for sUCAS and the Remote ID receiver include GA aircraft operators who fly in lower altitudes.
Non-government markets for the Remote ID beacon include sUAS operators who will comply with the FAA Remote ID rule, which requires them to equip aircraft with a Remote ID beacon module by Q4 2023.
A second market is sUAS manufacturers who may license the Remote ID beacon technology.
HJ Science and Technology, Inc. seeks to develop a fully integrated and automated instrument for performing rapid detection and monitoring of microbes on surfaces and air environments. This technology supports NASA’s Planetary Protection goals of protecting solar system bodies from biological contamination as well as protecting Earth from life forms possibly returned from those extraterrestrial bodies. Specifically, the proposed instrument autonomously and rapidly enumerates bioburden on surface and air environments in cleanrooms, spacecraft, and payload hardware. In addition to measuring the total number of microbes, the instrument distinguishes between microbe states such as viable organisms or spores relevant in Planetary Protection practices. This instrument stems from our novel ChargeSwitch Concentration and Purification (CSCP) technology that bridges the gap between large volume environmental sampling and small volume genomic detection without sacrificing cell capture efficiency. In Phase I, we have demonstrated the capability our CSCP technology to perform microbial detection and characterization with similar performance as that of NASA’s culture-based Standard Assay. In Phase II, we will construct and deliver a microbial detection instrument by leveraging our CSCP technology to fully integrate three modules for large volume concentration, sample processing, and qPCR in an enclosed, compact, lightweight, and low power package.
The proposed microbial detection instrument is ideal to support the Planetary Protection’s goal of reducing cross-contamination of terrestrial and possible extraterrestrial life forms. The instrument rapidly quantifies and autonomously monitors bioburden of cleanrooms and spacecrafts during assembly and flight preparations. Additionally, our technology is adaptable for spaceflight operations providing a potential roadmap to monitor microbes during missions to and from extraterrestrial bodies.
The proposed microbial detection instrument is naturally suited for pathogen detection and monitoring in water and food supply industries. Moreover, the autonomous monitoring capability of our proposed instrument is ideal for cleanroom monitoring in manufacturing or pharmaceutical environments.
Remote Sensing Solutions proposes for the Phase II effort to develop and demonstrate a novel high-fidelity software defined radar/radiometer (SDRr) that meets the needs of future NASA Earth and planetary missions, as well as airborne demonstration and science programs that support NASA missions and/or mission risk reduction. This game-changing technology not only will provide state-of-the-art performance, support ultra-wide bandwidth applications and enable simultaneous radar/radiometer operations through common hardware, but it will also provide an innovative approach through its unique reconfigurable architecture that can be repurposed (reconfigured) for multiple different next generation sensors and missions while maintaining its TRL thus reducing mission costs, risks and schedules.
The SDRr will realize: Ultra-Wideband Instantaneous Bandwidth providing 3 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth and multi-channel, multi-sub channel operations; Embedded Real-time Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) Mitigation that detects and removes RFI signals potentially with equivalent brightness temperatures less than 1 Kelvin; Direct RF Digital Receiver capable of directly sampling receive signals up through C-band frequencies and potentially higher; Combined Radar-Radiometer Signal Processor that provides both radar and radiometric signal processing and directly measures radar spectrum to enable operation of both within the same frequency allocation band(s) and provides detection and cancelation of the radar interference; a Reconfigurable Common Architecture capable of supporting multiple different radar and radiometer designs and modes of operations leading to high reuse between different missions and platforms; and will be delivered in a Small Modular Form Factor not much larger than a smart phone.
NASA has been charged with developing missions to obtain new observations to improve our understanding and ability to predict weather and extreme weather events; improve our understanding of the roles and interactions of the oceans, atmospheric, land and ice in the Earth’s climate system; and aid in natural hazards. NASA will need combined active and passive airborne and spaceborne observations and new instruments to meet these objectives, and the proposed RSS software defined receiver will provide critical capabilities in this effort.
The product developed through this effort will offer a unique solution to NOAA and commercial customers such as Climacell and BAE for active / passive remote sensing of the ocean surface, ocean vector winds, precipitation and soil moisture from manned and unmanned UAS platforms; and to defense agency for next generation signal intercept and digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) capabilities.
There is a strong emerging market for advanced air mobility concepts based on electric vehicle platforms. The Vertical Flight Society is tracking the progress of these vehicle concepts via a web portal that currently features over 140 vectored thrust, 60 lift plus cruise configurations, and approximately 100 wingless multicopters. Many of these vehicles have flown as scaled proof of concepts, while several others are flying as full-scale prototypes. While many of the concepts are envisioned to fly in an autonomous mode, the vehicles that will be certified by the FAA initially will all likely have pilot/operators on-board. Furthermore, these mostly electric vertical takeoff and landing concepts (eVTOL) will also likely feature advanced flight control concepts with highly augmented response types and a variety of cockpit control concepts from conventional helicopter to conventional fixed wing to unified (i.e., the F-35 approach). Given the industry push, these vehicles are clearly coming, but is the public ready to accept this disruptive technology? Besides the noise factor, which is not addressed here, there are safety and comfort factors to consider as well as a pilot pool that is likely to have less training and experience then those flying in the commercial transport market. To this end, a team led by Systems Technology, Inc. is developing the UAM Pilot Assessment Software System (U-PASS) toolbox that utilizes a Task-Pilot-Vehicle (TPV) approach to assess safety in terms of handling qualities and comfort in terms of ride qualities. By the end of Phase II, a prototype U-PASS toolbox will be available to support the design, analysis, and certification of UAM. Further, U-PASS can be used to enhance NASA’s FlightCODE (Flight dynamics and control modeling tool for COnceptual DEsign), an integrated collection of tools for the flight dynamics and control assessments of rotorcraft designs including eVTOL configurations.
The U-PASS toolbox directly supports the goals of the NASA Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology Project to “develop and validate tools, technologies and concepts to overcome key barriers for vertical lift vehicles” including the FlightCODE software suite. Furthermore, U-PASS will provide a means to support the NASA National Campaign, which will provide “valuable knowledge that will be given to the organizations working to establish the certification requirements and standards needed for the market to move forward.”
A study by Frost & Sullivan sees the UAM marketplace “expanding with a compound annual growth rate of about 46% to more than 430,000 units in operation by 2040.” There is a need for the new methodologies in U-PASS to support the design, analysis, and certification of these vehicles. STI has relationships with a number of these companies from which an emerging customer base will be established.
Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) proposes a compact, vacuum-regenerable sorbent bed for effectively removing a broad range of trace contaminants, meeting topic performance requirements, which can be integrated with the Exploration Portable Life Support System (xPLSS) CO2/H2O removal system. Both the primary trace contaminants (ammonia, CO, formaldehyde, and methyl mercaptan) as well as other species that threaten to exceed the 7-day Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) levels during an EVA were addressed via sub-scale testing in Phase I. These sorbents with different properties were combined in the modular Trace Contaminant Control (TCC) bed, tailored to the requirements and in suitable proportion. Our approach is based on PCI’s proven sorbent nanomaterials that have high surface area on a structured support, enabling a compact, low pressure drop, and vacuum-regenerable TCC device. In Phase I, all objectives and proposed tasks were successfully completed to demonstrate proof-of-concept of these vacuum-regenerable sorbent materials and sorbent module for a compact, efficient TCC. This offers the potential for real-time, in-suit sorbent regeneration, reduced logistical burden associated with bed replacement or thermal regeneration, and further volume and weight reduction of the TCC packaging. At the end of Phase I, a modular, compact, low pressure drop, and durable integrated TCC design approach was identified. In this proposed follow-on Phase II, TCC hardware prototypes will be developed, demonstrated, and delivered to a NASA laboratory for further evaluation, performance validation, and possible integration with the xPLSS hardware design. This effort would be valuable to NASA as it would address the current xPLSS technology gap and increase mission capability/durability/extensibility while at the same time increasing the TRL of the novel vacuum regenerable TCC sorbents.
Targeted NASA applications will be in advanced spacesuit and exploration PLSS with key potential customers including Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, and private sector customers. Additional NASA application includes Gateway and Artemis missions, future ISRU concepts for Lunar or Martian bases, spacecraft, and for the International Space Station.
Targeted non-NASA applications include commercial aircraft air purification systems and for military vehicle cabins such as in aircraft, ships and submarines. Another market for this technology would be commercial buildings where it can have significant impact on the demand control ventilation and indoor air quality, resulting in significant decrease in associated energy and other costs.
QuinStar Technology proposes to develop an efficient, solid-state power amplifier (SSPA), operating at V-band frequencies in support of NASA Earth and planetary science applications. This proposal addresses the critical need for high-efficiency, millimeter-wave amplifiers used in absorption radar for remote pressure sensing to improve weather models. Specifically, we propose to develop a pulsed power amplifier with a minimum duty cycle of 25% operating over the 65-71 GHz band. The output power of the SSPA is specified to be more than 10 Watts throughout the band of 65-to-71 GHz with an associated PAE of more than 30%. The efficiency and power goals of this program will be realized by employing a combination of state-of-the-art (SOA) device technology, innovative circuit design, and power combining techniques.
Simulations of the MMIC design using 90 nm GaN HEMT from Qorvo indicate that the power-added-efficiency (PAE) of 33% in the MMIC can be achieved across the band from 65 to 71 GHz with an associated output power of 2.8 W. We propose to realize the specified SSPA power level (>10 W) with high-efficiency waveguide circuit combining techniques. A high-efficiency, 4-way H-tee combiner network was designed in the Phase I program to combine four MMICs and deliver an output power of more than 10 Watts. The combining efficiencies of the 4-way H-tee combiner is simulated greater than 94% in the band of interest, which translates into a PAE of 31% in the SSPA. The compact size and light weight of the SSPA are projected 2.2 x 2.0 x 1.0 inches and 6 oz. respectively, which make it suitable for application to CubeSat/SmallSat platforms.
The main application for NASA is absorption radar for pressure sensing. The remote sensing measurement of pressure will drastically improve the numerical weather models and help solve one of the “most important questions” mentioned in the decadal survey. NASA has had proposals of surface barometric pressure sensing based on the demonstration of this technology. Further, NASA employs satellite-based, active sensors for Earth and planetary science applications, which would benefit from this high-efficiency SSPA approach.
Applications for this high-efficiency amplifier technology abound at other government agencies for frequencies above and below V-band. These include SATCOM and radar applications for all military services. There is an initiative within the FCC to expand the unlicensed frequency spectrum in V-band (57-64 GHz) to include the 64-71 GHz band where the technology is directly applicable.
Digital Pipelines combines modern DevOps practices with MBSE to accelerate continuous integration (CI), verification (CV), and delivery (CD) of complex systems. Digital Pipelines enables automated and scheduled workflows with digital threads that connect models/data of a system distributed in multiple tools. With Digital Pipelines, system engineers can schedule an automated workflow that fetches the latest state of models in a digital thread, runs test suites, and on success generates reports and baselines the digital thread. System engineers can schedule and automate model transformations between tools—requirements to system architecture to mechanical/electrical design and software.
The Phase 1 project successfully demonstrated the technical feasibility of the Digital Pipelines concept using a Spacecraft system testbed with system architecture models (SysML), requirements models, PLM/CAD models, project tasks, and software modules. A novel approach was developed for defining test cases as graph queries and representing system configurations as digital thread sub-graphs.
The Phase 2 project will architect and develop software prototypes of Digital Pipelines as a scalable service that can move, verify, and document digital engineering information in a scheduled and automated pipeline, saving an organization thousands of hours in manual movement and reconciliation of data between disciplines. Digital Pipeline service will include capabilities to: graphically author a pipeline, develop libraries of verification test cases, schedule and track execution of pipelines, and automatically generate reports. Digital Pipeline service will provide a frontend Web-Dashboard and backend REST API for automation and programmatic access.
The Intercax team has finalized a work plan with use cases from three early adopters—NASA Gateway, NASA JPL, and Lockheed Martin Space—to test and provide feedback on the Digital Pipeline service developed in Phase 2 project.
Digital Pipelines are applicable to all current and future NASA missions, both human exploration and robotic, that need revolutionary MBSE approaches to accelerate integrate-verify-deploy cycles. Some notable examples are Lunar Gateway, Human Lander, and Orion as part of the Artemis program; Mars Sample Return, Europa Clipper, and Europa Lander. Intercax is actively engaged with the Gateway (JSC) and JPL teams to target high-value use cases with Digital Pipelines in Phase 2.
Collaborative and distributed MBSE is part of digital transformation initiatives underway in many industries, such as aerospace, defense, automotive, transportation, energy, healthcare, and electronics. Intercax has customers across these industries. Automated and continuous integration, verification, and delivery of products are crucial for these industries to remain competitive globally.
The advent of small launch vehicles has enabled the launch of small satellites on-demand into optimized orbits at affordable costs, leading to a rapid expansion of the small/micro satellite market. However, these small launch vehicles are inherently limited to LEO and currently struggle to support NASA’s push for lunar exploration. ExoTerra’s Solar Electric Propulsion Upper Stage augments small launch vehicles to enable missions to GEO, Trans-Lunar Injection, Earth-Moon Lagrange Points, Lunar Near Rectilinear Halo Orbits, and Low Lunar Orbit. We have partnered with Virgin Orbit to develop an upper stage tailored to Virgin’s LauncherOne that can deliver up to 168 kg to the Moon, enabling low-cost lunar exploration using small satellites and landers. This will aid in NASA's push to establish a permanent outpost on the Moon by providing a steady cadence of microsatellite scale support missions to the Moon such as CLPS landers, observers, GPS and telecom relays.
The SEP Upper Stage has several NASA applications. The system can deliver scientific microsatellites to Low Lunar Orbit, NRHO or Halo orbits at the LaGrange points. It can also deliver small landers on a direct descent trajectory. Beyond the Moon, the Upper Stage can be tailored to deliver satellites to interplanetary trajectories from a GTO launch. Finally, the Upper Stage can be modified for use as a bus to take advantage of its advanced propulsion and power system.
The SEP Upper Stage can be used to deliver satellites to MEO or GEO as well. This has applications for delivering commercial microsatellites to GEO. It can also be used to deliver defense satellites to GEO from a small launch vehicle as well.
Rebel Space Technologies, Inc. proposes SpaceWeaver, a distributed cognitive space communications network to increase mission science data return, improve resource efficiencies for NASA missions and communication networks and ensure resilience in the unpredictable space environment. SpaceWeaver senses, detects, adapts, and learns from its experiences and environment to optimize the network's communications capabilities and reduce both the mission and network operations burden. SpaceWeaver leverages the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence and reinforcement learning to coordinate and control the transfer and relay of mission data across the lunar architecture based on data priority, content, schedule, and environmental conditions.
SpaceWeaver uses Artificial Intelligence enhanced distributed sensing and optimized data routing to ensure efficient, resilient operations in the space environment. In addition to lunar communications architecture, the innovations proposed could also improve the mission data relay and network capabilities of the NOAA Satellite Information System, NASA Earth Science Mission Directorate systems, or the NASA Tracking and Data Relay System (TDRS).
Applications include Department of Defense future space architectures and satellite communications networks, and commercial space industry (e.g., Earth remote sensing constellations, asteroid mining, deep space communications).
Liquid connectors for the Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garments (LCVG) within the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) suffer from mechanical defects including leaking after long durations, latching mechanism deficiencies, and un-optimized size and mass. Mainstream aims to solve all of these issues for the primary thermal loop connector (PTLC) and auxiliary thermal loop connector (ATLC). In Phase I, Mainstream replaced the liquid sealing mechanism to eliminate the cold-flow driven leakage that the PTLC and ATLC currently experience. In Phase II, Mainstream will develop improved PTLC and ATLC connectors for use on the xEMU prior to 2024. We will integrate the liquid sealing mechanism as a drop-in replacement to the PTLC and redesign the ATLC. After long duration testing for pressure drop, leakage, and cyclic behavior, Mainstream will deliver 5 production-intent PTLCs and ATLCs to NASA for qualification testing.
Mainstream’s primary goal is to develop an improved LCVG connector that eliminates the cold flow-derived liquid leakage that develops over long durations expected on future Moon and Mars missions. It has been stated in the Artemis Plan that “on the [moon] surface [in 2024], the crew will wear the new exploration extravehicular mobility unit or xEMU spacesuit”. Therefore, Mainstream is focusing primarily on improved connector components that can serve as drop-in replacements because the xEMU suit architecture is already selected.
The developed connector is highly specialized for the xEMU liquid connectors. Because the interface is unique to NASA, the non-NASA commercial applications are very limited.
Leiden Measurement Technolgoy, LLC (LMT) proposes to design and construct the Flat-field Automated UltraViolet Exploration (FAUVE) microscope, a high-resolution, compact, fully-automated epifluorescence microscope operating through the DUV-VIS with sub-micron, high-NA, and a flat field throughout the DUV-VIS. The core of FAUVE is a novel DUV-VIS objective, capable of producing sharp images at high magnification with very little chromatic aberration using only materials that are radiation-hard (exceeding 300 krad). Additionally, FAUVE will feature a new microfluidic cartridge platform which will enable the rapid mounting of samples for microscopic viewing. An automated microfluidic subsystem will autonomously filter samples into the disposable cartridges and treat them with user-defined reagents which could include structural stains/dyes or even functionalized suspension array particles. An entirely custom, miniaturized microscope system will be developed and occupy volume of less than 2,000 cc, while still enabling sub-micron imaging throughout the DUV-VIS in up to five different excitation wavelengths.
The rugged, miniaturized design of FAUVE will make it suitable for mission deployments on Ocean Worlds where it will enable improved life-detection and mineralogy studies. It could also be deployed on rocky bodies to study regolith or soil samples or even used in conjunction with functionalized microspheres for chemical sensing. FAUVE builds on ongoing NASA-funded projects to develop DUV microscopes and its core technologies can easily be implemented into those instruments to augment their performance.
FAUVE has many non-government applications. DUV-VIS fluorescence and transmission microscopy is a very useful tool for life science and medical research, particularly in the fields of histology and cell biology. It will also be highly useful for chemical-quantification of liquid samples by using functionalized spectrally-encoded microspheres in a suspension array and for surface inspections.
Relativity is the only company dedicated to printing an entire launch vehicle. To that end, the company has created the world’s largest metal 3D printer platform, Stargate. At this time, we do not perform automatic, real-time defect detection, but the company has developed significant elements that when integrated together demonstrate the capability for real-time in-situ flaw detection. We use sensors and cameras to collect data on multi-dimension time series; real-time processing elements to review camera and time series data; and closed-feedback loops to modify print deposition parameters.
As part of our Phase II effort over the course of 24 months, we propose to mature our entire suite of sensors to a TRL of 6. To that end, we propose to:
The above work would be in line with our standing goal of using machine learning to automatically respond to a defect and remove/replace it.
Automatic defect detection are a key enabler for 3D printing off planet and as such has wide-ranging potential applications for NASA, including for in-situ manufacturing, on-demand manufacturing from feedstock, manufacturing objects that cannot be launched from Earth due either to payload fairing volume limits or launch loads, and the ability to design missions in novel ways to reduce cost. For example, mission elements not needed for ascent from Earth—such as habitat components—could be manufactured from a printer on the surface of the Moon.
Potential non-NASA applications include those in large, low-volume structures manufacturing, such as makers of industrial pipe, automotive equipment, real-time imaging, and non-destructive testing across the construction, oil, and gas industries.
We propose to build, test and deliver a two-channel NOx monitor (NOx= NO + NO2) suitable for deployment on on ground or aerial-based platforms. It will provide simultaneous measurement of total NOx and NO2 concentrations (and thus NO by difference) . It will have a physical time constant of 1 second (e-1) and provide one independent sample per second. Its accuracy will be better than 5% and its precision less than 0.2 ppb in one second sampling. It will utilize less than 100 W power and weigh less than 25 kilograms. The monitor is based on Aerodyne Research’s patented CAPS (Cavity Attenuated Phase Shift) technology which is already used to produce commercial instruments for both the research and regulatory measurement communities.
Nitrogen Dioxide is measured as a column density by NASA satellites. Accurate and precise ground truth measurements must be made in order to provide proper interpretation of such data. It is also designated as a "Criteria Pollutant" by the Clean Air Act of 1970. The relationship between NO and NO2 is also an indicator of plumes originating from combustion systems such as aircraft and diesel engines and electric power generators. The monitors currently used by NASA deploy an outdated technology, chemiluminescence detection of NO, which is subject to numerous chemical interferences. Furthermore, these monitors cannot provide the fast-response sub-ppb precision required for the measurement of fast moving plumes.
High resolution spatial and temporal measurements of NO2 will enhance the interpretation of both ground and space-based (satellite) measurements. Inclusion of a total NOx measurement capability (and thus NO measurements) would provide NASA with a more accurate and reliable replacement for its standard chemiluminescence-based monitors. The fast response aspect and high sensitivity of the proposed monitor will make it suitable for deployment on aerial platforms.
Aerodyne Research has already provided almost 100 CAPS-based NO2 monitors to university and government laboratories on 5 continents. The inclusion of the total NOx channel will enhance sales of these instruments as it becomes clear that they offer a viable replacement for the chemiluminescence-based monitors that are currently used to measure NOx and NO.
The ResilienX Team is proposing to develop a suite of innovative services to increase the reliability, robustness, and usability of urban weather data. Phase I focused on our Weather Sensor and Data Monitor (WSDM) service which was integrated into our commercial ISSA platform; FRAIHMWORK® (Fault Recovery and Isolation, Health Monitoring frameWORK). Our WSDM Service detects when a weather source is not providing valid or accurate data. These sources include IoT sensors, cameras, crowd sourced data, radar data, or even national, academia and private sector weather feeds. We focused this effort on low altitude, urban environments that have specific complex micro-weather challenges to enable the accelerated deployment of an initial urban wind model capability.
In Phase II, we are proposing to advance our capability by deploying a micro-weather model for the urban environment which considers the structure (i.e. building and terrain) using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as well as meteorology at low altitude to optimize placement of new wind sensors in the selected urban environment. This model, known as Service to Provide OpTimized Observation Network (SPOT-ON), is the first known wind sensor placement optimization technique built for scaling across multiple urban domains worldwide.
Once the optimized sensor footprint is calculated, we will deploy a series of IoT weather sensors in a relevant urban environment. This deployment will enable comparison of weather source data to hundreds of simulated cases of the CFD model under varying weather scenarios to identify statistical outliers. Phase II will also focus on how weather contributes to a UAS operation risk assessment for both strategic and tactical planning. Since the future weather data and predictions sent to users rely on accurate and reliable wind sensor, verifying the validity of the wind sensor input data will enable trust of the output data created by TruWeather Solutions’ urban wind model.
NASA will find the output of this effort useful in their National Campaign effort around Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM). As NASA and its partners look at vertiport locations and urban flight routes, it will be crucial to understand where to place IoT weather sensors for the best ROI as well as how these sensors can contribute to an urban wind model. Additionally, capabilities developed will directly contribute to NASA System Wide Safety Team’s mission to enable In-time system-wide safety assurance (ISSA) capabilities within the AAM ecosystem.
There is a push for “Smart Cities” initiatives in the US right now. Our FRAIHMWORK solution and the WSDM Service fits perfectly into this concept. With TWS, we can provide a solution for domain-specific applications to understand what capabilities and regions are impacted by adverse or off-nominal weather conditions detected within the ecosystem.
ProtoInnovations, LLC proposes to continue applied research and development, mature, and validate dynamically reconfigurable software and mobility architectures (DRSOMA) for robotic planetary rovers to maximize locomotion capabilities inherent on current rover designs as well as foster the creation of new rover designs that can switch between locally optimal locomotion controllers to enable globally optimal mobility in uncharacterized environments. DRSOMA’s architecture allows for a variety of intelligent locomotion controls to be exercised. Transition from control mode to control mode happens in real-time and is seamless. A rover equipped with DRSOMA can switch control modes on the fly, allowing it to adapt more effectively and efficiently to various terrain and environmental conditions. In addition, DRSOMA’s architecture facilities multiple perception and cognition software solutions. A DRSOMA-equipped rover can accommodate multiple sensors and sensing modalities, and a variety of perception algorithms to process and interpret sensor data. Lastly, DRSOMA accommodates and can effectively control rovers that change their electromechanical configuration on the fly, for example rovers with shape-changing wheels, semi-active and active suspensions, etc.
DRSOMA will aid rover-based NASA missions for space science and exploration on the lunar surface during the Artemis (Moon to Mars) Campaign, and other future missions to the Moon and Mars. The Artemis program in particular requires sustainable surface operations that require robots, rovers, and people to all work together. DRSOMA will enable such robotic systems to operate well in more than one mode of locomotion and have real-time control adaptability to benefit ISRU, construction, scientific exploration, and other space science endeavors.
The DRSOMA and it underlying software modules could be applicable in wide range of robotic vehicles in transportation, construction, mining, and logistics to name a few. Such vehicles would benefit from software and controls for efficient, safe, and situation-responsive mobility and adaptability to ever-changing terrain conditions and forceful interactions with the operational environment.
Hedgefog Research Inc. (HFR) is developing new, thin-film, Bendable Electrodynamic Dust Shields (BEDS) that allow for continuous dynamic bending over compound curvatures such as the joint regions of a spacesuit, e.g., ankles, knees, elbows, etc. The BEDS technology is based on a combination of customized rigid and bendable plastic sheet forms with thin film electrode arrays fabricated from commercial flexible copper circuit. The two-dimensional flat plastic sheets incorporate flexible ‘living’ hinges that can be bent in either a positive or negative radius to conform to curved surfaces. In Phase I HFR successfully demonstrated 250mm x 170mm laminate structures that allow living hinges to bend and flex over 100,000’s of bending cycles. This creates a highly suitable support material for thin film electrode arrays that use high strength electric fields to remove dust from the surface. In Phase I, HFR fabricated, assembled, and demonstrated the feasibility of the BEDS technology using high voltage waveforms and simulated regolith dust. We also investigated high voltage safety techniques, electro-magnetic interference reduction, and adaptive technologies to switch on the active dust cleaning only when necessary. In Phase II, HFR will expand the size of the BEDS technology to 1m x 2m grids using a roll-to-roll printing technology to reduce fabrication costs and demonstrate additional BEDS devices based on transparent Indium-Tin-Oxide films.
The initial NASA application for BEDS is to protect equipment from accumulation of lunar dust that can act as an abrasive material on moving parts and damage them over a period of time. Applications of the technology may include electro-static grids to disperse lunar dust from entrance pathways, habitats and shelters, tools, equipment, vehicles, electrodes in helmet visors to keep dust away, flexible electrode ‘tape’ for wrapping around tubes and piping, and integration onto the surface of space suits and other dynamically flexible materials.
For solar farms placed in desert areas where dust and sand are prevalent, a proven BEDS cleaning technology of relatively low cost could be retro-fitted to any existing installation. It could also be used to deflect sand and dust from vehicle windshields, pitched tents, and various other pieces of equipment and personnel.
We propose InAs as a superior alternative to mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) for NASA's astronomy applications in the visible to extended shortwave infrared (eSWIR) spectral band: 0.7 - 2.5 microns. A key performance parameter, the dark current density, can be achieved by cooling the InAs 20K more than MCT with 2.3 micron cutoff. In return, the InAs will extend spectral coverage to 3.0 microns and offer higher yield, lower cost, and greater availability due to the leveraging of mature group III-V growth/process equipment. In Phase I, we demonstrated an InAs focal plane array (FPA) with spectral response from 450 nm to 3000 nm, quantum efficiency ~ 70% in this wide band, and a low dark current that dropped exponentially with cooling. In Phase II, we will further improve material quality, expand array format to 1Kx1K, and deliver a megapixel camera to NASA for evaluation for astronomy.
A great challenge with power management is the way power is transmitted to other devices. Traditional space systems operate through nuclear, solar, or tethered power mechanisms that require great complexity and process to qualify and operate. Tethered systems are hindered tremendously by mechanically mated components that are prone to regolith incursion and that require large robotically generated forces for interconnection. Furthermore, astronauts suffer from limited suit dexterity to manipulate and manage such systems. Nuclear powered systems require intensive handling procedures, and in many cases, presidential authority to launch—greatly increasing the cost and schedule of such missions. Solar powered systems require continuous access to the Sun and must follow predicated operational plans to maximize sunlight exposure and limit system duty cycles, ultimately constraining system performance. A wireless charging system mitigates these challenges for standalone systems that are unable to generate power independently through such traditional methods. Furthermore, a product such as this could have great utility not only on the Moon, but also in critical space applications on Mars, in orbit, and beyond.
The proposing team of Astrobotic and WiBotic, are developing a charging solution that can satisfy these needs. The performance and specifications were initially targeted for multi-kW applications, but through discussions with customers and NASA we have learned a 400 W product is more favorable. The targeted specifications are as follows:
There are several applications that necessitate proximity chargers in space. In relation to the Moon, these activities include supporting marsupial roving missions, enabling robotic systems that do not contain onboard nuclear or solar power generators, charging toolkits on crewed lunar terrain vehicles, and powering the heaters of critical devices to survive the lunar night. Near-field wireless power transmitters are important tools to reduce regolith incursion in mechanically mated systems and static joints.
Robotic systems are increasingly utilized in warehouses, energy/utility plants, construction sites, mines, and for last mile delivery applications. Underwater robotic systems enable ocean research for aquaculture, ocean mapping and maritime trade security inspections. All of these systems are battery powered and require recharging to maintain a high level of reliability and automation.
The Kamodo software suite is a symbolic abstraction layer that allows existing space weather resources to be maximally leveraged across unique research, operational, and educational contexts. Kamodo has the potential to significantly expand the capabilities of space weather scientists and deliver extreme value to the community of space weather modelers and practitioners inside and outside of government. Our proposed Phase II research will enhance the core Kamodo software suite and build a production-ready, intuitive, customizable dashboard and REST API connected to a library of Kamodofied scientific resource containers deployed via a scalable Kubernetes cluster. This solution will simplify the access, analysis, visualization, assimilation, and communication of space weather models and instruments in a secure, portable, and interoperable manner. Kamodo’s features include function composition, automated unit conversion, user-derived function registration, and symbolic expression manipulation, enabling physicists to easily perform complex tasks such as data-model comparisons and one-way model-coupling which would otherwise be highly labor intensive and technically challenging. This effort will design exemplary space weather workflows to showcase data-model comparisons, model coupling, and real-time interpolation and visualization techniques. The tool will enable scientists to symbolically manipulate space weather models and data using a multitude of toolkits including low-level C/C++/Fortran APIs, high-level Python and Jupyter Notebook tools and an intuitive web application with a customizable user interface.
- Space Weather Modeling - Aerospace Computational Modeling - Computational Fluid Dynamics - Astrophysics & Cosmology Modeling - Heliophysics Modeling - Satellite Orbit Modeling - Planetary Science - Flight Dynamics Modeling - Space Plasma Physics - Earth Science
- Petrophysics Flight Dynamics Modeling - Nuclear & Particle Physics - Condensed Matter Physics - Biophysics; - Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics - Bioengineering - Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering - Civil & Environmental Engineering - Materials Science & Nanoengineering - Synthetic Biology - Climate Modeling - Nanophysics - Synthetic Organic Chemistry - Remote Sensing
Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes to develop the Single Image Super Resolution for Quantitative Analysis (QuantSISR) software suite comprising of state-of-the-art super-resolution (SR) algorithms optimized to reduce errors during subsequent image analysis such as common computer vision tasks (image segmentation, object detection). QuantSISR will be designed to achieve a 50% reduction in edge localization errors while matching pixel-wise accuracy comparable to methods optimized for visual perception quality. The QuantSISR algorithms will improve temporal coverage of data products, such as land cover/land use maps and building footprints. These objectives are achieved by generating super-resolved visible and hyperspectral images from low-resolution data sets to increase the temporal revisit frequency of existing high resolution datasets. The algorithms are able to generalize to new sensors and regions without any reference imagery, but can also utilize high-resolution reference imagery, when available, to improve accuracy. This feature can be used during Solar System exploration missions to mitigate mismatch between terrestrial training data sets and the newly acquired data. By leveraging multiple observation geometries, high resolution in situ references can be obtained and used to enhance wide area images acquired at lower spatial resolution. QuantSISR algorithms will be capable of 2x-8x up-sampling and support processing of multispectral and hyperspectral data and the high dynamic range (≥ 16 bit) of modern imagers. QuantSISR software suite will incorporate utilities for parsing and assembling common image data types and image pre- and post-processing to enable seamless integration with existing processing infrastructures. QuantSISR will be packaged to operate on a range of user designated computing platforms, from embedded CPU-GPU systems to computer clusters and cloud computing services.
The proposed QuantSISR capability will directly address NASA’s need for more accurate super-resolution of existing and future observations. Potential NASA applications include Moon to Mars (rover navigation, obstacle avoidance); Europa Lander (landing site selection); long-term Earth observations (combining historical low resolution images with currently available high resolution images), such as Surface Biology and Geology (SBG) mission.
Non-NASA Commercial Applications include up-sampling of low-resolution images to improve accuracy and/or reduce cost of analyses used for Land Management, Urban Planning, Environmental Monitoring, Transportation and other applications.
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) relies on vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft operating in metropolitan areas. Early operations are likely be conducted under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Future high-density operations may incorporate a wide-range of VTOL aircraft, including remotely piloted and autonomous. Urban vertiports are potential chokepoints for UAM operations and will need some form of traffic management to maintain safe and efficient operations. Providing traditional air traffic control (ATC) services at each vertiport would be costly. Vertiport automation is needed to provide real-time air traffic and information services. The proposed Vertiport Traffic Automation System (VTAS) accommodates low-density VFR operations in the near-term and can evolve to handle future high-density, autonomous operations at close-proximity vertiports. A flexible service-based architecture adapts to vertiports with different configurations and traffic patterns; integrates with other UAM Service Suppliers; and provides an open platform for the automation to evolve as UAM operations increase.
VTAS can support NASA’s ATM eXploration (ATM-X) Project’s UAM Subproject, including demonstrations by NASA and industry partners, such as those planned under the UAM Grand Challenge. VTAS can be integrated with the UAM Airspace Management System NASA is developing and provide a platform for hosting experimental vertiport services and capabilities. VTAS can provide a platform for researching and testing In-time System-wide Safety Assurance (ISSA) monitor, assess, and mitigate functions for NASA’ System-Wide Safety (SWS) Project.
In the long-term VTAS can support commercial operators developing and planning UAM air taxi services, such as Uber Elevate, Joby Aviation, Kitty Hawk, Airbus, and Volocopter. In the near-term VTAS can improve services at privately operated vertiports and heliports.
As set forth in a recent NASA Technology Roadmap, the current state of the art for a space radiation hardened power distribution component is limited to below 200 V. To achieve the technology performance goal of above 300 V for the derated semiconductor operating voltage, new technologies are needed. An example immediate benefit of space hardened high voltage part is that they would enable next generation high-power electric propulsion systems. Use of a wide bandgap semiconductor such as silicon carbide is also likely to increase their efficiency.
The mature silicon technology lacks solutions. Wide bandgap solutions are needed to achieve radiation tolerant high voltage devices. Silicon carbide power devices offer a unique opportunity; however, they need hardening by design and process.
We propose design and fabrication of novel lateral and vertical silicon carbide power devices. The overarching goal is to provide NASA with radiation tolerant silicon carbide-based power switches tolerant of heavy ions with LETs of at least 40 MeVcm2/mg. The target is to develop above 300 V radiation tolerant power devices to meet the NASA Technology Roadmap high voltage power device goal. To achieve this, we propose 1) to perform several heavy ion tests of power devices, 2) to pursue physics-based simulations, and 3) to fabricate our designs at a commercial foundry. As we iterate between experiments, design and fabrication, we will converge on a power solution that can be mass produced at demand.
These radiation hardened devices address the capability performance goals of a) developing basic power building blocks for multiple applications, and b) distributing power at increased voltage to lower overall power system mass. Our silicon carbide electronics is additionally capable of addressing technology performance goal of power distribution components and interconnects at high temperatures.
For high voltage applications such as those needed for thrusters, solar panels, electric propulsion systems, and power channels such as those used on International Space Station (ISS), our technology can eliminate some of the existing design constraints, and give rise weight and volume savings. This technology can enable integration and implementation of next generation energy efficient and reliable high voltage and power systems into these applications.
The market for outer space electronics is very large, and the overall satellite industry growth has been outpacing both world and US economic growths in recent years. Given the total size of the outer space budgets, a radiation hardened high voltage component is likely to generate substantial revenue while offering the same efficiency and weight saving benefits in non-NASA space applications
This proposal addresses the fabrication and testing of structured (monolithic), carbon-based multipollutant trace-contaminant (TC) sorbents for the space-suit Exploration Portable Life Support System (xPLSS) used in Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). The proposed innovations: (1) multipollutant trace-contaminant control; (2) thin-walled, structured carbon TC sorbents fabricated using three-dimensional (3D) printing; and (3) the patented low-temperature oxidation step used for the treatment of carbon sorbents. The overall objective: to develop a multipollutant trace-contaminant removal system that is rapidly vacuum-regenerable and that possesses substantial weight, size, and power-requirement advantages with respect to the current state of the art. The Phase 1 project successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of monolithic carbon sorbents derived from 3D-printed PEEK polymer with respect to ammonia, formaldehyde, and methyl mercaptan removal at concentrations close to 7-day Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) limits. The sorbent monoliths were also evaluated with respect to carbon-monoxide control, and a path to multipollutant TC control was defined for future R&D. The Phase 2 objectives: (1) to optimize sorbent properties and performance; (2) to design, construct, test, and deliver to NASA two full-scale TC sorbent prototypes; (3) to integrate the full-scale TC Control System (TCCS) with the xPLSS design, and particularly with the Rapid-Cycle Amine (RCA) swing bed for CO2 control. This work will be accomplished in five tasks: (1) Sorbent Development and Optimization; (2) Subscale Sorbent Testing; (3) Full-Scale Prototype Development; (4) Full-Scale Prototype Integration with xPLSS/RCA and Testing; and (5) System Evaluation. The main focus will be full-scale TCCS development and its integration with xPLSS/RCA (Tasks 3 and 4).
The main application of the proposed technology would be in spacecraft life-support systems, mainly in extravehicular activities (space suit), but after modifications also in cabin-air revitalization.
The developed technology may find applications in air-revitalization on board US Navy submarines, in commercial and military aircraft, in the future air-conditioning systems for green buildings, and in advanced scuba-diving systems.
Our proposed concept is the Intelligent Medical Crew Assistant (IMCA), which is an intuitive, adaptive, voice-interactive intelligent user interface that functions as a virtual medical officer to enable enhanced crew medical autonomy. By developing this important front-end technology, IMCA promises to seamlessly integrate these tools and resources to support longitudinal crew monitoring, health maintenance, medical care and emergency response as well as optimization of resources for long-duration human spaceflight. IMCA, utilizes an integrated set of technological brick components aimed at providing support to the crew with respect to medical operations. The first component is a Dialog based/Voice enabled intelligent assistant with Natural Language Processing and intents identification. Crew can ask any question with respect to the medical procedures, inventory of medical supplies, their health monitoring, and recommended counter measures. The second technology brick is an AR enabled Electronic Procedures platform containing a repository of the medical procedures, an execution engine, an Augmented Reality device and software to guide the crew during the procedure execution. This component is able to provide Just-in-Time Training (JITT) for medical procedures using AR or/and VR glasses. A third brick is an Adaptive User Interface, adapting training or procedure execution to the level of expertise and cognitive workload of the crew. Our IMCA integrates with the EHR/EMR and medical inventory system in to monitor the health of the astronauts and help them identify resources needed for medical procedures. Machine Learning algorithms provide indications adverse medical conditions using individual crew health monitoring data. By having the data and procedural guidance when they need it, in a format optimized to each respective crewmembers skills and UI/UX preferences, crew will be able to more effectively operate autonomously and achieve both health hand mission goals.
NASA's multi-destination human space exploration strategy as well as its ambitious program of innovative robotics missions will challenge engineers to develop these new and complex systems with advanced capabilities. The agency is exploring multiple destinations. It plans to conduct increasingly complex missions to a range of destinations beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), including cis-lunar space, Gateway, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), the moon, and Mars and its moons. VULCAN will be one of the medical tools for the Journey to Mars in the 2030s.
Non-NASA applications are in DoD, and VA that use medical equipment and medical procedures to treat patients with a limited number of medical experts. Our product incorporates the intelligence of the medical experts to achieve high quality healthcare with an accurate, efficient process. Clinics, hospitals and medical device companies are the target customers of IMCA.
In this Phase II program Pepin Associates will improve the C/CSiC manufacturing process and compare the properties of DiscoTex and continuous reinforced laminates. Further comparisons will be made of laminates SiC densified with polymer infiltration and pyrolysis (PIP) with those SiC densified using the melt infiltration (MI) process. One of these processes will be selected to fabricate and test laminates reinforced with DiscoTex, stretched DiscoTex and continuous fabrics. Needle punching selected laminates will also be performed to evaluate its benefits to increase interlaminar toughness. This added through thickness reinforcement prevents delamination both during processing and in service. Mechanical and thermal test matrices include both room temperature and high temperature testing. In addition Pepin Associates will design and build a torch test rig to evaluate material samples with various reinforcement architectures and densification process history.
Analysis will be performed to model DiscoTex reinforced laminates in both stretched and unstretched conditions. The analysis will infer constituent material properties from previously measured data on composites fabricated from both stretched and unstretched DiscoTex.. Using the resulting material model, material properties for arbitrary laminate stacking sequences, fiber volume fractions, and degrees of ply stretching can be estimated.
Pepin Associates will fabricate a nozzle extension for a small liquid rocket engine. The DiscoTex forming process will be developed to most efficiently form the nozzle extension shape. Samples of the nozzle material will be tested in the torch test rig. The team will also fabricate a spherical shell atmospheric entry vehicle. Both these structures will be delivered to NASA at the end of the contract.
DiscoTex formable preforms will reduce the cost of fabricating complex shaped hot structures which are damage tolerant, reusable, and lightweight. These structures include nozzle extensions and other engine components, aeroshell structures, leading edges, and control surfaces, Atmospheric entry vehicle hot structures reduce vehicle weight and allow for easier inspection. The ability of DiscoTex preforms to more easily create integrated structures will allow more efficient designs to be created.
The DOD services all have active hypersonic programs. DiscoTex formable preforms will have applications to leading edges, control surfaces, and propulsion components for missiles, boost glide vehicles, and other DOD hypersonic weapon systems. DiscoTex reinforced C/C composites could also find industrial markets such as structures for metals and photovoltaic processing
Magma Space proposes to develop a novel semi-active magnetically levitated Reaction Wheel (RW) that will enable NASA’s next generation of high-performance scientific/observation missions (e.g. HabEx mission). Magnetic levitation offers several advantages over classic ball bearings, such as the elimination of wear and friction, the elimination of lubricant, the longer life expectancy and the lower generated micro-vibration noise. All these features would be crucial for the design of future missions for the exploration of our solar system. The proposed technology aims at overcoming some of the fundamental drawbacks that have considerably limited the use of magnetic bearings in space missions, such as the need to operate at cryogenic temperatures (if superconducting materials are used for the levitation) or the high power consumption (for active magnetic bearings). The proposed semi-active technology would be capable of generating stable magnetic levitation at room temperature and with low power consumption. Moreover, the electronic board does not require either sensors or a control algorithm to operate, thus considerably simplifying its integration on a spacecraft. The objectives of Phase II will be to develop a fully operating engineering model with the integrated 5-DoF magnetic bearing and electric motor. A full set of functional and environmental requirements will be provided and a thorough investigation of power consumption, micro-vibration signature and magnetic cleanliness will be carried out. Phase II will end at TRL 5.
The proposed technology will be crucial for NASA future missions requiring stability accuracy of less than 1 milli-arcsec, such as observation missions (e.g. HabEx and LUVOIR) or laser communication missions (e.g. DSOC flight demonstration by JPL). A low-power levitating technology could also enable the development of new flywheels for energy storage and continue the work on G2 flywheel by NASA GRC. These flywheels have the potential to substitute electric batteries and increase the life of a spacecraft dramatically.
Magnetic wheels could allow DoD imaging satellites to achieve spatial resolution below 1.5ft. With the enhancement in laser comm precision, a GEO laser relay system (like ESA EDRS) would help EPA and NOAA to accelerate responses in emergencies by instantly connecting LEO satellites and ground stations. Magnetic wheels would enable corporations to implement laser-based internet satellite networks.
SAS is on a mission to develop and commercialize a universal connector that will enable the simultaneous transfer of multiple commodities – fluids, power, and data – between systems. This technology will have the capabilities for multi-vehicle support and be extensible to manual/autonomous use for terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments (in-space, Lunar, and Mars). In Phase II, SAS team will improve the current prototype concept using an agile digital engineering process, to TRL 6. A fully functional interface will be designed, fabricated, and tested across multiple iterations. SAS will demonstrate the product functionality through multi-commodity transfer operations across the interface with a remotely controlled robotic arm. SAS will also perform low pressure, high flow-rate cryogenic fluid testing with propellant rocket liquids including hydrogen and oxygen/nitrogen. Structural tests will be performed to define minimum engagement/disengagement forces, tensile limits, and other relevant loading conditions that the interface connector must withstand while coupled. The tests and demonstrations performed will define the universal connector expected performance. They will also be used to meet qualification criteria for identified end-use servicing activities for prospective vehicles and systems.
A universal connector standard will allow the NASA community to access hardware with adaptable capabilities for multi-use needs. This is beneficial for designing a single interface to support emerging technologies, for use in ground, lunar, and Martian environments. With respect to Artemis program efforts, the universal connector will have a feasible design path for use in space and on the Moon with rovers, vehicles, habitats, and other systems. The modular design will also be convenient for replacing damaged connectors.
The universal connector will be modular and thus, applicable to a wide range of end uses. Chemical industries would benefit from support in transfer of hazardous materials. The energy industry anticipates a shift to hydrogen as a clean energy source that can benefit from a universal connector. This product will be applicable in production and transfer capacity for this type of resource.
The development of next-generation thermal protection systems (TPSs) is a critical focus for NASA as they spearhead the advancement of fabrication techniques for 3D woven TPSs, which demonstrate thermal-mechanical properties superior to those of traditional technologies. While the 3MDCP WTPS material system has been recently selected for use in the Mars Sample Return (MSR) Earth Entry Vehicle and MSR Sample Return Landers, widespread application of the technology is hindered by a lack of understanding of the impact of loom manufacturing processes on the resulting woven products’ performance.
ATA has advanced the state of the art for WTPS analysis by demonstrating a novel numerical framework that determines as-woven WTPS properties from composite models with realized yarn geometry and damage predicted directly from loom processes. The technology, called the Loom-to-Weave (L2W) toolset, consists of three critical steps: (1) explicit modeling of the weaving process to predict physical properties of the preform, (2) estimation of yarn damage from contact loadings output by the weaving model, and (3) prediction of material system performance via testing of a representative volume element of the matrix-infused composite created from the woven preform.
ATA proposes to further the development of the L2W analytical toolset by improving implemented modeling techniques for the 3D weaving process, executing a test program in partnership with 3DWC manufacturers with results to be used in model calibration and blind validation, extending the technology to model forming processes used in aero-shell creation, and productizing the method via integration with ATA’s COMPAS material characterization software. The result will be vetted WTPS analysis software that will significantly improve WTPS manufacturing quality, reduce WTPS product analysis and development cycles, and improve the TPS of future NASA interplanetary missions by increasing confidence in the use of WTPS technologies.
The development of WTPS architectures is critical to several future NASA missions: Mars sample return, high-speed crew return, high-mass Mars landers, and Venus and gas/ice giant probes. The analytical approaches proposed will inform strategies for developing increased control capabilities for the 3D weaving processes, which will enable material optimization for these missions. The technology has promise to improve WTPSs used in NASA applications by providing material properties early in the design process and reducing time to qualification.
Potential defense applications for advanced 3D woven composites (3DWCs) and analytical technologies for their custom tailoring include rocket motor nozzles and thermal protection structures for hypersonic vehicles (e.g., leading edges, nosetips, and aeroshells). Commercial applications include use in the design of structural elements in civil infrastructure.
This proposal addresses the need for spacecraft microbial monitoring for long duration human missions. The proposal will lead to a near-real-time in-situ reagentless sensor on the International Space Station (ISS) and for future spacecraft for human missions for detection and quantification of the microbial bioburden in potable water, air, and on surfaces. The MAIA (Microbial Assessment with In-situ Autofluorescence) instrument mitigates the challenges of current microbial detection methods being used by enabling an in-line, autonomous, reagentless method, with detection sensitivities down to a single microbial cell, and require minimal crew time. MAIA also limits the number of consumables needed for long duration missions.
During the Phase 1 proposal we migrated the MAIA methodology from TRL 2 to TRL 3 in six months by retiring risks of the critical items, demonstrated feasibility, and developed a design solution that will be implemented under this Phase 2 program. In Phase 2, a prototype MAIA instrument will be developed and tested for automated microbial analysis in water, air, and for surfaces. The MAIA instrument design and development will occur in 1.5 years with testing in the remaining 0.5 years. The rapid initial development is possible as we leverage the laser and detector components that Photon Systems has developed over the last 10 years under prior SBIR’s and BAA’s.
For the NASA related market opportunity associated with this SBIR proposal, Current methods of microbial monitoring are extensive and time-consuming. This technology will enable microbial monitoring for long duration human exploration for water, air, and surface analysis using a deep UV Raman and fluorescence as an in-line and autonomous solution. In addition the MAIA instrument can easily interface with fluidic analysis systems that are being developed for life detection.
The non-NASA commercial applications include microbial water monitoring waste water treatment plants, pharmaceutical industries, microbial air monitoring in clean rooms and hospitals, and microbial detection for hazard from biological threats. Current methods are extensive and time-consuming. MAIA is game-changing as it provides autonomous analysis in a manner that is presently unavailable.
Measuring global winds from space using eye-safe coherent laser radar is an important on-going NASA technology and instrument development effort that will ultimately improve the fidelity of meteorological climate models, near-term weather forecasting, and commercial aviation management and optimization. Activities like NASA LaRC’s “Wind-SP” coherent lidar program are pushing these laser and lidar technologies forward with regard to high-energy eye-safe transmitter lasers, low-noise fast-tunable master and local oscillator lasers, improved lidar photoreceivers, and active optical alignment and lag-angle compensation functionalities specific to space-based applications. Specifically in this proposal, Beyond Photonics plans to develop a compact next-generation Power Amplifier/Transceiver Module for current and future NASA missions focused on lidar systems in the short-wave infrared wavelength region near two microns. We will emphasize the design and development of very compact and alignment-insensitive Ho:YLF/LuLF amplifiers operating near 2.05 µm, monolithically integrated with very compact lidar transmit/receive optics and photonics, and capitalize optimally on very efficient hybrid fiber/bulk-crystal MOPA designs. Efficient, compact approaches using optimally-configured Tm:fiber-based front end transmitters and preamplifiers followed by dual-pass Tm bulk crystal amplification will be a focus to reach flexible performance on the order of 40 mJ/pulse, 400 Hz PRF, and high beam quality, which can serve as an effective transmitter for many upcoming NASA remote-sensing applications. Operationally flexible, low-SWaP path-to-space approaches will be emphasized. These innovations will apply directly to current NASA missions and instruments (Doppler wind lidar, IPDA, LAS) and accelerate commercial development and availability of practical ground-based and airborne systems (e.g. compact airborne CO2 concentration-measuring instruments) at BP and elsewhere.
Potential NASA applications of the proposed hybrid fiber/bulk power amplifier/lidar transceiver technology include on-going and future measurement of global winds from space; ground-based and airborne coherent lidar programs; eye-safe remote laser spectroscopy applications for measurement of atmospheric constituents like CO2, water vapor, and methane; tracking of fast-moving space debris and asteroid hazards; spacecraft docking applications; and other shortwave-IR wavelength instrument developments in the 1.5-to-2.0 micron wavelength region.
Non-NASA commercial uses of fiber/bulk MOPA transmitters include DoD hard target and space debris tracking/imaging problems & research/industrial applications requiring very compact efficient front-end transmitter lasers and bulk amplifiers at eye-safe SWIR wavelengths. Commercial development is planned for compact, high-FOM remote-sensing products for winds and other remote sensing applications.
Today’s operational weather guidance does not provide the spatial and temporal granularity necessary to support routing or wind hazard alerting guidance for UAM operations in urban environments. This gap threatens the economic viability and scalability of UAM operations. To address this gap, in Phase I, ATAC and NCAR developed the Low Altitude Wind Hazard Alerting and Rerouting (LAWHAR) service. LAWHAR addresses Subtopic A3.04’s need for dynamic route planning that considers changing environmental conditions (mainly fine-scale wind impacts) and vehicle performance. LAWHAR leverages NCAR’s Large Eddy Simulation (LES) model for predicting building-induced wind-flow effects at fine resolutions, applies clustering to predict dynamically changing wind hazard regions, and reroutes UAM aircraft away from these hazard regions. Phase I provided a proof-of-concept by demonstrating actionable wind hazard guidance for several Dallas, TX downtown Vertiports for a challenging cold weather-front passage scenario. In Phase II, we build on Phase I’s success to create a commercial, licensable low-altitude weather guidance tool for several use cases that benefit NASA UAM researchers, UAM/Helicopter/UAS operators and UAM infrastructure planners. Phase II pursues three thrusts: (1) Make enhancements to Phase I SBIR components in the areas of new LES model development, machine learning-based data reduction techniques, LES validation, aircraft-type dependent wind-hazard-severity thresholds, and customer-focused impact metrics (e.g., ride quality), (2) Develop Minimum Viable Products for top-priority use cases, and (3) Operationalize LAWHAR for promising customer applications. Phase II work supports NASA’s ATM-X project by providing a UAM weather guidance and route design capability to support UAM simulation and trade-space studies. It also supports NASA’s AAM National Campaign by providing a weather guidance SDSP for integrated testing with NASA and industry UAM traffic management tools.
(1) One-stop UAM weather guidance and airspace design tool to support NASA ATM-X project’s X-series of UAM simulations and other trade studies
(2) Create fine-scale urban wind fields to support NASA’s research on Strategic Planning with Unscented Optimal Guidance for UAM
(3) Fine-scale weather guidance to support NASA’s research of weather impacts on UAM/UAS ride quality, power consumption, and trajectory following
(4) Weather guidance SDSP and wind sensor placement guidance for supporting AAM National Campaign flight demonstrations
(1) Wind hazard alerting and rerouting tool for rotorcraft, GA, UAS, and UAM operators
(2) Strategic decision support for Part 135 Emergency Medical Service rotorcraft operators (provides guidance on whether it is safe to fly patients to hospital helipads)
(3) Tool for urban meteorological sensor placement guidance
(4) Tool for assessing candidate Vertiport sites for expected wind hazard impacts
Ground-based sun photometers provide a vital consistent global long-term aerosol data record used to better understand aerosol impact on climate, improve aerosol transport models and bound lidar-derived aerosol products. Sun photometers only provide aerosol information during the day, and even though there is scientific and commercial interest, there are very few aerosol measurements made at night. Innovative Imaging and Research proposes Angstrom, an affordable, easily deployable multiband wide field of view (FOV) imaging star photometer that measures aerosol optical depth (AOD) and the Angstrom parameter across the night sky using stars. It can be used to augment traditional sun/lunar photometer networks and significantly improve atmospheric monitoring.
Angstrom applies state-of-the-art image processing techniques to imaging systems that use emerging high quantum efficiency, low read noise CMOS sensors and high-quality machine vision optics. Early simulations and test data suggest these imaging systems can acquire dim star fields at a relatively high signal-to-noise ratio. Our goal is to achieve a comparable level of accuracy as gold-standard daytime sun photometers.
Imaging star photometers acquire large sky regions measuring near-instantaneous spatial variability not possible with traditional narrow FOV photometers. By imaging multiple stars in a portion of sky covering a wide range of air mass or by continuously imaging stars moving through varying air mass, Angstrom can take advantage of traditional Langley calibration or multi-star methods.
Angstrom tracks stars through image processing, eliminating complex precision moving mechanisms. It also uses the relative positions of stars to determine the camera’s orientation, reducing installation and maintenance costs. This allows it to be more easily deployed on ships, UAVs, and fixed terrestrial locations where it has been difficult to obtain measurements.
Angstrom supports atmospheric studies by providing additional nighttime aerosol measurements to atmospheric models. It also supports Decadal Survey recommended ACCP and TEMPO satellite missions and is directly relevant to numerous field campaigns measuring and monitoring aerosols. Combining Angstrom data with micropulse lidar can improve the accuracy of lidar aerosol retrievals. Angstrom data also helps scientists who require atmospherically corrected products from night imaging remote sensing instruments such as the VIIRS DNB.
Emerging remote sensing applications that require nighttime aerosol measurements include mapping artificial lights and estimating power usage, important economic measures. Angstrom can complement the Aeronet ground network of solar/lunar photometers to help fill current nighttime data gaps to support these new applications. It can also provide free-space laser communication atmospheric conditions.
ZeCoat Corporation will develop a roll-to-roll coating process to manufacture low reflectance coatings with high optical density for a star shade’s light blocking membrane. The coatings will be applied to polyimide membrane surfaces such as KaptonTM or NovastratTM and will be designed to produce low reflectance surfaces with tailorable scatter properties. The coatings may also be applied in a batch coating process to substrates such as light baffles.
Low-reflectance surfaces are needed for starshade light-blocking membranes to reduce stray light resulting from out-of-plane petals, and from light sources nearly behind the telescope. Existing darkening materials such as carbon nanotubes and columnar structures such as etched silicon, typically have poor durability, are damaged by abrasion, create particulate contamination, and the processes do not scale easily for large size optics. In this SBIR, we will demonstrate the feasibility of creating new materials and processes that alleviate these deficiencies.
In Phase I, we demonstrated the feasibility of manufacturing low reflectance coatings using our existing batch coating processes. Coating designs were characterized for optical and thermal properties, as well as, environmental durability.
In Phase II, we will develop a novel, roll-to-roll coating process to manufacture multi-layer optical coatings in the large quantities needed for future starshades, and to create competitively-priced light-absorbing materials for commercial sensor systems.
This research will benefit WFIRST, HabEx, LUVOIR, LISA, future NASA starshade missions, as well as, many NASA optical sensors requiring stray light suppression, both space and ground-based.
Future commercial satellite constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink, may also benefit from this new “stealth” signature reduction technology by the reducing light pollution that can interfere with ground-based telescope observations.
We propose to design, test, and deliver a system that can be used to calibrate absorption-based soot monitors which are used to determine fuel emission indices for aircraft engines. The centerpiece of this system will be a modified version of the CAPS PMSSA monitor which provides a means of determining a sample absorption based on a true particle standard. It will be coupled to a means of producing absorbing particles whose physical and optical properties have been accurately measured and characterized.
Vehicles for subsonic and supersonic flight regimes will be required to operate on a variety of certified aircraft fuels and emit extremely low amounts of particulate emissions to satisfy increasingly stringent emissions regulations. An in situ calibration technique for absorption-based soot mass measurement monitors, of which there are currently none, would be quite desirable as factory calibration is extremely time consuming and expensive.
There are hundreds of absorption-based monitors used for measurement of aircraft and diesel engine soot emissions and ambient absorption. All of them require expensive factory calibration. There is also no means of checking whether the monitors are working properly on-site. The market for a monitor which would confirm proper calibration of the monitor in situ would be a much sought-after product.
In Phase I, JBE proved that two coatings improved the abrasion resistance of materials typically used in high temperature seals. Phase I testing was done at ambient temperature. In Phase II, JBE will determine the optimal seal material and coating combinations, work to optimize the coating processes, and validate the improved abrasion resistance at representative and relevant temperatures.
Potential NASA applications include reusable space vehicles such as Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) and Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) as well as high-speed propulsion systems.
An improved high temperature seal will be of immediate benefit to the expanding hypersonics market by providing increased capability, reliability, and reduced cost. The target market is DOD airbreathing hypersonic products such as the HAWC, TBG, CPS, and reusable ISR platforms and hypersonic delivery vehicles.
Circulators are used to direct signal flow in millimeter-wave (MMW) transmit and receive systems. For more than 50 years, the Y-junction circulator has been the state-of-the-art MMW technology. They are commercially available with full waveguide band operation up to 40 GHz, although the isolation is generally less than 16 dB. Above 50 GHz the bandwidth is typically less than 4 GHz due to limitations in the ferrite material properties. The narrow bandwidth makes them unsuitable for many systems.
Micro Harmonics invented and patented a new hybrid circulator technology. The prototype developed in the Phase I exhibited unsurpassed performance, covering the entire band from 150-190 GHz with 20 dB level isolation. For comparison, a state-of-the-art Y-junction isolator has about 3 GHz bandwidth at 160 GHz. The hybrid theory suggests that even higher levels of performance are possible. During the course of the Phase I work we identified several specific areas in the design that constrain the bandwidth and isolation. In the Phase II effort, we will address these issues and seek to improve the hybrid circulator performance.
The hybrid comprises a modified Faraday rotation isolator and an orthomode transducer (OMT). We observed cross-coupling of the vertical and horizontal polarizations in the OMT common section and also in the OMT to isolator transition. This cross-coupling degrades the isolation between the Tx, Rx and antenna ports in the hybrid circulator. The transition is also the prime limiting factor in the bandwidth. Much of the proposed phase II effort is focused on reducing the cross-coupling and improving the bandwidth of the transition.
Hybrid prototypes will be developed in seven waveguide bands from 50 GHz to 250 GHz. These prototypes will be delivered to NASA. A hybrid latching circulator or duplex switch will also be designed in the WR-10 band. A detailed analysis of multipaction in the hybrid and thermal analysis are also part of the proposed phase II work.
Hybrid MMW circulators find use in many NASA instruments such as G-Band (160 GHz) radar for measuring microphysical properties of clouds and upper atmospheric constituents (particles of less than mm size). They also find use in airborne science systems such as NASA Cloud Radar System (CRS) high altitude aircraft and APR-3 precipitation radar. Hybrid circulators find application in NASA radar systems for surface water monitoring, soil moisture and global snow coverage, topography measurements, and other Earth and planetary science applications.
Hybrid circulators find application in broad range of transmit/receive systems operating in the band from 40-330 GHz band. Examples include military and commercial radar systems and MMW portal security scanners like those commonly found in airports. Hybrid circulators will enable full-duplex MMW communications links with extreme bandwidth needed for 5G and 6G backhaul applications.
Development of new air vehicles (e.g., personal air vehicles, urban air taxis, etc.) have led to a proliferation of Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) vehicle concepts including electric vehicles, many of which are well-funded and are in various stages of prototype development and test. The large number of vehicles that are being designed to ferry passengers in dense urban environments will almost exclusively feature fly-by-wire flight control systems that may have advanced response-types. The processes and requirements needed to certify these disparate vehicles for operation within the National Airspace System are still emerging. To aid in the requirements and certification process, Systems Technology, Inc. (STI), under sponsorship by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is employing a mission-oriented approach to define and assess Mission Task Elements (MTEs) that will provide a flight test certification Means of Compliance (MOC). To minimize the need for physical courses that are standard with MTE evaluations, adapt to the changing regulatory environment, and streamline the testing process, a team led by STI has developed and demonstrated the Means of Compliance Requirements for UAM Evaluations and Ratings (MCRUER) system, a novel tablet-based cockpit display and sensor system, that provides the UAM test pilot evaluator virtual MTE courses against which to assess the vehicle. The on-screen display elements is driven by the actual vehicle’s motion in flight. This system is intended to support the MTE-based means of compliance for Part 23 eVTOL certification activities. Such a device will benefit the NASA AAM National Campaign as well as eVTOL flight test evaluations conducted by the manufacturers and FAA Aircraft Certification Offices. At the conclusion of the Phase II program, a prototype version of the complete MCRUER system will be available to the certification authorities and UAM manufactures to aid in their test and certification activities.
The MCRUER system supports NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign intent to provide “…vehicle manufacturers and operators, as well as prospective airspace service providers, insights into the evolving regulatory and operational environment.” In this application, the MCRUER system will provide a means to easily and repeatedly perform MTE evaluations as part of AAM flight test activities. This will standardize these evaluations and maintain clarity in the lessons learned without the need to caveat the experiences due to test differences.
According to HTF Market Intelligence, the estimated UAM market size will be $15.2 billion by 2030. With over 350 unique and unusual designs in development per eVTOL News, there is clearly a need for new test and certification methodologies. STI’s existing relationships with established and emerging UAM companies will be leveraged to define our initial customer base and introduce the MCRUER system.
Currently mirror metrology relies on Computer Generated Holograms (CGHs), which can typically cost $10k with a lead time of 6 months. A different CGH must be designed for each different test case, and for optics that are significantly affected by temperature changes or gravity sag, or that are imaged during various stages of the polishing process, the departure from the designed CGH may bring the wavefront error beyond the measurement range of a typical interferometer. Free-form optics in particular may have extreme departures from their design CGHs during the early stages of polishing.
BNS proposes to extend the range of an interferometer by providing additional programmable phase control through incorporating an SLM into the beam path. In addition to allowing a single CGH to be used for a range of similar mirrors, or for a single mirror that departs significantly from its design CGH, the SLM interferometer will allow the user to apply additional arbitrary phase. In this way, the SLM interferometer can be used to employ new techniques for retrieving wavefront, gravity sag, and other mirror characteristics, as well as to test wavefronts from simulation.
In Phase II BNS will incorporate an SLM into a commercial interferometer, the 4D PhaseCam 6100, and use this system to quantify performance when measuring a parabolic mirror, a CGH nulling setup, and an off-axis parabolic segment. We will also use Phase II to improve our SLM’s performance, including improved precision/flatness calibration and an upgrade to our new 1536x1536 pixel MacroSLM. This system will be delivered at the end of Phase II.
The addition of an SLM into the reference arm of an interferometer has the effect of extending the interferometer’s range by hundreds of waves. One of the most immediate benefits is the ability to use a single CGH to measure a variety of similar test optics, rather than the single optic for which it was designed.
The SLM interferometer can produce a null by adding the inverse of the test optic’s retrieved wavefront, and add other arbitrary wavefronts for experiments including new methods of wavefront characterization.
The SLM interferometer can save manufacturers of catalog or custom optics, especially free-form optics, time and money during manufacturing, since a single CGH or other reference optic will be usable for a greater range of optics.
The work in Phase 2 will also improve the MacroSLM’s phase calibration, improving diffraction efficiency and consistency for the SLM’s neuroscience users.
Ground based and airborne infrared astronomy is limited by atmosphere and telescope heat. These systems require a cold helium cooling of the instruments with a dewar for cryogen storage. Given the limited lift capability of a scientific balloon, the dewar mass is of critical importance. For structural, low mass flight applications, carbon fiber is a clear winner. GTL has developed BHL™, a micro-crack free, re-usable carbon fiber material for use in cryogenic vessels. GTL’s BHL is well suited for the application of the liquid helium dewar, with low mass, low thermal mass, and low thermal conductivity as carbon fiber is an excellent insulator at < 20K, far better than glass-fiber or epoxy itself.
The proposed effort is directly relevant to NASA future mission planning. This is an enabling technology for a new generation of balloon-borne cryogenic observatories. Large (3 meter) cooled telescopes at balloon altitudes would have up to 100,000 times faster mapping speed than the current state of the art (SOFIA's ambient temperature telescope at 39,000 feet).
The BHL technology applied to dewar systems offers significant improvements over current state-of-the-art dewars. BHL will provide for reduced boil-off, reduced cost, and easier transport of the dewars. BHL dewars could be applied to a large number of NASA systems. Anywhere cryogenic fluid is stored could potentially be replaced with these low mass, high efficiency composite dewars. NASA space systems, lunar and Mars landers, lunar and Mars habitats, as well as long term storage could benefit greatly from low mass BHL dewars and/or cryotanks.
For the same reasons that these composite dewars would be so beneficial to NASA, they would also be beneficial to the DoD. These low mass dewars could enable aircraft to run off of other fuels, such as liquid natural gas and liquid hydrogen. In the private sector BHL cryogenic dewars could be implemented in hospitals, research corporations, and cold gas/welding suppliers.
Lunar Resources proposes to develop, test and validate a full-scale prototype molten regolith electrolysis (MRE) oxygen capturing, filtering and storage system (OxPS) designed during the Phase I effort. The OxPS is being developed to capture vaporized gasses extracted from lunar regolith by an MRE (or other types of high temperature electrolytic processes). Then the OxPS will filter out the containments to yield 99.5% high-purity oxygen which is stored for human consumption or utilized as an oxidizer for launch vehicles. In addition, the OxPS has been designed to filter any vaporized metals (Mg, Ca, etc.). The prototype OxPS being developed as part of this Phase II effort will be built at full scale and tested with a protoflight MRE system. The success of the Phase II effort will raise the maturity of the OxPS to a TRL 5 and demonstrate the ability to capture, purify, and store oxygen extracted from an MRE technology at an industrial scale (3,650kg oxygen per year).
The OxPS will provide NASA with 99.5% purity oxygen extracted from regolith from an MRE process. The oxygen can be used for human consumption on a Lunar Base, the Gateway, ISS, or other future human space assets. In addition, the oxygen can be used as an oxidizer to refuel lunar landers and spacecraft. Other direct uses are lunar or in-space farming, utilization for science experiments, gas to clear regolith from surface infrastructure. And the technology can be used on Mars for future Martian missions.
Non-NASA applications of the OxPS involves utilizing the system to capture, filter and store vaporized gasses for high-temperature resource extraction processes such as steel and aluminum production. By capturing the emissions, the OxPS will be may be able to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions produced during resource processing activities.
Adsantec will design and fabricate a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) as a single-package Application Specific Integrated Circuit, (ASIC) capable of surviving and maintaining performance in high radiation environments (> 1 Mrad), including enhanced low dose rate sensitivity. The DAC will have a sampling rate greater than 2 Gb/s with effective number of bits >10. The design will be based on the company’s proprietary reconfigurable DAC architecture, which incorporates a patented Pseudo Straight Forward Synchronization algorithm (PSFS), a patented rad-hard Clock Recovery scheme and a proprietary rad hard Serial Peripheral Interface. It will allow direct interfacing with a variety of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) used by NASA and other space customers. The robust DAC architecture will incorporate both serial and parallel FPGA to DAC interconnect
The proposed PSFS will be implemented inside the developed ASIC minimizing overhead during data transmission. In this design, ADSANTEC will employ proven SiGe bipolar transistor-based circuit blocks based on our rad hard-by-design methodology. The use of ADSANTEC’s space qualified ASIC packaging will enable fabrication and test of the DAC with TRL 7 or higher ASIC prototype at the end of Phase II.
The successful accomplishment of this project resulted in the development of several versions of the DAC ASIC that can support multiple NASA space missions including CLPS, Mars Sample Return, Asteroid/NEO Sounder, and Ocean World Sounder. In particular, a significant improvement can be achieved in the landing radar sensor. The parts will be also beneficial for such NASA Earth programs as ACCP, SDC, and STV.
The developed DAC can easily be integrated into high performance measurement systems intended for the next generation of Earth System Science measurements of its atmosphere and surface as well as variety of Air Force space missions
In previous TRISH and NASA funded efforts, Nahlia has developed nested logic, Bayesian algorithms and software, to dynamically analyze and deliver evidence based clinical decision support to control evolving medical situations. This Autonomous Medical Response Agent (AMRA) was further advanced in phase I SBIR based on military Prolonged Field Care principles for autonomous field medical care. AMRA provides coordinated mission guidance for multiple caregivers, a clinical case simulator to systematically and verifiably improve AMRA’s decision structure, and an integrated clinical case-based training feature to maintain optimal human-machine performance for autonomous medical operations.
Phase II work focuses on expanding AMRA’s probabilistic structure to include parallel feedback control, Bayesian nested hidden state networks capable of providing resource constrained clinical decision support to optimize the health state of Astronauts. Learning and path optimization algorithms in AMRA will extend longevity and usability of AMRA. The efficacy and validity of AMRA will be demonstrated with an experienced NASA Flight Surgeon and non-clinician astronaut-like users at the Naval Post Graduate School.
Autonomous Medical Response Agent addresses multiple NASA HRP Gaps: Medical-101,201, 301, 401,601,701
Remote field applications to assist flight surgeons on HISEAS, or McMurdo Station
Autonomous medical response system has the potential to aid astronauts on long duration missions to the Moon and Mars.
DoD: Prolonged field care practitioners, Undersea Submarine Medical Caregivers, Air Force pararescue
Civilian: aeromedical evacuation, rural/indigenous peoples care, international disaster relief, prison health systems
Commercial: Assist nurse practitioners and physician assistants, health insurance to predict costs of care
Dynovas’ Motorless Array Deployment Energy System prototype will demonstrate the deployment of a 10 kW, ~180 W/kg, ~60 kW/m3 array using entirely motorless actuation of bi-stable composite structures at TRL 6. The prototype will be prepared for a 2023 lunar demonstration with potential integration partner, Intuitive Machines. The proposed prototype will consist of two (2) bi-stable composite beams (targeted thickness of 0.66 mm). On the surface of the beams will be integrated piezoelectric or smart material motorless actuators (as demonstrated in Phase I). The actuators will be spaced along the length of the beam to control the vertical deployment and retraction of the MAD Energy system. During deployment and once deployed, the “c”-shaped bi-stable composite MAD Energy booms deliver the necessary stiffness and area moment of inertia for stable operation on the Lunar surface.
The far end of the booms will connect directly to the array roll mandrel. The array roll mandrel includes a central rotation axis, composite ribs, outer mandrel surface, and axially mounted constant force springs. The membrane of the MAD Energy array will provide its own inherent stiffness. The semi-rigid membrane will consist of an approximately 2-ply, unidirectional glass substrate (0.15 mm). In Phase II, Dynovas will focus the development on the MAD Energy system and not on the solar cells and/or electrical circuits themselves. However, a detailed understanding of the array power module and circuitry is required to design the multi-functional membrane and the MAD Energy booms with the force necessary to deploy and retract 10+ kW arrays. The MAD Energy structure mounts to the array stowage box. The seal on the box works in concert with piezo vibration and the Lunar Electrostatic Array Deflector Shield (LEADS) to mitigate dust effects.
The Dynovas delivers to the market an agile, independent, small business supplier of solar array structures and system.
The MAD Energy system aligns with the NASA taxonomy category TX03.1.1 Photovoltaic sub-group, which includes 25-150 kW class solar arrays and reliably retractable solar arrays, which are directly applicable to the MAD energy system. Furthermore, the Lunar surface missions are an explicit mission plan on the Technology Area 3 – Space Power and Energy Storage Roadmap enabling technologies. Specific NASA missions include:
Power generation for networks of satellites and/or cube satellites for global communication networks; operation on spacecraft for orbiting debris removal, experimentation satellites, etc; non-space-based markets could include remotely operated electrically driven vehicles or deployment with Special Operators or forward deployed military facilities for on-demand power.
Luna Innovations has developed a revolutionary system for real-time localization, collection, and visualization of NDE data. This technology leverages Luna’s fiber-optic 3-D shape sensing technology to provide a precise position of the NDE tool in space, and has a novel augmented-reality visualization interface to show NDE results in real time overlaid on the surface being analyzed. This system will reduce the complexity of scanning intricate structures by providing real-time feedback on areas of concern, which will allow those areas to be immediately scanned in more detail. In addition, the detailed position information and automatic registration of NDE data to precise locations on the structure will improve the accuracy of results, increase comparability of data from one scan to another, and enable automated or robotically assisted inspection processes. During Phase I, Luna developed an initial prototype of the system and demonstrated its functionality with both 2D and 3D scans of test articles, including a composite helicopter tail rotor and an impact damaged metal plate. Visual representations of the scanned articles, including the ability to show simulated and actual damage, were presented in both an interactive 3D view and in augmented reality. During Phase II Luna will build several development systems which will be adapted to receive and integrate data from various standard NDE sensor technologies. These combined systems will be validated in extensive field testing on representative test articles with partners at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). In addition to collecting data from these NDE sensors and mapping the data to a standard coordinate system, a powerful augmented reality visualization application will be developed which will allow for real-time display of results in a mixed/augmented reality view, showing the data overlaid with the actual object being scanned and/or a solid model of the object.
The proposed NDE visualization tool will enable faster, more accurate scanning of surfaces, and will provide real time results to users during the scanning process, facilitating quicker decision making based on reliable NDE data. Better data registration will improve NDE data resolution and accuracy, which will facilitate Digital Twin efforts. This new NDE damage visualization and localization capability will help NASA achieve its 100% inspected mission directive for programs such as Orion and will also benefit programs such as SLS and Artemis.
Better NDE data registration and visualization tools will benefit a large group of commercial companies that perform detailed NDE analyses across a wide range of industries. This new technology will particularly benefit Aerospace, Automotive and Manufacturing NDE efforts by providing higher quality results with less cost and complexity, ultimately leading to safer more reliable products.
Technical Abstract: (Limit 2,000 characters) No proprietary info
RC Integrated Systems LLC (RISL), with support from Lockheed Martin Space (LMS) and in collaboration with TechOpp Consulting Inc., proposes to advance the development of a novel Miniature Optical Proximity Sensor (MOPS), capable of providing sub-mm range resolution for the measurement of an arbitrary target ranging from contact to over 20cm. This new sensor will achieve over 1 kHz frequency response, consume less than 55mW power, weigh about 7.1 grams, and cost less than 100 dollars. The MOPS addresses NASA’s need for a low mass low power proximity sensor which can be mounted at the end of a robotic arm. The MOPS sensor is based on unique laser interferometry. The outcome of the Phase I program was the successful feasibility demonstration of the MOPS technology through extensive design, modeling, prototype development, and laboratory testing and demonstration. A Technology Readiness Level (TRL-) 4 prototype was tested in a laboratory environment to achieve better than sub-mm range resolution with a target over 20 cm simulating satellite surface conditions. At the end of Phase II, RISL will perform a TRL-6 prototype demonstration of the MOPS technology at RISL or a NASA facility, and will deliver to NASA 10 fully operational MOPS prototypes.
The proposed sensor directly addresses the major NASA requirements of a low mass low power proximity sensor for a robotic arm to enhance satellite servicing. MOPS will provide a lightweight sensor measuring the distance from the end of the robotic arm to the adjacent free flying satellite which would reduce the risk of a collision or missed capture. It could be applicable to the Restore-L mission as well as other potential servicing missions, platform demonstrations, or smallsats. It could also be applicable to refueling at Artemis.
MOPS can be mounted on any robotic arms for industrial applications such as welding, material handling, thermal spraying, and painting and drilling. Military applications of the MOPS sensor will include proximity fuzes for a wide range of munitions platforms. It can also be applied to traffic safety (collision avoidance), and residential and industrial facility security.
In this proposed effort, we propose to develop a Deep Learning Processing Subsystem (DLPS) solution for HPSC system. The DLPS solution can significantly improve the performance and energy efficiency of the HPSC system in processing deep learning algorithms. The key innovations of this proposal include design and development of an low-power and high- performance deep learning processing system, they are: (1) low-power and high- performance DLPS hardware; (2) a HPSC-compatible software module to manage DLPS hardware and provide API to application layer; (3) a DLPS toolchain to transform deep learning models from popular frameworks such as Keras, TensorFlow, and Caffe; (4) DLPS hardware implementation on space-grade Xilinx FPGA platform for fault-tolerance design. Finally, all the proposed techniques will be integrated in a functional prototype system to demonstrate the capabilities, performances, and interoperability of proposed architecture
DLPS addresses a critical need in NASA’s HPSC program to provide low power and high-performance deep learning computation. DLPS has wide range of applications in all programs concerned with deep learning computation. In particular, the HPSC program, which is concerned with support deep learning algorithms for NASA’s space flight missions such as the Human Exploration Mission Operations Diretorate (HEOMD) and the Science Mission Directorate (SMD).
Other government agencies: Air Force and Missile Defense Agency for military surveillance systems, satellite imagery, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), detection and tracking of intruding objects, target tracking for remote weapon stations, and remote sensing.
Commercial systems: space-based communication system such as Nanosat and other on-board processing (OBP) systems.
Blueshift, LLC doing business as Outward Technologies proposes to develop a coupled Discrete Element Method (DEM) and Finite Element Method (FEM) modeling framework using open-source software to simulate the combined thermal and mechanical interactions between rovers and regolith in and around Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSRs) on the Moon. This proposed set of numerical tools innovates on the current state of the art by simulating the thermomechanical response of lunar soil containing volatiles and by explicitly modeling volatile sublimation and advection through an ice-regolith mixture. A grain-based DEM model with user-defined soil compaction, grain shape, and particle size distributions will be coupled with FEM software to reduce computation time, enabling rover components including wheels, probes, and soil sampling equipment. This comprehensive modeling framework will be calibrated and validated through small-scale laboratory experiments for simulating bulk thermal conductivity, shear response, and penetration resistance of ice-regolith mixtures in cryogenic vacuum conditions. Sublimation will be evaluated in these experiments and models, as will deposition of water ice and formation of cemented icy-regolith. These combined numerical tools will enable NASA and its partners to inexpensively evaluate hardware designs for lunar ISRU missions aimed at exploration and prospecting for volatiles at the lunar poles. These improved modeling capabilities will further de-risk planned missions to the Moon by helping to identify successful control strategies and hardware designs for increased rover operability, ISRU sampling, material handling, and surviving the lunar night, thereby leading to more rugged and capable rovers for lunar polar missions while reducing their costs for development and testing.
The Phase II leads to several potential NASA applications including the design and evaluation of rovers and sampling equipment for use in lunar polar regions for ISRU prospecting and exploration missions. The proposed DEM-FEM coupled software and its associated advancements will bring additional knowledge to the challenges faced in lunar polar missions while presenting a low-cost evaluation tool for hardware design, rover control strategies, and volatile sampling. These improvements will lead to lower cost lunar ISRU missions with reduced risk.
By increasing the sampling of the high-dimensional design space of DEM microscale input selection, Outward Technologies will be able to provide automated calibration services for companies and users of thermo-mechanical DEM models and provide improved numerical models to companies in the fields of powder handling, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, and mining.