NASA SBIR/STTR 2009 Program Solicitation Details | SBIR Research Topics

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      Topic O1 Space Communications PDF


      NASA's communications capability is based on the premise that communications shall enable and not constrain missions. Communications must be robust to support the numerous missions for space science, Earth science and exploration of the universe. Technologies such as optical communications, RF including antennas and ground based Earth stations, surface networks, access links, reprogrammable communications systems, communications systems for EVAs, advanced antenna technology, transmit array concepts and communications in support of launch services including space based assets are very important to the future of exploration and science activities of the Agency. Emphasis is placed on size, weight and power improvements. Even greater emphasis is placed on these attributes as small satellites (e.g., micro and nano satellite) technology matures. Innovative solutions are needed which are centered on operational issues associated with the communication capability. Communication technologies enabling acquisition of range safety data from sensitive instruments is imperative. All technologies developed under this topic area to be aligned with the Architecture Definition Document and technical direction as established by the NASA Office of Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN). For more details, see:

      https://www.spacecomm.nasa.gov/spacecomm/
      https://www.spacecomm.nasa.gov/spacecomm/programs/default.cfm
      https://www.spacecomm.nasa.gov/spacecomm/programs/technology/default.cfm
      https://www.spacecomm.nasa.gov/spacecomm/programs/technology/sbir/default.cfm

      A typical approach for flight hardware would include: Phase 1 - Research to identify and evaluate candidate telecommunications technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a hardware/software demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable. Phase 2 - Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated flight conditions. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into space-worthy systems. The contract should deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.

      Some of the subtopics in this topic could result in products that may be included in a future flight opportunity. Please see the following for more details:

      1. SMD Topic S4 for more details concerning requirements for Small Satellite flight opportunities.
      2. Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology Development and Training (FAST): http://ipp.nasa.gov/ii_fast.htm
      3. International Space Station payload opportunities:http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiements/Discipline.html
      4. Terrestrial analogs (Desert Rats, Haughton Field): http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/d-rats/, http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/projects/haughton_field

      NOTE: Communications technologies for space-based range must be highly integrated with required navigation components; hence, space-based range technologies are solicited in Navigation Subtopic O4.05.

      • 51341

        O1.01Coding, Modulation, and Compression

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC, GSFC

        This subtopic aims to develop innovative technology in three key areas of space communications: modulation, forward error-correction (FEC) coding, and data compression. The objective is to provide the best possible trade-off of coding gain, bandwidth efficiency, complexity (mass or power), and… Read more>>

        This subtopic aims to develop innovative technology in three key areas of space communications: modulation, forward error-correction (FEC) coding, and data compression. The objective is to provide the best possible trade-off of coding gain, bandwidth efficiency, complexity (mass or power), and rate-distortion, so that the total science/engineering value can be maximized while using the smallest amount of spacecraft energy possible. This will enable NASA to meet a wide range of requirements for its future space missions at near Earth, lunar, and deep space distances.



        These future missions will use many link types (direct-to-Earth, TDRS relay, lander-to-orbiter relay, and short-proximity links), frequencies (S-, X-, and Ka-bands), and application-specific performance requirements (latency, complexity). The state-of-the-art in the three areas addressed by this subtopic is summarized here:




        Technology development is needed in the following areas:



        Modulation

        There is a need for the implementation and demonstration of ground receivers and flight receivers that exhibit very low implementation loss for 8-PSK and GMSK (in addition to BPSK, QPSK, and SQPSK) for operation ranges from 8 bps (emergency) through 100 Mbps (high rate Ka-band). Emphasis is placed on minimizing implementation loss (


        Phase 1 tasks should target completion of a fixed-point design whose performance can be verified by simulation (in, e.g., Simulink or SPW). Phase 2 technology target is a hardware demonstration at TRL 5.



        Coding

        There is a need to interface a receiver as above with a high-performing LDPC decoder. Government licensing of LDPC decoding technology (Verilog source) is available. What is needed here is the development of the following:


        • FPGA simulations of all 10 CCSDS LDPC codes down to a bit error rate of 1e-10 and a codeword error rate of 1e-9, and with a goal of identifying the "error floor" of each of the codes.
        • Improved decoding algorithms that reduce the observed error floor. It is known that observed error floors for these codes are a characteristic of standard belief propagation (BP) decoding, and not because of the minimum distance properties of the codes. Variations of standard decoding may not be susceptible to the same trapping sets, thereby improving error floor performance. These methods include (a) optimally decoding the 4-cycles, (b) converting 4-cycles to equivalent trees, (c) BP decoding with damping, and (d) using min in place of min* in the later iterations of the decoder. These and other variations should be tested particularly on the k=1024, r=4/5 code, which is expected to exhibit the highest error floor.



        The target is a finished product at TRL 5.



        Data Compression

        Development of a radiation-tolerant high-speed (over 100 Msamples/sec) lossless compression component conforming to CCSDS 121.0-B-1, "lossless data compression" (www.ccsds.org) allowing input dynamic range to over 24-bit/sample. Options should include user-supplied external predictor, as well as providing potential applications to hyper-spectral data by taking advantage of the spectral correlation in such data sets.



        Development to TRL 5 is desired.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration and deliver a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        The proposer to this subtopic is advised that the products proposed may be included in a future small satellite flight opportunity. Please see the SMD Topic S4 on Small Satellites for details regarding those opportunities. If the proposer would like to have their proposal considered for flight in the small satellite program, the proposal should state such and recommend a pathway for that possibility.



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      • 51308

        O1.02Antenna Technology

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GSFC, JPL, JSC, LaRC

        NASA seeks advanced antenna systems in the following areas: phased array antennas; ground-based uplink antenna array designs; high-efficiency, miniature antennas; smart, reconfigurable antennas; large aperture inflatable/deployable antennas; antenna adaptive beam correction with pointing control;… Read more>>

        NASA seeks advanced antenna systems in the following areas: phased array antennas; ground-based uplink antenna array designs; high-efficiency, miniature antennas; smart, reconfigurable antennas; large aperture inflatable/deployable antennas; antenna adaptive beam correction with pointing control; parallelized numerical solvers for antenna modeling and design; and communication antennas with improved performance.



        Phased Array Antennas

        High performance phased array antennas are needed for (1) high-data rate communication and (2) remote sensing applications. The frequencies of interest are P-, L-, C-, S-, X-, Ku-, Ka-, and W-band. Potential communications applications include: lunar and planetary exploration, landers, probes, Lunar Relay Satellites, lunar rovers, lunar habitats, lunar surface EVA, suborbital vehicles, sounding rockets, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's), TDRSS communication, and expendable launch vehicles (ELV's). Potential remote sensing applications include: radiometers, passive radar interferometer platforms, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) platforms for planetary science.



        Multi-band phased array technology such as S- and Ka-band phased array antennas, which can dynamically reconfigure active element coupling in order to operate in either band as required in order to maximize flexibility, efficiency and minimize the mass of hardware delivered to the moon for lunar surface system operations, are of interest. The goal is to maximize flexibility and capability to share lunar communications infrastructure and therefore minimize mass of radio components that must to be delivered to the lunar surface.



        There is also a high interest in developing phased array antennas for space-based range applications to accommodate dynamic maneuvers.



        The arrays are required to be aerodynamic or conformal in shape for sounding rockets, UAV's, and expendable platforms. They must also be able to withstand the launch environment. The balloon vehicles communicate primarily with TDRS and can tolerate a wide range of mechanical dimensions.



        The main challenges/tradeoffs to be addressed are achieving low mass, low cost, high power efficiency, thermal stability of active array electronics, and coverage area (i.e., highly steerable arrays). Active arrays with features such as T/R module self-calibration for thermal stability, true time delay (TTD), low-cost highly-integrated MMIC-based T/R modules (e.g., SiGe/GaAs technology), multiple beam-forming capability, low-loss feeds for radiometer applications are also of interest. Advances in digital beam-forming techniques, including those based on superconducting digital signal processing methods, are also desirable.



        Ground-based Uplink Antenna Array Designs

        NASA is considering arrays of ground-based antennas to increase capacity and system flexibility, to reduce reliance on large antennas and high operating costs, and eliminate single point of failure of large antennas. A large number of smaller antennas arrayed together results in a scalable, evolvable system which enables a flexible schedule and support for more simultaneous missions. Some concepts currently under consideration are the development of medium-size (12-m class) antennas (hundreds of them are expected to be required) for transmit/receive (Tx/Rx) ground-based arrays. A significant challenge is the implementation of an array for transmitting (uplinking), which may or may not use the same antennas that are used for receiving. The uplink frequency will be in the 7.1-8.6 GHz range (X-band) in the near term, and may be at higher frequencies in the future; it will likely carry digital modulation at rates from 10 kbps to 30 Mbps. An EIRP of at least 500 GW is required, and some applications contemplate an EIRP as high as 10 TW. A major challenge in the uplink array design is minimizing the life-cycle cost of an array.



        Other challenges for ground-based antennas include the development of low cost, reliable components for critical antenna systems; advanced, ultra-phase-stable electronics, and phase calibration techniques; improved understanding of atmospheric effects on signal coherence; and integrated low-noise receiver-transmitter technology. Phase calibration techniques needed to ensure coherent addition of the signals from individual antennas at the spacecraft are also required. It is important to understand whether space-based techniques are required or if ground-based techniques are adequate. In general, a target spacecraft in deep space cannot be used for calibration because of the long round-trip communication delay.



        Design of ultra-phase-stable electronics to maintain the relative phase among antennas is also needed. These will minimize the need for continuous, extensive and/or disruptive calibrations. A primary related effort currently underway is understanding the effect of the medium (primarily the Earth's troposphere) on the coherence of the signals at the target spacecraft. Generally, turbulence in the medium tends to disrupt the coherence in a way that is time-dependent and site-dependent. A quantitative understanding of these effects is needed. Consequently, techniques for integrating a very low-noise, cryogenically cooled receiver with a medium power (1-200 W) transmitter, are desired. If transmitters and receivers are combined on the same antenna, the performance of each should be compromised as little as possible, and the low cost and high reliability should be maintained.



        High-Efficiency, Miniature Antennas

        High efficiency, low-cost, low-mass, broadband or dual-band miniaturized antennas (UHF or X-band) that radiate circular polarization with full hemispherical coverage are desirable. These antennas must be able to withstand launch and re-entry environments and must be low profile/conformal.



        The emergence of frequency-agile radios increases emphasis of antenna capable of bidirectional communications across multiple bands. Accordingly, emphasis on small size, high efficiency and low cost of ownership is desirable. Miniaturization of L-, S-, and C- band for Micro Air Vehicles is also of interest.



        Miniaturized antennas that are wearable or can be highly integrated into the host structure/entity, are also desirable. Examples include EVA's space suits made with textile antennas, fractal antennas, or visor mounted antennas. These miniaturized antennas should also be multi-directional to support astronaut mobility, support multi-band operation, and/or possess a broad bandwidth. Antennas should be low/self-powered, small, and efficient, and compatible with communication equipment that can provide high data rate coverage at short ranges (~1.5 - 3 km, horizon for the Moon for EVA).



        Smart, Reconfigurable Antennas

        NASA is interested in smart, reconfigurable antennas for applications in lunar and planetary operations. The characteristics to consider include the frequency, polarization, and the radiation pattern. Low-cost approaches are encouraged to reduce the number of antenna apertures needed to meet the requirements associated with lunar and planetary surface exploration (e.g., rovers, pressurized surface vehicles, habitats, etc.). Desirable features include multi-beam operation to support connectivity to different communication nodes on lunar and planetary surfaces, or in support of communication links for satellite relays around planetary orbits. The antenna shall also be highly directive, multi-frequency and compatible with the Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) concept.



        Large Aperture Inflatable/Deployable Antennas

        Large aperture inflatable/deployable membrane antennas to significantly reduce stowage volume (packaging efficiencies as high as 50:1), provide high deployment reliability, and significantly reduced mass density (i.e.,


        Novel materials (including memory matrix materials), low fabrication costs and deployment and construction methods using low emissive materials to enable passive microwave instrument application are also beneficial. Structural health monitoring systems are needed to support pre-flight integration, and test activities to determine in-flight system health, are of interest. The ability to incorporate structural considerations for mission applications is also desired (e.g., aero-braking for deep space planetary missions).



        Membrane materials for large inflatable membrane antennas for remote sensing applications for earth and planetary science missions are of particular interest to the Science Mission Directorate. The current state of the art for mechanical deployable antennas is reaching limits on packaging efficiencies. Reflectors manufactured from polymer films could enable greater packaging efficiencies due to their low mass, high packaging efficiencies, solar radiation resistance, and cryogenic flexibility. However, most polymer films, including polyimide polymer films, have many challenges that limit their usefulness in practical space applications. Active membrane control system concepts, developed to reduce shape errors, often add unwanted bulk and mass to the antenna system. While other concepts will be entertained, specific membrane material technology innovations of interest are listed below:


        • Polymer membrane (0.5 mil to 2.0 mil) material exhibiting zero or near-zero Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE).
        • Polymer membrane material exhibiting durability to the space environment, including atomic oxygen, VUV, solar particulate radiation, and temperature extremes.
        • Thin film deployment methods that deploy the antenna surface substantially free of wrinkles.
        • Innovative intrinsically electroactive polymer membrane actuation mechanisms that can be used to shape-correct the antenna surface.



        Additionally, composite materials for large deployable antenna reflector structures for remote sensing applications for earth and planetary science missions with high specific stiffness composite materials that can be packed compactly and deployed multiple times for ground evaluation of the antenna structure prior to launch and deployment in space are of interest. Investigators should consider materials that can be folded and deployed on the order of 5 to 10 times with up to 180 degree bends that retain their structural integrity and shape accuracy upon final deployment. The deployment of these materials should require low energy. Rigidizable materials (Shape Memory Polymers, Shape Memory Composites, UV Activated Composites, etc.) could be considered to obtain the appropriate structural stiffness and post-deployment precision.



        Prospective proposers are advised to review Subtopic S1.02, Active Microwave Technologies, for additional remote sensing applications needs, and indicate applicability in their proposal(s).



        Antenna Adaptive Beam Correction with Pointing Control

        Antenna adaptive beam correction with pointing control that can provide spacecraft knowledge with fine beam pointing with sub-milliradian precision (e.g.,


        Parallelized Numerical Solvers for Antenna Modeling/Design

        Development of full 3-D electromagnetic (EM) solvers that take advantage of new software engineering approaches (e.g., object oriented programming) and parallel computing resources for fast and accurate modeling/design of antennas, antennas with feed structures, and antennas in multi-path environment are of interest. Numerical solvers offering fast and accurate synthesis via search algorithms (e.g., genetic algorithm) of patch arrays and waveguide slot arrays, to reduce design time, are also of interest. All solvers must aim toward experimental validation of actual antenna concept being simulated.



        Communication Antennas with Improved Performance

        High performance, low-cost antennas are needed for a variety of missions for communicating with TDRSS, GPS (L1, L2, and L5 bands), or the Deep Space Network (DSN). The frequency bands of interest are L-, S-, X-, Ku-, and Ka-band. Antenna concepts that offer significant improvement in cost and performance (e.g., mass, gain, efficiency, VSWR, axial ratio, bandwidth, power handling, vibration tolerance, etc.) over existing off-the-shelf antennas would be of interest. Novel isoflux antennas at S- and X-band would also be of interest. Antennas must be able to withstand launch environments.



        Deliverables and Development Timeline

        After a possible Phase 3 development activity, these technologies are expected to ready for insertion at TRL 6 by 2015. Therefore a TRL progression from an entry TRL of 1 - 2 for Phase 1 in January 2010 followed by an exit TRL of 3 - 4 after Phase 2 is reasonable.



        For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        Phase 1 Deliverables

        A final report containing optimal design for the technology concept including feasibility of concept and a detailed path towards Phase 2 hardware and/or software demonstration. The report shall also provide options for potential Phase 3 funding from other government agencies (OGA).



        Phase 2 Deliverables

        A working proof-of-concept demonstrated and delivered to NASA for testing and verification.



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      • 51307

        O1.03Reconfigurable/Reprogrammable Communication Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GSFC, JPL, JSC

        NASA seeks novel approaches in reconfigurable, reprogrammable transceiver systems for Space Operations, Exploration, Science, and Aeronautics research. Exploration of Lunar and Mars environments will require advancements in radio communication systems to manage the demands of the harsh space… Read more>>

        NASA seeks novel approaches in reconfigurable, reprogrammable transceiver systems for Space Operations, Exploration, Science, and Aeronautics research. Exploration of Lunar and Mars environments will require advancements in radio communication systems to manage the demands of the harsh space environment on space electronics, maintain flexibility and adaptability to changing needs and requirements, and provide flexibility and survivability due to increased mission durations. NASA missions can have vastly different transceiver requirements (e.g., 1's to 10's Mbps at UHF- and S-band frequency bands up to 10's to 1000's Mbps at X- and Ka-band frequency bands.) and available resources depending on the science objective, operating environment, and spacecraft resources. For example, deep space missions are often power constrained; operating over large distances, and subsequently have lower data transmission rates when compared to near-Earth or near planetary satellites. These requirements and resource limitations are known prior to launch; therefore, the scalability feature can be used to maximize transceiver efficiency while minimizing resources consumed. Larger platforms such as vehicles or relay spacecraft may provide more resources but may also be expected to perform more complex functions or support multiple and simultaneous communication links to a diverse set of assets.



        This solicitation seeks advancements in reconfigurable transceiver and associated component technology. The goal of the subtopic is to provide flexible, reconfigurable communications capability while minimizing on-board resources and cost. Topics of interest include the development of software defined radios or radio subsystems which demonstrate reconfigurability, flexibility, reduced power consumption of digital signal processing systems, increased performance and bandwidth, reduced software qualification cost, and error detection and mitigation technologies. Complex reconfigurable systems will provide multiple channel and multiple and simultaneous waveforms. Areas of interest to develop and/or demonstrate are as follows:


        • Enable advancements in bandwidth capacity, reduced resource consumption, or adherence to the Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS) standard and open hardware and software interfaces. Techniques should include fault tolerant, reliable software execution, reprogrammable digital signal processing devices.
        • Reconfigurable software and firmware which provide access control, authentication, and data integrity checks of the reconfiguration process including partial reconfiguration which allows simultaneous operation and upload of new waveforms or functions.
        • Operator or automated reconfiguration or waveform load detection failure and the ability to provide access back to a known, reliable operational state. An automated restore capability ensures the system can revert to a baseline configuration, thereby avoiding permanent communications loss due to an errant reconfiguration process or logic upset.
        • Develop dynamic or distributed on-board processing architectures to provide reconfigurability and processing capacity. For example, demonstrate technologies to enable a common processing system capacity for communications, science, and health monitoring.
        • Adaptive modulation and waveform recognition techniques are desired to enable transceivers to exchange waveforms with other assets automatically or through ground control.
        • Low overhead, low complexity hardware and software architectures to enable hardware or software component or design reuse (e.g., software portability) that demonstrates cost or time savings. Emphasis should be on the application of open standards architecture to facilitate interoperability among different vendors to minimize the operational impact of upgrading hardware and software components.
        • Software tools or tool chain methodologies to enable both design and software modeling and code reuse and advancements in optimized code generation for digital signal processing systems.
        • Use of reconfigurable logic devices in software defined radios is expected to increase in the future to provide reconfigurability and on-orbit flexibility for waveforms and applications. As the densities of these devices continue to increase and feature size decreases, the susceptibility of the electronics to single event effects also increases. Novel approaches to mitigate single event effects in reconfigurable logic caused by charged particles are sought to improve reliability. New methods should show advancements in reduced cost, power consumption or complexity compared to traditional approaches such as voting schemes and scrubbing.
        • Techniques and implementations to provide a core capability within the software defined radio in the event of failure or disruption of the primary waveform and/or system hardware. Communication loss should be detected and core capability (e.g., "gold" waveform code) automatically executed to provide access control and restore operation.
        • Innovative solutions to software defined radio implementations that reduce power consumption and mass. Solutions should enable future hardware scalability among different mission classes (e.g., low rate deep space to moderate or high rate near planetary, or relay spacecraft) and should promote modularity and common, open interfaces.
        • In component technology, advancements in analog-to-digital converters or digital-to-analog converters to increase sampling and resolution capabilities, novel techniques to increase memory densities, and advancements in processing and reconfigurable logic technology each reducing power consumption and improving performance in harsh space environments.
        • Development of radio technology that allows the incorporation of Space Network (SN) waveforms and candidate Lunar Surface System (LSS) wideband waveforms such as 802.11 and 802.16 into a single multimode radio capable of supporting simultaneous communications with space and lunar network assets. Development and implementation of direct RF to digital technologies that are currently emerging and can offer significant improvements in the flexibility of software or multi-mode radios. The goal is to maximize flexibility and capability to share lunar communications infrastructure and therefore minimize mass of radio components that must to be delivered to the lunar surface.
        • Small, lightweight all-digital reconfigurable radios and transceivers that eliminate analog front ends that operate across multiple bands, are sought for applications that involve network enhanced telemetry, leading towards adaptive and cognitive radio applications. Application of reconfigurable systems in airborne and terrestrial systems is of interest.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration and delivering a hardware demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 51358

        O1.04Miniaturized Digital EVA Radio

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC

        As NASA embarks upon deep space human exploration, the next-generation EVA radio will be a pivotal technology and integral part of lunar surface systems success. It will facilitate surface operations, enable crew mobility, and support point to multi-point communications across rovers, landers,… Read more>>

        As NASA embarks upon deep space human exploration, the next-generation EVA radio will be a pivotal technology and integral part of lunar surface systems success. It will facilitate surface operations, enable crew mobility, and support point to multi-point communications across rovers, landers, habitat, and other astronauts. Driven by Communications, Command, Control, and Information (C3I) interoperability, tight power budgets, and extreme miniaturization, this mobile radio platform must be power efficient and highly adaptive. With a scant EVA radio power budget of less than four watts, the S-band (2.4 - 2.483 GHz) adaptive radio must deliver voice, telemetry, and high-definition motion imagery transmissions. To surmount interference, the radio must support frequency diversity over the specified S-band spectrum of 2.4 - 2.483 Ghz. During nominal operations, it is designed to operate with a mobile ad hoc network (MANET) so the coverage for communications can be extended indefinitely with node additions. It will communicate to fixed and mobile nodes, including lunar base stations, landers, habitats, rovers, and other astronauts. Therefore, it must support multiple bandwidths, waveforms, and energy profiles. To achieve the overarching communication goals of small form factor, ultra-power , and reconfigurability, NASA needs to extend the state-of-the art in two key areas:



        Tunable RF Front End and Transceiver

        The major impetus behind the MEMS technology stems from compactness which leads to lower power dissipation, higher levels of integration, lower weight, volume, and cost. To shrink form factor and enable efficient surface operations, one of the cornerstone radio components of this radio is the tunable filter. Recent advances in RF MEMs filters and resonator technology have permitted very high quality factors (>1000) at GHz frequencies. Achieving high and excellent tuning range (>2:1 ) to bandwidth ratio without cryogenic cooling is now viable for the S-band frequency. For reliability, the tunable filter should employ a contact-less tuning scheme.



        Also, a new class of MEMS-based frequency synthesizers offers dramatic reduction in noise, power, and form factor. One should leverage emerging microscale resonator technologies to the maximum extent. Low phase noise synthesizers running at ultra low power levels are viable using high Q resonator technologies MEMS resonators-based phase lock loop offers compelling power and noise performance enhancements.



        Power-Aware Processing

        To support QoS of different applications, it's not enough to optimize power at design time, but dynamic power management must be employed to ensure power efficiency. To maximum power efficiency, it must be able to adjust power and update rates to suit diverse missions. Users should be able to specify Quality of Service (QoS) for different data streams. The radio must have the capability to scale power, select the optimum mode of operation, and minimum energy profile. During low-rate-processing intensive modes, including local processing and compression of telemetry data and voice, highly energy-efficient low-voltage, low-performance modes must be used. For high-rate-processing intensive modes, like advance signal encoding of high motion imagery, medium performance modes must be used; and during active communication modes (which may have a low duty-cycle), ultra-high-performance modes must be used. Accordingly, the digital platform must be highly agile and use-case aware to continuously minimize energy. Below are the desirable technology features.



        Bear in mind, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and to show a path towards a hardware and software demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        Phase 1 Deliverables

        Conduct design trade analyses between power, performance, and flexibility. Estimate mass, volume, power, max/min range, and data rates for dynamic quality of service- voice, telemetry, video- standard and high definition TV at S-band (2.4 - 2.483 GHz), backed with analyses and simulation to ensure achievable performance and power goals.



        Develop a promising MEMS-based system-on-chip radio design with the following features:


        • Variation-tolerant, performance-scalable architectures: Hardware must sense its own limitation at a dynamically varying, performance-driven optimal energy operating point, and reconfigure accordingly. If variability is stressed at the low-voltage operating point, redundant hardware should be used to improve reliability; if throughput is stressed at the high-performance operating point, redundant hardware should be used to increase parallelism.
        • Highly agile platform components (SRAM and logic): Circuits should use functionality assists, including selective biasing, leakage-control, routine resources, etc., that get engaged dynamically depending on the operating point.
        • Energy-aware algorithms for adaptive hardware: Algorithms must be aware of the different hardware operating-points and associated architecture. For instance, during low-power modes targeting voice and data (for telemetry), occasional high through-put applications (like high motion imagery) should dynamically switch to algorithms employing extreme parallelism in order to support a minimum operating voltage.
        • Extreme power converters: To minimize off-chip components, DC-DC converters should use a single reconfigurable architecture that efficiently delivers load powers ranging from micro-Watts, at low-voltages, to Watts, at high voltages.

        • High performance ultra-low power ADCs: Exploit novel ADCs with sampling frequencies in tunable multi GHz range (preferable double digits). Variable resolution up to 20 bits or higher with ultra-low power jitters for finer resolutions at higher bits and comparators managed for higher bits with minimum power overheads.A high sampling rate is desirable. SNR optimizations and efficient signal recovery demonstration is a requirement for validating ADC capabilities.
        • Modularity and extensibility: Enabling platform must support open architecture and accommodate rapid upgrades, multiple protocols, new technology advances, complete re-configurability of functionality, and evolution of lunar communications and network infrastructure.



        One significant prerequisite to Phase 2 is the development of most promising MEMS-based transceiver system-on-chip (SoC) architecture The offeror must demonstrate the ability to achieve significant advantage in compactness and ensure power efficiency and reliability.



        Phase 2 Deliverables

        Develop a reliable, intelligent, and power-efficient MEMS-based EVA digital radio prototype unit, demonstrating robust and dynamic power management. The miniaturized radio technology must reach TRL=5 at the end of Phase 2.



        Demonstrate RF performance and power consumption of less than four watts, delivering voice, telemetry, and standard and high-definition video motion imagery at 2.4 - 2.483 GHz (S-band). With power constraints of under four watts, performance and reliability must be assured for multiple bandwidths and data transmissions of telemetry, voice, and high-rate video.

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      • 51321

        O1.05Transformational Communications Technology

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        NASA seeks revolutionary, highly innovative, transformational communications technologies that have the potential to enable order of magnitude performance improvements for space operations, exploration systems, and science mission applications. Research emphasizing both nearer-term and far-term… Read more>>



        NASA seeks revolutionary, highly innovative, transformational communications technologies that have the potential to enable order of magnitude performance improvements for space operations, exploration systems, and science mission applications.



        Research emphasizing both nearer-term and far-term technologies is focused (but not limited to) in the following areas:



        Near-Term Focus Areas:

        • Develop novel techniques to reduce the size, weight, and power (SWAP) of communications transceivers for space missions. Address SWAP challenges by addressing digital processing and logic implementation tradeoffs, static vs. dynamic power, voltage and frequency scaling, hardware and software partitioning such that operational modes are effectively managed. Great demands will be placed on these communication transceivers to assure crew safety and robustness in harsh deep-space environments for long duration missions. Investigate and demonstrate novel RF communication technologies to alleviate the demanding requirements on analog to digital converters (ADCs) and digital signal processors (DSPs). For software-defined radios, such requirements can result in high ADC power consumption, large form factor, and expensive components, which can pose problems for power and weight constrained deep space missions.
        • Significant component-level technical advances are needed in the area of UHF/VHF filter technologies. Novel, smaller form factor, lower cost, higher performance, and lower weight than existing devices are to be demonstrated employing new technologies such as MEMS resonators (e.g., electrostatic, piezoelectric) and tunable dielectrics. Filter solutions that offer a bandwidth tunability or reconfigurability and filter banks are also sought. Fractional bandwidths of 0.1% to greater than 2% are of interest, where for narrower bandwidths, operating stability across temperature is necessary. At the conclusion of Phase 1, proposers should clearly delineate, through a combination of theoretical analysis and demonstrated prototypes, that the proposed solution can achieve better than 3 dB of insertion loss, better than 70 dB of rejection, less than 1 dB of ripple, small shape factors, power handling greater than +20 dBm, VSWR less than 2, and robust operation in a harsh space environment. Phase 2 will leverage the analysis and prototypes developed in Phase 1 to meet to the specifications for space-based communication links and will deliver a demonstration unit of the proposed technology for testing. Phase 2 will also evaluate component reliability to ensure robust operation across the harsh temperature, vibration, shock, and other conditions encountered in space operation.
        • NASA seeks to integrate RFID, antenna, flexible organic material (e.g., Liquid-crystal polymer with constant dielectric properties from 1-110 GHz) and energy-scavenging technologies to develop ultra-low-cost enhanced range sensor surface nodes. This new generation of conformal wireless nodes based on the utilization of UHF semi-passive RFIDs on beacons and astronaut suits would enable the development of robust communication links through the implementation of very-large-scale ad-hoc networks for rugged and/or emergency response environments. Many technical challenges are associated with the development and enhancement of localization and precise tracking of assets for long-duration missions. To leverage terrain-adaptive navigation solutions, inventory tracking, and astronaut body area network applications, several quantum leap technologies including semi-passive RFID-enabled wearable tags and multi-hopping inflatable beacons need to be advanced to demonstrate ranges in excess of 200 m. Astronauts wearing at least 4 miniaturized ultra-low-power inertial sensors at spacings below the operation wavelength of 2.4GHz (EVA) could enable RFID-enabled inflatable beacons for accurate tracking and navigation. The capability of state-of-the-art wireless systems to provide precise timing/time-tracking with nanosecond accuracy coupled with ultra-low-power wearable inertial sensors and low-power multi-hopping algorithms between beacon-mounted and astronaut-mounted RFIDs can enable true mobility location awareness in ranges in excess of 500/1000 meters. Low power beacons (assuming a duty cycle of 5-10 %) can be solar powered and fabricated in an inflatable triangular shape. It has already been already been proven that some solar-powered "semi-passive" RFID's with a single-hop range of 100+m consumes only 80 microwatts and can improved by a factor of 3 to 5. Yet, to have a practical ad-hoc beacon network with effective beacon-to-beacon and beacon-to-RFID ranges in excess of 1 km, with beacon power levels between 20 microwatts to 5 milliwatts, various technical challenges need to be addressed: solar panels should achieve efficiencies greater than 50% and should be easily printed as a substrate of the printed beacon antennas, the electronics should operate in sub-threshold domain, the IC power consumption should be below 20 microwatts, and the antenna should feature at least two different frequencies for redundancy. Solutions should consider employing power scavenging merging dynamic/kinetic energy from the astronaut motion (mounted on boots), solar energy (through thin-films on uniform), thermal/vibration energy (through inkjet-printed nanotube-based wearable textiles), thus minimizing the use of portable battery. Phase 1 effort should introduce an "ad-hoc" wearable network of 3-5 RFID-enabled wearable inertial sensors that could provide voice-level communication with inflatable beacons with total power consumption below 500 microwatts. Up to 5 hops with 300m + hop will be investigated for enhanced range wireless links for 433 MHz, 900MHz and integration. The prototype should include 5+ wearable tags and 5+ inflatable beacons and 3 test frequencies. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 multi-tag, multi-scenario hardware demonstration prototype unit.



        Far-Term Focus Areas:

        • The promise of high-performance, multi-functional, nanostructured materials has led to intense interest in developing them for applications for human spaceflight and exploration. These materials (notably single wall carbon nanotubes) exhibit extraordinary mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties at the nanoscale and possess exceptionally high surface area. The development of nano-scale communication devices and systems including nano-antennas, nano-transceivers, etc. are of interest for nano-spacecraft applications.
        • Quantum entanglement or innovative breakthroughs in quantum information physics has sparked interest to specifically address this phenomenon and the critical unknowns relevant to revolutionary improvements in communicating data, information or knowledge. Methods or techniques that demonstrate extremely novel means of effectively packaging, storing, encrypting, and/or transferring information are sought.
        • Innovative approaches to use of medium to high frequency (300 KHz-30MHz) bands for applications benefiting future lunar missions. Concepts, studies, development of key technologies are needed to perform non-line-of-sight communication for potential use on the surface of the Moon. Modulation and coding techniques, antennas, solid-state amplifiers, digital baseband circuitry, etc. are required to be developed and/or validated to enable over the horizon communication and communications into craters for robotic and human missions. Range of communications on the order of 10-20 kilometers at a data rate of 128 kbps is envisioned to support many of these types of lunar surface links.
        • Ultra-wideband (UWB) or impulse radio wireless communications, navigation and tracking for lunar applications. UWB has the capability of pervasive wireless transmission of data, video, etc., very fine time resolution, low power spectral density, and resistance to multipath. Device, component and/or subsystems that can enable use of UWB for space-based applications are sought, including but not limited to: transceivers, highly efficient antennas; array beamformers; space-time processing techniques; accurate timing generators for sub-nanosecond pulse widths; matched filters; channel estimators; low power, high bandwidth A/D converters with extended time sampling.



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      • 51342

        O1.06Long Range Optical Telecommunications

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC

        This subtopic seeks innovative technologies for long range Optical Telecommunications supporting the needs of space missions. Proposals are sought in the following areas: Systems: Technologies relating to acquisition, tracking and sub-micro-radian pointing of the optical communications beam under… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks innovative technologies for long range Optical Telecommunications supporting the needs of space missions. Proposals are sought in the following areas:


        • Systems: Technologies relating to acquisition, tracking and sub-micro-radian pointing of the optical communications beam under typical deep-space ranges (to 40 AU) and spacecraft micro-vibration environments.

        • Small lightweight two-axis gimbals: Approximately 1 kg in mass capable to actuating payload mass of approximately 6 kg at rates up to 5 degrees/second, with less than 30 micro-radian rms error and blind-pointing accuracy of less than 35 micro-radian. Assume that the payload is shaped as an 8-cm diameter cylinder, 30-cm long, with uniformly distributed mass. Proposals should come up with innovative pragmatic designs that can be flown in space.
        • Photon counting Si, InGaAs, and HgCdTe detectors and arrays: For the 1000 to 1600 nm wavelength range with single photon detection efficiencies greater than 60% and output jitters less than 20 pico-second, active area greater than 20 microns/pixel, and 1 dB saturation rates of at least 100 mega-photons (detected) per pixel and dark count rates of less than 1 MHz/square-mm.
        • Single-photon-sensitive, high-bandwidth, linear mode photo-detectors: With high bandwidth (>1GHz), high gain (>1000), low-noise (
        • Uncooled photon counting imagers: With >1024 x 1024 formats, ultra low dark count rates and visible to near-IR sensitivity.
        • Ultra-low fixed pattern non-uniformity NIR imagers: With large format (1024x1024), non-uniformity of less than 0.1%, low noise (0.7) quantum efficiency.
        • Radiation hard photon counting detectors and arrays: For the 1000 to 1600 nm wavelength range with single photon detection efficiencies greater than 40% and 1dB saturation rates of at least 30 mega-photons/pixel and operational temperatures above 220K and dark count rates of Radiation levels of at least 100 Mrad (unprotected).
        • Isolation platforms: Compact, lightweight, low power, broad bandwidth (0.1 Hz -3 kHz) disturbance rejection.
        • Laser Transmitters: Space-qualifiable, greater than 20% wall plug efficiency, lightweight, 20-500 pico-second pulse-width (10 to >100 MHz PRF), tunable (~0.2 nm) pulsed 1064-nm or 1550-nm laser transmitter fiber MOPA sources with greater than1 kW of peak power per pulse (over the entire pulse-repetition rate), with Stimulated Brillouin Scattering suppression and >10 W of average power, near transform limited spectral width, and less than 10 pico-second pulse rise and fall times. Also of interest for the laser transmitter are: robust and compact packaging with radiation tolerant electronics inherent in the design, and high speed electrical interface to support output of pulse position modulation encoding of sub nanosecond pulses and inputs such as Spacewire, Firewire or Gigabit Ethernet. Detailed description of approaches to achieve the stated efficiency is a must.
        • Low-cost ground-based telescope assembly: With diameter greater than 2-m, primary mirror with f-number of ~1.1 and Cassegrain focus to be used as optical communication receiver optics. Maximum RMS surface figure error of 1-wave at 1000 nm wavelength.Telescope shall be positioned with a two-axis gimbal capable of 0.25mrad pointing. Combined telescope, gimbal and dome shall be manufacturable in quantity (tens) for ~$1.5M each.
        • Daytime atmospheric compensation techniques: Capable of removing all significant atmospheric turbulence distortions (tilt and higher-order components) on an uplink laser beam; and/or for a 2-m diameter downlink receiver telescope. Also of interest are technologies to compensate for the static and dynamic (gravity sag and thermal) aberrations of 2-m diameter telescopes with a surface figure of 10's of waves.



        Research should be conducted to convincingly prove technical feasibility during Phase 1, with clear pathways to demonstrating and delivering functional hardware, meeting all objectives and specifications, in Phase 2.



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      • 51343

        O1.07Long Range Space RF Telecommunications

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC

        Solicitation Summary This solicitation seeks to develop innovative long-range RF telecommunications technologies supporting the needs of space missions. Purpose (based on NASA needs) and current state-of-the-art In the future, spacecraft with increasingly capable instruments producing large… Read more>>

        Solicitation Summary

        This solicitation seeks to develop innovative long-range RF telecommunications technologies supporting the needs of space missions.



        Purpose (based on NASA needs) and current state-of-the-art

        In the future, spacecraft with increasingly capable instruments producing large quantities of data will be visiting the moon and the planets. To support the communication needs of these missions and maximize the data return to Earth, innovative long-range telecommunications technologies that maximize power efficiency, transmitted power density and data rate, while minimizing size, mass and power are required.



        The current state-of-the-art in long-range RF space telecommunications is about 2 Mbps from Mars using microwave communications systems (X-Band and Ka-Band) with output power levels in the low tens of Watts and DC-to-RF efficiencies in the range of 10-25%.



        Specifications and Requirements

        • Ultra-small, light-weight, low-cost, low-power, modular deep-space transceivers, transponders and components, incorporating MMICs and Bi-CMOS circuits;
        • MMIC modulators with drivers to provide large linear phase modulation (above 2.5 rad), high-data rate (10 - 200 Mbps), BPSK/QPSK modulation at X-band (8.4 GHz), and Ka-band (26 GHz, 32 GHz and 38 GHz);
        • High-efficiency (> 60%) Solid-State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs), of both medium output power (10 W-50 W) and high-output power (150 W-1 KW), using power combining techniques and/or wide band-gap semiconductor devices at X-band (8.4 GHz) and Ka-band (26 GHz, 32 GHz and 38 GHz);
        • Epitaxial GaN films with threading dislocations less than 106 per cm2 for use in space qualified wide band-gap semiconductor devices at X- and Ka-band;
        • Utilization of nano-materials and/or other novel materials and techniques for improving the power efficiency or reducing the cost of reliable vacuum electronics amplifier components (e.g. TWTAs and Klystrons);
        • SSPAs, modulators and MMICs for 26 GHz Ka-band (lunar communication);
        • Improved integrated non-linear amplifier/modulator designs that reduce crest-factor impacts and significantly enhance the efficiency of high peak-to-average power ratio waveforms, such as 802.11 and 802.16;
        • TWTAs operating at millimeter wave frequencies (e.g. W-Band) and at data rates of 10 Gbps or higher;
        • Ultra low-noise amplifiers (MMICs or hybrid) for RF front-ends (
        • MEMS-based RF switches and photonic control devices needed for use in reconfigurable antennas, phase shifters, amplifiers, oscillators, and in-flight reconfigurable filters. Frequencies of interest include VHF, UHF, L-, S-, X-, Ka-, V-band (60 GHz) and W-band (94 GHz). Of particular interest is Ka-band from 25.5 - 27 GHz and 31.5 - 34 GHz.



        Phase 1 Deliverables

        Feasibility study, including simulations and measurements, proving the proposed approach to develop a given product. Verification matrix of measurements to be performed at the end of Phase 2, along with specific quantitative pass-fail ranges for each quantity listed.



        Phase 2 Deliverables

        Working engineering model of proposed product, along with full report of on development and measurements, including populated verification matrix from Phase 1.



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      • 51313

        O1.08Lunar Surface Communication Networks and Orbit Access Links

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL, JSC

        This solicitation seeks to develop a highly robust, bidirectional, and disruption-tolerant communications network for the lunar surface and lunar orbital access links. Exploration of lunar and planetary surfaces will require short-range (~1.6 km line-of sight, ~5.6 km non-line-of-sight)… Read more>>

        This solicitation seeks to develop a highly robust, bidirectional, and disruption-tolerant communications network for the lunar surface and lunar orbital access links. Exploration of lunar and planetary surfaces will require short-range (~1.6 km line-of sight, ~5.6 km non-line-of-sight) bi-directional, often highly asymmetric, and robust multiple-point links to provide on-demand, disruption and delay-tolerant, and autonomous interconnection among surface-based assets. Minimization of communication asset scheduling, and other ground operation support, is highly desirable. Some of the nodes will be fixed, such as base stations and relays to orbital assets, and some transportable, such as rovers and humans. The ability to meet the demanding environment presented by lunar and planetary surfaces will encompass the development and integration of a number of communication and networking technologies and protocols.



        NASA lunar surface networks will be dynamic in nature, and required to deliver multiple data flows with different priorities (operational voice, command/control, telemetry, various qualities of video flows, and others). Bandwidth and power efficient approaches to mobile ad hoc networks are desired. Quality of Service (QoS) algorithms in a Mobile Ad hoc NETwork (MANET) setting will need to be developed and tailored to NASA mission specific needs and for the lunar surface environment. Exploitation of delay/disruption tolerant network (DTN) technology to maximize autonomy of the communication infrastructure and to minimize demands on channel capacity is of significant interest. Advantages and disadvantages associated with parallel DTN and IP networks, and a competing DTN-over-IP network architecture, should be considered. Possible associated considerations include routing, security, and QoS.



        These lunar and planetary surface networks will need to seamlessly interface with communications access terminals and orbiting relays that also can provide autonomous connectivity to Earth based assets. The access link communications system will encompass the development and integration of a number of communications and networking technologies and protocols to meet the stringent demands of continuous interoperable communications. Human exploration, therefore, requires the development of innovative communication protocols that exploit persistent storage on mobile and stationary nodes to ensure timely and reliable delivery of data even when no stable end-to-end paths exist. Solutions must exploit stability when it exists to nearly approximate the performance of conventional MANET protocols. The capability of the network to provide infrastructure-based position determination and navigation is of interest to NASA, especially when coverage issues arise and/or orbiter access links are unavailable. The extent to which the network can support localization of mobile nodes should be addressed, and network architecture options that could further support navigation should be identified.



        Frequency bands of interest are UHF (401 - 402 MHz, 25 kHz bandwidth), S-band (2.4 - 2.483 GHz), and Ka-band (22.55 - 23.55 GHz). Existing commercial standards for the PHY and MAC layers should be leveraged to the extent possible while meeting other requirements, with modifications considered when necessary. Results from NASA's Lunar Architecture Team, as well as technology trade studies performed for NASA's Constellation Systems, should be referenced for input regarding data flows, coverage, network requirements, etc. EVA study results can be found at:



        EVA Technology Development path loss study: http://gltrs.grc.nasa.gov/reports/2007/TM-2007-214825.pdf



        Specific Subtopic Capabilities to Address This Year

        This year's call intends to focus innovations in 4 key areas. Participants should focus their proposed innovation in one or more of these key areas:


        • Differentiated services and QoS support in dynamic wireless networks when safety-of-life and data flows critical to the mission are traversing the network.
        • DTN prototype protocol development and demonstration in an emulated operational network.
        • Secure data transfers over mobile, dynamic wireless networks with potential interferers and/or interceptors.
        • Position determination and navigation based novel uses of the network infrastructure (e.g. utilizing radiometric information from the network signaling).



        Proposal should address the following:


        • Network traffic models
        • Network architecture (both hardware and software)
        • Spectrum usage
        • Security plan (if the proposal deals with particular innovations in this area)
        • Identification of software and/or hardware technologies common to networking components that will have the largest impact on size, weight, and power reduction while not compromising the goals of the network architecture as listed above.



        Phase 1 Deliverables

        A trade analysis identifying novel software and/or hardware technologies common to networking components that will have the largest impact on size, weight, and power reduction while not compromising the goals of the network architecture is the most important aspect of the Phase 1 deliverable. It is not reasonable to expect that all issues and technologies concerning the network architecture proposed will be developed under a Phase 2 contract. However, the proposer should identify and rank novel hardware/software components based on size/weight/power reduction that will enable the proposed network architecture. The proposer should also identify how they are uniquely qualified to develop the novel technologies to products beneficial to NASA, DoD, and perhaps commercial interests.



        The Phase 1 proposal should clearly state the assumptions, proposed network architecture, and innovations regarding the 4 key areas mentioned above.



        Phase 2 Deliverables

        The novel software and/or hardware component identified in Phase 1 will be developed to a state in which it may be demonstrated and the feasibility of the approach on an actual platform may be quantitatively evaluated by NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract. (TRL 4 or better).



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      • 51350

        O1.09Software for Space Communications Infrastructure Operations

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC

        New technology is sought to improve resource optimization and the user interface of planning and scheduling tools for NASA's Space Communications Infrastructure. The software created should have a commercialization approach with the new modules fitting into an existing or in development planning and… Read more>>

        New technology is sought to improve resource optimization and the user interface of planning and scheduling tools for NASA's Space Communications Infrastructure. The software created should have a commercialization approach with the new modules fitting into an existing or in development planning and scheduling tool.



        Purpose (based on NASA needs) and the current state of the art:

        The current infrastructure for NASA Space Communications provides services for near-Earth spacecraft and deep space planetary missions. The infrastructure assets include the Deep Space Network (DSN), the Ground Network (GN), and the Space Network (SN). Recent planning for the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) for human exploration to the Moon and beyond as well as maintaining vibrant space and Earth science programs resulted in a new concept of the communications architecture. The future communications architecture will evolve from the present legacy assets and with addition of new assets.



        NASA seeks automation technologies that will facilitate scheduling of oversubscribed communications resources to support: (1) Increased numbers of missions and customers; (2) Increased number and complexity of constraints (as required by new antenna types); and (3) decreased operations budgets (both core communications network operations and mission side operations budgets.



        Core Capabilities:



        Intelligent Assistants

        In order to automate the user's provision of requirements and refinement of the schedule, "intelligent assistant" software should manage the user interface. Assistants should streamline access and modification of requirement and schedule information. By modeling the user, this software can adjust the level of autonomy enabling decisions to be made by the user or the automated system. Assistants should try to minimize user involvement without making decisions the user would prefer to make. The assistants should adapt to the user by learning their control preferences. This technology should apply to local/centralized and collaborative scheduling.



        In a conflict-aware scheduling system (especially in a collaborative scheduling environment), conflicts are prevalent. With the concept of one big schedule from the beginning of time, real time, to the end of time, resolving conflicts become a difficult task especially since resolving conflicts in a local sense may affect the global schedule. Therefore, an intelligent assistant may provide decision support to the system or the users to assist conflict resolution. This may involve a set of rules combining with certain local/global optimization to generate a list of options for the system or users to choose from.



        Resource Optimization

        The goal of schedule optimization is to produce allocations that yield the best objectives. These may include maximizing DSN utilization, minimizing loss of desired tracking time, and optimizing project satisfaction. Each project may have their own definition of satisfaction such as maximal science data returned, maximal tracking time, best allocation of the day/week, etc. The difficulty is that we may not satisfy all of these objectives during the optimization process. Obviously, optimal solution for one objective may produce worse results for the other objectives. One possible solution is to map all of these objectives to an overall system goal. This mapping is normally non-linear. Technology needs to be developed for this non-linear mapping for scoring in addition to regular optimization approaches.



        Optional Capabilities:



        Multiple Agents

        In an environment where all system variables can be controlled by a single controller, an optimal solution for the objective function can be achieved by finding the right set of variables. In a collaborative environment with multiple decision makers where each decision maker can only control a subset of the variables, modeling and optimization become a very complex issue. In the proposed collaborative scheduling approach, there are many users/agents that will control their own allocations with interaction with the others. How we model their interactions and define system policy so the interaction can achieve the overall system goal is an important topic. The approach for multiple decision-maker collaboration has been studied in the area of Game Theory. The applications cover many areas including economics and engineering. The major solutions include Pareto, Nash, and Stackelberg. There are many new research areas including incentive control, collaborative control, Ordinal Games, etc. Note that intelligent assistants and multiple agents represent different points on the spectrum of automation. Current operations utilize primarily manual collaborative scheduling, intelligent assistants would enhance users ability to participate in this process and intelligent agents could more automate individual customers scheduling. Ideally, proposed intelligent assistants and distributed agents would also be able to represent customers who do not wish to expose their general preferences and constraints.



        A start for reference material on this subtopic may be found at the following:



        http://ai.jpl.nasa.gov in the publications area;

        http://scp.gsfc.nasa.gov/gn/gnusersguide3.pdf, NASA Ground Network User's Guide, Chapter 9 Scheduling; and

        http://scp.gsfc.nasa.gov/tdrss/guide.html, Space Network User's Guide, SpaceOps Conference Proceedings.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        Phase 1 Deliverables

        Propose demonstration of Intelligent Assistants, Resource Optimization, or Multiple Agents on a number of communication asset allocation problem sets (involving dozens of missions, communications assets, and operational constraints). End Phase deliverable would include a detailed rationale for ROI in usage of said technology to communications asset allocation based on knowledge of current and future operations flows.



        Phase 2 Deliverables

        Demonstrate Intelligent Assistants, Resource Optimization, or Multiple Agents on actual or surrogate communication asset scheduling datasets. Deliverables would include use cases and some evidence of utility of deployment of developed technology.



        The proposer to this subtopic is advised that the products proposed may be included in a future small satellite flight opportunity. Please see the SMD Topic S4 on Small Satellites for details regarding those opportunities. If the proposer would like to have their proposal considered for flight in the small satellite program, the proposal should state such and recommend a pathway for that possibility.





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    • + Expand Space Transportation Topic

      Topic O2 Space Transportation PDF


      Achieving space flight can be astonishing. It is an undertaking of great complexity, requiring numerous technological and engineering disciplines and a high level of organizational skill. Overcoming Earth's gravity to achieve orbit demands collections of quality data to maintain the security required of the range. The harsh environment of space puts tight constraints on the equipment needed to perform the necessary functions. Not only is there a concern for safety but the 2004 Space Transportation Policy directive states that the U.S. must maintain robust transportation capabilities to assure access to space. Given this backdrop, this topic is designed to address technologies to enable a safer and more reliable space transportation capability. Automated collection of range data, acquisition of specialized weather data, and instrumentation for space transportation system testing are all required. The following subtopics are required to secure technologies for these capabilities.

      • 51366

        O2.01Automated Collection and Transfer of Launch Range Data (Surveillance/Intrusion, Weather)

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC

        NASA is seeking innovative technologies for sensors and instrumentation technologies which expedite range clearance by providing real-time situational awareness for safe Range operations from processing to launch and recovery. These sensors and instruments are expected to operate, as a payload, on… Read more>>

        NASA is seeking innovative technologies for sensors and instrumentation technologies which expedite range clearance by providing real-time situational awareness for safe Range operations from processing to launch and recovery. These sensors and instruments are expected to operate, as a payload, on mobile or deployable Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), High Altitude Airships (HAA), buoys, etc. NASA is also seeking innovative technologies to remotely measure electric fields aloft in order to reduce the threat of destruction of a launch vehicle by rocket triggered lightning.



        Purpose: NASA is embarking on a new era of space exploration with new launch vehicles and demands for availability to support launch times within hours of one another to ensure mission success. This availability requirement is allocated across the entire launch operations which includes the Range that provides clear corridor of land, air and sea for the vehicles to transit through, as they ascent or return. The current Range infrastructure is aging, labor intensive and independent, and would benefit from new sensors and instrumentation that improve the situational awareness (including weather) of those that are responsible for ensuring public safety, mission assurance and efficient operations.



        To aid in this situational awareness the new sensors and instrumentation must be able to operate in the environment that takes advantage of mobile or deployable Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), High Altitude Airships (HAA), buoys, etc. Use of these vehicles as a platform is intended to increase the Ranges availability while reducing the cost of operations. Size, power, weight and stability of these systems, that operate on these platforms, will be a major constraint their use.



        These sensors and instrumentation provide for the remote detection, recognition, and identification of persons and objects that have intruded into areas of the range that must be cleared in order to conduct safe launch operations. This would include a wide spectrum of optical, infrared, Radio Frequency (RF), and millimeter wave sensors for this purpose. In order to achieve accurate identification, time and position of intruding entities multiple sensors and instruments may be used, or combined through the use of neural networks and data fusion techniques. This will require the use of standards for communications, so that, data from individual sensors or instruments can be combined on a platform and processed on-board, or communicated to central location where a fused solution is processed.



        The sensors, instrumentation and algorithms to remotely measure electric fields aloft will reduce the threat of destruction of launch vehicles during ascent by improving the prediction of potential lightning strikes to vehicles due to triggered lightning. Potential candidate technologies include new algorithms to take advantage of existing dual-polarized Doppler five-cm weather radar capability, or entirely new technologies for the remote sensing of electric fields. The ability to economically measure the incremental ballistic wind velocities along the predicted trajectory of launch vehicles at remote and evolving launch ranges at altitudes up to 100 kft via fixed and mobile LIDAR approaches is also highly desirable.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 51383

        O2.02Ground Test Facility Technologies

        Lead Center: SSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, MSFC

        NASA's Stennis Space Center (SSC) is interested with expanding its suite of test facility modeling tools as well as non-intrusive plume technologies that provide information on propulsion system health, the environments produced by the plumes and the effects of plumes and constituents on facilities… Read more>>

        NASA's Stennis Space Center (SSC) is interested with expanding its suite of test facility modeling tools as well as non-intrusive plume technologies that provide information on propulsion system health, the environments produced by the plumes and the effects of plumes and constituents on facilities and the environment.



        Facility Modeling Tools and Methods

        Developing and verifying test facilities is complex and expensive. The wide range of pressures, flow rates, and temperatures necessary for engine testing results in complex relationships and dynamics. It is not realistic to physically test each component and the component-to-component interaction in all states before designing a system. Currently, systems must be tuned after fabrication, requiring extensive testing and verification. Tools using computational methods to accurately model and predict system performance are required that integrate simple interfaces with detailed design and/or analysis software. SSC is interested in improving capabilities and methods to accurately predict dynamic responses for transient fluid structure interactions, convective, conductive, and radiant heat transfer for propellant systems, exhaust systems and other components used in rocket propulsion testing. Also of interest is the modeling and prediction of condensation, diffusion, stratification, and concentration gradients for fluid mixtures commonly encountered in testing, such as propellants and purges.



        Vacuum System Technologies

        Stennis is constructing the new A3 test stand which is designed to test a very large (294,000 lbf thrust) cryogenic rocket engine at a simulated altitude of 100,000 feet. When the air in the engine test chamber is evacuated, the simulated altitude pressures inside the test chamber will be less than 0.20 PSIA. This will result in a very unique environment with extremely low pressures inside a very large chamber and ambient pressures outside this chamber. Due to the unique nature of this test facility, new technologies and measurement techniques will need to be developed to monitor and analyze this environment. These include but are not limited to instrument closeouts at vacuum pressures for hundreds of channels of instrumentation entering the chamber, new sealing technologies for large cryogenic piping entering this very large test cell wall to seal against this unique environment, material fatigue measurement and predictions, inspection techniques for the vacuum chamber structures and diffuser ducting, etc.


        Component Design, Prediction and Modeling

        Improved capabilities to predict and model the behavior of components (valves, check valves, chokes, etc.) during the facility design process are needed. This capability is required for modeling components in high pressure (to 12,000 psi), with flow rates up to several thousand lb/sec, in cryogenic environments and must address two-phase flows.



        Challenges include: accurate, efficient, thermodynamic state models; cavitation models for propellant tanks, valve flows, and run lines; reduction in solution time; improved stability; acoustic interactions; fluid-structure interactions in internal flows.



        Plume Environments Measurements

        Advanced instrumentation and sensors to monitor the near field and far field effects and products of exhaust plumes. Examples are the levels of acoustic energy and thermal radiation and their interaction/coupling with test articles and facilities and measurements of the final exhaust species that will affect the environment.



        Major challenge: Large scale engine plume dispersion modeling and validation.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract. Expected TRL range from 3 to 5.





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    • + Expand Processing and Operations Topic

      Topic O3 Processing and Operations PDF


      The Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) is responsible for providing mission critical space exploration services to both NASA customers and to other partners within the U.S. and throughout the world: from flying the Space Shuttle, to assembling the International Space Station; ensuring safe and reliable access to space; maintaining secure and dependable communications between platforms across the solar system; and ensuring the health and safety of our Nation's astronauts. Each of the activities includes both ground-based and in-flight processing and operations tasks. Support for these tasks that ensures they are accomplished efficiently and accurately enables successful missions and healthy crew.

      • 51309

        O3.01Human Interface Systems and Technologies

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC

        The focus of this sub topic is on the development of systems and technologies that advance TRL of man/machine interfaces for humans in space environments. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to, high fidelity inbound and outbound speech and audio systems along with data… Read more>>

        The focus of this sub topic is on the development of systems and technologies that advance TRL of man/machine interfaces for humans in space environments. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to, high fidelity inbound and outbound speech and audio systems along with data entry/data presentation devices, cameras, metabolic monitoring, health monitoring devices, interfaces that support human/robot interaction, high-level communications protocols and/or standardized interfaces for transmitting and receiving data related to human monitoring systems or human interface systems. Technologies and systems should resolve issues that are peculiar to human/machine interaction in the space environments or exploit unique features of the space environment or both. Interest exists for application to micro-gravity space suits, planetary space suits as well as space-based "shirtsleeve environments" such as onboard the ISS, shuttle or other crew modules. The particular focus area of the topic this year is on Advanced Data Entry systems.



        Advanced Data Entry

        Terrestrial user-interface devices for controlling portable processing equipment such as laptop computers typically rely on keyboard or touchpad input. Such devices are problematic in the space environment since a suited crewmember must interact with the processing equipment while wearing a pressurized glove. Speech recognition technologies have been proposed and investigated to provide a data entry capability for suited crewmembers. However, speech recognition technologies typically incur a high computational loading burden. Alternative methods and technologies for data entry are anticipated to result in significantly lower processing burden and therefore reduced Size Weight and Power (SWaP) and enhanced system reliability. Preference will be given to proposals that indicate the resulting system will have a low computational burden.



        Currently, the main purpose of a suit's processing system is for providing life-support data-acquisition, monitoring, telemetry, and crewmember alerts. The traditional approach to interact with the EVA processing system is with suit-mounted toggle switches optimally sized for a gloved hand and located in the suit's chest area. NASA envisions future generations of suits to contain advanced communication, navigation, and information processing capabilities that will require better ways of interacting with the suited crewmember. It is likely that the processing unit(s) will be installed within the suit's backpack-mounted portable life support unit or in close proximity.



        Crewmember usability and efficient operation are prime features of the next-generation input device. The device must operate robustly in the space environment and on the surface of remote planetary bodies. Devices must be tolerant of dust, vacuum, and radiation exposure. During Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA), a suited crewmember needs to achieve as high a level of mobility as possible, so a suit-mounted computer-input device must not impede the movements of the suited crewmember or unduly burden the suit system with weight, volume, or electrical power constraints.



        NASA is seeking systems, subsystems and/or technologies in support of improvements in suit-mounted computer system data entry user-interface devices. Devices or systems should allow the suited crewmember to control a computer processing system and provide text input and/or spatial indication accurately, at high speed, without little or no user fatigue. Possible interactions for data entry include, but are not limited to: inputting direction or positions (for navigation or robotic-aid purposes), inserting notes (e.g., field or experiment notes, images, labeling of images), and selecting/marking items on lists (e.g., zooming, drilling down lists, scrolling through lists, moving items). Concepts may consider that provide solutions installed internally (within the pure-oxygen pressurized envelop of the suit), externally (mounted on the exterior of the suit), or a combination of the two:



        Particular interest is in the areas of:


        • Human interface devices that support manual control of mechanical devices such as rovers or tools;
        • Chording keyboards, suit or glove mounted fabric keyboards or touch-pads;
        • Techniques for routing wires or connections between the user interface device and the computer-processing unit;
        • Techniques for routing the wires past bearings or avoidance of such.



        Other technologies will be considered.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract. Preference will be given to proposals that support in-flight demonstration opportunities on the ISS at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 51367

        O3.02Vehicle Integration and Ground Processing

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC, SSC

        This solicitation seeks to create new and innovative technology solutions for assembly, test, integration and processing of the launch vehicle, spacecraft and payloads; end-to-end launch services; and research and development, design, construction and operation of spaceport services. The following… Read more>>

        This solicitation seeks to create new and innovative technology solutions for assembly, test, integration and processing of the launch vehicle, spacecraft and payloads; end-to-end launch services; and research and development, design, construction and operation of spaceport services. The following areas are of particular interest.



        Propellant Servicing Technologies Enabling Lower Life Cycle Costs

        Technologies for advanced cryogenic fluid storage and transfer, servicing of chilled/densified fluids and advances in state-of-the-art ground insulation are needed to reduce launch operation costs by minimizing consumable losses. Solutions in support of helium conservation and recovery; recapture, reduction, and elimination of cryogenic propellants vented to atmosphere (zero boil-off); insulation for improved storage and distribution minimizing thermal losses; fire resistant liquid oxygen pumping systems; and instrumentation advances to enable high efficiency operations. Providing solutions with higher efficiency, lower maintenance and longer life while improving safety and improving liquid quality delivery.



        Corrosion Control

        Technologies for the prevention, detection and mitigation of corrosion/erosion in spaceport facilities and ground support equipment including refractory concrete. Solutions for: damage responsive coatings with corrosion inhibitors; poor-performing refractory concrete; protective coatings for non-painted surfaces; and new environmentally friendly protective coating options to replace products lost due to EPA regulation changes. Providing coating/protection solutions that meet current and emerging environmental restrictions and can endure the corrosive and highly acidic launch environment.



        Spaceport Processing Systems Evaluation/Inspection Tools

        Technologies in support of defect detection in composite materials; methods for determining structural integrity of bonded assemblies; and non-intrusive inspection of Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (COPV), Orion heat shield and painted surfaces. Solutions for detecting and pinpointing corrosion under painted surfaces; predicting remaining coatings effectiveness/life expectancy; identifying composite defects and evaluating integrity; non-destructive measurement and evaluation of COPV; and damage inspection and acceptance testing of Orion heat shield. Providing solutions that reduce inspection times and provide higher confidence in system reliability and safety concerns and lower life cycle costs.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        This subtopic is also a subtopic for the "Low-Cost and Reliable Access to Space (LCRATS)" topic.  Proposals to this subtopic may gain additional consideration to the extent that they effectively address the LCRATS topic (See topic O5 under the Space Operations Mission Directorate).



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      • 51359

        O3.03Enabling Research for ISS

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, KSC, MSFC

        The focus of this sub-topic is on the development of systems and technologies that provide innovative ways to leverage the existing ISS facilities for new payloads or provide on orbit analysis to enhance capabilities, reduce sample return requirements, or enable sample return for existing payloads. … Read more>>

        The focus of this sub-topic is on the development of systems and technologies that provide innovative ways to leverage the existing ISS facilities for new payloads or provide on orbit analysis to enhance capabilities, reduce sample return requirements, or enable sample return for existing payloads.



        Current utilization of ISS is limited by upmass, downmass, crew time and by the capabilities of the interfaces and hardware already developed. Innovative ways of interfacing existing hardware such as being able to use the light microscopy module (LMM) in the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) as a life science microscope could increase biotechnology research capabilities. Enabling additional cell and molecular biology culture techniques by providing innovative hardware to allow for safe, contained transfer of cells from container to container within the Microgravity Sciences Glove Box (MSG) would permit new types of studies on ISS. On orbit analysis techniques that would reduce or remove the need for downmass (such as a system for gene array tests, or kits for DNA extractions for long term storage) are also examples of hardware possibilities that would extend and enable additional research.



        Capabilities that extend the types of studies that can be completed in orbit are not limited to the above examples or to biotechnology disciplines. Innovative methods for further subdividing payloads lockers to enable numerous pico-payloads, or developing an innovative generic control system to interface with existing ISS control systems are a further examples of the type of technology that is requested under this subtopic.



        The existing hardware suite and interfaces available on ISS can be found at:

        http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/Discipline.html



        Due to the difficulty and complexity of qualifying hardware for human spaceflight, proposals under this subtopic are expected to advance the development to a level demonstrating the technology in the lab or relevant environment under the SBIR program.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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    • + Expand Navigation Topic

      Topic O4 Navigation PDF


      NASA is seeking innovative research in the areas of positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) that have relevance to Space Communications and Navigation programs and goals, as described at http://www.spacecomm.nasa.gov. NASA's Space Communication and Navigation Office considers the three elements of PNT to represent distinct, constituent capabilities: (1) positioning, by which we mean accurate and precise determination of an asset's location and orientation referenced to a coordinate system; (2) navigation, by which we mean determining an asset's current and/or desired absolute or relative position and velocity state, and applying corrections to course, orientation, and velocity to attain achieve the desired state; and (3) timing, by which we mean an asset's acquiring from a standard, maintaining within user-defined parameters, and transferring where required, an accurate and precise representation of time. NASA has divided its PNT interests into six focus areas: (1) Global Positioning System (GPS) (2) Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS) (3) Flight Dynamics (4) Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) (5) TDRSS Augmentation Service for Satellites (TASS) (6) Geodesy. This year, NASA seeks technology in focus areas (1), (3), (4), and (5), and related areas that provides PNT support and services for NASA's current tracking and communications networks and systems-including tracking during launch and landing operations, and research and technology relevant to the planning and development of PNT support and services for NASA's Project Constellation, including lunar surface operations, and other Exploration and Science Programs that NASA may undertake over the next two decades. Some of the subtopics in this topic could result in products that may be included in future flight opportunities. Please see the Science MD Topic S4 for more details as to the requirements for small satellite flight opportunities, and the Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology Development and Training (FAST) website at http://ipp.nasa.gov/ii_fast.htm.

      • 52204

        O4.01Metric Tracking of Launch Vehicles

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, MSFC

        Range Safety requires accurate and reliable tracking data for launch vehicles. Onboard GPS receivers must maintain lock, reacquire very quickly and operate securely in a highly-dynamic environment. GPS Course Acquisition Code (CA) does not require classified decryption codes and has an accuracy of… Read more>>

        Range Safety requires accurate and reliable tracking data for launch vehicles. Onboard GPS receivers must maintain lock, reacquire very quickly and operate securely in a highly-dynamic environment. GPS Course Acquisition Code (CA) does not require classified decryption codes and has an accuracy of better than 30 m and 1 m/s. Although this accuracy is good enough for most Range Safety needs, better accuracy is needed for antenna pointing, docking maneuvers and attitude determination. CA code also offers little protection against deliberately transmitted false signals or "spoofing".



        This solicitation seeks proposals in the following areas:


        • Innovative technologies to increase the accuracy of the L1 C/A navigation solution by combining the pseudo ranges and phases of the L1 C/A signals, and use of the L2 and L5 carrier. Factors that degrade the GPS signal can be obtained by differencing the available carrier phase and pseudo range measurements and then removing this difference from the navigation solution.
        • Technologies that combine spatial processing of signals from multiple antennas with temporal processing techniques to mitigate interference signals received by the GPS receiver. The coordinated response of adaptive pattern control (beam and null steering) and digital excision of certain interfering signal components minimizes strong jamming signals. Adaptive nulling minimizes interfering signals by the optimal control of the GPS antenna pattern (null steering).



        These technologies should be independent of any particular GPS receiver design.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 51332

        O4.02On-Orbit PNT (Positioning, Navigation, and Timing) Sensors and Components

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL, JSC

        This solicitation seeks proposals that will serve NASA's ever-evolving set of near-Earth and interplanetary missions that require precise determination of spacecraft position and velocity in order to achieve mission success. While the definition of "precise" depends upon the mission context, typical… Read more>>

        This solicitation seeks proposals that will serve NASA's ever-evolving set of near-Earth and interplanetary missions that require precise determination of spacecraft position and velocity in order to achieve mission success. While the definition of "precise" depends upon the mission context, typical scenarios have required meter-level or better position accuracies, and sub-millimeter-level or better velocity accuracies.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1, and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and/or software demonstration of a demonstration unit or software package that will be delivered to NASA for testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract. The Small Spacecraft Build effort highlighted in Topic S4 (Low-cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies) of the solicitation participates in this subtopic. Offerors are encouraged to take this in consideration as a possible flight opportunity when proposing work to this subtopic.



        Purpose: NASA Needs vs. Current State of the Art

        This solicitation is primarily focused on NASA's needs in three focused areas: onboard near-Earth navigation systems; onboard deep-space navigation systems; technologies supporting improved TDRSS-based navigation. Proposals that leverage state-of-the-art capabilities already developed by NASA such as GEONS (http://techtransfer.gsfc.nasa.gov/ft-tech-GEONS.html), Navigator (http://techtransfer.gsfc.nasa.gov/ft-tech-GPS-NAVIGATOR.html), GIPSY, Electra, and Blackjack are especially encouraged. NASA is not interested in funding efforts that seek to "re-invent the wheel" by duplicating the many investments that NASA and others have already made in establishing the current state-of-the-art.



        General Operational Specifications and Requirements:



        Core Capabilities:



        Onboard Near-Earth Navigation System

        NASA seeks proposals that would develop a commercially viable transceiver with embedded orbit determination software that would provide enhanced accuracy and integrity for autonomous onboard GPS- and TDRSS-based navigation and time-transfer in near-Earth space via augmentation messages broadcast by TDRSS. The augmentation message should include information on the TDRS orbits, status, and health that could be provided by future TDRS, and should provide information on the GPS constellation that is based on NASA's TDRSS Augmentation for Satellites Signal (TASS). Proposers are advised that NASA's GEONS and GIPSY orbit determination software packages already support the capability to ingest TASS messages.



        Onboard Deep-Space Navigation System

        NASA seeks proposals that would develop an onboard autonomous navigation and time-transfer system that can reduce DSN tracking requirements. Such systems should provide accuracy comparable to delta differenced one-way ranging (DDOR) solutions anywhere in the inner solar system, and exceed DDOR solution accuracy beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Proposers are advised that NASA's GEONS and DS-1 navigation software packages already support the capability to ingest many one-way forward Doppler, optical sensor observation, and accelerometer data types.



        Technologies Supporting Improved TDRSS-based Navigation

        NASA seeks proposals that would provide improvements in TDRS orbit knowledge, TDRSS radiometric tracking, ground-based orbit determination, and Ground Terminal improvements that improve navigation accuracy for TDRS users. Methods for improving TDRS orbit knowledge should exploit the possible future availability of accelerometer data collected onboard future TDRS.



        Optional Capabilities:

        NASA may consider other proposals relevant to NASA's needs for precise spacecraft navigation and tracking that demonstrably advance the state-of-the-art.



        Development Timeline Associated with NASA Needs:

        Phase 1 deliverables should include documentation of technical feasibility, which should at minimum show a path toward hardware and/or software demonstration of a demonstration unit or software package in Phase 2.



        Phase 2 deliverables should include a demonstration unit or software.



        The proposer to this subtopic is advised that the products proposed may be included in a future small satellite flight opportunity. Please see the SMD Topic S4 on Small Satellites for details regarding those opportunities. If the proposer would like to have their proposal considered for flight in the small satellite program, the proposal should state such and recommend a pathway for that possibility.



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      • 51312

        O4.03Lunar Surface Navigation

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL, JSC

        In order to provide location awareness, precision position fixing, best heading and traverse path planning for planetary EVA, manned rovers and lunar surface mobility units NASA has established requirements for onboard navigation capabilities for surface-mobile elements of lunar missions. Proposals… Read more>>

        In order to provide location awareness, precision position fixing, best heading and traverse path planning for planetary EVA, manned rovers and lunar surface mobility units NASA has established requirements for onboard navigation capabilities for surface-mobile elements of lunar missions. Proposals are specifically sought which address the following needs:


        • Asset localization within a work area. Specifically, real-time relative location of vehicles and EVA crewmembers for safety and task efficiency.
        • EVA crew localization for emergency walk back to a safe haven (lander, habitat, fixed reference point, etc.)
        • Fixed asset localization with respect to global coordinates.
        • Traverse-path planning systems and navigation-specific displays are also of interest.
        • Novel navigation techniques that utilize repurposed flight vehicle sensors (INS, AHRS, low light imager, star trackers, etc.)



        This topic will develop systems, technologies and analysis in support of the required capabilities of lunar surface mobility elements. Contemplated navigation systems could employ celestial references, passive or active optical information such as optical flow or range to local terrain features, inertial sensor information or other location-specific sensed data or combinations thereof. However, radiometric measurements are considered to be concomitant to the lunar communications network and the lunar network will likely be used to communicate state information between lunar mission elements. As such, the main emphasis of this topic is on systems that exploit radiometric measurements such as range, Doppler or Angle of Arrival. Radiometric measurements can be considered between lunar mission elements such as surface mobility units, elements of a lunar surface architecture (such as surface landers or habitation units or other surface mobility units) or elements of the lunar communications and navigation infrastructure such as surface communications towers or lunar communication/navigation orbiters. Note that the constellation of moon-orbiting communication/navigation satellites will support both polar outpost missions as well as short term sortie missions that can occur anywhere on the lunar surface. This constellation will likely consist of no more than six satellites and may be only be one or two satellites. Earth-based nodes are not excluded from consideration, nor are two-way radiometric measurements, nor are non-NASA-standard modulation schemes.



        Emphasis of the development is on navigation accuracy, position estimate update rate (minimized correlation time), minimum Size Weight and Power (SWaP), systems that operate effectively with minimal communications/navigation infrastructure (such as towers or orbiters) or with complete autonomy, with minimal crew involvement or completely automatically. Unified concepts and systems that provide a range of hardware capabilities (possibly trading accuracy with SWaP) and/or support dual-use (e.g., navigation and communication) are of interest.



        Mature system concepts and technologies including system demonstration with TRL 6 components and internalized (by NASA) standards are required at the end of a Phase 2. Candidates for technology infusion include developmental EVA space suits and prototype crew and robotic rovers. An example rover system is the Lunar Electric Rover (LER). The LER (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/home/LER.html) is a sport utility sized, 12-wheeled, pressurized vehicle capable of supporting 14-day missions with two astronauts. Recent tests have included 140km treks across rugged terrain in Arizona. Future testing will extend the distance. Examples of a developmental EVA space suit include the Mark iii spacesuit and the REI suit (c.f. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20080012574_2008010837.pdf). Demonstration opportunities occur several times a year at lunar analog exercises such as the Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS, c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Research_and_Technology_Studies) and the Haughton Field test (c.f. http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/projects/haughton_field/).



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      • 51311

        O4.04Flight Dynamics Technologies and Software

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        NASA is beginning to invest in re-engineering its suite of tools and facilities that provide navigation and mission design services for design and operations of near-Earth and interplanetary missions. This solicitation seeks proposals that will develop flight dynamics technologies and software that… Read more>>

        NASA is beginning to invest in re-engineering its suite of tools and facilities that provide navigation and mission design services for design and operations of near-Earth and interplanetary missions. This solicitation seeks proposals that will develop flight dynamics technologies and software that support these efforts.



        In the context of this solicitation, flight dynamics technologies and software are algorithms and software that may be used in ground support facilities, or onboard a spacecraft, so as to provide Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services that reduce the need for ground tracking and ground navigation support. Flight dynamics technologies and software also provide critical support to pre-flight mission design, planning, and analysis activities.



        This solicitation is primarily focused on NASA?s needs in the following focused areas:


        • Applications of cutting-edge estimation techniques, such as sigma-point and particle filters, to spaceflight navigation problems.
        • Applications of estimation techniques that have an expanded state vector (beyond position and velocity components) to monitor non-Gaussian noise processes to improve upon the overall system accuracy.
        • Applications of creative estimation techniques that combine measurements from multiple sensor suites to improve upon the overall system accuracy.
        • Applications of advanced dynamical theories to space mission design and analysis, especially in the context of unstable orbital trajectories in the vicinity of small bodies and libration points.
        • Addition of novel measurement technologies to existing NASA onboard navigation software that is licensed by the proposer.
        • Addition of orbit determination capabilities to existing NASA mission design software that is either freely available via NASA Open Source Agreements, or that is licensed by the proposer.



        Proposals that leverage state-of-the-art capabilities already developed by NASA such as GPS-Enhanced Onboard Navigation Software (http://techtransfer.gsfc.nasa.gov/ft-tech-GEONS.html), General Mission Analysis Tool (http://sourceforge.net/projects/gmat/), GPS-Inferred Positioning System and Orbit Analysis Simulation Software, (http://gipsy.jpl.nasa.gov/orms/goa/), are especially encouraged. Proposers who contemplate licensing NASA technologies are highly encouraged to coordinate with the appropriate NASA technology transfer offices prior to submission of their proposals.



        Technologies and software should support a broad range of spaceflight customers. Technologies and software specifically focused on a particular mission's or mission set's needs, for example rendezvous and docking, or formation flying, are the subject of other solicitations by the relevant sponsoring organizations and should not be submitted in response to this solicitation.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1, and show a path toward a Phase 2 demonstration of a software package that will be delivered to NASA for testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        The proposer to this subtopic is advised that the products proposed may be included in a future small satellite flight opportunity. Please see the SMD Topic S4 on Small Satellites for details regarding those opportunities. If the proposer would like to have their proposal considered for flight in the small satellite program, the proposal should state such and recommend a pathway for that possibility.





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      • 51331

        O4.05Space-Based Range Technologies

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC

        The vision of Space-Based Range architecture is to assure public safety, reduce the costs of launch operations, enable multiple simultaneous launch operations, decrease response time, and improve geographic and temporal flexibility. This sub-topic seeks to reduce or eliminate the need for redundant… Read more>>

        The vision of Space-Based Range architecture is to assure public safety, reduce the costs of launch operations, enable multiple simultaneous launch operations, decrease response time, and improve geographic and temporal flexibility. This sub-topic seeks to reduce or eliminate the need for redundant range assets and deployed down-range assets that are currently used to provide for Line-of-Sight (LOS) Tracking Telemetry and Control (TT&C) with sub-orbital platforms and orbit-insertion launch vehicles. In order to achieve this, specific advancements are needed in TT&C.



        Position, Attitude, and Inertial Metrics

        Realization of a Space-Based Range requires the development of highly accurate and stable integrated metric tracking and inertial measurement units. The focus is on technologies that enable and advance development of low Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP), tactical grade, integrated metric tracking units that provide highly accurate and stable positioning, attitude, and inertial measurements on high dynamic platforms.



        Factors to address include:


        • Easy coupling of IMUs, gyros, accelerometers, and/or attitude determining GPS receivers that will provide very high frequency integrated metric solutions;
        • The ability to reliably function on spin-stabilized rockets (up to 7 rps), during sudden jerk and acceleration maneuvers, and in high vibration environments is critical;
        • Advancements in MEMs-based IMUs and accelerometers, algorithm techniques and Kalman filtering, phased-based attitude determination, single aperture systems, quick Time to First Fix and reacquisition.



        Space-Based Telemetry

        There are varying applications for space-based transceivers, each necessitating a different set of requirements. The desired focus is very low SWaP, tactical grade, highly reliable, and easily reconfigurable transceivers capable of establishing and maintaining unbroken satellite communication links for telemetry and/or control. This technology will serve applications which include low-cost sub-orbital missions, secondary communications systems for orbit insertion vehicles, low cost and size orbital payloads (typically LEO), and flight test articles. Durations will range from minutes to several weeks and the ability to operate on highly dynamic platforms is critical. High data rate links are highly desired, thus the use of NASA's TDRSS is emphasized, although other commercial satellite systems which can provide nearly global and high data rate links can also be explored.



        Factors to address include:


        • Advancements in software based radios and coding techniques;
        • Use of the latest semiconductor technologies (GaN or other);
        • Advanced heat dissipation techniques (to allow small packaging and long duration operating times);
        • Immunity to corona breakdown;
        • Ease of data interfacing.



        RF power output requirements range from a few watts to as high as 100 W. Special consideration should be given to transceiver capability vs. packaging that would allow for customizable configurations depending on the target application. That is, a modular or stacking design with a common bus architecture should be considered where the RF and digital sections are separated. This could allow for a base digital and DC power design that will support multiple RF slices (such as a low, medium, or high power slice). Also, to satisfy missions who require unidirectional communications, a modular design could allow for separate transmitter and receiver modules/slices.



        Phase 1 Deliverables

        A final report containing optimal design for the technology concept including feasibility of concept, a detailed path towards Phase 2 hardware and/or software demonstration. The report shall also provide options for potential Phase 2 funding from other government agencies (OGA).



        Phase 2 Deliverables

        A working proof-of-concept demonstrated and delivered to NASA for testing and verification.





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    • + Expand Aviation Safety Topic

      Topic A1 Aviation Safety PDF


      The Aviation Safety Program focuses on the Nation's future aviation safety challenges. This vigilance for safety must continue in order to meet the projected increases in air traffic capacity and realize the new capabilities envisioned for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The Aviation Safety Program will conduct research to improve the intrinsic safety attributes of legacy and future aircraft and their operations in the Next Generation Air Transportation system, and to eliminate safety-related technology barriers.

      The program has focused on furthering our understanding of the fundamental questions that need to be addressed for mid- and long-term improvements to aviation safety through engineering analysis and technology design. The results at the fundamental level will be integrated at the discipline and multi-discipline levels to ultimately yield system-level integrated capabilities, methods, and tools for analysis, optimization, prediction, and design that will enable improved safety for a range of operating concepts, vehicle classes, and crew configurations. The Aviation Safety Program is divided into four complementary and highly interlinked projects:

      • The Aircraft Aging and Durability Project performs foundational research in aging science that will ultimately yield multi-disciplinary analysis and optimization capabilities that will enable system-level integrated methods for the detection, prediction, and mitigation/management of aging-related hazards for future civilian and military aircraft.
      • The Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck Project develops tools, methods, principles, guidelines, and technologies for revolutionary flight deck systems that enable transformations toward safer operations.
      • The Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control Project conducts research to advance the state of aircraft flight control to provide onboard control resilience for ensuring safe flight in the presence of adverse conditions.
      • The Integrated Vehicle Health Management Project develops validated tools, technologies and techniques for automated detection, diagnosis and prognosis that enable mitigation of adverse events during flight.

      Examples areas of program interest include research directed at fundamental knowledge of legacy and future aircraft structures and systems durability; on-board detection, diagnosis, prognosis, prediction and mitigation of system failures and faults; monitoring vehicle and airspace issues to identify problems before they become accidents; understanding aircraft dynamics of current and future vehicles in damaged and upset conditions; robust control systems; aircraft guidance for emergency operation; airborne sensors and sensor systems for the detection and monitoring of external hazards to aircraft (e.g., in-flight icing conditions, wake vortices); design of robust collaborative work environments; effective and robust human-automation systems; and information management for effective decision making. In addition, general methods for dramatically advancing the community's capability for thorough, cost-effective and time-effective verification and validation of safety-critical systems are of interest to the program as a whole, including rigorous methods for validating design requirements for vehicles and aviation operations, verifying integrated and distributed aircraft and air traffic systems (including assumptions about human performance), and verifying software-intensive systems.

      NASA seeks highly innovative proposals that will complement its work in science and technologies that build upon and advance the Agency's unique safety-related research capabilities vital to aviation safety. Additional information is available at http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/programs_avsafe.htm.

      • 52252

        A1.01Mitigation of Aircraft Aging and Durability-Related Hazards

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, LaRC

        The mitigation and management of aging and durability-related hazards in future civilian and military aircraft will require advanced materials, concepts, and techniques. NASA is engaged in the research of materials (metals, ceramics, and composites) and characterization/validation test techniques to… Read more>>

        The mitigation and management of aging and durability-related hazards in future civilian and military aircraft will require advanced materials, concepts, and techniques. NASA is engaged in the research of materials (metals, ceramics, and composites) and characterization/validation test techniques to mitigate aging and durability issues and to enable advanced material suitability and concepts.

        Proposals are sought for the development of moisture-resistant resins and new surface treatments/primers. Novel chemistries are sought to improve the durability of aerospace adhesives with potential use on subsonic aircraft. This research opportunity is focused on the development of novel chemistries for coupling agents, surface treatments for adherends and their interfaces, leading to aerospace structural adhesives with improved durability. Work may involve chemical modification and testing of adhesives, coupling agents, surface treatments or combinations thereof and modeling to predict behavior and guide the synthetic approaches. Examples of adhesive characteristics to model and/or test may include, but are not limited to, hydrolytic stability of the interfacial chemistry, moisture permeability at the interface, and hydrophobicity of coupling agents and surface primers. Examples of adherends to model and/or test include carbon fiber/epoxy composites used in structural applications on subsonic aircraft, and aluminum, as well as their respective surface treatments. Additionally, proposals are sought for test techniques to fully characterize aging history and strain rate effects on thermoset and/or thermoplastic resins as well as on advanced composites manufactured of such resins and reinforced with 3D fiber preforms such as the triaxial braid used in advanced composite fan containment structures. Technology innovations may take the form of tools, models, algorithms, prototypes, and/or devices.

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      • 51370

        A1.02Sensing and Diagnostic Capability for Aircraft Aging and Damage

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC, MSFC

        Many conventional nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques have been used for flaw detection, but have shown little potential for much broader application. One element in NASA's contribution to solving the problem of aging and damage processes in future vehicles is research to identify changes in… Read more>>

        Many conventional nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques have been used for flaw detection, but have shown little potential for much broader application. One element in NASA's contribution to solving the problem of aging and damage processes in future vehicles is research to identify changes in fundamental material properties as indicators of material aging-related hazards before they become critical. Degraded and failing fiber composites can exhibit a number of micromechanisms such as fiber buckling and breakage, matrix cracking, and delamination.



        Methodologies are being sought that allow engineers, using advanced modeling tools to predict the remaining useful life of components, the ability to make use of nondestructive evaluation (NDE) data more effectively. One proposed methodology would be an automated means of processing NDE data to extract defect characteristics (i.e. crack length and depth, or delamination size and location) and map these directly to a computer aided drafting model of the component being inspected. This model (which now contains defect information) could then be used by engineers to perform structural analysis on the component. A successful proposal should demonstrate the performance of the methodology proposed by using the data from at least one conventional NDE technique (i.e. Thermography, Ultrasonics, etc.) and a standard CAD drawing file format.



        Additionally, actual NDE technologies are also being sought for the nondestructive characterization of age-related degradation in complex composite materials. Innovative and novel approaches to using NDE technologies to measure properties related to material aging (i.e. thermal diffusivity, elastic constants, density, microcrack formation, fiber buckling and breakage, etc.) in complex composite material systems, adhesively bonded/built-up and/or polymer-matrix composite sandwich structures. The anticipated outcome of successful proposals would be a both Phase 2 prototype NDE technology for the use of the developed technique to characterize age-related degradation and a demonstration of the technology showing its ability to measure a relevant material property in a carbon fiber/epoxy composite used for structural applications on subsonic aircraft.



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      • 51373

        A1.03Prediction of Aging Effects

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

        In order to assess the long-term effects of potential hazards and aging-related degradation of new and emerging material systems/fabrication techniques, NASA is performing research to anticipate aging and to predict its effects on the designs of future aircraft. To support this predictive capability… Read more>>

        In order to assess the long-term effects of potential hazards and aging-related degradation of new and emerging material systems/fabrication techniques, NASA is performing research to anticipate aging and to predict its effects on the designs of future aircraft. To support this predictive capability, structural integrity analytical tools, lifing methods, and material durability prediction tools are being developed. Physics-based and continuum-based models encapsulated as computational methods (software) are needed to provide the basis for these higher level (e.g., design) tools. Proposals are sought that apply innovative computational methods, models and analytic tools to the following specific applications:


        • Probabilistic computational code is sought for improved structural analysis of complex metallic and composite airframe components. The methods used in these solutions need to detail the initiation and progression of damage to determine accurate estimates of residual life and/or strength of complex airframe structures.
        • Software tools are needed to predict the onset and rates of type-II hot corrosion attack in nickel-based turbine disk superalloys that allow for prolonged disk operation at high temperatures. Typically hot corrosion of turbine alloys is a product of molten salt exposure and is manifested by a localized pitting corrosion attack. Prolonged high temperature exposures of turbine disk alloys to sulfur-rich low temperature melting eutectic salts can lead to an onset of Type II hot corrosion attack causing serious degradation to the durability of the turbine components.
        • Computational software is sought to simulate of the response of advanced composite fan case/containment structures in aged conditions to jet engine fan blade-out events using impact mechanics and structural system dynamics modeling techniques.



        The anticipated outcome of successful Phase 2 proposals would be analytic code (software) delivered to NASA suitable for use in material evaluation studies.



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      • 51376

        A1.04Aviation External Hazard Sensor Technologies

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC

        NASA is concerned with new and innovative methods for detection, identification, evaluation, and monitoring of in-flight hazards to aviation. NASA seeks to foster research and development that leads to innovative new technologies and methods, or significant improvements in existing technologies, for… Read more>>

        NASA is concerned with new and innovative methods for detection, identification, evaluation, and monitoring of in-flight hazards to aviation. NASA seeks to foster research and development that leads to innovative new technologies and methods, or significant improvements in existing technologies, for in-flight hazard avoidance and mitigation. Technologies may take the form of tools, models, techniques, procedures, substantiated guidelines, prototypes, and devices.



        A key objective of the NASA Aviation Safety Program is to support the research of technology, systems, and methods that will facilitate transformation of the National Airspace System to Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) (information available at www.jpdo.gov). The general approach to the development of airborne sensors for NextGen is to encourage the development of multi-use, adaptable, and affordable sensors. The greatest impact will result from improved sensing capability in the terminal area, where higher density and more reliable operations are required for NextGen.



        Under this subtopic, proposals are invited that explore new and improved sensors and sensor systems for the detection and monitoring of hazards to aircraft. This subtopic solicits technology that is focused on developing capabilities to detect and evaluate hazards. The development of human interfaces, including displays and alerts, is not within the scope of this subtopic except where explicitly requested in association with special topics. Primary emphasis is on airborne applications, but in some cases the development of ground-based sensor technology may be supported. Approaches that use multiple sensors, such as new sensor technologies in conjunction with existing X-band airborne radar, to improve hazard detection and quantification of hazard levels are of interest.



        At this time, the following hazards are of particular interest: in-flight icing conditions, wake vortices, and turbulence. Proposals associated with sensor investigations addressing these hazards are encouraged, and some suggestions follow. Emphasis on vortices and icing is not intended to discourage proposals targeting other or additional hazards such as reduced visibility, terrain, airborne or ground obstacles, convective weather, gust fronts, cross winds, and wind shear.



        To enable remote detection and classification of in-flight icing hazards for the future airspace system and emerging aircraft, NASA is soliciting proposals for the development of sensor systems for the detection of icing conditions. Examples include the following practical remote sensing systems:


        • Low-cost, ground-based, vertical-pointing with potential scanning capability X-band radar that can operate unattended around the clock (24/7/365) and provide calibrated reflectivity and velocity data with hydrometer/cloud particle classification (based upon the reflectivity and velocity data).
        • Low-cost, high-frequency (> 89 GHz) microwave or infrared radiometer technology capable of providing air temperature, water vapor, and liquid water measurements for both ground-based and airborne applications.



        Wake vortex detection in the terminal area is of particular interest, because closer spacing between aircraft is necessary to facilitate the high-density operations expected in NextGen. Airborne detection of wake vortices is considered challenging due to the fact that detection must be possible in nearly all weather conditions, in order to be practical, and because of the size and nature of the phenomena.



        Proposals are encouraged for the development of novel coherent and direct detection lidar systems and associated components that allow accurate meteorological wind and aerosol measurements suitable for wake vortex characterization. Proposed techniques shall provide range-resolved clear air wind and aerosol measurements in the near-IR wavelength region from 1.5 microns to 2.1 microns. Wind and aerosol measurement with


        NASA has made a major investment in the development of new and enhanced technologies to enable detection of turbulence to improve aviation safety. Progress has been made in efforts to quantify hazard levels from convectively induced turbulence events and to make these quantitative assessments available to civil and commercial aviation. NASA is interested in expanding these prior efforts to take advantage of the newly developing turbulence monitoring technologies, particularly those focused on clear air turbulence (CAT). NASA welcomes proposals that explore the methods, algorithms and quantitative assessment of turbulence for the purpose of increasing aviation safety and augmenting currently available data in support of NextGen operations.



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      • 52064

        A1.05Crew Systems Technologies for Improved Aviation Safety

        Lead Center: LaRC

        NASA seeks highly innovative, crew-centered, technologies to improve aerospace system safety through the development of more effective joint human-automation systems in aviation. This is to be accomplished through increased awareness of operator and crew functional state (both in terms of functional… Read more>>

        NASA seeks highly innovative, crew-centered, technologies to improve aerospace system safety through the development of more effective joint human-automation systems in aviation. This is to be accomplished through increased awareness of operator and crew functional state (both in terms of functional readiness and in situ assessment), and through improved interactions among intelligent agents (human and automated). We seek proposals for the development of advanced technologies that:


        • Effectively convey information and aid decision making to enable novel NextGen operational requirements (e.g., 4D trajectory-based operations, visual operations in non-visual meteorological conditions, etc. as described in http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/nextgen/media/NGIP_0130.pdf);
        • Foster the appropriate use of automation and complex information sources by, for example, conveying constraints on automation reliability and information certainty/timeliness;
        • Support effective joint cognitive systems by improving the communication and collaboration among multiple intelligent agents (human and automated, proximal and remote), and provide assessment techniques and metrics for evaluating mixed H/A team performance;
        • Characterize the operational status of the human crew members, effectively modulate this state, and/or effectively adapt interfaces and automation in response to functional status (e.g., situationally-aware display reconfiguration, aiding, and multi-modal presentation of information to maximize system performance and minimize information processing bottlenecks);
        • Provide methods, metrics, and tools that help to assess the effectiveness of the above-mentioned technologies in human-in-the-loop simulation and/or flight studies.



        Proposals should describe novel technologies with high potential to serve the objectives of the Robust Automation/Human Systems element of NASA's Aviation Safety Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck program (http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/avsafe/iifd/rahs.htm). Successful Phase 1 proposals should culminate in a final report that specifies, and a Phase 2 proposal that would realize, technology that improves the effectiveness of joint human-automation systems in aviation, or improves the ability to assess effectiveness of such systems.



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      • 51303

        A1.06Technologies for Improved Design and Analysis of Flight Deck Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        Information complexity in flight deck systems is increasing exponentially, and flight deck designers need tools to understand, manage, and estimate the performance and safety characteristics of these systems early in the design process - this is particularly true due to the multi-disciplinary nature… Read more>>

        Information complexity in flight deck systems is increasing exponentially, and flight deck designers need tools to understand, manage, and estimate the performance and safety characteristics of these systems early in the design process - this is particularly true due to the multi-disciplinary nature of these systems. NASA seeks innovative design methods and tools for representing the complex human-automation interactions that will be part of future flight deck systems. In addition, NASA seeks tools and methods for estimating, measuring, and/or evaluating the performance of these designs throughout the lifecycle from preliminary design to operational use - with an emphasis on the early stages of conceptual design. Specific areas of interest include the following:


        • Computational/modeling approaches to support determining appropriate human-automation function allocations with respect to safety and performance;
        • Design tools and methods that improve the application of human-centered design principles to the design and certification of mixed human-automated systems;
        • Tools and methods for modeling the complex information management systems required for future flight deck systems;
        • Methods of data uncertainty estimation during the flight deck system design phase particularly as applied to predicting overall system integrity;
        • Design and analysis methods or tools to better predict and assess human and system performance in relevant operational environments.



        Proposals should describe novel design methods, metrics, and/or tools with high potential to serve the objectives of the System Design and Analysis element of NASA's Aviation Safety Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck program (http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/avsafe/iifd/sda.htm). Successful Phase 1 proposals should culminate in a final report that specifies, and a Phase 2 proposal that would realize, tools that improve the design process for human-automation systems in aviation, or improves the ability to assess effectiveness of such systems during the design phase. All proposals should discuss means for verification and validation of proposed methods and tools in operationally valid, or end-user, contexts.



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      • 51306

        A1.07Adaptive Aeroservoelastic Suppression

        Lead Center: AFRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, LaRC

        NASA has initiated an Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control (IRAC) effort under the Aviation Safety Program. The main focus of the effort is to advance the state-of-the-art technology in adaptive controls to provide a design option that allows for increased resiliency to failures, damage, and upset… Read more>>

        NASA has initiated an Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control (IRAC) effort under the Aviation Safety Program. The main focus of the effort is to advance the state-of-the-art technology in adaptive controls to provide a design option that allows for increased resiliency to failures, damage, and upset conditions. These adaptive flight control systems will automatically adjust the control feedback and command paths to regain stability, maneuverability, and eventually a safe landing. One potential consequence of changing the control feedback and command paths is that an undesired aeroservoelastic (ASE) interaction could occur. The resulting limit cycle oscillation could result in structural damage or potentially total loss of vehicle control.



        Current airplanes with non-adaptive control laws usually include roll-off or notch filters to avoid ASE interactions. These structural mode suppression filters are designed to provide 8 dB of gain attenuation at the structural mode frequency. Ground Vibration Testing (GVT), Structural Mode Interaction (SMI) testing, and finally full scale flight testing are performed to verify that no adverse ASE interactions occur. Until a significant configuration or control system change occurs, the structural mode suppression filters provide adequate protection.



        When an adaptive system changes to respond to off-nominal rigid body behavior, the changes in control can affect the structural mode attenuation levels. In the case of a damaged vehicle, the frequency and damping of the structural modes can change. The combination of changing structural behavior with changing control system gains results in a system with a probability of adverse interactions that is very difficult to predict a priori. An onboard, measurement based method is needed to ensure that the system adjusts to attenuate any adverse ASE interaction before a sustained limit cycle and vehicle damage are encountered. This system must work in concert with the adaptive control system to allow the overall goal of re-gaining rigid body performance as much as possible without exacerbating the situation with ASE interactions.



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      • 52214

        A1.08Engine Lifing and Prognosis for In-Flight Emergencies

        Lead Center: GRC

        The object of this research topic is to develop innovative methodologies and tools to determine the consumed life of an engine and the probability of an engine system failure for future operations. Aircraft engine design and life are based on a theoretical operation flight profile that in practice… Read more>>

        The object of this research topic is to develop innovative methodologies and tools to determine the consumed life of an engine and the probability of an engine system failure for future operations.



        Aircraft engine design and life are based on a theoretical operation flight profile that in practice is not seen by most engines in service. The ability to predict remaining engine life with a defined reliability in real time from sensor measurements is a condition precedent to emergency operation risk assessment. It is expected that this research will result in a demonstration of an integrated life monitoring and prognosis methodology that will utilize existing and under-development probabilistic codes for engine life usage and risk assessment for future operations that may require enhanced performance.



        The expected outcome of the research will be an on-line simulation demonstration of an integrated engine life module for:


        • Probabilistic engine life usage calculation.
        • Methodologies for engine failure prediction for future operations.
        • Risk assessment and trade-off tools for off-nominal operations.



        NASA resources available for the research will be an engine component data base for turbine disks and blades, and probabilistic computer codes for life prediction and reliability.



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      • 51290

        A1.09Pilot Interactions with Adaptive Control Systems under Off-Nominal Conditions

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC

        Adaptive control is a promising control technology that can enhance flight safety and performance. Adaptive control has been demonstrated to provide improved performance in many unmanned aerial systems. When operated in an autonomous mode such as in an autopilot, the behavior of an adaptive flight… Read more>>

        Adaptive control is a promising control technology that can enhance flight safety and performance. Adaptive control has been demonstrated to provide improved performance in many unmanned aerial systems. When operated in an autonomous mode such as in an autopilot, the behavior of an adaptive flight control system can be modeled and simulated with a sufficient degree of repeatability.



        The presence of a pilot working in a closed-loop fashion with an adaptive flight control presents an important problem that has not been well addressed. Adaptive control generally requires sufficiently rich input signals to improve parameter convergence, as the adaptive control system adapts to parametric changes in the vehicle dynamics or exogenous disturbances. The condition for rich input signals is known as persistent excitation. During adaptation under off-nominal conditions such as aircraft with damage, the pilot provides persistently exciting signals to the adaptive control system. There is generally a trade-off between adaptation and stability due to persistent excitation. With a high persistent excitation in the pilot inputs, the speed of adaptation increases and in theory better handling performance could be achieved. However, in practice, the high persistent excitation in the control signals can potentially cause significant cross-coupling between different flight control axes and or excite unmodeled dynamics such as aeroservoelastic modes. The overall effect of high persistent excitation could aggravate stability robustness of an adaptive flight control system with a pilot in the loop that results in poor handling qualities.



        Another aspect of pilot interactions with an adaptive control system is the potential interactions between two adaptive elements in a closed-loop fashion, because the pilot can also be viewed as an adaptive control system with a learning ability. With the pilot adaptive element providing high persistently exciting inputs into an adaptive flight control system with a predetermined adaptation rate, the issue of stability can be important and difficult to assess.



        To enable an adaptive flight control system to be operated with a pilot in the loop, it is necessary to develop new research techniques that can assess the effects of pilot interactions with an adaptive flight control system. These techniques should address pilot control responses via an adaptive model with features that can capture relevant interactions with an adaptive flight control system. Techniques for assessing pilot interactions via metrics that can quantify the pilot-vehicle system responses with an adaptive flight control system are also needed. Other aspects of the research can include new methods and tools that can provide an advisory function to limit the pilot control inputs in order to trade off between command-following performance and stability robustness.



        Research in adaptive control methods will address the system requirements to provide good flying characteristics when the human operator closes the control loop. In the presence of damage, failures, etc. the adaptive system must trade the stability requirements with closed loop handling requirements. Methods for selecting the best achievable handling are needed. The adaptation system needs to find a good compromise between suppression of coupling between the axis (i.e. pitch into roll, etc.) and good in-axis behavior. Better metrics to assess cross-coupled (asymmetric) behavior are needed. These metrics could provide a quantitative measurement of the severity of a given failure, as well as a measure of the improvement due to adaptation. As the adaptation changes the flying characteristics of the vehicle, some means of informing the operator is required to ensure that the system is not overdriven by a pilot who is expecting nominal performance.



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      • 52224

        A1.10Detection of Aircraft Anomalies

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, LaRC

        Adverse events that occur in aircraft can lead to potentially serious consequences if they go undetected. This effort is to develop the technologies, tools, and techniques to detect in-flight anomalies from adverse events. This involves the integration of novel sensor and advanced analytical… Read more>>

        Adverse events that occur in aircraft can lead to potentially serious consequences if they go undetected. This effort is to develop the technologies, tools, and techniques to detect in-flight anomalies from adverse events. This involves the integration of novel sensor and advanced analytical technologies for airframe, propulsion systems, and other subsystems within the aircraft. The emphasis of this work is not on diagnosing the exact nature of the failure but on identifying its presence. Proposals are solicited that address aspects of the following topics:


        • Analytical and data-driven technologies required to interpret the sensor data to enable the detection of fault and failure events;
        • Methods to differentiate sensor failure from actual system or component failure;
        • Characterizing, quantifying, and interpreting multi-sensor outputs; and
        • New sensors, sensory materials and sensor systems that improve the detection of an adverse event or permit increased sensory coverage for an adverse event.



        Emphasis is on novel methods to detect failures in electrical, electromechanical, electronic, structural, and propulsion systems. Along with these system failures, condition sensors are desired for both the detection of internal engine icing as well as composite aircraft lightning strikes (location and intensity). Where possible, a rigorous mathematical framework should be employed to ensure the detection rates and detection time constants are acceptable according to published baselines as characterized by statistical measures. Understanding and addressing validation issues are critical components of this effort.



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      • 52285

        A1.11Diagnosis of Aircraft Anomalies

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC, SSC

        The capability to identify faults is critical to determining appropriate mitigation actions to maintain aircraft safety. This effort is to develop innovative methods and tools for the diagnosis of aircraft faults and failures. It includes the development of integrated technologies, tools, and… Read more>>

        The capability to identify faults is critical to determining appropriate mitigation actions to maintain aircraft safety. This effort is to develop innovative methods and tools for the diagnosis of aircraft faults and failures. It includes the development of integrated technologies, tools, and techniques to determine the causal factors, nature, and severity of an adverse event and to distinguish that event from within a family of potential adverse events. These requirements go beyond standard fault isolation techniques. The emphasis is on the development of mathematically rigorous diagnostic technologies that are applicable to structures, propulsion systems, software, and other subsystems within the aircraft. Technologies developed must be able to perform diagnosis given heterogeneous and asynchronous signals coming from the health management components of the vehicle and integrating information from each of these components.



        The ability to actively query health management systems, use advanced decision making techniques to perform the diagnosis, and then assess the severity using these techniques are critical. As an example, the mathematical rigor of the diagnosis and severity assessment could be treated through a Bayesian methodology since it allows for characterization and propagation of uncertainties through models of aircraft failure and degradation.



        Both computational and prototype hardware implementations of the diagnostic capabilities are expected outcomes of this effort. Other methods could also be employed that appropriately model the uncertainties in the subsystem due to noise and other sources of uncertainty. The ability to actively query the underlying health management systems (whether they are related to detection or not) is critical to reducing the uncertainty in the diagnosis. As an example, if there is ambiguity in the diagnosis about the type and location of a particular failure in the aircraft structure, the diagnostic engine should be able to actively query that system or related systems to determine the true location and severity of the anomaly. Where possible, a rigorous mathematical framework should be employed to provide a rank ordered list of diagnoses, an assessment of the severity of each diagnosed event, along with a measure of the certainty in the diagnosis. Understanding and addressing the system integration and validation issues are critical components of this effort.



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      • 51291

        A1.12Prognosis of Aircraft Anomalies

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC, LaRC

        The ability to accurately and precisely predict the remaining useful life (RUL) of aircraft components and subsystems enables decision making and action taking that can avert or mitigate failures, thereby enhancing aircraft safety. Furthermore, it can improve operational efficiency by facilitating… Read more>>

        The ability to accurately and precisely predict the remaining useful life (RUL) of aircraft components and subsystems enables decision making and action taking that can avert or mitigate failures, thereby enhancing aircraft safety. Furthermore, it can improve operational efficiency by facilitating condition-based maintenance and reducing unscheduled maintenance. This effort here addresses the development of innovative methods, technologies, and tools for the prognosis of aircraft faults and failures. The assessment of the RUL could be used by other aircraft systems to place additional restrictions, such as a new operating envelope, on the flight control systems or it could be used by flight or maintenance personnel to take preventative actions. Areas of interest include developing methods for making predictions of RUL which take into account operational and environmental uncertainties (pure data-driven approaches are discouraged); physics-based models of degradation; generation of aging and degradation datasets on relevant components or subsystems; and development of validation and verification methodologies for prognostics.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and to show a path toward a Phase 2 technology demonstration. Proposals are solicited that address aspects of the following areas:


        • RUL prediction techniques that address a set of fault modes for a device or component, for example by modeling the physics of the most critical fault modes and using (typically less accurate) data-driven methods for the remainder.
        • Physics-based damage propagation models for one or more relevant aircraft subsystems such as composite or metallic airframe structures, engine turbomachinery and hot structures, avionics, electrical power systems, electromechanical systems, and electronics. Proposals that focus on technologies envisioned for next generation aircraft are strongly encouraged.
        • Uncertainty representation and management (reduction of prediction uncertainty bounds) methods. Proposers are encouraged to consider uncertainties due to measurement noise, imperfect models and algorithms, as well as uncertainties stemming from future anticipated loads and environmental conditions. Methods can also consider the fusion of different techniques but must show how this helps to improve the uncertainty using appropriate metrics.
        • Aircraft relevant testbeds that can generate aging and degradation datasets for the development and testing of prognostic techniques.
        • Verification and validation methods for prognostic algorithms.



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      • 52261

        A1.13Healing Material System Concepts for IVHM

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC

        The development of integrated multifunctional self-sensing, self-repairing structures will enable the next generation of light-weight, reliable and damage-tolerant aerospace vehicle designs. Prototype multifunctional composite and/or metallic structures are sought to meet these needs, as are… Read more>>

        The development of integrated multifunctional self-sensing, self-repairing structures will enable the next generation of light-weight, reliable and damage-tolerant aerospace vehicle designs. Prototype multifunctional composite and/or metallic structures are sought to meet these needs, as are concepts for their analytical and experimental interrogation. Specifically, structural and material concepts are sought to enable in situ monitoring and repair of service damage (e.g., cracks, delaminations) to improve structural durability and enhance safe operation of aerospace structural systems. Emphasis is placed on the development of new materials and systems for the mitigation of structural damage and/or new concepts for activation of healing mechanisms using new or existing materials. These advanced structural and material concepts must be robust, consider all known damage modes for specific material systems and be validated through experiment.



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      • 51293

        A1.14Verification and Validation of Flight-Critical Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, LaRC

        The purpose of this subtopic is to invest in mid- and long-term research to establish rigorous, systematic, scalable, and repeatable verification and validation methods for flight-critical systems, with a deliberate focus on safety for NextGen (http://www.jpdo.gov/nextgen.asp). This subtopic targets… Read more>>

        The purpose of this subtopic is to invest in mid- and long-term research to establish rigorous, systematic, scalable, and repeatable verification and validation methods for flight-critical systems, with a deliberate focus on safety for NextGen (http://www.jpdo.gov/nextgen.asp). This subtopic targets NextGen safety activities and interests encompassing vehicles, vehicle systems, airspace, airspace concept of operations, and air traffic technologies, such as communication or guidance and navigation. Methods for assessing issues with technology, human performance and human-systems integration are all included in this sub-topic, nothing that multi-disciplinary research is required that does not focus on one type of component or phenomenon to the exclusion of other important drivers of safety.



        Proposals are sought for the development of:


        • Safety-case methods and supporting technologies capable of analyzing the system-wide safety properties suitable for civil aviation vehicles and for complex concepts of operation involving airborne systems, ground systems, human operators and controllers.
        • Technologies and mathematical models that enable rigorous, comprehensive analysis of novel integrated, and distributed, systems interacting through various mechanisms such as communication networks and human-automation and human-human interaction.
        • Techniques, tools and policies to enable efficient and accurate analysis of safety aspects of software-intensive systems, ultimately reducing the cost of software V&V to the point where it no longer inhibits many safety innovations and NextGen developments.



        This subtopic is intended to address those flight-critical systems that directly conduct flight operations by controlling the aircraft, such as on-board avionics and flight deck systems, and safety-critical ground-based functions such as air traffic control and systems for communication, navigation and surveillance. It is not intended to cover V&V of computational models of physical systems (e.g., CFD codes or finite element analysis).





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    • + Expand Fundamental Aeronautics Topic

      Topic A2 Fundamental Aeronautics PDF


      The Fundamental Aeronautics Program (FAP) encompasses the principles of flight in any atmosphere, and at any speed. The program develops focused technological capabilities, starting with the most basic knowledge of underlying phenomena through validation and verification of advanced concepts and technologies at the component and systems level. Physics-based, multidisciplinary design, analysis, and optimization (MDAO) tools will be developed that make it possible to evaluate radically new vehicle designs and to assess, with known uncertainties, the potential impact of innovative technologies and concepts on a vehicle's overall performance. The development of advanced component technologies will realize revolutionary improvements in noise, emissions, and performance. The program also supports NASA's human and robotic exploration missions by advancing knowledge in aeronautical areas critical to planetary Entry, Descent, and Landing. NASA has defined a four-level approach to technology development: conduct foundational research to further our fundamental understanding of the underlying physics and our ability model that physics; leverage the foundational research to develop technologies and analytical tools focused on discipline-based solutions; integrate methods and technologies to develop multi-disciplinary solutions; and solve the aeronautics challenges for a broad range of air vehicles with system-level optimization, assessment and technology integration.

      Structurally, the FAP is composed of four projects: hypersonic flight, supersonic flight, subsonic fixed-wing aircraft and subsonic rotary-wing aircraft.

      Hypersonics

      • Fundamental research in all disciplines to enable very-high speed flight (for airbreathing launch vehicles) and re-entry into planetary atmospheres;
      • High-temperature materials, thermal protection systems, air-breathing propulsion, aero-thermodynamics, multi-disciplinary analysis and design, GNC, experimental capabilities.

      Supersonics
      • Eliminate environmental and performance barriers that prevent practical supersonic vehicles (cruise efficiency, noise and emissions, vehicle integration and control);
      • Supersonic deceleration technology for Entry, Descent, and Landing into Mars.

      Subsonic Fixed Wing (SFW)
      • Develop revolutionary technologies and aircraft concepts with highly improved performance while satisfying strict noise and emission constraints;
      • Focus on enabling technologies: acoustics predictions, propulsion/combustion, system integration, high-lift concepts, lightweight and strong materials, GNC.

      Subsonic Rotary Wing (SRW)
      • Improve civil potential of rotary wing vehicles (vs. fixed wing) while maintaining their unique benefits;
      • Key advances in multiple areas through innovation in materials, aeromechanics, flow control, propulsion.

      Each project addresses specific discipline, multi-discipline, sub-system and system level technology issues relevant to that flight regime. A key aspect of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program is that many technical issues are common across multiple flight regimes and may be best resolved in an integrated coordinated manner. As such, the FAP subtopics are organized by discipline, not by flight regime, with a special subtopic for rotary-wing issues.

      Additional information: http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/fap/index.html

      • 51324

        A2.01Materials and Structures for Future Aircraft

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, LaRC

        Advanced materials and structures technologies are needed in all four of the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program research thrusts (Subsonics Fixed Wing, Subsonics Rotary Wing, Supersonics, and Hypersonics) to enable the design and development of advanced future aircraft. Proposals are sought that… Read more>>

        Advanced materials and structures technologies are needed in all four of the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program research thrusts (Subsonics Fixed Wing, Subsonics Rotary Wing, Supersonics, and Hypersonics) to enable the design and development of advanced future aircraft. Proposals are sought that address specific design and development challenges associated with airframe and propulsion systems. These proposals should be linked to improvements in aircraft performance indicators such as vehicle weight, noise, lift, drag, durability, and emissions. This subtopic is also a subtopic for the "Low-Cost and Reliable Access to Space (LCRATS)" topic. Proposals to this subtopic may gain additional consideration to the extent that they effectively address the LCRATS topic (See topic O5 under the Space Operations Mission Directorate). In general, the technologies of interest cover four research themes:


        • Fundamental materials development, processing and characterization - new approaches to enhance the durability, processability, and reliability of advanced materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, hybrids and coatings) with an emphasis on multifunctional and adaptive materials and structural concepts. In particular, proposals are sought in:

          • Textile ceramic matrix composite materials and structures and environmental barrier coatings capable of multi-use at 2700°F or greater for air vehicle propulsion and airframe applications.
          • Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods for the detection of as-fabricated flaws and in-service damage for textile polymeric, ceramic and metal matrix composites, nanostructured materials and hybrids. NDE methods that provide quantitative information on residual structural performance are preferred.
          • Development of joining and integration technologies including fasteners and/or chemical joining methods for ceramic-to-ceramic, metal-to-metal, and metal-to-ceramic materials.
          • Development of variable stiffness materials to support adaptive, multifunctional structures concepts.

        • Structural analysis tools and procedures - robust and efficient design methods and tools for advanced materials and structural concepts (in particular multifunctional and/or adaptive components) including variable fidelity methods, uncertainty based design and optimization methods, multi-scale computational modeling, and multi-physics modeling and simulation tools. In particular, proposals are sought in:

          • Multiscale design tools for aircraft structures that integrate novel materials, mechanism design, and structural subcomponent design into systems level designs.
          • Life prediction tools for textile ceramic composites including fiber architecture modeling methods that enable the development of physics-based hierarchical analysis methods. Fiber architecture models that address yarn-to-yarn and ply-to-ply interactions covering a wide range of textile preform structures in either a relaxed or compressed deformation state are of particular interest.
        • Computational materials development tools - methods to predict properties of both airframe and propulsion materials based upon chemistry and process for conventional as well as nanostructured, multifunctional and adaptive materials.


          • Ab-initio methods that enable the development of refractory composite coating for multi-use at temperatures greater than 3000°F in an air environments.
          • Quantum chemistry, molecular dynamics, and mesoscale models for the design, characterization and optimization of ablation materials for radiation heating, thermal re-radiation, and catalytic effects.

        • Advanced structural concepts - new concepts for airframe and propulsion components incorporating new light weight concepts as well as "smart" structural concepts such as those incorporating self-diagnostics with adaptive materials, multifunctional component concepts to reduce mass and improve durability and performance, lightweight, efficient drive systems and electric motors for use in advanced turboelectric propulsion systems for aircraft, and new concepts for robust thermal protection systems for high-mass planetary entry, descent and landing.  In particular, proposals are sought in:

          • Microadaptive flow control for use in robust, efficient, low mass actuators with broad bandwidths. The identification and development of actuators that can operate in harsh environments (600-800°F) experienced in gas turbine engine compressors with the following features: (1) operational frequencies of 1000 to 10,000 Hz, (2) stroke or displacement >100μm, (3)capable of exerting forces >200 lbs.
          • Piezoelectric devices with the ability to convert strain energy into useable electric energy that can be integrated into aircraft designs for energy harvesting and or vibration damping including application to aircraft engine fan and compressor rotor blades. Requirement for these devices are power densities greater than or equal to 0.1 mW/cm2. Novel approaches are sought to enable piezoelectric devices to operate in engine environment including typical stresses of fan/compressor blades and to have the durability for engine application.
          • Miniature thermoelectric devices for powering RF sensors for use in turbine engine compressors. Devices must be capable of operating at temperatures up to 600°C in oxidizing environments and capable of achieving power densities greater than or equal to 0.1 mW/cm2. Prototype device demonstration is required showing functionality at 600° in air for 100 hours and delivering power output in excess of 10μW/cm2.
          • Materials to support wireless sensing and actuating multifunctional structures.
          • Manufacturing and fabrication technologies leading to the development of lightweight structurally integrated thermal protection systems for space access and planetary entry, including high temperature honeycombs, hat-stiffeners, rigid fibrous and foam insulators.
          • Advanced material and component technologies to enable the development of mechanical and electrical drive system to distribute power from a single engine core to drive multiple propulsive fans, in particular, AC-tolerant, low loss ( 1.5 T field and 500 Hz electrical frequency; and high efficiency (= 30% of Carnot), low mass (
          • Novel structural design strategies for integrated fan cases that combine hardwall composite cases for blade containment with acoustic treatments. Concepts are also sought that also integrate the case with the fan inlet to maximize structural, acoustic attenuation and weight benefits.

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      • 51323

        A2.02Combustion for Aerospace Vehicles

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): LaRC

        Combustion research is critical for the development of future aerospace vehicles. Vehicles for subsonic and supersonic flight regimes will be required to emit extremely low amounts of gaseous and particulate emissions to satisfy increasingly stringent emissions regulations. Hypersonic vehicles… Read more>>

        Combustion research is critical for the development of future aerospace vehicles. Vehicles for subsonic and supersonic flight regimes will be required to emit extremely low amounts of gaseous and particulate emissions to satisfy increasingly stringent emissions regulations. Hypersonic vehicles require combustion systems capable of sustaining stable and efficient combustion in very high speed flow fields where fuel/air mixing must be accomplished very rapidly and residence times for combustion are extremely limited. Fundamental combustion research coupled with associated physics based model development of combustion processes will provide the foundation for technology development critical for aerospace vehicles. Combustion for aerospace vehicles typically involves multi-phase, multi-component fuel, turbulent, unsteady, 3D, reacting flows where much of the physics of the processes are not completely understood. CFD codes used for combustion do not currently have the predictive capability that is typically found for non reacting flows. Practical aerospace combustion concepts typically require very rapid mixing of the fuel and air with a minimum pressure loss to achieve complete combustion in the smallest volume. Reducing emissions may require combustor operation where combustion instability can be an issue and active control may be required. Areas of specific interest where research is solicited include:


        • Development of laser-based diagnostics and novel experimental techniques for measurements in reacting flows;
        • Two-phase flow simulation models and validation data under supercritical conditions;
        • Development of ultra-sensitive instruments for determining the size-dependent mass of gas-turbine engine particle emissions;
        • High frequency actuators (bandwidth ~1000 Hz) that can be used to modulate fuel flow at multiple fuel injection locations (with individual Flow Numbers of 3 to 5) with minimal fuel pressure drop for active combustion control;
        • Combustion instability modeling and validation;
        • Novel combustion simulation methodologies;
        • Combustor and/or combustion physics and mechanisms, enhanced mixing concepts, ignition and flame holding, turbulent flame propagation, vitiated-test media and facility-contamination effects, hydrogen/hydrocarbon-air kinetic mechanisms, multi-phase combustion processes, and engine/propulsion component characterizations;
        • Novel combustor concepts that advance/enhance the state-of-the-art in hypersonic propulsion to improve system performance, operability, reliability and reduce cost. Both analytic and/or experimental efforts are encouraged, as well as collaborative efforts that leverage technology from on-going research activities;
        • Computational and experimental technologies for the accurate prediction of combined cycle phenomena such as shock trains in isolators, inlet unstart, and thermal choke.



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      • 51372

        A2.03Aero-Acoustics

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

        Innovative technologies and methods are necessary for the design and development of efficient, environmentally acceptable airplanes, and advanced aerospace vehicles. In support of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program, improvements in noise prediction, measurement methods and control are needed for… Read more>>

        Innovative technologies and methods are necessary for the design and development of efficient, environmentally acceptable airplanes, and advanced aerospace vehicles. In support of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program, improvements in noise prediction, measurement methods and control are needed for subsonic and supersonic vehicles, including fan, jet, turbomachinery, engine core, propfan, propeller and airframe noise sources. In addition, improvements in prediction and control of noise transmitted through aerospace vehicle structures are needed to reduce noise impact on passengers, crew and launch vehicle payloads. Innovations in the following specific areas are solicited:


        • Fundamental and applied computational fluid dynamics techniques for aeroacoustic analysis, which can be adapted for design codes;
        • Prediction of aerodynamic noise sources including those from engine and airframe and sources which arise from significant interactions between airframe and propulsion systems;
        • Prediction of sound propagation (including sonic booms) from the aircraft through a complex atmosphere to the ground. This should include interaction between noise sources and the airframe and its flowfield;
        • Computational and analytical structural acoustics prediction techniques for aircraft and advanced aerospace vehicle interior noise, particularly for use early in the airframe design process;
        • Prediction and control of high-amplitude aeroacoustic loads on advanced aerospace structures and the resulting dynamic response and fatigue;
        • Innovative source identification techniques for engine (e.g., fan, jet, combustor, or turbine noise) and for airframe (e.g., landing gear, high lift systems) noise sources, including turbulence details related to flow-induced noise typical of jets, separated flow regions, vortices, shear layers, etc.;
        • Concepts for active and passive control of aeroacoustic noise sources for conventional and advanced aircraft configurations, including adaptive flow control technologies, smart structures for nozzles and inlets, and noise control technology and methods that are enabled by advanced aircraft configurations, including integrated airframe-propulsion control methodologies;
        • Technologies and techniques for active and passive interior noise control for aircraft and advanced aerospace vehicle structures;
        • Development of synthesis and auditory display technologies for subjective assessments of aircraft community and interior noise, including sonic boom.



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      • 51368

        A2.04Aeroelasticity

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC

        The NASA Fundamental Aeronautics program has the goal to develop system-level capabilities that will enable the civilian and military designers to create revolutionary systems, in particular by integrating methods and technologies that incorporate multi-disciplinary solutions. Aeroelastic behavior… Read more>>

        The NASA Fundamental Aeronautics program has the goal to develop system-level capabilities that will enable the civilian and military designers to create revolutionary systems, in particular by integrating methods and technologies that incorporate multi-disciplinary solutions. Aeroelastic behavior of flight vehicles is a particularly challenging facet of that goal.



        The program's work on aeroelasticity includes conduct of broad-based research and technology development to obtain a fundamental understanding of aeroelastic and unsteady-aerodynamic phenomena experienced by aerospace vehicles, in subsonic, transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic speed regimes. The program content includes theoretical aeroelasticity, experimental aeroelasticity, and advanced aeroservoelastic concepts. Of interest are aeroelastic, aeroservoelastic, and unsteady aerodynamic analyses at the appropriate level of fidelity for the problem at hand; aeroelastic, aeroservoelastic, and unsteady aerodynamic experiments, to validate methodologies and to gain valuable insights available only through testing; development of computational-fluid-dynamic, computational-aeroelastic, and computational-aeroservoelastic analysis tools that advance the state of the art in aeroelasticity through novel and creative application of aeroelastic knowledge.



        The technical discipline of aeroelasticity is a critical ingredient necessary in the design process of a flight vehicle for assuring freedom from catastrophic aeroelastic and aeroservoelastic instabilities. This discipline requires a thorough understanding of the complex interactions between a flexible structure and the unsteady aerodynamic forces acting on the structure, and at times, active systems controlling the flight vehicle. Complex unsteady aerodynamic flow phenomena, particularly at transonic Mach numbers, are also very important because this is the speed regime most critical to encountering aeroelastic instabilities. In addition, aeroelasticity is presently being exploited as a means for improving the capabilities of high performance aircraft through the use of innovative active control systems using both aerodynamic and smart material concepts. Work to develop analytical and experimental methodologies for reliably predicting the effects of aeroelasticity and their impact on aircraft performance, flight dynamics, and safety of flight are valuable. Subjects to be considered include:


        • Development of design methodologies that include CFD steady and unsteady aerodynamics, flexible structures, and active control systems.
        • Development of methods to predict aeroelastic phenomena and complex steady and unsteady aerodynamic flow phenomena, especially in the transonic speed range. Aeroelastic phenomena of interest include flutter, buffet, buzz, limit cycle oscillations, and gust response; flow phenomena of interest include viscous effects, vortex flows, separated flows, transonic nonlinearities, and unsteady shock motions.
        • Development of efficient methods to generate mathematical models of wind-tunnel models and flight vehicles for performing vibration, aeroelastic, and aeroservoelastic studies. Examples include (a) CFD-based methods (reduced-order models) for aeroservoelasticity models that can be used to predict and alleviate gust loads, ride quality issues, and flutter issues and (b) integrated tool sets for fully coupled modeling and simulation of aeroservothermoelasticity / flight dynamic (ASTE/FD) and propulsion effects.
        • Development of physics-based models for turbomachinery aeroelasticity related to highly separated flows, shedding, rotating stall, and non-synchronous vibrations (NSV). This includes robust, fast-running, accelerated convergence, reduced-order CFD approaches to turbomachinery aeroelasticity for propulsion applications. Development of blade vibration measurement systems (including closely spaced modes, blade-to-blade variations (mistuning), and system identification) and blade damping systems for metallic and composite blades (including passive and active damping methods) are of interest.
        • Development of aeroservoelasticity concepts and models, including unique control concepts and architectures that employ smart materials embedded in the structure and/or aerodynamic control surfaces for suppressing aeroelastic instabilities or for improving performance.
        • Development of techniques that support simulations, ground testing, wind-tunnel tests, and flight experiments of aeroelastic phenomena.
        • Investigation and development of techniques that incorporate structure-induced noise, stiffness and strength tailoring, propulsion-specific structures, data processing and interpretation methods, non-linear and time-varying methods development, unstructured grid methods, additional propulsion systems-specific methods, dampers, multistage effects, non-synchronous vibrations, coupling effects on blade vibration, probabilistic aerodynamics and aeroelastics, actively controlled propulsion system core components (e.g. fan and turbine blades, vanes), and advanced turbomachinery active damping concepts.
        • Investigation and development of techniques that incorporate lightweight structures and flexible structures under aerodynamic loads, with emphasis on aeroelastic phenomena in the hypersonic domain. Investigation of high temperatures associated with high heating rates, resulting in additional complexities associated with varying thermal expansion and temperature dependent structural coefficients. Acquisition of data to verify analysis tools with these complexities.



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      • 51375

        A2.05Aerodynamics

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC

        The challenge of flight has at its foundation the understanding, prediction, and control of fluid flow around complex geometries - aerodynamics. Aerodynamic prediction is critical throughout the flight envelope for subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic vehicles - driving outer mold line definition,… Read more>>

        The challenge of flight has at its foundation the understanding, prediction, and control of fluid flow around complex geometries - aerodynamics. Aerodynamic prediction is critical throughout the flight envelope for subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic vehicles - driving outer mold line definition, providing loads to other disciplines, and enabling environmental impact assessments in areas such as emissions, noise, and aircraft spacing.



        In turn, high confidence prediction enables high confidence development and assessment of innovative aerodynamic concepts. This subtopic seeks innovative physics-based models and novel aerodynamic concepts, with an emphasis on flow control, applicable in part or over the entire speed regime from subsonic through hypersonic flight.



        All vehicle classes will experience subsonic flight conditions. The most fundamental issue is the prediction of flow separation onset and progression on smooth, curved surfaces, and the control of separation. Supersonic and hypersonic vehicles will experience supersonic flight conditions. Fundamental to this flight regime is the sonic boom, which to date has been a barrier issue for a viable civil vehicle. Addressing boom alone is not a sufficient mission enabler however, as low drag is a prerequisite for an economically viable vehicle, whether only passing through the supersonic regime, or cruising there. Atmospheric entry vehicles and space access vehicles will experience hypersonic flight conditions. Reentry capsules such as the new Crew Exploration Vehicle deploy multiple parachutes during descent and landing. Predicting the physics of unsteady flows in supersonic and subsonic speeds is important for the design of these deceleration systems. The gas-dynamic performance of decelerators for vehicles entering the atmospheres of planets in the solar system is not well understood. Reusable hypersonic vehicles will be designed such that the lower body can be used as an integrated propulsion system in cruise condition. Their performance is likely to suffer in off-design conditions, particularly acutely at transonic speeds. Advanced flow control technologies are needed to alleviate the problem.



        This solicitation seeks proposals to develop and validate:


        • Turbulence models capturing the physics of separation onset at Reynolds numbers relevant to flight, where relevant to flight is dependent on a targeted vehicle class and mission profile;
        • Boundary-layer transition models suitable for direct integration with state-of-the-art flow solvers;
        • Active flow control concepts targeted at separation control, shock wave manipulation, and/or viscous drag reduction with an emphasis on the development of novel, practical, lightweight, low-energy actuators;
        • Innovative aerodynamic concepts targeted at vehicle efficiency or control;
        • Physics-based models for simultaneous low boom/low drag prediction and design;
        • Aerodynamic concepts enabling simultaneous low boom and low drag objectives;
        • Innovative methods to validate both flow models and aerodynamic concepts with an emphasis on aft-shock effects which are hindered by conventional wind tunnel model mounting approaches;
        • Uncertainty quantification methods suitable for use with state-of-the-art flow solvers;
        • Accurate aerodynamic analysis and multidisciplinary design tools for multi-body flexible structures in the atmospheres of planets and moons including the Earth, Mars, and Titan;
        • Advanced flow control technologies to alleviate off-design performance penalties for reusable hypersonic vehicles.



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      • 51369

        A2.06Aerothermodynamics

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC

        Development of accurate tools to predict aerothermal environments and their effects on space vehicles is critically important to achieving the goals of current NASA missions. These tools will also enable the development of advanced spacecraft for future missions by reducing uncertainties during… Read more>>

        Development of accurate tools to predict aerothermal environments and their effects on space vehicles is critically important to achieving the goals of current NASA missions. These tools will also enable the development of advanced spacecraft for future missions by reducing uncertainties during design and development.



        The large size and high re-entry velocity of the Crew Exploration Vehicle and the conditions encountered in proposed aerocapture missions to Titan, Neptune, and Venus require study of shock layer radiation phenomena, radiative heat transfer, and non-equilibrium thermodynamic and transport properties; these in turn require understanding of the internal structure and dynamics of the constituent gases.



        Transition and turbulence effects are particularly complex in hypersonic flows, where unique problems are posed by shocks, real gas effects, body surfaces with complex and possibly time-dependent roughness, nose bluntness, ablation, surface catalyticity, separation, and an unknown free-stream disturbance environment.



        At the heating rates encountered during hypersonic re-entry, surface ablation products blowing into the boundary layer introduce new interactions including chemical reactions and radiation absorption, that strongly affect surface heating rates and integrated heat loads.



        Proposals suggesting innovative approaches to any of these problems are encouraged; specific research areas of interest include:


        • Computational analysis methods for radiation and radiation transport in the shock layer surrounding planetary entry vehicles;
        • Advanced physics-based thermal and chemical non-equilibrium models for thermodynamics, transport, and radiation;
        • Studies of the interactions of gases in the shock layer with ablating materials from the vehicle thermal protection system;
        • Experimental methods and diagnostics to measure the characteristics of hypersonic flow fields, either in flight or in ground-based facilities;
        • Software tools coupling radiation, non-equilibrium chemistry, Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes, and large eddy simulation codes to enable the design and validation of mission configurations for entry into planetary atmospheres.



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      • 51301

        A2.07Flight and Propulsion Control and Dynamics

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC, LaRC

        Enabling advanced aircraft configurations for subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic flight, and high performance engines will require advancement in the state-of-the art dynamic modeling and flight/propulsion control. Control methods need to be developed and validated for "optimal" and reliable… Read more>>

        Enabling advanced aircraft configurations for subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic flight, and high performance engines will require advancement in the state-of-the art dynamic modeling and flight/propulsion control. Control methods need to be developed and validated for "optimal" and reliable performance of complex, unsteady, and nonlinear systems with significant modeling uncertainties while ensuring operational flexibility. New dynamic modeling and simulation techniques need to be developed to investigate dynamic performance issues and support development of control strategies for innovative aircraft configurations and propulsion systems. Technology needs specific to different flight regimes are summarized in the following:



        Subsonic Fixed Wing Aircraft

        Technologies of interest include: flying qualities design guidelines for civil transport aircraft and methods for evaluating the flying qualities of concept transport aircraft, including blended-wing-body and cruise efficient short takeoff and landing aircraft; active control techniques for subsystems within current and advanced engines that lead to improvements in propulsion system efficiency; definition of actuation requirements and characterization of transient behavior of flow control for active aerodynamic shaping; development of a modular, distributed control system architecture for unified propulsion/airframe control; toolset capable of assessing the controllability for a given control effector layout and determining the sizes of conventional control surfaces, horizontal tail and vertical tail necessary to meet control power requirements; novel control techniques for reducing system noise, emissions and fuel burn.



        Supersonic Flight

        Technologies of interest include: methods for developing integrated aeroservoelastic (ASE) models, including propulsion effects, suitable for simulation and control design; novel control design methods for integrated aero-propulsion-servo-elastic control leading to acceptable flying qualities over the operating flight envelope; novel, and feasible, takeoff and approach to landing procedures to accommodate the visibility challenges due to long forebodies; integrated inlet/engine control to ensure safe (no inlet unstart or compressor surge/stall) and efficient operation.



        Hypersonic Flight

        Technologies of interest include: system dynamic models pertaining to a dual-mode combustor based propulsion system (RAM/SCRAM) incorporating the essential coupled dynamic elements with varying fidelity for control design, analysis, and evaluation; methods for characterizing uncertainty in the dynamic models to enable control robustness evaluation; methods for dynamic modeling of hypersonic flow fields, both for external aerodynamics and internal flowpaths, and of heat release in scramjet flowpaths with appropriate fidelity for use in dynamic analysis and control design; hierarchical GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) architectures and energy management techniques to enable trajectory shaping and control over a wide operating envelope with integrated flight/propulsion control.



        Proposals on other flight and propulsion control and dynamic technologies will also be considered as resources and priorities allow, but the primary emphasis of the solicitation will be on the technical areas identified above.



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      • 51310

        A2.08Aircraft Systems Analysis, Design and Optimization

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, LaRC

        One of the approaches to achieve the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program goals is to solve the aeronautics challenges for a broad range of air vehicles with system-level optimization, assessment and technology integration. The needs to meet this approach can be defined by four general themes: … Read more>>

        One of the approaches to achieve the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program goals is to solve the aeronautics challenges for a broad range of air vehicles with system-level optimization, assessment and technology integration. The needs to meet this approach can be defined by four general themes:


        1. Design Environment Development;
        2. Variable Fidelity, Physics-Based Design/Analysis Tools;
        3. Technology Assessment and Integration; and
        4. Evaluation of Advanced Concepts.



        Current interdisciplinary design/analysis involves a multitude of tools not necessarily developed to work together, hindering their application to complete system design/analysis studies. Multi-fidelity, multi-disciplinary optimization frameworks, such as Numerical Propulsion System Simulation (NPSS), have been developed by NASA but have limited capabilities to simulate complete vehicle systems. Solicited topics are aligned with these four themes that will support this NASA research area.



        (1) Design Environment Development

        Technology development is needed to provide complex simulation and modeling capabilities where the computer science details are transparent to the engineer. A framework environment is needed to provide a seamless integration environment where the engineer need not be concerned with where or how particular codes within the system level simulation will be run. Interfaces and utilities to define, setup, verify, determine the appropriate resources, and launch the system simulation are also needed.

        Research challenges include the engineering details needed to numerically zoom (i.e., numerical analysis at various levels of detail) between multi-fidelity components of the same discipline, as well as, multi-discipline components of the same fidelity. A major computer science challenge is developing boundary objects that will be reused in a wide variety of simulations.



        Proposals will be considered that enable coupling differing disciplines, numerical zooming within a single discipline, deploying large simulations, and assembling and controlling secure or non-secure simulations.



        (2) Variable Fidelity, Physics-Based Design/Analysis Tools

        An integrated design process combines high-fidelity computational analyses from several disciplines with advanced numerical design procedures to simultaneously perform detailed Outer Mold Line (OML) shape optimization, structural sizing, active load alleviation control, multi-speed performance (e.g., low takeoff and landing speeds, but efficient transonic cruise), and/or other detailed-design tasks. Current practice still widely uses sequential, single-discipline optimization, at best coupling low-fidelity modeling of other relevant disciplines during the detailed design phase. Substantial performance improvements will be realized by developing closely integrated design procedures coupled with highest-fidelity analyses for use during detailed-design. Design procedures must enable rapid determination of sensitivities (gradients) of a design objective with respect to all design variables and constraints, choose search directions through design space without violating constraints, and make appropriate changes to the vehicle shape (ideally both external OML shape and internal structural element size). Solicitations are for integrated design optimization tools that find combinations of design variables from more than one discipline and can vary synergistically to produce superior performance compared to the results of sequential, single-discipline optimization or repeated cut-and-try analysis.



        (3) Technology Assessment and Integration

        Improved analysis capability of integrated airframe and propulsion systems would allow more efficient designs to be created that would maximize efficiency and performance while minimizing both noise and emissions. Improved integrated system modeling should allow designers to consider trade-offs between various design and operating parameters to determine the optimum design for various classes of subsonic fixed wing aircraft ranging from personal aircraft to large transports. The modeling would also be beneficial if it had enough fidelity to enable it to analyze both conventional and unconventional systems. Current analysis tools capable of analyzing integrated systems are based on simplified physical and semi-empirical models that are not fully capable of analyzing aircraft and propulsion system parameters that would be required for new or unconventional systems.



        Analysis tools are solicited that are capable of analyzing new and unconventional aircraft and propulsion integrated systems. These include: (1) New combustor designs, alternate fuel operation, and the ability to estimate all emissions, and (2) Noise source models (e.g., fan, jet, turbine, core and airframe components). Analyses tools that are scalable, especially to small aircraft, are desired.



        (4) Evaluation of Advanced Concepts

        Conceptual design and analysis of unconventional vehicle concepts and technologies is needed for technology portfolio investment planning, development of advanced concepts to provide technology pull, and independent technical assessment of new concepts. This capability will enable "virtual expeditions through the design space" for multi-mission trade studies and optimization. This will require an integrated variable fidelity concept design system. The aerospace flight vehicle conceptual design phase is, in contrast to the succeeding preliminary and detail design phases, the most important step in the product development sequence, because of its predefining function. However, the conceptual design phase is the least well understood part of the entire flight vehicle design process, owing to its high level of abstraction and associated risk, its multidisciplinary design complexity, its permanent shortage of available design information, and its chronic time pressure to find solutions. Currently, the important primary aerospace vehicle design decisions at the conceptual design level (e.g., overall configuration selection) are still made using extremely simple analyses and heuristics. An integrated, variable fidelity system would have large benefits. Higher fidelity tools enabling unconventional configurations to be addressed in the conceptual design process are solicited.



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      • 51302

        A2.09Rotorcraft

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, LaRC

        The challenge of the Subsonic Rotary Wing thrust of the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program is to develop validated physics-based multidisciplinary design-analysis-optimization tools for rotorcraft, integrated with technology development, enabling rotorcraft with advanced capabilities to fly as… Read more>>

        The challenge of the Subsonic Rotary Wing thrust of the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program is to develop validated physics-based multidisciplinary design-analysis-optimization tools for rotorcraft, integrated with technology development, enabling rotorcraft with advanced capabilities to fly as designed for any mission. Technologies of particular interest are as follows:



        Propulsion-Variable Speed Drive Systems/Transmissions

        Technologies, and predictive capability, related to enabling concepts and techniques for variable speed drive systems/transmissions suitable for large rotorcraft application are encouraged. Specifically this would include concepts for controlling and enabling variable speed drives as well as lightweight and reliable drive system components. Efficient drive-system speed-variability on the order of 30-50% should be the focus of the proposed technologies and analysis tools.



        Experimental Capabilities: Instrumentation and Techniques for Rotor Blade Measurements

        Instrumentation and measurement techniques are encouraged for assessing scale rotor blade boundary layer state (e.g., laminar, transition, turbulent flow) in simulated hover and forward flight conditions, measurement systems for large-field rotor wake assessment, fast-response pressure sensitive paints applicable to blade surfaces, and methods to measure the rotor tip path plane angle of attack, lateral and longitude flapping, and shaft angle in flight and in the wind tunnel. Very low airspeed measurement systems for flight vehicles.



        Acoustics: Interior and Exterior Rotorcraft Noise Generation, Propagation and Control

        Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, external noise prediction methods for manned and unmanned rotorcraft, improved acoustic propagation models, psychoacoustics analysis of rotorcraft noise, interior noise prediction methods and active/passive noise control applications for rotorcraft including engine and transmission noise reduction, advanced acoustic measurement systems for flight and wind tunnel applications, acoustic data acquisition/reduction/analysis, rotor noise reduction techniques, noise abatement flight operations. Methods, devices, concepts for rotorcraft, or specifically wing, airflow control for steep noise abatement approach operations and hover (low speed) download relief. Rotor noise including broadband, harmonic, blade-vortex interaction, and high-speed impulsive noise, as well as rotor/tail rotor and rotor/rotor interactional noise, are of interest. Frequency range includes not only audible range, but very low frequency rotational noise (blade-passage frequency below 20 Hz) as well. Optimized active/passive concepts and noise tailoring, including rotorcraft designs that are inherently designed for lower noise as a constraint.



        Rotorcraft Diagnostics

        Health management of rotorcraft power trains is critical. Predictive, condition-based maintenance improves safety, decreases maintenance costs, and increases system availability. Topics of interest include algorithm development and tools to detect and predict the health and usage of rotorcraft dynamic mechanical systems in the engine and drive system. Automatic rotor imbalance detection and rotor smoothing is also of interest. Additionally, rotorcraft health management technologies can include, but are not limited, tools to: increase fault detection coverage and decrease false alarm rates; detect onset of failure, isolate damage, and assess damage severity; predict remaining useful life and maintenance actions required; integration of health monitoring information with maintenance processes and procedures; data management and automated techniques to acquire/process diagnostic information; system models, material failure models and correlation of failure under bench fatigue, seeded fault test and fielded data; data collection/management for analysis of operational data; in-flight pilot cueing and warning of impending catastrophic events.



        Proposals on other rotorcraft technologies will also be considered as resources and priorities allow, but the primary emphasis of the solicitation will be on the above four identified technical areas.



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      • 51325

        A2.10Propulsion Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        This subtopic is divided into two parts. The first part is the Turbomachinery and Heat Transfer and the second part is Propulsion Integration. Turbomachinery and Heat Transfer There is a critical need for advanced turbomachinery and heat transfer concepts, methods and tools to enable NASA to reach… Read more>>

        This subtopic is divided into two parts. The first part is the Turbomachinery and Heat Transfer and the second part is Propulsion Integration.



        Turbomachinery and Heat Transfer

        There is a critical need for advanced turbomachinery and heat transfer concepts, methods and tools to enable NASA to reach its goals in the various Fundamental Aeronautics projects. These goals include drastic reductions in aircraft fuel burn, noise, and emissions, as well as an ability to achieve mission requirements for Subsonic Rotary Wing, Subsonic Fixed Wing, Supersonics, and Hypersonics Project flight regimes. In the compression system, advanced concepts and technologies are required to enable high stage loading and wider operating range while maintaining or improving aerodynamic efficiency. Such improvements will enable reduced weight and part count, and will enable advanced variable cycle engines for various missions. In the turbine, the very high cycle temperatures demanded by advanced engine cycles place a premium on the cooling technologies required to ensure adequate life of the turbine component. Reduced cooling flow rates and/or increased cycle temperatures enabled by these technologies have a dramatic impact on the engine performance.



        Proposals are sought in the turbomachinery and heat transfer area to provide the following specific items:


        • Advanced design concepts to enable increased high stage loading in single and multi-stage axial compressors while maintaining or improving aerodynamic efficiency and operability. Technologies are sought that would reduce dependence on traditional range extending techniques (such as variable inlet guide vane and variable stator geometry) in compression systems. These may include flow control techniques near the compressor end walls and on the rotor and stator blade surfaces. Technologies are sought to reduce turbomachinery sensitivity to tip clearance leakage effects where clearance to chord ratios are on the order of 5% or above.
        • Advanced flow analysis tools to enable design optimization of highly loaded compression systems that can accurately predict aerodynamic efficiency and operability. This includes computer codes with updated models for losses, turbulence, and other models that can simulate the flow through turbomachinery components with advanced design features such as swept and bowed blade shapes, flow range extension techniques, such as flow control and transition control to maintain acceptable operability and efficiency.
        • Novel turbine cooling concepts are sought to enable very high turbine cooling effectiveness especially considering the manufacturability of such concepts. These concepts may include film cooling concepts, internal cooling concepts, and innovative methods to couple the film and internal cooling designs. Concepts proposed should have the potential to be produced with current or forthcoming manufacturing techniques. The availability of advanced manufacturing techniques may actually enable improved cooling designs beyond the current state-of-the-art.
        • Methods are sought to enable more efficient use of coolant air in the turbine through coolant flow modulation. These methods could consist of open-loop or closed-loop coolant flow modulation. Modulations could be high-frequency with frequencies on the order of the turbine blade passing frequency or longer time scales on the order of engine thermal transients. Development of methods to measure turbine local and/or average surface temperatures to enable the closed-loop capability will be considered. Feedback control of the coolant flow rates and/or methods to produce modulation in actual turbine thermal environments are desired. Finally, a description of how the proposed technology will work in a vision modulated turbine cooling turbine system will be needed.



        Propulsion Integration

        Proposals for Propulsion Integration will address engine and engine integration topics as outlined in this section in support of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program.



        One objective of the Subsonic Fixed Wing Project is to develop verified analysis capabilities for the key technical issues related to integrating embedded propulsion systems for "N+2" hybrid wing/body configurations. These key technical issues include: inlet technologies for distorted engine inflows related to embedded engines with boundary layer ingestion; fan-face flow distortion and its effects on fan efficiency and operability, noise, flutter stability and aeromechanical stress and life; wide operability of the fan and core with a variable area nozzle; issues related to the implementation of a thrust vectoring variable area nozzle; and duct losses related to long flow paths associated with embedded engines. Specifically, proposals are sought to provide advanced technology, prediction methods and tools.



        The supersonics project would like proposals to develop tools and propulsion technologies that will enable the design of high performance fans; high-efficiency, low-boom, and stable inlets; high-performance, low-noise exhaust nozzles; and intelligent sensors and actuators for supersonic aircraft. The supersonics project is interested in both computational and experimental research, aimed at evaluating and analyzing promising technologies as well as understanding the fundamental flow physics that will enable improved prediction methods.



        A mission class of interest to the Hypersonics Project is Highly Reliable Reusable Launch Systems (HRRLS). The HRRLS mission was chosen to build on work started in NASA's Next Generation Launch Technology (NGLT) Program to provide new vehicle architectures and technologies to dramatically increase the reliability of future launch vehicles. The design of reusable entry vehicles that provide low-cost access to space is challenging in several technology areas. The development of hypersonic-unique air breathing propulsion systems and the integration of the propulsion system with the airframe impact vehicle performance and controllability and drive the need for an integrated physics-based design methodology.



        For Propulsion Integration, topics will be solicited for two areas:


        • Design concepts, actuators and analysis tools that enable:

          • High performance supersonic inlets and nozzles that have minimal impact on an aircraftÂ's sonic boom signature;
          • The control of shock wave boundary layer interactions and reduction of dynamic distortion in supersonic inlets;
          • Stable highly integrated supersonic inlets;
          • High pressure recovery, low distortion and low-weight subsonic diffusers;
          • Low weight systems for nozzle area control;
          • Thrust vectoring;
          • Practical, validated CFD models for flow control devices such as micro ramps, vaned vortex generators, air jets, or synthetic jets.


        • Unsteady coupled Inlet / Fan Analysis Tools to investigate:

          • Engine transient affect on inlet unstart;
          • Mode transition for a hypersonic dual Turbine engine/RAM-SCRAM flowpath;
          • Inlet and fan aero/mechanical loads;
          • Engine/inlet control system development;
          • Distortion Tolerance.



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    • + Expand Airspace Systems Topic

      Topic A3 Airspace Systems PDF


      NASA's Airspace Systems (AS) Program is investing in the development of innovative concepts and technologies to support the development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS is also commonly known as NextGen). NASA is working to develop, validate and transfer advanced concepts, technologies, and procedures through partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other government agencies represented in the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), and in cooperation with the U.S. aeronautics industry and academia. As such, the AS Program will develop and demonstrate future concepts, capabilities, and technologies that will enable major increases in air traffic management effectiveness, flexibility, and efficiency, while maintaining safety, to meet capacity and mobility requirements of NextGen. The AS Program integrates the two projects, NextGen Airspace and NextGen Airportal, to directly address the fundamental research needs of NextGen vision in partnership with the member agencies of the JPDO. The NextGen Airspace Project develops and explores fundamental concepts and integrated solutions that address the optimal allocation of ground and air automation technologies necessary for NextGen. The project will focus NASA's technical expertise and world-class facilities to address the question of where, when, how and the extent to which automation can be applied to moving aircraft safely and efficiently through the NAS. The NextGen Airportal Project develops and validates algorithms, concepts, and technologies to increase throughput of the runway complex and achieve high efficiency in the use of airportal resources such as gates, taxiways, runways, and final approach airspace. NASA research in this project will lead to development of solutions that safely integrate surface and terminal area air traffic optimization tools and systems with 4-D trajectory operations. Ultimately, the roles and responsibilities of humans and automation influence in the ATM will be addressed by both projects. Key objectives of NASA's AS Program are to:

      • Improve mobility, capacity, efficiency and access of the airspace system;
      • Improve collaboration, predictability, and flexibility for the airspace users;
      • Enable accurate modeling and simulation of air transportation systems;
      • Accommodate operations of all classes of aircraft; and
      • Maintain system safety and environmental protection.

      Additional information is available at http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/programs_asp.htm.

      • 51292

        A3.01NextGen Airspace

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, LaRC

        The primary goal of the Airspace project is to develop integrated solutions for a safe, efficient, and high-capacity airspace system. Of particular interest is the development of core capabilities, including: Trajectory-based operations, which manages traffic using 4-dimensional trajectories to… Read more>>

        The primary goal of the Airspace project is to develop integrated solutions for a safe, efficient, and high-capacity airspace system. Of particular interest is the development of core capabilities, including:


        • Trajectory-based operations, which manages traffic using 4-dimensional trajectories to achieve increases in capacity and efficiency;
        • Super-density operations, which maximizes the use of limited runways at the busiest airports;
        • Weather assimilated into decision making, with emphasis on probabilistic weather;
        • Equivalent visual operations, which will allow the system to maintain visual flight rule capacities in instrument flight rule conditions.



        These core capabilities are required to enable key Airspace project functions such as Dynamic Airspace Configuration, Traffic Flow Management, Separation Assurance, and the overarching Evaluator that integrates these ATM functions over multiple planning intervals.



        In order to meet these challenges, innovative and technically feasible approaches are sought to advance technologies in research areas relevant to NASA's NextGen Airspace effort. The general areas of primary interest are Dynamic Airspace Configuration, Traffic Flow Management, and Separation Assurance. Specific research topics for the Airspace project include:


        • Four-dimensional trajectory modeling in the presence of uncertainty;
        • Air/air and air/ground trajectory exchange interoperability;
        • Trajectory uncertainty prediction and mitigation;
        • Intent information requirements for separation assurance and super density operations;
        • Airspace re-design techniques that improve capacity, including changing shape of current sectors and introducing new airspace classes;
        • Pilot and controller procedures and decision support systems needed to facilitate dynamic airspace changes;
        • Collaborative decision making techniques involving multiple agents;
        • Integrated solutions of ATM functions over multiple planning intervals and across domains;
        • Optimal allocation of separation assurance functions across humans and automation and air and ground systems;
        • Optimization techniques to address demand/capacity imbalances;
        • New safety assessment methods for safety-critical air and ground automation technologies;
        • Scheduling optimization for integrated arrival/departure/surface operations;
        • Displays and procedures for very closely-spaced parallel approaches;
        • Traffic complexity monitoring and prediction;
        • Trajectory design and conformance monitoring;
        • Weather assimilated into ATM decision-making;
        • Environmental metrics and assessments of new concepts and technologies;
        • The effect of new vehicles (including UAVs) on air traffic management;
        • Gate-to-Gate modeling for NextGen concepts;
        • Integration of UAVs into the NAS, including examination of the anticipated mix of UAV classes and capabilities (equipment, size, mission) in the next 20 years;
        • The effect of traffic congestion on integration of UAVs into the NAS;
        • Separation assurance responsibilities with regard to UAVs;
        • The requirements for, and the development of, a simulation environment to test UAV integration in the NAS.



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      • 51374

        A3.02NextGen Airportal

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC

        Airportal research focuses on key capabilities that will increase throughput of the airport environment, and that achieve the highest possible efficiencies in the use of airport resources such as terminal airspace, runways, taxiways, and gates. Of particular interest is the development of the… Read more>>

        Airportal research focuses on key capabilities that will increase throughput of the airport environment, and that achieve the highest possible efficiencies in the use of airport resources such as terminal airspace, runways, taxiways, and gates. Of particular interest is the development of the following core capabilities within Airportal:


        • Optimization of surface aircraft traffic;
        • Dynamic airport configuration management (including the optimal balancing of Airportal resources for arrival, departure, and surface aircraft operations);
        • Predictive models to enable mitigation of wake vortex hazards;
        • New procedures for performing safe, closely spaced, and converging approaches at closer distances than are currently allowed;
        • Modeling, simulation, and experimental validation research focused on single and multiple regional airports (metroplex);
        • Other innovative opportunities for transformational improvements in Airportal/metroplex throughput.



        Inherent to the ASP approach is the integration of airborne solutions within the overall surface management optimization scheme.



        In order to meet these challenges, innovative and technically feasible approaches are sought to advance technologies in research areas relevant to NASA's Next Gen/Airportal effort. The general areas of interest are surface movement optimization, converging and parallel runway operations, safety risk assessment methodologies, and wake vortex solutions inside Metroplex boundaries. Specific research topics for Next Gen/Airportal include:


        • Human/automation interface concepts and standards for flight crews and air traffic control personnel specific to surface/airportal operations;
        • Integration of decision-support tools across different airspace domains;
        • Advanced technologies and approaches to achieving 2-3X improvement in the throughput of airports and metroplexes;
        • Automatic taxi clearance and aircraft control technologies;
        • Scheduling algorithm for aircraft deicing and integration with a surface traffic decision-support tool;
        • Collaborative decision making between airlines and airport traffic control tower personnel for optimized surface operations, including push back scheduling and management of airport surface assets;
        • Real-time assessment of the performance of surface operations;
        • Computationally efficient solution methods for surface traffic planning optimization problems;
        • Automation concepts and technologies for handling off-nominal situations and failure recovery mechanism;
        • Design of computer-human interface (CHI) for ground-based automated surface traffic management;
        • 4D taxi clearances and air-ground trajectory negotiation for landing aircraft;
        • Innovative concepts, technologies, and procedures for safely increasing throughput of runways, especially combinations of parallel, converging, and intersecting runways;
        • Innovative concepts, technologies, and procedures to maintain airport runway throughput under off-nominal conditions such as zero-zero ceiling and visibility;
        • Innovative ideas for very closely spaced parallel runway operations, including airborne spacing algorithms and wake vortex avoidance procedures;
        • Algorithms for determining wake vortex encounters from aircraft flight data recorders;
        • Wake vortex hazard research, especially: establishment of wake vortex encounter hazard threshold, encounter assessment tools, development of a wake vortex hazard metric, flight crew awareness and response techniques;
        • Fusion of data from weather sensors and models for automated input into atmospheric prediction models (e.g., Terminal Area Simulation SystemÂ-TASS) used for assessments of atmospheric hazards to aviation and for initializing wake vortex prediction software;
        • Innovations in sensors for detection of wake vortices as well as with weather sensors in support of wake vortex predictions;
        • Measurements of wind, temperature, and turbulence from departing and arriving aircraft;
        • Radar simulation tools for wake vortices.



        Note: The development of technologies for the airborne detection of wake vortices is covered in Subtopic A1.04.





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    • + Expand Aeronautics Test Technologies Topic

      Topic A4 Aeronautics Test Technologies PDF


      NASA has implemented the Aeronautics Test Program (ATP) within its Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). The purpose of the ATP is to ensure the long term availability and health of NASA's major wind tunnels/ground test facilities and flight operations/test infrastructure that support NASA, DoD and U.S. industry research and development (R&D) and test and evaluation (T&E) needs. Furthermore, ATP provides rate stability to the aforementioned user community. The ATP facilities are located at the NASA Research Centers, including at Ames Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, Glenn Research Center and Langley Research Center. Classes of facilities within the ATP include low speed wind tunnels, transonic wind tunnels, supersonic wind tunnels, hypersonic wind tunnels, hypersonic propulsion integration test facilities, air-breathing engine test facilities, the Western Aeronautical Test Range (WATR), support aircraft, test bed aircraft, and the simulation and loads laboratories. A key component of ensuring a test facility's long term viability is to implement and continually improve on the efficiency and effectiveness of that facility's operations. To operate a facility in this manner requires the use of state-of-the-art test technologies and test techniques, creative facility performance capability enhancements, and novel means of acquiring test data. NASA is soliciting proposals in the areas of instrumentation, test measurement technology, test techniques and facility development that apply to the ATP facilities to help in achieving the ATP goals of sustaining and improving our test capabilities. Proposals that describe products or processes that are transportable across multiple facility classes are of special interest. The proposals will also be assessed for their ability to develop products that can be implemented across government-owned, industry and academic institution test facilities. Additional information: http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/atp/index.html.

      • 51371

        A4.01Ground Test Techniques and Measurement Technology

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

        NASA is strategically positioning its ground test facilities to meet the future testing needs for our nation. NASA's aeronautics and space research and development pushes the limits of technology, including the ground test facilities that are used to confirm theory and provide validation and… Read more>>

        NASA is strategically positioning its ground test facilities to meet the future testing needs for our nation. NASA's aeronautics and space research and development pushes the limits of technology, including the ground test facilities that are used to confirm theory and provide validation and verification of new technical concepts. By using state-of-the-art test measurement technologies, data acquisition, testing techniques and enhancing facility performance, NASA will be able to operate its facilities more efficiently and effectively and also be able to meet the challenges presented by NASA's cutting edge research and development programs. Therefore, NASA is seeking highly innovative and commercially viable test measurement technologies, test techniques, and facility performance technologies that would increase efficiency, capability, productivity for ground test facilities.



        The emphasis for this subtopic is in the area of test measurement technology. Examples of the types of technology solutions sought, but not limited to, are: skin friction measurement techniques; improved flow transition and quality detection methodologies; non-intrusive measurement technologies for velocity, pressure, temperature, and strain measurements; force balance measurement technology development; and improvement of current cutting edge technologies, such as Partical Based Velocimetry (LDV, PIV), Pressure Sensitive Paint (PSP), and focusing acoustic measurements that can be used more reliably in a production wind tunnel environment. Instrumentation solutions used to characterize ground test facility performance are being sought in the area of aerodynamics performance characterization (flow quality, turbulence intensity, mach number measurement, etc.). Areas of interest are in the subsonic, transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic speed regimes. Specialized areas may include cryogenic conditions, icing conditions, and rotating turbo machinery.



        Proposals that lead to products or processes that are applicable specifically to the ATP facilities (see http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/atp) and across multiple facility classes are especially important. The proposals will also be assessed for their ability to develop products that can be used in government-owned, industry and academic institution aerospace ground test facilities.



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      • 51304

        A4.02Flight Test Techniques and Measurement Technology

        Lead Center: AFRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

        NASA's flight research is reliant on a combination of both ground and flight research facilities. By using state-of-the-art techniques, measurement and data acquisition technologies, NASA will be able to operate its flight research facilities more effectively and also meet the challenges presented… Read more>>

        NASA's flight research is reliant on a combination of both ground and flight research facilities. By using state-of-the-art techniques, measurement and data acquisition technologies, NASA will be able to operate its flight research facilities more effectively and also meet the challenges presented by NASA's cutting edge research and development programs.



        The scope of this subtopic is broad, with emphasis on emissions, noise, and performance. Research technologies applicable to this subtopic should address (but are not limited to) the following ground and flight facilities at Dryden: Western Aeronautical Test Range (WATR), Flight Loads Laboratory (FLL), Research Flight Simulation Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation (HILS), Test bed and Support Aircraft (e.g. F-15, F-18, ER-2, Gulfstream-III, and Ikhana). In addition to the facilities, the following generic capabilities are desired that pertain to any of a variety of types of vehicles ranging from low-speed, to high-altitude long-endurance to supersonic, to hypersonic and access-to-space.


        • Modeling, identification, simulation, and control of aerospace vehicles in flight research, flight sensors, sensor arrays and airborne instruments for flight research, and advanced aerospace flight concepts.
        • Safer and more efficient design of advanced aerospace vehicles requires advancement in current predictive design and analysis tools. The goal is to develop more efficient software tools for predicting and understanding the response of an airframe under the simultaneous influences of structural dynamics, thermal dynamics, steady and unsteady aerodynamics, and the control system. The benefit of this effort will ultimately be an increased understanding of the complex interactions between the vehicle dynamics subsystems with an emphasis on flight research validation methods for control-oriented applications.
        • Proposals for novel multidisciplinary nonlinear dynamic systems modeling, identification, and simulation for control objectives are encouraged. Control objectives include feasible and realistic boundary layer and laminar flow control, aeroelastic maneuver performance and load control (including smart actuation and active aerostructural concepts), autonomous health monitoring for stability and performance, and drag minimization for high efficiency and range performance.
        • Real-time measurement techniques are needed to acquire aerodynamic, structural, control, and propulsion system performance characteristics in-flight and to safely expand the flight envelope of aerospace vehicles. This subtopic encompasses the development of sensors, sensor systems, sensor arrays, or instrumentation systems for improving the state-of-the-art in aircraft ground or flight research. This includes the development of sensors to enhance aircraft safety by determining atmospheric conditions. The goals are to improve the effectiveness of flight research by simplifying and minimizing sensor installation, measuring new parameters, improving the quality of measurements, minimizing the disturbance to the measured parameter from the sensor presence, deriving new information from conventional techniques, or combining sensor suites with embedded processing to add value to output information. These sensors and systems are required to have fast response, low volume, minimal intrusion, and high accuracy and reliability.
        • This subtopic further solicits innovative flight research experiments that demonstrate breakthrough vehicle or system concepts, methodologies, technologies, and operations in the real flight environment and that are particularly related to separation and flow quality characterization in subsonic flight, shockwave propagation in supersonic flight, and small scale technology development in hypersonic flight. It further seeks advanced flight techniques, operations, and experiments that promise significant leaps in vehicle performance, operation, safety, cost, and capability; and that require a demonstration in an actual-flight environment to fully characterize or validate advances.



        NASA is seeking highly innovative and viable research technologies that would increase efficiency or overcome limitations for flight research. Other areas of interest include: Verification & Validation techniques for non-deterministic and complex redundant systems; Design Tools integrated into the simulation environment for early research and validation; Flight Measurements & Data Acquisition; Skin Friction; Flight Hardened Systems & Miniaturization; Signal Processing & Reconfigurable Systems; Wireless technologies.





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    • + Expand Sensors, Detectors and Instruments Topic

      Topic S1 Sensors, Detectors and Instruments PDF


      NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/) encompasses research in the areas of Astrophysics (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/astrophysics), Earth Science (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/earth-science), Heliophysics (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/heliophysics), and Planetary Science (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/planetary-science). A major objective of SMD instrument development programs is to implement science measurement capabilities with smaller or more affordable spacecraft so development programs can meet multiple mission needs and therefore make the best use of limited resources. The rapid development of small, low-cost remote sensing and in situ instruments is essential to achieving this objective. For Earth Science needs, in particular, the subtopics reflect a focus on instrument development for airborne and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms. Astrophysics has a critical need for sensitive detector arrays with imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetric capabilities which can be demonstrated on ground, airborne, balloon, or suborbital rocket instruments. Heliophysics, which focuses on measurements of the sun and its interaction with the Earth and the other planets in the solar system, needs a significant reduction in the size, mass, power, and cost for instruments to fly on smaller spacecraft. Planetary Science has a critical need for miniaturized instruments with in situ sensors that can be deployed on surface landers, rovers, and airborne platforms. For the 2009 program year, we are actively encouraging proposal submissions for subtopic S1.10 that solicits technology for geodetic instruments and instruments to enable global navigation and very long baseline interferometry. A key objective of this SBIR topic is to develop and demonstrate instrument component and subsystem technologies that reduce the risk, cost, size, and development time of SMD observing instruments and to enable new measurements. Proposals are sought for development components that can be used in planned missions or a current technology program. Research should be conducted to demonstrate feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path towards a Phase 2 prototype demonstration. The following subtopics are concomitant with these objectives and are organized by technology.

      • 51377

        S1.01Lidar and Laser System Components

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        Accurate measurements of atmospheric parameters with high spatial resolution from ground, airborne, and space-based platforms require advances in the state-of-the-art lidar technology with emphasis on compactness, efficiency, reliability, lifetime, and high performance. Innovative lidar component… Read more>>

        Accurate measurements of atmospheric parameters with high spatial resolution from ground, airborne, and space-based platforms require advances in the state-of-the-art lidar technology with emphasis on compactness, efficiency, reliability, lifetime, and high performance. Innovative lidar component technologies that directly address the measurements of the atmosphere and surface topography of the Earth, Mars, the Moon, and other planetary bodies will be considered under this subtopic. Frequency-stabilized lasers for a number of lidar applications as well as for highly accurate measurements of the distance between spacecraft for gravitational wave astronomy and gravitational field planetary science are among technologies of interest. Innovative technologies that can expand current measurement capabilities to spaceborne or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms are particularly desirable. Development of components that can be used in planned missions or current technology programs is highly encouraged. Examples of planned missions and technology programs are: Deformation, Ecosystem Structure and Dynamics of Ice (DESDynI), Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), Doppler Wind Lidar, Lidar for Surface Topography (LIST), or earth and planetary atmospheric composition (ASCENDS).



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 prototype demonstration. For the PY09 SBIR Program, we are soliciting only the specific component technologies described below.


        • High speed fiber multiplexers for multimode fiber (200 micron core, 0.22 NA) operating at 1 micron wavelength. We require an N by M de-multiplexer (where M is 32 or greater and N is 2) capable of switching at speeds on the order of 10 microseconds with low insertion loss (
        • Space-qualifiable high reliability frequency-stabilized CW laser source with 2 W output power at 1064 nm. A master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) configuration is desirable since the source must be phase-modulated.
        • Fiber-coupled pulse compressor device for 1064 nm and 532 nm for reducing 4-6 ns level pulses to sub-ns (0.4 - 0.6 ns) pulses, capable of input pulse energies > 2 mJ.
        • Efficient and compact single frequency, near diffraction limited semiconductor lasers (interband cascade laser or quantum cascade lasers) operating in mid-infrared (3 - 4 µm). Requirements include room temperature operation, and pulsed lasers with repetition rates on the order of 10 KHz and pulse energies greater than 0.5 mJ. CW lasers in multiwatt regimes are applicable. Wavelength tunability over 10s of nanometers is desirable for certain applications.
        • Efficient and compact single mode solid state or fiber lasers operating at 1.5 and 2.0 micron wavelength regimes suitable for coherent lidar applications. These lasers must meet the following general requirements: pulse energy 0.5 mJ to 50 mJ, repetition rate 10 Hz to 1 kHz, and pulse duration of approximately 200 nsec.
        • Single frequency semiconductor or fiber laser generating CW power in 1.5 or 2.0 micron wavelength regions with less than 10 kHz linewidth. Frequency modulation with about 5 GHz bandwidth and wavelength tuning over several nanometers are desirable.
        • Development of efficient, compact, and space qualifiable laser absorption spectrometry-related technologies for measuring atmospheric pressure and density. Remote sensing of oxygen in the 1.26 micron or 760 nm spectral region for measuring atmospheric pressure is of particular interest.
        • Photon counting detectors (single element and/or multi-element detector array) at near-IR (1 - 1.8 µm) and mid-IR (3 - 4 µm) with single photon sensitivity.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51353

        S1.02Active Microwave Technologies

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, LaRC

        NASA employs active sensors (radars) for a wide range of remote sensing applications (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html). These sensors include low frequency (less than 10 MHz) sounders to G-band (160 GHz) radars for measuring precipitation and clouds and for planetary landing. We are seeking… Read more>>

        NASA employs active sensors (radars) for a wide range of remote sensing applications (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html). These sensors include low frequency (less than 10 MHz) sounders to G-band (160 GHz) radars for measuring precipitation and clouds and for planetary landing. We are seeking proposals for the development of innovative technologies to support future radar missions. The areas of interest for this call are listed below:



        High-density low-loss millimeter-wave packaging and interconnects for advanced cloud and precipitation radars or Mars landing radars. These packing and interconnect technologies are critical to achieving the density and RF signal performance required for scanning millimeter-wave array radars.Desired performance specifications include:




        • Frequency: 35 - 160 GHz
        • Performance at 35 GHz:

          • Interconnect loss:
          • Line loss:



        High-speed, low-power analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and digital-to-analog converters (DACs) for advanced SAR, advanced interferometer for surface monitoring, ice topography or hydrology. Digital beam forming (DBF) systems require an array of ADCs.The power consumption of current ADC chips prohibits implementation of large DBF arrays. Furthermore, large arrays require true time delays, which are easily implemented using low- power, high speed ADCs and DACs. Desired performance specifications include:




        • Analog Input Bandwidth: 1.3 GHz
        • Sampling rate: 500 MS/s
        • Resolution 12 bits
        • Power consumption: 100 mW



        High performance miniature bandpass filters for SMAP, Aquarius follow-on, DESDynI, or Advanced L-band SAR and interferometers. The size of current filters allows for implementation of near-term missions with (with volume and mass penalties) but filter size constrains RF system architectural choices.Desired performance specifications include:




        • Center Frequencies: 1.2 - 36 GHz
        • Bandwidth:1%
        • Loss:
        • Isolation: >30 dB
        • Volume: 3

        High-performance mm-wave integrated circuits (MMICs) for Advanced SAR, advanced interferometer for surface monitoring, ice topography, hydrology, advanced cloud and precipitation radars or Mars landing radars. Besides packaging, performance of MMICs is the main road block to development of electronically scanned arrays at 94 GHz and higher. Desired specifications/technologies include:

        • Frequencies: 94 - 350 GHz
        • Device types: Lower Noise Amplifiers, Power Amplifiers, Mixers, Oscillators, Phase Shifters, Switches



        Ultra-high efficiency L-band power amplifiers for Advanced SAR/Interferometers or geosynchronous SAR for earthquake monitoring. Using lower efficiency amplifiers in large arrays leads to much higher power system requirements and thermal management challenges.Desired performance specifications include:


        • Frequency: 1.2 - 1.3 GHz
        • Efficiency: >85%



        P-band stretch processing imaging radar antennas and transceivers with bandwidth > 100 MHz for airborne SAR applications for Biomass/ecosystems. Wideband P-band radar systems require low power transmitters with high processing gain to avoid interference with other services.Furthermore, achieving fine range resolution will require novel wideband airborne antennas.





        Small radar packaging concepts for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for Biomass (P), soil moisture and ocean salinity (L, and C), or snow water equivalent (X, Ku, and Ka). Miniaturization of radar and radiometer components while maintaining power and performance is a requirement for UAV science.Desired performance specifications include:




        • Mass: 1.5 lb - 35 lb
        • Frequency: P-band, L-band, C-band, X-band, Ku -band, and Ka-band
        • High Efficiency SSPAs: > 70% efficiency (P, L and C), > 20% (ka)



        High power/high efficiency Ka-band and W-band solid state and TWT amplifiers for Aerosol/Cloud/Ecosystems (ACE) Mission. Spaceborne applications require higher power and efficiency than currently available. Desired performance specifications include:


        • SSPA power: > 10 W (Ka-band) and > 2 W (W-band)
        • TWT power: > 1kW (Ka-band) and > 200 W (W-band)
        • Efficiency: > 20%.
        • Phase Linearity:



        Simultaneous, multi-frequency U-band transceivers, frequency converters, and amplifiers for airborne/spaceborne applications for barometric pressure measurements in support of NASA/NOAA hurricane science, NWS/aviation weather or decadal survey missions. Currently available airborne and space-qualified U-band (50 - 60 GHz) transceiver and components do not support simultaneous operation at multiple frequencies within the band.



        Wide bandwidth, U-band antennas for airborne/spaceborne applications for barometric pressure measurements in support of NASA/NOAA hurricane science, NWS/aviation weather, or decadal survey missions. Currently available antennas do not compensate for wide bandwidth (50 - 60 GHz) operation; consequently, main beam characteristics (e.g.,beamwidth, gain, pointing angle, polarization, etc.) vary according to frequency. The need is for a light-weight, aviation/space-qualifiable antenna capable of operating over 50 - 60 GHz without significant variation in main beam characteristics.





        Membrane materials for large inflatable membrane antennas for remote sensing applications for earth and planetary science missions. Reflectors manufactured from polymer films could enable greater packaging efficiencies due to their low mass, high packaging efficiencies, solar radiation resistance, and cryogenic flexibility.However, these polymer films must also exhibit near zero CTE and stability in the space environment, as well as be deployable wrinkle free. Innovative intrinsically electroactive polymer membrane actuation mechanisms that can reduce the bulk of traditional active control systems are also of interest. Proposals for remote sensing antenna membrane materials technology are being solicited and should be submitted to subtopic "O1.02 - Antenna Technologies" in the Space Operations portion of this solicitation. Such proposals should indicate that they are applicable to remote sensing antennas.





        Composite materials for large deployable antenna reflector structures for remote sensing applications for earth and planetary science missions. These antennas will require high specific stiffness composite materials that can be packed compactly and deployed multiple times for ground evaluation of the antenna structure prior to launch and deployment in space. The deployment of these materials should require low energy. Proposals for remote sensing antenna composite materials technology are being solicited and should be submitted to subtopic "O1.02 - Antenna Technologies" in the Space Operations portion of this solicitation. Such proposals should indicate that they are applicable to remote sensing antennas.




        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51333

        S1.03Passive Microwave Technologies

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        NASA employs passive microwave and millimeter-wave instruments for a wide range of remote sensing applications from measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11820) to cosmic background emission. Proposals are sought for the development of… Read more>>

        NASA employs passive microwave and millimeter-wave instruments for a wide range of remote sensing applications from measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11820) to cosmic background emission. Proposals are sought for the development of innovative technology to support future science and exploration missions employing 450 MHz to 5 THz sensors. Technology innovations should either enhance measurement capabilities (e.g., improve spatial, temporal, or spectral resolution, or improve calibration accuracy) or ease implementation in spaceborne missions (e.g., reduce size, weight, or power, improve reliability, or lower cost). While other concepts will be entertained, specific technology innovations of interest are listed below for missions including decadal survey missions (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html) such as PATH, SCLP, and GACM and the Beyond Einstein Inflation Probe (Inflation Probe (cosmic microwave background, http://universe.nasa.gov/program/probes/inflation.html).


        • Low power >200 Mb/s 1-bit A/D converters and cross-correlators for microwave interferometers. Earth Science Decadal survey missions which apply: PATH, SCLP.
        • Automated assembly of 180 GHz direct conversion I-Q receiver modules. This technology applies to both the Beyond Einstein Inflation probe and the Decadal Survey PATH concept.
        • Low DC power spectrometer (channelizer) covering >500 MHz with 125 kHz resolution for planetary radiometer missions and covering 4 GHz with 1 MHz resolution for Earth observing missions. Also RFI mitigation approaches employing channelizers for broad band radiometers. Earth Science Decadal Survey mission which applies: GACM
        • RF (GHz to THz) MEMS switches with low insertion loss (18 dB), capable of switching with speeds of >100 Hz at cryogenic temperatures (below 10 K) for 108 or more cycles. Technology applies to Beyond Einstein Probe.
        • High emissivity (>40 dB return loss) surfaces/structures for use as onboard calibration targets that will reduce the weight of aluminum core targets, while reliably improving the uniformity and knowledge of the calibration target temperature. Earth Science Decadal survey missions which apply: SCLP and PATH.
        • MMIC Low Noise Amplifiers (LNA). Room temperature LNAs for 165 to 193 GHz with low 1/f noise, and a noise figure of 6.0 dB or better; and cryogenic LNAs for 180 to 270 GHz with noise temperatures of less than 150K. Earth Science Decadal Survey missions that apply: PATH and GACM.
        • Low loss, low RF power waveguide SPDT diode switches and active noise sources for frequencies above 90 GHz to support calibration of SWOT and other atmospheric temperature and humidity measurements.
        • Broad band 180 - 270 GHz radomes for aircraft borne submillimeter remote sensing instruments.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 52286

        S1.04Sensor and Detector Technology for Visible, IR, Far IR and Submillimeter

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, LaRC

        NASA is seeking new technologies or improvements to existing technologies to meet the detector needs of future missions, as described in the most recent decadal surveys for Earth science (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html), planetary science (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10432.html), and astronomy… Read more>>

        NASA is seeking new technologies or improvements to existing technologies to meet the detector needs of future missions, as described in the most recent decadal surveys for Earth science (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html), planetary science (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10432.html), and astronomy and astrophysics (http://www.nap.edu/books/0309070317/html).



        The following specific technologies are of interest for instrument concepts such as Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder (http://mls.jpl.nasa.gov/index-cameo.php) on the Global Atmospheric Composition Mission, Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (http://science.hq.nasa.gov/earth-sun/docs/Volz4_CLARREO.pdf), Methane Trace Gas Sounder, Single Aperture Far Infrared (SAFIR) Observatory (http://safir.jpl.nasa.gov/technologies.shtml), and Inflation Probe (cosmic microwave background, http://universe.nasa.gov/program/probes/inflation.html):


        • New or improved technologies leading to measurement of trace atmospheric species (e.g., CO, CH4, N2O) from geostationary and low-Earth orbital platforms. Of particular interest are new techniques in gas filter correlation spectroscopy, Fabry-Perot spectroscopy, or improved component technologies.
        • Uncooled or passively cooled detectors with specific detectivity (D*) >= 1010 cm Hz1/2/W in the operating wavelength ranges 6-14 µm and 10-100 µm.
        • Efficient, flight qualifiable, spur free, local oscillators for SIS mixers operating in low earth orbit. Two bands: (1) tunable from 200 to 250 GHz, and (2) tunable from 600 to 660 GHz, phase-locked to or derived from an ultra-stable 5 MHz reference.
        • Sideband separating SIS mixer with RF band from 580 to 680 GHz, IF band from 6 to 18 GHz, image rejection greater than 10 dB, and receiver noise temperature less than 300 Kelvin. Thermal load on 4 K and 15 K stage must be less than 4 and 30 mW respectively. Application: GACM.
        • Quantum cascade laser-based local oscillators for astrophysics applications (2nd generation SOFIA instruments, SAFIR).
        • Technologies for calibrating millimeter wave spectrometers for spaceborne missions, including low power, flight qualifiable comb generators and low noise diodes for the bands from 180 to 270 and 600 to 660 GHz; very low return loss (70 dB or better) calibration targets and techniques for quantifying and calibrating out the impact of standing waves in broadband heterodyne submillimeter spectrometers.
        • Low power, stable, linear, spectrometers capable of measuring the band from 6-18 GHz with ~120 100 MHz wide channels.
        • Digital spectrometers with ~4 GHz bandwidth and 10 MHz resolution. Components for these digital spectrometers including high speed digitizers, efficient spectrometer firmware, and ASIC implementations.
        • Spatial Filter Array (SFA) consisting of a monolithic array of up to 1200 coherent, polarization preserving, single mode fibers that operate over a large fraction of the spectral range from 0.4 - 1.0 microns and such that each input and output lenslet is mapped to a single fiber. Uniformity of output intensity and high throughput is desired and fiber-to-fiber placement accuracies of http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_index.cfm) and Stellar Imager (http://hires.gsfc.nasa.gov/si/).
        • High resolution wedged filters with resolving powers of 1,000 to 5,000 in the visible to short wave infrared spectral region. Of particular interest are filters in the 1 to 3.5 micron range.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51336

        S1.05Detector Technologies for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

        This subtopic covers detector requirements for a broad range of wavelengths from UV through to gamma ray for applications in Astrophysics, Earth science, Heliophysics, and Planetary science. Requirements across the board are for greater numbers of readout pixels, lower power, faster readout rates,… Read more>>

        This subtopic covers detector requirements for a broad range of wavelengths from UV through to gamma ray for applications in Astrophysics, Earth science, Heliophysics, and Planetary science. Requirements across the board are for greater numbers of readout pixels, lower power, faster readout rates, greater quantum efficiency, and enhanced energy resolution.



        The proposed efforts must be directly linked to a requirement for a NASA mission. These include Explorers, Discovery, Cosmic Origins, Physics of the Cosmos, Vision Missions, and Earth Science Decadel Survey missions. Details of these can be found at the following URLs:



        General Information on Future NASA Missions: http://www.nasa.gov/missions



        Specific mission pages:

        EXIST: http://exist.gsfc.nasa.gov/

        IXO: http://htxs.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html

        Future planetary programs: http://nasascience.nasa.gov/planetary-science/mission_list

        Earth Science Decadel missions: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html

        Helio Probes: http://nasascience.nasa.gov/heliophysics/mission_list



        Specific technology areas are listed below:


        • Significant improvement in wide band gap semiconductor materials, individual detectors, and detector arrays for operation at room temperature or higher for missions such as EXIST, Geo-CAPE and planetary science composition measurements.
        • Highly integrated, low noise (
        • Large formal UV and X-ray focal plane detector arrays: microchannel plates, CCDs, and active pixel sensors (>50% QE, 100 Megapixels,
        • Advanced Charged Couple Device (CCD) detectors, including improvements in UV quantum efficiency and read noise, to increase the limiting sensitivity in long exposures and improved radiation tolerance. Electron-bombarded CCD detectors, including improvements in efficiency, resolution, and global and local count rate capability. In the X-ray, we seek to extend the response to lower energies in some CCDs, and to higher, perhaps up to 50 keV, in others. Possible missions are future GOES missions and International X-ray Observatory.
        • Wide band gap semiconductor, radiation hard, visible and solar blind large format imagers for next generation hyperspectral Earth remote sensing experiments. Need larger formats (>1Kx1K), much higher resolution (
        • Solar blind, compact, low-noise, radiation hard, EUV and soft X-ray detectors are required. Both single pixels (up to 1cm x 1cm) and large format 1D and 2D arrays are required to span the 0.05nm to 150nm spectral wavelength range. Future GOES missions post-GOES R and T.
        • Visible-blind SiC APDs for EUV photon counting are required. The APDs must show a linear mode gain >1E6 at a breakdown reverse voltage between 80 and 100V. The APD's must demonstrate detection capability of better than 6 photons/pixel/s at near 135nm spectral wavelength. See needs of National Council Decadal Survey (NRC, 2007): Tropospheric ozone.
        • Imaging from low-Earth orbit of air fluorescence, UV light generated by giant airshowers by ultra-high energy (E >1019 eV) cosmic rays require the development of high sensitivity and efficiency detection of 300 - 400 nm UV photons to measure signals at the few photon (single photo-electron) level. A secondary goal minimizes the sensitivity to photons with a wavelength greater than 400 nm. High electronic gain (~106), low noise, fast time response (2 to 10 x 10 mm2. Focal plane mass must be minimized (2 g/cm2 goal). Individual pixel readout. The entire focal plane detector can be formed from smaller, individual sub-arrays.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51335

        S1.06Particles and Field Sensors and Instrument Enabling Technologies

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, MSFC

        Advanced sensors and instrument enabling technologies for the measurement of the physical properties of space plasmas and energetic charged particles, mesospheric - thermospheric neutral species, energetic neutral atoms created at high altitudes by charge exchange, and electric and magnetic fields… Read more>>

        Advanced sensors and instrument enabling technologies for the measurement of the physical properties of space plasmas and energetic charged particles, mesospheric - thermospheric neutral species, energetic neutral atoms created at high altitudes by charge exchange, and electric and magnetic fields in space are needed to achieve NASA's transformational science advancements in Heliophysics. The Heliophysics discipline (http://sec.gsfc.nasa.gov/) has as its primary strategic goal the understanding of the physical coupling between the sun's outer corona, the solar wind, the trapped radiation in Earth's and other planetary magnetic fields, and the upper atmospheres of the planets and their moons. This understanding is of national importance not only because of its intrinsic scientific worth, but also because it is the necessary first step toward developing the ability to measure and forecast the "space weather" that affects all human crewed and robotic space assets. Improvements in particles and fields sensors and associated instrument technologies will enable further scientific advancement for upcoming NASA missions such as Solar Probe (http://solarprobe.gsfc.nasa.gov/), Solar Sentinels (http://lws.gsfc.nasa.gov/missions/sentinels/sentinels.htm), GEC (http://stp.gsfc.nasa.gov/missions/gec/gec.htm), Magnetospheric Constellation (http://stp.gsfc.nasa.gov/missions/mc/mc.htm), IT-SP and planetary exploration missions. Technology developments that result in expanded measurement capabilities and a reduction in size, mass, power, and cost are necessary in order for some of these missions to proceed. Of special interest are fast high voltage stepping power supplies for charged particle analyzers, electric field booms, self calibrating vector magnetometers, and other supporting sensor electronics.



        Specific areas of interest include:


        • Low cost, low power, low current, high voltage power supplies which allow ultra-fast stepping (t
        • Strong, lightweight, thin, compactly-stowed electric field booms possibly using composite materials that deploy sensors to distances of 10m or more and/or long wire boom (> 50 m) deployment systems for the deployment of very lightweight tethers or antennae on spinning spacecraft.
        • Self-calibrating scalar-vector magnetometer for future Earth and space science missions. Performance goals are dynamic range: +/-100,000 nT, accuracy with self-calibration: 1 nT, sensitivity: 5 pT / sqrtHz,Max, max sensor unit size: 6 x 6 x 12 cm, max sensor mass: 0.6 kg, max electronics unit size: 8 x 13 x 5 cm, max electronics mass: 1 kg, and max power: 5 W operation, 0.5 W standby, including, but not limited to "sensors on a chip".
        • Low-power cathode for detection of neutral atoms and molecules ionosphere-thermosphere and planetary investigations. Performance goals are thermionic cathodes capable of emitting 1 mA electron current with heater power less than 0.1 W. The largest dimension of the electron emitter surface should not exceed 1 mm; the entire cathode assembly should be small enough so it may be mounted in a shallow channel shaped to match the largest cathode dimension. The assembly should include robust connection leads for heater and cathode surface. Uniformity across the electron beam is not critical.
        • A compact electronics box to enable the operation of one Wind Temperature Spectrometer (WTS), one Ion-Drift Spectrometer (IDS), one Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS) and one Ion Mass Spectrometer (IMS), all based on the new generation charged-particle spectrometer SDEA. The electronics should be housed in a volume with dimensions not exceeding 3.2x3.2x3.2 inches with power requirement not exceeding 1.1 W. The EB must provide: (a) electronics for MCP detector pulse handling, (b) minimum of 64 detector pulse channels for WTS and IDS, (c) 2 channels devoted to TOF pulse processing with 2 ns time resolution or faster for NMS and IMS, (d) two ion source power supplies (1V/0.1A cathode supply floating at -100VDC) for WTS and NMS, (e) two energy scan supplies (0 to 5 V) for WTS and IMS, (f) two rectangular-wave supplies (0 to 1 V with 1 microsec rise time) for NMS and IMS, (g) ion accelerator optics voltage supplies (3 outputs @ 200 VDC max) for NMS and IMS, (h) MCP voltage supply (one lead/2700VDC max @ 50 microAmp max), and (i) micro-controller with buffer memory and telemetry link.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51330

        S1.07Cryogenic Systems for Sensors and Detectors

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, MSFC

        Cryogenic cooling systems often serve as enabling technologies for detectors and sensors flown on scientific instruments as well as advanced telescopes and observatories. As such, technological improvements to cryogenic systems (as well as components) further advance the mission goals of NASA… Read more>>

        Cryogenic cooling systems often serve as enabling technologies for detectors and sensors flown on scientific instruments as well as advanced telescopes and observatories. As such, technological improvements to cryogenic systems (as well as components) further advance the mission goals of NASA through enabling performance (and ultimately science gathering) capabilities of flight detectors and sensors. Presently, there are six potential investment areas that NASA is seeking to expand state of the art capabilities in for possible use on future programs such as IXO (http://ixo.gsfc.nasa.gov/), Safir (http://safir.jpl.nasa.gov/), Spirit, Specs (http://geons.gsfc.nasa.gov/live/Home/SPECS.html) and the Europa Science missions (http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/jpl-europa20090218.html). The topic areas are as follows:



        Extremely Low Vibration Cooling Systems

        Examples of such systems include pulse tube coolers and turbo brayton cycles. Desired cooling capabilities sought are on the order of 20 mW at 4K or 1W at 50 K. Present state of the art capabilities display


        Advanced Magnetic Cooler Components

        An example of an advanced magnetic cooler might be Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigeration systems. Specific components sought include:

        • Low current superconducting magnets;
        • Active/Passive magnetic shielding ( 3-4 Tesla magnets);
        • Superconducting leads (10K - 90K) capable of 10 amp operation with 1 mW conduction;
        • 10 mK scale thermometry.



        Continuous Flow Distributed Cooling Systems

        Distributed cooling provides increased lifetime of cryogen fluids for applications on both the ground and spaceborne platforms. This has impacts on payload mass and volume for flight systems which translate into costs (either on the ground, during launch or in flight). Cooling systems that provide continuous distributed flow are a cost effective alternative to present techniques/methodologies. Cooling systems that can be used with large loads and/or deployable structures are presently being sought after.



        Heat Switches

        Current heat switches require detailed procedures for operational repeatability. More robust (performance wise) heat switches are currently needed for ease of operation when used with space flight applications.



        Highly Efficient Magnetic and Dilution Cooling Technologies

        The desired temperature range for proposed systems is


        Low Temperature/Power Cooling Systems

        Cooling systems providing cooling capacities approximately 0.3W at 35 K with heat rejection capability to temperature sinks upwards of 150 K are of interest. Presently there are no cooling systems operating at this heat rejection temperature. Input powers should be limited to no greater than 10W. Study of passive cooler in tandem with low power, low mass cryocooler satisfying the above mentioned requirements is also of interest.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51338

        S1.08In Situ Airborne, Surface, and Submersible Instruments for Earth Science

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, LaRC, MSFC, SSC

        New, innovative, high risk/high payoff approaches to miniaturized and low cost instrument systems are needed to enhance Earth science research capabilities. Sensor systems for a variety of platforms are desired, including those designed for remotely operated robotic aircraft, surface craft,… Read more>>

        New, innovative, high risk/high payoff approaches to miniaturized and low cost instrument systems are needed to enhance Earth science research capabilities. Sensor systems for a variety of platforms are desired, including those designed for remotely operated robotic aircraft, surface craft, submersible vehicles, and balloon-based systems (tethered or free). Global deployment of numerous sensors is an important objective, therefore cost and platform adaptability are key factors.



        Novel methods to minimize the operational labor requirements and improve reliability are desired. Long endurance (days/weeks/months) autonomous/unattended instruments with self/remote diagnostics, self/remote maintenance, capable of maintaining calibration for long periods, and remote control are important. Use of data systems that collect geospatial, inertial, temporal information, and synchronize multiple sensor platforms are also of interest.


        Priorities include:


        • Atmospheric measurements in the troposphere and lower stratosphere: Aerosols, Cloud Particles, Water, and chemical composition: Carbon Dioxide (12CO2 and 13CO2), Carbon Monoxide, Methane, Reactive and Trace Gases, Radicals, Ozone, Three-dimensional Winds and Turbulence.
        • Oceanic, coastal, and fresh water measurements including inherent and apparent optical properties, temperature, salinity, currents, chemical and particle composition, sediment, and biological components such as phytoplankton, harmful algal blooms, fish or aquatic plants.
        • Instrument systems for hazardous environments such as volcanoes and severe storms.
        • Instrument systems for difficult to access areas such as sub-glacial waters.



        Instrument systems to support field studies of fundamental processes are of interest, as well as for satellite measurement calibration and validation. Applicability to NASA's Airborne Science, Atmospheric Composition and Radiation Sciences, Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry, and Applied Sciences programs is a priority. Support of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and regional coastal research is also desired.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51347

        S1.09In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Planetary Science

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JSC, LaRC, MSFC

        This subtopic solicits development of advanced instruments and instrument components that are tailored to the demands of planetary instrument deployment on a variety of space platforms (orbiters, flyby spacecraft, landers, rovers, balloon or other aerial vehicles, subsurface penetrators or impactors… Read more>>

        This subtopic solicits development of advanced instruments and instrument components that are tailored to the demands of planetary instrument deployment on a variety of space platforms (orbiters, flyby spacecraft, landers, rovers, balloon or other aerial vehicles, subsurface penetrators or impactors, etc.) accessing the wide variety of bodies in our solar system (inner and outer planets and their moons, comets, asteroids, etc.). These instruments must be capable of withstanding operation in space and planetary environmental extremes, which include temperature, pressure, radiation, and impact stresses. For example missions see:

        http://science.hq.nasa.gov/missions/solar_system.html



        Specifically, this subtopic solicits instrument development that provides significant advances in the following areas:


        • Improved science return and/or reduced mass, power, volume, data rates for instruments or instrument components (e.g., lasers and other light sources from UV to microwave, X-ray and ion sources, detectors, mixers, seismometers, etc.) or electronics (e.g., FPGA and ASIC implementations, advanced array readouts);
        • Instrument technologies for detecting inorganic and organic biomarkers on future Mars missions;
        • Improved robustness and g-force survivability for rough landings on planetary bodies;
        • Radiation mitigation strategies, radiation tolerant detectors, and readout electronics components for candidate instruments for the Europa-Jupiter System Mission;
        • Advanced sample acquisition and processing technologies, including fluid and gas storage, pumping, and manipulation, to support analytical instrumentation, sample return, or planetary protection.
        • Sensors, mechanisms, and environmental chamber technologies for operation in Venus's high temperature, high pressure environment with its unique atmospheric composition. Venus test chambers that can support evaluation of 50 to 100 cm sensors, instruments, and related structures are particularly requested.



        Proposers are strongly encouraged to relate their proposed development to (a) future planetary exploration goals of NASA; and (b) existing flight instrument capability to provide a comparison metric for assessing proposed improvements. Proposed instrument architectures should be as simple, robust, and reliable as possible while enabling compelling science.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant space science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51334

        S1.10Space Geodetic Observatory Components

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        NASA is working with the international community to develop the next generation of geodetic instruments and networks to determine the terrestrial reference frame with accuracy better than one part per billion. These instruments include Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers, Very Long… Read more>>

        NASA is working with the international community to develop the next generation of geodetic instruments and networks to determine the terrestrial reference frame with accuracy better than one part per billion. These instruments include Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers, Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) systems, and Next Generation Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) stations. The development of these instruments and the needed integrating technology will require contributions from a broad variety of optical, microwave, antenna and survey engineering suppliers. These needs include but are not limited to:


        • Broadband feeds capable of receiving GNSS signals, Ka-band feeds integrated with broadband feeds, and matching antennas that meet or exceed the slewing and duty cycle requirements of the IVS VLBI2010 specifications.
        • VLBI system components including > 4 Gbps recorders, phase/cable calibrators, and frequency standards / distribution systems that meet or exceed the requirements of the IVS VLBI2010 specifications.
        • Cost-effective data transmission for e-VLBI from a global network of 30 VLBI stations operating up to 8 Gbps.
        • Compact, low mass, space-qualified for MEO, SLR retroreflector arrays with greater than 100 million square meter lidar cross section, with a design that assures the ability to determine the array center to the center of mass of the spacecraft to a millimeter.
        • A very high quantum efficiency (>50% at 532nm), low instrument noise, multi-pixilated detector for SLR use in the automated tracking.
        • Wide band GNSS antenna and RF front-end technologies accommodating all expected GNSS signals in the next decade, and offering at least an order of magnitude improvements over COTS devices in terms of multipath rejection, and stability of output relative to temperature.
        • Continuous, reliable co-location monitoring and control system for the relative 3-D displacement of geodetic instruments within a geodetic observatory to better than 1 mm.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51382

        S1.11Lunar Science Instruments and Technology

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JPL, JSC

        NASA lunar robotic science missions support the high-priority goals identified in the 2007 National Research Council report, The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Final Report (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11954). Future missions will characterize the lunar exosphere and… Read more>>

        NASA lunar robotic science missions support the high-priority goals identified in the 2007 National Research Council report, The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Final Report (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11954). Future missions will characterize the lunar exosphere and surface environment; field test new equipment, technologies, and approaches for performing lunar science; identify landing sites and emplace infrastructure to support robotic and human exploration; demonstrate and validate heritage systems for exploration missions; and provide operational experience in the harsh lunar environment.



        Space-qualified instruments are required to perform remote and in situ lunar science investigations, to include measurements of lunar dust composition, reactivity and transport, searching for water ice, assessing the radiation environment, gathering long period measurements of the lunar exosphere, and conducting surface and subsurface geophysical measurements.



        In support of these requirements, this subtopic seeks advancements in the following areas:


        Geophysical Measurements

        Systems, subsystems, and components for seismometers and heat flow sensors capable of long-term continuous operation over multiple lunar day/night cycles with improved sensitivity at lower mass and reduced power consumption compared to the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) instruments (http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/frame.html). Instrument deployment options include robotic deployment from soft Landers, as well as emplacement by hard landers or penetrators. Also of interest are portable surface ground penetrating radars with antenna frequencies of 250-MHz, 500-MHz, and 1000-MHz to characterize the thickness of the lunar regolith. Also of interest are accurate, low mass, thermally stable hollow cubes and retroreflector array assemblies for lunar surface laser ranging.



        In Situ Lunar Surface Measurements

        Light-weight and power efficient instruments that enable elemental and/or mineralogy analysis using techniques such as high-sensitivity X-ray and UV-fluorescence spectrometers, UV/fluorescence flash lamp/camera systems, scanning electron microscopy with chemical analysis capability; time-of-flight mass spectrometry, gas chromatography and tunable diode laser (TDL) sensors for in situ isotopic and elemental analysis of evolved volatiles, calorimetry, and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). Instruments shall have the potential to provide isotope ratio measurements and/or hydrogen distributions to ±10 ppm locally. Characterizing the meteoroid and subsequent eject flux environment and measurements of surface and deep dielectric charging on the lunar surface should be considered. Also, self calibrating instruments to measure surface and deep dielectric charging on a variety of materials encompassing conductors, semi-conductors, and insulators are another area. Instrument deployment options include robotic deployment from soft Landers, as well as emplacement by hard Landers or penetrators.



        Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Measurements

        Low-mass and low-power instruments that measure the local lunar surface environment which includes but is not limited to the characterization of: the plasma environment, surface electric field, and dust concentrations and its diurnal dynamics. Instrument deployment options include robotic deployment from soft Landers, as well as emplacement by hard Landers or penetrators.



        Lunar Regolith Particle Analysis

        A substantial portion of the particles in the Lunar Regolith are smaller than the integration volume of e-beam analytical equipment, making automated quantitative analysis extremely difficult using available approaches. Therefore, software development is sought that would automate integration of suites of multiple Back Scatter Electron images acquired at different operating conditions, as well as permit integration of other data such as cathode luminescence and EDS X-ray. The said software would then use standard image processing tools to resample to common scales, perform appropriate discriminant analysis using the high resolution data, mixed pixel inversion, image segmentation to extract particles, and correlate chemistry with products of the discriminant analysis.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.





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    • + Expand Advanced Telescope Systems Topic

      Topic S2 Advanced Telescope Systems PDF


      The NASA Science Missions Directorate seeks technology for cost-effective high-performance advanced space telescopes for astrophysics and Earth science. Astrophysics applications require large aperture light-weight highly reflecting mirrors, deployable large structures and innovative metrology, control of unwanted radiation for high-contrast optics, precision formation flying for synthetic aperture telescopes, and cryogenic optics to enable far infrared telescopes. A few of the new astrophysics telescopes and their subsystems will require operation at cryogenic temperatures as cold a 4-degrees Kelvin. This topic will consider technologies necessary to enable future telescopes and observatories collecting electromagnetic bands, ranging from UV to millimeter waves, and also include gravity waves. The subtopics will consider all technologies associated with the collection and combination of observable signals. Earth science requires modest apertures in the 2 to 4 meter size category that are cost effective. New technologies in innovative mirror materials, such as silicon, silicon carbide and nanolaminates, innovative structures, including nanotechnology, and wavefront sensing and control are needed to build telescope for Earth science that have the potential to cost between $50 to $150M.

      • 51351

        S2.01Precision Spacecraft Formations for Telescope Systems

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        This subtopic seeks hardware and software technologies necessary to establish, maintain, and operate precision spacecraft formations to a level that enables cost effective large aperture and separated spacecraft optical telescopes and interferometers (e.g., http://constellation.gsfc.nasa.gov/,… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks hardware and software technologies necessary to establish, maintain, and operate precision spacecraft formations to a level that enables cost effective large aperture and separated spacecraft optical telescopes and interferometers (e.g., http://constellation.gsfc.nasa.gov/, http://lisa.gsfc.nasa.gov/). Also sought are technologies (analysis, algorithms, and testbeds) to enable detailed analysis, synthesis, modeling, and visualization of such distributed systems.



        Formation flight can synthesize large effective telescope apertures through, multiple, collaborative, smaller telescopes in a precision formation. Large effective apertures can also be achieved by tiling curved segments to form an aperture larger than can be achieved in a single launch, for deep-space high resolution imaging of faint astrophysical sources. These formations require the capability for autonomous precision alignment and synchronized maneuvers, reconfigurations, and collision avoidance. The spacecraft also require onboard capability for optimal path planning and time optimal maneuver design and execution.



        Innovations are solicited for: (a) sensor systems for inertial alignment of multiple vehicles with separations of 10,000 - 100,000 km to accuracy of 1 - 50 milli-arcseconds; (b) development of nanometer to sub-nanometer metrology for measuring inter-spacecraft range and/or bearing for space telescopes and interferometers; (c) control approaches to maintain line-of-sight between two vehicles in inertial space near Sun-Earth L2 to milli-arcsecond levels accuracy; (d) development of combined cm-to-nanometer-level precision formation flying control of numerous spacecraft and their optics to enable large baseline, sparse aperture UV/optical and X-ray telescopes and interferometers for ultra-high angular resolution imagery. Proposals addressing staged-control experiments which combine coarse formation control with fine-level wavefront sensing based control are encouraged.



        Innovations are also solicited for distributed spacecraft systems in the following areas:


        • Distributed, multi-timing, high fidelity simulations;
        • Formation modeling techniques;
        • Precision guidance and control architectures and design methodologies;
        • Centralized and decentralized formation estimation;
        • Distributed sensor fusion;
        • RF and optical precision metrology systems;
        • Formation sensors;
        • Precision microthrusters/actuators;
        • Autonomous reconfigurable formation techniques;
        • Optimal, synchronized, maneuver design methodologies;
        • Collision avoidance mechanisms;
        • Formation management and station keeping.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51345

        S2.02Proximity Glare Suppression for Astronomical Coronagraphy

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC

        This subtopic addresses the unique problem of imaging and spectroscopic characterization of faint astrophysical objects that are located within the obscuring glare of much brighter stellar sources and innovative advanced wavefront sensing and control for cost-effective space telescopes. Examples… Read more>>

        This subtopic addresses the unique problem of imaging and spectroscopic characterization of faint astrophysical objects that are located within the obscuring glare of much brighter stellar sources and innovative advanced wavefront sensing and control for cost-effective space telescopes. Examples include planetary systems beyond our own, the detailed inner structure of galaxies with very bright nuclei, binary star formation, and stellar evolution. Contrast ratios of one million to ten billion over an angular spatial scale of 0.05-1.5 arcsec are typical of these objects. Achieving a very low background requires control of both scattered and diffracted light. The failure to control either amplitude or phase fluctuations in the optical train severely reduces the effectiveness of starlight cancellation schemes.



        This innovative research focuses on advances in coronagraphic instruments, starlight cancellation instruments, and potential occulting technologies that operate at visible and infrared wavelengths. The ultimate application of these instruments is to operate in space as part of a future observatory mission. Much of the scientific instrumentation used in future NASA observatories for the astrophysical sciences will require control of unwanted radiation (thermal and scattered) across a modest field of view. The performance and observing efficiency of astrophysics instruments, however, must be greatly enhanced. The instrument components are expected to offer much higher optical throughput, larger fields of view, and better detector performance. The wavelengths of primary interest extend from the visible to the thermal infrared. Measurement techniques include imaging, photometry, spectroscopy, and polarimetry. There is interest in component development, and innovative instrument design, as well as in the fabrication of subsystem devices to include, but not limited to, the following areas:



        Starlight Suppression Technologies

        • Advanced starlight canceling coronagraphic instrument concepts;
        • Advanced aperture apodization and aperture shaping techniques;
        • Pupil plane masks for interferometry;
        • Advanced apodization mask or occulting spot fabrication technology controlling smooth density gradients to 10-4 with spatial resolutions ~1 µm, low dispersion, and low dependence of phase on optical density;
        • Metrology for detailed evaluation of compact, deep density apodizing masks, Lyot stops, and other types of graded and binary mask elements. Development of a system to measure spatial optical density, phase in homogeneity, scattering, spectral dispersion, thermal variations, and to otherwise estimate the accuracy of masks and stops is needed;
        • Interferometric starlight cancellation instruments and techniques to include aperture synthesis and single input beam combination strategies;
        • Single mode fiber filtering from visible to 20 µm wavelength;
        • Methods of polarization control and polarization apodization; and
        • Components and methods to insure amplitude uniformity in both coronagraphs and interferometers, specifically materials, processes, and metrology to insure coating uniformity.



        Wavefront Control Technologies

        • Development of small stroke, high precision, deformable mirrors and associated driving electronics scalable to 104 or more actuators (both to further the state-of-the-art towards flight-like hardware and to explore novel concepts). Multiple deformable mirror technologies in various phases of development and processes are encouraged to ultimately improve the state-of-the-art in deformable mirror technology. Process improvements are needed to improve repeatability, yield, and performance precision of current devices;
        • Development of instruments to perform broad-band sensing of wavefronts and distinguish amplitude and phase in the wavefront;
        • Adaptive optics actuators, integrated mirror/actuator programmable deformable mirror;
        • Reliability and qualification of actuators and structures in deformable mirrors to eliminate or mitigate single actuator failures;
        • Multiplexer development for electrical connection to deformable mirrors that has ultra-low power dissipation;
        • High precision wavefront error sensing and control techniques to improve and advance coronagraphic imaging performance; and
        • Highly reflecting broadband coatings.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51354

        S2.03Precision Deployable Optical Structures and Metrology

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, LaRC

        Planned future NASA Missions in astrophysics, such as the Single Aperture Far-IR (SAFIR) telescope, Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF, http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_index.cfm ) missions: Coronagraph, External Occulter and Interferometer, ATLAST, Life Finder, and Submillimeter Probe of the… Read more>>

        Planned future NASA Missions in astrophysics, such as the Single Aperture Far-IR (SAFIR) telescope, Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF, http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_index.cfm ) missions: Coronagraph, External Occulter and Interferometer, ATLAST, Life Finder, and Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure (SPECS), and the UV Optical Imager (UVOIR) require 10 - 30 m class cost effective telescope observatories that are diffraction limited at wavelengths from the visible to the far IR, and operate at temperatures from 4 - 300 K. The desired areal density is 1 - 10 kg/m2. Static and dynamic wavefront error tolerances to thermal and dynamic perturbations may be achieved through passive means (e.g., via a high stiffness system, passive thermal control, jitter isolation or damping) or through active opto-mechanical control. Large deployable multi-layer structures in support of sunshades for passive thermal control and 20m to 50m class planet finding external occulters are also relevant technologies. Potential architecture implementations must package into an existing launch volume, deploy and be self-aligning to the micron level. The target space environment is expected to be L2.



        This topic solicits proposals to develop enabling, cost effective component and subsystem technology for these telescopes. Research areas of particular interest include precision deployable structures and metrology (i.e., innovative active or passive deployable primary or secondary support structures); innovative concepts for packaging fully integrated (i.e., including power distribution, sensing, and control components); distributed and localized actuation systems; deployment packaging and mechanisms; active opto-mechanical control distributed on or within the structure; actuator systems for alignment of reflector panels (order of cm stroke actuators, lightweight, nanometer stability); innovative architectures, materials, packaging and deployment of large sunshields and external occulters; mechanical, inflatable, or other deployable technologies; new thermally-stable materials (CTE


        Also of interest are innovative metrology systems for direct measurement of the optical elements or their supporting structure; requirements for micron level absolute and subnanometer relative metrology for multiple locations on the primary mirror; measurement of the metering truss; and innovative systems which minimize complexity, mass, power and cost. The goal for this effort is to mature technologies that can be used to fabricate 20 m class or greater, lightweight, ambient or cryogenic flight-qualified observatory systems. Proposals to fabricate demonstration components and subsystems with direct scalability to flight systems through validated models will be given preference. The target launch volume and expected disturbances, along with the estimate of system performance, should be included in the discussion. A successful proposal shows a path toward a Phase 2 delivery of demonstration hardware scalable to 3 m for characterization.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51381

        S2.04Advanced Optical Component Systems

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        Future launch systems (such as the planned Ares V) will enable extremely large and/or extremely massive space telescopes. Potential systems include 12 to 30 meter class segmented primary mirrors for UV/optical or infrared wavelengths and 8 to 16 meter class segmented x-ray telescope mirrors. These… Read more>>

        Future launch systems (such as the planned Ares V) will enable extremely large and/or extremely massive space telescopes. Potential systems include 12 to 30 meter class segmented primary mirrors for UV/optical or infrared wavelengths and 8 to 16 meter class segmented x-ray telescope mirrors.



        These potential future space telescopes have very specific mirror technology needs. UV/optical telescopes (such as ATLAST-16 and ST-2020) require 1 to 3 meter class mirrors with


        In view of the very large total mirror or lens collecting aperture required, affordability or areal cost (cost per square meter of collecting aperture) rather than areal density is probably the single most important system characteristic of an advanced optical system. For example, both x-ray and normal incidence space mirrors currently cost $3 million to $4 million per square meter of optical surface area. This research effort seeks a cost reduction for precision optical components by 20 to 100 times, to less than $100K/m2.



        The primary purpose of this subtopic is to develop and demonstrate technologies to manufacture ultra-low-cost precision optical systems for very large x-ray, UV/optical or infrared telescopes. Potential solutions include but are not limited to direct precision machining, rapid optical fabrication, slumping or replication technologies to manufacture 1 to 2 meter (or larger) precision quality mirror or lens segments (either normal incidence for UV/optical/infrared or grazing incidence for x-ray).



        An additional key enabling technology for UV/optical telescopes is a broadband (from 100 nm to 2500 nm) high-reflectivity mirror coating with extremely uniform amplitude and polarization properties which can be deposited on 1 to 3 meter class mirror.



        Successful proposals will demonstrate prototype manufacturing of a precision mirror or lens system or precision replicating mandrel in the 0.25 to 0.5 meter class with a specific scale up roadmap to 1 to 2+ meter class space qualifiable flight optics systems. Material behavior, process control, optical performance, and mounting/deploying issues should be resolved and demonstrated. The potential for scale-up will need to be addressed from a processing and infrastructure point of view.



        An ideal Phase 1 deliverable would be a near UV, visible or x-ray precision mirror, lens or replicating mandrel of at least 0.25 meters. The Phase 2 project would further advance the technology to produce a space-qualifiable precision mirror, lens or mandrel greater than 0.5 meters, with a TRL in the 4 to 5 range. Both deliverables would be accompanied by all necessary documentation, including the optical performance assessment and all data on processing and properties of its substrate materials. The Phase 2 would also include a mechanical and thermal stability analysis.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51337

        S2.05Optics Manufacturing and Metrology for Telescope Optical Surfaces

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

        This subtopic focuses primarily on manufacturing and metrology of optical surfaces, especially for very small or very large and/or thin optics. Missions of interest include: JDEM concepts: http://universe.nasa.gov/program/probes/jdem.html, IXO: http://ixo.gsfc.nasa.gov/, LISA: http://lisa… Read more>>

        This subtopic focuses primarily on manufacturing and metrology of optical surfaces, especially for very small or very large and/or thin optics. Missions of interest include:



        JDEM concepts: http://universe.nasa.gov/program/probes/jdem.html,

        IXO: http://ixo.gsfc.nasa.gov/,

        LISA: http://lisa.gsfc.nasa.gov/,

        ICESAT: http://icesat.gsfc.nasa.gov/, CLARREO, and ACE.



        Optical systems currently being researched for these missions are large area aspheres, requiring accurate figuring and polishing across six orders of magnitude in period. Technologies are sought that will enhance the figure quality of optics in any range as long as the process does not introduce artifacts in other ranges. For example, mm-period polishing should not introduce waviness errors at the 20 mm or 0.05 mm periods in the power spectral density. Also, novel metrological solutions that can measure figure errors over a large fraction of the PSD range are sought, especially techniques and instrumentation that can perform measurements while the optic is mounted to the figuring/polishing machine.



        Of particular interest is the area of x-ray optics metrology, including the evaluation of the optical quality of x-ray mirrors and substrates; the general characterization of x-ray mirrors; and the development of new metrology measurement techniques and instrumentation for x-ray mirrors.



        By the end of a Phase 2 program, technologies must be developed to the point where the technique or instrument can dovetail into an existing optics manufacturing facility producing optics at the R&D stage. Metrology instruments should have 10 nm or better surface height resolution and span at least 3 orders of magnitude in lateral spatial frequency.



        Examples of technologies and instruments of interest include:


        • Interferometric nulling optics for very shallow conical optics used in x-ray telescopes.
        • Segmented systems commonly span 60 degrees in azimuth and 200 mm axial length and cone angles vary from 0.1 to 1 degree.
        • Low stress metrology mounts that can hold very thin optics without introducing mounting distortion.
        • Low normal force figuring/polishing systems operating in the 1 mm to 50 mm period range with minimal impact at significantly smaller and larger period ranges.
        • In-situ metrology systems that can measure optics and provide feedback to figuring/polishing instruments without removing the part from the spindle.
        • Innovative mirror substrate materials or manufacturing methods that produce thin mirror substrates that are stiffer and/or lighter than existing materials or methods.
        • Extreme aspheric and/or anamorphic optics for pupil intensity amplitude apodization (PIAA).



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.





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    • + Expand Spacecraft and Platform Subsystems Topic

      Topic S3 Spacecraft and Platform Subsystems PDF


      The Science Mission Directorate will carry out the scientific exploration of our Earth, the planets, moons, comets, and asteroids of our Solar System and beyond. SMD's future direction will be moving from exploratory missions (orbiters and flybys) into more detailed/specific exploration missions that are at or near the surface of where we want to explore (landers, rovers, and sample returns), that would require new vantage points, or that would need to integrate or distribute capabilities across multiple assets. Future destinations will be more challenging to get to, have more extreme environmental conditions and challenges once you get there, and may be a challenge to get a spacecraft or data back from. A major objective of the NASA science spacecraft systems development programs is to enable science measurement capabilities using smaller and lower cost spacecraft to meet multiple mission requirements thus making the best use of our limited resources. To accomplish this objective, NASA is seeking innovations to significantly improve subsystem capabilities while reducing the mass and cost, that would in turn enable increased scientific return for future NASA missions. Innovations are sought in the areas of: Command, Data Handling, and Electronics; Thermal Control Systems; Power Generation and Conversion; Propulsion Systems; Power Management and Storage; Guidance, Navigation and Control; Sensor and Platform Data Processing & Control; Planetary Ascent Vehicles; Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Terrestrial Balloons.

      • 51328

        S3.01Command, Data Handling, and Electronics

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, JSC, LaRC

        NASA's space based observatories, fly by spacecraft, orbiters, landers, and robotic and sample return missions, require robust command and control capabilities. Advances in technologies relevant to guidance, navigation, command and data handling are sought to support NASA's goals and several… Read more>>

        NASA's space based observatories, fly by spacecraft, orbiters, landers, and robotic and sample return missions, require robust command and control capabilities. Advances in technologies relevant to guidance, navigation, command and data handling are sought to support NASA's goals and several missions and projects under development.



        http://nasascience.nasa.gov/search?SearchableText=missions+under+development
        http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10432



        The subtopic goals are to: (1) develop high-performance processors and memory architectures and reliable electronic systems, and (2) develop an avionics architecture that is flexible, scalable, extensible, adaptable, and reusable. The subtopic objective is to elicit novel architectural concepts and component technologies that are realistic and operate effectively and credibly in environments consistent with the future NASA Science missions.



        Successful proposal concepts should significantly advance the state-of-the-art. Proposals should clearly (1) state what the product is; (2) describe how it targets the technical priorities listed below; and (3) outline the feasibility of the technical and programmatic approach. If a Phase 2 proposal is awarded, the combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 developments should produce a prototype that can be characterized by NASA. The technology priorities sought are listed below.



        Command and Data Handling

        • Processors - General purpose (processor chips and radiation-hardened by design synthesizable IP cores) and special purpose single-chip components (DSPs) with sustainable processing performance and power efficiency (>500 MIPS at >100 MIPS/W for general purpose processing platforms, >5 GMACs at >5 GMACS/W for computationally-intensive processing platforms), and tolerance to total dose and single-event radiation effects. Concepts must include tools required to support an integrated hardware/software development flow.
        • Radiation-hardened non-volatile low power memories.
        • Radiation-hardened physical layer components for onboard data busses (e.g. Ethernet).
        • Tunable, scalable, reconfigurable, adaptive fault-tolerant avionics.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



        The Small Spacecraft Build effort highlighted in Topic S4 (Low-cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies) of the solicitation participates in this subtopic. Offerors are encouraged to take this in consideration as a possible flight opportunity when proposing work to this subtopic.



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      • 51326

        S3.02Thermal Control Systems

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, JPL, MSFC

        Future Spacecraft and instruments for NASA's Science Mission Directorate will require increasingly sophisticated thermal control technology. Some of these requirements include: Optical systems, lasers and detectors require tight temperature control, often to better than +/- 1°C. Some new… Read more>>

        Future Spacecraft and instruments for NASA's Science Mission Directorate will require increasingly sophisticated thermal control technology. Some of these requirements include:


        1. Optical systems, lasers and detectors require tight temperature control, often to better than +/- 1°C. Some new missions such as LISA require thermal gradients held to even tighter micro-degree levels.
        2. Exploration science missions beyond earth orbit present engineering challenges requiring systems which are more self-sufficient and reliable.
        3. The introduction of low-cost, small, rapidly configured spacecraft requires the development of new thermal technologies to reduce the time and costs typically required for analysis, design, integration, and testing of the spacecraft.



        Innovative proposals for the cross-cutting thermal control discipline are sought in the following areas:


        • Methods of precise temperature measurement and control to tight temperature levels.
        • High conductivity, vacuum-compatible interface materials to minimize losses across make/break interfaces.
        • High conductivity materials to minimize temperature gradients and provide high efficiency light-weight radiators, including interfaces to heat pipes and fluid loops that overcomes issues with CTE mismatch.
        • Advanced more efficient thermoelectric coolers capable of providing cooling at ambient and cryogenic temperatures,
        • Advanced thermal control coatings, particularly those with low absorptance, high emmittance, and good electrical conductivity. Also, variable emittance surfaces to modulate heat rejection are needed.
        • Single and two-phase mechanically pumped fluid loop systems which accommodate multiple heat sources and sinks, and long life, lightweight pumps for these systems. Also includes advanced fluid system components such as accumulators, valves, pumps, flow rate sensors, etc. optimized for improved reliability, long life, and low resource needs.
        • Phase change systems for Mars or Lunar applications. Reusable phase change systems are desired which can be employed to absorb transient heat dissipations during instrument operations. Technology is sought for phase change systems which can then either store this energy or provide an exothermic process which would provide heat for instrument power-on after the dormant phase.
        • Ionic liquids, salts composed of separate cations and anions, have been known but not intensely studied. Because of their tunable and thus extremely favorable solvent and materials properties, ionic liquids are potentially useful for a wide range of space applications, e.g. liquid-mirror telescopes and heat transfer of fluids that could enhance lunar regolith geothermal potential many-fold.
        • Efficient, lightweight, oil-less, high lift vapor compression systems or novel new technologies for high performance cooling up to 2 KW.
        • Advanced thermal modeling techniques that can be easily integrated into existing codes, emphasizing inclusion of two-phase systems and mechanically pumped system models.
        • Integration of standardized formats into existing analytical codes for the representation and exchange of thermal network models and thermal geometric models and results.
        • Analytical codes to automate the generation of reduced thermal models from larger models, including routines to verify the accuracy of the reduced models.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration. Phase 2 should deliver a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51314

        S3.03Power Generation and Conversion

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL, JSC, MSFC

        Future NASA science missions will employ Earth orbiting spacecraft, planetary spacecraft, balloons, aircraft, surface assets, and marine craft as observation platforms. Proposals are solicited to develop advanced power generation and conversion technologies to enable or enhance the capabilities of… Read more>>

        Future NASA science missions will employ Earth orbiting spacecraft, planetary spacecraft, balloons, aircraft, surface assets, and marine craft as observation platforms. Proposals are solicited to develop advanced power generation and conversion technologies to enable or enhance the capabilities of future science missions. Requirements for these missions are varied and include long life, high reliability, significantly lower mass and volume, higher mass specific power, and improved efficiency over the state of practice for components and systems. Other desired capabilities are high radiation tolerance and the ability to operate in extreme environments (high and low temperatures and over wide temperature ranges).



        While power generation technology affects a wide range of NASA missions and operational environments, technologies that provide substantial benefits for key mission applications/capabilities are being sought in the following areas:



        Radioisotope Power Conversion

        Improvements are solicited in component and systems technology relevant to Sterling and thermophotovoltaic power conversion. For Stirling conversion, advances sought, but not limited to, include:


        • Novel methods or approaches for radiation-tolerant, sensorless, autonomous control of Stirling converters with very low vibration and having low mass, size, and electromagnetic interference (EMI);
        • High-temperature, high-performance regenerators and linear alternators;
        • Advances applicable to Venus surface missions including high-temperature heater heads (> 850°C), joining techniques and regenerators (~1200°C), and combined electrical power generation and cooling systems applicable to Venus surface missions (~1200°C);
        • Concepts for Stirling engine power from cold energy lunar regolith down to 2-3 meters below the surface, including Stirling Engines that will provide up to 100 watts with a mass less than 50kg for the surface lunar environment with the hot side operating at about 256 K and a cold side at about 100 degrees lower.



        Thermophotovoltaic conversion is currently focused on follow-on technology for the International Lunar Network (ILN) and for the outer planets mission. Advances sought, but not limited to, include:


        • Low-bandgap cells having high efficiency and high reliability;
        • High temperature selective emitters;
        • Low absorptance optical band-pass filters;
        • Efficient multi-foil insulation.



        Photovoltaic Energy Conversion

        Photovoltaic cell, blanket, and array technologies that lead to significant improvements in overall solar array performance (i.e. conversion efficiency >30%, array mass specific power >300watts/kilogram, decreased stowed volume, reduced initial and recurring cost, long-term operation in high radiation environments, high power arrays, and a wide range of space environmental operating conditions) are solicited. Technologies specifically addressing the following mission needs are highly sought:


        • Photovoltaic cell and blanket technologies capable of low intensity, low-temperature operation applicable to outer planetary (low solar intensity) missions;
        • Photovoltaic cell, blanket and array technologies capable of enhancing solar array operation in a high intensity, high-temperature environment (i.e. inner planetary and solar probe-type missions);
        • Lightweight solar array technologies applicable to solar electric propulsion missions. Current missions being studied require solar arrays that provide 1 to 20 kilowatts of power at 1 AU, are greater than 300 watts/kilogram specific power, can operate in the range of 0.7 to 3 AU, provide operational array voltages up to 150 volts and have a low stowed volume.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51316

        S3.04Propulsion Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) needs spacecraft with more demanding propulsive performance and flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles, more challenging environmental conditions, and extended operation. Planetary spacecraft need the ability to rendezvous with, orbit… Read more>>

        The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) needs spacecraft with more demanding propulsive performance and flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles, more challenging environmental conditions, and extended operation. Planetary spacecraft need the ability to rendezvous with, orbit, and conduct in situ exploration of planets, moons, and other small bodies in the solar system (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10432). Future spacecraft and constellations of spacecraft will have high-precision propulsion requirements, usually in volume- and power-limited envelopes.



        This subtopic seeks innovations to meet SMD propulsion requirements, which are reflected in the goals of NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology program to reduce the travel time, mass, and cost of SMD spacecraft. Advancements in chemical and electric propulsion systems related to sample return missions to Mars, small bodies (like asteroids, comets, and Near-Earth Objects), outer planet moons, and Venus are desired. Additional electric propulsion technology innovations are also sought to enable low cost systems for Discovery class missions, and eventually to enable radioisotope electric propulsion (REP) type missions.



        The focus of this solicitation is for next generation propulsion systems and components, including high-pressure chemical rocket technologies and low cost/low mass electric propulsion technologies. Specific sample return propulsion technologies of interest include higher pressure chemical propulsion system components, lightweight propulsion components, and Earth-return vehicle propulsion systems. Propulsion technologies related specifically to planetary ascent vehicles will be sought under S3.08 Planetary Ascent Vehicle.



        Chemical systems for sample return missions should focus on component technologies for high-pressure (>700 psi) chemical systems such as:


        • Lightweight tanks;
        • Actuators and regulators;
        • Self pressurizing propellants.



        This subtopic also seeks proposals that explore uses of technologies that will provide superior performance in electric propulsion systems. These technologies include:


        • Hall thruster power processing unit (PPU) capable of 3 ½ kW, 5A, and 700 V with a maximum mass of 5.25 kg;
        • High specific impulse/low mass electric propulsion systems for sample return missions;
        • Future low cost/low mass electric propulsion systems;
        • Thrusters should provide thrust up to 20 mN with a specific impulse between 1600 to 3500 seconds;
        • Corresponding power processing units capable up to 1 kW of input power;
        • The total system mass should not exceed 3 kgs (roughly 1 kg for a thruster and 2 kg for a PPU).



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51315

        S3.05Power Management and Storage

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        Future NASA science objectives will include missions such as Earth Orbiting, Venus, Europa, Titan and Lunar Quest. Under this subtopic, proposals are solicited to develop energy storage and power electronics to enable or enhance the capabilities of future science missions. The unique requirements… Read more>>

        Future NASA science objectives will include missions such as Earth Orbiting, Venus, Europa, Titan and Lunar Quest. Under this subtopic, proposals are solicited to develop energy storage and power electronics to enable or enhance the capabilities of future science missions. The unique requirements for the power systems for these missions can vary greatly, with advancements in components needed above the current State of the Art (SOA) for long life, high reliability, low mass/volume, radiation tolerance, and wide temperature operation. Other subtopics which could potentially benefit from these technology developments include X1.03 Radiation Hardened/Tolerant and Low Temperature Electronics and Processors. Battery development could also be beneficial to X7.01 Advanced Space-rated Batteries which is investigating similar, but different technologies.



        Energy Storage

        Future science missions will require advanced primary and secondary battery systems capable of operating at temperature extremes from -100°C for Titan missions to 400°C to 500°C for Venus missions, and a span of -230°C to +120°C for Lunar Quest. In addition, rechargeable electrochemical battery systems that offer greater than 50,000 charge/discharge cycles (10 year operating life) for low-earth-orbiting spacecraft, 20 year life for geosynchronous (GEO) spacecraft, are desired. Advancements to battery energy storage capabilities that address one or more of the above requirements for the stated missions combined with very high specific energy (>200 Wh/kg for secondary battery systems) and energy density, along with radiation tolerance are of interest.



        Power Management and Distribution (PMAD)

        Advanced electrical power technologies are required for the electrical components and systems on future platforms to address the size, mass, efficiency, capacity, durability, and reliability requirements. Of importance are expected improvements in energy density, speed, efficiency, or wide-temperature operation (-125°C to over 450°C) with a number of thermal cycles. Advancements are sought for power electronic devices, components and packaging for Venus type missions with power ranges of a few watts for minimum missions up to a few hundred watts for large missions. In addition, advancements in components or architectures for application to Radioisotope Electric Propulsion (REP) PMAD systems are considered beneficial. Technologies of interest include:


        • High temperature devices and components (up to 450°C);
        • Advanced electronic packaging for thermal control and electromagnetic shielding.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract. Phase 2 emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under relevant test conditions. Additionally, a path should be outlined that shows how the technology could be commercialized or further developed into science-worthy systems.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 52058

        S3.06Guidance, Navigation and Control

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL

        Advances in the following areas of guidance, navigation and control are sought. Navigation systems (including multiple sensors and algorithms/estimators, possibly based on existing component technologies) that work collectively on multiple vehicles to enable inertial alignment of the formation of… Read more>>

        Advances in the following areas of guidance, navigation and control are sought.



        Navigation systems (including multiple sensors and algorithms/estimators, possibly based on existing component technologies) that work collectively on multiple vehicles to enable inertial alignment of the formation of vehicles (i.e., pointing of the line-of-sight defined by fixed points on the vehicles) on the level of milli-arcseconds relative to the background star field.



        Light-weight sensors (gyroscopic or other approach) to enable milli-arcsecond class pointing measurement for individual large telescopes and low cost small spacecraft.



        Isolated pointing and tracking platforms (pointing 0.5 arcseconds, jitter to 5 milli-arcsecond), targeted to placing a scientific instrument on GEO communication satellites that can track the sun for > 3 hours/day.



        Working prototypes of GN&C actuators (e.g., reaction or momentum wheels) that advance mass and technology improvements for small spacecraft use. Such technologies may include such non-contact approaches such as magnetic or gas. Superconducting materials, driven by temperature conditioning may also be appropriate provided that the net power used to drive and condition the "frictionless" wheels is comparable to traditional approaches.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51327

        S3.07Sensor and Platform Data Processing and Control

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL

        Future NASA's science missions will require high-performance onboard data processing capabilities that far exceed those of today. These capabilities will be leveraged to provide data reduction for missions where sensor bandwidths far exceed downlink bandwidth. Improved onboard data processing will… Read more>>

        Future NASA's science missions will require high-performance onboard data processing capabilities that far exceed those of today. These capabilities will be leveraged to provide data reduction for missions where sensor bandwidths far exceed downlink bandwidth. Improved onboard data processing will also enable autonomous/collaborative systems, where science operations are autonomously controlled via features extracted from the sensor data. Advances in technologies relevant to sensor and platform data processing and control are sought to support NASA's goals and several missions and projects under development.



        http://nasascience.nasa.gov/search?SearchableText=missions+under+development
        http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10432



        The subtopic goals are to: (1) develop device technologies and architectures that can yield a 10x to 100x improvement in on-board computing power is required to enable the next generation of Earth Science, Space Science and Exploration missions; and (2) develop tool technologies that can enable rapid development of high reliability, high performance onboard data processing applications for these missions.



        Successful proposal concepts will significantly exceed the present state-of-the-art. Proposals will clearly (1) state what the product is; (2) describe how it targets the technical priorities listed below; and (3) outline the feasibility of the technical and programmatic approach. If a Phase 2 proposal is awarded, the combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 developments shall produce a prototype that is testable by NASA. The technology priorities sought are listed below.



        Device Technologies and Architectures

        • Highly reliable, radiation tolerant, special purpose data processing devices (FPGA, multi-core, DSP) that enable accelerated onboard data processing;
        • Hybrid onboard processing architectures using multiple heterogeneous processing elements (CPU, FPGA, DSP, multi-core);
        • Architectures providing software-based radiation mitigation strategies for commercial processing elements.



        Development Tool Technologies

        • Hybrid system design tools that (a) take full advantage of hybrid processing platforms, and (b) automate/accelerate the design and verification process.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 52221

        S3.08Planetary Ascent Vehicles

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, JPL, MSFC

        NASA aims to design, build and test vehicles that will be launched from the surface of other planets and place a payload, Orbiting Sample (OS), into orbit. We are seeking proposals for the development of innovative technologies to support future planetary ascent vehicles. Immediate focus is the Mars… Read more>>

        NASA aims to design, build and test vehicles that will be launched from the surface of other planets and place a payload, Orbiting Sample (OS), into orbit. We are seeking proposals for the development of innovative technologies to support future planetary ascent vehicles. Immediate focus is the Mars ascent vehicle. Technology innovations should either enhance vehicle capabilities (e.g., launch success probability, mission success, improved performance or margins, and improved environmental robustness) or ease implementation in spaceborne missions (e.g., reduce size, mass, power, and thermal requirements, improve reliability and ability to withstand the ~20 g lateral g-loading, or lower cost). The areas of interest for this call are listed below.



        Advanced solid propellant engine system technologies:


        • Solid propellant technology with specific impulse performance potential higher than HTPB and CTPB;
        • Propellant blend with high performance and low storage and operating capability down to 150 K;
        • Low temperature seals and components;
        • Light weight and reliable thrust vector control;
        • Other light weight system and component technologies.



        Alternate propellants, thrusters and propulsion system technologies for the planetary ascent vehicles:


        • Higher performing monopropellants with specific impulse >240 secs;
        • High chamber pressure thrusters > 500 psia;
        • Pressurization component technologies to reduce system mass (filters, solenoid valves, latch valves, tanks, fill and drain and check valves);
        • Small lightweight pump technologies to operate at >500 psi output pressure;
        • Non-pyrotechnic isolation valves.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51305

        S3.09Technologies for Unmanned Atmospheric Platforms

        Lead Center: AFRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC, JPL, LaRC

        Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer significant potential new capabilities for scientific earth exploration over a large range of mission durations, altitudes, and geographical locations. UAVs can carry earth resources remote sensing and atmospheric sampling instruments on scientific… Read more>>

        Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer significant potential new capabilities for scientific earth exploration over a large range of mission durations, altitudes, and geographical locations. UAVs can carry earth resources remote sensing and atmospheric sampling instruments on scientific investigations including the Polar Regions. The potential for these robotic systems has just begun to be realized, and to date their earth observation and atmospheric sampling capabilities are in a state of infancy when compared to platform requirements needed to address national concern over global climate and environmental changes. Current UAV operations are restricted from operations in inclement weather particularly when airframe icing or freezing of fuel may become issues. Airframe icing limits both aircraft flight envelope and may affect scientific payload operations.



        UAVs must adhere to regulatory requirements for flight operations within the national airspace. These regulatory issues pose challenges to the trade space of potential solutions. UAVs can be roughly categorized into 1) larger/high value assets and 2) smaller/lower value or expendable assets. Such categorization of UAVs may drive different technology solutions to meet the technology needs as described below.


        • Precision flight path control for highly repeatable terrain monitoring over daily, seasonal or multi-year cycles;
        • Highly accurate UAV platform attitude control with corresponding science payload instrument stability and pointing accuracy;
        • Lower-cost over-the-horizon telemetry alternatives for real-time collaborative data sharing and decision-making involving multiple in-flight and ground-based instruments;
        • Drop-sonde and surface sampling probes remote from the unmanned aircraft;
        • Airframe icing detection and mitigation to enable UAV severe weather flight operations;
        • UAV flight systems to enable long endurance inclement weather operations; systems such as fuel anti-freezing thermal management will be needed.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51339

        S3.10Terrestrial Balloon Technologies

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Currently, NASA is developing a Super Pressure terrestrial vehicle targeting 100 day duration missions in mid-latitude. This added capability will greatly enable new science investigations. The design of the current pumpkin shape vehicle utilizes light weight polyethylene film and high strength… Read more>>

        Currently, NASA is developing a Super Pressure terrestrial vehicle targeting 100 day duration missions in mid-latitude. This added capability will greatly enable new science investigations. The design of the current pumpkin shape vehicle utilizes light weight polyethylene film and high strength tendons made of twisted Zylon® yarn. The in-flight performance and health of the vehicle relies on accurate information on a number of environmental, design, and operational parameters. Therefore, NASA is seeking innovations in the following specific areas:



        Balloon Instrumentation

        Devices or methods to accurately and continuously measure ambient air, helium gas, balloon film temperatures, and film strain. These measurements are needed to accurately model the balloon performance during a typical flight at altitudes of approximately 120,000 feet. The measurements must compensate for the effects of direct solar radiation through shielding or calculation. Minimal mass and volume are highly desired. For film measurements, a non-invasive and non-contact approach is highly desired for the thin polyethylene film used as the balloon envelope, with film thickness ranging from 0.8 to 1.5 mil. The devices of interest must be compatible with existing NASA balloon packaging, inflation, and launch methods. These instruments must also be able to interface with existing NASA balloon flight support systems or alternatively, a definition of a telemetry solution be provided.



        Device and method to recover a scientific balloon from Antarctica

        Scientific balloons are recovered after flight from the interior of Antarctica. These balloons are either loaded onto aircraft used for remote field operation support, or are loaded upon passing overland traverse vehicles to carry back to McMurdo Station for later disposal. Better methods and/or equipment are needed to expedite the operation and reduce the burden on resources used for recovery of scientific balloons in Antarctica. Current methods to recover balloons are resource and time intensive. In these remote locations, resources and available time are limited. Balloons must be cut up into bundles of manageable size and weight in order to fit inside aircraft that are currently used in support of the United States Antarctic Program (USAP). Scientific balloons weigh up to approximately 2000 kg. The balloon is made up of layers of polyethylene film that are 0.8 to 1.5 mil thick. Each balloon is made up of approximately 200 gores that are heat-sealed together. Each gore seal incorporates load tendons that are made of either polyester load tapes or woven Zylon® fibers. Each balloon incorporates metal end-fittings that can be cut out by hand. Folds, twists and binding of material are characteristics of balloons being recovered. The Antarctic operating environment can be -50 degrees Celsius. Environmental sensitivity is also an issue in Antarctica. Existing aircraft recovery assets include ski-equipped Twin Otters and a DC-3 Basler.



        Devices or methods to accurately and continuously measure individual axial loading on an array of ~50 or up to 300 separate tendons during a Super Pressure balloon mission

        Tendons are the load carrying member in the pumpkin design. During a typical mission, loading on individual tendons should not exceed a critical design limit to ensure structural integrity and survival. Tendons are typically captured at the fitting via individual pins. Loading levels on the tendons can range from ~20 N to ~8,000 N and temperature can vary from room temperature to the troposphere temperatures of -90 degrees Celsius or colder. The devices of interest shall be easily integrated with the tendons or fittings during balloon fabrication and shall have minimal impact on the overall mass of the balloon system. Support telemetry and instrumentation is not part of the this initiative; however, data from any sensors (devices) that are selected from this initiative must be able to be stored on board and/or telemetered in-flight using single-channel (two-wire) interface into existing NASA balloon flight support systems.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.





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    • + Expand Low-Cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies Topic

      Topic S4 Low-Cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies PDF


      This subtopic is targeted at the development of technologies and systems, which can enable the realization of small spacecraft science and exploration missions. While small spacecraft have the benefit of reduced launch costs by virtue of their lower mass, they may be currently limited in performance and their capacity to provide on-orbit resources to payload and instrument systems. With the incorporation of smaller bus technologies, launch costs, as well as total life cycle costs, can continue to be reduced, while still achieving and expanding NASA's mission objectives.

      The Low-Cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies category is focused on the identification and development of specific key spacecraft technologies in the areas of avionics, attitude determination and control, and spacecraft integration planning and management. The primary thrust of this topic is directed at reducing the footprint and resources that these bus subsystems require (power, mass, and volume), allowing more of these critical resources to be shifted to payload and instrument systems, and to further reduce the overall launch mass and volume requirements for small spacecraft.

      Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.

      Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and/or software demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.

      • 52211

        S4.01Radiation Hardened High-Density Memory, High Speed Memory Controllers, Data Busses

        Lead Center: ARC

        There has been considerable progress in the development of low cost high-density memory in the consumer electronics industry. However, spacecraft memory capacities can be orders of magnitude smaller than a desktop computer hard drive. Therefore, NASA has an interest in the development of low cost,… Read more>>

        There has been considerable progress in the development of low cost high-density memory in the consumer electronics industry. However, spacecraft memory capacities can be orders of magnitude smaller than a desktop computer hard drive. Therefore, NASA has an interest in the development of low cost, high-density memory suitable for spaceflight applications including operations in near and deep space radiation and temperature environments. High-density, radiation-tolerant memory can be beneficial for Astrophysics, Earth Sciences, Heliophysics and Planetary missions where instruments, such as large-scale imagers and spectrometers can quickly produce large amounts of data.



        Proposals are sought for radiation-tolerant high-density memory systems that can address or consider the following performance parameters:


        • Storage capabilities of up to 192 Gigabytes of data on single 3U card form factor, suitable for inclusion within integrated avionics units and 3U chassis;
        • Units that utilize the Space Plug and Play Architecture (SPA) developed at AFRL (See http://www.dukeworks.org);
        • Tolerate standard internal spacecraft bus operating temperatures of -25ºC to 40ºC;
        • Tolerate space radiation with Total Ionizing Dose (TID) of 10-400kRad (Si) with an average goal of 100kRad (Si);
        • Capable of surviving space launch environments.



        Although these are baseline goals, proposals that are able to achieve near comparable values will also be considered.



        The proposer to this subtopic is advised that the products proposed may be included in a future small satellite flight opportunity.



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      • 52242

        S4.02Radiation Hardened Integrated Unit: GPS/IMU/Time/Processor

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        Many subsystems and components are gaining benefit from miniaturization and reduction in mass and power requirements. Often many different avionic control system components are necessary for small spacecraft missions with stringent pointing requirements. A considerable saving in mass, power, and… Read more>>

        Many subsystems and components are gaining benefit from miniaturization and reduction in mass and power requirements. Often many different avionic control system components are necessary for small spacecraft missions with stringent pointing requirements. A considerable saving in mass, power, and system complexity can be obtained by integrating components into a single unit. Of particular interest is a GPS, IMU, and timing signal combination in a single unit with an internal low-power processor to perform the internal calculations to provide the spacecraft with the necessary location and attitude knowledge.



        Proposals are sought for an integrated GPS, IMU, and timing signal unit coupled with a low power processor to provide the necessary signals to spacecraft components.



        The integrated unit should address or consider the following performance parameters:


        • Mass less than 2.5kg
        • Average power usage less than 15W
        • GPS:

          • Position accuracy:1-5m
          • Velocity accuracy: 1m/s
          • Time to first fix: 1 minute
          • Use L1 signals; desirable to incorporate L2 signals

        • IMU:

          • Rate Range: 500 deg/sec
          • Bias repeatability: 0.005 deg/hr
          • Scale Factor Accuracy:1 to 5 ppm
          • Angle random walk: 0.005 deg/rt-hr

        • Timing:

          • 10-8 to 10-10 Allan deviation

        • Able to tolerate an acceleration load of ~25g
        • Stable over standard internal spacecraft bus operating temperatures of -25ºC to 40ºC
        • Radiation tolerant with Total Ionizing Dose (TID) of 10 - 400 kRad (Si) with an average goal of 100 kRad (Si)
        • Compatible with the Space Plug and Play Architecture (SPA) developed at AFRL (See http://www.dukeworks.org for information on SPA)
        • Capable of surviving space launch environments



        Although these are baseline goals, proposals that are able to achieve near comparable values will also be considered.



        The proposer to this subtopic is advised that the products proposed may be included in a future small satellite flight opportunity.



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      • 52247

        S4.03Wireless Data and/or Power Connectivity for Small Spacecraft

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        New advances in wireless connectivity for mobile computing and other electronic devices have opened up the possibilities for wireless spacecraft busses. There are two potential applications, the transfer of data, commands, and signals and delivery of power to components. The use of wireless… Read more>>

        New advances in wireless connectivity for mobile computing and other electronic devices have opened up the possibilities for wireless spacecraft busses. There are two potential applications, the transfer of data, commands, and signals and delivery of power to components. The use of wireless technology can be beneficial to small spacecraft designs by eliminating the need for data and power connects, thus reducing spacecraft overall mass and volume requirements. Wireless applications for a spacecraft bus must also ensure that the many different signals do not interfere and there is complete transfer of data and power.



        The proposed wireless technologies should address or consider the following performance parameters:


        • Data transmission capability from 5 - 100 unique devices within the spacecraft;
        • Data transfer rates of 500 Megabits per second to 1 Gigabit per second per device;
        • Scalable wireless power transfer from ~1mW up to ~20W;
        • Overall wireless architecture mass from 3-50kg dependent on the size of the spacecraft bus;
        • Both systems (power and data) should be capable of utilizing the Space Plug-and-Play Architecture (SPA) developed by the AFRL. See http://www.dukeworks.org for information on SPA;
        • Power and data architectures should be tolerant to the space environment including temperatures (25ºC to 40ºC) and radiation ;
        • Capable of surviving space launch environments.



        Although these are baseline goals, proposals that are able to achieve near comparable values will also be considered.



        The proposer to this subtopic is advised that the products proposed may be included in a future small satellite flight opportunity.



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      • 52193

        S4.04Low Cost, High Accuracy Timing Signals

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        Radio science is an important element of many missions, including small spacecraft missions, to planetary bodies and asteroids where mass determination is derived from perturbations of the spacecraft trajectory by the body. Traditionally these missions have required the inclusion of an Ultra Stable… Read more>>

        Radio science is an important element of many missions, including small spacecraft missions, to planetary bodies and asteroids where mass determination is derived from perturbations of the spacecraft trajectory by the body. Traditionally these missions have required the inclusion of an Ultra Stable Oscillator (USO) with timing signal accuracy on the order of 10-12 to 10-13 Allan Deviation. Unfortunately these devices are currently prohibitively expensive for low cost missions. Other devices such as precision clocks can provide accuracy on the order of 10-8 Allan Deviation. It is envisioned that recent improvements in timing signal devices from other industries or new developments can provide a significant reduction in cost while still providing the necessary accuracy in the timing signal.



        Proposals are sought for highly accurate timing signals that address or consider the following performance parameters:


        • Provide timing signals with an accuracy of 10-10 to 10-12 Allan deviation;
        • Be capable of utilizing the Space Plug-and-Play Architecture (SPA) developed at AFRL (See http://www.dukeworks.org);
        • Small enough to fit within a 3U form factor or integrated avionics chassis;
        • Mass less than 1kg;
        • Power draw less than 5W;
        • Stable over standard internal spacecraft bus operating temperatures of -25ºC to 40ºC;
        • Radiation tolerant with Total Ionizing Dose (TID) of 10 - 400 kRad (Si) with an average goal of 100 kRad (Si);
        • Capable of surviving space launch environments.



        Although these are baseline goals, proposals that are able to achieve near comparable values will also be considered.



        The proposer to this subtopic is advised that the products proposed may be included in a future small satellite flight opportunity.



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      • 52267

        S4.05High Torque, Low Jitter Reaction Wheels or Control Moment Gyros

        Lead Center: ARC

        NASA is becoming increasingly interested in using small spacecraft to execute space missions where possible. Many of these missions will require low cost, high torque and low jitter reaction wheels or control moment gyros. Currently there are limited sources of these systems applicable for small… Read more>>

        NASA is becoming increasingly interested in using small spacecraft to execute space missions where possible. Many of these missions will require low cost, high torque and low jitter reaction wheels or control moment gyros. Currently there are limited sources of these systems applicable for small spacecraft. Therefore, development of a family of reaction wheels with the appropriate characteristics for nano- and small spacecraft (5 to 100 kg spacecraft mass) with reduced lead times will result in significant benefits to a number of NASA programs and missions.



        Proposals are sought for the development of reaction wheels and/or control moment gyros with the following performance parameters:


        • Mass less than 2 kg
        • Average power usage less than 5W
        • Compatible with the Space Plug-and-Play Architecture (SPA) developed at AFRL (See http://www.dukeworks.org)
        • Reaction wheels

          • Angular momentum capacity of 1 to 2 Nms
          • Torque capacity greater that 50mN-m
          • Speed range greater than ±20000rpm

        • Control Moment Gyros

          • Torques of 0.1 to 5 Nm

        • Induced jitter noise TBR:


        • The use of built in control electronics with rate sensor abilities is also desirable

          • Rate sensor should have a range of 500 deg/sec
          • Drift rate 0.5 deg/hr

        • Stable over standard internal spacecraft bus operating temperatures of -25ºC to 40ºC
        • Radiation tolerant with Total Ionizing Dose (TID) of 10 - 400 kRad (Si) with an average goal of 100 kRad (Si)
        • Capable of surviving space launch environments



        Although these are baseline goals, proposals that are able to achieve near comparable values will also be considered.



        The proposer to this subtopic is advised that the products proposed may be included in a future small satellite flight opportunity.



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      • 52236

        S4.06AI&T Planner and Scheduler

        Lead Center: ARC

        Proposals are sought for the development of a software tool (or suite of integrated tools) to assist in the planning, scheduling, and operations activities that occur during small spacecraft Assembly, Integration and Test (AI&T). AI&T is a complex period for small spacecraft with many… Read more>>

        Proposals are sought for the development of a software tool (or suite of integrated tools) to assist in the planning, scheduling, and operations activities that occur during small spacecraft Assembly, Integration and Test (AI&T). AI&T is a complex period for small spacecraft with many different procedures, dependencies, operations, and tests occurring in parallel. To streamline the process and ensure compliance with mission and science requirements, NASA is interested in a software tool to support planning, scheduling, and management of the small spacecraft AI&T flow. The tool must be scalable for a variety of different mission and spacecraft classes from nanosatellites, which are typically secondary payloads weighing around 5 - 10 kg, up to primary sciences missions, which may weigh more than 100 kg.



        Proposals are sought for the development of an AI&T tool with the following capabilities:


        • Resource(s) availability determination and planning function

          • Facilities
          • Personnel
          • GSE

        • Requirement mapping for qualification tests along with verification and validation functions
        • Compatible with NASA proposal development processes to assist in a Phase A schedule and cost generation for the AI&T flow
        • Compatible with NASA NPR 7120.5D Program and Project planning requirements





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    • + Expand Robotic Exploration Technologies Topic

      Topic S5 Robotic Exploration Technologies PDF


      NASA is pursuing technologies to enable robotic exploration of the Solar System including its planets, their moons, and small bodies. NASA has a development program that includes technologies for the atmospheric entry, descent, and landing, mobility systems, extreme environments technology, sample acquisition and preparation for in situ experiments, and in situ planetary science instruments. Robotic exploration missions that are planned include a Europa Jupiter System mission, Titan Saturn System mission, Venus In Situ Explorer, sample return from Comet or Asteroid and lunar south polar basin and continued Mars exploration missions launching every 26 months including a network lander mission, an Astrobiology Field Laboratory, a Mars Sample Return mission and other rover missions. Numerous new technologies will be required to enable such ambitious missions. The solicitation for in situ planetary instruments can be found in the in situ instruments section of this solicitation. See URL: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/index.cfm for mission information. See URL: http://marstech.jpl.nasa.gov/ for additional information on Mars Exploration technologies.

      • 51349

        S5.01Planetary Entry, Descent and Landing Technology

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JSC, LaRC

        NASA seeks innovative sensor technologies to enhance success for entry, descent and landing (EDL) operations on missions to Mars. This call is not for sensor processing algorithms. Sensing technologies are desired which determine the entry point of the spacecraft in the Mars atmosphere; provide… Read more>>

        NASA seeks innovative sensor technologies to enhance success for entry, descent and landing (EDL) operations on missions to Mars. This call is not for sensor processing algorithms. Sensing technologies are desired which determine the entry point of the spacecraft in the Mars atmosphere; provide inputs to systems that control spacecraft trajectory, speed, and orientation to the surface; locate the spacecraft relative to the Martian surface; evaluate potential hazards at the landing site; and determine when the spacecraft has touched down. Appropriate sensing technologies for this topic should provide measurements of physical forces or properties that support some aspect of EDL operations. NASA also seeks to use measurements made during EDL to better characterize the Martian atmosphere, providing data for improving atmospheric modeling for future landers. Proposals are invited for innovative sensor technologies that improve the reliability of EDL operations.



        Products or technologies are sought that can be made compatible with the environmental conditions of spaceflight and the rigors of landing on the Martian surface. Successful candidate sensor technologies can address this call by:


        • Providing critical measurements during the entry phase (e.g., pressure and/or temperature sensors embedded into the aeroshell);
        • Improving the accuracy on measurements needed for guidance decisions (e.g., surface relative velocities, altitudes, orientation, localization);
        • Extending the range over which such measurements are collected (e.g., providing a method of imaging through the aeroshell, or terrain-relative navigation that does not require imaging through the aeroshell);
        • Enhancing the situational awareness during landing by identifying hazards (rocks, craters, slopes), or providing indications of approach velocities and touchdown;
        • Substantially reducing the amount of external processing needed to calculate the measurements; and
        • Significantly reducing the impact of incorporating such sensors on the spacecraft in terms of volume, mass, placement, or cost.



        For a sample return mission, monitoring local environmental (weather) conditions on the surface just prior to planetary ascent vehicle launch, via appropriate low-mass sensors.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51346

        S5.02Sample Collection, Processing, and Handling

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JSC

        Robust systems for sample acquisition, handling and processing are critical to the next generation of robotic explorers for investigation of planetary bodies (http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10432&page=R1). Limited spacecraft resources (power, volume, mass, computational capabilities… Read more>>

        Robust systems for sample acquisition, handling and processing are critical to the next generation of robotic explorers for investigation of planetary bodies (http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10432&page=R1). Limited spacecraft resources (power, volume, mass, computational capabilities, and telemetry bandwidth) demand innovative, integrated sampling systems that can survive and operate in challenging environments (extremes in temperature, pressure, gravity, vibration and thermal cycling). Special interest lies in sampling systems and components (actuators, gearboxes, etc.) that are suitable for use in the extremely hot high pressure environment at the Venusian surface (460ºC, 93 bar). Relevant systems could be integrated on multiple platforms, however of primary interest are samplers that could be mounted on a mobile platform, such as a rover. For reference, current Mars-relevant rovers range in mass from 200 - 800 kg.



        Sample Acquisition

        Research should be conducted to develop compact, low-power, lightweight subsurface sampling systems that can obtain 1 cm diameter cores of consolidated material (e.g., rock, icy regolith) up to 10 cm below the surface. Systems should be capable of autonomously acquiring and ejecting samples reliably. Also of interest are methods of autonomously exposing rock interiors from below weathered rind layers. Other sample types of interest are unconsolidated regolith, dust, and atmospheric gas.



        Sample Manipulation (core management, sub-sampling/sorting, powder transport)


        Sample manipulation technologies are needed to enable handling and transfer of structured and unstructured samples from a sampling device to instruments and sample processing systems. Core, cuttings, and regolith samples may be variable in size and composition, so a sample manipulation system needs to be flexible enough to handle the sample variability. Core samples will be on the order of 1 cm diameter and up to 10 cm long. Soil and rock fragment samples will be of similar volumes.



        Sample Integrity (encapsulation and contamination)


        For a sample return mission, it is critical to find solutions for maintaining physical integrity of the sample during the surface mission (rover driving loads, diurnal temperature fluctuations) as well as the return to Earth (cruise, atmospheric entry and impact). Technologies are needed for characterizing state of sample in situ - physical integrity (e.g., cracked, crushed), sample volume, mass or temperature, as well as retention of volatiles in solid (core, regolith) samples, and retention of atmospheric gas samples.



        Also of particular need are means of acquiring subsurface rock and regolith samples with minimum contamination. This contamination may include contaminants in the sampling tool itself, material from one location contaminating samples collected at another location (sample cross-contamination), or Earth-source microorganisms brought to the Martian surface prior to drilling ('clean' sampling from a 'dirty' surface). Consideration should be given to use of materials and processes compatible with 110 - 125°C dry heat sterilization. In situ sterilization may be explored, as well as innovative mechanical or system solutions - e.g., single-use sample "sleeves," or fully-integrated sample acquisition and encapsulation systems.



        For a sample return mission, sample transfer of a payload into a planetary ascent vehicle: Automated payload transfer mechanisms; and Orbiting Sample (OS) sealing techniques.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51348

        S5.03Surface and Subsurface Robotic Exploration

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JSC

        Technologies are needed to enable access and sample acquisition at surface and subsurface sampling sites of scientific interest on Mars or the Moon. Mobility technology is needed to enable access to difficult-to-reach sites such as access through difficult and steep terrain. Manipulation… Read more>>

        Technologies are needed to enable access and sample acquisition at surface and subsurface sampling sites of scientific interest on Mars or the Moon. Mobility technology is needed to enable access to difficult-to-reach sites such as access through difficult and steep terrain. Manipulation technologies are needed to deploy instruments and sampling tools from vehicles. Many scientifically valuable sites are accessible only via terrain that is too difficult or steep for state-of-the-art planetary rovers to traverse. Sites include crater walls, canyons, and gullies. Tethered systems, non-wheeled systems, and marsupial systems are examples of mobility technologies that are of interest. Tether technology could enable new approaches for deployment, retrieval and mobility. Innovative marsupial systems could allow a pair of vehicles with different mobility characteristics to collaborate to enable access to challenging terrain. Single vehicle systems might utilize a 200 kg class rover and dual vehicle systems might utilize a 500 - 800 kg primary vehicle that provides long traverse to the vicinity of a challenging site and then deployment of a smaller 20 - 50 kg vehicle with steep mobility capability for access and sampling at the site.



        Technologies to enable acquisition of subsurface samples are also needed. For Mars in particular, technologies are needed to acquire core samples in the shallow subsurface to about 10cm and to enable subsurface sampling in multiple holes at least 1 - 3 meters deep through rock, regolith or ice compositions. Shallow subsurface sampling systems need to be low mass and deeper subsurface sampling solutions need to be integratable onto 500 - 800 kg stationary landers and mobile platforms. Consideration should be given for potential failure scenarios, such as platform slip and borehole misalignment for integrated systems, and the challenges of dry drilling into mixed media including icy mixtures of rock and regolith. Systems should ensure minimal contamination of samples from Earth-source contaminants and cross-contamination from samples at different locations or depths.



        Innovative component technologies for low-mass, low-power, and modular systems are of particular interest. Technical feasibility should be demonstrated during Phase 1 and a full capability unit of at least TRL level 4 - 6 should be delivered in Phase 2. Specific areas of interest include the following:


        • Tether play-out and retrieval systems including tension and length sensing;
        • Low-mass tether cables with power and communication;
        • Steep terrain adherence for vertical and horizontal mobility;
        • Modular actuators with 1000:1 scale gear ratios;
        • Electro-mechanical couplers to enable change out of instruments on an arm end-effector;
        • Drill, core, and boring systems for subsurface sampling to 10cm or 1 to 3 meters.
        • High power piezoelectric mechanisms for drilling into Lunar Regolith; must be able to deliver high torque for short impulses to clear any obstacles;
        • Shared intelligence allowing systems to collaborate and adapt exploration scenarios to new conditions.



        Proposals should show an understanding of relevant science needs and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51352

        S5.04Rendezvous and Docking Technologies for Orbiting Sample Capture

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JSC

        NASA seeks an innovative suite of products or technologies that will enable and enhance the successful tracking and capture of a sample canister in Mars orbit. The principal means of detection and tracking is optically with visual-band cameras. The challenging technology of long-range optical… Read more>>

        NASA seeks an innovative suite of products or technologies that will enable and enhance the successful tracking and capture of a sample canister in Mars orbit.



        The principal means of detection and tracking is optically with visual-band cameras. The challenging technology of long-range optical sensors for detection and distant tracking is not part of this call, however, short-range optical (or other) sensors and an on-sample radio-metric-based back-up detection and tracking method is desired, including a low-power, low-mass illuminator for short-range imaging of up to 0.5km.



        Sample capture mechanisms are sought, of very low mass and volume, and of low complexity and extremely high reliability, including detection of contact with the capture mechanism. Appropriate on-sample radio-beacons are sought that are compatible with NASA's radio systems; requirements for these are for long life, and independent initiation of on-orbit operation. Sample capture mechanisms should include close-proximity/contact sensors, including immediate-field imaging.



        Command and sequencing software is sought that will robustly operate the onboard GN&C systems, including providing health and safety monitoring of the rendezvous and capture operation, adaptive response to anomalies and abort commanding. Onboard resources can be assumed to be those necessary to perform navigation from images or other data, compute maneuvers, and maintain the spacecraft attitude.



        Methods are sought to provide a practice mechanism for testing rendezvous and proximity operations with a test sample canister on Mars orbit. The test carrier and release mechanism must be of very low mass and volume, and the test sample canister(s) should carry a radio beacon. Test canisters should be of limited life after release, ceasing broadcast, and degrading in surface reflectance in approximately one month to avoid confusion with the actual canister. The test articles may be deployed on a previous mission, or on the actual sample return mission for operational readiness testing.



        Products or technologies are sought that can be made compatible with the environmental conditions of interplanetary spaceflight and the rigors normal Mars orbits. Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Successful candidate products or technologies can address this call by providing one or more of the following functions, and giving estimated expected performance capabilities of the approach, including, but not limited to, accuracies, ranges, limits of operation, references to previous or related flight experience:


        • Autonomously actuated mechanisms for orbiting sample capture;

          • Mechanical capture mechanisms;
          • Transfer mechanisms from capture device to containment transfer mechanism;

        • Optical and contact sensors;

          • Near field imagers (optical or other) (e.g. 10m to 1km);
          • Immediate field imagers (optical) (0.25 to 10m);
          • Detection of orbiting sample for triggering capture mechanism;
          • Near field illuminator;

        • Coherent Radio Doppler and range beacon (high-performance);

          • Low power, low mass and long life beacon for detection aid;
          • 2-way communication for activation, ranging and coherency;
          • Programmable intermittent transmission for power saving and very long dormancy period;

        • Simple Radio beacon (low-performance);

          • Simple 1-way beacon, for long-range detection and 1-way Electra Doppler extraction;
          • Timer activated, multi-year dormant life, and long active life battery;

        • Autonomous Rendezvous GN&C Command and Control system;

          • Utilize existing GN&C computation elements to command and sequence robust and safe rendezvous and capture;
          • Provide self-monitoring, correction and self-abort capability;
          • Provide for high-level Mission scenario design, monitoring and simple implementation;

        • Low-mass, low-cost sample OSC for proximity operations operational readiness tests;

          • A simple, low-cost, low-mass practice sample canister that could be deployed and provide low-risk practice runs, either for a precursor mission, or with the actual sample return mission;
          • The readiness test exercise would not capture the test article in the capture mechanism, but only perform the rendezvous and proximity ops operations.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51344

        S5.05Extreme Environments Technology

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC, MSFC

        High Temperature, High Pressure, and Chemically Corrosive Environments NASA is interested in expanding its ability to explore the deep atmosphere and surface of Venus through the use of long-lived (days or weeks) balloons and landers. Survivability in extreme high temperatures and high pressures… Read more>>

        High Temperature, High Pressure, and Chemically Corrosive Environments

        NASA is interested in expanding its ability to explore the deep atmosphere and surface of Venus through the use of long-lived (days or weeks) balloons and landers. Survivability in extreme high temperatures and high pressures is also required for deep atmospheric probes to giant planets. Proposals are sought for technologies that enable the in situ exploration of the surface and deep atmosphere of Venus and the deep atmospheres of Jupiter or Saturn for future NASA missions. Venus features a dense, CO2 atmosphere completely covered by sulfuric acid clouds at about 55 km above the surface, a surface temperature of about 486ºC and a surface pressure of about 90 bars. Technologies of interest include high temperature electronics components, high temperature energy storage systems, light mass refrigeration systems, high temperature optical window systems (that are transparent in IR, visible and UV wavelengths) and pressure vessel components compatible with materials such as steal, titanium and beryllium such as low leak rate wide temperature (-50ºC to 500ºC) seals capable of operating between 0 and 90 bars.



        Low Temperature Environments

        Low temperature survivability is required for missions to Titan, the surface of Europa and comets. Also Moon equatorial regions experience wide temperature swings from -180ºC to +130ºC during the lunar day/night cycle, and the sustained temperature at the shadowed regions of lunar poles can be as low as -230ºC. Mars diurnal temperature changes from about -120ºC to +20ºC. Proposals are sought for technologies that enable NASA's long duration missions to low temperature and wide temperature environments. Technologies of interests include low power rad-tolerant RF electronics, mixed signal electronics, power electronics, electronic packaging (including passives, connectors, wiring harness and materials used in advanced electronics assembly), actuators and energy storage sources capable of operating across an ultra-wide temperature range from -230ºC to 200ºC and computer Aided Design (CAD) tools for modeling and predicting the electrical performance, reliability, and life cycle for low-temperature electronic systems and components.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware/software demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 51355

        S5.06Planetary Balloon Technology

        Lead Center: JPL

        Innovations in materials, structures, and systems concepts have enabled buoyant vehicles to play an expanding role in planning NASA's future Solar System Exploration Program. Balloons and airships are expected to carry scientific payloads on Venus and Titan in order to investigate their atmospheres… Read more>>

        Innovations in materials, structures, and systems concepts have enabled buoyant vehicles to play an expanding role in planning NASA's future Solar System Exploration Program. Balloons and airships are expected to carry scientific payloads on Venus and Titan in order to investigate their atmospheres in situ and their surfaces from close proximity. Their envelopes will be subject to extreme environments and must support missions with a range of durations. Proposals are sought in the following areas:



        Metal Balloons for High Temperature Venus Exploration

        Balloons made of metals are a potential solution to the problem of enabling long duration flight in the hot lower atmosphere of Venus. Proposals are sought for metal balloon concepts and prototypes that provide 1-5 m3 of fully inflated volume, areal densities of 1 kg/m2 or less, sulfuric acid compatibility at 85% concentration, and operation at 460°C for a period of up to 1 year.



        Rapid Buoyancy Modulation System for a Titan Montgolfiere Balloon

        Montgolfiere, or hot air, balloons are under development for use on a future mission to Titan. While systems are feasible based on the waste heat from a radioisotope power system (RPS), the large thermal inertias make it dangerous for such balloons to fly near the surface because of their inability to quickly respond to atmospheric turbulence or approach topographic hazards. Proposals are therefore sought for a rapid buoyancy modulation system that can be integrated into a 10 m diameter Titan Montgolfiere balloon operating at 90 K and using a steady-state RPS heat source in the range of 2 - 4 kW. This system needs to be lightweight (less than 10 kg) and consume a small amount of electrical power (less than 5 W average).



        Gas Management Systems for Titan Aerobots

        Hydrogen-filled aerobots at Titan must contend with the problem of gas leakage over long duration (1 year or more) flights. Proposals are sought for the development and testing of two kinds of prototype devices that can be carried on the aerobot to compensate for these gas leakage problems: one device is to produce make-up hydrogen gas from atmospheric methane; the other device is to remove atmospheric gas (mostly nitrogen) that leaks from the ballonets into the hydrogen-filled blimp. Both kinds of devices will need to operate on no more than 15 W of electrical power each while compensating for a leakage rate of at least 40 g/week of hydrogen or 500 g/week of nitrogen.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.





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    • + Expand Information Technologies Topic

      Topic S6 Information Technologies PDF


      NASA Missions and Programs create a wealth of science data and information that are essential to understanding our earth, our solar system and the universe. Advancements in information technology will allow many people within and beyond the Agency to more effectively analyze and apply this data to create knowledge. In particular, modeling and simulation are being used more pervasively throughout NASA, for both engineering and science pursuits, than ever before. These are tools that allow high fidelity simulations of systems in environments that are difficult or impossible to create on Earth, allow removal of humans from experiments in dangerous situations, and provide visualizations of datasets that are extremely large and complicated. In many of these situations, assimilation of real data into a highly sophisticated physics model is needed. Information technology is also being used to allow better access to science data, more effective and robust tools for analyzing and manipulating data, and better methods for collaboration between scientists or other interested parties. The desired end result is to see that NASA science information be used to generate the maximum possible impact to the nation: to advance scientific knowledge and technological capabilities, to inspire and motivate the nation's students and teachers, and to engage and educate the public.

      • 51295

        S6.01Technologies for Large-Scale Numerical Simulation

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        NASA scientists and engineers are increasingly turning to large-scale numerical simulation on supercomputers to advance understanding of complex Earth and astrophysical systems, and to conduct high-fidelity aerospace engineering analyses. The goal of this subtopic is to increase the mission impact… Read more>>

        NASA scientists and engineers are increasingly turning to large-scale numerical simulation on supercomputers to advance understanding of complex Earth and astrophysical systems, and to conduct high-fidelity aerospace engineering analyses. The goal of this subtopic is to increase the mission impact of NASA's investments in supercomputing systems and associated operations and services. Specific objectives are to:


        • Decrease the barriers to entry for prospective supercomputing users;
        • Minimize the supercomputer user's total time-to-solution (e.g., time to discover, understand, predict, or design);
        • Increase the achievable scale and complexity of computational analysis, data ingest, and data communications;
        • Reduce the cost of providing a given level of supercomputing performance on NASA applications; and
        • Enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of NASA's supercomputing operations and services.



        Expected outcomes are to improve the productivity of NASA's supercomputing users, broaden NASA's supercomputing user base, accelerate advancement of NASA science and engineering, and benefit the supercomputing community through dissemination of operational best practices.



        The approach of this subtopic is to seek novel software and hardware technologies that provide notable benefits to NASA's supercomputing users and facilities, and to infuse these technologies into NASA supercomputing operations. Successful technology development efforts under this subtopic would be considered for follow-on funding by, and infusion into, NASA's high-end computing (HEC) projects (http://www.hec.nasa.gov/): the High End Computing Capability project at Ames and the Scientific Computing project at Goddard. To assure maximum relevance to NASA, funded SBIR contracts under this subtopic should engage in direct interactions with one or both HEC projects, and with key HEC users where appropriate. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility and NASA relevance during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 prototype demonstration.



        Offerors should demonstrate awareness of the state-of-the-art of their proposed technology, and should leverage existing commercial capabilities and research efforts where appropriate. Open source software and open standards are strongly preferred. Note that the NASA supercomputing environment is characterized by: HEC systems operating behind a firewall to meet strict IT security requirements, many applications requiring tight coupling and high concurrency, complex computational workflows and immense datasets, and the need to support hundreds of complex application codes - many of which are frequently updated by the user/developer. As a result, solutions that involve the following must clearly explain how they would work in the NASA environment: Grid computing, web services, client-server models, embarrassingly parallel computations, and technologies that require significant application re-engineering. Projects need not benefit all NASA HEC users or application codes, but demonstrating applicability to an important NASA discipline, or even a key NASA application code, could provide significant value.



        Specific technology areas of interest include:


        • Integrated Environments: The user interface to a supercomputer is typically a command line in a text window. This subtopic element seeks more intuitive, intelligent, user-customized, and integrated interfaces to supercomputing resources, enabling users to more completely leverage the power of HEC to increase their productivity. Such an interface could enhance many essential supercomputing tasks: accessing and managing resources, training, getting services, developing codes, running computations, managing files and data, analyzing and visualizing results, transmitting data, collaborating, etc.
        • Efficient Computing: In spite of the rapidly increasing capability and efficiency of supercomputers, NASA's HEC facilities cannot purchase, power, and cool sufficient HEC resources to satisfy all user demands. This subtopic element seeks dramatically more efficient and effective supercomputing approaches in terms of their ability to supply increased HEC capability or capacity per dollar and/or per Watt for real NASA applications. Examples include novel computational accelerators and architectures, more capable storage/interconnect/visualization technologies, improved algorithms for key codes, and power-aware "Green" computing technologies and techniques.
        • HEC Ecosystem Modeling: NASA endeavors to maximize the productivity of its world-class HEC activities. To identify and prioritize improvement initiatives, this subtopic element seeks tools and techniques to routinely monitor and model the productivity of NASA's HEC ecosystem, including modeling change scenarios. The technology should model the workflows of HEC users, facility staff, and resources (supercomputers, storage, networks, etc.), and it should reflect constraints such as budget, power, and space. Offerors should minimize the effort of HEC staff to provide process information.
        • Archive Data Use: NASA has a vast and rapidly growing wealth of Earth and space observational data, stored in various archives around the U.S. NASA's supercomputers could extract more value from this data and advance NASA's science missions through large-scale data analysis and visualization, and ingest into high-fidelity models. This subtopic element seeks technologies that facilitate efficient, automated use of data in NASA's observational data archives by its HEC centers and users.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



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      • 51384

        S6.02Earth Science Applied Research and Decision Support

        Lead Center: SSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL

        The NASA Applied Sciences Program (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/earth-science/applied-sciences) seeks innovative and unique approaches to increase the utilization and extend the benefit of Earth Science research data to better meet societal needs. One area of interest is new decision support tools… Read more>>

        The NASA Applied Sciences Program (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/earth-science/applied-sciences) seeks innovative and unique approaches to increase the utilization and extend the benefit of Earth Science research data to better meet societal needs. One area of interest is new decision support tools and systems for a variety of ecological applications such as managing coastal environments, natural resources or natural disasters.



        This subtopic seeks new, advanced information systems and decision environments that take full advantage of multiple data sources and platforms. Tailored distribution networks and timely products delivered to a broad range of users are needed to support applications in disaster management, resource management, energy and urban sustainability.


        • Development of new integrated multiple user requirements knowledge data bases and archival library tools to support researchers and promote infusion of successful technologies into existing processes.
        • Development of new decision support strategies and presentation methodologies for applied earth science applications to reduce risk, cost, and time.



        This subtopic is also soliciting proposals for utilities, plug-ins or enhancements to open source geobrowsers that improve their utility for earth science research and decision support. Examples of geobrowsers include NASA World Wind, World Wind Java (http://worldwindcentral.com/wiki/Main_page) and COAST (http://www.coastal.ssc.nasa.gov/coast/COAST.aspx). Special consideration will be given to tools for COAST. Examples of specific interest are:


        • Tools and utilities to support creation or simplify the import and integration of new datasets;
        • Tools and utilities to discover and integrate existing web-enabled sensor data (e.g., webcams, meteorology stations, beach monitors);
        • Innovative output mechanisms for data layer sharing and collaboration;
        • Enhancements to visualization of custom 3rd dimensional data;
        • Enhancements to real time animation capabilities, or incorporation of existing animations into a geobrowser;
        • Plug-ins that enable visualization of high resolution imagery in a COAST accessible data viewer;
        • Utilities that enable regional estuarine or bay data compilations that are of interest to the major coastal ecosystem managers in those areas;
        • Applications that subset, filter, merge, and reformat existing spatial data; provide links to attribute data; or visualize spatial or temporal analytic results in innovative value added fashion within the application.



        Proposals should present a feasible plan to fully develop and apply the subject technology.



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      • 51329

        S6.03Algorithms for Science Data Processing and Analysis

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, LaRC, MSFC, SSC

        This subtopic seeks technical innovation and unique approaches for the processing and the analysis of data from NASA science missions. Analysis of NASA science data enables insights into dynamic systems such as the sun, oceans, and earth's climate in addition to looking back in time to explore the… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks technical innovation and unique approaches for the processing and the analysis of data from NASA science missions. Analysis of NASA science data enables insights into dynamic systems such as the sun, oceans, and earth's climate in addition to looking back in time to explore the origins of the universe. Complex algorithms and intensive data processing are needed to understand and utilize this data. Advances in such algorithms will support science data analysis and decision support systems related to current and future missions and mission concepts such as:



        Current operational missions listed at http://www.nasa.gov/missions/current/index.html




        Research proposed to this subtopic should demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1, in partnership with scientists, and subsequently show a path toward a Phase 2 prototype demonstration, with significant communication with missions and programs to ensure a successful Phase 3 infusion. Innovations are sought in data processing and analysis algorithms in the following areas:


        • Optimization of Algorithms and Computational Methods that increase the utility of scientific research data, models, simulations, and visualizations. Of particular interest are innovative computational methods that will dramatically increase algorithm efficiency as well as the performance of scientific applications. Success will be measured by both speed improvements and output validation.
        • Improvement of Data Collection, by identifying data gaps in real-time, and/or derive information through synthesis of data from multiple sources. The ultimate goal is to increase the value of data collected in terms of scientific discovery and application.
        • Frameworks and Related Tools for Processing, Analyzing and Fusing image and vector data for the purpose of analyzing NASA's astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary and earth science mission data and therefore enable the advancement of NASA's scientific objectives. Of particular interest are open source frameworks that would enable sharing and validation of tools and algorithms.



        Tools and products developed under this subtopic may be used for broad public dissemination or for use within a narrow scientific community. These tools can be plug-ins or enhancements to existing software or on-line data/computing services. They also can be new stand-alone applications or web services, provided that they are compatible with most widely used computer platforms and exchange information effectively (via standard protocols and file formats) with existing, standard or prevalent applications. To promote interoperability, tools shall use industry standard protocols, formats, and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), including compliance with the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FDGC) and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards as appropriate.



        It is highly desirable that the proposed projects lead to software that is infused into NASA programs and projects.



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      • 52229

        S6.04Data Management - Storage, Mining and Visualization

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, LaRC

        This subtopic focuses on supporting science analysis through innovative approaches for managing and visualizing collections of science data which are extremely large, complicated, and highly distributed in a networked environment that encompasses large geographic areas. There are specific areas for… Read more>>

        This subtopic focuses on supporting science analysis through innovative approaches for managing and visualizing collections of science data which are extremely large, complicated, and highly distributed in a networked environment that encompasses large geographic areas. There are specific areas for which proposals are being sought:


        • Collaborative visualization tools that enable data exploration, data sharing, and data manipulation among scientists worldwide that make use of innovative hardware and software technologies for data manipulation and display, including the use of large multi-touch input devices or 3 dimensional display devices.
        • Social networking tools that enable secure high bandwidth scientific collaboration among scientists worldwide that promote the development of online communities for sharing thoughts and ideas and for arriving at consensus opinions and understanding.
        • Tools for science data discovery, data mining, data search, and data subsetting in extremely large data sets in clustered processing and storage environments, cloud computing environments, or shared data and computation environments.
        • Storage systems, file systems, and data management systems that promote the secure long term preservation of data in a distributed online storage environment, provide for recovery from system and user errors, and provide dynamically configurable high speed access to data shared over wide area high speed networks.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware/software demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 51340

        S6.05Software Engineering Tools for Scientific Models

        Lead Center: GSFC

        This subtopic seeks to improve the productivity and quality of NASA's scientific modeling endeavors through customized tools, which enable and encourage improved software engineering practices. Because many of NASA's principal scientific models have evolved over decades to be hundreds of thousands… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks to improve the productivity and quality of NASA's scientific modeling endeavors through customized tools, which enable and encourage improved software engineering practices. Because many of NASA's principal scientific models have evolved over decades to be hundreds of thousands of lines long with contributions from a wide variety of scientists, much of the software has become "brittle" in the sense that it has become difficult to extend, couple, and optimize. In other software communities (and other programming languages), access to modern software tools has enabled large gains in productivity by providing high-level tools for isolating software defects (bugs) as well as by automating common, albeit tedious, software processes. The goal is to extend these capabilities to support the Fortran programming language so that NASA's scientific models can extract similar benefits.



        Target Programs, Missions and Mission Classes

        Advances in developer productivity would be of significant benefit to several research and analysis programs within the Science Mission Directorate including:




        Technology Areas

        The objective is to create a suite of software tools, which directly ameliorate the most significant bottlenecks to productivity in the development of scientific models:


        • Tools that assist in the construction of fine-grained unit-level software tests based upon existing functionality in a legacy Fortran application. Although tests written by developers are desirable, such tests are exceedingly difficult to create for legacy numerical software. Suites of these tests could provide a significant element of risk-reduction for maintenance and extension of these models, and would be incorporated into some sort of unit-testing framework.
        • Tools that enable high-level source code transformations ("refactorings"). Although refactoring support for other programming languages, most notably Java, has shown significant gains in productivity, similar support for Fortran is rather limited. (http://www.eclipse.org/photran/).
        • Integration of a Fortran unit-testing frameworks within an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Although multiple Fortran unit-testing frameworks have been developed (http://sourceforge.net/projects/pfunit), adoption by the community has been slow in part due to lack of integration within IDE's. Integration of other Fortran capabilities is also encouraged.



        Tools and products developed under this subtopic may be used for broad public dissemination or for use within a narrow scientific community. These tools can be plug-ins or enhancements to existing software or on-line data/computing services. They also can be new stand-alone applications or web services, provided that they are compatible with most widely used computer platforms and exchange information effectively (via standard protocols and file formats) with existing, standard or prevalent applications. To promote interoperability, tools shall use industry standard protocols, formats, and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).



        It is highly desirable that the proposed projects lead to software that is infused into NASA programs and projects.

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    • + Expand Avionics and Software Topic

      Topic X1 Avionics and Software PDF


      The Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) leads the Agency in the development of advanced avionics, software and information technology capabilities and research for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The Avionics and Software elements perform mission-driven research and development to enable new system functionality, reduce risk, and enhance the capability for NASA's exploration missions. NASA's focus has clarified around Exploration, and the agency's expertise and capabilities are being called upon to support these missions. The Ares Launch Vehicle, the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), the Altair Lunar Lander, and future lunar surface systems will each require unique advances in avionic and software technologies such as integrated systems health management, autonomous systems for the crew and mission operations, radiation hardened processing, and reliable, dependable software. Exploration requires the best of the nation's technical community to step up to providing the technologies, engineering, and systems to regain the frontiers of the Moon, to extend our reach to Mars, and to explore the beyond.

      • 51296

        X1.01Automation for Vehicle Habitat Operations

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        Automation will be instrumental for decreasing workload, reducing dependence on Earth-based support staff, enhancing response time, and releasing crew and operators from routine tasks to focus on those requiring human judgment, leading to increased efficiency and reduced mission risk. To enable the… Read more>>

        Automation will be instrumental for decreasing workload, reducing dependence on Earth-based support staff, enhancing response time, and releasing crew and operators from routine tasks to focus on those requiring human judgment, leading to increased efficiency and reduced mission risk. To enable the application of intelligent automation and autonomy techniques, the technologies need to address two significant challenges: adaptability and software validation. Proposals are solicited in the areas of:


        • Automation Support Tools: Support tools are needed to facilitate the authoring and validation of plans and execution scripts. Tools that are not tied specifically to one executive would provide NASA the most flexibility.Examples include: Graphical tool for monitoring and debugging plan execution and for creating and editing execution scripts; Tools for authoring and validating execution plans; User friendly abstraction of low-level execution languages by adding syntactic enhancements.

        • Decision Support: Systems Decision support systems amplify the efficiency of operators by providing the information they need when and where they need it. Examples: Command and supervise complex tasks while projecting the outcome and identify potential problems; Understand system state, including visualization and summarization; Allow the system to interact with a user when generating the plan and allow evaluation of alternate courses of action; Integration of a planning and scheduling system as part of an on-board, closed loop controller.
        • Trustable Systems: Systems that support or interact with crew require a very high level of reliability. Tools are needed that improve the reliability and trustworthiness of autonomous systems.These include: Ability to predict what the system will do; Guarantees of behavioral properties; Other properties that increase the operator's trust; Verifiability (e.g., restricted executive languages that facilitate model-based verification).






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      • 51297

        X1.02Reliable Software for Exploration Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, LaRC

        This subtopic seeks to develop software engineering technologies that enable engineers to cost-effectively develop and maintain NASA mission-critical software systems. Particular emphasis will be on software engineering technologies applicable to the high levels of reliability needed for human-rated… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks to develop software engineering technologies that enable engineers to cost-effectively develop and maintain NASA mission-critical software systems. Particular emphasis will be on software engineering technologies applicable to the high levels of reliability needed for human-rated space vehicles. A key requirement is that proposals address the usability of software engineering technologies by NASA (including contractors) and not specialists. In addition to traditional capabilities, such as GNC (guidance, navigation, and control) or C&DH (command and data handling), new capabilities are under development: integrated vehicle health management, autonomous vehicle-centered operations, automated mission operations, and further out - mixed human-robotic teams to accomplish mission objectives. Mission phases that can be addressed include not only the software life-cycle (requirement engineering through verification and validation) but also upstream activities (e.g., mission planning that incorporates trade-space for software-based capabilities) and post-deployment (e.g., new approaches for computing fault tolerance, rapid reconfiguration, and certification of mission-critical software systems). Specific software engineering tools and methods are sought in the following areas:


        • Automated software generation methods from engineering models that are highly reliable;
        • Scalable verification technology for complex mission software, e.g., model-checking technology that addresses the 'state explosion' problem and static-analysis technology that addresses mission-critical properties at the system level;
        • Automated testing that ensures coverage targeted both at the system level and software level, such as model-based testing where test-case generation and test monitoring are done automatically from system-level models;
        • Technology for calibrating software-based simulators against high-fidelity hardware-in-the-loop test-beds to achieve dependable test coverage;
        • Technology for verifying and validating autonomy capabilities including intelligent execution systems, model-based diagnosis, and Integrated Systems Health Management (ISHM);
        • Methods and tools for development and validation of autonomic software systems (systems that are self protecting and self healing).



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      • 51378

        X1.03Radiation Hardened/Tolerant and Low Temperature Electronics and Processors

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL, MSFC

        Constellation projects that are designed to leave low-earth orbit (Orion, Ares V Earth Departure Stage, Altair, Lunar Surface Systems, EVA suits, etc.) require avionic systems, components, and controllers that are capable of operating in the extreme temperature and radiation environments of deep… Read more>>

        Constellation projects that are designed to leave low-earth orbit (Orion, Ares V Earth Departure Stage, Altair, Lunar Surface Systems, EVA suits, etc.) require avionic systems, components, and controllers that are capable of operating in the extreme temperature and radiation environments of deep space, the lunar surface, and eventually the Martian surface. Spacecraft vehicle electronics will be required to operate across a wide temperature range and must be capable of enduring frequent (and often rapid) thermal-cycling. Packaging for these electronics must be able to accommodate the mechanical stress and fatigue associated with the thermal cycling. Spacecraft vehicle electronics must be radiation hardened for the target environment. They must be capable of operating through a minimum total ionizing dose (TID) of 100 krads (Si) or more and providing single-event latchup immunity (SEL) of 100 MeV cm2/mg or more.



        Considering the extreme environment performance parameters for thermal and radiation extremes, proposals are sought in the following specific areas:


        • Low power, high efficiency, radiation-hardened processor technologies;
        • Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technologies;
        • Innovative radiation hardened volatile and nonvolatile memory technologies;
        • Tightly-integrated electronic sensor and actuator modules that include power, command and control, and processing;
        • Radiation-hardened analog application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for spacecraft power management;
        • Radiation-hardened DC-to-DC converters and point-of-load power distribution circuits;
        • Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools for predicting the electrical performance, reliability, and life cycle for low-temperature and wide-temperature electronic systems and components;
        • Physics-based device models valid at temperature ranging from -230°C to +130°C to enable design, verification and fabrication of custom mixed-signal and analog circuits;
        • Circuit design and layout methodologies/techniques that facilitate improved radiation hardness and low-temperature (-230°C) analog and mixed-signal circuit performance;
        • Packaging capable of surviving numerous thermal cycles and tolerant of the extreme temperatures on the Moon and Mars, which includes the use of appropriate materials including substrates, die-attach, encapsulants, thermal compounds, etc.



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      • 51300

        X1.04Integrated System Health Management for Ground Operations

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC, KSC, MSFC, SSC

        Innovative health management technologies are needed throughout NASA's Constellation architecture in order to increase the safety and mission-effectiveness of future spacecraft and launch vehicles. In human space flight, a significant concern for NASA is the safety of ground and flight crews under… Read more>>

        Innovative health management technologies are needed throughout NASA's Constellation architecture in order to increase the safety and mission-effectiveness of future spacecraft and launch vehicles. In human space flight, a significant concern for NASA is the safety of ground and flight crews under off-nominal or failure conditions. The new Ares Crew Launch Vehicle will provide the means to abort the crew using a launch abort system in case of a catastrophic failure during launch or ascent within a very brief timeframe and with high certainty. Health management is essential for dormant periods between human habitation, and for transition of assets (such as lunar habitats) to crewed operations. In addition, the long-duration health of software systems themselves are also critical. Projects may focus on one or more relevant subsystems such as solid rocket motors, liquid propulsion systems, structures and mechanisms, thermal protection systems, power, avionics, life support, communications, and software. Proposals that involve the use of existing testbeds or facilities at NASA are strongly encouraged. Specific technical areas of interest are methods and tools for:


        • Early-stage design of health management functionality during the development of space systems, including failure detection methods, sensor types and locations that enable fault detection to line replaceable units.
        • Sensor validation and robust state estimation in the presence of inherently unreliable sensors. Focus on data analysis and interpretation using legacy sensors.
        • Model-based fault detection and isolation in rocket propulsion systems based on existing sensor suites during pre-launch and flight mission operations that enables fault detection within time ranges to allow mission abort.
        • Automatic construction of models used in model-based diagnostic strategies, limiting model construction times to 60% of the time required using manual methods.
        • Advanced built-in-tests for spacecraft avionics that provide 95% functional coverage and reduce or eliminate the need for extensive functional verification and to predict remaining life of avionics systems.
        • Prognostic techniques able to anticipate system degradation before loss of critical functions and enable further improvements in mission success probability, operational effectiveness, and automated recovery of function.
        • Approaches for effective utilization of 100% of the health information on critical functions from spacecraft and launch vehicles with integration to ground based systems using commercial health information from programmable logic controller and RAS system.
        • Techniques that address the particular constraints of maintaining long-duration systems health of structures, mechanical parts, electronics, and software systems on lunar surfaces are of special interest.

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    • + Expand Environmental Control and Life Support Topic

      Topic X2 Environmental Control and Life Support PDF


      Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) encompasses the process technologies and equipment necessary to provide and maintain a livable environment within the pressurized cabin of crewed spacecraft and to support associated human systems such as Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA). Functional areas of interest to this Solicitation include thermal control and ventilation, atmosphere resource management and particulate control, water recovery systems, solid waste management, habitation systems, environmental monitoring and fire protection systems. Technologies must be directed at Lunar transit and surface missions, including such vehicles as Lunar landers, surface habitats and pressurized rovers.

      Requirements include operation in Lunar gravity and/or microgravity and compatibility with cabin atmospheres of up to 34% O2 by volume and pressures ranging from 1 atmosphere to as low as 7.6 psia, or for EVA, as low as 3.2 psia and 100% O2. Systems external to the spacecraft will be at vacuum. Special emphasis is placed on developing technologies that will fill existing gaps, reduce requirements for consumables and other resources including mass, power, volume and crew time, and which will increase safety and reliability with respect to the state-of-the-art. Non-venting processes may be of interest for technologies that have dual application to Lunar and Mars missions. Results of a Phase 1 contract should show feasibility of the technology and approach. A resulting Phase 2 contract should lead to development, evaluation and delivery of prototype hardware. Specific technologies of interest to this Solicitation are addressed in each subtopic.

      Additional information may be found at the following websites: http://els.jsc.nasa.gov and http://aemc.jpl.nasa.gov.

      • 51380

        X2.01Spacecraft Cabin Atmosphere Revitalization and Particulate Management

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, JSC, KSC

        Cabin Atmosphere Revitalization Atmosphere revitalization developmental activities target process technologies and equipment to condition and supply gaseous oxygen at pressures at or above 3,600 psia and achieve mass closure by recycling resources. As well, portable means for atmosphere… Read more>>

        Cabin Atmosphere Revitalization

        Atmosphere revitalization developmental activities target process technologies and equipment to condition and supply gaseous oxygen at pressures at or above 3,600 psia and achieve mass closure by recycling resources. As well, portable means for atmosphere revitalization that have synergy with extravehicular activity (EVA) equipment pertaining to trace contaminant control, carbon dioxide removal, humidity control are target technology areas. Durable, dust-tolerant fluid connections support the EVA and life support system infrastructure. Details on areas of emphasis are the following:



        High Pressure Oxygen Gas Supply and Conditioning: Process technologies leading to an on-demand, in-flight renewable 3,600-psia oxygen supply are of interest. Process technologies and techniques must be capable of conditioning oxygen for temperature, pressure, and water content using oxygen from several sources. Source oxygen may originate directly from the cabin atmosphere or from gaseous storage, cryogenic storage, and/or on-demand production from water electrolysis or in-situ resource utilization processes.



        There is specific interest in process technologies to remove water from saturated oxygen to provide a product having a dewpoint below -62°C.



        Atmospheric Resource Recycling Techniques: Process technologies suitable for conditioning and converting gaseous products produced by the Sabatier CO2 reduction reaction to useful products are of interest. Of particular interest are process technologies to recover moisture from a saturated stream of methane that contains residual CO2 and hydrogen reactants, to convert methane to products such as low molecular weight alcohols or other compounds suitable for use in power co-generation via fuel cells or other means, and to produce a solid carbon product via a regenerative process based on the Bosch reaction or a variant of the Bosch reaction.



        Particulate Matter Management

        Particulate matter suspended in the habitable cabin atmosphere is a challenge for all phases of crewed lunar surface exploration missions. Removing and disposing of particulate matter originating from sources internal to the habitable cabin and from lunar surface dust intrusion into the cabin environment is of interest. Staged techniques employing combinations of course media filtration (>50 micron size), inertial separation (2.5 micron size), and fine media filtration (


        Atmosphere Revitalization for EVA

        Synergy exists between cabin atmosphere revitalization and EVA suits. Common functions include trace contaminant control, CO2 partial pressure control, and humidity control.



        Trace Contaminant Control for EVA Suits: EVA suits designed for long durations with minimal maintenance will require new methods of trace contaminant control to maintain spacesuit environments below Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations for toxic or irritating chemicals. Historically this has used activated charcoal. In the case of ISS EVA, the charcoal is regenerable with heat. A need exists for a reduced power solution, such as vacuum regeneration of a sorbent, or another, innovative, low consumable solution. Consideration of on-back, real-time EVA regeneration as well as post EVA regeneration is acceptable.



        Mars EVA CO2 and Humidity Control: ISS EVA suits utilize heat regenerable CO2 removal systems. These systems are heavy and require significant power for regeneration. Lunar EVA suits are planned to use a lightweight, vacuum regenerable amine system to remove CO2 and humidity from the suit. It is envisioned this concept could be extensible to Mars suits with the addition of sweep gas to prevent intrusion of the Martian atmosphere. An innovative CO2 and humidity removal system that could remove CO2 and humidity while eliminating gas losses to the Martian atmosphere, remain lightweight, and utilize minimal power is desired. Consideration of on-back, real-time EVA regeneration as well as post EVA regeneration is acceptable.



        Dust Tolerant Quick Disconnects for High and Low Pressure Fluids

        Connections will need to be made between the EVA suits and lunar and Martian vehicles in environments where dust will be present. A lightweight QD that excludes dust during connections and disconnections is required.



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      • 51294

        X2.02Spacecraft Habitation Systems, Water Recovery and Waste Management

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JSC, KSC, MSFC

        Habitation, water recovery and waste management systems supporting critical needs for lunar mission architectures are requested. Improved technologies are needed for clothing/laundry, recovery of water, recovery of other resources, stabilization of wastes and safe long term storage of waste… Read more>>

        Habitation, water recovery and waste management systems supporting critical needs for lunar mission architectures are requested. Improved technologies are needed for clothing/laundry, recovery of water, recovery of other resources, stabilization of wastes and safe long term storage of waste residuals. Proposals should explicitly describe the weight, power, and volume advantages of the proposed technology and be compatible with the lunar and microgravity environments described in the overall X2 topic description.



        Clothing/Laundry Systems

        Clothing and towels are a major consumable and trash source. Advanced durable fabrics to enable multiple crew wear cycles before cleaning/disposal are required. The laundry system should remove/stabilize combined perspiration salt/organic/dander and lunar dust contaminants, preserve flame resistance properties and use cleaning agents compatible with biological water recovery technologies. Proposals using water for cleaning should use significantly less than 10 kg of water per kg of clothing cleaned.



        Waste Management

        Wastes (trash, food scraps, feces, water brines, clothing) must be managed to protect crew health, safety and quality of life, to avoid harm of planetary surfaces, and to recover useful resources. Areas of emphasis include: stabilization (particularly water removal and recovery) and solid waste storage and odor control (e.g., catalytic and adsorptive systems). Preferred stabilization methods will dry solids to less than 60% water activity and sterilize and/or prevent microbial growth. Waste compactors must reduce trash to less than 10% of hand compacted volume after any spring-back. Odor control technologies should reduce gaseous contaminants in air to below NASA's Space Maximum Allowable Concentration levels and below the human odor threshold. Lunar-Martian storage containers are desired that are lightweight, low in resupply stowage volume, easily deployable and capable of containing space mission wastes and residuals on Lunar or Martian surfaces without rupture for 400 years.



        Water Recovery

        Efficient technologies are desired for treatment to potability of wastewater including urine, brines, humidity condensate, hygiene water, and in situ lunar water. Areas of emphasis include: primary treatment reducing 1000 mg/L TOC to less than 100mg/L, post-treatment reducing 100 mg/L TOC to


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      • 52116

        X2.03Spacecraft Environmental Monitoring and Control

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, JSC, KSC, MSFC

        Monitoring technologies are employed to assure that the chemical and microbial content of the air and water environment of the astronaut crew habitat falls within acceptable limits, and that the life support system is functioning properly. The sensors may also provide data to automated control… Read more>>

        Monitoring technologies are employed to assure that the chemical and microbial content of the air and water environment of the astronaut crew habitat falls within acceptable limits, and that the life support system is functioning properly. The sensors may also provide data to automated control systems. All proposed technologies should have a 2 year shelf-life, including any calibration materials (liquid or gas). The technologies will need to function in low pressure environments (~8 psi) and may see unpressurized storage. Significant improvements are sought in miniaturization, accuracy, precision, and operational reliability, as well as long life, in-line operation, self-calibration, reduction of expendables, low energy consumption, and minimal operator time/maintenance for monitoring and controlling the life-support processes.


        • Microbial monitoring in water

          • 2 year shelf-life; this requirement precludes the usual antibody techniques which have lifetime limitations. Sufficient precision to resolve the following: 50 CFU/ml bacteria; coliform and fungi are required to be zero per 100 ml; zero counts of parasitic protozoa

        • Microbial control of surfaces, typically done by chemically treated wipes or ultraviolet

          • Microbial Controls should be recyclable w/reduced consumables

        • Improved Oxygen Monitor for breathing air

          • +/- 0.05%, must operate in variable pressure 8-14.7 psia and survive exposure to vacuum

        • Broad spectrum Trace Contaminant Monitor, for air, with 2 year shelf life



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      • 52260

        X2.04Spacecraft Fire Protection

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC, KSC, MSFC

        NASA's fire protection strategy consists of strict control of ignition sources and flammable materials, early detection and annunciation of fires, and effective fire suppression and response procedures. Providing effective and efficient means for conducting and monitoring post-fire cleanup and… Read more>>

        NASA's fire protection strategy consists of strict control of ignition sources and flammable materials, early detection and annunciation of fires, and effective fire suppression and response procedures. Providing effective and efficient means for conducting and monitoring post-fire cleanup and restoration of the cabin atmosphere to a habitable environment are also major concerns. While proposals for novel technologies in all of these areas are applicable, they are particularly sought in the areas of nonflammable crew clothing and advanced carbon monoxide sensors for fire detection and monitoring the progress of post-fire cleanup.



        The requirements for crew clothing are balanced between appearance, comfort, wear, flammability and toxicity. Ideally, crew clothing should have durable flame resistance in a 34% O2 (by volume) enriched environment through all end-use conditions including cleaning methods and frequency.



        Fire detection strategies are being developed that combine advanced particulate detection technology with sensors that detect gaseous combustion products. Monitoring of carbon monoxide is being targeted both for fire detection and to monitor the progress of post-fire cleanup. A robust optical method is desired that has the dynamic range required to detect and monitor CO from approximately 1 to 500 ppm with resolution to 1 ppm CO. In addition to being sufficiently rugged, this sensor must have minimal mass, power, and volume requirements and exhibit high degrees of reliability, minimal maintenance, and self-calibration under varying humidity and ambient pressures.



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      • 51360

        X2.05Spacecraft Thermal Control Systems

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC, JPL, LaRC, MSFC

        Future spacecraft will require more sophisticated thermal control systems that can dissipate or reject greater heat loads at higher input heat fluxes while using fewer of the limited spacecraft mass, volume and power resources. The thermal control system designs also must accommodate the harsh… Read more>>

        Future spacecraft will require more sophisticated thermal control systems that can dissipate or reject greater heat loads at higher input heat fluxes while using fewer of the limited spacecraft mass, volume and power resources. The thermal control system designs also must accommodate the harsh thermal environments associated with these missions. Modular, reconfigurable designs could limit the number of required spares.



        The lunar environment presents several challenges to the design and operation of active thermal control systems. During the approximately 2 hour lunar orbit, the environment can range from extremely cold to near room temperature. Polar lunar bases will see unrelenting cold thermal environments, as will the radiators for Martian transit spacecraft. In both cases the effective sink temperature will approach absolute zero.



        Innovative thermal management components and systems are needed to accomplish the rejection of waste heat during these future missions. Advances are sought in the general areas of radiators, thermal control loops, thermal system equipment, and EVA thermal control.



        Systems with enhanced thermal mass may be required to deal with the lunar orbital environment. Variable emissivity coatings (near unity emissivity with the ability to reduce emissivity by at least a factor of ten), clever working fluid selection (a freezing point approaching 150K), or robust design could be used to prevent radiator damage from freezing in cold environments at times of low heat load.



        Part of the thermal control system in a habitable volume is likely to be a condensing heat exchanger, which should be designed to preclude microbial growth. Small, highly reliable, heat pumps could be used to provide 278 K cold fluid to the heat exchanger, allowing the loop temperatures to approach 300 K, thus reducing the size of the radiators.



        Future space systems may generate waste heat in excess of 10 kW which could either be rejected or redirected to areas which require it. Novel thermal bus systems which can collect, transport (over a distance of ~30 meters), and provide heat for components are sought. The system should be highly flexible and adaptable to changes in equipment locations. Possible systems include single and two-phase pumped fluid loops, capillary-based loops, and heat pumps. Innovative design of the loops and components is needed.



        Historically spacesuits have used water sublimators to provide heat rejection. Development of a low-venting or non-venting regenerable individual life support subsystem(s) concept for crewmember cooling and heat rejection is desired. Systems that integrate spacesuit thermal control systems with other life support tasks, such as removal of expired water vapor and CO2 are highly desirable. Interests include low cost lightweight spacesuit compatible freezable radiators for thermal control and variable conductance flexible EVA spacesuit garments that can function as a radiator or as an insulator as required. Sensible heat loads average 300 W and peak at 800 W. Spacesuit cooling garments have water flow rates of approximately 100 kg/hr.





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    • + Expand Lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization Topic

      Topic X3 Lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization PDF


      The purpose of In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is to harness and utilize resources at the site of exploration to create products and services which can enable and significantly reduce the mass, cost, and risk of near-term and long-term space exploration. In particular, the ability to make propellants, life support consumables, fuel cell reagents, and radiation shielding can significantly reduce the cost, mass, and risk of sustained human activities beyond Earth. To perform these tasks on the lunar surface, detailed knowledge of the terrain, local minerals and potential resources, and the behavior and characteristics of lunar regolith is extremely important. Lastly, since ISRU systems and operations have never been demonstrated before in missions, it is important that ISRU concepts and technologies be evaluated under relevant conditions (1/6 g and vacuum) as well as anchored through modeling to lunar soil and environmental conditions. With this in mind, the ISRU Project within the Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) has initiated development and testing of hardware and systems in two main focus areas: (1) Oxygen Extraction from Regolith, including regolith feed/removal; and (2) ISRU Development & Precursor Activities to evaluate alternative resource processing and product concepts.

      The purpose of the following subtopics is to develop and demonstrate hardware and software technologies that can be added to on-going analysis and ISRU capability development and demonstration activities in ETDP to meet Outpost architecture and surface manipulation objectives for near and long term human exploration of the Moon.

      • 51362

        X3.01Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, KSC, MSFC

        Oxygen (O2) production from lunar regolith processing consists of receiving regolith from the excavation subsystem into a hopper, transferring that regolith into a chemical or an electrochemical reactor, intermediate reactions to produce O2 and regenerate reactants if required, purification of the… Read more>>

        Oxygen (O2) production from lunar regolith processing consists of receiving regolith from the excavation subsystem into a hopper, transferring that regolith into a chemical or an electrochemical reactor, intermediate reactions to produce O2 and regenerate reactants if required, purification of the O2 produced, and removal of processed regolith from the reactor to an outlet hopper. Three O2 production from lunar regolith reaction concepts are currently under development: Hydrogen reduction, Carbothermal reduction, and Molten Oxide Electrolysis at initial lunar Outpost production scale of 1 to 2 MT per year (70% per year operations). This subtopic is seeking hardware, subsystem, and system components and technologies for insertion and integration into on-going oxygen extraction from regolith development and demonstration efforts. Items of particular interest are:


        • Move feedstock material from hopper on ground to 2 m height for reactor inlet hopper; 40 kg/hr; material size
        • Inlet/outlet regolith hopper design and valve/seal concepts with no gas leakage, 1000's of operating cycles with abrasive lunar material, and minimum heat loss.
        • Removal of 5 to 10 kg of molten material from molten electrolysis cell with metal slag processing and purification into individual metals.
        • Water condensers that use the space environment for water condensation/separation with minimal energy usage.
        • Gas Separators that provide low pressure drop separation of the system and product gas streams from impurities (e.g., HCl, HF, H2S, SO2); the process should be regenerable and the output contaminant concentration should be less than 50ppb.
        • Removal of dissolved ions in water by methods other than de-ionization resins to meet water electrolysis purity requirements (minimum resistivity of 1M-Ohms-cm). Ions of interested are dissolved metal ions (Fe, Cr, Co, Ni, Zn) at concentration of 0.01% and dissolved anions (Cl, F, S) at concentrations of 0.01%-2%. The process should be regenerable, minimize consumables, and minimize water loss.
        • Contaminant resistant, high temperature water electrolysis concepts.
        • Advanced reactor concepts for carbothermal reduction or molten oxide electrolysis.



        Phase 1 proposals should demonstrate technical feasibility of the technology or hardware concept through laboratory validation of critical aspects of the innovation proposed, as well as the design and path toward delivering hardware/subsystems in Phase 2 for incorporation into existing development activities. Interface requirements for on-going development efforts will be provided after selection. Proposers are encouraged to use the Lunar Sourcebook at a minimum for understanding lunar regolith material parameters in the design and testing of hardware proposed. It is also recommended that JSC-1a simulants be used during testing unless a more appropriate simulant can be obtained or manufactured.



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      • 51361

        X3.02Lunar ISRU Development and Precursor Activities

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, KSC, MSFC

        The incorporation of ISRU concepts is an on-going effort which requires an evaluation of the benefits and risks through computer modeling and testing under laboratory, analog field, and simulated lunar environmental conditions (1/6 g and vacuum). While excavation and oxygen extraction from regolith… Read more>>

        The incorporation of ISRU concepts is an on-going effort which requires an evaluation of the benefits and risks through computer modeling and testing under laboratory, analog field, and simulated lunar environmental conditions (1/6 g and vacuum). While excavation and oxygen extraction from regolith are included in lunar architecture plans, it is recognized that evaluating the feasibility and benefits of other technologies and concepts not ready for insertion into these efforts should be pursued. This subtopic is aimed at providing development support capabilities and hardware to advanced potentially beneficial ISRU concepts not yet ready for incorporation into current ISRU system laboratory and field test activities. Proposals aimed at the following are of particular interest:


        • Mineral beneficiation concepts to separate iron oxide-bearing material from bulk regolith; up to 20 kg/hr based on hydrogen reduction. Hardware/concepts need to be designed for compatibility with both 1/6 g flight experiments and ground vacuum experiments.
        • Lunar regolith storage and granular flow computer models, devices, and instruments to evaluate regolith flow and manipulation under 1/6 g flight and ground vacuum experimental conditions.
        • Granular materials mixing and separation for reactor feedstock conditioning: remove material > 0.5 cm diameter before dumping into storage bin during excavation operation for oxygen extraction from regolith.
        • Processing concepts for production of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and/or water from plastic trash and dried crew solid waste using solar thermal or electrical/heat energy. In-situ produced oxygen or other reagents/consumables must be identified and quantified; recycling schemes for reagents to minimize consumables should be evaluated.
        • Thermal energy storage and utilization using bulk or processed regolith.



        Phase 1 proposals should demonstrate technical feasibility of the technology and/or subsystem through laboratory validation of critical aspects of the innovation proposed, as well as the design and path toward delivering hardware/subsystems in Phase 2.





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    • + Expand Structures, Materials and Mechanisms Topic

      Topic X4 Structures, Materials and Mechanisms PDF


      The SBIR topic area of Structures, Materials and Mechanisms centers on developing lightweight structures, advanced materials technologies, and low-temperature mechanisms for enabling Exploration Vehicles and Lunar Surface Systems.

      Lightweight structures and advanced materials have been identified as a critical need since the reduction of structural mass translates directly to additional up and down mass capability that would facilitate additional logistics capacity and increased science return for all mission phases. The major technology drivers of the lightweight structure technology development are to significantly enhance structural systems by 1) lowering mass and/or improving efficient volume for reduced launch costs, 2) improving performance to reduce risk and extend life, and 3) improving manufacturing and processing to reduce costs. The targeted applications of the lightweight structures and materials technologies are Orion Crew Module, the Ares launch vehicles, Lunar Lander, and Lunar Surface Systems. For this Solicitation, the desired area of focus is Lunar Surface Systems, particularly for Lunar habitats.

      Low-temperature mechanism technology is being developed for reliable and efficient operation of mechanisms in lunar temperatures including operations in lunar shadows at -230°C and sustained surface operations thru varying lunar temperatures of -230°C to +120°C for lunar surface rovers, robotics, and mechanized operations. The technology drivers of the low temperature mechanism technology development are to significantly enhance operation of mechanized parts by 1) lowering the operating temperature for life of the component and 2) improving mechanism performance (torque output, actuation performance, lubrication state) at the lunar environment conditions of cold and vacuum over the required life of the mechanism. The targeted application of the technology is to provide for operation of motors and drive systems, lubricated mechanisms, and actuators of lunar rovers and mobility systems, ISRU machinery, robotic systems mechanisms, and surface operations machinery (i.e., cranes, deployment systems, airlocks) for lunar surface operations.

      This topic area is to enhance and fill gaps in technology development programs in the Exploration Technology Exploration Program's Structures, Materials, and Mechanisms (SMM) Project. Areas of development included in the SMM project include: low temperature drive system, motor, and gearbox system, personal kit radiation shielding materials, low density parachute material systems, expandable structural systems, and friction stir welded spun-domes. This topic area is responsible for mid-level technology research, development, and testing through experimental and/or analytical validation.

      • 52253

        X4.01Advanced Radiation Shielding Materials and Structures

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, MSFC

        Advances in radiation shielding materials and structures technologies are needed to protect humans from the hazards of space radiation during NASA missions. The primary area of interest for this 2009 solicitation is radiation shielding materials systems for long-duration lunar surface galactic… Read more>>

        Advances in radiation shielding materials and structures technologies are needed to protect humans from the hazards of space radiation during NASA missions. The primary area of interest for this 2009 solicitation is radiation shielding materials systems for long-duration lunar surface galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) protection. The innovative materials systems should have radiation shielding effectiveness approaching that of polyethylene, for an equivalent areal density (grams per square centimeter). This can be determined either by radiation transport calculations or by radiation exposure measurements. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and to show a path toward a Phase 2 technology demonstration. Specific areas in which SBIR-developed technologies can contribute to NASA's overall mission requirements include the following:


        • Innovative lightweight radiation shielding materials and structures to shield humans in crew exploration vehicles, landers, habitats, and rovers;
        • Physical, mechanical, structural, and other relevant characterization data to validate and qualify multifunctional radiation shielding materials and structures;
        • Innovative processing methods to produce quality-controlled advanced radiation shielding materials of all forms.



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      • 51379

        X4.02Expandable Structures

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

        This subtopic solicits innovative structural concepts that support the development of lightweight structures technologies that could be applicable to lunar surface system habitats. The targeted innovative lightweight structures are for primary pressurized volumes and secondary structures that must… Read more>>

        This subtopic solicits innovative structural concepts that support the development of lightweight structures technologies that could be applicable to lunar surface system habitats. The targeted innovative lightweight structures are for primary pressurized volumes and secondary structures that must be deployed during or after expansion of the primary volume such as the floor and work surfaces. Innovations in technology are needed to minimize launch mass, size and costs, while increasing operational volume and maintaining the required structural performance for loads and environments.



        Of particular interest are inflatable structures which are considered to be viable solutions for increasing the volume in habitats, airlocks, and potentially other crewed vessels. However, areas of risk need to be mitigated to build confidence in the use of these structures, in particular: consistent and reproducible mechanical behavior, durability in the presence of micrometeoroid impact, crew-induced and ground handling damage, and repair techniques for long term survivability. Other interests include preintegration solutions, launching pressurized volume in an expandable, and addressing lunar surface deployment concerns.



        Also of interest are innovative deployable secondary structures that have minimal mass and high packaging efficiency. These secondary multi-functional structures provide highly robust, stiff and mass efficient surfaces that enable the useful outfitting and pre-integration of subsystems within the primary structural volume.



        Development of concepts can include structural components, methods of validation, and/or predictive analysis capabilities. Technological improvements that focus on risk reduction/mitigation, and development of reliable yet robust designs are also being sought under this announcement. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 52078

        X4.03Low Temperature Mechanisms

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL, JSC, LaRC

        This subtopic focuses on the development of high power and high specific torque density actuators (e.g., motors and gear boxes) that will operate on the lunar surface exposed to the day/night cycle. They will need to operate over a temperature range of approximately 40 K to 403 K. A five year… Read more>>

        This subtopic focuses on the development of high power and high specific torque density actuators (e.g., motors and gear boxes) that will operate on the lunar surface exposed to the day/night cycle. They will need to operate over a temperature range of approximately 40 K to 403 K. A five year lifetime is desired. The component technologies developed in this effort will be utilized for rovers, cranes, instruments, drills, crushers, and other such facilities. The nearer term focus for this effort is for lunar missions, but these technologies should ideally be translatable to applications on Mars. These components must operate in a hard vacuum with partial gravity, abrasive dust, and full solar and cosmic radiation exposure. Additional requirements include high reliability, ease of maintenance, low-system volume, low mass, and minimal power requirements. Low out-gassing is desirable, as are modular design characteristics, fail-safe operation, and reliability for handling fluids, slurries, biomass, particulates, and solids. While dust mitigation is not specifically included in this subtopic, proposed concepts should be cognizant of the need for such technologies.



        Specific areas of interest include innovative long life, light weight, wide temperature range motors (in the range of one to five kWatts), gear boxes, lubricants, and closely related components that are suitable for the environments discussed above.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.





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    • + Expand Advanced Composite Technology Topic

      Topic X5 Advanced Composite Technology PDF


      The SBIR Topic area of Advanced Composites Technologies (ACT) focuses on technologies to mature the use of composite structures and materials for launch vehicles and/or the lunar lander.

      Organic matrix composite materials have the potential for a significant mass reduction compared to metallic materials by optimizing the structural architecture of applications including the Ares V Core Stage intertank, the Ares V Core-Stage-to-Earth-Departure-Stage interstage, the Ares V Payload Shroud, and the Altair lunar lander support struts. The major technology drivers for these applications of advanced composites technologies include large scale composites manufacturing, composite damage tolerance and detection, and primary structure durability in a lunar environment. Successful composites technologies will demonstrate concepts with reduced weight and cost with no loss in performance when compared to technologies for metallic concepts.

      This Topic is to enhance and fill gaps in technology development activities in the Exploration Technology Development Program Advanced Composites Technologies Project. Areas of development in the ACT project include: materials; manufacturing; nondestructive evaluation/structural health monitoring; and structural concepts. This Topic is responsible for mid-level technology research, development, and testing through experimental and/or analytical validation.

      • 51357

        X5.01Composite Structures - Practical Monitoring and NDE for Composite Structures

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, LaRC

        Orion backshell, Aries Payload fairing, and Lander struts and composite pressure vessel option, COPV and composite tankage and Habitat modules are only a few of the many weight-reducing applications for composites that need efficient and modular systems to accomplish monitoring and NDE for them to… Read more>>

        Orion backshell, Aries Payload fairing, and Lander struts and composite pressure vessel option, COPV and composite tankage and Habitat modules are only a few of the many weight-reducing applications for composites that need efficient and modular systems to accomplish monitoring and NDE for them to be practical.



        This subtopic seeks the development of technologies to detect, locate and characterize indications of a failure far enough ahead that routine actions can be taken to rectify the situation. Perform monitoring such that models can be built of event behaviors and structural response condition can be determined. Monitoring and/or NDE changes can be made with minimum cost/operations.



        Performance Goals/Metrics:


        • Provide impending system failure indications with sufficient time to take action to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure;
        • Increase the number of sensor locations per pound of monitoring weight by 50%;
        • Decrease the system monitoring electronics weight by 50%;
        • Decrease total wiring required for monitoring by 50%;
        • Decrease the time to plan and install monitoring by 50%;
        • Decrease the overall life-cycle cost per sensor by 50%;
        • Decrease total data rate required from the sensor data acquisition location by 50%;
        • Decrease time to perform NDE inspections by 50%;
        • Decrease the expected cost of instrumentation changes/upgrades by 50%.



        Technologies sought include: smart sensors, wireless passive sensors, flexible sensors for highly curved surfaces, direct-write film sensors, real-time compact NDE imagers for damage inspection, highly accurate defect and tool position determination.



        Applications include: Advanced composite structures such as cryo-tanks, large area composites such as launch vehicle fairings, habitable volumes, hard to access/inspect composite members, as well as metallic pressurized structures of all kinds. Interior as well as exterior measurements of the pressure vessel are needed.



        This subtopic is also a subtopic for the "Low-Cost and Reliable Access to Space (LCRATS)" topic.  Proposals to this subtopic may gain additional consideration to the extent that they effectively address the LCRATS topic (See topic O5 under the Space Operations Mission Directorate).



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      • 52248

        X5.02Composite Structures - Cryotanks

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC, JSC, MSFC

        The use of composite materials for smaller cryotanks offers the potential of significant weight savings. Composite cryotank technology would be applicable to EDS propellant tanks, Altair propellant tanks, lunar cryogenic storage tanks and Ares V tanks. A material system (resin+fiber) which displays… Read more>>

        The use of composite materials for smaller cryotanks offers the potential of significant weight savings. Composite cryotank technology would be applicable to EDS propellant tanks, Altair propellant tanks, lunar cryogenic storage tanks and Ares V tanks. A material system (resin+fiber) which displays high resistance to microcracking at cryogenic temperatures is necessary for linerless cryotanks, which provide the most weight-saving potential.



        This subtopic will focus on development of toughened, high strength composite materials, because the literature indicates that they have the highest microcrack resistance at cryogenic temperatures. Greatest interest is in novel approaches to increase resin strength and/or reduce resin CTE, thereby increasing resistance to microcracking at cryogenic temperature.



        Performance would be evaluated by a characterization program, which would ideally generate temperature-dependent material properties including strength, modulus, and CTE as functions of temperature. Additionally, notch sensitivity, plain strain fracture toughness, and microcracking fracture toughness as functions of temperature are desirable. Tests will need to be performed at temperatures between -273°C and 180°C to fully characterize any nonlinearity in material properties with changes in temperature.



        Initial property characterization would be done at the coupon level in Phase 1. Generation of design allowables, characterization of long-term material durability, and fabrication of larger panels would be part of follow-on efforts.



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      • 52073

        X5.03Composite Structures - Manufacturing

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, LaRC

        The SBIR subtopic area of Composites Materials and Manufacturing centers on developing lightweight structures using advanced materials technologies, and new manufacturing processes. The objective of the subtopic is to advance technology readiness levels of composite materials and manufacturing for… Read more>>

        The SBIR subtopic area of Composites Materials and Manufacturing centers on developing lightweight structures using advanced materials technologies, and new manufacturing processes. The objective of the subtopic is to advance technology readiness levels of composite materials and manufacturing for Ares launch vehicle applications resulting in structures having consistent, predictable response.



        Areas of interest include: polymer matrix composites (PMCs), large-scale manufacturing; innovative automated processes (e.g., fiber placement); advanced non-autoclave curing; bonding of composite joints; and damage-tolerant/repairable structures.



        Performance metrics include: achieving adequate structural and weight performance; analysis supported by test approach; manufacturing and life-cycle affordability; ability to demonstrate capabilities at the laboratory scale and confidence for scale-up; validation of confidence in design, materials performance, and manufacturing processes; quantitative risk reduction capability; minimum sensitivity and maximum robustness for operability.



        Lightweight structures and advanced materials have been identified as a critical need since the reduction of structural mass translates directly to vehicle additional performance, reduced cost, and increased up and down mass capability.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 prototype demonstration. Demonstrate manufacturing technology that can be scaled up for very large structures.



        This subtopic is also a subtopic for the "Low-Cost and Reliable Access to Space (LCRATS)" topic.  Proposals to this subtopic may gain additional consideration to the extent that they effectively address the LCRATS topic (See topic O5 under the Space Operations Mission Directorate).





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    • + Expand Lunar Operations Topic

      Topic X6 Lunar Operations PDF


      This call for technology development is in direct support of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate's (ESMD) Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP). The purpose of this research is to develop component and subsystem level technologies to support the Constellation Program's (CxP) human lunar return missions. The initial missions will be heavily engaged in construction methods, regolith excavation, establishing self-sustaining power generation, and producing life support consumables in-situ in order to establish continuous operational capability via earth based and lunar based human and robotic assets.

      The objective is to produce new technology that will reduce lunar operations workloads associated with crew extra-vehicular activities (EVA) and intra-vehicular activities (IVA), and reduce the total mass-volume-power of equipment and materials required to support both short and long duration Lunar stays as well as maximizing crew and outpost safety during landing, launch and lunar operations. The proposals must focus on component and subsystem level technologies in order to maximize the return from current SBIR funding levels. Doing so increases the likelihood of successfully producing a technology that can be readily infused into the Constellation Program.

      Lunar operations are a stepping-stone toward achieving long-term space exploration goals. This research focuses on technology development for the critical functions that will secure an extended human presence on the lunar surface and ultimately enable surface exploration for the advancement of scientific research. Surface exploration begins with short duration missions to establish a foundation which leads to extensible functional capabilities. Successive buildup missions establish a continuous operational platform from which to conduct scientific research while on the lunar surface. Reducing risk and ensuring mission success depends on the coordinated interaction of many functional surface systems including life support, power, communications infrastructure, and transportation. This topic addresses technology needs associated with lunar surface systems infrastructure, interaction of humans and machines, mobility systems, payload and resource handling, regolith excavation and mitigation of environmental contaminations. For more information, see the following websites:

      http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/home/LER.html
      http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/Haughton_Mars_project.html
      http://robonaut.jsc.nasa.gov/index.asp
      http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/multimedia/images/2008/K_10_38.html
      http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/leagilewg2008/pdf/4001.pdf
      http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/jun/HQ_08149_Moses_Lake.html

      • 51356

        X6.01Robotic Systems for Human Exploration

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, KSC

        The objective of this subtopic is to provide advanced capabilities for lunar surface system assets that deliver, handle, transfer, construct, and prepare site infrastructure for lunar operations. This includes robust dexterous manipulation capabilities; large and small cargo transporters for… Read more>>

        The objective of this subtopic is to provide advanced capabilities for lunar surface system assets that deliver, handle, transfer, construct, and prepare site infrastructure for lunar operations. This includes robust dexterous manipulation capabilities; large and small cargo transporters for delivery and deployment of construction materials, power generation systems, and habitable enclosures.



        This subtopic seeks to develop technologies that reduce the risk of Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA), facilitates remote robotic operations by both flight crew and ground control, and enables autonomous robotic operations. Automation and robotics capabilities include the ability to use robots for site setup and operations, both at an outpost and at remote lunar surface locations. Site operations support focuses on two types of activities: (1) tedious, highly repetitive, long-duration tasks that cannot be performed by EVA crew and (2) rapid response for addressing emergency, time-critical situations. Candidate tasks include: systematic site survey (engineering and/or science), inspection, emergency response, site preparation (clearing, leveling, excavation, etc.), instrument deployment, payload offloading, dexterous manipulation, and regolith handling for In-situ Resource Utilization.



        Maximizing the useful life of surface assets is essential to a successful lunar program. Material components must be robust and tolerate extreme temperature swings and endure harsh environmental effects due to solar events, micrometeorite bombardment, and abrasive lunar dust.



        Proposals are sought for the following technology needs:


        • Low-mass, high-strength, long-life, non-pneumatic wheel assembly capable of spreading the supported load over a large contact patch area and moving over surface terrain similar to loose beach sand. Range, Life, Mass, Mean-time-to-repair, and Mean-time-between-failure are key performance parameters being sought. Low psi contact patch. Minimal deformation of wheel under varying terrain makeup. Minimal rolling resistance. High performance in 4-sigma soil. 10,000 km expected life. 40K to 400K operating temperature range. Supports 100x its own mass.
        • Active and passive damping materials for suspension components that provide extended range of motion (45 degrees in pitch), extreme temperature tolerance (40K to 400K), reactive rates of 1-3 msec, and withstand torsional forces of 3000 N-m.
        • Active suspension components that reclaim and store energy absorbed through the suspension system.
        • Fluid and electrical connectors that can be repeatedly mated and de-mated (5000+ cycles) without failure in a contaminating environment consisting of regolith (abrasive dust) grains ranging in size from 100um down to 10um. Capable of carrying up to 10kw of power transmission or withstanding up to 3000psi pressures.
        • Low power sensors for inspection and surface navigation and obstacle avoidance that are not adversely affected by the accumulation of lunar dust on the sensor. Developing robust sensor technologies will enable mobility assets to execute automated path planning, automated driving, and obstacle avoidance.
        • Robot user interfaces enabling more efficient interaction with robots, facilitating situational awareness and telepresence, and reducing the amount of interaction effort required to operate robots. Appropriate user interfaces will support humans and robots operating in a shared space, close but separated, line-of-sight remote, and ground control remote. Particular interest is given to systems that robustly support robot operations with up to 10 seconds of communications delay.
        • Modular implements for digging, collecting, transporting and dumping lunar soil. The excavation rates are in the order of 50 kg/hr for regolith mining for O2 production and 300 kg/hr for Site preparation tasks. Total amounts of regolith required are 100 tons for O2 production and over 2,000 tons for a full outpost deployment. Excavation capabilities involve excavation and collection of both unconsolidated and consolidated surface regolith. Regolith Excavation includes tasks such as clearing and leveling landing areas and pathways, buildup of berms (2.5 m high) and burying of reactors or habitats for radiation protection (2 m deep), and regolith transportation for oxygen production (500 m distance) . Robotic excavation hardware must be able to operate over broad temperature ranges (40 K to 400 K) and in the presence of abrasive lunar regolith and partial-gravity environments. Expectations for maintenance by crew must be minimal and affordable (annual cycle). Therefore, general attributes desired for all proposed hardware include the following: lightweight, abrasion resistant, vacuum and large temperature variation compatible materials, low power, robust/low maintenance, and minimize dust generation/saltation during operation.
        • Large surface area, i.e., 100 m X 100 m, soil stabilization/solidification techniques to prevent dust and regolith disturbances/ejecta from vehicular or suited EVA traffic (7 - 70 kilopascal bearing pressure).



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      • 51319

        X6.02Surface System Dust Mitigation

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JPL, JSC, KSC, LaRC, MSFC

        The general objective of the subtopic is to provide knowledge and technologies (to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 development level) required to address adverse dust effects to exploration surface systems and equipment, which will reduce life cycle cost and risk, and will increase the… Read more>>

        The general objective of the subtopic is to provide knowledge and technologies (to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 development level) required to address adverse dust effects to exploration surface systems and equipment, which will reduce life cycle cost and risk, and will increase the probability of sustainable and successful lunar missions. The subtopic will help to develop a balance of near- and long-term knowledge and technology development, driven by Exploration Systems Mission Directorate needs and schedule requirements, aligned with existing technology investments where possible. The technical scope of the subtopic includes the evaluation of lunar dust effects and development of mitigation strategies and technologies related to Exploration Surface Systems, such as: Rovers and Robotic Systems, In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Systems, Power Systems, Communication Systems, Airlock Systems and Seals, Habitats, and Science Experiments.



        Lunar lander and surface systems will likely employ common hatch and airlock systems for docking, mating, and integration of spacecraft, habitat, EVA, and mobility elements. The large number of EVAs will require hatches that are safe if non-pressure assisted, and do not have to be serviced or replaced regularly. Lunar lander and surface systems will require materials and mechanisms that do not collect dust and do not abrade when in contact with lunar regolith. Technologies are also needed to remove lunar regolith, including dust, from materials and mechanisms. Lunar Surface systems will require EVA compatible connectors for fluid, power, and other umbilicals for transfer of consumables, power, data, etc. between architecture elements that will maintain functionality in the presence of lunar regolith, including dust. Lunar surface systems (power, mobility, communications, etc.) will require gimbals, drives, actuators, motors, and other mechanisms with required operational life when exposed to lunar regolith, including dust. Radiators and other thermal control surfaces for lander and surface systems must maintain performance and/or mitigate the effects of contamination from lunar regolith, including dust.



        Also included in the technical scope is the development of lunar regolith simulants. Simulants that are properly designed, analyzed, and produced are critical to understanding the effects of dust on humans and mission critical subsystems and how to handle and utilize regolith on the lunar surface. Proposals are requested in technology areas that improve simulant fidelities, reduce simulant manufacturing costs and schedules, and improve on simulant development processes and characterization techniques and methods.



        Lunar Regolith Simulants

        • Should cost
        • Should cost
        • Be producible in quantities up to 30 tons/year;
        • Have reproducible production processes;
        • Have particle size distributions representative of lunar regolith from 0.5 to 1000ƒÝm in size.



        The subtopic specifically requests technologies addressing dynamic mechanical systems used for lunar surface missions with potential to mitigate effects of lunar dust. For lubricated mechanisms, such as drives and pointing mechanisms, the sealing element must be durable enough to maintain a hermetic seal to prevent lubricant out gassing and dust contamination for at least 5 years. Also, the bearings, gears, etc of the mechanism must be robust enough to survive and provide nominal operation with lunar dust contamination and possible lubrication starvation.



        Mechanical Systems

        • Should achieve
        • Should achieve dynamic seal wear life of 20 million cycles;
        • Should achieve 300% improvement in bearing life (frictional torque vs. time) relative to lubricated SOA bearings contaminated with lunar fines.



        The subtopic also requests proposals for advanced materials, coatings, and related technologies with the proper combination of physical, mechanical, and electrical properties, and lunar environmental durability, suitable for use in dust mitigation applications on the lunar surface.



        Materials and Coatings

        • Should demonstrate reduced initial contamination (>90%) compared to conventional materials;
        • Should demonstrate improved efficiency of cleaning processes (>99% removal of initial contamination) without damage.



        Another area of interest encompassed by this subtopic is alternative technologies for lunar dust removal that may be used in a variety of lunar surface applications. Both manual and automated cleaning systems are sought and may be derived from any or a combination of particle removal forces appropriate for use on the lunar surface.



        Cleaning Systems

        • Should demonstrate >99% removal of dust contamination. Tolerable contamination levels will be application specific.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path to hardware or production demonstration in Phase 2. When possible, a demonstration unit or material quantity should be delivered for functional and environmental testing and characterization and evaluation at the end of Phase 2.



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    • + Expand Energy Generation and Storage Topic

      Topic X7 Energy Generation and Storage PDF


      This topic includes technology development for batteries, fuel cells, regenerative fuel cells, and fission and isotopic power systems for the Altair lunar lander and surface operations on the Moon and Mars. Technologies developed must be infused into these Constellation program elements: primary fuel cells for the Altair lunar lander descent stage, secondary batteries for the Altair ascent stage, secondary batteries for extravehicular activities (EVA) suits, and regenerative fuel cells, fission and isotopic power systems on the Moon and Mars to power habitats, in situ resource production, and mobility systems. Specific technology goals and component needs are given in the sub-topics. General mission priorities for energy storage and generation include:

      • EVA suits require secondary batteries sufficient to power all portable life support, communications, and electronics for an 8-hour mission with minimal volume. Battery operation required for six months and 100 recharge cycles with a shelf life of at least two years. Mission priorities include human-safe operation; 8-hr duration; high specific energy; and high energy-density.
      • Secondary batteries for the Altair ascent stage require nominally 10 recharge cycles with 1.7 kW nominal power and 2 kW peak power, operating for 7 hours continuously. Mission priorities include human-safe, reliable operation and high energy-density in a 0 - 30°C and 0 - 1/6 gravity environment.
      • The Altair descent stage requires a fuel cell with a nominal power level of 3 kW with 5.5 kW peak, operating for 220 hours continuously. Mission priorities include human-safe reliable operation; the ability to scavenge available fuel; and high energy-density.
      • Regenerative fuel cells, which combine a fuel cell with a water electrolyzer, have been baselined for lunar surface system operations. Mission priorities include reliable, long-duration maintenance-free operation; human-safe operation; high specific-energy; and high system efficiency in a 0 - 100°C, 1/6 gravity environment.
      • Architecture studies have identified nuclear power technology to effectively satisfy high power requirements for extended duration lunar surface missions. Nuclear power generation is especially attractive for missions with significant solar eclipse periods, including non-polar locations and inside lunar craters, as well as Mars outposts.
      • Power systems for lunar rovers require human-safe operation; reliable, maintenance-free operation; and high specific-energy.

      • 52085

        X7.01Advanced Space Rated Batteries

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        Advanced battery systems are sought for use in Exploration mission applications including power for landers, rovers, and extravehicular activities. Areas of emphasis include advanced cell chemistries with the aggressive mass and volume performance improvements and safety advancements in human-rated… Read more>>

        Advanced battery systems are sought for use in Exploration mission applications including power for landers, rovers, and extravehicular activities. Areas of emphasis include advanced cell chemistries with the aggressive mass and volume performance improvements and safety advancements in human-rated systems over state-of the-art lithium-based systems. Rechargeable cell chemistries with advanced non-toxic anode and cathode materials and nonflammable electrolytes are of particular interest.



        The focus of this solicitation is on advanced cell components and materials to provide mass and volume improvements and safety advancements that contribute to the following goals:

        • Specific energy (cell level)>300 Wh/kg at C/2 and 0°C;
        • Energy density (cell level)>600 Wh/l at C/2 and 0°C;
        • Operating Temperature Range from 0°C to 30°C;
        • Tolerance to abuse such as overcharge and over temperature conditions;
        • Calendar life >5 years; cycle life 250 cycles at 100% depth of discharge.



        Systems that combine all of the above characteristics and demonstrate a high degree of safety are desired. Cell safety devices such as shutdown separators, current limiting devices that inhibit or prevent thermal runaway, cell venting, and flame or fire; autonomous safety features that result in safe, non-flammable, non-hazardous operation especially for human-rated applications are of particular interest. Safety features that enhance the performance of high-power/high-rate cells that operate at >30°C discharge rates are also of interest.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 52117

        X7.02Surface Nuclear Power Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        NASA is interested in the development of highly advanced systems, subsystems and components for use with fission and isotopic systems to power habitats, resource production, and mobility systems on the Moon and Mars. Nuclear systems are anticipated to enable the long duration stay over the lunar… Read more>>

        NASA is interested in the development of highly advanced systems, subsystems and components for use with fission and isotopic systems to power habitats, resource production, and mobility systems on the Moon and Mars. Nuclear systems are anticipated to enable the long duration stay over the lunar night and for "global access" Mars missions. Initial planetary outpost power levels are anticipated to be between 30-50 kWe with anticipated growth to 100's kWe. Isotopic technologies that improve the utilization of a limited fuel supply and have extensibility to fission systems are sought. Performance goals include reducing overall system mass, volume and cost, and increasing safety and reliability.



        Specific technology topics of interest are:


        • High efficiency (>20%) power conversion at 900 K;
        • Electrical power management, control and distribution (1-5 kV);
        • High temperature, low mass (2) radiators, liquid metal/liquid metal and liquid metal/gas heat exchangers (>90% effectiveness) and electromagnetic pumps (>20% efficiency);
        • Deployment systems/mechanisms for large radiators (~3m x 15m);
        • High temperature (>900 K) materials or coatings compatible with local soil and atmospheric environments;
        • Systems/technologies to mitigate planetary surface environments including dust accumulation, wind, planetary atmospheres, corrosive soils, etc.;
        • System designs to provide autonomous control for 10-year operation, including sensor and control technologies;
        • Radiation tolerant systems and materials enabling robust, long life operation.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 51317

        X7.03Fuel Cells for Surface Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        Advanced primary fuel cell and regenerative fuel cell energy storage systems are baselined to provide descent power for the Altair lander and stationary power for lunar bases. Technology advances that reduce the weight and volume, improve the efficiency, life, safety, system simplicity and… Read more>>

        Advanced primary fuel cell and regenerative fuel cell energy storage systems are baselined to provide descent power for the Altair lander and stationary power for lunar bases. Technology advances that reduce the weight and volume, improve the efficiency, life, safety, system simplicity and reliability of PEM fuel cell, electrolysis, and regenerative fuel cell systems are desired. Proposals are sought which address the following areas:



        Advanced Conductive Fuel Cell Water Separator

        Research directed towards improving the water separating capability of a planar separator internal to each fuel cell in a fuel cell stack. Proposals directed at developing such advanced separator materials must meet the following criteria to be considered relevant.



        The separator:


        • Must be wettable with water, and have a contact angle less than 30 degrees;
        • Must allow water to penetrate and be transferred through the plane of the separator at a rate of at least 0.33 grams of water per hour per square centimeter of separator planar area;
        • Must not permit gas vapor to penetrate through the separator up to at least 30 psid (i.e., a bubble pressure point of at least 30 psid);
        • Must be electrically conductive, and have a resistivity of no more than 7.0 x 10-3 Ohm-cm;
        • Ideally should be compatible with a fuel cell fabrication process step that occurs at 1000°C with a compressing force of at least 600 psi. (The separator will not need to operate at these conditions, but could be subjected to these conditions during fuel cell fabrication). This bullet is not a requirement but a desirable characteristic.



        Hydrogen/Oxygen Dual Gas Pressure Regulator

        Research directed towards improving the regulators that regulate hydrogen and oxygen gases down to a usable pressure for the fuel cell. The regulated pressure needs to be controlled so that the pressure differential between the gases is within a few psi. NASA is interested in developing a single mechanical component which functions as a dual gas regulator that can reliably regulate these gases from high pressure source (>500psi) down to


        Advanced Electrocatalyst Materials for Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers

        Research directed towards improving the kinetics of oxygen reduction and oxygen evolution. Nano-phase, high-surface area unsupported platinum-alloys, incorporating cobalt, nickel and iron are potential candidates for improving the kinetics of oxygen reduction. Oxides of ruthenium and iridium are particularly promising electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction. In addition to performance, the new materials must exhibit durability for over 10,000 hours of operation with no more than 20% loss in performance. Proposals directed at developing such advanced nano-phase materials, understanding composition/property relationships, and demonstrating their characteristics in operating fuel cells will be considered directly relevant to achieving the long-term goals of the Explorations Missions.


        • Fuel cell MEA efficiency >75% (>0.92volts) @ 200 mA/cm2;
        • Electrolysis MEA efficiency >85% (2.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.





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    • + Expand Cryogenic Systems Topic

      Topic X8 Cryogenic Systems PDF


      The Exploration Systems architecture presents cryogenic storage, distribution, and fluid handling challenges that require new technologies to be developed. Reliable knowledge of low-gravity cryogenic fluid management behavior is lacking and yet is critical for Altair and Ares in the areas of storage, distribution, and low-gravity propellant management. Additionally, Earth-based and lunar surface missions will require success in storing and transferring liquid and gas commodities. Some of the technology challenges are for long-term cryogenic propellant storage and distribution; cryogenic fluid ground processing and fluid conditioning; liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen liquefaction processes on the lunar surface. Furthermore, specific technologies are required in valves, regulators, instrumentation, modeling, mass gauging, cryocoolers, and passive and active thermal control techniques. The technical focus for component technologies is for accuracy, reduced mass, minimal heat leak, minimal leakage, and minimal power consumption. The anticipated technologies proposed are expected to increase reliability, increase cryogenic system performance, and are capable of being made flight qualified and/or certified for the flight systems and dates to meet Exploration Systems mission requirements.

      • 52100

        X8.01Cryogenic Fluid Transfer and Handling

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC, JSC, MSFC, SSC

        This subtopic solicits cryogenic storage and transfer technologies to enable NASA Exploration goals. This includes a wide range of applications, scales, and environments on ground, in orbit, and on the Lunar or Martian surface. Specifically: Passive thermal control for ZBO (zero boil-off) storage… Read more>>

        This subtopic solicits cryogenic storage and transfer technologies to enable NASA Exploration goals. This includes a wide range of applications, scales, and environments on ground, in orbit, and on the Lunar or Martian surface. Specifically:


        • Passive thermal control for ZBO (zero boil-off) storage of cryogens for both long term (>200 days for LOX/LH2) on the lunar surface and short term (14 days for LH2, LOX) on orbit. Insulation for both ground and flight.
        • Active thermal control for long term ZBO storage for lunar surface and space applications. Technologies include 20 K cryocoolers for Mars missions, cryocooler integration techniques, heat exchangers, distributed cooling, and circulators. Scavenging of residual propellants.
        • Zero gravity cryogenic control devices including thermodynamic vent systems, spray bars and mixers, and liquid acquisition devices.
        • Advanced spacecraft valve actuators using piezoelectric ceramics. Actuators that can reduce the size and power while minimizing heat leak and increasing reliability.
        • Propellant conditioning and densification technologies for Earth based applications, scaled for Altair or EDS tanks. Destratification technologies and recirculation systems for homogeneous tank loads. Reliability and operability upgrades over past densification systems.
        • High capacity liquid oxygen pump systems capable of delivering high quality of liquid over a wide flow range between 500 GPM to 2000 GPM are sought. Special emphasis on variable control pumping, parallel pumping, system reliability and robustness, and advanced pump sealing technology is needed.
        • Liquefaction of oxygen on the Lunar surface, including passive cooling with radiators, cryocooler liquefaction, or open cycle systems that work with HP electrolysis. Efficiency, mass savings, and reliability upgrades are needed. Heat pumps, switches, and heat pipes to control energy flow at low temperatures. Deployable radiators and radiation shields.



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      • 51318

        X8.02Cryogenic Instrumentation for Ground and Flight Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, KSC, MSFC, SSC

        This subtopic includes technologies for reliable, accurate cryogenic propellant instrumentation needs in-space, on the lunar surface, and on the Earth. Innovative concepts are requested to enable accurate measurement of cryogenic liquid mass in low-gravity storage tanks, to enable the ability to… Read more>>

        This subtopic includes technologies for reliable, accurate cryogenic propellant instrumentation needs in-space, on the lunar surface, and on the Earth. Innovative concepts are requested to enable accurate measurement of cryogenic liquid mass in low-gravity storage tanks, to enable the ability to detect in-space and on-pad leaks from the storage system, and to address other cryogenic instrumentation needs. Cryogenic propellants such as hydrogen, methane, and oxygen are required for many current and future space missions. Proposed technologies should offer enhanced safety, reliability, or economic efficiency over current state-of-the-art, or should feature enabling technologies to allow NASA to meet future space exploration goals.



        Propellant mass gauging provides accurate measurement of cryogenic liquid mass (LH2, LO2, and LCH4) in low gravity storage tanks, and is critical to allowance of smaller propellant tank residuals and assuring mission success. Both low-gravity gauging (measurement uncertainty


        Leak detection technologies impact cryogenic systems for space transportation orbit transfer vehicles, lunar surface, and launch site ground operations. These systems will be operational both in atmospheric conditions and in vacuum with multiple sensor systems distributed across the vehicle or a region of interest to isolate leak location. Methane and hydrogen leak detection sensors with milli-second response times and 1 ppm detection sensitivity in air are desired for ground and launch operations.



        Other cryogenic instrumentation needs include:


        • Miniature cryogenic pressure sensors (0 - 1 atm) for use under MLI blankets.
        • Zero dead-volume in-line pressure sensors for use in liquid hydrogen flow streams.
        • Real-time in-situ measurements of ppm levels of N2, O2, and H20 in gaseous helium purge streams. Sensors that can survive the temperature range 20 K - 300 K and the vibration loads on a launch platform are especially desired.
        • Minimally intrusive in-situ measurements of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen purity levels in real time. The goal is to accurately measure cryogenic propellant liquid purity levels (99% - 100% purity) in ground test stands during test operations. Helium and nitrogen impurity levels are of specific interest, but the sensors must be able to measure overall purity level of the cryogenic liquid.
        • Minimally invasive cryogenic liquid flow measurement sensors for rocket engine feed lines, and sensors to detect and quantify two-phase flow (bubbles) within the feed lines.
        • Non-intrusive flowmeters for high-pressure (up to 6,000 psi) gaseous helium distribution lines are sought for flow rates ranging from a trickle flow up to 1500 SCFM. Ultrasonic clamp-on flowmeters are especially desired, but must be able to sense the flow through 2" Schedule-XX pipe (0.436" wall thickness).
        • Position indicators and long life application of the instrumentation for deep space missions.

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    • + Expand Thermal Protection Systems Topic

      Topic X9 Thermal Protection Systems PDF


      The Thermal Protection System (TPS) protects a spacecraft from the severe heating encountered during hypersonic flight through a planetary atmosphere. In general, there are two classes of TPS: reusable and ablative. Typically, reusable TPS applications are limited to relatively mild entry environments like that of Space Shuttle. No change in the mass or properties of the TPS material results from entry with a significant amount of energy being re-radiated from the heated surface and the remainder conducted into the TPS material. Typically, a surface coating with high emissivity (to maximize the amount of energy re-radiated) and with low surface catalycity (to minimize convective heating by suppressing surface recombination of dissociated boundary layer species) is employed. The primary insulation has low thermal conductivity to minimize the mass of material required to insulate the primary structure. Ablative TPS materials, in contrast, accommodate high heating rates and heat loads through phase change and mass loss. All NASA planetary entry probes to date have used ablative TPS. Most ablative TPS materials are reinforced composites employing organic resins as binders. When heated, the resin pyrolyzes producing gaseous products that are heated as they percolate toward the surface thus transferring some energy from the solid to the gas. Additionally, the injection of the pyrolysis gases into the boundary layer alters the boundary layer properties resulting in reduced convective heating. However, the gases may undergo chemical reactions with the boundary layer gases that could return heat to the surface. Furthermore, chemical reactions between the surface material and boundary layer species can result in consumption of the surface material leading to surface recession. Those reactions can be endothermic (vaporization, sublimation) or exothermic (oxidation) and will have an important impact on net energy to the surface. Clearly, in comparison to reusable TPS materials, the interaction of ablative TPS materials with the surrounding gas environment is much more complex as there are many more mechanisms to accommodate the entry heating.

      NASA has successfully tackled the complexity of thermal protection systems for numerous missions to inner and outer planets in our solar system in the past; the knowledge gained has been invaluable but incomplete. Future missions will be more demanding. Better performing ablative TPS than currently available is needed to satisfy requirements of the most severe CEV missions, e.g., Mars Landing with 8 km/s entry and Mars Sample Return with 12-15 km/s Earth entry. Beyond the improvement needed in ablative TPS materials, more demanding future missions such as large payload missions to Mars will require novel entry system designs that consider different vehicle shapes, deployable or inflatable configurations and integrated approaches of TPS materials with the entry system sub-structure.

      • 51298

        X9.01Ablative Thermal Protection Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL, JSC, LaRC

        The technologies described below support the goal of developing higher performance ablative TPS materials for higher performance CEV as well as future Exploration missions. Developments are sought for ablative TPS materials and heat shield systems that exhibit maximum robustness, reliability and… Read more>>

        The technologies described below support the goal of developing higher performance ablative TPS materials for higher performance CEV as well as future Exploration missions.


        • Developments are sought for ablative TPS materials and heat shield systems that exhibit maximum robustness, reliability and survivability while maintaining minimum mass requirements, and capable of enduring severe combined convective and radiative heating, including: development of acreage materials, adhesives, joints, penetrations, and seals. Two classes of materials will be required.

          • One class of materials, for Mars aerocapture and entry, will need to survive heat fluxes of 200-400 W/cm2 (primarily convective) and integrated heat loads of up to 25 kJ/cm2. These materials or material systems must improve on the current state-of-the-art recession rates of 0.25 mm/s at heating rates of 200 W/cm2 and pressures of 0.3 atm and improve on the state-of-the-art areal mass of 1.0 g/cm2 required to maintain a bondline temperature below 250°C.
          • The second class of materials, for Mars return, will need to survive heat fluxes of 1500-2500 W/cm2, with radiation contributing up to 75% of that flux, and integrated heat loads from 75-150 kJ/cm2. These materials or material systems must improve on the current state-of-the-art recession rates of 1.00 mm/s at heating rates of 2000 W/cm2 and pressures of 0.3 atm and improve on the state-of-the-art areal mass of 4.0 g/cm2 required to maintain a bondline temperature below 250°C.

        • In-situ heat flux sensors and surface recession diagnostics tools are needed for flight systems to provide better traceability from the modeling and design tools to actual performance. The resultant data will lead to higher fidelity design tools, risk reduction, decreased heat shield mass and increases in direct payload. The heat flux sensors should be accurate within 20%, surface recession diagnostic sensors should be accurate within 10%, and any temperature sensors should be accurate within 5% of actual values.
        • Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) tools are sought to verify design requirements are met during manufacturing and assembly of the heat shield, e.g. verifying that anisotropic materials have been installed in their proper orientation, that the bondline as well as the TPS materials have the proper integrity and are free of voids or defects. Void and/or defect detection requirements will depend upon the materials being inspected. Typical internal void detection requirements are on the order of 6-mm, and bondline defect detection requirements are on the order of 25.4-mm by 25.4-mm times the thickness of the adhesive.
        • Advances are sought in ablation modeling, including radiation, convection, gas surface interactions, pyrolysis, coking, and charring. There is a specific need for improved models for low and mid density as well as multi-layered charring ablators (with different chemical composition in each layer). Consideration of the non-equilibrium states of the pyrolysis gases and the surface thermochemistry, as well as the potential to couple the resulting models to a computational fluid dynamics solver, should be included in the modeling efforts.



        Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4 or higher are sought.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        This subtopic is also a subtopic for the "Low-Cost and Reliable Access to Space (LCRATS)" topic.  Proposals to this subtopic may gain additional consideration to the extent that they effectively address the LCRATS topic (See topic O5 under the Space Operations Mission Directorate).



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      • 51299

        X9.02Advanced Integrated Hypersonic Entry Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL, JSC, LaRC

        The technologies below support the goal of developing advanced integrated hypersonic entry systems that meet the longer term goals of realizing larger payload masses for future Exploration missions. Advanced integrated thermal protection systems are sought that address: (1) thermal performance… Read more>>

        The technologies below support the goal of developing advanced integrated hypersonic entry systems that meet the longer term goals of realizing larger payload masses for future Exploration missions.


        • Advanced integrated thermal protection systems are sought that address: (1) thermal performance efficiency (i.e., ablation vs. conduction), (2) in-depth thermal insulation performance (i.e., material thermal conductivity and heat capacity vs. areal density), (3) systems thermal-structural performance, and (4) system integration and integrity. Such integrated systems would not necessarily separate the ablative TPS material system from the underlying sub-structure, as is the case for most current NASA heat shield solutions. Instead, such integrated solutions may show benefits of technologies such as hot structures and/or multi-layer systems to improve the overall robustness of the integrated heat shield while reducing its overall mass. The primary performance metrics for concepts in this class are increased reliability, reduced areal mass, and/or reduced life cycle costs over the current state of the art.
        • Advanced multi-purpose TPS solutions are sought that not only serve to protect the entry vehicle during primary planetary entry, but also show significant added benefits to protect from other natural or induced environments including: MMOD, solar radiation, cosmic radiation, passive thermal insulation, dual pulse heating (e.g., aero capture followed by entry). Such multi-purpose materials or systems must show significant additional secondary benefits relative to current TPS materials and systems while maintaining the primary thermal protection efficiencies of current materials/systems. The primary performance metrics for concepts in this class are reduced areal mass for the combined functions over the current state of the art.
        • Integrated entry vehicle conceptual development is sought that allow for very high mass (> 20 mT) payloads for Earth and Mars entry applications. Such concepts will require an integrated solution approach that considers: TPS, structures, aerodynamic performance (e.g., L/D), controllability, deployment, packaging efficiency, system robustness / reliability, and practical constraints (e.g. launch shroud limits, ballistic coefficients, EDL sequence requirements, mass efficiency). Such novel system designs may include slender or winged bodies, deployable or inflatable entry systems as well as dual use strategies (e.g., combined launch shroud and entry vehicle). New concepts are enabling for this class of vehicle. Key performance metrics for the overall design are system mass, reliability, complexity, and life cycle cost.
        • Advances in Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) are sought specifically in application to address combined aerothermal environments, material response, vehicle thermal-structural performance, vehicle shape, vehicle size, aerodynamic stability, mass, vehicle entry trajectory / GN&C, and cross-range, characterizing the entry vehicle design problem.



        Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4 or higher are sought.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        This subtopic is also a subtopic for the "Low-Cost and Reliable Access to Space (LCRATS)" topic.  Proposals to this subtopic may gain additional consideration to the extent that they effectively address the LCRATS topic (See topic O5 under the Space Operations Mission Directorate).





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    • + Expand Cryogenic and Non-Toxic Storable Propulsion Topic

      Topic X10 Cryogenic and Non-Toxic Storable Propulsion PDF


      The Exploration Systems architecture presents propulsion challenges that require new technologies to be developed. Non-toxic engine technologies are being explored for use in lieu of the currently operational nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) and monomethylhydrazine (MMH) systems. Safety concerns with toxic propellants drive mission planners to the use of more costly propulsion modules that are fueled and sealed on the ground and can limit operational flexibility on the launch pad. There are also concerns with exhaust residue from toxic systems, which may be carried into habitats for lunar and Mars systems. To address these challenges, the focus will be on the development of cryogenic and non-toxic propulsion technologies to support informed decisions on implementation in the Exploration architecture. The major components of this effort will focus on reaction control systems, main engine, and deep throttling descent engines. A summary of some of the current activities is located at:

      http://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/Advanced/Capabilities/PCAD/

      The anticipated technologies to be proposed are expected to increase reliability, increase system performance, and to be capable of being made flight qualified and certified for the flight systems to meet Exploration Systems mission requirements.

      • 51322

        X10.01Cryogenic and Non-Toxic Storable Propellant Space Engines

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

        This subtopic intends to examine a range of key technology options associated with cryogenic and non-toxic storable propellant space engines. The primary mission for the engines will be to support lunar ascent/descent reaction control engines and lunar ascent engines. These engines can be compatible… Read more>>

        This subtopic intends to examine a range of key technology options associated with cryogenic and non-toxic storable propellant space engines. The primary mission for the engines will be to support lunar ascent/descent reaction control engines and lunar ascent engines. These engines can be compatible with the future use of in situ propellants such as oxygen, methane, methanol, monopropellants, or other non-toxic fuel blends. Key performance parameters:


        • Reaction control thruster development is in the 25-500-lbf thrust class with a target vacuum specific impulse of 325-sec. These RCS engines would operate cryogenic liquid-liquid for applications requiring integration with main engine propellants; or would operate gas-gas or gas-storable liquid for small total impulse type applications.
        • Ascent engine development is projected to be in the 3,500-8,000-lbf thrust class with a target vacuum specific impulse of 355-sec. The engine shall achieve 90% rated thrust within 0.5 second of the issuance of the Engine ON Command.



        Specific technologies of interest to meet proposed engine requirements include:


        • Non-toxic fuel blends or monopropellants that meet performance targets while improving safety and reducing handling operations as compared to current state-of-the-art storable propellants.
        • Low-mass propellant injectors that provide stable, uniform combustion over a wide range of propellant inlet conditions.
        • High temperature materials, coatings and/or ablatives for injectors, combustion chambers, nozzles and nozzle extensions.
        • Combustion chamber thermal control technologies such as regenerative, transpiration, swirl or other cooling methods which offer improved performance and adequate chamber life.
        • Highly-reliable, long-life, fast-acting propellant valves that tolerate space and lunar environments with reduced volume, size, and weight is also desirable.
        • Cryogenic instrumentation such as pressure and temperature sensors that will operate for months/years instead of hours.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.





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    • + Expand Exploration Crew Health Capabilities Topic

      Topic X11 Exploration Crew Health Capabilities PDF


      Human space flight is associated with losses in muscle strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. Crewmembers returning from the International Space Station (ISS) can lose as much as 10-20% of their strength in weight bearing and postural muscles. Likewise; bone mineral density is decreased at a rate of ~1% per month. Although aerobic capacity has not been formally measured in returning ISS crew, short duration Space Shuttle crewmembers have been shown to undergo a 22% reduction in VO2max in response to space flight. During future exploration missions such physiological decrements represent the potential for a significant loss of human performance which could lead to mission failure and/or a threat to crewmember health and safety. The ability to estimate the physical cost of exploration tasks, monitor crew health and fitness, and to provide effective hardware for exercise countermeasures use will be valuable in supporting safe and successful space exploration. Exercise systems is seeking technologies or devices to provide resistive and aerobic exercise in flight or simulate an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) suit on the ground. Visit the following for additional information:

      http://hacd.jsc.nasa.gov/projects/ecp.cfm
      http://hacd.jsc.nasa.gov/projects/eva.cfm

      • 51320

        X11.01Crew Exercise System

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        Human space flight is associated with losses in muscle strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. The ability to estimate the physical cost of exploration tasks, monitor crew health and fitness, and to provide effective hardware for exercise countermeasures use will be valuable in… Read more>>

        Human space flight is associated with losses in muscle strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. The ability to estimate the physical cost of exploration tasks, monitor crew health and fitness, and to provide effective hardware for exercise countermeasures use will be valuable in supporting safe and successful space exploration.



        Exercise Systems is seeking technologies or devices to provide resistive and aerobic exercise in flight.


        • Compact, reliable, multi-function exercise devices/systems are required to protect bone, muscle, and cardiovascular health during lunar outpost missions (missions with total duration less than 6 months). This device should be easily configured and stowed, require minimal power to operate, include instrumentation to document exercise session parameters including portable electronic media, and require minimum periodic calibration (no more than 2 times per year). The device must be capable of providing whole body axial loading and individual joint resistive loading that ideally simulates free weights. If unable to match the inertial properties of free weights, then the device must achieve an eccentric to concentric load ratio greater than 90%. The load must be adjustable in increments no greater than 2.5 kgs and provide adequate loading to protect muscle strength and bone health such that post-mission muscle strength is maintained at or above 80% of baseline values. The same device must be capable of providing whole-body aerobic exercise levels necessary to maintain aerobic capacity at or above 75% of baseline VO2max. Finally, the ideal device should also stimulate the sensory-motor system which controls balance and coordination.
        • Identify compact, multi-function exercise devices to protect muscle and cardiovascular health during lunar sortie missions (missions with a total duration of less than 30 days). This device must be 20 lbs or less including all accessories (or demonstrated to be within this allotment for a flight unit if the ground prototype exceeds 20 lbs), require no vehicle power to operate, include materials/components that can be flight certified and do not pose risk to the crew vehicle/habitat, and can be stowed within 1 cubic foot of space aboard the Orion vehicle. The device must require no crew calibration or maintenance (for missions less than 30 days), require minimal deployment/setup time (easily portable between vehicles), and ideally include instrumentation to document exercise session parameters using portable electronic media. The device must be capable of providing whole body and individual joint resistive loading that ideally simulates free weights.



        Phase 1 Requirements: a fully developed concept, complete with feasibility analyses and top-level drawings. A breadboard or prototype is highly desired.



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      • 52123

        X11.02EVA Suit Simulator

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        Human space flight is associated with losses in muscle strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. The ability to estimate the physical cost of exploration tasks, monitor crew health and fitness, and to provide effective hardware for exercise countermeasures use will be valuable in… Read more>>

        Human space flight is associated with losses in muscle strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. The ability to estimate the physical cost of exploration tasks, monitor crew health and fitness, and to provide effective hardware for exercise countermeasures use will be valuable in supporting safe and successful space exploration.

        Exercise Systems is seeking technologies or devices to simulate an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) suit on the ground.



        A wearable system that simulates the mechanical properties of the current extravehicular activity (EVA) space suit is sought. System should be lightweight (less than 30 pounds), easy to don/doff (especially in the supine position), replicate the mechanical properties of a space suit (in terms of resistance to motion and mass and inertia), and able to be worn during conduct of simulated lunar tasks that last up to 4 hours. Suit system must be adjustable to accommodate individuals of different height and weight. Joints of primary interest to simulate in this system are the shoulder, elbow, trunk, hip, and knee.



        Phase 1 Requirements: a fully developed concept, complete with feasibility analyses and top-level drawings. A breadboard or prototype is highly desired.





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    • + Expand Behavioral Health and Performance Topic

      Topic X12 Behavioral Health and Performance PDF


      The Behavioral Health and Performance topic is interested in developing strategies, tools, and technologies to mitigate Behavioral Health and Performance risks. The Behavioral Health and Performance topic is seeking tools and technologies to prevent performance degradation, human errors, or failures during critical operations resulting from: fatigue or work overload; deterioration of morale and motivation; interpersonal conflicts or lack of team cohesion, coordination, and communication; team and individual decision-making; performance readiness factors (fatigue, cognition, and emotional readiness); and behavioral health disorders.

      For 2009, the Behavioral Health and Performance topic is interested in the following technologies: Crew autonomy assessment tools and unobtrusive behavioral health monitoring tools. Proposals may respond to one or more of these areas.

      http://humanresearch.jsc.nasa.gov/elements/smo/nra.asp
      http://www.nsbri.org/Research/Psycho.html

      • 51364

        X12.01Crew Autonomy Assessment for Exploration

        Lead Center: JSC

        The NASA Behavioral Health and Performance Program Element (BHP) identifies and characterizes the behavioral health and performance risks associated with training, living and working in Space, and return to Earth. BHP develops strategies, tools, and technologies to mitigate these risks. Currently,… Read more>>

        The NASA Behavioral Health and Performance Program Element (BHP) identifies and characterizes the behavioral health and performance risks associated with training, living and working in Space, and return to Earth. BHP develops strategies, tools, and technologies to mitigate these risks. Currently, BHP has the need for behavioral health and assessment tools relevant to autonomy during Exploration Missions.



        The aim of the current task is to identify the optimal level of autonomy by providing a tool that will objectively and unobtrusively measure both crew autonomy and its relevant outcomes (performance, empowerment, satisfaction, cohesion, etc.). The technologies will be able to provide data for BHP to interpret how changes in crew autonomy during a mission influence the relevant team outcomes that are measured.



        Objectives:

        • Determine optimal level of autonomy needed for different spaceflight missions or mission phases;
        • Design and/or enhance unobtrusive tools that measure crew autonomy and its relevant team outcomes:
        • Establish how autonomy levels change within and across missions;
        • Interpret how these changes in autonomy influence important team outcomes.



        Requirements: The Crew Autonomy Assessment shall:

        • Be unobtrusive
        • Require minimal crew time or effort
        • Detect changes in team (ground and flight crew) autonomy and team outcomes (those that are chosen)



        Phase 1 Requirements: Develop Requirements for Crew Autonomy Assessment


        • An assessment of current methods through which to monitor/measure autonomy and relevant team outcomes within the DOD and other agencies will be provided;
        • An assessment of current technologies that unobtrusively monitor crew autonomy and relevant team outcomes (if any) will also be conducted;
        • Recommendations regarding enhancements to current technologies or the development of new technologies will be presented;
        • The spaceflight environment (current and future) and models related to autonomy and its relevant team outcomes will be assessed in order to determine the optimal requirements for developing a Crew Autonomy Assessment suitable for NASA human space exploration.



        Phase 2 Requirements: Crew Autonomy Assessment Prototype developed based on accurate models and Phase 1 findings.


        • Develop prototype hardware;
        • Develop manual and troubleshooting guide;
        • Evaluate and test the functionality of the prototype device.

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      • 51363

        X12.02Behavioral Health Monitoring Tools

        Lead Center: JSC

        The NASA Behavioral Health and Performance Program Element (BHP) identifies and characterizes the behavioral health and performance risks associated with training, living and working in Space, and return to Earth. BHP develops strategies, tools, and technologies to mitigate these risks. Currently,… Read more>>

        The NASA Behavioral Health and Performance Program Element (BHP) identifies and characterizes the behavioral health and performance risks associated with training, living and working in Space, and return to Earth. BHP develops strategies, tools, and technologies to mitigate these risks. Currently, BHP has the need for behavioral health monitoring tools specific to the long duration Exploration Mission environment.



        The aim of the current task is to provide requirements for a tool that will unobtrusively monitor behavioral health of the individual crew member while on a mission. The objective of this technology would be to monitor changes in behavioral health and automatically generate meaningful feedback for astronauts and flight surgeons, regarding their individual behavioral health status.



        The technologies will unobtrusively monitor markers of behavioral health such as body language and voice acoustics (not including facial recognition software).



        The technologies will provide meaningful feedback to the astronaut and flight surgeon regarding behavioral health status; if decrements in behavioral health are detected, the technologies should provide feedback regarding potential causes of decrements.



        Requirements: The Behavioral Health Assessment Tool shall:

        • Be unobtrusive and function autonomously;
        • Require minimal crew time or effort to train and utilize;
        • Monitor objective indications of behavioral health;
        • Provide meaningful feedback to astronauts and flight surgeons regarding individual behavioral health status;
        • If decrements are detected, the technologies shall provide meaningful feedback to astronauts and flight surgeons regarding potential causes of decrements and recommendations for potential countermeasures.



        Phase 1 Requirements: Develop Requirements for Behavioral Health Monitoring Technology


        • An assessment of current methods through which to monitor behavioral health during autonomous missions within DOD and other agencies will be provided;
        • An assessment of current technologies that unobtrusively monitor behavioral health (not including facial recognition software) will also be conducted;
        • Recommendations regarding enhancements to current technology or the development of a new technology will be presented;
        • The spaceflight environment (current and future) and models related to behavioral health will be considered in order to develop requirements for a Behavioral Health Monitoring Technology suitable for NASA human space exploration missions.



        Phase 2 Requirements: Behavioral Health Monitoring Technology Prototype developed based on accurate models and Phase 1 findings.


        • Develop prototype hardware/software;
        • Develop manual and troubleshooting guide;
        • Evaluate and test the functionality of the prototype device.



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    • + Expand Space Human Factors and Food Systems Topic

      Topic X13 Space Human Factors and Food Systems PDF


      The new Vision for Space Exploration encompasses needs for innovative technologies in the areas of Space Human Factors and Food Systems. Operations in confined, isolated, and foreign environments can lead to impairments of human performance. Research and development activities in the Space Human Factors and Food Systems topic address challenges that are fundamental to design and development of the next generation crewed space vehicles. These challenges include: (1) understanding the requirements for information feedback to the crew and developing technologies to ensure these requirements are met, (2) building tasks and tools that are compatible with humans and that enable human performance consistent with mission success, and (3) providing extended shelf life foods with improved nutritional content, quality and reduced packaging mass. This Topic seeks methods for monitoring, modeling, and predicting human performance in the spaceflight environment. The Space Human Factors and Food Systems is seeking new Space Human Factors Assessment Tools and Advanced Food Technologies that utilize non-foil barriers and allow food processing or preparation in a reduced gravity and pressure environment.

      http://humanresearch.jsc.nasa.gov/elements/smo/docs/shfh_evidence_report_summary.pdf
      http://hefd.jsc.nasa.gov/aft.htm

      • 52158

        X13.01An Automated Tool for Human Factors Evaluations

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        This subtopic calls for a Small Business Innovative Research project to develop an automated tool to assist non-human factors engineers to conduct human factors evaluations. Human factors evaluations are essential in gathering human performance data and analyzing the usability of new design concepts… Read more>>

        This subtopic calls for a Small Business Innovative Research project to develop an automated tool to assist non-human factors engineers to conduct human factors evaluations. Human factors evaluations are essential in gathering human performance data and analyzing the usability of new design concepts. These evaluations are generally carried out by human factors experts due to the level of expertise required. However, in some cases, it would both save time and cost if a tool is available for non-human factors engineers to carry out a standardized evaluation procedure to obtain the needed data and with comparable quality.



        The tool therefore shall provide a comprehensive set of measurement methods and guide non-human factors engineer to carry out human factors evaluations. The tool development shall include defining a comprehensive set of commonly used human factors evaluation methods that allow engineers to gather relevant human factors data. Through a user-friendly interface, the tool shall recommend evaluation metrics, provide step-by-step guidance for setting up the evaluation, and summarize/store evaluation data. The ability for the tool provide interfaces for human factors data acquisition systems is highly desirable.



        An algorithm for the tool is expected as the deliverable for Phase 1 and a prototype is expected should the project continue on to Phase 2.



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      • 52124

        X13.02Situational Awareness for Multi-Agent Operations

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        This subtopic calls for a Small Business Innovative Research project to develop a situation awareness and conflict resolution tool for a wide-area multi-agent operation environment with substantial time delays. Humans and robots in future Lunar or Mars surface operations would be operating both on… Read more>>

        This subtopic calls for a Small Business Innovative Research project to develop a situation awareness and conflict resolution tool for a wide-area multi-agent operation environment with substantial time delays. Humans and robots in future Lunar or Mars surface operations would be operating both on the Lunar (Mars) surface and on Earth remotely to carry out a common task. Consequently, substantial communication delay would make tasks planning and execution difficult. The goal of this SBIR is to develop a tool so multiple agents can work harmoniously regardless of geographical locations.



        The tool therefore shall overcome the hurdle of communication delays and (1) enable situation awareness by providing timely information of tasks conducted by other agents, (2) ensure that newly generated procedures mesh well with the originally scheduled activities, (3) allow operators to poll state data from all agents at any moment, and (4) provide recommendations for best task planning and procedures.



        An algorithm for the tool is expected as the deliverable for Phase 1 and a prototype is expected should the project continue on to Phase 2.



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      • 51365

        X13.03Advanced Food Technologies

        Lead Center: JSC

        The purpose of the Advanced Food Technology Project is to develop, evaluate and deliver food technologies for human centered spacecraft that will support crews on missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Safe, nutritious, acceptable, and varied shelf-stable foods with a shelf life of 3 - 5 years will… Read more>>

        The purpose of the Advanced Food Technology Project is to develop, evaluate and deliver food technologies for human centered spacecraft that will support crews on missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Safe, nutritious, acceptable, and varied shelf-stable foods with a shelf life of 3 - 5 years will be required to support the crew during future exploration missions to the Moon or Mars. Concurrently, the food system must efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, water, air, waste, power, and crew time. One of the objectives during the lunar outpost missions is to test technologies that can be used during the Mars missions.



        It will require approximately 10,000 kg of packaged food for a 6-crew, 1000 day mission to Mars. The packaged food will require that the safety, nutrition, and acceptability are maintained at reasonable levels for the entire 5-year shelf life. Therefore, this subtopic request will concentrate on technologies that use a systems approach to provide food in remote locations with limited mass, volume, power, and waste is required.



        It has been proposed to use a food system which incorporates processing of raw ingredients into edible ingredients and uses these edible ingredients in recipes in the galley to produce meals. This type of food system will require technologies that will allow these raw ingredients to maintain their functionality and nutrition for 5-years. This food system would also require food processing and food preparation equipment. The equipment should be miniaturized, multipurpose and efficiently use vehicle resources such as mass, volume, water, and power.



        There are some unique parameters that need to be considered when developing the technologies. The Moon's gravity is 1/6 of Earth's gravity. In addition, it is being proposed that the habitat will have a reduced atmospheric pressure of 8 psia which is equivalent to a 16,000 foot mountain top. These two factors will affect the heat and mass transfer during food processing and food preparation of the food. In addition, there also will not be any significant refrigerator or freezer available.



        The response to this subtopic should include a plan to develop a technology that will enable safe and timely food processing and food preparation in reduced cabin pressure and reduced gravity.



        Phase 1 Requirements: Phase 1 should concentrate on the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation resulting in a feasibility report and concept, complete with analyses and top-level drawings.





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    • + Expand Space Radiation Topic

      Topic X14 Space Radiation PDF



      The goal of the NASA Space Radiation Research Program is to assure that we can safely live and work in the space radiation environment, anywhere, any time. Space radiation is different from forms of radiation encountered on Earth. Radiation in space consists of high-energy protons, heavy ions and secondary products created when the protons and heavy ions pass through spacecraft shielding and human tissue. The Space Radiation Program Element, within the Human Research Program uses the NASA Research Announcement as a primary means of soliciting research to understand the health risks and reduce the uncertainties in risk projection; however, there are areas where the SBIR program contributes. Specific areas where SBIR technologies can contribute to NASA's overall goal include: reliable radiation monitoring for manned and unmanned spaceflight; and radiation damage imaging.

      http://hacd.jsc.nasa.gov/projects/space_radiation_overview.cfm
      http://spaceradiation.usra.edu/
      http://www.nsbri.org/Research/Radiation.html

      • 52090

        X14.01Active Charged Particle and Neutron Radiation Measurement Technologies

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        For exploration class missions, there is extraordinary premium on compact and reliable active detection systems to meet very stringent size and power requirements. NASA requires compact, low power, active monitors that can measure charged particle spectrum and flux separately from neutrons and other… Read more>>

        For exploration class missions, there is extraordinary premium on compact and reliable active detection systems to meet very stringent size and power requirements. NASA requires compact, low power, active monitors that can measure charged particle spectrum and flux separately from neutrons and other radiations. Also, NASA requires compact active neutron spectrometers that can measure the neutron component of the dose separate from the charged particles. Advanced technologies up to technology readiness level (TRL) 4 are requested in the following areas:



        Charged Particle Spectrometer

        Measure charge and energy spectra of protons and other ions (Z = 2 to 26) and be sensitive to charged particles with LET of 0.2 to 1000 keV/m. For Z less than 3, the spectrometer should detect energies in the range 30 MeV/n to 400 MeV/n. For Z = 3 to 26, the spectrometer should detect energies in the range 50 MeV/n to 1 GeV/n. Design goals for mass should be 2 kg and for volume, 3000 cc. The spectrometer should be able to measure charged particles at both ambient conditions in space (0.01 mGy/hr) and during a large solar particle event (100 mGy/hr). The time resolution should be less than or equal to 1 minute. The spectrometer shall be able to perform data reduction internally and provide processed data.



        Neutron Spectrometer

        Measure neutron energy spectra in the range of 0.5 MeV to 150 MeV. Measure neutrons at ambient conditions such that proton/ion veto capability should be approaching 100% at solar minimum GCR rates; measure ambient dose equivalent of 0.02 mSv in a 1 hour measurement period, using ICRP 74 (1997) conversion factors; store all necessary science data for post measurement data evaluation. Design goals for mass and volume should be 5 kg and 6000 cc, respectively.



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      • 52207

        X14.02Miniature Radiation Pulse Processing Electronics

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        For Exploration class missions, there is extraordinary premium on compact and reliable active detection systems to meet very stringent size and power requirements. Miniaturized electronics for radiation pulse processing would be important to help reduce size/power needs. Very small technologies… Read more>>

        For Exploration class missions, there is extraordinary premium on compact and reliable active detection systems to meet very stringent size and power requirements. Miniaturized electronics for radiation pulse processing would be important to help reduce size/power needs. Very small technologies (chips) are developed by the computer industry that may be adaptable to process radiation induced pulses from detectors to provide multi-channel analysis (MCA) and other analysis functions with very low power and size requirements. This is a need for NASA as power and size requirements are severely tightened on future missions to the Moon and beyond. Advanced technologies up to technology readiness level (TRL) 4 are requested in this area.



        The miniature processor must not exceed 0.2 W of power and have a volume not to exceed 20 cc. A communication interface, such as USB or other serial interface, is required. A fast clock rate is required, not less than 100 MHz. An analog-to-digital converter, minimum sample rate of 10 M samples per second. Could be part of chip or on the same board with chip. Requires adequate pulse height measurement to perform MCA, e.g., peak hold, digital waveform processing, or other approach. MCA should cover the input pulse height range of .002 to 10 volts (or equivalent) in either 100 channels on log scale or in two linear spectra of not less than 250 channels each with different gains.





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    • + Expand Inflight Biological Sample Preservation and Analysis Topic

      Topic X15 Inflight Biological Sample Preservation and Analysis PDF


      Flight resources such as the International Space Station and the Lunar outpost are essential assets for the Human Research Program goals of quantifying the human health and performance risks for crews during exploration missions. However, the resources for carrying supplies and returning biological samples to/from these assets are limited. Thus, the Human Research Program must identify the means for inflight sample analysis or unique sample processing techniques that minimize the need to return conditioned human samples for analysis. The Inflight Biological Sample Preservation and Analysis topic is seeking innovative technologies or techniques to: provide On Orbit Ambient Biological Sample Preservation Techniques and On Orbit Biologic Sample Analysis capabilities.

      • 52226

        X15.01Alternative Methods for Ambient Preservation of Human Biological Samples during Spaceflight and Lunar Operations

        Lead Center: JSC

        Measurement of blood and urine analytes is a common clinical medicine practice used for differential disease diagnosis and determination of the therapeutic response to treatment. Accurate biochemical results depend on maintaining the integrity of blood and urine samples until analyses can be… Read more>>

        Measurement of blood and urine analytes is a common clinical medicine practice used for differential disease diagnosis and determination of the therapeutic response to treatment. Accurate biochemical results depend on maintaining the integrity of blood and urine samples until analyses can be completed. Improper sample collection, handling, or preservation may lead to critical errors in diagnostic interpretation of analytical results. Traditional methods have been developed that include the use of sample component separation by means of centrifugation, refrigeration, freezing or the addition of preservatives to maintain the integrity of biological samples. While such techniques are easily achieved in a routine clinical setting, the spaceflight environment presents unique challenges to sample processing and stowage. Thus, novel on-orbit methods for the ambient preservation of biological samples are critical for scientific research, monitoring of crew health and evaluation of countermeasure efficacy. The development of alternative innovative techniques with advantages over currently used methods for processing and preserving biological samples at ambient temperatures during spaceflight that provide a high level of reliability in maintaining a wide array of both blood and urine analytes over a long period of ambient stowage is highly desirable.


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