Due to the rapid maturity of small satellite technologies to meet near term commercial, science and military space applications there is a driving need for development of increased affordable space launch system capability. To address this need, Valley Tech Systems and the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) is proposing evolving our innovative Affordable Launch Vehicle Reaction Control System (ALV-RCS) through applying advanced refractory additive manufacturing (RAM) production technologies to titanium-zirconium-molybdenum (TZM) alloy with a goal of reducing the ALV RCS cost by 25% and weight by 20% which will support the progressive development of affordable small spacecraft launch systems. This new refractory additive manufacturing technology will replace older, heavier and less preforming Cold Gas ACS products providing NASA and future launch system providers with increased capability with improved affordability. Our solid RCS is applicable to both a future commercial booster flyout Attitude Control System (ACS) applications and future Post Boost Propulsion System (PBPS) payload deltav and ACS providing increased satellite orbital insertion accuracies. The Phase II program will mature the new solid RCS technology to a TRL-6 ready for insertion into follow-on commercial launch system integration and flight testing. The result is a new affordable and higher performing solid RCS that fills an identified critical technical gap for future affordable access to space.
VTS has identified potential insertion of this technology for a reaction control system on future commercial low-cost launch vehicles.
Other near-term applications that can leverage this innovation:
Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD)
HIAD for United Launch Alliance (HULA)
Towed Glider AirLaunch System (TGALS)
Mars Ascent Vehicle Reaction Control System (MAV RCS)
Large booster systems
Low Earth orbit smallsats
Non-propulsive gas generators
The new refractory additive manufacturing technology can be applied to applications such as:
Next generation kinetic energy Kill Vehicles for the Missile Defense Agency and Navy
Future USAF Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) Post Boost Propulsion and booster Roll Control System applications
Hypersonic steering for U.S. Army and DARPA
The proposed innovation is a modular, high-performance orbital transfer stage (OTS) vehicle for Nanosats and Microsats launched as secondary payloads and require maneuvering to their desired orbits. The OTS has a modular design, and can accommodate payloads ranging from 5kg 3U size Nanosats to >50kg Microsat size vehicles. The propulsion system uses hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) fuel with nitrous oxide (N2O). These “green propellants” that are sufficiently safe for ridesharing, will provide density impulse over 10-15% higher than a hydrazine system, and are capable of near-impulsive ΔV maneuvers to support launch vehicle collision avoidance operations, final operational orbit insertion, or tactical inclination/plane change maneuvers. The proposed system leverages additive manufacturing as the primary fabrication process incorporating modular tank and thruster configurations with integral Reaction Control Subsystem. Basic Propulsion “modules” can be combined to enable various size vehicles and missions. The basic concept for the OTS “core” configuration is also amenable to integrating the hybrid propulsion directly into a Nanosat bus. The proposed solution will allow lower cost access to space than existing commercial monopropellant system liquid stages, uses a fraction of the power of electric propulsion systems, and will be much safer than systems that use toxic and/or explosive propellants. The OTS will have complete capability (power, guidance and navigation, etc.) to position the Payload spacecraft into their desired orbits.
NASA can use the proposed OTS technology to place low-cost small satellite platforms in operational orbits for high-value science missions, using secondary payload ride opportunities. This will enable NASA to explore planets, comets, asteroids, and distant moons at an extremely low cost by using rapidly developing small satellite technology. Other NASA beneficiaries include NASA’s CubeSat programs and the Virtual Telescope Alignment System program, which require precision orbit positioning.
Non-NASA customers include universities, emerging Smallsat businesses, and non-profit research institutes with active CubeSat development programs. These customer groups will benefit substantially from low-cost insertion into more desirable orbits. Additionally, organizations such as iCubeSat have made a strong case for the utility of CubeSats in deep space; iCubeSat mission scenarios require significant propulsion capability, and can be served by the proposed OTS system.
The proposed innovation, a distributed architecture for intelligent characterization, fault detection/diagnosis/ reconfiguration/replanning/rescheduling, and adaptive execution, substantially leverages large previous NASA investments to assemble the correct set of technologies to implement all aspects of the required intelligent, autonomous vehicle and distributed EPS and other subsystem managers. Stottler Henke has significant experience in all of the required technologies and has already integrated them, under NASA funding, into a general MAESTRO (Management through intelligent, AdaptivE, autonomouS, faulT identification and diagnosis, Reconfiguration/replanning/rescheduling Optimization) architecture designed to be easily applied to spacecraft subsystem management problems. We have applied MAESTRO in a current Phase I effort to Electrical Power System (EPS) management and interfaced it with a laboratory instantiation of a cubesat. Our Research Institution partner, Montana State University (MSU), has designed, built, launched, and operated several satellites with over 14 satellite-years of in-space operations experience. For this Phase I effort, in addition to providing substantial knowledge, expertise and practical experience, MSU will also provide real satellite telemetry data and supplement the existing laboratory hardware testbed (LabSat), with additional boards for more complex subsystems and the ability to cause real hardware faults, both confined within a single subsystem and faults in one subsystem that cause issues in others. This new, augmented LabSat will be used for testing our distributed prototype with real hardware failures. y also plan to field an actual proof of concept prototype onboard one of their future satellites, in-space, at the culmination of a Phase II effort. This work also leverages and extends NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Vehicle Autonomous Power Control (APC) Architecture.
A large number of future manned and unmanned spacecraft would benefit from autonomous, intelligent vehicle and distributed subsystem management. Because it is an open system that other developers can use to create intelligent spacecraft management systems, a large number of MAESTRO applications can be quickly developed. Since MAESTRO is specifically designed to easily interface with Diagnosis, Adaptive Execution, Planning, and Scheduling engines, such developers will have their choice.
Non-NASA spacecraft and Electric Aircraft. MSU plans to field MAESTRO in space onboard an MSU satellite in Phase II. Stottler Henke already sells Aurora and associated customization services to private companies with sales over $12 million. MAESTRO improvements can be readily incorporated into Aurora and sold through existing sales channels, especially to the power generation industry which we are already pursuing and oil refineries, power plants, factories of all types, etc.
Alphacore Inc. will develop a high-accuracy built-in self-test (BIST) system for characterization of aging, degradation, available power and in-situ diagnosis of photovoltaic and multi-pack battery systems using low-complexity single-chip impedance spectroscopy (IS) approach. Alphacore will collaborate with Arizona State University (ASU) scientists to develop a low complexity single-chip photovoltaic cell self-test and instrumentation module to achieve:
a) In-situ health and reliability monitoring of solar panel and reporting cell status.
b) In-situ characterization of complex impedance characteristics of solar panel or cell over extended periods of time.
c) A periodic self-diagnostic mode to characterize the connectivity of the solar panel or cell.
d) A digital interface that can generate immediate response to failing cells or panels and short / disconnected cells.
e) A model to utilize state parameters including terminal voltage, load current, and PV complex impedance model for correlating the efficiency of the battery.
Alphacore Inc. will also develop techniques to extend these approaches to detecting and monitoring Li-Ion battery packs and other charge storage and distribution systems’ health status. The IS device will provide real-time monitoring capability of solar cell and panel C-V and capacity conditions. In response to the output of this module, the safety and connectivity modifications will be made while still maintaining cell-level specific energy.
Alphacore’s PV monitoring ASIC will be able to characterize the complex impedance of individual cells and panels from DC to 100kHz, with 11bit (0.05%) accuracy. The spectral self-test would be completed in less than 1 Secs, and will take less than 4mA of DC current during operation. By monitoring the complex impedance for a given terminal voltage and current, a comprehensive model for the aging of the PV cells will be formed and updated.
*High Energy Physics (HEP) experiments (e.g., CERN) particle detection
*Medical irradiation and imaging systems
*Nuclear weapon proliferation monitoring
*LEO telecommunications satellites
*GEO telecommunication satellites
New technologies in imaging and manufacturing, including Additive Manufacturing (AM), are opening possibilities for mimicking biological structures in a way that has been unprecedented in human history. The primary innovation proposed here is the development of a tool that generates bio-inspired, parametrically optimized cellular materials for integration into the design of Additively Manufactured three-dimensional structures, and will have four main constituent parts:
Design and Manufacturing of high performance Materials for use in
- Heat Exchangers
- Lightweight structures
- Space debris resistant skins
Design and Manufacturing of high performance materials for use in
- Lightweight structures
- Heat Exchangers
- Protective Armor
- Acoustic Liners
- Shock Absorption
Current state of the art inertial measurement units (IMUs) co-locate a set of accelerometers and gyroscopes into a single package. CU Aerospace (CUA), in partnership with the University of Illinois, propose to develop a scalable and distributed IMU for space robotics and CubeSat applications. The user can choose to include an arbitrary number of inertial sensors beyond the minimal number of sensors required for inertial navigation (3 gyroscopes and 3 accelerometers). This scalability enables both improved measurement resolution and system redundancy. The distributed nature of the system means that sensors can be placed arbitrarily by the user as needed in their design, under the constraint that each axis is measured by at least one accelerometer and gyroscope. This technology enables space-constrained systems to leverage redundant inertial sensors for fault detection and isolation (FDI). Beyond the systems engineering benefits of this system, distributing the sensors is grounded by previous research that suggests it will reduce the total noise of its output measurements. This technology can potentially be used in most robotic systems currently using an inertial navigation system. However, the best applications of this technology are in space constrained robots that can benefit from accurate state estimates or fault tolerant systems.
Distributed and scalable inertial measurement units can enable missions where MEMS components are failure prone. The technology provides emerging areas of CubeSat robotics and assembled structures with flexible in system layout. This technology can be used to reduce sensor noise while efficiently using space for human assisted robots aboard the international space station and or on autonomous or human assisted terrestrial rovers.
The best applications of this technology, however, is in space constrained robots that can benefit from accurate state estimates or fault tolerant systems. For example, in the natural gas industry, improved state estimates will translate into a better ability to pinpoint the location of problems prior to the excavation of a pipeline. Our concept can also improve pedestrian location technology by leveraging IMUs on multiple wearable devices for dead reckoning.
We propose to develop a method to effectively utilize the massive amount of image and range data that cameras and laser scanners can generate for an autonomous navigation system. Our innovative approach is to use deep learning to detect and segment only the most useful portions of the data and to use that to build better 3D models. We have proven methods for building accurate 3D models of the environment for robotic systems. [Wettergreen12] This new work will enable us to create better 3D models by identifying and incorporating the most salient information. These models will be more sparse but will have higher information content. This will improve ease of communication and quality of action planning.
In Phase 1 we will prove the underlying concepts (use of salient features, segmentation by learning, efficient 3D modeling) in the context of one test environment. We will evaluate methods for determining the importance of object characteristics in their overall quality as a landmark. We will demonstrate improved landmark detection and selection in rocky and natural terrain. In Phase 2 we will generalize the work, considering several policies for salience and will implement system and test in multiple environments. We will demonstrate system learning over time and detecting new and reliable landmarks. Evaluate and demonstrate selective downlink methods that allow for offline training while also returning science-relevant data.
This work benefits NASA by advancing solutions to challenges identified in the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap: TA4 Robotics and Autonomous Systems, specifically TA4.1 Sensing and Perception and TA4.2 Mobility, as they both relate to modeling the environment in three-dimensions. The proposed research and development will provide maps (3D models) for surface and above-surface mobility and manipulation. Our innovation will reduce requirements for onboard memory and computing power.
The challenges of modeling the environment confront almost every industrial and commercial application. In natural environments such as agriculture, forestry or undersea, where both vast scale and minute detail are important, accurate 3D models lead to efficient navigation and interaction. The same benefits will be realized in artificial environments indoors, such as in factories and warehouses, and outdoors as in mine and construction sites.
Cooperative robots can explore the surface of planets with higher efficiency and lower mission risk, perform novel and precise resource and science surveys, and gather and share resources and information with other assets to bring planetary exploration. In order to work together more efficiently and effectively, robots must understand their location relative to their peers, which is challenged in planetary exploration by the fact that these environments lack global positioning systems to enable a robot to understand its absolute location in space.
State-of-the-art simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) techniques can accurately localize without explicit pose sensing, but also require high-end range sensors, high-fidelity vision, and powerful onboard computing. Adding these computing and sensor demands on paired and multi-agent systems begins to defeat the purpose - paired exploration is advantageous precisely because it can be used to field more minimalist robots that can devote energy to rapid traverse, multi-angle inspections, or specific scientific instruments.
The proposed work will develop two key techniques to improve the foundation for cooperative planetary robotic missions:
1. Novel methods for co-localizing multiple robots using relative observations
2. Methods for planning multi-robot paths that reduce localization uncertainty and improve positioning accuracy of robot teams.
This research will enable more accurate localization of multiple planetary exploration robots without requiring high-fidelity sensing and powerful compute.
Rover co-localization could expand science surface missions by enabling multi-rover missions to explore more efficiently and to localize themselves with more precision. We envision this technology in multi-rover bulk surveys of volatile concentrations, where many small rovers collect data to build a map of distribution. Other distributed science applications can benefit from accurately localized small rovers. The developed techniques also scale to combined UAV and surface rover missions.
Robots with better collaborative situational awareness could provide a greater level of human safety, more efficient work planning, or better protection for capital equipment.
For example, in agriculture, the ability to share localization data within robot teams could improve the ability of robots to perform numerous tasks, from monitoring to seeding to harvesting.
Swarm robotics is one of the key enabling technologies for significantly extending mankind's reach beyond the Earth's surface. However, when bringing theory to practice, challenging problems related to the coordination and control of these swarms quickly arise. Vecna Robotics proposes a collaboration with MIT to extend existing autonomy behaviors and test platforms to address a class of planetary robotic operations involving heterogeneous teams of robots working together to accomplish a joint mission, with examples such as sample collection and mining. In these example applications, robots must perform coordinated task planning, operation, and execution while observing mission constraints that arise due to the asymmetric capabilities of the robot platforms. At pick-up and drop-off locations, there may be significant density of robots, requiring fast, real-time, coordinated motion planning to avoid collisions and achieve the desired behavior. To perform certain tasks, swarms of robots must localize relative to one-another to, for example, hold a formation while transiting from one task area to another.
The Vecna-MIT team will address these challenges by developing a system that both has high requirements for autonomy and can handle heterogeneous robot teaming. There are three key areas of work to achieve the goal: 1) develop functionality that can accept high-level goals and recruit agents to meet the goals, 2) implement a set of local platform autonomy behaviors that enable swarm-like functionality, and 3) implement a task-arbitration system that can switch between “swarm” behavior and more traditional autonomy. The proposing team will leverage their unique capabilities to provide limited testing of the swarm behaviors on existing test beds as part of the Phase I. The results of this work can contribute not only to NASA’s objectives but also in the defense, disaster-recovery, and commercial sectors as well.
This work supports NASA’s objective to send swarms of vehicles to polar regions on Mars to search for frozen water sources or asteroids to mine precious metals. The solution can also serve as a base for other swarm applications, such as spacecraft. One application could be to swarms of drone-analogs that NASA is working on: Extreme Access Flyers, which could explore more distant locations on Mars, the moon, or asteroids.
The logistics industry is prime to benefit from swarm robotics applications. One application is to have “carrier” robots that interface with a central, more sophisticated retrieval robot to move boxes within a large package handling facility. Swarm behaviors can be used to coordinate complex motion around fixed automation equipment such as robotic picking arms. Autonomous swarm technology can also benefit defense and disaster recovery applications, both challenging environments for humans.
The goal of the proposed Phase I work is to demonstrate the feasibility of the coordination and control of a low cardinality (n=12) swarm of smallsats that realizes a distributed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in low Earth orbit. Preliminary mission and spacecraft design work has shown that the swarm can support SAR imaging in the L-band (1.35 GHz) with a ground range resolution finer than 10 m with a revisit period of eight days. The spacecraft in the swarm are pre-programmed to rendezvous in a region, say a sphere or box of certain dimensions, centered at a specified set of (absolute) orbital elements. After deployment from the launcher each satellite maneuvers to bring itself into the rendezvous sphere while monitoring its surroundings with on-board means, such as the star tracker capable of taking still images while attempting to close inter-spacecraft radio communications (ISRC) links with its neighbors. Both (passive) optical or ISRC-based relative navigation are then used to determine the relative position and velocity vectors between spacecraft while they maneuver to aggregate the swarm in its nominal operations configuration. During swarm aggregation and nominal operations, algorithms developed in the framework of evolving systems ensure the stability of the swarm. Failure of one swarm member will also be simulated to analyze the swarm reconfiguration and recovery of nominal operations after reconfiguration. Formal proofs of feedback control system properties such as controllability-observability, stability, detectabililty, and robustness will be pursued to establish a solid theoretical foundation for the proposed algorithms. The Phase I feasibility demonstration will meet most of the technical objectives identified in the solicitation for the corresponding modes of swarm operations.
The evolving system algorithms proposed have a “common core” which can be applied to swarms of dynamic devices ranging from spacecraft to atmospheric and surface vehicles that cooperate to fulfill tasks beyond the capabilities of member. Swarm members can operate at a distance, without physical contact, such as the distributed SAR swarm proposed, or with physical contact such as in-orbit assembly of orbital solar power stations and commercial infrastructure.
Near-term applications of the algorithms are to autonomous road or off-road vehicles or ships. For example, the rendezvous between swarm members, of the distributed SAR mission, followed by swarm aggregation to acquire its configuration for nominal operations is quite similar to convoy formation and deployment for surface vehicles performing (re)supply operations for either defense or commercial use.
The proposed Bifunctional Regenerative Electrochemical Air Transformation for Human Environments (BREATHE) for life support and habitation is part of the atmosphere revitalization equipment necessary to provide and maintain a livable environment within the pressurized cabin of crewed spacecraft. Sustainable Innovations (SI) has developed a novel solid state technology for gas compression based on its proven hydrogen concentration, generation and compression technology that we are currently developing for NASA applications. The technology is solid state with no moving parts, silent, electrically and thermally efficient, and scalable and capable of high pressure – routinely as high as 4,500 psi and demonstrated to 12,500 psi. The Phase 1 objective is to develop a proof of concept device and demonstrate the feasibility of the technical approach for a solid state electrochemical CO2 compressor that will also be suitable for other logistically important gases: CO2, O2 and H2. SI will develop high pressure BREATHE system architecture, focusing on integrating components and making the electrochemical stack lightweight. In addition to decreasing weight, volume and cost, this will increase reliability and durability.
The BREATHE system is designed to provide critical life support on-board spacecraft during long flight time missions. In this application the system would be sourcing CO2 from crew exhalation, and compressing it for supply to electrochemical reduction systems for converting this resource to logistic fuels with oxygen as a byproduct for human life support. This is a critical function for closed environment life support wherein carbon dioxide management can be a limiting factor.
Advancement of SI High Pressure Electrochemical Technologies - We anticipate that the results of the high pressure architecture technology development effort for this project will be fed to Sustainable Innovations pipeline of products which also includes the H2RENEW™, a system that separates and compresses hydrogen for industrial applications and the CO2RENEW™, a system that converts waste CO2 to useful fuels and commodity chemicals.
Very low CO2 concentrations that accumulate quickly from human respiration can have dramatic health effects, and thus in NASA’s history many technical removal strategies for CO2 from a confined atmosphere have been suggested and explored. A CO2 removal system that functions in a is a new area of research, as the primary CO2 removal component in the state-of-the-art system doesn’t have the adsorption performance behavior necessary to function in a Martian atmosphere. We propose to use an alternative adsorbent with unique and highly applicable CO2 adsorption properties - a diamine-appended metal-organic framework (MOF) - as a drop-in replacement for Zeolite 5A, the CO2 adsorbent onboard the ISS. Importantly, the mechanism for CO2 adsorption is disparate from the water adsorption mechanism, allowing the material to be the foundation of newly efficient CO2 removal processes.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) removal for breathing life support will always be a necessary component to human NASA missions. This proposal validates a new class of materials with remarkable CO2 removal properties at the low partial pressures relevant to human toxicity. Additionally, these materials are uniquely suited to perform in a Mars atmosphere. The chemistry of CO2 removal is more challenging on Mars than in a space vacuum, making the results applicable to any future Mars or non-Mars mission.
Industrial chemistry is a bedrock of modern society. Making chemicals, such as making the ethylene in polyethylene (grocery) bags, has two required components: making the chemical and separating it from any other molecules from the process. While this separation step could seem like an afterthought, in fact it is responsible for at least 10% of global industrial energy use! MarsMOF and the class of materials it belongs to have the potential to improve the cost of the world’s largest separations.
Reducing the allowable concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in spacecraft is a critical need for NASA. The system now used on the International Space Station (ISS) is the carbon dioxide removal assembly (CDRA). While it has performed well on the ISS, managers have concluded that using the device to reach the new ppCO2 limit of 2.0 mm Hg is not practical and a new method is needed.
In this project, Reaction Systems, Inc. and the University of Colorado will develop a new, membrane-based system to maintain ppCO2 at no higher than 2.0 mm Hg. The system utilizes the recent advances made in supported liquid membranes (SLMs) to achieve the high CO2 permeance and selectivity needed to make this approach practical. Performance data obtained with a Reaction Systems’ SLM was used to produce a conceptual system design that indicates an SLM system can maintain CO2 at 2.0 mm Hg and still meet size and power limits. A membrane system operates under steady-state conditions, and therefore pumps and heaters can be sized to operate at peak efficiencies, which maximizes lifetimes and minimize power requirements.
Although the conceptual design of the SLM-based system proposed here is very promising, some of the data used to generate the design were obtained under conditions somewhat different from those that would be encountered in an application. Thus, the objectives of this Phase I STTR project are to acquire performance data for these components under representative conditions and then perform a thorough system optimization study using state-of-the-art software to identify the most efficient operating conditions for all components.
Reaction Systems has been developing SLMs for CO2 control for over seven years and our partner in this project, Professor James Nabity, in the Snead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department at the University of Colorado in Boulder, has nearly 15 years of experience developing ECLSS technologies for space habitats and spacesuits.
The immediate application of this technology is the use of a steady state system to control of CO2 in a spacecraft cabin to reach the ppCO2 limit of 2.0 mm Hg. A system that operates under steady state conditions allows all components to be sized to operate under peak efficiency conditions and eliminates the need to store and compress CO2 as it can be fed continuously into the O2 recovery system. This SLM technology could also be used in a simple, reliable system to control CO2 in a spacesuit.
This technology could also find use in capturing CO2, a known greenhouse gas, from power plants. Atmospheric CO2 has increased from 280 ppm to over 400 ppm over the last 60 years and there is evidence that the CO2 atmospheric concentration is now affecting the world’s climate. NOAA reports that the top 10 years of average surface temperatures have occurred in the last 12 years and Scientific American reports that 2016 was the hottest year on record and 2017 was the third hottest.
Protection against the buildup of CO2 in spacecraft is of crucial importance to astronaut health. Currently, several methods are used to remove CO2 from spacecraft including amine scrubbers, lithium hydroxide canisters, and adsorbent-based carbon dioxide removal assemblies (CDRAs). Each scrubbing method has individual benefits and drawbacks: amine scrubbers have no particulate release but require high-energy regeneration; lithium hydroxide offers high capacity but the canisters are non-regenerable; and CDRAs offer moderate regeneration but suffer from dusting. The ideal unit would afford high CO2 capacity, low regeneration costs, minimized footprint and weight, and minimal particulate release.
CDRAs, the preferred technology of NASA, currently utilize beds of Zeolite 5A and Zeolite 13x to remove CO2 and H2O, respectively. The drawbacks of this system are a result of the zeolite. Zeolites are a restrictive class of materials, where the inability to tune the material prevents further improvements in the CDRA system. Furthermore, utilizing zeolites in different environments beyond the CDRA system may further highlight the weakness of these materials for CO2 management.
In contrast to zeolites, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a diverse class of chemically tunable adsorbents. NuMat Technologies (NuMat) proposes displacing zeolites in CDRA systems with MOFs, enhancing the properties of these systems. The ability to displace the water and carbon dioxide zeolites with a MOF will be evaluated. In addition, the ability of MOFs to be employed in other CO2 management environments will be investigated. During Phase I, NuMat will develop an understanding of how MOFs can enhance existing systems by utilizing the components of the system and simply replacing the zeolite bed with MOFs. This protocol of utilizing existing engineered systems will allow for MOFs to be rapidly transitioned through later technology readiness levels.
This phase one application will allow NuMat Technologies to understand how a new class of adsorbents, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), can be employed in CO2 management systems. This has the potential to be employed in multiple NASA applications. Primarily, these materials will be used to upgrade existing CDRA systems offering enhanced performance. Secondly, these materials have the potential to be employed in other CO2 management systems for use in surface systems and EVA systems.
The work under this grant has the potential to be used in a wide range of Non-NASA applications. CO2 control is important in other confined environments including rebreather applications and onboard submarines. With mounting concerns about the environment, these materials have the potential to be scaled further and used in H2O harvesting and CO2 sequestration applications. NuMat Technologies is dedicated to investigating these applications as we seek to utilize MOFs in commercial applications.
Sustainable Bioproducts (SB) proposes to develop an encapsulated biofilm-biomat reactor that will efficiently convert mission relevant feedstocks to usable products under zero gravity conditions. The bioreactor will be based on SB’s proprietary fermentation platform for converting a wide variety of waste streams into a multitude of usable products. SB’s bioreactor platform is simple, does not require energy during fermentation (other than temperature control), requires little water, and produces a very dense, easily harvested, consolidated/textured biomats with little to no waste. The biofilm-biomat fermentation technology enables growth on extreme media such as human waste (urine/feces) and produces a highly consolidated and textured biomass without the requirement of a separation or concentration step. Relatively high biomass production rates (0.55 g/L/h dry biomass) and high culture densities (100-180 g/L) are achieved without the need for active aeration or agitation. Scale-up of the system vertically or horizontally is simple and does not result in decreased productivity. The NASA sponsored research will optimize conversion of mission relevant feedstocks (human waste, food waste, plant materials) by adjusting reactor design and growth conditions. The biofilm-biomats produced in the optimized reactor system will be highly textured, 0.2 to 2.5 cm thick with a dry matter content of 10-18% and can be readily used for mission critical needs such as meat alternatives, other appetizing foods, fuels and building materials.
Closing life-support loops for NASA space missions: 1) Robust low maintenance bioreactors that do not require active aeration or agitation for rapid growth of filamentous microorganisms under zero gravity, 2) A biofilm-based reactor technology that enables growth on a wide variety of harsh feedstocks, 3) Bioreactors that producing dense, consolidated and easily harvested biomass, 4) An efficient production system that generates minimal waste residues, 5) A bioreactor system that easily scales
SB envisions advancing their current reactor technology to a hermetic reactor system for use in a wide variety of situations where protein-rich food is needed quickly, but access to food, and the resources to quickly produce food are limited. These situations include civilian needs during catastrophes such as earthquakes and floods, third world nations with urgent food needs, and food for support of military operations. Interest from governmental agencies such as USDA, FEM and DOD is expected.
The MarsOasis™ cultivation system is a versatile, autonomous, environmentally controlled growth chamber for food provision on the Martian surface. MarsOasis™ integrates a wealth of prior research and Mars growth chamber concepts into a complete system design and operational prototype. MarsOasis™ includes several innovative features relative to the state of the art space growth chambers. It can operate on the Mars surface or inside of a habitat. The growth volume maximizes growth area and supports a variety of crop sizes, from seeding through harvest. It utilizes in-situ CO2 from the Mars atmosphere. Hybrid lighting takes advantage of natural sunlight during warmer periods, and supplemental LEDs during extreme cold, low light, or indoor operation. Recirculating hydroponics and humidity recycling minimize water loss. The structure also supports a variety of hydroponic nutrient delivery methods, depending on crop needs. The growth chamber uses solar power when outside, with deployable solar panels that stow during dust storms or at night. It can also use power from the habitat or other external sources. The growth chamber is mobile, so that the crew can easily relocate it. Autonomous environmental control manages crop conditions reducing crew time for operation. Finally, remote teleoperation allows pre-deployment, prior to crew arrival. This project directly addresses the NASA STTR technology area T7.02 “Space Exploration Plant Growth” and will be a major step towards closed-loop, sustainable living systems for space exploration. This collaborative effort between Space Lab Technologies, LLC and the Bioastronautics research group from the CU Boulder Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department combines conceptual design, modeling & analysis, experimentation, and prototyping to demonstrate feasibility and prepare for future development of a demonstration unit.
MarsOasis™ provides fresh food to spacecraft crew on the Martian surface. The membrane contactor design allows highly selective CO2 capture and regenerable CO2 control in growth chambers, space habitats, or even spacesuits. The robotic harvesting arm can be used in plant chambers or other glove box applications. Finally, the deployable dome material might be used in a variety of applications including spacecraft greenhouses, habitat plumbing systems, or non-load bearing habitat structures.
MarsOasis™ could enable populations in water and nutrient scarce regions to grow fresh vegetables. A simplified version may be attractive in urban areas as year-round roof-top gardens. The sensor suite and control software could improve yield and reduce costs in horticulture facilities. Finally, the membrane contactor design could scrub CO2 from power plants and confined atmospheres (e.g. submarines) more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional systems.
In support of NASA's goals for efficient plant growth in Space, NanoSonic offers an inert polymeric binding system to make use of Mars surface regolith as a safe, structural, growth media for passive hydroponically grown plants. Importantly, the proposed multi-functional binding agent will be combined with regolith to: 1) form a porous support structure with an optimal air-to-water ratio for enhanced water/nutrient retention, 2) result in a high cation exchange media for long-term availability and uptake of mineral nutrients to the plants, while precluding anionic perchlorate sorption, and 3) chemically reduce regolith-containing perchlorate compounds to non-toxic TiO2 crystallites. This low weight, low volume pelletized binding system will take advantage of surface structure available on Mars that cannot be used alone in its current perchlorate laden form, and thereby reduce the amount of growth media and fertilizer required in transit to Space. During this program, NanoSonic shall produce prototype "Rego-rock", based on our innovative polymer structural reinforcement system for Mars-like regolith. We have teamed with water purification and hydroponic plant experts at Virginia Tech (VT) and Groundworks to demonstrate soil-less growth of non-toxic nutrient rich plants with our innovative Rego-rock. Specifically, Dr. Jason He, VT's Director of Center for Applied Water Research and Innovation (CAWRI), shall characterize water flux, uptake, and purity of Rego-Rock tested in forward osmosis units to assess lifetime and potential for re-usability after cleaning. Groundworks will grow plants hydroponically within Rego-rock alongside unmodified Mars-like regolith and a commercial growth media to yield produce for toxicology and quantify anticipated enhanced growth rate and yield.
NanoSonic shall develop an innovative polymeric binding agent that will enable Mars surface regolith as a safe and efficient grow media for hydroponic produce grown on Mars. The binding agent will remove toxic perchlorate compounds from Mars regolith rendering it a suitable substrate to reduce the amount of prepackaged food, plant seeds, and fertilizer needed in transit and during astronauts stay at the Red Planet. Our initial customer will be NASA in support of the Veggie program.
NanoSonic's methods to render Mars regolith a suitable growth media shall also advanced the state-of-the-art in commercial terrestrial grow media. Rego-rock technology shall enhance the cation exchange capacity of the growth media which will allow for the long-term uptake of nutrients. The enhanced porosity will allow for an optimal air-to-water ratio. Additional markets for the Rego-rock technology is in the terrestrial hydroponics markets as well as agriculture, stormwater, and wastewater.
UbiQD, Inc, is partnered with the University of Arizona, Controlled Environment Agriculture Center to enhance the lighting component of the Mars-Lunar Greenhouse prototype to improve the food production for the system. Ultimately, the goals is for UbiQD to install a down-conversion film composed of Quantum Dots (QDs) into the solar collecting/fiber optic system to not only provide higher quality PAR spectrum than currently using, but by converting the high concentration of UV photons to visible photons, UbiQD would be able to dramatically increase the intensity of the PAR spectrum provided to the plants.
In this project, we will prove the feasibility of using a spectrum-modifying film to improve the quality of light given to a plant, which will lead to more efficient growth and better crop yields. By demonstrating the quality of the light spectrum also plays an important role in growing plants efficiently, UbiQD and the University of Arizona will feel confident in moving on to the next steps of integrating the QD technology into a solar collection device for the Lunar/Mars Greenhouse, and moving closer to designing a plant growth chamber that could be deployed on longer manned space missions.
To demonstrate the feasibility that changing the quality of incident light by using a down-converting film will improve lettuce crop yield, two different Ag-Films will be fabricated and used to modify the light spectrum from a Xenon (Xe) lamp system (which best mimics solar irradiation). Then a crop study will be conducted on lettuce crops grown in an indoor hydroponic grow system, where three different sets of lettuce will be grown under the spectrally-modified films.
We will also model and estimate the improvement in crop production compared to previous crop production values measured under high pressure sodium lighting in the Mars-Lunar Greenhouse prototype by both utilizing the Ag-film's ability to convert UV light to PAR as well as improving the overall quality of PAR light.
- Spectral modification for enhanced plant production for long space missions and planetary exploration (this project)
- Remote phosphor for customized plant growth spectra using blue LEDs as a light source
- Remote phosphor for customized spectra for solid state lighting in space vehicles, space stations and living quarters
- Renewable electricity production from transparent surfaces, such as windows
- Fixed position solar spectrum modifying Ag Films for enhanced crop production in greenhouses
- Deployable solar spectrum modifying Ag Films for inducing early flowering or fruiting of the plant
- Renewable electricity generation from the transparent surfaces of a greenhouse structure, including the walls and roof
In this STTR Phase I program, Structured Materials Industries, Inc. (SMI) and Arizona State University (ASU) will develop a SiGeSn based light emitter device technology on Si, which will be a key ingredient for Si-based integrated photonics applications, such as in lab-on-a-chip integrated chemical and biological spectrometers for landers, astronaut health monitoring, front-end and back-end for remote sensing instruments including trace gas lidars in NASA missions. SiGeSn presents a great potential for the Si-based photonic spectrometers since it offers a direct band gap over a range of compositions as well as direct growth compatibility with Si. The narrow direct band gap offers the promise of III-V like photonic device performance in the ~1.5 to 5.0 micron range.
The proposed on-chip biological and chemical spectrometer on silicon has the distinctive advantages of small foot print, potentially fully integrated on the same silicon platform to form the SI phonic circuits, including SiGeSn LED light source and detector, as well as light dispersion function, that will be made of a photonic crystal, rather than a diffraction grating as a means of wavelength separation. The full integration of SiGeSn emitters with photonic devices, all on Si, will constitute the long awaited dawn of the next generation in semiconductor electronics-photonics and spectrometers on one common platform.
The development of efficient Si-based emitters compatible with Si is the holy grail of integrating photonic biological/chemical spectrometers. The end result will be the development of a very critical element of high performance compact lab-on-chip spectrometer for biological/chemical investigations for NASA missions.
The public benefits of Si-based emitters are in medical instruments, medical diagnostics, energy management, military systems, general computing, games, automation, or any of all the electronic devices we use. The benefit will be improved performance, improved living standards, more efficient operation of instruments and so forth.
Here, Omega Optics Inc. (OO), in collaboration with University of Texas (UT), Austin and Texas A&M University will develop a novel label-free photonic crystal (PC) micro-cavities based on-chip integrated electrically injected tunable transverse-coupled-cavity (TCC) vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) for high throughput diagnostic assays in early cancer detections. The device will enable low cost of ownership (COO) $50-$100 for consumable parts and measurement system is expected to be less than $1000. High sensitivities of less than 67 femto grams per millimeter is expected. It is noted that each PC cavity is immobilized with a unique capture biomolecule, and interrogated simultaneously for binding between the probe capture and target biomolecule. Binding is manifested by change in resonance wavelength due to the change in refractive index. Large effective modal volume and high quality factor of the resonance enables the optical mode to interact with more biomolecules for a longer interaction time thereby leading to high sensitivity compact sensors. Binding specificity is achieved by sandwich assay techniques combined with multiplexed detection for statistical confidence. Electrical injection enables chip integration of the light source that offers superior advantage over all existing optical sensors which rely on coupling of external optical sources with complex instrumentation. The device can be easily extended to any multi-analyte sensing for implementation in biomarker discovery, drug discovery, health diagnostics and in the long term, in screening. Market for cancer profiling technologies market is to be $54.8 billion in 2018, while the pharmaceuticals market is expected to grow to $1 Trillion. We expect to occupy a significant position in the above markets. Our technology is extremely versatile and the ramifications are far-reaching.
Can be used for: (1) Monitoring the astronaut’s health from irritable bowel syndrome to diabetes, and even depression. Stressful conditions, like those typically found during a space mission, including cosmic radiation and microgravity, have been shown to changes in bacterial physiology. Due to hand-held and label free it can be used anywhere, anytime. (2) Also our tunable laser integrated with amplifier can be used for NASA's LIDAR applications.
It can be used for (1) early detection in the medical diagnostics, (2) Bio-“warfare defense” assays monitoring biological toxins, food and feedstock assays . Away from the sensing market, electrically injected tunable TCC-VCSEL and semiconductor optical amplifier have dominant markets in (3) chip-integrated low-threshold with tunable operation for optical communications. Hence, diverse areas of science and technology are expected to benefit from this research.
We propose to revolutionize the field of frequency-domain terahertz (THz) spectrometers by developing ~2 cm3 wide-band spectrometer with improved frequency accuracy, resolution and stability. Integration will also provide significant SWaP-C advantage compared to present solution allowing deployment in small spacecraft platforms and other applications where low SWaP is crucial.
Compared to presently available frequency-domain THz spectrometers, we expect significant improvements as follows:
The T8.02 Photonic Integrated Circuits topic specifically calls for integrated photonic sensors that include as example: Terahertz spectrometer. We propose to revolutionize the field of frequency-domain THz spectrometers by developing ~2 cm3 chip-scale spectrometer. The core of the spectrometer is a stable THz signal generator. Said generator is a crosscutting technology that can be used in mm-wave or THz communication systems as well as in sensing application as the envisioned THz spectrometer.
Terahertz spectroscopy can be used, among other things, for: explosive detection, narcotics detection, pharmaceutical quality control and tissue classification. This makes it very interesting for many government agencies such as DoD, DHS, EPA and HHS. With SWaP-C improvements, we can expect such sensors to be more widely deployed. In terms of non-government markets, the pharmaceutical industry could be one of the early adopters of said technology.
This proposal includes, for the first time, integrated theoretical models and experimental investigations to simulate and demonstrate femtosecond-laser-fabricated waveguides in crystalline dielectric materials. The numerical models will predict refractive-index changes potentially induced by self-focusing, heat accumulation, thermal stress, plasma formation and relaxation, and ablation. The influence of focal conditions and laser parameters (pulse energy, wavelength, repetition rate, focal spot size, and scanning speed) on waveguide quality and geometry will be theoretically and experimentally investigated via sensitivity studies. The index modulation will be evaluated for the three major waveguide-design configurations (Type I, II, and III) using matrices of laser parameters. The effectiveness of the three types of waveguide configurations will be compared for laser materials. To prepare for Phase II, the technical feasibility of producing waveguide lasers will be accessed through numerical modeling. Concepts for developing a waveguide laser will be identified. This innovation will enable the fabrication of low-loss optical waveguides for integrated photonic circuits with the integrated active and passive devices on the micron scale. It will provide weight, power and cost reductions for tele-communications, advanced data centers, and free-space communications. The femtosecond-laser-enabled compact three-dimensional waveguides and waveguide-laser sources provide a unique platform for versatile photonic applications to remote sensing, analog RF, quantum computing and biomedical monitoring, and others.
-Sensing: aircraft sensing of temperature, pressure, etc., or Astronaut health telemonitoring with integrated photonics circuitry. -Spacecraft microprocessors: optical waveguide-based integrated photonic circuits combining passive and active devices. -Advanced data processing: high-performance computing based on high-speed waveguide circuitry for climate research. -Free space communications: implementation in communication systems: deep space optical transceiver and ground receiver.
-Optical communications: fast and efficient telecommunication components such as multiplexers/demultiplexers, optical antennas and other microscale resonators, modulator/demodulators, transmitters/receivers. -Signal processing: low-cost solutions to short-distance communications and signal processing applications such as local area networks and high-speed Internet access. -Medical and clinical research: waveguides and waveguides lasers can be used for Lab-On-Chip and biomedical monitoring sensors.
In this Project, OEwaves Inc. and Georgia Tech team propose to research and develop a unique RF photonic receiver front-end enabling microwave signal processing at a heterogeneously integrated photonic platform. In particular, we propose to develop a new technology for photonic microwave filters based on the new advances in Si-based integrated photonics. We will exploit the expertise of the team members who have made extensive contributions to silicon (Si) and silicon nitride (SiN) integrated photonic structures (Georgia Tech) and the design and development of analog photonic systems (OEwaves Inc.).
These photonic integrated circuits permit size, weight, power and cost reductions for spacecraft microprocessors, communication buses, processor buses, advanced data processing, free space communications and integrated optic science instrument optical systems, subsystems and components. Allowing NASA to respond to the steady increase in data rates, with signal coding and modulation for more efficient use of the RF spectrum establishing reliable radio links across thousands of miles of space.
Various military airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) as well as government software defined and cognitive radio applications had demonstrated great need for such a tunable microwave-photonic filter. Customers include the federal government (DoD, NSA, etc.), government/defense contractors (Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, L-3, Northrop Grumman, UTC Aerospace, etc.), and government communication radio developers (Motorola Solutions, Harris, National Instruments, etc.).
The innovation proposed here is a novel multi-scale coupling methodology implemented in the Loci-STREAM CFD code, for developing a high-fidelity, high-performance multiphase combustion modeling capability to enable accurate, fast and robust simulation of unsteady turbulent, reacting flows involving cryogenic propellants (such as LOX/Methane) in liquid rocket engines (LREs). During Phase 1 work, a complete Eulerian-Lagrangian spray modeling methodology will be developed. The key components of this methodology are: (a) Volume-of-Fluid (VOF) method for liquid jet core and primary atomization, (b) Transitional Breakup (TBU) model for treating large drops and ligaments resulting from primary atomization, (c) Secondary Breakup (SBU) models, (d) Lagrangian Particle Tracking Model (LPT) to track the dispersed droplets, and (e) Evaporation models. In Phase 2 work, this spray modeling methodology will be coupled to flamelet-based models in Loci-STREAM to yield a full spray combustion capability. The Transitional Breakup (TBU) model is a novel approach proposed in this project– it will allow a robust transfer of large drops from the VOF model to the LPT model. The key components of this TBU model are: (1) a cloud-of-parcels approach in which the large drops are extracted from the VOF model and injected into the LPT model as a cloud of Lagrangian parcels with a diameter equal to that of the large drop but a fractional number representing the part of the large drop that each parcel represents, and (2) a stochastic model which evaluates the probability of breakup and the size distribution of a large drop using Monte-Carlo methods. The proposed enhancements in Loci-STREAM are anticipated to yield higher fidelity and more reliable analytical/design capability relative to existing capability at NASA for turbulent reacting flows in LREs.
Design and manufacture of a Liquid fuel injector optimized for Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing. UAM delivers aerospace parts today at 97% of bulk material property and foil laydown rates at speeds significantly better then powder or filament process. UAM has traditionally been applied to 2-D planar surfaces. We will extend UAM into complex geometries and constructs suitable for rocket engine injectors.
Combustion research, low cost engines, low cost exploration programs.
Military field manufacturing, Civil manufacturing.
Rocket propulsion for deep space applications typically use liquid propellants for axial stage and attitude control systems. The most common propellants are hydrazine (N2H4) and monomethylhydrazine (MMH) (CH3N2H3) for the fuels, and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) (N2O4) for the oxidizer. The freezing points of both hydrazine and NTO approach room temperature and require on-board electrical heaters for the propellant tanks. MMH has a much lower freezing point but is used with NTO as an oxidizer so propulsion systems still require significant heater power. MON-25, an oxidizer composed of NTO mixed with 25% nitric oxide (NO), has a freezing point comparable to MMH. MMH and MON-25 propellants can allow a thruster to operate at -40°C. However, the properties of MON-25 have not been fully defined, specifically at temperatures below 5°C . This project will further characterize the properties of MON-25 and MON-30 oxidizers so they can be used with confidence at cold temperatures in space flight systems. These propellants will save considerable power required for propellant heaters, which will permit larger science payload and enhance the mission capability of deep space probes. The low-temperature oxidizers may also find use in lunar landing and ascent systems where sunlight is intermittent or absent.
Completion of the Phase I program will provide property data needed to reduce risk in current rocket engines under development by both NASA JPL (MON-30 hybrid motor) and Frontier Aerospace/NASA MSFC Deep Space Engines (DSE) using MON-25/MMH. The MON-30 hybrid, a possible Mars ascent motor that burns a solid with the oxidizer, is slated for possible use in the early 2020s. The DSE are ideal for use on future deep space missions for orbit insertion, transfer and landing/ascent propulsions systems.
It is anticipated that the DSE will be used, in the 2020 timeframe, on a commercial lunar lander under development by Astrobotic. Mission success by Astrobotic will bring the DSE to a TRL 9 and provide a low-cost, high performance, high TRL engine to the space transportation market.
The landing surface damage and liberation of debris particles caused by rocket plume impingement flow during spacecraft propulsive landing on unprepared surfaces of Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies poses a high risk for robotic and human exploration activities. Simply determining whether the plume induced loads exceed the bedrock bearing capacity threshold is not sufficient. An integrated multi-physics simulation tool is required to capture and quantify the onset, progression and ultimate extent of the bedrock fracture processes and identify the dangers of the resulting debris transport and landing surface destruction. No such simulation capability exists to date. CFDRC has teamed with the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to propose the development of such a simulation tool that combines state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics software for plume flowfield with a dynamic fracture mechanics structural analysis software of the rock material under plume impingement loads. The Phase I will focus on demonstrating feasibility of the proposed approach with a TRL of 2 to 3. In Phase II the models will be extended and validated to provide an accurate numerical approach for simulating plume induced rock fracture, debris transport and analysis tool, increasing the TRL by end of Phase II from 3 to 5.
The proposed development will offer NASA currently non-existing simulations capabilities for propulsion integration effects assessment earlier during EDL&A concept development and systems integration trade-offs. The tools will enable definition of landing pad strength and maintenance/repair infrastructure required for sustainable outpost operation scenarios. Robotic exploration scenarios frequently involve site hopping of probes with repeated take-off and landing damage potential.
Potential non-NASA applications include: a) Propulsive landing plume-surface interaction effects and debris damage assessment for commercial lander developers such as SpaceX’s planned Big Falcon Spaceship for Mars exploration and others planned by entities such as Blue Origin, b) Damage prediction and resulting debris predictions for military aircraft vertical take-off and landing, and c) Damage assessment and debris predictions for future military and commercial autonomous drones operations.
Spacecraft propulsive landings on unprepared regolith present in extra-terrestrial environments pose a high risk for space exploration missions. Plume/regolith interaction results in (1) the liberation of dust and debris particles that may collide with the landing vehicle and (2) craters whose shape itself can influence vehicle dynamics. To investigate such gas-granular interactions for large-scale problems using standard Lagrangian approach, particles on the order of billions would need to be modelled to account for large landing areas, making the approach impractical. An effective alternative is to use an Eulerian-Eulerian approach where the granular mixture is represented using a two-fluid model and the granular material physics are considered using constituent relations. This effort aims to provide a state-of-the-art Eulerian-Eulerian approach with novel granular material models in the highly scalable computational framework Loci used by NASA engineers. At the end of Phase I, a massively parallel Loci-based version of a gas-granular flow solver featuring compressible flow, single gas species, and novel granular material models for spherical and irregular (single-component) particle mixture will be developed and demonstrated, with a TRL starting at 2 and ending at 4. Phase II effort will add higher model fidelity to the gas phase with a multi-component approach, an extension of the granular models for poly-disperse mixtures, overset-mesh with six degrees-of-freedom for lander vehicle motion, and compatibility to other Loci-based tools and modules such as CHEM.
Potential NASA commercial applications include the NASA led lunar and Mars lander development projects. Human class Mars lander plume-surface analysis is provided to propulsive Entry, Descent, Landing and Ascent (EDL&A) systems integration teams under the Evolvable Mars Campaign (EMC). Lunar lander developments include the NASA led Lunar Pallet Lander and industry lunar landers by Masten, Astrobotic, and Blue Origin which benefit from NASA technical support through the CATALYST program.
Potential non-NASA applications include a wide range of sand and dust related military and civilian applications such as rotorcraft sand/dust brownout and engine dust ingestion. In addition, multiphase flows occur in many applications in chemical, petro-chemical and fossil-energy conversion industries where accurate modeling of particle shape play a huge role in the flow behavior of real particulate systems.
In contrast to the standard cold reservoir Variable Conductance Heat Pipe (VCHP) where for tight thermal control an electrical heater is used for the reservoir (wicked), Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc (ACT) developed a hot reservoir VCHP with the reservoir thermally coupled to the evaporator. This novel feature will provide a tight temperature control capability without the need for control power. Based on the recent ISS testing result, it was concluded that working fluid management within the reservoir and the NCG tube (typically non-wicked) of VCHPs is the key to advance the reliability of a hot reservoir VCHP, which will secure a successful long-term mission of planetary landers. Under this STTR topic, ACT will collaborate with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to implement several novel fluid management features to enhance system reliability of hot reservoir VCHP. ACT will develop several advanced fluid management features and test their performance on a hot reservoir VCHP prototype. In parallel, CWRU will perform a fundamental study and mathematical model development to simulate and understand the complexity of the transport phenomena problem within the two-phase working fluid and non-condensable gas mixture in the reservoir and the NCG tube. The objective of the CWRU’s effort is to bring deep understanding of the thermal-fluid and thermodynamic environment in the VCHP reservoir and NCG tube and identify an effective purging mechanism (i.e. vapor removal from a hot reservoir), which is crucial in designing a reliable hot reservoir VCHP for future planetary lander thermal management.
The next generation of polar rovers and equatorial landers is the immediate NASA application. A hot reservoir VCHP with enhanced reliability will be needed, which is able to operate during large tilts, shut down during the long Lunar night and maintain the temperature lander vehicle over a wide sink temperature fluctuation on the Lunar surface.
Astrobotics Technology, as one of the primary developers of space robotics for planetary missions has expressed a great interest on ACT’s hot reservoir VCHP technology and anticipate to apply the advanced version to their lander vehicles for Lunar and Mars surface operation.
All rocket missions benefit from having lower structural mass and higher specific impulse, both of which contribute to larger payload fractions and therefore lower mission cost. High temperature materials such as ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) are an avenue to lower engine mass because of the low density and high specific strength of the material. They also have a high maximum temperature and so contribute to high specific impulse by reducing the thermal load that must be removed from the nozzle structure, keeping the heat in the exhaust stream where it belongs. However, even the maximum temperature of CMCs is not high enough for stoichiometric methane-oxygen or hydrogen-oxygen flame conditions.
In this Phase I effort, PSI will develop a regenerative cooling architecture and manufacturing method for a combined CMC/metal structure. The major difficulties encountered so far in adding fuel cooling to CMC nozzles is that CMCs are typically permeable and have low thermal conductivity. PSI will address these challenges using cold-spray metallization and metal additive manufacturing to build metal cooling passages on a corrugated CMC nozzle.
If the proposed project is successful, it will result in a CMC/metal structure capable of withstanding combustion chamber, throat, and nozzle conditions by using regenerative cooling. The Phase I program will end with validated thermal design and manufacturing methods for a full regenerative CMC nozzle. This technology is applicable to a range of nozzle sizes from the 1.2 klbf MSFC “workhorse” nozzle configuration which would be targeted in a Phase II project, through booster-scale nozzles. At the end of the Phase I project, a manufacturing prototype of the CMC/metal cooling structure and design and test data will be provided to NASA.
The proposed regeneratively cooled ceramic matrix composite combustion chamber and nozzle technology would be immediately applicable to upper-stage rocket engines and small in-space and powered descent engines. With additional development, the same technology could be applied to large nozzles, which would yield an even greater system benefit than small nozzles due to their greater fraction of the total system mass for a large rocket.
Cooled ceramic matrix composites are applicable to combustors and hot structure for flight vehicles. For hypersonic airplanes, the technology is applicable to leading edges, combustor liners, and jet impingement surfaces. It can be used with fuel as coolant as in the rocket engine case, or with separate cooling loops including cryogenic, phase-change, or refrigerated. The temperature capabilities of existing CMC parts can be increased, or lower-cost CMCs could be substituted, enabled by cooling.
Niobium alloy (C-103) reaction control system (RCS) chambers have been used on numerous NASA programs. However at elevated temperatures, the strength of C-103 decreases significantly. Higher strength niobium alloys have been developed, but these alloys lack the formability of C-103. Recently, Additive Manufacture (AM) of niobium and C-103 has been demonstrated using powder bed electron beam melting (EBM). A primary advantage of AM processing is its ability to produce complex components to net shape along with the incorporation of unique features. However, EBM-AM processing of niobium and C-103 results in elongated, columnar grains, which reduce mechanical properties as compared to a cold worked material. Therefore, the potential exists to develop and fabricate a higher strength niobium alloy by taking advantage of the net-shape forming capability of AM processing and circumvent the lack of formability of such high strength alloys. To demonstrate the feasibility of EBM-AM processing high strength niobium alloys, a parameters-characterization-properties study will be conducted during Phase I. During Phase II, the EBM-AM processing of high strength niobium alloys will be optimized and extensive materials properties testing will be conducted. The most promising results will then be used to produce a high strength niobium alloy RCS chamber.
Targeted NASA applications include in-space propulsion components for apogee insertion, attitude control, orbit maintenance, repositioning of satellites/spacecraft, reaction control systems, and descent/ascent engines, nuclear power/propulsion, microgravity containment crucibles and cartridges.
Commercial sectors that will benefit from this technology include medical, power generation, electronics, defense, aerospace, chemicals, and corrosion protection. Targeted commercial applications include net-shape fabrication of refractory metals for rocket nozzles, crucibles, heat pipes, propulsion components, sputtering targets, turbines, rocket engines, and nuclear power components.
Leveraging their prior experience working with automated fiber placement (AFP) of thin-ply composite materials, NextGen Materials & Processing LLC and the University of Massachusetts Lowell will utilize a Design of Experiments approach, combined with analytical modeling, to identify the critical material, slitting, spooling, and AFP parameters that influence the repeatable, high quality laydown of thin-ply composite materials to produce large aerospace structures. To date, long and costly certification processes have hindered the widespread adoption and exploitation of the benefits of thin-ply composites with AFP. Without critical end-user feedback, material manufacturers haven’t fully developed their thin-ply material systems with the same repeatability, consistency, and quality of standard-ply-thickness composites. Thus, further process development is necessary to optimize thin-ply unidirectional tapes for AFP. Working closely with Hexcel, the NextGen/UMass Lowell team will develop AFP-optimized conditions for a thin-ply version of the IM7 carbon fiber/8552-1 epoxy prepreg system, independent of different types of AFP machines. Using this material in conjunction with AFP, mechanical test coupons will be fabricated and tested to produce data for contribution to the development of the design and qualification database for thin-ply composite materials that will accelerate the adoption of these materials in structural applications.
This program will lead to more efficient AFP processing of thin-ply composite materials, enabling various manufacturing applications for NASA including aerostructures requiring high structural efficiency, and lightweight deep-space exploration structures such as pressurized habitation systems and tanks. Having the ability to manufacture cost-efficiently will also enable low-mass high stiffness deployable structures that can be packaged efficiently during launch (via folding/rolling).
Non-NASA commercial applications of AFP of thin-ply materials include commercial rockets requiring advancements in materials and processing technologies to reduce cost, weight, and improve structural performance. Non-space applications include UAVs staying aloft for long durations to provide internet to remote global regions. Supersonic and hypersonic aircraft can be manufactured with reduced lifecycle costs due to the improved damage tolerance and reduction in repair and maintenance activity.
Opterus Research and Development, Inc. proposes to develop and validate multi-scale thin-ply High Strain Composites (HSCs) constitutive modeling tools for incorporation into commercial finite element analysis codes. The constitutive models will capture the time-temperature-load-deformation viscoelastic characteristics common to HSCs as well as the yielding or permanent deformation associated with the large strains HSC materials are subjected to. The two main program components are 1) characterization of thin-ply HSCs through extensive testing and 2) multi-scale modeling of thin-ply HSCs at the constituent (matrix and fiber), lamina, and laminate levels. Of particular interest are modeling and characterizing the unique behaviors of highly spread tow woven textile HSCs. This combination of characterization and modeling will enable validated engineering tools to allow the predictive design of thin-ply HSC structures.
Primary NASA applications are thin-ply deployable composite hinges and booms for small satellite applications. These booms, including double-omega, shearless, slit-tube, tape-spring, and TRAC booms, are rolled on small diameter hubs. The booms can then be used to deploy solar sails, reflectors, antennas, solar arrays, sun shades, deorbit sails, sensor booms, etc. The thin-ply deployable composite hinges and booms are broadly applicable to NASA missions involving deployable structures and HSCs.
Applications include the range of solar sails, reflectors, antennas, solar arrays, sun shades, deorbit sails, sensor booms, etc. The technology is enabling for higher compaction, lighter weight systems and supports development and engineering processes that are faster and lower cost. Savings are achieved through a reduction in the number of iterative build and test cycles needed in development programs because system performance can be predicted more accurately prior to prototype fabrication
This body of research focuses on developing fundamental engineering qualification methods for Thin-Ply High Strain Composites (TP-HSCs). Roccor will collaborate with NASA and Dr. Kwok of the University of Central Florida to develop and validate a robust framework for engineering the viscoelastic behavior of highly strained thin-ply composites. The material systems studied will be highly focused on the matrix contributions to thin ply composite structures, where the fibers utilized will be IM7 and the layup type will be spread-tow plain weave with a maximum of 80 grams per square meter. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a robust analysis and prediction method which is matrix agnostic, however with the timeframe of a phase one contract the initial study will only utilize Patz Materials Technologies – F7 (PMT-F7) toughened, high temperature, epoxy resin. Performance tasks of this program include neat-resin test, Column-bend Test, and diametrical compression testing. Each test will aid in the development of robust analytical methods as well as material allowable databases made available to the public. Further investigation in a phase two effort would validate the framework and publish test data for a representative sample of space-flight-grade resin types including at least one other epoxy, cyanate ester, thermoplastic (e.g. PEEK, PEKK), and at least one system with a nano-filler.
This project develops an ultra-thin and formable prepreg material from reusable short carbon fiber composites (CFC), including process and material development, test panel fabrication and mechanical performance evaluation. Key to superior performance of ultra-thin ply materials is the ability to fabricate high fiber volume and uniform fiber distribution prepreg with low void content and layer thicknesses ≤20μm. Our prepreg is made from short, aligned carbon fiber (CF) sheets and polymer film impregnation. We have demonstrated successful fabrication of 30gsm areal weight fabric material and recently proved ultra-thin ply prepreg impregnation with a low areal weight polymer film. The process is unique as it is not relying on spreading of large fiber tows but assembles individual short fibers creating better control of fiber content and thickness uniformity. The materials can be processed using conventional autoclave with mechanical properties equivalent to continuous CFC.
Key advantages of short CF thin-ply material compared to traditional continuous prepreg are the lower variability of the microstructure, the ability of in-plane stretching of short CFCs, the ability to hybridize at the fiber level and to reclaim the CF material for fabrication of new high-performance parts or as feedstock for additive manufacturing processes. The Phase I will demonstrate high-quality thin-ply uni and QI prepregs made from short CFs and a potential Phase II will consider evaluation of the multi-functional aspect of the material including hybridization, improved processability and recovery of short CFCs.
NASA has shown interest in applying thin-ply technology in various programs. The approach has the potential to reduce cost by 25% and weight by 30 percent compared to existing aluminum-lithium propellant tanks. Minimum weight solutions and the potential for material reuse with thin-ply are critical for deep-space habitation structures. The thin-ply technology also allows minimum gauge and hybrid designs for space suits optimizing mass efficiency.
The general approach and specific technologies developed in this STTR can also be applied to other military platforms and commercial applications (aerospace, automotive, wind etc). These applications may require additional material testing and R&D to meet certifications and particular application requirements.
Use of thin ply composites offers good potential for significant mass savings for aerospace structures besides its improved resistance to micro-cracking, fatigue, and delamination. However, mass savings due to thin-ply technology depends on material and fabrication technology, vehicle configuration, structural design, loads etc. Structural integrity of components made from thin plies need to be characterized over the service life considering the operational and environmental loads. Analysis packages are therefore needed to study how the thin ply manufacturing process parameters, part design and fabrication affect the properties and performance of the composite part over the service life. TDA, therefore, proposes to develop an integrated assessment tool for thin-ply composites including manufacturing process, material characterization and performance evaluation which results in improved design of aerospace structures. Our analysis methods and tools provide NASA and other industry users to evaluate, test numerous different carbon manufacturing technologies in order to cover all requirements as needed.
Thin Ply composites potential for use in NASA’s applications arises from its higher fatigue and temperature cycling resistance, and superior capability in leak-tightness and micro cracking resistance. We foresee the immediate application of advances of our analysis tool to assess thin ply composites for use on pressurized structural systems such deep space habitation structures, and on reconnaissance aircraft, whether it is for integral tanks and other airframe structural parts.
We foresee use of thin ply composites in advanced components for the space, aeronautics, automotive, renewable energy and machine building industries. Our analysis methods and tools provide users to evaluate, test numerous different carbon manufacturing technologies in order to cover all requirements as needed. Our tools will allow users to accept product design and performance limitations due to manufacturing and procurement constraints.
In response to NASA’s topic T12.02 of “Extensible Modeling of Metallurgical Additive Manufacturing Processes”, Sentient proposes to incorporate its DigitalClone technique to develop a multiscale and multiphysics computational modeling suite to predict comprehensive outcomes from AM building processes, including geometrical accuracy, and resulting microstructure and defects. Figure 1 shows the proposed framework for the multiscale modeling suite. The process model will first predict the microscale thermal evolution in respect of various parameters. The temperature results will feed a subsequent macroscale model for prediction of stress and distortion at part scale. Moreover, the predicted thermal history and distribution will feed subsequent microstructure model to further predict the micro-scale features including grain morphology and porosity. The proposed computational modeling framework allows a comprehensive prediction and understanding of the metal AM process at multiple levels.
In Phase I, Sentient will upgrade and demonstrate DigitalClone’s capability to integrate process-microstructure simulation for metal AM process. Specifically, selective laser melting of IN 718 alloy will be used for development and demonstration purposes in Phase I. AM coupons with different geometries will be fabricated by Selective Laser Melting (SLM) at different parameters. DigitalClone will be used to simulate all different scenarios of coupons made from IN718 alloys, and predict temperature, stress, part distortion, and grain structure. Materials characterization will be performed on the coupons to examine geometrical accuracy, microstructure, residual stress, all of which will be used to validate the DigitalClone model. In Phase II, different materials and AM platforms and more complex geometrical components will be tested for model validation. Additionally, close-loop optimization framework will be explored for improving geometrical design and microstructure features.
A successful completion of this project will lead to a robust AM modeling suite that provides accurate prediction of dimensional accuracy, microstructure, and defects in AM process. The proposed modeling suite will significantly reduce the uncertainty and conservatism in design of new AM components and processes. NASA would directly benefit from this software via virtually pre-testing the new AM component design, process effects and part quality.
The proposed modeling software will benefit several other industries incorporating AM technique, including aerospace, medical device, automotive industries. This will not only allow customers virtually evaluating the AM part qualities, more importantly, it will provide the “best solution” for customer in respect of optimizing AM design, selecting process and materials, increasing performance, reliability and durability, and reducing cost of operation the process.
The research objective of the proposed work is to demonstrate feasibility of utilizing extensible modeling to create an AM knowledgebase for copper alloy, GrCop-84, and utilize it to design an AM process for GrCop-84. The work plan has three tasks: (1) Utilize process modeling to demonstrate feasibility of predicting AM process parameters for alloy GrCop-84 for the powder bed and blown powder processes and generate parameter verification data. (2) Perform extensible modeling to generate an AM knowledgebase for GrCop-84 for the powder bed and blown powder processes. Demonstrate compatibility of extensible modeling for another alloy of interest to NASA by generating a knowledgebase for that alloy using existing data at AO. (3) Demonstrate feasibility of applying extensible modeling of the AM process and rapid solidification modeling of AM microstructure to mitigate build defects, dimensional errors, and microstructure inhomogeneity for either the powder bed or blown powder process for alloy GrCop-84. The deliverables are: (1) AM processing parameters; (2) AM knowledgebase to account for modest changes in parameters; (3) A microstructure model for rapid solidification; (4) Demonstration of feasibility to mitigate build defects, dimensional errors, and microstructure inhomogeneity.
The NASA commercial applications from the proposed work are to support the AM process developments for: (1) The transformation of liquid propulsion systems in reducing its cost, fabrication time, and overall part count; (2) The Journey to Mars, (e.g., MOXIE and SHERLOC); and (3) The human explorations and operations portfolio for Exploratory Systems Developments for Orion and SLS as well as the Commercial Crew Program, Dragon V2.
The non-NASA commercial applications from the proposed work are widespread. For example: (1) Replacement and repair of commercial jet engine components; (2) Conformal heat exchangers with enhanced thermal efficiency; and (3) Low-cost, low-volume, one-of-a-kind, non-critical components for industrial automation.
This Multiband Software Defined Radio (SDR) sensor system proposal will demonstrate the ability to operate within multiple frequency bands and across multiple technology platforms in a single transceiver. The center frequencies and bandwidths chosen are representative of current demonstrated commercial or research devices and bands used: 400 MHz, 900 MHz, and 2.4 GHz ISM bands, with bandwidths of approximately 10 MHz, 26 MHz, and 100 MHz, respectively. SAW sensor development proposed is for a cryogenic to high temperature sensor, high temperature strain sensor, and magnetic field sensor. Demonstration of other passive technology sensors will also be demonstrated.
This proposal presents a series of technical objectives that will have a significant benefit to a broad range of wireless sensors, and advance the state-of-the-art and capabilities in sensor technology. The effort will demonstrate a multiband software defined radio (SDR) sensor transceiver that can interrogate any passive resonator or delay line technology sensor within a given band. The proposed sensor systems will lead to improved safety, reduced test, and space flight costs by providing real-time analysis of data, information, and knowledge through meshed wireless networking.
The SDR system approach has the following advantages and advancements:
Wireless measurements on rotating parts - Temperature & strain, Wireless passive sensors in wings, fuselage, or other inaccessible points - Temperature & strain, Wireless sensor networking and SHM master monitor, Wireless massively deployed sensors, Inflatable habitats - Inside/outside temperature, Gas monitoring, Strain/stress of components, Hydrogen gas sensing - Launch vehicles & Ground facilities, Cryogenic gas and liquid monitoring for launch vehicles
Airplane cabin & landing gear SHM, Sensor monitoring of inaccessible areas, within the fuselage or wings of airframes, Hydrogen, methane, ammonia, humidity, gas and other wireless passive sensors - Hydrogen fueled vehicles, Gas cylinders, Nuclear reactors, Transportation (Bridges, highways, etc.) wireless monitoring - Concrete curing, Corrosion, Strain, Military and commercial aircraft SHM, Engine/ turbine monitoring - Gear temperature, Exhaust tempersture, Cryogenic liquid and gas monitoring
Sensatek Propulsion Technology, Inc. proposes to demonstrate the feasibility of a wireless, passive, nanoparticle-based sensor system. The sensor in its current form can be used to measure real time temperatures and pressures wirelessly without the need of an external energy source. It should be noted that the same sensing principle can be used for strain monitoring as well. It comprises of a microwave-resonator-based sensor, a microwave transceiver, and a custom-made antenna. The microwave-resonator-based sensors uses a dielectric resonator structure, a low-profile reflective patch temperature sensor, and a pressure sensor based on evanescent-mode resonator structure. These sensors are made of high-temperature-stable and corrosion-resistant ceramic materials which are suitable for extreme-environment applications. The use of nanoparticles can further reduce the size of the sensor enabling deployment in current hard-to-access areas.
This approach will enable not only surface measurements of pressure and temperature but also provide in-flow measurements of gas path flows at cryogenic and high temperature environments. In-flow measurements within the metal piping of the fluid systems helps provide a dynamic and real time analysis of the operations of the system. Besides, the embedded sensor helps in keeping the structural integrity of the component intact since it’s installation doesn’t require machining pathways as is needed for traditional sensor cables.
The proposed innovation will specifically provide the following benefits for propulsion system test, development & flight applications:
-Reduced cost and labor requirements associated with instrumentation installation at 8-Foot High-Temperature Tunnel Facility for National Aerospace Plan Concept Demonstration Engine, X43 Hyper-X engine
-Reduce operational costs for various engine test-beds, developmental & launch facilities at SSC, GRC, MSFC and KSC Propulsion Systems Laboratory
-Structural health monitoring into the numerous NASA programs particularly the RS-25 engines on SLS.
Monitoring of harsh environments in inaccessible locations provides insight to increase the reliability and efficenciy in systems that includes: HyFly Dual Combustor Ramjet Engine, X43C program’s Ground Demonstrator, Air Force Research Laboratory’s SJX61–1 and SJX61–2 engines; Power Generation & Aviation Gas Turbine Engines for Maintenance & Operational Monitoring; Automotive for Continuous Monitoring for Component Health Indication; and Chemical Plants for Process Control, Safety & Automation.
Propulsion systems require rigorous and highly instrumented testing to enable a comprehensive analysis of performance and to minimize risks associated with space flight. Current testing instrumentation methods can be replaced with embedded sensor systems that are used for monitoring remote, hazardous, or inaccessible locations, while reducing cabling and power consumption. The additional information from the embedded sensor system will enable improved analysis techniques that will accelerate propulsion system developments. Luna proposes to develop a multi-function, drop in, sensor capable of measuring distributed temperature, heat flux, strain, and pressure in metal piping using embedded high-definition fiber optic sensing (HD-FOS). For Phase I, Luna will develop a demonstrator system and structure with an embedded HD-FOS for acquiring multiple physical parameters. The distributed multi-parameter sensor will simultaneously measure multiple physical effects on rocket engine piping and vessels. The HD-FOS has a spatial resolution of 0.65 mm, so thousands of data points can be collected along an optical fiber that can be used to quantify small features on complex test structures depending on the routing of the fiber. The instrumentation is highly flexible for a variety of extreme conditions (e.g. cryogenic) in remote or inaccessible measurement locations. This approach will minimize the wiring associated with multiple independent sensors such as thermocouples and pressure transducers, as well as increase safety benefits inherent in utilizing intrinsically safe sensors in the presence of fuel systems.
Distributed multi-parameter sensing can benefit existing and future rocket engine and test bed systems to monitor remote or inaccessible piping locations. Distributed sensing in turbojet engine applications in bypass piping, fuel delivery, and turbine coolant channel systems can be used for engine health monitoring. Satellite heat pipe sensing can provide data for cooling and power management. Computational models can leverage high fidelity distributed data for validation purposes.
Many applications extend into existing extreme condition and hazardous industrial processes. The automotive and commercial aircraft industry can use the sensors in critical high temperature components to detect the onset of hardware failure. Distributed sensing in high pressure and temperature fluid systems in nuclear power, oil and gas, and industrial applications can be used to optimize processes and monitor hardware failure in remote or inaccessible locations.
This NASA Phase I STTR program would develop high performance, wireless networked cryogenic and minimum pressure sensors for remote monitoring in propulsion systems, using SOI (Silicon on Insulator) NM (nanomembrane) techniques in combination with our pioneering ceramic nanocomposite materials. We will improve the current mechanical and electrical model of semiconductor nanomembrane based sensor performance that will allow quantitative optimization of material properties and suggest optimal methods for sensor attachment and use for 1) cryogenic and 2) purge-box minimum pressure measurement applications. We will perform synthesis of sensor materials with optimized transduction, hysteresis and environmental properties, specifically for cryogenic and minimum pressure, and also varying temperature use. Support wireless electronics will be developed to acquire, multiplex, store and process raw sensor array data.
The commercialization potential of the pressure sensor technology lies in four areas, 1) sensors for the measurement of pressure at cryogenic temperatures, 2) low cost simple pressure sensors for the verification of purge gas pressure inside instrumentation boxes, 3) the data processing and wireless communication modules, and 4) the software apps.
The sensor elements may be used as air flow or water flow devices in systems where either low weight, low surface profile, lack of need for space below the flow surface, or high sensitivity at a low cost are needed. Broader commercial sensor opportunities including oil and gas pipeline monitoring and biomedical channel measurement would be considered.
NASA has been investigating morphing aircraft for multi-mission capabilities and performance improvements in existing fixed-wing aircraft. In addition, the design of aeroelastic aircraft that can control the structural flexibility to their advantage, is an open area of research and development. In spite of the plethora of work on morphing aircraft and long slender wings, the goal of fielding such systems still seems elusive. In particular, the integration of these technologies for breakthroughs in performance, has not been demonstrated. To address this need, our team is developing morphing concepts using inflatable muscles that will allow seamless aerodynamic transitions. A formal design of such aircraft, integrating aeroservoelastic considerations and high-fidelity structural optimization, will be accomplished. We will also develop the associated aeroservoelastic controllers that can maintain stability over the entire flight envelope, without substantially sacrificing performance
The AAVP has a goal of developing novel aircraft concepts, and would benefit from this technology – in particular the high aerodynamic efficiency platform. In fact, the MUTT, ACTE and Elastically Shaped Aircraft projects at NASA can directly use the findings and technology from this effort. Moreover, several design efforts and those focused on incorporation of high fidelity structural information early in the design process, will be able to use the AMuBA tool to their advantage
The Air Force has been investing in programs, such as N-MAS, and AAW. The technology is directly applicable to the Morphing Structures Program at DARPA, and will allow advancement of DOD’s in-house technology. Also, with the increasing use of UASs by the DoD, several control system design technologies will be immensely useful
We propose the demonstration of a novel aeroservoelastic scaled model design, optimization, and fabrication approach combining aeroservoelastic scaling with a combined topology/sizing optimization to match the target structural dynamic and aeroelastic behavior. Fabrication is using 3D printing techniques (metal and plastic/elastomer), along with automated electronic assembly techniques for in-situ instrumentation. A scaled model will be designed, fabricated, and tested in a low speed wind tunnel during Phase I to demonstrate the feasibility of dramatically reducing the cost of aeroservoelastic model tests.
Applies to all NASA aircraft and aviation technology development programs, including subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic vehicles.
Applies to wind tunnel and flight test validation of aeroelastic and aeroservoelastic behavior, which is relevant to any new aircraft development program.