NASA SBIR/STTR 2004 Program Solicitation Details | SBIR Research Topics

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    • + Expand Flight Payload Technologies and Outreach Topic

      Topic B5 Flight Payload Technologies and Outreach PDF


      The Biological and Physical Research enterprise (BPR) has two organizing questions that can benefit from advanced sensors and devices: (1) How can we assure the survival of humans traveling far from Earth? and, (2) How does life respond to gravity and space environments? Proposals are sought in areas of nanotechnology, information technology, and biotechnology that are likely to help answer both questions. It is important for BPR to assure that its missions and experiments use new technologies, tools, models, and procedures that improve experiment integration and mission flight support. Proposals are sought for innovative ideas for experimental use of the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and Free Flyers. Proposals are also sought for payload technologies that will support planned human exploration missions to the Moon and Mars. BPR has the need to educate and inspire the next generation to take the journey. The objective is to improve science literacy by engaging the public in missions and discoveries associated with BPR. Proposals are sought for innovative methods for analysis, metrics development audience assessment, and outreach product development.

      • 50998

        B5.01Telescience and Flight Payload Operations

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        NASA has interest in the development of science and experiments that support strategic aspects of exploration, as well as to develop the technologies to extend humanity's reach to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Preparing for exploration and research will require the acceleration of the development… Read more>>



        NASA has interest in the development of science and experiments that support strategic aspects of exploration, as well as to develop the technologies to extend humanity's reach to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Preparing for exploration and research will require the acceleration of the development of new technologies that will be imperative to future telescience and payload operations. It is important that the space missions and experiments for biological and physical research be managed using new tools, models, and procedures that improve telescience and flight payload operations. In addition, NASA wants to make available data and information associated with microgravity research investigations and results.



        The ability for developers to access existing and new tools and collaborate in the design, simulation, modeling, building, and testing will be crucial to the success of NASA’s new initiative. New methods of computing, accessing disparate data spread over wide geographical areas will require new approaches to computing, data storage and communications.



        There are many potential users for NASA services and data located throughout the U.S. There are three general types of users of these services and data. The first type is the principal investigator (PI)/payload developer (PD) who is responsible for the payload, experiment, and attendant science, and who commands the payload or experiment. The second type is the secondary investigator(s) who participates in analysis of the science and its control, but does not send commands. The third type is the educational user, from secondary school students up to graduate students. These users will receive either data processed by the PI or unprocessed data. Commercial investigations require the ability to receive, process, and display telemetry, view video from science sources, including the ISS, and interact with NASA concerning the science and operations. To conduct or be involved in general science activities, including the ISS science operations, a user will require various services from the Payload Operations Integration Center (POIC) located at the Marshall Space Flight Center near Huntsville, Alabama, or from other control centers located at various NASA facilities. These services are required to enable the experiment to be controlled using the inputs from various video sources, telemetry, and the crew. The input allows the experimenter to send to his/her payload or experiment commands to change various experiment operations. Before an experiment can get underway, an experimenter must participate in the payload planning process to schedule onboard services such as power, crew time, and cryogenics. This planning process is integral to the entire payload/carrier operation and requires the PI/PD or his/her representatives to participate via voice or video teleconferencing. To enable a user to operate from his/her home base, whether located in a laboratory, office, or home; these services (commensurate to the level of operation) must be provided at the user's location at a reasonable cost. Costs include both the platform upon which these services will run, and the communications required to provide these services to the experimenter's location.



        Proposals are sought for innovative ideas and efficiencies for systems to better effect communication and handling of data and information for scientific and commercial research on the International Space Station payloads and on manned exploration missions, and at the same time, for general use as applicable.

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      • 52052

        B5.02Flight Payload Logistics, Integration, Processing, and Crew Activities

        Lead Center: MSFC

        In preparation for future human exploration, we must advance our ability to live and work safely in space, and at the same time, develop technologies to reach the Moon, Mars, and other planets. These new technologies will improve the Nation's other space activities and may provide applications that… Read more>>

        In preparation for future human exploration, we must advance our ability to live and work safely in space, and at the same time, develop technologies to reach the Moon, Mars, and other planets. These new technologies will improve the Nation's other space activities and may provide applications that could be used to address problems on Earth. The objective of this subtopic is to introduce new technology in the form of new tools, models, and procedures. It is important that the space missions and experiments for biological and physical research be managed using new tools, models, and procedures that improve flight payload integration and associated activities. Proposals are sought for more effective and efficient flight payload logistics, integration, processing, and crew activities. As experiment hardware is developed, concurrent planning for logistics, processing, and for both analytical and physical payload integration must take place. One objective is to minimize crew time required for experiment handling, transfer, installation, and operation through automation, procedural efficiencies, and other means. Some potential areas for payload improvements include, but are not limited to, the following:


        • Acoustics, i.e., noise level reduction
        • Power requirement reduction
        • Electro Magnetic Interference/Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) reduction
        • Thermal control
        • Materials usage
        • Data control/handling
        • Safety
        • Test and checkout
        • Systems integration
        • Logistics
        • Automation, robotics, and nanotechnology
        • Training



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      • 51004

        B5.03Development of Improved Outreach Planning and Implementation Products

        Lead Center: MSFC

        U.S. achievements in space have lead to the development of technologies that have widespread applications to address problems on Earth, as well as in space. In preparation for future human exploration of space, we must advance our ability to live and work safely in space and at the same time… Read more>>



        U.S. achievements in space have lead to the development of technologies that have widespread applications to address problems on Earth, as well as in space. In preparation for future human exploration of space, we must advance our ability to live and work safely in space and at the same time develop technologies to extend our reach to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Outreach is a critical part of this process. This subtopic places emphasis on the effective implementation and analysis of outreach activities.



        The Biological and Physical Research enterprise (BPR) seeks to use its research activities to encourage educational excellence and to improve scientific literacy from elementary school through the university level and beyond. The Enterprise delivers value to the American people by facilitating access to the experience and excitement of space research. NASA wants to provide access to information and data about microgravity research experiments and commercial investigations to schools, industry, and the general public.



        Proposals are sought that provide a system, or systems, based on commercial solutions to develop outreach products for the improvement of education and public outreach planning and implementation. These systems should allow outreach participation in NASA programs, including the science and operational levels. Systems could provide for the general public and the educational community access to NASA and commercial science activities and operations through low-cost technologies, and outreach and education activities. The systems should be capable of facilitating secondary and college-level students' access to, and the ability to participate in, science activities. Similarly, the systems should be able to accommodate institutions and organizations that promote the use of science and technologies, e.g., museums and space camps. Examples of potential outreach activities include, but are not limited to the following:


        • Exhibits and educational/informational material for conferences, workshops, and schools.
        • Development and distribution of outreach brochures, newsletters to the general public, and student flight experiment programs.
        • Adult Ambassador Program, e.g., advocacy speakers for community education and outreach events, alliance with Collegiate Alumni Learning Weekend Programs, development of a partnership with retirement organizations for the planning and implementation of a program with appropriate learning experiences, development and implementation of "learning laboratories" for science centers and museums, publication of articles in general interest periodicals, publication of articles and reports in scientific journals, multimedia outreach products, outreach Web sites, education briefs, fact sheets, and press releases.
        • In addition to the development of new tools for planning and implementation, BPR seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of outreach activities. Systems are sought to assess and analyze the implementation and effectiveness of education and outreach activities and goals associated with BPR research. Assessment of available learning venues for varied age groups and priority order of attendance would be valuable in helping to formulate which venues and audiences to target.





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    • + Expand Aviation Safety and Security Topic

      Topic A1 Aviation Safety and Security PDF


      The worldwide commercial aviation accident rate has been nearly constant over the past two decades. Although the rate is very low, increasing traffic over the years may result in the absolute number of accidents also increasing. Without improvements, doubling or tripling of air traffic by 2017 could lead to 50 or more major accidents a year. This number of accidents would have an unacceptable impact on the air transportation system. The goal of NASA’s Aviation Safety and Security Program (AvSSP) is to develop and demonstrate technologies that contribute to a reduction in the fatal aviation accident rate. Research and technology will address accidents involving hazardous weather, controlled flight into terrain, human-error caused accidents and incidents, and mechanical or software malfunctions. The Program will also develop and integrate information technologies needed to build a safer aviation system and provide information for the assessment of situations and trends that indicate unsafe conditions before they lead to accidents. NASA researchers are also looking at ways to adapt aviation technologies already being developed to improve aviation security. The AvSSP is focusing on areas where NASA expertise could make a significant contribution to security: 1) the hardening of aircraft and their systems, 2) secure airspace operation technologies, 3) improved systems to screen passenger and cargo information, and 4) sensors designed to better detect threats. NASA seeks highly innovative proposals that will complement its work in Aviation Safety and Security in the following subtopic areas:

      • 50996

        A1.01Crew Systems Technologies for Improved Aviation Safety

        Lead Center: LaRC

        NASA takes a crew-centered approach to improving aviation safety and, therefore, specifically investigates human error roots of accidents and incidents to identify the basis for innovating crew-centered automation and interface technologies. These technologies must be evaluated sensitively and in… Read more>>

        NASA takes a crew-centered approach to improving aviation safety and, therefore, specifically investigates human error roots of accidents and incidents to identify the basis for innovating crew-centered automation and interface technologies. These technologies must be evaluated sensitively and in operationally-valid contexts. NASA develops evaluation methodologies and tools to sensitively and robustly assess aviation safety technologies. Finally, to ensure adoption, NASA investigates how innovative aviation safety technologies can be effectively used in airspace operations and be supported by pilot procedures and instruction.



        NASA seeks highly innovative technologies to improve airspace safety with a crew-centered focus. Such advanced technologies may meet these goals by ensuring appropriate situation awareness; facilitating and extending human perception, information interpretation, and response planning and selection; counteracting human information processing limitations, biases, and error-tendencies; assisting in response planning and execution; and ensuring individuals have access to use the airspace system as appropriate. In addition, NASA seeks tools and methods for measuring and assessing pilots' and collaborating operators' performance in complex, dynamic systems. Technologies may take the form of tools, models, operational procedures, instructional systems, prototypes, and devices for use in the flight deck, elsewhere by pilots, or by those who design systems for crew use. Technologies should have a high potential for emerging as marketable products, of which there are a number of examples:


        • Novel technologies to improve information presentation;
        • Intelligent systems monitoring and alerting technologies for improved failure mode identification, recovery, and threat mitigation;
        • Designs for human-error prevention, detection, and mitigation;
        • Decision-support tools and methods to improve communication, collaborative and distributive decision-making;
        • Data fusion technologies to integrate disparate sources of flight-related information for improved situation awareness and appropriate workload modulation;
        • Support for crew response planning and selection;
        • Computational approaches to determine and appropriately modulate crew engagement, workload, and situation awareness;
        • Human-centered information technologies to improve the performance of less-experienced pilots and pilot populations with special requirements;
        • Avionics designers and/or certification specialist tools to improve the application of human-centered principles;
        • Human-error reliability approaches to analyzing flight deck displays, decision aids, and procedures, and designs that consider presentation of uncertain data; and
        • Individual and team performance metrics, analysis methods, and tools to better evaluate and certify human and system performance for use in operational airspace environments, simulation, and model-based analyses.



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      • 50792

        A1.02Aviation Safety and Security: Fire, Icing and Propulsion-Safe and Secure CNS Aircraft Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        NASA is concerned with the prevention of hazardous conditions and the mitigation of their effects when they do occur. One particular emphasis is on the prevention and suppression of in-flight fire and explosions, as well as fuel tank explosions and post-crash fires. Aircraft fires represent a small… Read more>>

        NASA is concerned with the prevention of hazardous conditions and the mitigation of their effects when they do occur. One particular emphasis is on the prevention and suppression of in-flight fire and explosions, as well as fuel tank explosions and post-crash fires. Aircraft fires represent a small number of actual accident causes, but the number of fatalities due to in-flight, post-crash, and on-ground fires is large.



        A second emphasis is on mitigating the safety risk and collateral damage due to unexpected failures of rotating components. Although the FAA mandates a blade containment and rotor unbalance requirement (FAR Part 33, Section 33.94) as part of the airworthiness standards for turbine aircraft engines, there are substantial potential (aircraft-engine) system benefits to be gained by enabling safety assured, lighter weight, lower cost, and more damage-tolerant designs for engine case/containment systems and associated (primary load path) structures.



        A third emphasis for this subtopic is on propulsion system health management, in order to prevent or accommodate safety-significant malfunctions and damage. Past advances in this area have helped improve the reliability and safety of aircraft propulsion systems; however, propulsion system component failures are still a contributing factor in numerous aircraft accidents and incidents. Advances in technology are sought which help to further reduce the occurrence of and/or mitigate the effects of safety-significant propulsion system malfunctions and damage.



        A fourth emphasis is to increase the level of safety for all aircraft flying in the atmospheric icing environment. To maximize the level of safety, aircraft must be capable of handling all possible icing conditions by either avoiding or tolerating the conditions. Proposals are invited that lead to innovative new approaches or significant improvements in existing technologies for in-flight icing conditions avoidance (icing weather information systems) or tolerance (airframe and engine ice protection systems and design tools).



        A final emphasis for this subtopic is protection and hardening of the aircraft's communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS) systems, as well as enabling new aviation security applications through improved air-to-ground data link communications. Technology is needed to harden the CNS systems, both onboard and air-to-ground, and to provide next-generation airborne, ground- and space-based surveillance systems.



        With these emphases in mind, products and technologies that can be made affordable and retrofitable within the current aviation system, as well as for use in the future, are sought:


        • Technology for prevention and suppression of potential in-flight fires in fuel tanks, cargo bays, insulation, and other inaccessible locations due to accidents or deliberate acts.
        • Technology to provide fuel tank vapor flammability reduction and onboard oxygen generation.
        • Technology to minimize fire hazards in crashes and to prevent or delay fires.
        • Advanced material or structural configuration concepts to prevent catastrophic failures of engine components, or to ensure fragment containment.
        • Computational tools for analyzing blade-loss events and designing structural components and systems accordingly.
        • Health management technologies such as instrumentation, ground and on-wing nondestructive inspection, health monitoring algorithms, and fault accommodating logic, which will predict, diagnose, prevent, assess, and allow recovery from propulsion system malfunctions or damage.
        • Ground and airborne radome technologies for microwave wavelength radar and radiometers that remain clear of liquid water and ice in all weather situations.
        • In situ icing environment measurement systems that can provide practical, very low-cost validation data for emerging icing weather information systems and atmospheric modeling. Measured information must include location, altitude, cloud liquid water content, temperature, and ideally cloud particle sizing and phase information. Solutions envisioned would use radiosonde-based systems.
        • Ice protection and detection technology submittal must provide significant improvements over current systems or address new design needs. Areas of improvement can be considered to be: efficient thermal protection systems, including composite wing or structures applications, wide area ice detection, detection that serves both ground and in-flight applications, and de-icing systems that operate at near anti-icing performance. Any submittal must be cost competitive to current technologies.
        • Next generation capabilities for remote monitoring of onboard systems and the aircraft environment.
        • Secure onboard information processing, computing and air/ground networking.
        • Technologies to harden aircraft communication, navigation, and surveillance systems against abnormality and deliberate attack.



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      • 50989

        A1.03Technologies for Improved Aviation Security

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, NASA recognized that it now shared the responsibility for improving homeland security. The NASA Strategic Plan includes requirements to enable a more secure air transportation system and to create a more secure world by investing in technologies and… Read more>>

        Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, NASA recognized that it now shared the responsibility for improving homeland security. The NASA Strategic Plan includes requirements to enable a more secure air transportation system and to create a more secure world by investing in technologies and collaborating with other agencies, industry, and academia. NASA's role in civil aeronautics has always been to develop high-risk, high-payoff technologies to meet critical national aviation challenges, and ensuring the security of the nation from terrorist attacks is a high priority national challenge.



        NASA aims to develop and advance technologies that will reduce the vulnerability of the Air Transportation System (ATS) to threats or hostile acts, and identify and inform users of potential vulnerabilities in a timely fashion. Specific technical focus areas include system-wide security risk assessment and incident precursor identification; enhanced flight procedures and onboard systems to protect critical infrastructures and key assets and enable the safe recovery of a seized aircraft; definition of directed energy threats to the aircraft and on/off-board systems that will provide surveillance and countermeasures of these threats; integrated adaptive control systems to detect and compensate for vehicle damage; hardened and security-enhanced aircraft networks and data links; remote monitoring of the aircraft environment and systems; new materials for composite fire and explosive resistant fuselage structures; advanced, airborne, in situ detection of chemical and biological terror agents; and commercial aircraft fuel tank inerting. Technologies under development are intended for the next-generation ATS, however, issues such as retrofitting, certification, system implementation, and cost-benefit analysis must be considered during the technology development process.



        NASA seeks highly innovative and commercially viable technologies that will improve aviation security by addressing threats to air vehicles, as well as the ATS. Specific areas of focus include: preventing aircraft from being used as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD); protection from man-portable air defense systems (ManPADS) and electromagnetic energy (EME) attacks; light-weight, fire- and explosive-resistant composite materials; explosive resistant fuel systems, ground-based decision support tools needed to monitor airspace security concerns; reporting systems to monitor security violations; secure encrypted data link systems, intrusion-tolerant communications networks and communications systems to support emerging aviation security applications; tools to support real-time management of security information; and chemical and biological sensor development. Technologies may take the form of tools, models, techniques, procedures, substantiated guidelines, prototypes, and devices:


        • Intelligent systems monitoring and alerting technologies;
        • Technologies that enable secure communications, navigation, and surveillance onboard the aircraft;
        • Secure communications systems to support emerging aviation security applications;
        • Onboard and ground surveillance and interception systems for aircraft immunity to electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic pulse intrusions;
        • Technologies and methods to provide accurate information and guidance to enable pilot avoidance of protected airspace, maintain positive identity verification of aircraft operators, determine pilot intent, and deny flight control access to unauthorized persons;
        • Flight control systems that accommodate vehicle damage relative to changes in aircraft stability, control, and structural load characteristics;
        • Material systems, fuselage structural concepts, and fuel systems that are resistant to fire and explosions;
        • Fuel system technologies that prevent or minimize in-flight vulnerability of civil transport aircraft due to small arms or man-portable defense systems type projectiles;
        • Decision-support tools and methods to improve communication, collaborative, and distributive decision-making;
        • Data fusion technologies for integrating disparate sources of flight-related information;
        • Computational approaches to monitoring crew health, stress level, state of duress, and performance; and
        • Validation methods and tools for advanced safety and security critical systems.



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      • 50776

        A1.04Automated On-Line Health Management and Data Analysis

        Lead Center: AFRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        Online health monitoring is a critical technology for improving transportation safety in the 21st century. Safe, affordable, and more efficient operation of aerospace vehicles requires advances in online health monitoring of vehicle subsystems and information monitoring from many sources over… Read more>>



        Online health monitoring is a critical technology for improving transportation safety in the 21st century. Safe, affordable, and more efficient operation of aerospace vehicles requires advances in online health monitoring of vehicle subsystems and information monitoring from many sources over local and wide area networks. Online health monitoring is a general concept involving signal-processing algorithms designed to support decisions related to safety, maintenance, or operating procedures. The concept of online health monitoring emphasizes algorithms that minimize the time between data acquisition and decision-making.



        This subtopic seeks solutions for online aircraft subsystem health monitoring. Solutions should exploit multiple computers communicating over standard networks where applicable. Solutions can be designed to monitor a specific subsystem or a number of systems simultaneously. Resulting commercial products might be implemented in a distributed decision-making environment such as onboard diagnostics and management systems, or maintenance and inspection networks of potentially global proportion.



        Proposers should discuss who the users of resulting products would be, e.g., research/test/development; manufacturing; maintenance depots; flight crew; Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Remotely Operated Aircraft (UAV/ROA) aircraft operators; airports; flight operations or mission control; or airlines. Proposers are encouraged to discuss data acquisition, processing, and presentation components in their proposal. Proposals that focus solely on sensor development should not be submitted to this subtopic. Such proposals should be addressed to sensor development subtopics such as the Flight Sensors, Sensor Arrays and Airborne Instruments for Flight Research subtopic.



        Examples of desired solutions targeted by this subtopic follow:

        • Real-time autonomous sensor validity monitors;
        • Flight control system or flight path diagnostics for predicting loss of control;
        • Automated testing and diagnostics of mission-critical avionics;
        • Structural fatigue, life cycle, static, or dynamic load monitors;
        • Automated nondestructive evaluation for faulty structural components;
        • Electrical system monitoring and fire prevention;
        • Applications that exploit wireless communication technology to reduce costs;
        • Model-reference or model-updating schemes based on measured data, which operate autonomously;
        • Proactive maintenance schedules for rocket or turbine engines, including engine life-cycle monitors;
        • Predicting or detecting any equipment malfunction;
        • Middleware or software toolkits to lower the cost of developing online health monitoring applications; and
        • Innovative solutions for harvesting, managing, archival, and retrieval of aerospace vehicle health data.







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    • + Expand Vehicle Systems Topic

      Topic A2 Vehicle Systems PDF


      The Vehicle Systems Program is about Outcomes for the Public Good: Environmentally Friendly Aircraft, Air Vehicles for Public Mobility, Superior Air Power, and New Aeronautical Missions. Vehicle Systems does this by looking at three objectives: transportation system concepts, vehicle capabilities, and enabling technologies. The Vehicle Systems Program is developing revolutionary technologies at the laboratory, component, or subsystem level. The majority of the resources are allocated for fundamental research to find breakthrough technologies through three projects: Tailored Lightweight Structures, Robust Reliability, and Electric Hybrid Propulsion. These projects develop the fundamental technologies needed to enable the change state in aeronautics. Existing and newfound knowledge is refined through field tests through three more projects: Efficient Aerodynamic Configurations, Ultra-Efficient Engine Technology, and Quiet Aircraft Technology. These projects focus on the integration of these technologies into subsystems and systems that can be developed with industry partners into highly used products. To measure the overall progress, Vehicle Systems accelerates the technology integration and maturation through two Vehicle Sector Integration Projects: Strategic Vehicle Architectures and Flight and System Demonstrations. The Strategic Vehicle Architectures Project conducts system level integration studies, and the Flight and Systems Demonstrations Project conducts concept development and research flight-testing.

      • 50790

        A2.01Propulsion System Emissions and Noise Prediction and Reduction

        Lead Center: GRC

        Emissions Current environmental concerns with subsonic and supersonic aircraft center around the impact of emissions on the Earth's climate. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) are the major emittants of concern coming from commercial aircraft engines. Current state-of-the-art… Read more>>

        Emissions

        Current environmental concerns with subsonic and supersonic aircraft center around the impact of emissions on the Earth's climate. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) are the major emittants of concern coming from commercial aircraft engines. Current state-of-the-art engines and combustors in most subsonic aircraft are fuel-efficient and meet the 1996 ICAO nitrogen oxide (NOx) limits, but may not able to meet the future stringent regulations. Recent observations of aircraft exhaust contrails (from both subsonic and supersonic flights) have resulted in growing concern over aerosol, particulate, and sulfur levels in the fuel. In particular, aerosols and particulates from aircraft are suspected of producing high altitude clouds, which could adversely affect the Earth's climatology. Advanced concepts research for reducing CO2 and NOx, and analytical and experimental research in characterization (intrusive and non-intrusive) and control (through component design, controls, and/or fuel additives) of gaseous, liquid, and particulates of aircraft exhaust emissions is sought. Specific aircraft operating conditions of interest include the landing-takeoff cycle, as well as the in-flight portion of the mission. There are a number of areas of particular interest:


        • New concepts for reducing CO2, oxides of nitrogen (NO, NO2, NOx), unburned hydrocarbons; carbon monoxide, particulate, and aerosols emittants (novel propulsion concepts, injector designs to improve fuel mixing, catalysts, additives, etc.)
        • New fuels for commercial aircraft that minimize CO2 and NOx emissions
        • Innovative active control concepts for emission minimization with an integrated systems focus including emission modeling for control, sensing, and actuation requirements, control logic development, and experimental validation are of interest.
        • New instrumentation techniques are needed for the measurement of engine emissions such as NOx, SOx, and HOx, atomic oxygen and hydrocarbons in combustion facilities and engines. Size, size distributions, reactivity, and constituents of aerosols and particulates are needed, as are temperature, pressure, density, and velocity measurements. Optical techniques that provide 2-D and 3-D data; time history measurements; and thin film, fiber optic, and micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based sensors are of interest.



        Noise

        Engine noise reduction technologies are required in the areas of propulsion source noise, nacelle aeroacoustics, and engine/airframe integration. Some of the key technologies needed to achieve these goals are revolutionary propulsion systems for reduced noise without significant increases in cost and emissions. Noise reduction concepts need to be identified that provide economical alternatives to conventional propulsion systems. NASA is soliciting proposals in one or more of the following areas for propulsion system noise reduction:

        • Innovative acoustic source identification techniques for turbomachinery noise: The technique shall be described for a relevant source. Plans for a Phase II demonstration should be included for the Phase I proposal. A simple source may be used where the solution is known to demonstrate the technique. A clear explanation on how the technique can be applied to turbofan engines should be included. The technique should be capable of identifying sources contributing to dominant engine components, such as fan and jet noise.
        • Fan Noise: The technique shall be capable of separating fan sources such as fan-alone versus fan/stator interaction for both tones and broadband noise. Sufficient resolution is needed to determine the location of the dominant sources on the aerodynamic surfaces. Jet Noise: The technique shall be capable of locating both internal and external mixing noise for dual-flow nozzles found in modern turbofans. Innovative turbofan source reduction techniques. Methods shall emphasize noise reduction methods for fan, jet, and core components without compromising performance for turbofan engines. A resulting engine system that incorporates one or more of the proposed methods should be capable of reducing perceived noise levels anywhere from 10 to 20 effective perceived noise level (EPNdB) relative to FAR 36, Stage 3 certification levels.
        • Revolutionary propulsion concepts for lower emissions and noise (proposed as alternatives to turbofan engines). Feasibility studies shall be done that demonstrate the potential for 20 EPNdB engine noise reduction relative to FAR 36, Stage 3 certification levels and 90% reduction in NOx emissions standards relative to current International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations for commercial aircraft concepts.



        Enabling technologies shall be identified for future research.

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      • 50789

        A2.02Electric and Intelligent Propulsion Technologies for Environmentally Harmonious Aircraft

        Lead Center: GRC

        Electric aircraft propulsion and power systems have the potential to completely eliminate harmful emissions from aircraft while at the same time improving energy efficiency. Major strides have been achieved in the development of fuel cells, especially in the automotive field. NASA is pursuing the… Read more>>

        Electric aircraft propulsion and power systems have the potential to completely eliminate harmful emissions from aircraft while at the same time improving energy efficiency. Major strides have been achieved in the development of fuel cells, especially in the automotive field. NASA is pursuing the application of fuel cell technology for both aircraft power and propulsion. There are still major technical advances required to make a commercially viable electric aircraft a reality, but this goal now appears to be achievable, possibly even in the nearer term. To achieve the realization of environmentally harmonious 21st century air vehicles, innovations are needed to enable highly efficient, low cost, power dense (weight and volume) electric aircraft propulsion and power systems.



        Technical areas of interest in electric aircraft propulsion and power include, but are not limited to, fuel cells, power management, power conditioning, power distribution, actuators, motors and drive systems, sensors and fuel storage (especially hydrogen). Highly integrated dual function components and systems that have the potential to reduce overall vehicle and subsystem weight are of special interest (e.g., power conductors that are integrated into the airframe structure, motors directly integrated into the fan/propeller structure). Synergistic use of onboard cryogenic hydrogen fuel is also of interest. Both component and system level technologies are solicited. Proposals must show improvements to the state-of-the-art and viable application to aircraft.



        Implementation of intelligent propulsion concepts requires advancements in the area of robust control synthesis techniques and automated diagnostics, and development of advanced enabling technologies such as nanoelectronics, smart sensors, and actuators. Attention will also need to be paid to integration of the active component control and diagnostics technologies with the control of the overall propulsion system. This will require moving from the current analog control systems to distributed control architectures.



        Intelligent propulsion technologies that address electric, turbine, jet and/or hybrid aerospace propulsion systems are of interest. Proposals focusing on development of advanced diagnostics, health monitoring and control concepts, smart sensors, electronics and actuators for enabling self-diagnosis and prognosis, and self-reconfiguration capabilities are being sought. Concepts of special interest include those that integrate distributed sensing with actuation and control logic for micro-level control of parameters (such as propulsion system internal flows that impact performance and environment). Novel instrumentation approaches that provide valuable information for development and validation of technologies for self-diagnosis, prognosis, and reconfiguration are also of interest.

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      • 50791

        A2.03Revolutionary Technologies and Components for Propulsion Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        NASA seeks highly innovative concepts for propulsion systems and components for advanced high-speed aerospace vehicles to support missions, such as access to space, global cruise, and high-speed transports. The main emphasis in this subtopic is on high-risk, breakthrough technologies in order to… Read more>>

        NASA seeks highly innovative concepts for propulsion systems and components for advanced high-speed aerospace vehicles to support missions, such as access to space, global cruise, and high-speed transports. The main emphasis in this subtopic is on high-risk, breakthrough technologies in order to revolutionize aerospace propulsion over a broad flight spectrum, up to Mach 8. Proposals offering significant advancements in critical components and designs for propulsion systems and subsystems are sought. Specific technical areas include the following:


        • Advanced cooling concepts that minimize coolant penalties can include innovative cooling systems, fuel cooling of the combustor, and endothermic fuels and/or fuel additives to increase the heat-sink capacity or cooling capacity of fuels.
        • Innovative concepts relating to the combustion process, including fuel injectors, piloting, flame holding techniques for increased performance and decreased emissions, techniques to identify the onset of combustion instability in lean-burn and/or rich-burn, low NOx combustor, ramjet combustion and active and passive combustion controls in order to extend the operability of the combustion components to a wider range of operating conditions.
        • New inlet concepts to meet functional airflow needs of high Mach number propulsion. For instance, a variable geometry, supersonic, mixed compression inlet. Compatibility with turbomachinery and mode transition across the speed range should be addressed. Special attention should be given to combustor demands along a realistic flight corridor. This flight corridor must be compatible with turbine engine thermal-structure limits.
        • New techniques to improve the aerodynamic performance and operability of the inlet, including highly offset subsonic diffusers and designs for boundary layer control, minimizing engine unstart susceptibility, and techniques to identify and control the onset of mode transition between different propulsion concepts within the same internal flow path or dual flow paths.
        • New controllable and reliable nozzle concepts with optimum expansion efficiency and thrust vectoring capability, including a computational nozzle design methodology to study various geometries and chemistry effects.
        • Enabling technologies of components and subsystems that allow turbomachinery to operate at high-speed flight conditions. Specific examples include 1) a lightweight, high-pressure ratio compressor which must be protected or removed from the extremely high temperature primary air stream; 2) applications of micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) that demonstrate the potential to enhance the performance and reduce the cost and weight; and 3) innovative inlet flow conditioning.
        • New concepts for combined or combination cycles, in particular those including turbine propulsion. Alternate engine cycles that meet a unique mission requirement (e.g., global reach, access to space, etc.), including pulse detonation, ramjets, scramjets, and rockets. Proposals can also include development of unique components required for the maturation of alternate propulsion cycles, such as inlets, diffusers, nozzles, air valves, fuel injectors, combustors, etc.
        • Innovative integration technologies among components or subsystems that significantly improve the performance or reduce the cost of the overall propulsion systems are sought. This includes new collaborative and concurrent engineering tools for analysis and design. These tools could reduce the need for empiricism, thus facilitating early evaluation of interactions among propulsion components. "Intelligent" design tools, based on technologies such as evolutionary algorithms and neural networks, are also of interest. All design/analysis tool proposals must include a propulsion technology development application.



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      • 50995

        A2.04Airframe Systems Noise Prediction and Reduction

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Innovative technologies and methods are necessary for the design and development of efficient, environmentally acceptable airplanes, rotorcraft, and advanced aerospace vehicles. In support of the goal of the Quiet Aircraft Technology Project for reduced noise impact on community residents,… Read more>>

        Innovative technologies and methods are necessary for the design and development of efficient, environmentally acceptable airplanes, rotorcraft, and advanced aerospace vehicles. In support of the goal of the Quiet Aircraft Technology Project for reduced noise impact on community residents, improvements in noise prediction and control are needed for jet, propeller, rotor, fan, turbomachinery, 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 aircraft passengers and crew and on 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.
        • Simulation and prediction of aeroacoustic noise sources particularly for airframe noise sources and situations with significant interactions between airframe and propulsion systems.
        • Concepts for active and passive control of aeroacoustic noise sources for conventional and advanced aircraft configurations.
        • Innovative active and passive acoustic treatment concepts for engine nacelle liners and concepts for high-intensity acoustic sources, which can be used to characterize engine nacelle liner materials.
        • Reduction technologies and prediction methods for rotorcraft and advanced propeller aerodynamic noise.
        • Development of synthesis and auditory display technologies for subjective assessments of aircraft community and interior noise.
        • Development and application of flight procedures for reducing community noise impact of rotorcraft and subsonic and future supersonic commercial aircraft while maintaining safety, capacity, and fuel efficiency.
        • Computational and analytical structural acoustics techniques for aircraft and advanced aerospace vehicle interior noise prediction, particularly for use early in the airframe design process.
        • Technologies and techniques for active and passive interior noise control for aircraft and advanced aerospace vehicle structures.
        • Prediction and control of high-amplitude aeroacoustic loads on advanced aerospace structures and the resulting dynamic response and fatigue.



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      • 52059

        A2.05Revolutionary Materials and Structures Technology for Propulsion and Power Components

        Lead Center: GRC

        This subtopic addresses structural and mechanical components, subsystems and advanced materials for Aerospace Propulsion and Power Systems. Proposals are sought for innovative and commercially viable concepts that address objectives such as lighter weight, reduced operational costs, lower noise,… Read more>>

        This subtopic addresses structural and mechanical components, subsystems and advanced materials for Aerospace Propulsion and Power Systems. Proposals are sought for innovative and commercially viable concepts that address objectives such as lighter weight, reduced operational costs, lower noise, lower emissions, higher temperature capability, increased efficiency and/or operational margin, greater safety and reliability, and more time on-station for aircraft, satellites, and power equipment.



        One focus is on problems related to structural and mechanical components and subsystems that operate at high temperatures, in hostile aero-thermo-chemical environments or space environments, and at high stresses under cyclic loading conditions. Interests include magnetic, foil, and fluid film bearings, tribological coatings, seals, transmissions, noise reduction, flight weight electric motors, rotating equipment, aeroelasticity, ballistic impacts, fatigue, fracture, life prediction, probabilistic methods, and structural health monitoring (diagnostics and prognosis).



        A second focus addresses advanced materials, their development, and their application to primary propulsion systems such as aircraft gas turbines, rocket and turbine-based combined cycle engines, and rocket engines as well as auxiliary power sources in aircraft and space vehicles. Materials of interest include any classes especially those used in propulsion systems such as high-temperature polymers and composites, metals including titanium alloys and nickel-based super alloys, ceramics and ceramic matrix composites, and coatings for these, and processes for their economical and reliable preparation.

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      • 50988

        A2.06Smart, Adaptive Aerospace Vehicles With Intelligence

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        This subtopic emphasizes the roles of aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics, adaptive software, vehicle dynamics in nonlinear flight regimes, and advanced instrumentation in research directed towards the identification, development and validation of enabling technologies that support the design of future… Read more>>

        This subtopic emphasizes the roles of aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics, adaptive software, vehicle dynamics in nonlinear flight regimes, and advanced instrumentation in research directed towards the identification, development and validation of enabling technologies that support the design of future, autonomous aerospace vehicle and platform concepts for aviation safety, and security vehicle systems. Some of the vehicle attributes envisioned by this subtopic include: a) "Smart" vehicle attributes—using advanced sensor technologies, flight vehicle systems are "highly aware" of onboard health and performance parameters, as well as the external flow field and potential threat environments; b) "Adaptive" vehicle attributes—flight avionics systems are reconfigurable, structural elements are self-repairing, flight control surfaces and/or effectors respond to changing flight parameters and/or vehicle system performance degradation; and c)"Intelligent" vehicle attributes—vehicle onboard processing and artificial intelligence technologies, interfaced with advanced vehicle structural component and subcomponent designs and appropriate actuating devices, reacts rapidly and effectively to changing performance demands and/or external flight and security threat environments. Future air vehicles with the above attributes will manage complexity, "know" themselves, continuously tune themselves, adapt to unpredictable conditions, prevent and recover from failures, and provide a safe environment.



        For atmospheric vehicles and platforms, both military and civil applications are sought, while for aviation applications, emphasis is placed on configurations that enable the discovery of new aviation safety and security concepts. Concepts and corresponding enabling technologies are sought which expand the traditional boundaries of conventional piloted vehicles categories such as General Aviation (GA) or Personal Air Vehicles (PAV), as well as significantly advance the state-of-the-art in remotely operated vehicle classes such as Long-Endurance Sensing Platforms (LESP), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV) as they can relate to aviation safety and security. Furthermore, for Earth applications, special emphasis is placed on research proposals that attempt to provide solutions for a future state in which revolutionary vehicles operate in a highly integrated airspace including hub and spoke, point-to-point, long-haul, unmanned aircraft, green aircraft, as well as a future state where air vehicle designs reflect a high level of integration in performance, safety and security, airspace capacity, environmental impact and cost factors.



        Specific areas of interest are:

        • Conceptual flight vehicle/platform designs featuring variable levels of vehicle and airspace requirements integration, and/or smart, intelligent, and adaptive flight vehicle capabilities, as demonstrated by state-of-the-art systems analyses methods to determine enabling technologies and resulting impacts on future system integrated performance, environmental impact, and safety and security issues.
        •  New algorithms for predicting vehicle loads and response using minimal vehicle state information.
        • Novel optimization methodologies to support conceptual design studies for highly-integrated flight vehicle and air space concepts and/or smart, intelligent and adaptive flight vehicle capabilities, which demonstrate appropriate design variable selection, scaling techniques, suitable cost functions, and improved computational efficiency.
        • Physics-based modeling and simulation tools of multiple vehicle classes and corresponding airspace operations aspects to support scenario-based planning and requirements definition of highly integrated vehicle and airspace capacity concepts, including investigations of the potential use of virtual/immersive simulations on future engineering decision making processes.
        • Micro-scale wireless communications, health monitoring, energy harvesting, and power-distribution technologies for large arrays of vehicle-embedded MEMS sensors and actuators.



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      • 50779

        A2.07Revolutionary Flight Concepts

        Lead Center: AFRC

        This subtopic solicits innovative flight test experiments that demonstrate breakthrough vehicle or system concepts, technologies, and operations in the real flight environment. The emphasis of this subtopic is the feasibility, development, and maturation of advanced flight research experiments that… Read more>>

        This subtopic solicits innovative flight test experiments that demonstrate breakthrough vehicle or system concepts, technologies, and operations in the real flight environment. The emphasis of this subtopic is the feasibility, development, and maturation of advanced flight research experiments that demonstrate advanced or revolutionary methodologies, technologies, and concepts. It seeks advanced flight techniques, operations, and experiments that promise significant leaps in vehicle performance, operation, safety, cost, and capability; and may require a demonstration or validation in an actual flight environment to fully characterize or validate it.



        The scope of this subtopic is broad and includes advanced flight experiments that accelerate the understanding, research, and development of advanced technologies and unconventional operational concepts. Examples extend to (but are not limited to) such things as inflatable aero-structures (new designs or innovative applications, new manufacturing methods, new materials, new in-flight inflation methods, and new methods for analysis of inflation dynamics), innovative control surface effectors (micro-surfaces, embedded boundary-layer control effectors, micro-actuators), innovative engine designs for UAV aircraft, alternative engines/motors/concepts, alternative fuels research (hydrocarbon, hydrogen, or regenerative), sonic boom reduction, noise reduction for Conventional Take-off and Landing/Short Take-off and Landing (CTOL/STOL) aircraft and engines, advanced mass transportation concepts, retrofit threat detection capabilities for civil transports, damage mitigation concepts, streamlining airport operations concepts, retrofitting existing airports for next generation airliners, alternative external vision systems, shroudless launch of aerodynamic shapes on the front of ELVs, aerodynamic systems optimization for planetary aircraft (Venus, Mars, Io, and/or Titan), flexible system stability derivative identification, innovative approaches to thermal protection that mimize aerodynamic performance degradation, innovative approaches to structures, stability, control, and aerodynamics integration schemes, and innovative approaches to incorporation of UAV operations into commercial airspace. This subtopic is intended to advance and demonstrate revolutionary concepts and is not intended to support evolutionary steps required in normal product development. Proposals should emphasize the need of flight testing a concept or technology as a necessary means of verifying or proving its worth; emphasis should also be given to multidisciplinary integration of advanced flight systems. The benefit of this effort will ultimately be more efficient aerospace vehicles, increased flight safety (particularly during flight research), and an increased understanding of the complex interactions between the vehicle or technology concept and the flight environment.



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      • 50778

        A2.08Modeling, Identification, and Simulation for Control of Aerospace Vehicles in Flight Test

        Lead Center: AFRC

        Safer and more efficient design of advanced aerospace vehicles requires advancement in current predictive design and analysis tools. The goal of this subtopic is to develop more efficient software tools for predicting and understanding the response of an airframe under the simultaneous influence of… Read more>>

        Safer and more efficient design of advanced aerospace vehicles requires advancement in current predictive design and analysis tools. The goal of this subtopic is to develop more efficient software tools for predicting and understanding the response of an airframe under the simultaneous influence 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 dynamical subsystems with an emphasis towards flight test 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. Methodologies should pertain to any of a variety of types of vehicles, such as Unmanned Aerospace Vehicles/Remotely Operated Aircraft (UAV/ROA), and flight regimes ranging from low-speed High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) to hypersonic and access-to-space aerospace vehicles. Proposals should address one or more of the following:


        • Accurate prediction with validation of steady and unsteady pressure, stress, and thermal loads;
        • Effective multidisciplinary dynamics analysis algorithms with flight-test correlation capability conducive to validation with test data, such as with finite-element aeroservoelastic computations;
        • Time-accurate simulation systems from nonlinear multidisciplinary dynamics models with applications toward flight-testing, such as with reduced-order CFD-based methods;
        • Novel and efficient schemes for control-oriented identification of nonlinear aeroservoelastic dynamics from test data with provisions for uncertainty estimation and model correlation;
        • Online and autonomous model update schemes for loads, aerodynamic, and aeroelastic model identification for stability and performance monitoring and prediction in adaptive control;
        • Self-learning control strategies for aerostructural vehicles and development of enhanced real-time controls software and hardware for long-term onboard systems operation;
        • Integration of modeling, analysis, simulation, and identification techniques for control objectives in a unified, compatible manner; and
        • Innovative high-performance facilities for integrated simulation and graphical interface, or virtual reality systems, for multidisciplinary aerospace systems.



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      • 50777

        A2.09Flight Sensors and Airborne Instruments for Flight Research

        Lead Center: AFRC

        Real-time measurement techniques are needed to acquire aerodynamic, structural, and propulsion system performance characteristics in flight and to safely expand the flight envelope of aerospace vehicles. The scope of this subtopic is the development of sensors or instrumentation systems for… Read more>>

        Real-time measurement techniques are needed to acquire aerodynamic, structural, and propulsion system performance characteristics in flight and to safely expand the flight envelope of aerospace vehicles. The scope of this subtopic is the development of sensors or instrumentation systems for improving the state-of-the-art in aircraft flight testing. This includes the development of sensors to enhance aircraft safety by determining atmospheric conditions. The goals are to improve the effectiveness of flight testing by simplifying and minimizing sensor installation, measuring new parameters, improving the quality of measurements, and minimizing the disturbance to the measured parameter from the sensor presence or deriving new information from conventional techniques. This subtopic solicits proposals for improving airborne sensors and instrumentation systems in all flight regimes. These sensors and systems are required to have fast response, low volume, minimal intrusion and high accuracy and reliability. Innovative concepts are solicited in the areas that follow below.



        Vehicle Condition Monitoring

        Sensor development in support of vehicle health and performance monitoring includes the monitoring of aerodynamic, structural, propulsion, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, navigation, control, and communication subsystems. Proposals that focus solely on health management algorithms and systems integration should be addressed in the Automated Online Health Management and Data Analysis subtopic.



        Vehicle Environmental Monitoring

        Sensor development in support of vehicle environmental monitoring includes the following:

        • Non-intrusive air data parameters (airspeed, air temperature, ambient and stagnation pressures, Mach number, air density, and flow angle);
        • Off-surface flow field measurement and/or visualization (laminar, vortical, and separated flow, turbulence) zero to 50 meters from the aircraft;
        • Boundary layer flow field, surface pressure distribution, acoustics or skin friction measurements or visualization; and
        • Unusually small, light and low-power instrumentation for use on miniature aircraft and high altitude long endurance vehicles.





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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 revolutionary improvements and modernization for the air traffic management (ATM) system. The AS Program will enable new aircraft, new aircraft technologies and air traffic technology to safely maximize operational efficiency, flexibility, predictability, and access into airspace systems. The major challenges are to accommodate projected growth in air traffic while preserving and enhancing safety; provide all airspace system users more flexibility and efficiency in the use of airports, airspace, and aircraft; reduce system delays; enable new modes of operation that support the FAA commitment to "Free Flight" and maintain pace with a continually evolving technical environment and provides for doorstep-to-destination transportation developments. AS Program objectives are:

      • Improve mobility, capacity, efficiency and access of the airspace system;
      • Improve collaboration, predictability and flexibility for the airspace users;
      • Enable modeling and simulation of air transportation systems;
      • Enable runway-independent aircraft and general aviation operations; and
      • Maintain system safety and environmental protection.


      NASA is working to develop, validate, and transfer advanced concepts, technologies and procedures through partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), other government agencies, and in cooperation with the U.S. aeronautics industry. 
       

      • 52304

        A3.01Next Generation Air-Traffic Management Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC

        The challenges in Air Traffic Management (ATM) are to create the next generation system and to develop the optimal plan for transitioning to the future system. This system should be one that (1) economically moves people and goods from origin to destination on schedule, (2) operates without… Read more>>

        The challenges in Air Traffic Management (ATM) are to create the next generation system and to develop the optimal plan for transitioning to the future system. This system should be one that (1) economically moves people and goods from origin to destination on schedule, (2) operates without fatalities or injuries resulting from system or human errors or terrorist intervention, (3) seamlessly supports the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or remotely operated aircraft (ROAs), (4) is environmentally compatible, and (5) supports an integrated national transportation system and is harmonized with global transportation. This can only be achieved by developing ATM concepts characterized by increased automation and distributed responsibilities. It requires a new look at the way airspace is managed and the automation of some controller functions, thereby intensifying the need for a careful integration of machine and human performance. As these new automated and distributed systems are developed, security issues need to be addressed as early in the design phase as possible.

        To meet these challenges, innovative and economically attractive approaches are sought to advance technologies in the following areas:

        • Decision support tools (DST) to assist pilots, controllers, and dispatchers in all parts of the airspace (surface, terminal, en route, command center)
        • Integration of DST across different airspace domains
        • Next generation simulation and modeling capability—models of uncertainty and complexity, National Airspace System (NAS) operational performance, economic impact
        • Distributed decision making
        • Security of advanced ATM systems
        • System robustness and safety—sensor failure, threat mitigation, health monitoring
        • Weather modeling and improved trajectory estimation for traffic management applications
        • Role of data exchange and data link in collaborative decision-making
        • Modeling of the NAS
        • Distributed complex, real-time simulations—components with different levels of fidelity, human-in-the-loop decision agents
        • Integrated ATM/aircraft systems that reduce noise and emissions
        • Automation concepts for advanced ATM systems and methodologies that address transitioning to more automated systems
        • Application of methodologies from other domains to address ATM research issues
        • Intelligent software architecture
        • Runway-independent (e.g., Vertical Take-off Landing [VTOL], Short Take-off and Landing [STOL], and Vertical/Short Take-off and Landing [V/STOL]) aircraft technologies required to meet national air transportation needs, to satisfy requirements for airline productivity, passenger acceptance, and community friendliness, and autonomous operations
        • Automated, real-time detect, see, and avoid operations
        • Intermodal transportation technologies
        • Each of the abovementioned technologies and other technologies specifically fostering the operation of unpiloted aircraft within NAS under control of the ATM system, including, but not limited to, innovative control, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) concepts; also considering high altitude, long endurance operations.
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    • + Expand Cross-Disciplinary Physical Sciences Topic

      Topic B1 Cross-Disciplinary Physical Sciences PDF


      The NASA Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) Physical Sciences Research Program carries out basic and applied research to enable the NASA Vision “to improve life here, to extend life to there, and to find life beyond.” Two primary research thrusts are implemented: 1) utilization of the space environment to advance the understanding of physical, chemical, and biophysical processes that are relevant to both Earth and space exploration applications, 2) research pre-requisite to the implementation of enabling technologies for human space exploration. Cross-disciplinary teaming across research areas is strongly encouraged in order to address scientific and technological challenges in complex engineering and living systems. The current areas of emphasis are focused on enabling technologies for space exploration:

      1. Biophysics and Bioengineering research and development targeting the understanding of low-gravity physiological effects and the deployment of distributed biomedical sensors for targeted diagnostics;
      2. Advanced materials fundamental research and development for spacecraft structure, power and propulsion, radiation shielding, and advanced sensors;
      3. Micro and reduced-gravity engineering systems for closed-loop life support, power generation and propulsion, fire research, detection, and suppression; and
      4. In situ resources development for in-space fabrication and for extra-terrestrial exploration and habitation, including the development of advanced biology-inspired approaches for novel space technologies and robotic enhancement of human capabilities.

      • 50787

        B1.01Exploiting Gravitational Effects for Combustion, Fluids, Synthesis, and Vibration Technology

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        In preparation for future human exploration we must advance our ability to live and work safely in space, and at the same time, develop technologies to reach the Moon and other planets. The objective of this subtopic is to introduce new technology in the form of devices, models, and/or instruments… Read more>>

        In preparation for future human exploration we must advance our ability to live and work safely in space, and at the same time, develop technologies to reach the Moon and other planets. The objective of this subtopic is to introduce new technology in the form of devices, models, and/or instruments for use in microgravity, extraterrestrial habitats, and/or for commercial applications on Earth. Research should target spacecraft and planetary life-support systems (such as Extra-Vehicular Activity suits, extraterrestrial habitats, oxygen generation, and waste disposal), environmental monitors, and hazard controls (contaminants, fire safety, etc.). For Biofluids, please see subtopic B1.04 Bioscience and Engineering.



        Innovations are sought in the following areas:

        • Understanding the effects of microgravity on fluid behaviors.
        • Using the mechanics of granular materials to determine how the reduced gravity environment affects transport and mixing of granular solids, with application to in situ resource utilization (ISRU) and more efficient terrestrial processes.
        • Pool and flow boiling systems or subsystems that enable safe, efficient, and reliable heat transfer technologies for space application of advanced power and thermal control systems.
        • Multiphase flow and fluid management to provide designers key information on controlling the location and dynamics of liquid–vapor interfaces in microgravity. This is needed for safe and reliable fluid handling and transport in microgravity.
        • Innovative concepts for phase separation and condensation over a wide range of vapor content and gravity levels ranging from 0–1g.
        • Measuring the residual accelerations on spacecraft or in ground-based low-gravity facilities. Emphasis is placed on MEMS or nanoscale devices capable of measuring quasi-steady (low frequency ~0–0.1 Hz) microgravity levels.
        • Improving in-space system performance that relies on fluid or combustion phenomena, principally spacecraft fire safety, especially fire prevention, smoke, precursor, and fire detection and fire suppression.
        • Characterization of ignitability, flame spread, and spacecraft material selection.
        • Micropumps and microvalves, individual as well as simultaneous diagnostics for determining fluid movement through microscale devices for the aforementioned applications, and identifying specific chemical or biological elements of interest.
        • Micropower systems for EVA operations, including power, heating, and cooling.
        • Robust sensors for detection of hazards (fire, spills, leaks) in spacecraft, extraterrestrial habitats, and EVA systems.
        • Partial and low-gravity compliant reactors for waste stabilization, as well as for oxygen and water recovery on extraterrestrial habitats.
        • Understanding the effects of microgravity on combustion behaviors.
        • Pollution reduction and improvement of the efficiency of liquid fueled combustors.
        • Microfluidics for fuel cells and other power systems.



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      • 52030

        B1.02Gravitational Effects on Biotechnology

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        NASA is interested in the development of science and experiments that support strategic aspects of exploration, as well as develop the technologies to extend humanity's reach to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Preparing for exploration and research will accelerate the development of technologies that… Read more>>

        NASA is interested in the development of science and experiments that support strategic aspects of exploration, as well as develop the technologies to extend humanity's reach to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Preparing for exploration and research will accelerate the development of technologies that are important to the economy and national security, as well as accelerate critical technologies such as biotechnology.



        Plans are to support research and development to investigate the influence of the space environment, radiation, and reduced gravity on biotechnology processes, and human factors at the biomolecular level. Areas of interest include factors that influence bone and muscle biochemistry, protein crystal growth and structural analysis techniques, separation science and technology, and biomaterials. Examples of the types of research include but are not limited to:

        • Technologies designed to improve our understanding of the effect of gravity on expression of biological macromolecules.
        • Technologies to determine the relationships between material substrates, bone and muscle tissue and cell culture conditions, and subsequent cell protein expression and differentiation.
        • Development of high-throughput technologies to determine gene and protein expression and differentiation.
        • Biotechnology and instrumentation to help enable safe human exploration beyond Earth orbit for extended periods.
        • Environmental monitoring and control for human life support.



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      • 50999

        B1.03Materials Science for In-Space Fabrication and Radiation Protection

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        Methods for conducting materials science and technology research required to enable humans to safely and effectively live and work in space are needed. Other areas of interest are the development of reduced gravity materials processing technology for in-space fabrication, repair, and resource… Read more>>

        Methods for conducting materials science and technology research required to enable humans to safely and effectively live and work in space are needed. Other areas of interest are the development of reduced gravity materials processing technology for in-space fabrication, repair, and resource development. Equipment that can operate with the limited resources of the Space Station Glovebox and in existing Space Station racks to perform demonstration experiments of strategic interest for in-space fabrication and repair, and for development of in situ resources, would also be of interest. Innovative developments are sought in the following research areas and their enabling technologies, including commercial applications on Earth.



        In-Space Fabrication

        NASA needs the development of techniques and processes that permit in-space fabrication of critical path components of future major projects. Developmental studies of materials and processes of direct strategic significance to the exploration of space are appropriate. In addition, the manufacture or repair of components during a mission is essential to human exploration and the development of space. Fabrication and repair beyond low-Earth orbit is required to reduce resource requirements and spare parts inventory, and to enhance mission security. Also being sought are enabling technologies that can lead to materials and/or processes for the reduced gravity (micro-g, 1/6g, and 3/8g) in-space fabrication of in situ space resources. Of particular interest is the effect of reduced gravity and the space environment on these processes. Examples of the types of research include but are not limited to the following:

        • Application of rapid prototyping technology to low gravity, 3/8 and 1/6 g level free-form fabrication of near-net shapes from metals, ceramics and polymers for fabricating spare parts and repairs.
        • Development of space resources into raw materials and feedstock for use with rapid prototyping technology.
        • Novel and innovative methods for processing materials in reduced gravity, in-space fabrication and repair including microwave processing, sintering, welding, and joining.
        • Development of an improved lunar and Martian regolith simulant material more suitable for materials experiments with not just an average composition, but also the mineralogical analysis, particle shape, size, and distribution of the individual particle grains being more representative of actual lunar and Martian soils.
        • Basic research, theoretical modeling, and experimental development of extractive and reactive processes, materials purification and characterization in a reduced gravity (3/8g and 1/6g) space environment and fundamental studies of in-space fabrication with in situ resources. For example: in situ fabrication of solar cells; metallic wire suitable for electrical conductors, antennas and rectifying-antennas; glass formation from in situ resources with minimal terrestrial components.



        Radiation Protection Materials

        NASA needs materials and novel concepts for effective radiation shielding in support of human exploration of space. These materials must be capable of attenuating exposure levels due to galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles, as well as their secondaries, to acceptable limits. Specific areas of interest include:

        • Development of multi-functional and/or smart structural materials for radiation hardening/shielding;
        • In situ regolith radiation shielding research;
        • Development of light-weight, hydrogenated epoxy and preimpregnates (prepregs);
        • Development of hydrogen filled, carbon nanostructures for both radiation shielding and as structural elements for spacecraft and habitat; and
        • Methods for monitoring/dosimetry for space radiation.



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      • 50793

        B1.04Bioscience and Engineering

        Lead Center: GRC

        NASA recognizes the critical role that fluid mechanics and transport processes, along with their supporting technologies, play in many biological and physiological events. A wide variety of fundamental problems in the categories of physiological systems, cellular systems, and biotechnology may be… Read more>>

        NASA recognizes the critical role that fluid mechanics and transport processes, along with their supporting technologies, play in many biological and physiological events. A wide variety of fundamental problems in the categories of physiological systems, cellular systems, and biotechnology may be addressed. The objective of this research is to deliver new technology in the form of devices and instruments of use in microgravity missions to the Moon and Mars and/or for commercial application on Earth in the areas discussed below.



        Micro-Optical Technology for Interdisciplinary and Biological Research

        Technologies are sought for measuring and manipulating Space Station and long-duration mission experiments, and for monitoring and managing astronaut health and the health of structures and systems affecting astronauts' environments. Areas of innovative technology development include:

        • Diagnostic methods to assess the performance of labs-on-a-chip, including detecting the presence of bubbles and particles and removing or characterizing them;
        • Measurements for fluids including spatially and temporally resolved chemical composition and physical state variables;
        • Optically-based biomimetics for self-aware, self-reconfiguring measurement systems;
        • Measurement and micro-control technologies for health monitoring and health management of experiments, astronauts, and astronauts' environments;
        • Optical quantum technologies for measurement systems including signal detection and transmission; and
        • Technologies enabling optically-based mobile sensor platforms for detection and maintenance, using optical sensing, control, power, and/or communication.



        Biological Fluid Mechanics (Biofluids)

        Biofluids, an intersection of fluid physics and biology, is a new area of emphasis within NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR). Fluid mechanics and transport processes play a critical role in many biological and physiological systems and processes. An adequate understanding of the underlying fluid physics and transport phenomena can provide new insight and techniques for analyzing and designing systems that are critical to NASA's mission. The microgravity environment modifies vascular fluid distribution on a short time scale, because of the loss of hydrostatic pressure, and on a longer time scale, because of the shift of intercellular flows. This fluid shift could modify transport processes throughout the body. For example, modification of flow and resulting stresses within blood vessels could modify vascular endothelial cell structure and permeability, which may be detrimental in long-term inter-planetary space flight. Furthermore, reintroduction of gravity causes large-scale fluid shifts in the body, which can influence cardiac output and induce faintness. Studies of macro- and microscale biofluid mechanics of the vascular system in the microgravity environment may be important to understanding these physiological events. Innovations sought include but are not limited to the following:

        • Studies of biological fluid mechanics that seek answers to questions related to effect of long-term exposure to microgravity on human physiology;
        • Understanding the role of fluid physics and transport phenomena in the "fluid shift" observed in the human body when exposed to prolonged microgravity; and
        • Understanding the role fluid physics plays in human physiological processes such as cardiovascular flows and its effect on arteriosclerosis, and pulmonary flows and asthma.



        BioMicroFluidics

        Many biotechnology applications need manipulation of fluids moving through micro channels. As a result, microfluidic devices are becoming increasingly useful for biological/biotechnological applications. Because capillary forces can have a significant effect on the flow at this scale, a strong similarity with microgravity flows exists. Innovations sought include but are not limited to the following:

        • Understanding of fluid mechanics underlying the operations of microfluidic devices crucial to their successful operation and continued miniaturization; and
        • Tools for prediction, measurement, and control of fluid flow in microchannels and microchannel network.



        Models of Cellular Behavior

        The simplest living cell is so complex that models may never be able to provide a perfect simulation of its behavior, however, even imperfect models could provide information that could shake the very foundations of biology. We are now at the point where we can consider models of molecular, cellular and developmental biological systems that, when coupled to experiments, result in an increased understanding of biology. Quantitative models of cellular processes require. Innovations sought include but are not limited to the following:

        • New methods for better handling of large numbers of coupled reactions, increases in computing power, and the ability to transition among different levels of resolution associated with quantitative models of cellular processes; and
        • Development of models to form the basis of tools to aid in optimization of existing biological systems and design of new ones, enabling engineers to evolve biological systems by rounds of variation and selection for any function they choose.



        Functional Imagery

        Research on-orbit has demonstrated that the microgravity environment affects the skeletal, cardiovascular, and immune systems of the body. Few of the investigations to date examined functional changes due to microgravity at either the cellular or molecular scale. NASA, therefore, seeks innovations that would lead to an enhanced capability to image functioning biological systems at either length scale. All proposals should recognize the power, volume, and mass constraints of orbital facilities. Examples of possible innovations include but are not limited to the following:

        • Development of novel fluorophores that tag proteins mediating cellular function, particularly those that can be excited using solid-state lasers;
        • Systems that can simultaneously image multiple fluorophores following different processes at standard video frame rates;
        • Devices that enable three-dimensional imagery of the sample; and
        • Imaging hardware that can follow a metabolic process in a turbulent system.



        Understanding Living Systems Through Microgravity Fluid Physics

        Developing strategies for long-duration space flight requires an understanding of the effects of the microgravity environment on biological processes. Interdisciplinary fundamental and applied research is required in biology, physiology, and microbiology to human, and microbial systems from the standpoint of physics. Of particular interest are studies with technology development that develop theoretical, numerical, and/or experimental understanding of the effects of acceleration, and other factors in microgravity environments on these systems. Exploring the effects of Martian and lunar gravity and the quasi-steady, oscillatory, and transient accelerations that are typical of a space laboratory are of great interest, as well as fundamental studies with technology development of acceleration sensitivity. The knowledge obtained should contribute to related agency activities, such as the development of self-sustaining ecosystems and treatment of bacterial infection in space. Moreover, we expect that the knowledge and technologies derived will also provide ground-based economic and societal benefits. Major research disciplines include the fluid transport in microbiology, human physiology, hematology, and drug delivery systems. Innovations are sought in a number of areas.



        Delineation of the effects of acceleration and environment at the macro- and microscale levels on processes such as bacterial growth, growth rates, resistance to antibiotics and disinfectants, interactions among microbes, microbial locomotion and interaction with the surrounding fluid or solid medium, transport through cell membranes, electro-osmotic flows, and cytoplasmic streaming, as well as quantification of metabolic processes and other phenomena that permit the examination of these problems:

        • Effects of bulk fluid flows on biofilms and liposome formation.
        • Transendothelial transport.
        • Microscale modeling of fluid flows and mass transfer for drug delivery systems.





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    • + Expand Fundamental Space Biology Topic

      Topic B2 Fundamental Space Biology PDF


      The NASA mission to explore the universe and search for life includes the goal of exploring the principles of biology through research in the unique natural laboratory of space. Important is the biological and physical research organizing question which asks: How does life respond to gravity and space environments? It includes four sub-questions:

      1. How do space environments affect life at molecular and cellular levels?
      2. How do space environments affect organisms throughout their lives?
      3. How do space environments influence interactions between organisms?
      4. How can life be sustained and thrive in space across generations?

      Fundamental space biology is NASA's agency-wide program for the study of fundamental biological processes through space flight as well as ground-based research that supports the NASA mission. Proposals are sought for research that:
      1. Effectively make use of microgravity and other characteristics of space environments to enhance our understanding of fundamental biological processes;
      2. Develop the scientific and technological foundations for a safe, productive human presence in space for extended periods and in preparation for exploration; and
      3. Apply this knowledge and technology to improve our nation's competitiveness, education, and quality of life on Earth.

      Ground-based and flight research is conducted on a broad spectrum of biological topics including cell and molecular biology, developmental and physiological biology, and how the space environment affects whole organisms and their interactions.

      • 50774

        B2.01Understanding and Utilizing Gravitational Effects on Plants and Animals

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): KSC

        This subtopic area focuses on technologies that support the NASA Fundamental Biology Program in understanding the effects of gravity on plants and animals. The program supports investigations into the ways in which fundamental biological processes function in space, compared to their function on the… Read more>>

        This subtopic area focuses on technologies that support the NASA Fundamental Biology Program in understanding the effects of gravity on plants and animals. The program supports investigations into the ways in which fundamental biological processes function in space, compared to their function on the ground. Given the Exploration Initiative newly assigned to NASA, this area of work and discovery is important to achieve the goals to explore the planets and allow plant, animal, and human habitation. To conduct these investigations, the program supports both ground and space flight research. The improved understanding of the role of gravity on plants requires innovative support equipment for observing, measuring, and manipulating the responses of plants to environmental variables. Areas of innovative technology development include:


        • Measuring the atmospheric and radiation environment and optimizing the lighting and nutrient delivery systems for plants;
        • Storage, transportation, maintenance, and in situ analyses of seeds and growing plants;
        • Sensors with low power requirements and low mass to monitor the atmosphere and water (nutrient) environment, as well as automated control and data logging systems for the experiment containers to measure performance indicators, such as respiration (whole plant, shoot, root), evapotranspiration, photosynthesis, and other variables in plants;
        • Data analysis and control;
        • Modular seeding and/or planting units to minimize labor;
        • Sensors for atmospheric, liquid, and solid analyses, including atmospheric and liquid contaminants, such as ethylene and other biogenic compounds, as well as analyses of hydroponic and solid media for N, P, K, Cu, Mg, and micronutrients;
        • Remote sensors to identify biological stress; and
        • Expert control systems for environmental chambers.



        The improved understanding of the role of gravity on animals requires innovative instrumentation that tracks and analyzes from organism development, including gametogenesis through fertilization, embryonic development and maturation, through ecological system stability. Technologies may incorporate a variety of processes such as metabolism and metabolic control, through genetic expression and the control of development. Of particular interest are technologies that require minimal power and can noninvasively measure physical, chemical, metabolical, and developmental parameters. Such measurements will ultimately be made in environments at one or more of several gravity ranges, e.g., "microgravity" (.01 to .000001 g), "planetary" gravity (1 g ; 0.38 g or 0.12 g ) or hypergravity (up to 2 g). Refined and stable measurements, however, are as important as gravity independence. Of interest are sustained instrument sensitivity, accuracy and stability, and reductions in the need for frequent measurement standardization. Parameters requiring measurement include pH, temperature, pressure, ionic strength, gas concentration (O2, CO2, CO, etc.), and solute concentration (e.g., Na+, K+, etc.). In the case of new techniques and instruments, a clear path toward miniaturization, reduction in power demands and increased space worthiness should be identified. Technologies applicable to plant, microorganism, and animal study applications include the following areas:


        • Live support and energy management;
        • Expert data management systems;
        • Capabilities for specimen storage, manipulation and dissection;
        • Video-image analysis for specimen (cell, animal, plant) health and maintenance;
        • Sensors for primary environmental parameters and microbial organisms; and
        • Electrophysiology sensors, biotelemetry systems and biological monitors carried on spacecraft.



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      • 50772

        B2.02Biological Instrumentation

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        The Fundamental Biology (FB) Program is the Agency lead for biological research and biological instrumentation and technology development, and focuses on research designed to develop our understanding of the role of gravity in the evolution, development, and function of biological processes.… Read more>>

        The Fundamental Biology (FB) Program is the Agency lead for biological research and biological instrumentation and technology development, and focuses on research designed to develop our understanding of the role of gravity in the evolution, development, and function of biological processes. Increasingly, the research thrusts are directed at incorporating the most advanced technologies from the fields of cell and molecular biology, genomics, and biotechnology, to provide researchers with the most up-to-date methods to conduct their biological research. For these requirements, the capability to perform autonomous, in situ acquisition, and preparation and analysis of samples to determine the presence and composition of biological components is a highly desired objective. As the size of flight payloads becomes increasingly smaller, and information technologies permit smarter and more independent payload and device control and management, the realization of completely autonomous in situ biological laboratories (ISBL) on spacecraft platforms and planetary surfaces will become more desirable.



        Biological and biomolecular, microbiological, and genomic research is enabling unprecedented insight into the structure and function of cells, organisms, and subcellular components and elements, and a window into the inner workings and machinations of living things. Techniques and technologies, which have evolved from the microelectronics and biological revolutions, have permitted the emergence of a new class of instruments and devices. Many devices, techniques, and products are now available or emerging, which allow measurement, imaging, analysis, and interpretation of the biological composition at the molecular level, and which permit determination of DNA/RNA and other analytes of interest. Advances in information systems and technologies, and bioinformatics, provide the capability to understand, simulate, and interpret the large amounts of complex data being made available from these biological-physical hybrid systems. These synergistic relationships are facilitating the development of revolutionary technologies in many areas.



        Biological instrumentation technologies to support FB objectives are grouped into the solicited categories below.



        Biological Sample Management and Handling:

        • Technologies for remote, automated biosample and biospecimen collection, handling, preservation/fixation, and processing; and
        • Modular, embeddable systems and subsystems capable of supporting a variety of tissue, liquid, and/or cellular specimens, from a wide range of biological subjects, including cells, nematodes, plants, fish, avians, mice, rats, and humans.



        In situ Measurement and Control:

        • Technology development for sensors, signal processors, biotelemetry systems, sample management and handling systems, and other instruments and platforms for real-time monitoring and characterization of biological and physiological phenomena.



        Genomics Technologies:

        • Technologies to enhance and augment research in genomics, proteomics, cell and molecular biology, including molecular and nanotechnologies, cDNA arrays, gene array technologies, and cell culture and related habitat systems.



        Bio-Imaging Systems:

        • Advanced, real-time capabilities for visualization, imaging, and optical characterization of biological systems. Technologies include multidimensional fluorescent microscopy, spectroscopy systems, and multi- and hyperspectral imaging.



        Biological Information Processing

        • Capability for automated acquisition, processing, analysis, communication, and archival and retrieval of biological data, and interface and transfer to advanced bioinformatics and biocomputation systems.



        Integrated Biological Research Systems and Subsystems

        • Integrated, experiment- and subject-specific biolaboratory modules and systems, providing complete flight prototype capability to support the above five categories.

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      • 50822

        B2.03Understanding and Utilizing Gravitational Effects on Molecular Biology and for Medical Applications

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        Microgravity allows unique studies of the effects of gravitational effects on cell and tissue development and behavior. These studies use novel and advanced technologies to culture and nurture cells and tissues. Additionally, the ability to manipulate and/or exploit the form and function of… Read more>>



        Microgravity allows unique studies of the effects of gravitational effects on cell and tissue development and behavior. These studies use novel and advanced technologies to culture and nurture cells and tissues. Additionally, the ability to manipulate and/or exploit the form and function of living cells and tissues has significant potential to enhance the quality of life on Earth and in space through novel products and services, as well as through new science knowledge generated and communicated. This capability may lead to new products and services for medicine and biology. Current space research includes the development of space bioreactors for culturing fragile cells, which has applications in biomedical and cancer research; tissue engineering systems which take advantage of microgravity to grow 3-D tissue constructs; testing the effectiveness of drugs and biomodulators on growth and physiology of normal and transformed cells, and methods for measuring specific cellular and systemic immune functions of persons under physiological stress. Biotechnology research systems also are being developed for microgravity research on the International Space Station and future space-based laboratories. Studies of this nature are critical to our understanding of how the space environment affects astronaut health, and for maintaining a healthy environment for astronauts during missions of exploration.



        Specific areas of interest are:

        • New methods for culturing mammalian cells in bioreactors, including advanced bioreactor design and support systems; microprocessor controllers; and miniature sensors for measurement of pH, oxygen, carbon-dioxide, glucose, glutamine, and metabolites. Neural fuzzy logic network systems for the control of mammalian cell culture systems. Methods to minimize biofilm formation on fluid-handling components, sensors and bioreactors. Spectroscopic and biochemical analysis of biofilm formed in bioreactors. Micro-scale bioreactors for biomonitoring of radiation and other external stressors.
        • Technologies that allow automated biosampling and bio-specimen collection, handling, preservation/fixation, and processing in cellular systems. Methods for separation and purification of living cells, proteins, and biomaterials, especially those using electrokinetic or magnetic fields that obviate thermal convection and sedimentation, enhance phase partitioning, or use laser light and other force fields to manipulate target cells or biomaterials.
        • Techniques or apparatus for macro-molecular assembly of biological membranes, biopolymers, and molecular bio-processing systems; bio-compatible materials, devices, and sensors for implantable medical applications including molecular diagnostics, in vivo physiological monitoring and microprocessor control of prosthetic devices.
        • Methods and apparatus that allow microscopic imaging including hyperspectral fluorescent, scattering and absorption imaging, and biophysical measurements of cell functions; effects of electric or magnetic fields, photoactivation, and testing of drugs or biocompatible polymers on live tissues. Integrated instrumentation for separation and purification of RNA, DNA, and proteins from cells and tissues.
        • Quantitative applications of molecular biology, fluorescence imaging and flow cytometry, and new methods for measurement of cell metabolism, cytogenetics, immune cell functions, DNA, RNA, oligonucleotides, intracellular proteins, secretory products, and cytokine or other cell surface receptors. Small scale mass spectrometers. Means to enhance and augment genomics/proteomics techniques, including molecular and nano-scale tools. Development of novel fluorophores that tag proteins mediating cellular function, particularly those that can be excited using solid-state lasers.
        • Micro-encapsulation of drugs, radiocontrast agents, crystals, and development of novel drug delivery systems wherein immiscible liquid interactions, electrostatic coating methods, and drug release kinetics from microcapsules or liposomes can be altered under microgravity to better understand and improve manufacturing processes on Earth.
        • Miniature bioprocessing systems that allow for precise control of multiple environmental parameters such as low level fluid shear, thermal, pH, conductivity, external electromagnetic fields, and narrow-band light for fluorescence or photoactivation of biological systems.
        • Novel low temperature sample storage methods (-80°C and -180°C) and biological sample preservation methods. Methods to reduce launch/return mass of biological samples and support reagents.
        • DNA template for molecular wiring that permits macro- to nanoscale connectivity. Nanoscale electronics based on self-assembling protein-based molecular structures.
        • Computer models and software that better handle large numbers of coupled reactions in cell science systems.
        • Tools and techniques to study mechanical properties of the cell: subcellular rheology, cell adhesion, affect of shear flow, affects of direct mechanical perturbation. Tools and techniques to facilitate multiple simultaneous probing and analyzing of a cell or sub-cellular region (examples include atomic force microscope coupled with microelectrode or micro-Raman, Optical trap)
        • Nanosensors for sub-cellular measurements: ultra-microelectrodes with less than 1µ diameter including cladding, nanoparticle reporters that provide spectroscopic information, and other novel intracellular sensor devices to provide spectroscopic data on intracellular processes.





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    • + Expand Biomedical and Human Support Research Topic

      Topic B3 Biomedical and Human Support Research PDF


      NASA has the enabling goal to extend the duration and boundaries of human space flight to create new opportunities for exploration and discovery. In order to reach this goal, the Biological and Physical Research (BPR) enterp/rise is seeking the answers to several “organizing” questions. Two of the questions related to biomedical and human support research are as follows: (1) How can we assure the survival of humans traveling far from Earth? and (2) What technologies must we create to enable the next explorers to go beyond where we have been? (More details on these questions can be found in the BPR Bioastronautics Strategy (http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov/) and the Bioastronautics Critical Path Roadmap (http://criticalpath.jsc.nasa.gov). Proposals are sought that support the objectives of the enabling goal including supporting the biomedical and human support research necessary to ensure the health, safety, and performance of humans living and working in space.

      • 52289

        B3.01Environmental Control of Spacecraft Cabin Atmosphere

        Lead Center: JSC

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

        Advanced life support and thermal systems are essential to enable human planetary exploration. Requirements include safe operability in micro- and partial-gravity, ambient and reduced-pressure environments, high reliability, minimal use of expendables, ease of maintenance, and low-system volume,… Read more>>



        Advanced life support and thermal systems are essential to enable human planetary exploration. Requirements include safe operability in micro- and partial-gravity, ambient and reduced-pressure environments, high reliability, minimal use of expendables, ease of maintenance, and low-system volume, mass and power. Innovative, efficient, and practical concepts are needed for regenerative air revitalization, ventilation, temperature, and humidity control. Advanced active thermal control technologies in the areas of heat acquisition, transport, and rejection are also needed. In addition to long-duration space applications, innovative approaches that could have terrestrial application are encouraged. Proposals should include estimates for power, volume, mass, logistics, and crew time requirements as they relate to the technology concepts. More information on advanced life support systems can be found at http://advlifesupport.jsc.nasa.gov. Innovations are solicited in the areas that follow below.



        Air Revitalization

        Oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and trace gas contaminant concentration, separation, and control techniques for space vehicle applications (International Space Station, Moon, or Mars transit vehicle) and long-duration planetary mission applications.

        • Separation of carbon dioxide from a mixture primarily of nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor to maintain carbon dioxide concentrations below 0.3% by volume.
        • The recovery of oxygen from carbon dioxide with some focus on an approach to deal with the by-products of the process, if any, keeping in mind the above mass, power, and expendables goals.
        • Removal of trace contaminant gases from cabin air and/or a gas product stream from another system (e.g., water reclamation, waste management, etc.) using advanced regenerable sorbent materials, improved oxidation techniques, or other methods.
        • Alternate methods of storage and delivery of atmospheric gases to reduce mass and volume and improve safety.
        • Novel approaches to integrating atmosphere revitalization processes to achieve energy and logistics mass reductions.
        • Alternate methods of atmospheric humidity control that do not use liquid-to-air heat exchanger technology (dependent on the spacecraft active thermal control system) or mechanical refrigeration technology. .



        Environmental Control and Thermal Systems

        Thermal control is an essential part of any space vehicle, as it provides the necessary thermal environment for the crew and equipment to operate efficiently during the mission. A primary goal is to provide advanced thermal system technologies, which are highly reliable and possess low mass, size, and power requirements (i.e., reduced cost) for spacecraft cabin temperature and humidity control. Offerors should indicate explicitly how their research is expected to improve the mass, power, volume, safety, reliability, and/or design and analyses techniques for future thermal control systems for human space missions as compared to state-of-the-art technologies. Areas in which innovations are solicited include the following:


        • Liquid-to-liquid heat exchangers that provide two physical barriers preventing interpath leakage.
        • Advanced technologies to control cabin temperature and humidity in microgravity. Condensate that is collected must be able to be recovered and transported to the water recovery system.
        • Technologies to inhibit microbial growth on wetted surfaces. Applications include condensate collection surfaces for humidity control and heat exchangers resident in water loops.
        • Lightweight, versatile and efficient heat acquisition devices including flexible cold plates. Devices would provide cooling to electronics, motors, and other types of heat producing equipment that is internal to the cabin.
        • Lightweight, controllable evaporative heat rejection devices that can operate in environments ranging from space, Mars’ atmosphere, and Earth’s atmosphere.
        • Alternative heat transfer fluids that are non-toxic, non-flammable, and have a low freezing temperature.
        • Energy storage devices that maintain the integrity of food or science samples. Temperatures of -20°C, -40°C, -80°C or -180°C are desired.
        • Highly accurate, remotely monitored, in situ, non-intrusive thermal instrumentation.
        • Advanced analytical tools for thermal and fluid systems design and analyses, which are amenable to concurrent engineering processes.



        Component Technologies

        Energy efficient, low mass, low noise, low vibration or vibration isolating, fail-safe and reliable components for handling gases and fluids applicable to spacecraft environmental control and air revitalization, including actuators, fans, pumps, compressors, coolers, tubing, ducts, fittings, tanks, heat exchangers, couplings, quick disconnects, and valves that operate under varied levels of gravity, pressure, and vacuum. Mass flow monitoring and control devices that have similar attributes and that are easily calibrated and serviced.



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      • 50821

        B3.02Space Human Factors and Human Performance

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        The long-term goal for this subtopic is to enable planning, designing, and carrying out human space missions of up to 5 years with crew independence, without resupply and without real-time communications to Earth. Specifically, this subtopic's focus is the development of innovations in crew… Read more>>



        The long-term goal for this subtopic is to enable planning, designing, and carrying out human space missions of up to 5 years with crew independence, without resupply and without real-time communications to Earth. Specifically, this subtopic's focus is the development of innovations in crew equipment; and the development of technologies for assessment, modeling, and enhancement of human performance; and the development of design tools for engineers to incorporate human factors engineering requirements into hardware and software.



        Proposals are solicited that seek to develop technologies that address these specific needs:

        • Monitoring and maintaining human performance nonintrusively. Specifically, minimally invasive and unobtrusive devices and techniques to monitor the behavior and performance (physical, cognitive, perceptual, etc.) of individuals and teams during long-duration space flights or analog missions. Technologies to track locations of individuals within habitats, and report on physiological or other state information. Methods and models for human performance prediction, including physical performance, as affected by encumbrances of clothing, space suits, etc.
        • Predictive modeling of effects on the crew due to potential spacecraft environments and operational procedures. Develop computational models of the crew environment and of human performance and behavior to simulate the effects of factors that contribute to (or degrade) long-term performance capabilities. Such models of the environment, individual, and group behaviors and performance can be used to simulate and explore the conditions that influence human performance (e.g., fatigue, noise, CO2, microgravity, group dynamics, etc.). Such capabilities would include digital models of human operators and routine and emergency tasks that interact in the context of the long-duration human exploration environment.
        • Tools to aid in design and evaluation of human-system interfaces for speed, accuracy, and acceptability in a cost-effective and reliable manner: Automated analysis of computer-user interfaces for complex display systems to conduct objective review of displays and controls, and to determine compliance with guidelines and standards. Quantitative measures of the effectiveness of user interfaces to be used for task-sensitive evaluations.
        • Tools that facilitate the user interface design for human computer interfaces, and for facilitators, such as procedures, labels, and instructions. Tools should assist the designer in incorporating contextual information such as the user’s task, the user’s knowledge, and the system limitations.
        • Tools to build just-in-time system and operational information software to aid human users conducting routine and emergency operations and activities. Such tools might include effective and efficient job aids (e.g., "intelligent" manuals, checklists, warnings) and support for designing flexible interfaces between users and large information systems. Methods for development of ‘facilitators’ (procedures, labels, etc.) adapted for the development of space vehicle and payload applications.
        • Rapid don/doff launch-and-entry and survival suit: a personal ambient environment and individual health and safety protective garment system with antigravity protection, metabolic-cooling and heating, breathing air, thermal protection, zero-atmospheric pressure protection, land and water survival gear, etc. An integrated suit (providing all desired protective functions), as well as a modular suit (allowing user to select ahead of time any of the array of required protection and survival subsystems) approach should be considered. The emphasis for this innovation should be to achieve the desired levels of protection for space travel, as well as for survival on Earth after landing at an unplanned site–all while affording rapid donning in microgravity through one-gravity (1g) environments on the order of 60 s and rapid doffing on the order of 300 s or less. Include accommodation for using the suit for ill, injured, or incapacitated crewmembers, meeting the don/doff goals while providing access for medical monitoring and ongoing treatment.

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      • 50820

        B3.03Human Adaptation and Countermeasures

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        In order for humans to live and function safely and efficiently in space or in the hypogravity of the Moon (1/6g) or Mars (3/8g), a good understanding of the effects of micro- and hypogravity and other factors associated with the space environment on human physiology and human responses to the… Read more>>



        In order for humans to live and function safely and efficiently in space or in the hypogravity of the Moon (1/6g) or Mars (3/8g), a good understanding of the effects of micro- and hypogravity and other factors associated with the space environment on human physiology and human responses to the space and extraplanetary environments is required. A variety of countermeasures must be developed to oppose the deleterious changes that occur in space and upon subsequent exposure to other gravitational fields. The ability to monitor the effectiveness of countermeasures and alterations in human physiology during space exploration missions, particularly when several countermeasures are used concurrently, is equally important. This subtopic seeks innovative technologies in several very specific key areas.



        As launch costs relate directly to mass and volume, instruments and sensors must be small and lightweight with an emphasis on multi-functional capabilities. Low power consumption is a major factor, as are design enhancements to improve the operation, design reliability, and maintainability of these instruments in the environment of space and on planetary surfaces. As the efficient use of time is extremely important, innovative instrumentation setup, ease of usage, improved astronaut (patient) comfort, noninvasive sensors, and easy-to-read information displays are also very important considerations. Extended shelf-life and ambient storage conditions of consumables are also key necessities. Ability to operate in 0g, 1g, and 3/8g become more important as we push for future human Moon and Mars missions.



        Immersive Virtual Scene Display System

        Development of an immersive visual display system is required to be interfaced with treadmill exercise devices. This system would not be head-mounted but would be free standing and provide at least a 180° field of view. This visual display would allow visual flow patterns to be displayed to a non-encumbered subject during inflight or on-surface treadmill exercise. Ultra-long duration missions to the Moon or Mars will especially benefit from such technology that encourages crew to spend more time exercising by enriching the environment and contribute to psychological well being by mimicking the terrestrial exercise experience.



        Measurement of Emboli in the Brain

        A small Doppler ultrasound device (need not be oxygen compatible), emboli recognition system/software, and solid-state recorder of detected events. This would be worn in a fashion similar to a Holter monitor and help to monitor blood clots in the brain for those at risk for embolic stroke. This is especially valuable for ensuring the safety of Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) on planetary surfaces, as well as during orbital flight.



        Noninvasive Pharmacotherapy and Monitoring

        Development of innovative technologies resulting in noninvasive methods for diagnosis, treatment, and therapeutic drug monitoring is needed to facilitate effective pharmacotherapy of humans in space. Many questions remain about the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals in micro- and hypogravity environments, which may interfere with their activity by sensitizing or desensitizing the crew member or interfering in other ways with the desired physiological effect.



        MEMS-Based Human Blood Cell Analyzer

        Development of a small, automated, micro- and hypogravity capable, lightweight, low power instrument that will analyze a small sample (microliter quantity) of human whole blood and provide a complete blood cell count (RBC, WBC, platelet, hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit, WBC differential, and calculated RBC indices) that correlates with traditional ground-based impedance or light-scattering technologies is needed. Likely devices based on MEMS will employ a biocompatible combination of microfluidics, micromechanics, micro-optics, microelectronics, and data telemetry capabilities in an integrated handheld package with a simple, user-friendly operator interface. Such technologies will be critical to the implementation of future missions beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon or Mars. Proper medical care and valuable research contributions will be dependent on such technologies in these exploration class missions.



        Human-Worn Whole Body Biomechanical and Movement Analysis Suit

        A whole-body suit and analysis system worn by human subjects is needed, which records and measures biomechanical movements and biomechanical characteristics in order to provide an assessment of total body physical activity during human space missions, especially missions to hypogravity environments such as the Moon or Mars. Measurements to be made and recorded would include upper and lower limb segment displacements along with related joint angular velocities and accelerations. The system would allow entry of limb segment and trunk mass and center-of-mass data specific to the individual wearing the suit and then would provide data analysis related to work and power across different body segments and for the whole body based on analytical algorithms. Other capabilities include storage of raw data and the ability to download the data to other computer-based storage and data analysis systems through either hardwired connections or via telemetry. Many differences may be noted in the way humans move in micro- and hypogravity environments. These differences may suggest better ways to perform work or to design tools, workstations, or procedures for accomplishing critical tasks in the future beyond low-Earth orbit missions.



        Body Composition Hardware for Spaceflight

        Development of on-orbit instrumentation for determining body composition. Specific parameters of interest include lean body mass, total fat mass, and total body water. Validation data will be required using the current gold-standard techniques in this field. This information will be used in conjunction with nutritional status protocols to assess crew health. The effects of the hypogravity environment of planetary surfaces on body composition are not known. Any future mission to the Moon or Mars will certainly measure these changes to detect and combat potential adverse changes. Such an instrument must work in 0g, 1/6g, and 3/8g environments.



        Device for Providing Increased Neuromuscular Activation During Spaceflight

        Astronauts returning from spaceflight exhibit post-flight postural and gait instabilities that are a result of neural adaptation to microgravity. A small, lightweight countermeasure device is required to stimulate somatosensory receptors on the plantar surface of the feet during in-flight exercise with the goal of increasing neuromuscular activation and enhancing sensorimotor integration. This system would integrate with in-flight exercise hardware and coupled with visual stimulation systems would allow a more complete sense of immersion to enhance in-flight postural and locomotor training.

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      • 50979

        B3.04Food and Galley

        Lead Center: JSC

        As NASA begins to look beyond low-Earth orbit and to plan for future exploration missions, such as to the Moon or Mars, new food science technologies will be needed. The impossibility of regularly resupplying a Mars crew means that the prepackaged shelf-stable food, ingredients, and equipment to… Read more>>

        As NASA begins to look beyond low-Earth orbit and to plan for future exploration missions, such as to the Moon or Mars, new food science technologies will be needed. The impossibility of regularly resupplying a Mars crew means that the prepackaged shelf-stable food, ingredients, and equipment to provide a complete diet for six crewmembers for more than three years will have to be carried with them. As the crew remains on the Moon or Mars surface, crops will be grown to supplement the crew's diet, using plants to revitalize the air and water supply. Methods are needed, therefore, for processing potential food crops. Areas in which innovations are solicited follow below.



        Long-Duration, Shelf-Stable Food

        An initial trip to the Moon or Mars will require a stored food system that is nutritious, palatable, and provides a sufficient variety of foods to support significant crew activities on a mission of at least three years duration. Development of highly acceptable, shelf-stable food items that use high-quality ingredients is important to maintaining a healthy diet. Foods should maintain safety, acceptability, and nutrition, for the entire shelf life of 3–5 years. Shelf-life extension may be attained through new food preservation methods and/or packaging. Once on the lunar or planetary surface, it may be possible to use bulk packaging of meals or snack items. These food products will require specialized processing conditions and packaging materials.



        Advanced Packaging

        The current food packaging technologies represent a potentially significant trash-management problem for exploration-class missions to the Moon or Mars. New food packaging technology is needed that minimizes waste by using packaging with less mass and volume and/or by using packaging that is biodegradable or recyclable. Another opportunity would be development of a packaging material that can readily be reused by the crew to make objects of value to the space flight mission.



        Food Processing

        Advanced life-support systems, which use chemical, physical, and biological processes, are being developed to support future human planetary exploration. One such system might grow crops hydroponically and then process them into edible food ingredients or table-ready products. Variations in crop quality, crop yield, and nutrient content may occur over the course of long-duration missions, posing further requirements to the food processing and storage system. Such variations might affect the shelf stability and functional properties of the bulk ingredients and ultimately, the quality of the final food products.



        Equipment to process crops on missions to the Moon and Mars should be highly reliable, safe, automated, and should minimize crew time, power, water, mass, and volume. Equipment for processing raw materials must be suitable for use in hypogravity (e.g., 1/6g on Moon, 3/8g on Mars) and in hermetically sealed habitats. Some potential crops for advanced life-support systems include minimally processed crops such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, bell peppers, strawberries, fresh herbs, and radishes. Other baseline crops that require processing would be wheat, soybeans, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, dried beans, rice, and tomatoes. There is a need to develop one or more pieces of food processing equipment for each of these crops.



        Food Safety

        Assurances of food quality and food safety are essential components in the maintenance of crew health and well-being. Food quality and safety efforts should be focused on monitoring the shelf stability of processed food ingredients and on identification and control of microbial agents of food spoilage, including the development of countermeasures to ameliorate their effects. Determination of radiation on crop functionality and the stored food system shelf life is also needed in the development of the food system. For all food production and processing procedures, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) must be established.

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      • 50794

        B3.05Biomedical R&D of Noninvasive, Unobtrusive Medical Devices for Future Flight Crews

        Lead Center: GRC

        Human presence in space requires an understanding of the effects of the space environment on the physiological systems of the body. The objective of this subtopic is to sponsor applied research leading to the development of noninvasive, unobtrusive medical devices that will mitigate crew health,… Read more>>



        Human presence in space requires an understanding of the effects of the space environment on the physiological systems of the body. The objective of this subtopic is to sponsor applied research leading to the development of noninvasive, unobtrusive medical devices that will mitigate crew health, safety, and performance risks during future flight missions to the Moon and Mars. Medical diagnostic and monitoring devices are critical for providing health care and medical intervention during missions, particularly extended-duration spaceflight to the Moon and Mars. Of particular interest are devices with minimized mass, volume, and power consumption, and capable of multiple functions. Design enhancements that improve the operation, design reliability, and maintainability of medical devices in the space environment are also sought. Of additional consideration are innovative instrumentation automation, ease of use, improved astronaut comfort, and easy-to-read information displays.



        Major research disciplines include endocrinology, hematology, microbiology, muscle physiology, pharmacology, drug delivery systems, and mechanistic changes in neurovestibular physiology.



        Innovations in the following areas are sought:

        • Biomedical monitoring, sensing, and analysis (including the acquisition, processing, communication, and display) of electrical, physical, or chemical aspects of a human's health or physiological state.
        • Instrumentation to be used for in-flight and ground-based studies for reliable and accurate noninvasive monitoring of human physiological functions such as the musculoskeletal, neurological, gastrointestinal, and hematological systems.
        • Noninvasive biosensors for real-time monitoring of blood and urine chemistry including gases, calcium ions, electrolytes, proteins, lipids, and hormones.
        • In-flight specimen analysis to evaluate physiological, metabolic, and pharmacological responses of astronauts.
        • Instrumentation to provide quantitative data to establish the effectiveness of an exercise regimen in ground-based research, and to measure bone strain in the hip, heel, and lumbar spine during exercise.
        • Assessment of gas bubble formation or growth in the body after in-flight or ground-based decompression, and to prevent or minimize associated decompression sickness.
        • In-flight assessment of the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and minerals.
        • Smart sensors capable of sensor data processing and sensor reconfiguration.
        • Small, portable, medical imaging diagnostic instrumentation.



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      • 50973

        B3.06Waste and Water Processing for Spacecraft Advanced Life Support

        Lead Center: JSC

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

        Regenerative closed-loop life-support systems will be essential to enable human planetary exploration. Efforts are currently focused on missions ranging from a return to the Moon and through an initial Mars mission, including using the International Space Station as a test bed for research and… Read more>>



        Regenerative closed-loop life-support systems will be essential to enable human planetary exploration. Efforts are currently focused on missions ranging from a return to the Moon and through an initial Mars mission, including using the International Space Station as a test bed for research and technology validation. These future life-support systems must provide additional mass balance closure to further reduce logistics requirements and to promote self-sufficiency. Requirements include safe operability in micro- and partial-gravity, ambient and reduced-pressure environments, high reliability, minimal use of expendables, ease of maintenance, and low-system volume, mass, and power. Recovery of useful resources from liquid and solid wastes will be essential. Innovative, efficient, practical concepts are needed in all areas of resource recovery processes, providing the basic life-support functions of water reclamation and waste management. In addition to these long-duration space applications, innovative regenerative life-support approaches that could have terrestrial application are encouraged. Phase-I proof of concept should lead to Phase-II hardware development that could be integrated into a life-support system test bed. Proposals should include estimates for power, volume, mass, logistics, and crew time requirements as they relate to the technology concepts. More information on advanced life support systems can be found at http://advlifesupport.jsc.nasa.gov. Areas in which innovations are solicited in the following areas:



        Water Reclamation

        Efficient, direct treatment of wastewater consisting of urine, wash water, and condensates, to produce potable and hygienic waters.

        • Physicochemical methods for primary treatment to reduce the total organic carbon concentration of the wastewater from 1000 mg/L to less than 50 mg/L and/or the total dissolved solids from 1000 mg/L to less than 100 mg/L.
        • Post-treatment methods to reduce total organic carbon from 100 mg/L to less than 0.25 mg/L in the presence of 50 mg/L bicarbonate ions, 25 mg/L ammonium ions and 25 ppm other inorganic ions.
        • Methods for the phase separation of solids, gases, and liquids in a microgravity environment that are insensitive to fouling mechanisms.
        • Methods for the treatment of brine solutions including water recovery.
        • Methods to eliminate or manage solids precipitation in wastewater lines.
        • Disinfection technologies, both for potable water storage and point-of-use. Development of residual disinfectants that can be consumed by crewpersons. Techniques to minimize or eliminate biofilm or microbial contamination from potable water systems and water treatment systems, including fluid handling components such as pipes, tanks, flow meters, check valves, regulators, etc.



        Solid Waste Management

        Concepts and methods to safely and effectively manage wastes for all future human space missions are required to perform the following functions: acceptance/collection, transport, storage, processing, disposal, and associated monitoring and control. Actual types and quantities of wastes generated during missions are highly mission dependent. For sizing purposes, however, the "maximum" waste streams have been estimated as follows, based on a 6-person crew: trash (0.56 kg/day), food packaging (7.91 kg/day), human fecal wastes (0.72 kg/day dry, 3.0 kg/day wet), inedible plant biomass (2.25 kg/day), paper (1.16 kg/day), tape (0.25 kg/day), filters (0.33 kg/day), water recovery brine concentrates (3.54 kg/day), clothing (3.6 kg/day), and hygiene wipes (1.0 kg/day). Wastes can also be assumed to be source-separated because this requirement has been identified for a majority of waste processing equipment:

        • Microgravity- and hypogravity-compatible solid waste management technologies;
        • Volume reduction of wet and dry solid wastes;
        • Small and compact fecal treatment and/or collection system;
        • Water recovery from wet wastes (including human fecal wastes, food packaging, brines, etc.);
        • Stabilization, sterilization, and/or microbial control technologies to minimize or eliminate biological hazards associated with waste;
        • Storage devices needed for the containment of solid waste that incorporates an odor abatement technology.
        • Microgravity-compatible technologies for the jettison of solid wastes in space; and
        • Other novel waste management technologies for storage, transport, processing, resource recovery, and disposal that satisfy a critical need for the referenced missions (e.g., recovery of critical resources).



        Component Technologies

        Energy efficient, low mass, low noise, low vibration or vibration isolating, fail-safe and reliable components for handling fluids, slurries and/or solids applicable to wastewater treatment and solid waste management. Components include actuators, pumps, conveyors, compressors, coolers, tubing, tanks, bins, fittings, couplings, quick disconnects, and valves which operate under varied levels of gravity, pressure, and vacuum. Mass flow monitoring and control devices that have similar attributes and that are easily calibrated and serviced.

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      • 50985

        B3.07Biomass Production for Planetary Missions

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JSC

        The production of biomass (in the form of edible food crops) in closed or nearly-closed environments is essential for the future of long-term planetary exploration and human settlement in Moon and Mars base applications. These technologies will lead not only to food production, but also to the… Read more>>



        The production of biomass (in the form of edible food crops) in closed or nearly-closed environments is essential for the future of long-term planetary exploration and human settlement in Moon and Mars base applications. These technologies will lead not only to food production, but also to the reclamation of water, purification of air, and recovery of inedible plant resources in the comprehensive exploration of interplanetary regions. Innovations are solicited in the following areas:



        Crop Lighting

        • Sources for plant lighting such as, but not limited to, light emitting diodes, high-efficiency lamps or solar collectors suitable for orbital space, interplanetary space, lunar or Martian surface;
        • Transmission and distribution systems for plant lighting including, but not limited to, luminaries, light pipes, fiber optics, and optical filters; and
        • Heat removal techniques for the plant growth lighting such as, but not limited to, water-jackets, water barriers, and wavelength-specific filters and reflectors.



        Water and Nutrient Management Systems

        • Technologies for production of crops using hydroponics or solid substrates suitable for orbital space, interplanetary space, lunar or Martian surface;
        • Water and nutrient delivery systems;
        • Regenerable media for seed germination plant support; and
        • Separation and recovery of usable minerals from wastewater and solid waste products for use as a source of mineral nutrients for plant growth.



        Environmental Monitoring and Control

        Innovations in monitoring and control approaches for plant-production environments, including temperature, humidity, gas composition, and pressure. Gases of interest could include carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor, and ethylene. Development of autonomous control systems integrated with predictive modeling for crop production optimization.



        Mechanization and Automation

        Innovations in propagation, seeding, and plant biomass processing. Plant biomass processing includes harvesting, separation of inedibles from edibles, cleaning and storage of edibles (seed, vegetable, and tubers) and removal of inedibles for resource-recovery processing.



        Facility or System Sanitation

        Methods or technologies to identify and prevent excessive build-up of microorganisms within closed plant production systems with emphasis on nutrient delivery systems. Processes to insure pathogen free products through HACCP food safety protocols.



        Health Measurement

        Remote, direct, and indirect methods of measuring plant health and development using canopy (leaf) spectral signatures or fluorescence to quantify parameters such as rate of photosynthesis, transpiration, respiration, and nutrient uptake. Data acquisition should be noninvasive or remotely sensed using spectral, spatial, and image analysis. System modeling and decision making algorithms may be included.



        Sensor Technologies

        Innovations are required for development of sensors using miniature, micro- and nanotechnologies for evaluation of the physical and biological parameters in all phases of biomass production. Such sensor arrays include wide-ranging applications of gas and liquid sensors, as well as photo sensors and microbiological community indicators. Innovations are required in all phases of sensor development, including biomass fouling, miniaturization, wireless transmission, multiple-phase and multiple-tasking sensors, and interface with artificial intelligence (AI) data collection systems.



        Flight Equipment Support

        Innovative hardware and components developed to support life support and biological research in the Space Shuttle, on board the International Space Station, and exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Biomass production investigations using flight-support equipment will be required to meet the demanding requirements for space flight operations, meet the rigorous scientific data collection standards, and produce plants in a controlled environment for research purposes and food. Innovative methods to perform in-flight biomass analyses, including equipment miniaturization, are requested in order to perform remote analyses and to minimize requirements to return in-flight samples. Innovations in whole-package design and in component designs will be required.



        Structures

        Innovative concepts and designs for autonomous or human tended plant production structures that might be deployed in space habitats, including flight, planetary transit, or planetary surfaces systems. Systems would need to accommodate the capture and distribution of solar light or generated light (e.g., electric lamps) and meet the mass and stowage challenges for spaceflight delivery.



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      • 50975

        B3.08Software Architectures and Integrated Control Strategies for Advanced Life Support Systems

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, KSC

        The purpose of this subtopic is to develop advanced control system technologies that can support an integrated approach to the command and control of Advanced Life Support (ALS) for future long-duration human space missions, including a permanent human presence on the Moon and Mars. The control… Read more>>

        The purpose of this subtopic is to develop advanced control system technologies that can support an integrated approach to the command and control of Advanced Life Support (ALS) for future long-duration human space missions, including a permanent human presence on the Moon and Mars. The control strategies for ALS systems must deal with continuous and discrete processes and with dynamic interactions between subsystems such as air revitalization, water recovery, food production, solids processing, and the crew. The goal of autonomously controlling an ALS system challenges many areas of technology, including distributed data management and control, sensor interpretation, planning and scheduling, modeling and simulation, and validation and verification of autonomous control systems. These various technology areas must eventually be integrated into a coherent system that runs day after day for years and that can effectively interact with crewmembers who place their lives in its hands. The control strategy must be able to reach “across” the system and “down” into its parts to gather all data necessary to achieve its control objectives. Interfaces to crew, ground control, and other spacecraft systems must allow for insight into control strategies, choices, and pending actions and allow for manual control at any level.



        The challenges of controlling regenerative life support for an enclosed crew environment involve the ALS goals to minimize expendables, to minimize crew and ground involvement, and to incorporate biological systems for recycling air, water and solids. The interdependence of environmental processing systems, and the need for reducing operations support costs are included. There is a need for the development and evaluation of control architectures and strategies which meet these challenges, both by building on current advances in distributed, modular, object-based protocols, and by new advances in integration of agent technology, planning, and resource management across heterogeneous systems. This includes:



        New Control Strategies for Closed-Loop Systems

        Advanced Life Support consists of a combination of physico-chemical systems with biological systems to recycle air, water, solid waste, plants, and food. The system is closed with respect to hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon in order to reduce the amount of consumable air water and food necessary for extended human presence on other planets. Closed systems and biological systems have different constraints and control paradigms than conventional processes. There is a need for new control algorithms, analyses, strategies, and techniques that can accommodate this architecture.



        Distributed Network Protocols, Including Support for Fieldbus and Intelligent Controllers

        The robustness of the control and data paths for equipment and subsystems is determined by the fieldbus protocols that connect them. Fieldbus protocols have been developed for the special needs of the aerospace and process control industries. There is a need for investigation and adaptation of these protocols, and the development of new protocols to support the type of distributed intelligent systems and networks envisioned for human exploration missions. These protocols need to be robust and fault-tolerant, and to support a large number of heterogeneous systems. Ideally, these protocols should support both local and interplanetary connectivity.



        Development of Ontologies for Communication Among Autonomous Systems or Control Agents

        Human exploration missions involve hundreds of systems developed by dozens of organizations. To develop software that can integrate across these systems and integrate with operations requires the use of common terminology across multiple disciplines. A common taxonomy or common ontology needs to be developed for the types of control problems associated with integrated control of advanced life support systems.



        Software Development Methodologies for Autonomous Systems

        This includes requirements management, testing, performance metrics, and long-term maintenance support, including development for growth and support for model-based simulations. There is a need for new tools to support the development of distributed autonomous control systems throughout the program life cycle. This includes tools for managing prototyping, requirements, design, design knowledge capture, testing, and growth and maintenance across multiple development teams.



        Approaches for Integration of New Controls Technology (both hardware and software) with Existing Legacy Systems

        Some space technologies are relatively mature. New controls technology must be compatible with legacy fieldbuses and operations concepts in addition to providing new functionality. There is a need for tools and development methodologies that can accommodate growth in system functionality.



        Fault Detection, Isolation and Recovery (FDIR) Across Multiple Systems; Sharing of Parameters and Data Between Heterogeneous Systems

        The majority of FDIR approaches focuses on single subsystems and depend on a homogeneous platform and software architecture, often using a blackboard or shared memory model to share data between modules. There is a need to perform FDIR across multiple heterogeneous systems across networks. Ideally, FDIR should support cooperative efforts between group operations and planetary systems.



        Control System Failure Tolerance

        Critical systems provide functional redundancy in the case of failure or performance degradation. There is a need for new approaches to providing failure tolerance for both hardware and software components of the control systems. Of particular importance is the reduction of crew time for maintenance, and reduction of dependence on re-supplying hardware, as these are the most expensive constraints on these systems.



        Planning and Scheduling

        This includes reactions to system faults, supporting adjustments to operations, inventory, and logistics because of planned and unplanned maintenance. There is a need for tools to support development and deployment of applications that support planning and scheduling. Developed applications should support the integration of both planet-side and Earth-side activities.



        Development and Integration of Autonomous System and Intersystem Control with Crew and Ground Operations

        There is a need for tools, architectures, and technology that can support integration of operations between crew, ground operators, ground applications, and onboard applications.



        Development of Architectures that Support a Range of Autonomy, from Fully Autonomous to Fully Manual, with the Corresponding Range of Support for Human Interaction

        Autonomous systems for human exploration missions must provide visibility, situational awareness, and an ability to change the level of autonomy based on both situation and human input. As unexpected situations arise that are outside the scope of design, autonomous control systems must interact with crew and ground operators at varying levels of transparency. Unlike Earth-based systems, the planet-side crew will not be subsystem experts and may be isolated from ground support. Local systems must safely and robustly aid the crew in both troubleshooting and nominal operations. There is a need for software architectures and development methodologies, including system and crew modeling, to provide such capabilities.

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      • 50997

        B3.09Radiation Shielding to Protect Humans

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Revolutionary advances in radiation shielding technology are needed to protect humans from the hazards of space-radiation during NASA missions. All space-radiation environments in which humans may travel in the foreseeable future are considered, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous orbit,… Read more>>



        Revolutionary advances in radiation shielding technology are needed to protect humans from the hazards of space-radiation during NASA missions. All space-radiation environments in which humans may travel in the foreseeable future are considered, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous orbit, Moon, Mars, etc. All radiations are considered, including particulate radiation (electrons; protons; neutrons; alpha; light-to-heavy ions, with particular emphasis on ions up to iron; mesons; etc.) and including electromagnetic radiation (ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays, etc.). Technologies of specific interest include, but are not limited to, the following:


        • Advanced computer codes are needed to model and predict the transport of radiation through materials.
        • Advanced computer codes are needed to model and predict the effects of radiation on the physiological performance, health, and well-being of humans in space radiation environments.
        • Innovative lightweight radiation shielding materials are needed to shield humans in aerospace transportation vehicles, large space structures such as space stations, orbiters, landers, rovers, habitats, space suits, etc. The materials emphasis should be on non-parasitic radiation shielding materials, or multifunctional materials, where one of the functions is radiation shielding.
        • Non-materials and "out-of-the-box" radiation shielding technologies are also of interest.
        • Laboratory and space flight data are needed to validate the accuracy of radiation transport codes.
        • Laboratory and space flight data are needed to validate the effectiveness of radiation-shielding materials and non-materials solutions.
        • Comprehensive radiation-shielding databases and design tools are also sought to enable designers to incorporate and optimize radiation shielding into space systems during the initial design phases.
        • Accurate and reliable theoretical and phenomenological models are needed for the collision of radiation ions to generate the input database for transport phenomena. The models that give comprehensive results in a fast manner for broader (preferably whole) ranges of colliding ions, for ion energies from a few mega-electron volts to a few giga-electron volts are desirable. The information needed is as follows:

          • Total, elastic, absorption, and fragmentation cross sections
          • Spectral and angular distributions of producing particles
          • Multiparticle fragmentations
          • Cluster effects
          • Meson production



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      • 52194

        B3.10Sensors for Advanced Human Support Technology

        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 chemical or biological life support system is functioning properly. The sensors may also provide data… 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 chemical or biological life support system is functioning properly. The sensors may also provide data to automated control systems.



        Significant improvements are sought in miniaturization, accuracy, precision, and operational reliability, as well as long life, real-time multiple measurement functions, in-line operation, self-calibration, reduction of expendables, low energy consumption, and minimal operator time/maintenance for monitoring and controlling the life-support processes.


        • For water monitoring, sensitive, fast response, online analytical sensors to monitor suspended liquid droplets, dispersed gas bubbles, and water quality, particularly total organic carbon.
        • Other species of interest include dissolved gases and ions, and polar organic compounds such as methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, butanol, and acetone in water reclamation processes; and particulate matter, major constituents (such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor) and trace gas contaminants (such as ammonia, formaldehyde, ethylene) in air revitalization processes. Both invasive and noninvasive techniques will be considered.
        • Monitoring of microbial species, especially pathogens, primarily in water, is important. Enabling technologies may include proper sample preparation and handling, with minimal operator effort and minimal or no reagent usage.
        • Significant mass savings and ease of use may be enabled by approaches that detect more than one species at a time. Proposals that seek to develop new technologies or combine existing technologies to simultaneously monitor several major constituents and/or trace constituents are of interest.







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    • + Expand Partnerships and Market Driven Research Topic

      Topic B4 Partnerships and Market Driven Research PDF


      NASA’s Space Product Development (SPD) division supports the strategic missions to understand and protect our home planet and to explore the universe and search for life. It also seeks to find answers to the biological and physical research organizing sub-question that asks: How can research partnerships—both market driven and interagency—support our national goals, such as contributing to economic growth and sustaining human capital in science and technology? Innovative proposals are sought for market driven technologies and processes that will support NASA’s goals and include dual-use market needs on Earth. There are four initiative areas where NASA space research has strong potential for dual market use on Earth:

      1. Self-calibrating and self-repairing bio-MEMS devices for such uses as monitoring crew health in space along with dual applications on Earth for monitoring biological/physical interfaces;
      2. Space resource utilization techniques that enable the use of in situ planetary resources along with dual applications on Earth that create products by combustion synthesis of materials, extraction of volatiles, separation of solids;
      3. Spacecraft technologies that enhance spacecraft inspections, robotic processing, or Free Flyer experiments with dual applications on Earth, such as high density video and advanced sensor networks;
      4. Life support technologies that enable health monitoring, provide functional foods and nutraceuticals and environmentally clean habitats with dual applications on Earth, such as high-resolution wireless ultrasound for patient monitoring, improved crop productions, and new forms of drug delivery. Small business applicants must have strong intentions of becoming a part of NASA’s Research Partnering Center initiatives leading to partnered Phase III contracts for products to be used in space and on the Earth.

      • 51006

        B4.01Space Market Driven Research

        Lead Center: MSFC

        The commercial development of space offers enabling benefits to space exploration for NASA. In accordance with the Space Act, as amended, to "seek and encourage to the maximum extent possible the fullest commercial use of space," NASA facilitates the use of space and microgravity for the… Read more>>



        The commercial development of space offers enabling benefits to space exploration for NASA. In accordance with the Space Act, as amended, to "seek and encourage to the maximum extent possible the fullest commercial use of space," NASA facilitates the use of space and microgravity for the development of commercial products and services The products may use information from in-space activities to enhance an Earth-based effort, or may require in-space use. This subtopic has three goals. The first goal is the commercial demonstration of pivotal technologies or processes, for example, self-calibrating and self-repairing bio-MEMS devices for such uses as monitoring crew health in space along with dual applications on Earth for monitoring biological-physical interfaces. The second goal is the development of associated infrastructure equipment for commercial experimentation and operations in space, or the transfer of these technologies to industry in space or on Earth. An example of this is the automated processes and hardware (robotics), which will reduce crew exposure and time, and which are a priority. The third goal is the commercial research and technologies pursued and developed in the program often have direct applicability to NASA priority mission areas. This dual-use strategy for research and technology has the potential to greatly expand what the NASA scientific and engineering communities can do in advancing exploration mission requirements. All Agency activity in microgravity, including those in life science and microgravity sciences, which lead to commercial products and services as well as benefits to the mission requirements of exploration objectives, are of interest. Below are some specific areas for which proposals are sought.



        Biotechnology

        This category comprises biotechnology, biomedical, and agricultural instrumentation or techniques that exploit space-derived capabilities or data to support the commercial development of space by the agricultural, medical, or pharmaceutical industry.

        • Portable biological sensors: The need for sensing devices that can detect and identify biological pathogens (airborne or in vivo) is desired to support NASA's mission for a permanent presence of man in space.
        • Development of noninvasive health monitoring systems and models: Application to NASA's crew health program for extended duration missions. For example, (1) novel in vitro cell-matrix models for studying the effects of microgravity on human tissue repair and wound healing, (2) novel orga-notypic skin models that simulate physiological changes found in humans under a microgravity environment, and (3) functional models for delineating the MG-inducible or MG-responsive pathways of human tissue angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation).
        • Physiological measurement in microgravity of bone growth and the immune system in microgravity.
        • Innovative research in plant-derived pharmaceuticals using microgravity.
        • Agricultural research, i.e., genetic manipulation of plants using microgravity.
        • Instrumentation or technology to explore the use of microgravity in genetic assay, analysis, and manipulation.
        • Instrumentation to analyze cell reactor systems and characterize cell structure in microgravity in order to develop enhanced drug therapies that can also be applied to pharmaceutical development and commercialization.
        • Innovative techniques for dynamic control and cryogenic preservation of protein crystals.
        • Innovations in preparation of protein crystals for x-ray diffraction experiments without the use of frangible materials.
        • Innovation of low-technology temperature control chambers requiring little or no power for bringing temperature sensitive experiments up to, or back from, the International Space Station.



        Materials Science

        Areas in which Materials Science innovations are sought include the following:

        • Applications using space-grown semiconductor crystals, including epitaxially grown materials for commercial electronic devices. The applications will also attempt to use the knowledge of the space-grown material behavior to enhance ground processing of the materials to achieve equivalent performance of space-grown materials in electronic circuitry.
        • Applications using space-grown optical electronic materials such as fluoride glasses and nonlinear optical compounds for commercial optical electronic devices and to achieve equivalent performance of space-grown materials in ground processing.
        • Innovations using nonlinear optical material to be processed in space.
        • Innovations for new space-processed glasses for optical electronic applications.

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      • 51005

        B4.02Market Driven Space Exploration Payloads

        Lead Center: MSFC

        NASA has an interest in the development of science and experiments that support strategic aspects of exploration, as well as the development of technologies to extend humanity's reach to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. This includes designing exploration microgravity payloads. For example, life… Read more>>



        NASA has an interest in the development of science and experiments that support strategic aspects of exploration, as well as the development of technologies to extend humanity's reach to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. This includes designing exploration microgravity payloads. For example, life support technologies that enable health monitoring, provide functional foods and nutraceuticals, and environmentally clean habitats with dual applications on Earth such as high-resolution wireless ultrasound for patient monitoring, improved crop productions, and new forms of drug delivery. Preparing for exploration and research will accelerate the development of technologies that are important to the economy and national security as well as accelerate critical technologies.



        Microgravity Payloads

        • Design and develop microgravity payloads for space station applications that lead to commercial products or services.
        • Enabling commercial technologies that promote the human exploration and development of space.
        • Enabling commercial technologies through the use of ISS as a commercial test bed for hardware, products, or processes.
        • Enabling technology designed to reduce crew work loads and/or facilitate commercial investigations or processing through automation, robotics, or nanotechnology.



        Combustion Science

        Innovative applications in combustion research that will lead to developing commercial products or improved processes through the unique properties of space or through enhanced or innovative techniques on the ground.



        Food Technology

        Innovative applications of space research in food technology that will lead to developing commercial food products or improved food processes through the unique properties of space or through enhanced or innovative techniques on the ground.



        Biomedical Materials

        Innovative materials where microgravity promotes structures such as biodegradable polymers for use in wound healing and orthopedic applications.



        Entertainment Value Missions

        Innovative approaches for commercial economic benefit from space research involving broadcasting, e-business, or other activities that have entertainment value.

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      • 52273

        B4.03Market Driven Space Infrastructure

        Lead Center: MSFC

        In accordance with the Space Act, as amended, to "seek and encourage to the maximum extent possible the fullest commercial use of space," NASA facilitates the use of space for commercial products and services. For example, space resource utilization techniques that enable the use of in situ… Read more>>



        In accordance with the Space Act, as amended, to "seek and encourage to the maximum extent possible the fullest commercial use of space," NASA facilitates the use of space for commercial products and services. For example, space resource utilization techniques that enable the use of in situ planetary resources along with dual applications on Earth that create products by combustion synthesis of materials, extraction of volatiles, and separation of solids; also, spacecraft technologies that enhance spacecraft inspections, robotic processing or Free Flyer experiments with dual applications on Earth, such as high density video and advanced sensor networks. The products may use information from in-space activities to enhance an Earth-based effort or may require in-space manufacturing. This subtopic's goal is the development of infrastructure technology that will enable or enhance commercial space operations. Processes and hardware that have a clear utilization plan are a priority. All space activities that lead to commercial use in space are of interest. Some specific areas for which proposals are sought include the following:



        Power and Thermal Management

        Power and thermal management technologies that enable or enhance commercial satellites or space systems are sought.



        Communications

        Broadband, data compression, and imaging that can enable or enhance commercial operations in space or commercial satellites. This includes use of hyperspectral imagery and remote sensing.



        Space Vehicles and Platforms

        Improved technologies are sought for autonomous commercial vehicles and platforms. These technologies include autonomous rendezvous and docking, structures, and avionics.



        Space Resources Utilization

        Advanced commercial space activities will benefit from using nonterrestrial resources. These resources include propellants, power, and structural materials.



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      • 52287

        B4.04Partnering Innovations for Security and Safety

        Lead Center: MSFC

        NASA also has the goal to protect its assets, on Earth and in space, as well as our home planet and better understand the use of technologies that improve the quality of life in space and on Earth. By investing in space research and by collaborating with other agencies, industry, and academia,… Read more>>



        NASA also has the goal to protect its assets, on Earth and in space, as well as our home planet and better understand the use of technologies that improve the quality of life in space and on Earth. By investing in space research and by collaborating with other agencies, industry, and academia, NASA has the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a more secure environment in space and on Earth. By leveraging resources in support of research in the unique environment of space, NASA goals and national priorities, such as security, as well as market needs, may be achieved. This dual use with good potential for commercial product development is strongly encouraged. Following are some example areas for which proposals are sought:


        • Sensors and detection systems to improve processes and operations in support of NASA space research and exploration goals, national security, and industrial processes.
        • Improved communication systems to effectively and efficiently gather information from space-based research and provide better communication capabilities in support of NASA; its space and ground-based research and exploration goals are a priority. These systems could also be used to disseminate warnings and other critical information, in the event of a national disaster.
        • Innovative devices and procedures for the use of technologies to protect NASA's personnel and assets as well as citizens from various threats to their personal security and/or property. These devices and procedures for the use of technologies would also provide protection to personnel carrying out NASA space research and exploration operations, both in space and on Earth.
        • Countermeasure systems and/or devices to better effect rescue, recovery, treatment, and environmental safety during and after the occurrence of a disaster or a related accident.



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    • + Expand Instruments for Earth Science Measurements Topic

      Topic E1 Instruments for Earth Science Measurements PDF


      NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) is studying how our global environment is changing. Using the unique perspective available from space and airborne platforms, NASA is observing, documenting, and assessing large-scale environmental processes with emphasis on atmospheric composition, climate, carbon cycle and ecosystems, the Earth’s surface and interior, the water and energy cycles, and weather. A major objective of the ESE instrument development programs is to implement science measurement capabilities with small 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. Consequently, the objective of the Instruments for Earth Science Measurements SBIR topic is to develop and demonstrate instrument component and subsystem technologies that reduce the risk, cost, size, and development time of Earth observing instruments, and enable new Earth observation measurements. The following subtopics are concomitant with this objective and are organized by measurement technique.

      • 50990

        E1.01Passive Optics

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC

        The following technologies are of interest to NASA in the remote sensing subtopic “passive optics.” Passive optical remote sensing generally requires that deployed devices have large apertures and large throughput. NASA is interested primarily in instrument technologies suitable for aircraft… Read more>>



        The following technologies are of interest to NASA in the remote sensing subtopic “passive optics.” Passive optical remote sensing generally requires that deployed devices have large apertures and large throughput. NASA is interested primarily in instrument technologies suitable for aircraft or space flight platforms, and these inherently also prefer low mass, low power, fast measurement times, and a high degree of robustness to survive vibrations in flight or at launch. Wavelengths of interest range from ultraviolet through the far infrared. Development of techniques, components and instrument concepts that can be developed for use in actual deployed devices and systems within the next few years is highly encouraged.



        Technologies and components that are not clearly suitable for use in high throughput remote sensing instruments are not applicable to this subtopic. Technical and scientific leads at NASA have given careful consideration to the technology areas described below, and responses are solicited for these topics.



        1) Stiff actuator technology designed to produce precisely controlled motion of large (> 1.0 cm diameter) optical elements intended for use in tunable Fabry-Perot and Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) instruments. Motion ranges of particular interest include 20–60 µm, 1–2 mm, and 3–5 cm. Techniques applicable to very cold temperature (


        2) Technology leading to significant improvements in capability of large format (> 1 inch diameter), very narrow band (-1 full-width at half-maximum ), polarization insensitive, high throughput infrared (0.7–15 µm) optical filters.



        3) Large format (> 1 inch diameter) high-transmission far infrared filters. Technology and techniques leading to filters operating at wave numbers between 500 and 5 cm-1 with FWHM less than 2 cm-1 are of immediate interest, though technology leading to very high transmission edge filters (long and short pass) is also solicited. The filters must be capable of operating in a vacuum at cryogenic temperatures.



        4) High performance four-band two-dimensional (2-D) arrays (128x128 elements) in the 0.4 – 2.5 µm wavelength range with high quantum efficiencies (60%–80% or higher) in all spectral bands, low noise, and ambient temperature operation.



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      • 50992

        E1.02Lidar Remote Sensing

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

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



        High spatial resolution, high accuracy measurements of atmospheric parameters from ground-based, airborne, and spaceborne platforms require advances in the state-of-the-art lidar technology with emphasis on compactness, reliability, efficiency, low weight, and high performance. Innovative technologies that can expand current measurement capabilities to airborne, spaceborne, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms are particularly desirable. Development of techniques, components, and instrument concepts that can be used in actual deployed systems within the next few years is highly encouraged. Technologies and components that are not clearly suitable for effective lidar remote sensing or field deployment are not applicable to this subtopic. This subtopic considers components, subsystems, and complete instrument packages addressing the following specific measurement needs:


        • Molecular species (ozone, water vapor, and carbon dioxide);
        • Cloud and aerosols with emphasis on aerosol optical properties;
        • Wind profiles using direct-detection lidar, or coherent-detection (heterodyne) lidar, or both; and
        • Land topography (vegetation, ice, and land use).



        In addition to instrument systems, innovative component technologies that directly address the measurement needs above will be considered. Technical and scientific leads at NASA have given careful consideration to the component technologies described below, and responses are solicited for these technology areas.



        1. Novel laser materials and components for high efficiency solid state lasers operating at 1 and 2 µm wavelength regions. The laser components include:

        • Rugged, compact fiber lasers and fiber amplifiers for use at 1.5 and 1 µm;
        • Low voltage (
        • Efficient and reliable high power, quasi-CW, pump diodes operating at 792 nm and 808 nm in fiber-coupled or free-space configuration; and
        • Laser crystals for generating 2 µm radiation with high thermal conductivity and small variation of the index of refraction with temperature.



        2. High damage-resistant, efficient, inorganic and birefringent nonlinear optical materials for generation of ultraviolet and mid-infrared radiation.



        3. Thermally efficient conductively-cooled head for solid-state lasers with side-pumped rod configuration, and thermally and mechanically stable optical bench.



        4. Frequency-agile, semiconductor lasers operating in 1 to 2 µm wavelength region with spectral linewidth less than 200 kHz over 1 ms and optical power greater than 20 mW.



        5. Scanning or scanable lightweight telescopes with an optical quality better than 1/6 wave at 632 nm, mass density less than 12 kg/m2, and aperture diameters from 0.5–1.0 m.



        6. Laser beam steering and scanning technologies operating at 0.355, 1.06, or 2.05 µm with 5–25 cm aperture diameter for airborne and 0.5–1.0 m for spaceborne instruments, meeting the following minimum requirements:

        • 60° field of regard
        • 90% optical throughput
        • wave single pass optical quality at 632 nm



        7. Shared aperture angle-multiplexed holographic or diffractive optical elements having several fields of view, each with angular resolution of 50 µrad or better for the Nd:YAG or Nd:YLF laser harmonics, and diffraction limited resolution for the Ho:YLF fundamental wavelength. Wide, flat, focal planes with low off-axis aberrations is of importance to terrain and vegetation mapping lidar applications. Hybrid designs using both 2053 nm or 1064 nm and 355 nm simultaneously are needed for dual wavelength Doppler wind lidar applications. Materials and technologies are needed that can be scaled up to 1 m apertures and larger, and space qualified. Designs using lightweight materials, such as composites or membranes and deployable folded architectures, are also desired to decrease system size and weight.



        8. High gain, low noise photon counting detectors that operate without the use of cryogens are needed. Other desirable properties are linearity over a large dynamic range, saturation count rates over 100 MHz, reasonable active area size (>200 µm), 250–2200 nm response wavelengths, and high clocking and readout rates with low read noise. High-speed (500 Msamples per second or greater) waveform digitizers are also of interest for operation with integrated pulse-finding capability suitable for continuous operation and capable of locating more than 200,000 individual pulses per second.



        9. Narrow band optical filters with 75% throughput, with minimum 1 inch clear aperture.

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      • 50796

        E1.03In Situ Sensors

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL

        Proposals are sought for the development of in situ measurement systems that will enhance the scientific and commercial utility of data products from the Earth Science Enterprise program and that will enable the development of new products of interest to commercial and governmental entities around… Read more>>

        Proposals are sought for the development of in situ measurement systems that will enhance the scientific and commercial utility of data products from the Earth Science Enterprise program and that will enable the development of new products of interest to commercial and governmental entities around the world. Technology innovation areas of interest include:


        • Autonomous Global Positioning System (GPS)-located platforms (fixed or moving) to measure and transmit to remote terminals upper ocean and lower atmosphere properties including temperature, salinity, momentum, light, precipitation, and biogeochemistry.
        • Dynamic stabilization systems for small instruments mounted on moving platforms (e.g., buoys and boats) to maintain vertical and horizontal alignment. Systems capable of maintaining a specified pointing with respect to the Sun are preferred.
        • Small, lightweight instruments for measuring clouds, liquid water, or ice content (mass) designed for use on radiosondes, dropsondes, aerosondes, tethered balloons, or kites.
        • Wide-band microwave radiometers capable of high-speed characterization of cloud parameters, including liquid and ice phase precipitation, which can operate in harsh environmental conditions (e.g., onboard ships and aircraft).
        • Autonomous GPS-located airborne sensors that remotely sense atmospheric wind profiles in the troposphere and lower stratosphere with high spatial resolution and accuracy.
        • Systems for in situ measurement of atmospheric electrical parameters including electric and magnetic fields, conductivity, and optical emissions.
        • Systems to measure line- and area-averaged rain rate at the surface over lines of at least 100 m and areas of at least 100x100 m.
        • Lightweight, low-power systems that integrate the functions of inertial navigation systems and GPS receivers for characterizing and/or controlling the flight path of remotely piloted vehicles.
        • Low-cost, stable (to within 1% over several months), portable radiometric calibration devices in the shortwave spectral region (0.3 to 3 µm) for field characterization of radiance instruments such as sun photometers and spectrometers.
        • Miniaturized, low power (12V DC) instruments especially suited for small boat operations that are capable of adequately resolving, at the appropriate accuracy, the complex vertical structure (optical, hydrographic, and biogeochemical) of the coastal ocean (turbid) water column. Sensors that can be easily integrated within a digital (serial) network to measure the apparent and inherent optical properties of seawater are preferred.



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      • 50806

        E1.04Passive Microwave

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Proposals are sought for the development of innovative passive microwave technology in support of Earth System Science measurements of the Earth's atmosphere and surface. These microwave radiometry technology innovations are intended for use in the frequency band from about 1 GHz to 1 THz. The… Read more>>



        Proposals are sought for the development of innovative passive microwave technology in support of Earth System Science measurements of the Earth's atmosphere and surface. These microwave radiometry technology innovations are intended for use in the frequency band from about 1 GHz to 1 THz. The key science goal is to increase our understanding of the interacting physical, chemical and biological processes that form the complex Earth system. Atmospheric measurements of interest include climate and meteorological parameters including temperature, water vapor, clouds, precipitation, and aerosols; air pollution; and chemical constituents such as ozone, NOX, and carbon monoxide. Earth surface measurements of interest include water, land, and ice surface temperatures, land surface moisture, snow coverage and water content, sea surface salinity and winds, and multispectral imaging.



        Technology innovations are sought that will provide the needed concepts, components, subsystems, or complete systems that will improve these needed Earth System Science measurements. Technology innovations should address enhanced measurement capabilities such as improved spatial or temporal resolution, improved spectral resolution, or improved calibration accuracies. Technology innovations should provide reduced size, weight, power, improved reliability, and lower cost. The innovations should expand the capabilities of airborne systems (manned and unmanned), as well as next generation spaceborne systems. Highly innovative approaches that open new pathways are an important element of competitive proposals under this solicitation.



        Specific technology innovation areas include:

        • Imaging radiometers, receivers or receiver arrays on a chip, and flux radiometers.
        • Large aperture, deployable antenna systems suitable for highly reliable space deployment with root mean square (RMS) surface accuracy approaching 1/50th wavelength. Such large apertures can be real or synthetic apertures. Of key importance is the ability for a highly compact launch configuration, followed by a highly reliable erection and resultant surface configuration.
        • Focal plane array modules for large-aperture passive microwave imaging applications.
        • Wideband and ultra-wideband sensors with >15dB cross-pole isolation across the bandwidth.
        • Sensors with low surface currents enabling scanning up to +/-50° without grating lobes, and collimation in one direction with low side lobes for 1-D aperture synthesis.
        • Bi-static GPS receiving systems for application as altimeters and scatterometers.
        • Enhanced onboard data processing capabilities that enable real-time, reconfigurable computational approaches which enhance research flexibility. Such approaches should improve image reconstruction, enable high compression ratios, improve atmospheric corrections, and the geolocation and geometric correction of digital image data.
        • Techniques for the detection and removal of Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) in microwave radiometers are desired. Microwave radiometer measurements can be contaminated by RFI that is within or near the reception band of the radiometer. Electronic design approaches and subsystems are desired that can be incorporated into microwave radiometers to detect and suppress RFI, thus insuring higher data quality.
        • New technology calibration reference sources for microwave radiometers that provide greatly improved reference measurement accuracy. High emissivity (near-black-body) surfaces are often used as onboard calibration targets for many microwave radiometers. NASA seeks ways to significantly reduce the weight of aluminum core target designs, while reliably improving the uniformity and knowledge of the calibration target temperature. NASA seeks innovative new designs for highly stable noise-diode or other electronic devices as additional reference sources for onboard calibration. Of particular interest are variable correlated noise sources for calibrating correlation-type receivers used in interferometric and polarimetric radiometers.
        • New approaches, concepts and techniques are sought for microwave radiometer system calibration over or within the 1–300 GHz frequency band, which provide end-to-end calibration to better than 0.1Ø°, including corrections for temperature changes and other potential sources of instrumental measurement drift and error.
        • Microwave and millimeter wave frequency sources are sought as an alternative to Gunn diode oscillators. Compact (3) self contained oscillators with output frequency between 40 GHz and 120 GHz, low phase noise 100 mW) are needed.
        • Low noise (3) heterodyne mixers requiring low local oscillator drive power (
        • Low power lightweight microwave radiometers are desired which are able to operate stably over long periods, with DC power consumption of less than 2 W and preferably less than 1 W, not including any mechanisms.
        • Monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) low noise amplifier (LNA) for space-borne microwave radiometers, covering the frequency range of 165 to 193 GHz, having a noise figure of 6.0 dB or better (and with low 1/f noise).



        NASA is developing satellite systems that will use passive and active microwave sensing at L-band and other frequencies to measure sea surface salinity, and soil moisture to a depth of ~10 cm. In support of these global research efforts, the following ancillary measurement systems are required:


        • Inexpensive approaches to ground sensors are desired that are capable of measuring areas at least 100,000 km2, with a spatial resolution of 20 km. These ground sensors will be needed to validate those space-borne measurements. Measurement of ground-wave propagation characteristics of radio signals from commercial sources may satisfy that need. Although absolute values of soil moisture are desirable, they are not required if the technique can be calibrated frequently at suitable sites. Cost per covered area, autonomous operation, anticipated accuracy, and depth resolution of the soil moisture measurement will be considerations for selection.
        • Autonomous GPS-located ocean platforms are needed which can measure upper ocean and lower atmosphere properties including temperature, salinity, momentum, light, precipitation, and biology, and can communicate the resultant data and computational or configuration instructions to and from remote terminals. Similar sensor packages are desired for use onboard ships while under way. This includes the development of intelligent platforms that can change measurement strategy upon receipt of a message from a command center.
        • Autonomous low-cost systems are desired that can measure Earth and ocean surface and lower atmospheric parameters including soil moisture, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, sea surface salinity, surface irradiance, and humidity.
        • Novel approaches to beam steering for these very large aperture antenna systems are also desired: 1)lightweight, electronically steerable, dual-polarized, phased-array antennas; 2) shared aperture, multi-frequency antennas; 3) high-efficiency, high power, low-cost, lightweight, phase-stable transmit/receive modules; 4) advanced antenna array architectures including scalable, reconfigurable and autonomous antennas; 5) sparse arrays, digital beamforming techniques, time domain techniques, phase correction techniques; 6) distributed digital beamforming and onboard processing technologies; and 7) brightness temperature/scatter co-registration data processing algorithms, data reduction, and merging techniques.



        Ground-based microwave radiometer instrumentation, subsystems, and techniques for validating space-borne precipitation measurements. Passive microwave instrumentation, or subsystems, capable of ground-based retrievals of precipitation. The instrumentation, or subsystems, shall operate in inclement weather conditions without the interfering affects of liquid water accumulation on the aperture or field-of-view obstructions. Capabilities for volumetric scanning of the atmosphere and autonomous operation are of great interest.

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      • 50812

        E1.05Active Microwave

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        Active microwave sensors have proven to be ideal instruments for many Earth science applications. Examples include global freeze and thaw monitoring and soil moisture mapping, accurate global wind retrieval and snow inundation mapping, global 3-D mapping of rainfall and cloud systems, precise… Read more>>

        Active microwave sensors have proven to be ideal instruments for many Earth science applications. Examples include global freeze and thaw monitoring and soil moisture mapping, accurate global wind retrieval and snow inundation mapping, global 3-D mapping of rainfall and cloud systems, precise topographic mapping and natural hazard monitoring, global ocean topographic mapping, and glacial ice mapping for climate change studies. For global coverage and the long-term study of Earth's eco-systems, space-based radar is of particular interest to Earth scientists. Radar instruments for Earth science measurements include Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), scatterometers, sounders, altimeters and atmospheric radars. The life-cycle cost of such radar missions has always been driven by the resources—power, mass, size, and data rate—required by the radar instrument, often making radar not cost competitive with other remote sensing instruments. Order-of-magnitude advancement in key sensor components will make the radar instrument more power efficient, much lighter weight, and smaller in stow volume, leading to substantial savings in overall mission life-cycle cost by requiring smaller and less expensive spacecraft buses and launch vehicles. Onboard processing techniques will reduce data rates sufficiently to enable global coverage. High performance, yet affordable, radars will provide data products of better quality and deliver them to the users more frequently and in a timelier manner, with benefits for science, as well as the civil and defense communities. Technologies that may lead to advances in instrument design, architectures, hardware, and algorithms are the focused areas of this subtopic. In order to increase the radar remote sensing user community, this subtopic will also consider radar data applications and post-processing techniques.



        The frequency and bandwidth of operation are mission driven and defined by the science objectives. For SAR applications, the frequencies of interest include UHF (100 MHz), P-band (400 MHz), L-band (1.25 GHz), X-band (10 GHz) and Ku-band (12 GHz). The required bandwidth varies from a few megahertz to 20 MHz to 300 MHz to achieve the desired resolution; the larger the bandwidth, the higher the resolution. Ocean altimeters and scatterometers typically operate at L-band (1.2 GHz), C-band (5.3 GHz) and Ku-band (12 GHz). Ka-band (35 GHz) interferometers have applications to river discharge. The atmospheric radars operate at very high frequencies (35 GHz and 94 GHz) with only modest bandwidth requirements on the order of a few megahertz.



        The emphasis of this subtopic is on core technologies that will significantly reduce mission cost and increase performance and utility of future radar systems. There are specific areas in which advances are needed.


        • SAR for surface deformation, topography, soil moisture measurements:

          • Lightweight, electronically steerable, dual-polarized, L-band phased-array antennas.
          • Very large aperture L-band antennas (20 m x 20 m) for Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) or 30m diameter for Geosynchronous SAR applications.
          • Shared aperture, multi-frequency antennas (P/L-band, L/X-band).
          • Lightweight, deployable antenna structures and deployment mechanisms.
          • Rad-hard, high-efficiency, high power, low-cost, lightweight L-band and P-band T/R modules.
          • High-power transmitters (L-band, 50-100 kW).
          • L-band and P-band MMIC single-chip T/R module.
          • Rad-hard, high-power, low-loss RF switches, filters, and phase shifters.
          • Digital true-time delay (TTD) components.
          • Thin-film membrane compatible electronics. This includes: Reliable integration of electronics with the membrane, high performance (>1.2 GHz) transistor fabrication on flex material including identifying new materials, process development, and techniques that have the potential to produce large-area passive and active flexible antenna arrays.
          • Advanced transmit and receive module architectures such as optically-fed T/R modules, signal up/down conversion within the module and novel RF and DC signal distribution techniques.
          • Advanced radar system architectures including flexible, broadband signal generation and direct digital conversion radar systems.
          • Advanced antenna array architectures including scalable, reconfigurable, and autonomous antennas; sparse arrays; and phase correction techniques.
          • Distributed digital beamforming and onboard processing technologies.

        • SAR data processing algorithms and data reduction techniques.
        • SAR data applications and post-processing techniques.
        • Low-frequency SAR for subcanopy and subsurface applications:

          • Lightweight, large aperture (30 m diameter) reflector and reflectarray antennas.
          • Large electronically scanning P-band arrays.
          • Shared aperture, dual-polarized, multiple low-frequency (VHF through P-band, 50–500 MHz) antennas with highly shaped beams.
          • Lightweight, low frequency, low loss antenna feeds (VHF through P-band, 50–500 MHz).
          • High-efficiency T/R modules and transmitters (50–500 MHz, 10 kW).
          • Lightweight deployable antenna structures and deployment mechanisms.
          • Data applications and post-processing techniques.

        • Polarimetric ocean/land scatterometer:

          • Multi-frequency (L/Ku-band) lightweight, deployable reflectors.
          • Large, lightweight, electronically steerable Ku-band reflectarrays.
          • Lightweight L-band and Ku-band antenna feeds.
          • Dual-polarized antennas with high polarization isolation.
          • Lightweight, deployable antenna structures and deployment mechanisms.
          • High efficiency, high power, phase stable L-band and Ku-band transmitters.
          • Low-power, highly integrated radar components.
          • Calibration techniques, data processing algorithms and data reduction techniques.
          • Data applications and post-processing techniques.

        • Wide swath ocean and surface water monitoring altimeters:

          • Shared aperture, multi-frequency (C/Ku-band) antennas.
          • Large, lightweight antenna reflectors and reflectarrays.
          • Lightweight C-band and Ku-band antenna feeds.
          • Lightweight deployable antenna structures and deployment mechanisms.
          • High efficiency, high power (1–10 kW) C-band and Ku-band transmitters.
          • Real-time onboard radar data processing.
          • Calibration techniques, data processing algorithms and data reduction techniques.

        • Ku-band & Ka-band interferometers for snow cover measurement over land (Ku-band) and wetland and river monitoring (Ka-band):

          • Large, stable, lightweight, deployable structures (10–50 m interferometric baseline).
          • Ka-band along and across-track track interferometers with a few centimeters of height accuracy.
          • Ku-band interferometric polarimetric SAR.
          • Phase-stable Ku-band and Ka-band electronically steered arrays and multibeam antennas.
          • Lightweight deployable reflectors (Ku-band and Ka-band).
          • Shared aperture technologies (L/Ku-band).
          • Phase-stable Ku-band and Ka-band receive electronics.
          • High-efficiency, rad-hard Ku-band and Ka-band T/R modules or >10 kW transmitters.
          • Ku-band and Ka-band antenna feeds.
          • Calibration and metrology for accurate baseline knowledge.
          • Real-time onboard radar data processing.
          • Data applications and post-processing techniques.

        • Atmospheric radar:

          • Low sidelobe, electronically steerable millimeter wave phased-array antennas and feed networks.
          • Low sidelobe, multi-frequency, multi-beam, shared aperture millimeter wave antennas (Ka-band and W-band).
          • Large (~300 wavelength), lightweight, low sidelobe, millimeter wave (Ka-band and W-band) antenna reflectors and reflectarrays.
          • Lightweight deployable antenna structures and deployment mechanisms.
          • High power (10 kW) Ka-band and W-band transmitters.
          • High-power (>1 kW, duty cycle >5%), wide bandwidth (>10%) Ka-band amplifiers.
          • High-efficiency, low-cost, lightweight Ka-band and W-band transmit/receive modules.
          • Advanced transmit/receive module concepts such as optically-fed T/R modules.
          • Onboard (real-time) pulse compression and image processing hardware and/or software.
          • Advanced data processing techniques for real-time rain cell tracking, and rapid 3-D rain mapping.
          • Lightweight, low-cost, Ku/Ka band radar system for ground-based rain measurements.
          • High power, low sidelobe (better than -30 dB) scanning phase array flat plate antenna (X, Ku, Ka, or W-band) for high altitude operation (65,000 feet).



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      • 52175

        E1.06Passive Infrared - Sub Millimeter

        Lead Center: JPL

        Many NASA future Earth science remote sensing programs and missions require microwave to submillimeter wavelength antennas, transmitters, and receivers operating in the 1-cm to 100-µm wavelength range (or a frequency range of 30 GHz to 3 THz). General requirements for these instruments include… Read more>>

        Many NASA future Earth science remote sensing programs and missions require microwave to submillimeter wavelength antennas, transmitters, and receivers operating in the 1-cm to 100-µm wavelength range (or a frequency range of 30 GHz to 3 THz). General requirements for these instruments include large-aperture (possibly deployable) antenna systems with RMS surface accuracy of


        For these systems, advancement is needed in primarily three areas: (1) the development of frequency-stabilized, low phase noise, tunable, fundamental local oscillator sources covering frequencies between 160 GHz and 3 THz; (2) the development of submillimeter-wave mixers in the 300–3000 GHz spectral region with improved sensitivity, stability, and IF bandwidth capability; (3) the development of higher-frequency and higher-output-power MMIC circuits.



        Specific innovations or demonstrations are required in the following areas:

        • Heterodyne receiver system integration at the circuit and/or chip level is needed to extend MMIC capability into the submillimeter regime. MMIC amplifier development for both power amplifiers and low noise amplifiers at frequencies up to several hundred GHz is solicited. Integration of a local oscillator multiplier chain, mixer, and intermediate frequency amplifier is one example. There is also a specific need to demonstrate array radiometer systems using MMIC radiometers from 60 GHz, to approximately 500 GHz.
        • Solid-state, phase-lockable local-oscillator sources with flight-qualifiable design approaches are needed with >10 mW output power at 200 GHz and >100 µW at 1 THz; source line widths should be
        • Stable local-oscillator sources are needed for heterodyne receiver system laboratory testing and development.
        • Multi-channel spectrometers that analyze intermediate frequency signal bandwidths as large as 10 GHz with a frequency resolution of
        • Compact and reliable millimeter and submillimeter imaging instrumentation that produces images simultaneously in multiple spectral bands.
        • Schottky mixers with high sensitivity at T = 100 K and above.
        • Low noise superconducting HEB mixers and SIS mixers.
        • Receivers using planar diode or alternative reliable local oscillator technologies in the 300–3000 GHz spectrum.
        • Lightweight and compact radiometer calibration references covering 100–800 GHz frequency range.
        • Lightweight, field portable, compact radiometer calibration references covering frequencies up to 200 GHz. The reference must be temperature stable to within 1 K with a minimum of three temperature settings between 250 and 350 K.
        • Low cost special purpose ground-based receivers to detect signals radiated from active satellites that are in orbit, for estimating rain rate, water vapor, and cloud liquid water.
        • Calibrated radiometer systems that can achieve accuracy and stability of 0.1 K.
        • Astrophysics receiver-detector technology proposals are also solicited, specifically under topic S2.01, Sensors and Detectors for Astrophysics.

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      • 50797

        E1.07Thermal Control for Instruments

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, MSFC

        Future instruments and platforms for NASA's Earth Science Enterprises will require increasingly sophisticated thermal control technology. 1. Instrument optical alignment needs, lasers, and detectors require tight temperature control, often to better than +/- 1°C. 2. Heat flux levels from… Read more>>



        Future instruments and platforms for NASA's Earth Science Enterprises will require increasingly sophisticated thermal control technology.

        1. Instrument optical alignment needs, lasers, and detectors require tight temperature control, often to better than +/- 1°C.

        2. Heat flux levels from lasers and other high power devices are increasing, with some projected to go as high as 100 W/cm2.

        3. Cryogenic applications are becoming more common. Large, distributed structures, such as mirrors and antennae, will require creative techniques to integrate thermal control functions and minimize weight.

        4. The push for miniaturization also drives the need for new thermal technologies towards the micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) level.

        5. The drive towards ‘off-the-shelf’ commercial spacecraft, and reconfigurable spacecraft presents engineering challenges for instruments, which must become more self-sufficient.



        Innovative proposals for thermal control technologies are sought in the following areas:

        • Miniaturized heat transport devices, especially those suitable for cooling small sensors, devices, and electronics.
        • Highly reliable, miniaturized Loop Heat Pipes and Capillary Pumped Loops that allow multiple heat load sources and multiple sinks.
        • Advanced thermoelectric coolers capable of providing cooling at ambient and cryogenic temperatures.
        • Inexpensive passive radiative coolers for low Earth orbit.
        • Technologies for cooling very high flux (>100 W/cm2) heat sources, including spray and jet impingement cooling.
        • Advanced thermal control coatings, such as variable emittance surfaces and coatings with a high emissivity at ambient and cryogenic temperatures.
        • High conductivity materials to:

          • Minimize temperature gradients, especially for optical benches and structures,
          • Provide jitter isolation links between cryocoolers and sensors, and
          • Provide high efficiency light-weight radiators.

        • Advanced analytical techniques for thermal modeling, focusing on techniques that can be easily integrated into existing codes.
        • Thermal control systems that actively maintain optical alignment for very large structures at both ambient and cryogenic temperatures.
        • Single and two-phase pumped fluid loop systems, which accommodate multiple heat sources and sinks.
        • Long life, lightweight pumps for single and two-phase fluid loop systems.
        • Efficient, lightweight vapor compression systems for cooling up to 2 kW.







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    • + Expand Platform Technologies for Earth Science Topic

      Topic E2 Platform Technologies for Earth Science PDF


      NASA is fostering innovations that support implementation of the Earth Science (ES) Enterprise program, an integrated international undertaking to study the Earth system. ES uses the unique perspective available from orbit to study land cover and land use changes, short and long term climate variability, natural hazards, and environmental changes. Additionally, ES uses terrestrial and airborne measurements to complement those acquired from Earth orbit. ES has a parallel development effort to these platforms that includes the largest ground and data system ever undertaken, which will provide the facility for command and control of flight segments and for data processing, distribution, storage, and archival of vast amounts of Earth science research data. The Earth Science Program defines platforms as the host systems for ES instruments, i.e., they provide the infrastructure for an instrument or suite of instruments. Traditionally, the term 'platform' would be synonymous with 'spacecraft,' and it certainly does include spacecraft. 'Platform,' however, is intended to be much broader in application than spacecraft and is intended to include non-traditional hosts for sensors and instruments such as airborne platforms (piloted and unpiloted aircraft, balloons, and drop sondes), terrestrial platforms, sea surface and subsurface platforms, and even surface penetrators. These application examples are given to illustrate the wide diversity of possibilities for acquiring ES data consistent with the future vision of the Earth Science Program and indicate types of platforms for which technology development is required.

      • 52174

        E2.01Guidance, Navigation and Control

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        Future ES architectures will include platforms of varying size and complexity in a number of mission trajectories and orbits. These platforms will include spacecraft, sounding rockets, balloons, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Advanced Guidance Navigation and Control (GN&C) technology… Read more>>



        Future ES architectures will include platforms of varying size and complexity in a number of mission trajectories and orbits. These platforms will include spacecraft, sounding rockets, balloons, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Advanced Guidance Navigation and Control (GN&C) technology is required for these platforms to address high performance and reliability requirements while simultaneously satisfying low power, mass, and volume resource constraints. A vigorous effort is needed to develop guidance, navigation and control methodologies, algorithms, and sensor–actuator technologies to enable revolutionary Earth science missions. Of particular interest are highly innovative GN&C technology proposals directed towards enabling ES investigators to exploit new vantage points, develop new sensing strategies, and implement new system-level observational concepts that promote agility, adaptability, evolvability, scalability, and affordability. Novel approaches for the autonomous control of distributed ES spacecraft and/or the management of large fleets of heterogeneous and/or homogeneous ES assets are desired. Specific areas of research include:



        GN&C System Technologies

        Innovative GN&C solutions for ES instrument pointing and stabilization. Advanced GN&C solutions for the Microsat attitude determination and control problem. Of special interest are low cost (at high production volumes) and highly integrated Microsat GN&C subsystems suitable for enabling both spin stabilized and three-axis stabilized Microsats. GN&C proposals that exploit and combine recent advances in miniature spacecraft subsystem architectures, spacecraft attitude determination and control theory, advanced electro-mechanical packaging, MEMS technology, ultra-low power microelectronics are encouraged. Proposals of special interest are ones that address the technologies needed to implement closed-loop spacecraft control system architectures which provide the "Drag-Free" precision orbit determination and maintenance capabilities needed for future ES Low Earth Orbit (LEO) formation-flying applications. Technology solutions are encouraged rhat employ Drag-Free sensors (similar to accelerometers), high specific impulse (Isp) thrusters, and low-cost processors with appropriate closed-loop filtering and control algorithms to implement a complete Drag-Free spacecraft control system module.



        Vision-based GN&C system concepts, subsystems, hardware components, and supporting algorithms/flight software. Applications of interest are of high performance video image processing technology to provide alternative solutions to challenging GN&C problems such as spacecraft relative range and attitude determination while in close formation and/or during proximity operations.



        Advanced GN&C solutions for balloon-borne stratospheric science payloads, including sub-arc second pointing control, sub-arcsecond attitude knowledge determination and trajectory guidance for individual balloon-borne payloads. Innovative techniques are of interest for modeling, simulating, and analyzing the inherent dynamics and control of balloon-borne payloads. Also of interest are innovative concepts, strategies, techniques, and methods for modeling, simulating, and analyzing formations, constellations, and/or networks of multiple balloon-borne stratospheric science payloads.



        GN&C Sensors and Actuators

        Advanced sensors and actuators with enhanced capabilities and performance, as well as reduced cost, mass, power, volume, and reduced complexity for all spacecraft GN&C system elements. Emphasis is placed on improved stability, accuracy, and noise performance. Nontraditional multifunctional sensor/actuator technology proposals are of particular interest.



        Innovations in Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver hardware and algorithms that use GPS code and carrier signals to provide spacecraft navigation, attitude, and time. Of particular interest are GPS-based navigation techniques that may employ Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) corrections.



        Novel approaches to autonomous sensing and navigation of multiple distributed space platforms. Of particular interest are specialized sensors and measurement systems for formation sensing and navigations functions.

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      • 50805

        E2.02Command and Data Handling

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Advancing science with reduced levels of mission funding, shorter mission development schedules and reduced availability of flight electronic components creates new requirements for spacecraft Command and Data Handling (C&DH) systems. There are specific areas for which proposals are being… Read more>>



        Advancing science with reduced levels of mission funding, shorter mission development schedules and reduced availability of flight electronic components creates new requirements for spacecraft Command and Data Handling (C&DH) systems. There are specific areas for which proposals are being sought.



        Onboard Processing

        • General purpose data processing: higher levels of spacecraft autonomy require higher levels of general purpose CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) and RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) processing with fault tolerance and error correction (system and application).
        • Special purpose data processing: higher levels of automated onboard science data processing to complement the data gathering capabilities of future instruments. Reduce the processed data volume to remain within the limits of spacecraft to Earth communications.
        • Reconfigurable computing hardware: achieving pure hardware processing capabilities with the flexibility of reprogrammability to allow different science objectives to be met with the same hardware platform. Development of technologies such as radiation hardened Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and similar components for data communications and processing.
        • Low-power electronics: in order to provide higher capabilities on smaller and/or less expensive spacecraft. Electronics that consume less power decrease overall thermal load, and decrease battery size and solar panel size.

        Command and Data Transfer

        • Subsystem data transfer: communications between various spacecraft subsystems in order to realize higher autonomy. Development of technologies and architectures that increase the rate of data transfer above 20 Mbits/s are necessary to achieve the self-diagnosis, autonomous control, and science data transfer requirements.
        • Intra-system data transfer: communications within the spacecraft subsystem, between cards within a box to replace the conventional passive backplanes.



        Protocols and Architectures

        • Internet-based protocol modules and extensions that will support seamless connectivity between terrestrial and aerospace platforms by mitigating variable latencies and bit error rates among distributed air and spacecraft to terrestrial gateways.
        • Novel methodologies for performing medium to large-scale simulations of space Internet architectures, protocols, and applications.
        • Network security technologies to assure integrity and authentication of data from the public Internet to protected space-based networks.
        • Ad hoc and innovative, lightweight networking protocols to support spacecraft constellation, formation flying, satellite clusters, proximity, and sensor based networks.



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      • 50799

        E2.03Advanced Communication Technologies for Near-Earth Missions

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): GRC

        Programmable Analog Devices A technology is desired to provide a software programmable analog component. This “programmable analog array” would consist of basic elements including filters, amplifiers, couplers and mixers whose frequency of operation, bandwidths and gains can be changed by… Read more>>

        Programmable Analog Devices

        A technology is desired to provide a software programmable analog component. This “programmable analog array” would consist of basic elements including filters, amplifiers, couplers and mixers whose frequency of operation, bandwidths and gains can be changed by software command. The signal flow in the component itself will be reconfigurable by software and firmware loads in a manner similar to that of Field Programmable Gate-Array (FPGA) digital devices. Desired components will be capable of operating in the S- and Ku-bands. Maximum flexibility in configuration is also desired with the goal of producing a generic “sea of elements” rather than an integrated system on a chip.



        Low-Overhead Software-Defined Radio (SDR) Implementations

        NASA is interested in SDR architectures and implementations that optimize flexibility and interoperability between different SDRs, but are based on extremely efficient core architectures and low processor overheads. Algorithms that can be implemented in current space flight capable hardware are especially encouraged.



        RF Component Technology

        A wide variety of general advances in component, material and manufacturing technologies are required to support future NASA mission requirements. These technologies include innovative approaches to enable higher frequency, miniature, power efficient Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTAs) operating at millimeter wave frequencies and at data rates of 10 Gbps or higher. Wide band-gap semiconductor (WBGS) based devices for high power, high efficiency microwave and millimeter wave solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs), as well as low noise amplifiers in the same ranges. MEMS-based RF switches are needed for use in reconfigurable antennas, phase shifters, amplifiers, oscillators and in-flight reconfigurable filters. Frequencies of interest include S-, Ku-, Ka-, and V-band (60 GHz).



        Bandwidth Efficient Channel Coding

        To support extremely high data rates in a limited frequency spectrum, bandwidth-efficient channel coding is required. NASA is interested in algorithms that provide lossless data compression and efficient error correction at data rates greater than 1 Gbps for links between Earth orbit and Earth ground stations.



        RF Materials and Structures

        NASA is interested in materials that can be efficiently manufactured and effectively used in the construction and deployment of thin-film based RF antenna systems. Methods for deploying very large, lightweight, aperture structures on-orbit are needed. Inflatable structures, as well as “shape memory” alloy-based implementations, capable of withstanding launch and deployment forces are encouraged.

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      • 50785

        E2.04Onboard Propulsion

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JSC, MSFC

        This subtopic seeks technologies that will significantly increase capabilities and reduce costs for Earth science spacecraft. Propulsion functions include orbit insertion, orbit maintenance, constellation maintenance, precision positioning, in-space maneuvering, and de-orbit. Propulsion… Read more>>



        This subtopic seeks technologies that will significantly increase capabilities and reduce costs for Earth science spacecraft. Propulsion functions include orbit insertion, orbit maintenance, constellation maintenance, precision positioning, in-space maneuvering, and de-orbit. Propulsion technologies are sought that will provide platforms with larger scientific payloads, longer-life missions, and increased operational flexibility during missions. To accomplish these goals, innovations are needed in low-thrust chemical and low-power electric propulsion technology, including thruster components, advanced propellants, power processing units, and feed system components. Of particular interest are innovations in propulsion technology that lead to smaller-sized, integrated, autonomous spacecraft. The following specific areas are of interest:



        Miniature and Precision Propulsion

        Propulsion technologies for miniature (less than 10 kg) spacecraft and for high-precision (impulse bit


        Thruster Technology

        Electric and chemical propulsion technologies that provide increased capability (mass and volume) and/or flexibility (duty cycle and life) for small, power-limited spacecraft, including:

        • Electrostatic and electromagnetic propulsion technologies;
        • High-performance (specific impulse > 250 s), high-density monopropellant thruster technology;
        • High-performance (specific impulse > 350 s), space storable bipropellant thruster technology; and
        • Propellant gelation technology.



        Propulsion System Components

        Innovative electric and chemical propulsion system components for small spacecraft are sought including:

        • Materials compatible with high-temperature, oxidizing, and reactive environments;
        • Components for fluid isolation, pressure and mass flow regulation, relief quick disconnect, and flow control;
        • Technologies for metering, injection, and ignition of fluids in combustion devices;
        • Gaseous storage and pressurization system; and
        • Components for xenon storage and flow control.

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      • 50783

        E2.05Energy Storage Technologies

        Lead Center: GRC

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

        Advanced energy storage technologies are required for Earth science observation platforms. These platforms are defined as host systems that include traditional spacecraft, airborne platforms, such as piloted and unpiloted aircraft and balloons, terrestrial platforms, micro-spacecraft, and surface… Read more>>

        Advanced energy storage technologies are required for Earth science observation platforms. These platforms are defined as host systems that include traditional spacecraft, airborne platforms, such as piloted and unpiloted aircraft and balloons, terrestrial platforms, micro-spacecraft, and surface penetrators.



        The energy storage technologies solicited include both primary and secondary batteries, primary and regenerative fuel cells, and flywheels. The desired technology advances common to all of the storage devices of interest include the following elements:


        • Improvements in energy density and specific energy;
        • Improvement in cycle life, run time, and calendar life;
        • Performance over a wide temperature range;
        • Reduction in device size, to the micro-scale;
        • Reduction in system complexity; and
        • Integration into, and with, other spacecraft structures.



        A vigorous effort is needed to develop energy storage technologies that will enable the revolutionary ES missions.



        Specific technology advances that contribute to achieving the following performance goals are of interest.



        Advanced Battery Technology

        • Specific energy: >150 Wh/kg for secondary batteries >400 Wh/kg for primary batteries
        • Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) cycle life >60,000 cycles for secondary batteries
        • Calendar life >15 years
        • Operating temperature range -100°C to 100°C

          • Systems capable of delivering 30–50% of the capacity available at ambient temperatures at temperatures as low as -100°C



        Primary and rechargeable lithium-based batteries with advanced anode and cathode materials and advanced liquid and polymer electrolytes are of particular interest. Proposals addressing structural and microbatteries are sought.



        Fuel cell (FC) and Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) Technologies

        • Specific energy: FC >1500 W/kg, RFC >600 Wh/kg
        • Efficiency: FC>70% at 1500 W/kg, RFC >60% at 600 Wh/kg
        • Life FC >10,000 hours, RFC > 1500 cycles



        Advances to PEM, Direct methanol and solid oxide fuel cell systems are of particular interest.



        Flywheel Energy Storage

        • Specific energy > 100 Wh/kg
        • LEO cycle life > 60,000 cycles



        Micro-flywheels with a high number of watt hours per kilogram and highly integrated components are of particular interest.

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      • 50782

        E2.06Energy Conversion for Space Applications

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        Earth science observation missions will employ spacecraft, balloons, sounding rockets, surface assets, and piloted and robotic aircraft and marine craft. Advanced power technologies are required for each of these platforms that address issues of size, mass, capacity, reliability, and operational… Read more>>

        Earth science observation missions will employ spacecraft, balloons, sounding rockets, surface assets, and piloted and robotic aircraft and marine craft. Advanced power technologies are required for each of these platforms that address issues of size, mass, capacity, reliability, and operational costs. A vigorous effort is needed to develop energy conversion technologies that will enable the revolutionary Earth science missions. Exploiting innovative technological opportunities, developing power systems for adverse environments, and implementing system-wide techniques that promote scalability, adaptability, flexibility, and affordability are characteristic of the technological challenges to be faced and are representative of the type of developments required beyond the current state-of-the-art.



        The energy conversion technologies solicited include photovoltaics, Brayton, Rankine, Stirling, and thermophotovoltaic, as well as related technologies such as concentrators and thermal technologies. Specific areas of interest follow.


        • Photovoltaic cell and array technologies with significant improvements in efficiencies, cost, radiation resistance, and wide operating conditions are solicited. Potential concepts include rigid arrays, concentrator configurations, and ultra-lightweight array technologies that exploit the properties of lightweight, flexible thin-film photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cell and array technologies for extreme environments such as high- or low-temperature operation are solicited. Technologies for electrostatically-clean spacecraft solar arrays are also of interest.
        • Future micro-spacecraft require distributed power sources that are integrated with microelectronics devices/instruments. These microelectronic devices/instruments integrate energy conversion and storage into a hybrid structure.
        • Thermal power conversion technologies for Earth orbiting spacecraft and/or orbit transfer vehicles are sought.
        • Advances may be in solar concentrators (rigid or inflatable, primary or secondary) and receivers to improve specific power and reduce mass.
        • Topics of interest in power conversion include heat cycles (Brayton, Rankine, and Stirling), compact heat exchangers, advanced materials and fabrication techniques, and control methods, as they relate to life, reliability and manufacturability.
        • Thermal technology areas include heat rejection, composite materials, heat pipes, pumped loop systems, packaging and deployment, including integration with the power conversion technology. Highly integrated systems are sought that combine elements of the above subsystems to show system level benefits.

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      • 52054

        E2.07Platform Power Management and Distribution

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        Earth science missions employ spacecraft, balloons, sounding rockets, surface assets, aircraft, and marine craft as observation platforms. Advanced technologies are required for the electrical components and systems on these platforms to address the issues of size, mass, efficiency, capacity,… Read more>>

        Earth science missions employ spacecraft, balloons, sounding rockets, surface assets, aircraft, and marine craft as observation platforms. Advanced technologies are required for the electrical components and systems on these platforms to address the issues of size, mass, efficiency, capacity, durability, and reliability. Advancements are sought in power electronic materials, devices, components, packaging, and coatings.



        Power Electronic Materials and Components

        Advanced magnetic, dielectric, semiconductor, and superconductor materials, devices, and circuits are of interest. Proposals must address improvements in energy density, speed, or efficiency. Candidate devices and applications include transformers, inductors, semiconductor switches and diodes, electrostatic capacitors, current sensors, and cables.



        Power Conversion, Protection, and Distribution

        Technologies that provide significant improvements in mass, size, power quality, reliability, or efficiency in electrical power conversion and protective switchgear components are of interest. Candidate applications include solar array regulators, battery charge and discharge regulators, power conversion, power distribution, and fault protection.



        Environmentally Durable Technologies

        Technologies that enable materials, surfaces, coatings, and components to be durable in a space environment, in atomic oxygen, soft x-ray, electron, proton, ultraviolet radiation, and thermal cycling environments are of interest to NASA. Environmentally durable coatings for radiators and lightweight electromagnetic shielding are sought.



        Electrical Packaging

        Thermal control technologies are sought that are integral to electrical devices with high heat flux capability and advanced electronic packaging technologies which reduce volume and mass or combine electromagnetic shielding with thermal control.



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    • + Expand Advanced Information Systems Technology For Earth Science Topic

      Topic E3 Advanced Information Systems Technology For Earth Science PDF


      The objectives of the Advanced Information System Technology (AIST) Topic are to develop innovative technologies that enable new, or enhance existing, mission and science measurement capabilities for problems closely aligned to the NASA Earth Science Enterprise and, upon completion, provide these capabilities to the broadest set of NASA missions across the agency. The Earth Science Enterprise acquires, processes and delivers very large (gigabyte to terabyte) volumes of remote sensing and related data to public and government entities that apply this information to understand and solve problems in Earth Science. Currently, NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) operates 18 orbiting platforms with 80 sensors making scientific measurements of the complex Earth system. Information technology is currently employed throughout ESE's space and ground systems and the AIST Topic is soliciting technologies that apply to the end-to-end system functions. Target capabilities fall into five major themes: Data Collection and Handling, Transmission and Dissemination, Search, Access, Analysis and Display, and Systems Management.

      Results from the AIST Topic will:

      • Reduce the risk, cost, size, and development time of NASA’s ESE space-based and ground-based information systems,
      • Increase the accessibility and utility of Earth science data,
      • Enable new Earth observation measurements and information products, and
      • Develop information technologies that enable planetary scale observing systems in support of NASA’s exploration and discovery vision.

      • 52050

        E3.01Automation and Planning

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        The Automation and Planning Subtopic solicits proposals that allow either spacecraft or ground systems to robustly perform complex tasks given high-level goals with minimal human direction. Technology innovations include, but are not limited to: 1) automation and autonomous systems that support… Read more>>



        The Automation and Planning Subtopic solicits proposals that allow either spacecraft or ground systems to robustly perform complex tasks given high-level goals with minimal human direction. Technology innovations include, but are not limited to: 1) automation and autonomous systems that support high-level command abstraction; 2) efficient and effective techniques for processing large volumes of data (commonly available on the Internet) into useful information; 3) intelligent search of large, distributed data archives, and data discovery through searches of heterogeneous data sets and architecture; and 4) automation of routine, labor intensive tasks that either increase reliability or throughput of current process. Specific areas of interest include the following:


        • Search agents that support applications involving the use of NASA data;
        • Methods that support the robust production of data products given a set of high-level goals and constraints;
        • Autonomous data collection including the coordination of space or airborne platforms while adhering to a set of data collection goals and resource constraints;
        • Autonomous data logging devices (software, or hardware and software) supporting a variety of weather and climate sensors, capable of ground-based operation in a wide variety of environmental conditions; such systems would probably be solar powered with accurate time stamping;
        • Planning and scheduling methods related to Earth Science Mission objectives;
        • System and subsystem health and maintenance, both space- and ground-based;
        • Distributed decision making, using multiple agents, and/or mixed autonomous systems;
        • Automated software testing;
        • Verification and validation of automated systems;
        • Automatic software generation and processing algorithms;
        • Control of Field Programmable Gate-Arrays (FPGA) to provide real-time products.

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      • 50770

        E3.02Distributed Information Systems and Numerical Simulation

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        This subtopic seeks advances in tools, techniques, and technologies for distributed information systems and large-scale numerical simulation. The goal of this work is to create an autonomous information and computing environment that enables NASA scientists to work naturally with distributed… Read more>>



        This subtopic seeks advances in tools, techniques, and technologies for distributed information systems and large-scale numerical simulation. The goal of this work is to create an autonomous information and computing environment that enables NASA scientists to work naturally with distributed teams and resources to dramatically reduce total time-to-solution (i.e., time to discovery, understanding, or prediction), vastly increase the feasible scale and complexity of analysis and data assimilation, and greatly accelerate model advancement cycles. Areas of interest follow below.



        Distributed Information Systems

        • Core services (autonomous software systems) for automated, scalable, and reliable management of distributed, dynamic, and heterogeneous computing, data, and instrument resources. Services of interest (which may be based on Open Grid Service Infrastructure ) include those for authentication and security, resource and service discovery, resource scheduling, event monitoring, uniform access to compute and data resources, and efficient and reliable data transfer.
        • Higher level services, including those for job management, resource brokering, workflow management, portlet (i.e., application-specific graphical user interface ) building, and collaboration.
        • Services for management of distributed, heterogeneous information, including replica management, intuitive interfaces, and instantiation on demand or “virtualized data.” These services would be used, for example, to access and manipulate NASA’s wealth of geospatial and remote sensing data.
        • Science portals for cross-disciplinary discovery, understanding, and prediction, encapsulating services for single sign-on access, semantic resource and service discovery, workflow composition and management, remote collaboration, and results analysis and visualization.
        • Tools for rapidly porting and hosting science applications in a distributed environment. These applications were written for an integrated, or workstation, environment using standard programming languages or tools such as Matlab, Interactive Data Language (IDL), or Mathematica.



        Large-Scale Numerical Simulation

        • Tools for automating large-scale modeling, simulation, and analysis, including those for managing computational ensembles, performing model-optimization studies, interactive computational steering, and maintaining progress in long-running computations in spite of unreliable computing, data, and network resources.
        • Tools for computer system performance modeling, prediction, and optimization for real applications.
        • Techniques and tools for application parallelization and performance analysis.
        • Tools for effective load balancing, and high reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) in commodity clusters and other large-scale computing systems.
        • Novel supercomputing approaches using FPGAs, graphics processors, and other novel architectures and technologies.

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      • 52172

        E3.03Geospatial Data Analysis Processing and Visualization Technologies

        Lead Center: SSC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        Proposals are sought for the development of advanced technologies in support of scientific, commercial, and educational application of ESE and other remote sensing data. Focus areas are to provide tools for processing, analysis, interpretation, and visualization of remotely sensed data sets. ESE… Read more>>

        Proposals are sought for the development of advanced technologies in support of scientific, commercial, and educational application of ESE and other remote sensing data. Focus areas are to provide tools for processing, analysis, interpretation, and visualization of remotely sensed data sets. ESE benchmarks practical uses of NASA-sponsored observations from remote sensing systems and predictions from scientific research and modeling. Specific interest exists in the development of technologies contributing to decision support systems, and model development and operation. For more information on decision support models under evaluation, please visit http://earth.nasa.gov/eseapps/index.html. Areas of specific interest include the following:


        • Unique, innovative data reduction, rapid analysis and data exploitation methodologies and algorithms of information from remotely sensed data sets, e.g., automated feature extraction, data mining, etc.;
        • Algorithms and approaches to enable the efficient production of data products from active imaging systems, e.g., multipoint data resampling, digital elevation model creation, etc.;
        • Data merge and fusion software for efficient production and real-time delivery of digital products of ESE Mission and other remote sensing data sets, e.g., weather observation and land use and land cover data sets;
        • Innovative approaches for incorporation of GPS data into in situ data collection operations with dynamic links to spatial databases including environmental models
        • Image enhancement algorithms for improving spatial, spectral, and geometric image attributes;
        • Innovative approaches for the querying and assimilation of application-specific datasets from disparate and distributed databases from government, academic and commercial sources into a common framework for data analysis
        • Innovative approaches for querying of application-specific data sets from disparate, distributed databases in government, academic, and commercial data warehouses into a common framework for data analysis; and
        • Innovative visualization technologies contributing to the analysis of data through the display and visualization of some or all of the above data types including providing the linkages and user interface between the cartographic model and attribute databases.



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      • 52053

        E3.04Data Management and Visualization

        Lead Center: GSFC

        This subtopic focuses on innovative approaches to managing and visualizing large collections of Earth science data in a highly distributed and networked environment. Develop technologies that support long term data management, storage, search, and retrieval of very large, distributed, geospatial… Read more>>

        This subtopic focuses on innovative approaches to managing and visualizing large collections of Earth science data in a highly distributed and networked environment.


        • Develop technologies that support long term data management, storage, search, and retrieval of very large, distributed, geospatial Earth science data sets, including the development of object based storage devices, file systems that promote long term data maintenance and recovery from user errors, and global compression techniques that optimize data backup operations.
        • Develop techniques to manage and locate data in a distributed metadata catalog environment and provide tools to create, use, and then tear down wide area high speed Storage Area Network (SAN) access to remote data sets.
        • Develop tools and techniques that enable high bandwidth scientific collaboration in a distributed environment, and allow data viewing, real-time data browse, and general purpose rendering of multivariate geospatial scientific data sets using georectification, data overlays, data reduction, and data encoding across widely differing data types and formats.
        • Design and implement 3-D virtual reality environments for scientific data visualization that will enable users to 'fly' through the data space to locate specific areas of interest, and make use of novel 3-D presentation techniques which minimize or eliminate the need for special user devices such as goggles or helmets.



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      • 52051

        E3.05On-Board Science for Decisions and Actions

        Lead Center: ARC

        Current sensors can collect more data than is possible to transmit to the ground for analysis. One solution is to incorporate intelligence in the sensor or platform to prioritize or summarize the data and send down high priority or synoptic data. In the future, a sensor-web capability will… Read more>>



        Current sensors can collect more data than is possible to transmit to the ground for analysis. One solution is to incorporate intelligence in the sensor or platform to prioritize or summarize the data and send down high priority or synoptic data. In the future, a sensor-web capability will demand this remote onboard autonomy and intelligence about the kind and content of data being collected to support rapid decision-making and tasking. This subtopic is interested in developing new methods to autonomously understand ES data in support of making rapid decisions and taking actions under two themes:



        Onboard Satellite Data Processing and Intelligent Sensor Control

        Software technologies that support the configuration of sensors, satellites, and sensor webs of space-based resources. Examples include capabilities that allow the reconfiguration or retargeting of sensors in response to user demand or significant events. Also included in this category is onboard processing of sensor data through the use of processing architectures and reconfigurable computing environments, as well as technologies that support or enable the generation of data products for direct distribution to users.



        Onboard Satellite Data Organization, Analysis, and Storage

        Software technologies that support the storage, handling, analysis, and interpretation of data. Examples include innovations in the enhancement, classification, or feature extraction processes. Also included are data mining, intelligent agent applications for tracking data, distributed heterogeneous frameworks (including open system interfaces and protocols), and data and/or metadata structures to support autonomous data handling, as well as compaction (lossless) or compression of data for storage and transmission.



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    • + Expand Applying Earth Science Measurements Topic

      Topic E4 Applying Earth Science Measurements PDF


      The Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) continues to strive to better understand how the global environment is changing, predict change and understand how these changes affect the human and economic condition. In this Topic, the ESE wants innovative companies to propose technology and techniques to accomplish two goals.

      1. Goal 1: Accelerate the deployment of NASA science data and understanding into existing decision support tools used by managers concerned with stewardship of the Earth’s resources. This goal addresses the development of innovative technology solutions that allow the routine use of Earth science results in automated decision support tools already in use by a broad user community. Management decision support tools of interest are used daily in the management of land and biota, air, water, education, and emergency issues.
      2. Goal 2: Inspire and motivate students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

      • 51008

        E4.01Innovative Tools and Techniques Supporting the Practical Uses of Earth Science Observations

        Lead Center: SSC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        Technical innovation and unique approaches are solicited for the development of new technologies and technical methods that make Earth science observations both useful and easy to use by practitioners. This subtopic seeks proposals that support the development of operational decision support… Read more>>



        Technical innovation and unique approaches are solicited for the development of new technologies and technical methods that make Earth science observations both useful and easy to use by practitioners. This subtopic seeks proposals that support the development of operational decision support tools that produce information for management or policy decision makers. Proposed applications must use NASA Earth Observations (see http://gaia.hq.nasa.gov/ese_missions/) Other remote sensing data and geospatial technologies may also be employed in the solution.



        This subtopic focuses on the systems engineering aspect of application development rather than fundamental research. Offerors are, therefore, expected to have the documented proof-of-concept project in hand. Topics of current interest to the Earth Science Applications Directorate may be found at http://www.esa.ssc.nasa.gov. nnovation in processing techniques, include, but are not limited to, automated feature extraction, data fusion, and parallel and distributed computing which are desired for the purpose of facilitating the use of Earth science data by the nonspecialist. Ease of use, fault tolerance, and statistical rigor and robustness are required for confidence in the product by the nonspecialist end user.



        Promotion of interoperability is also a goal of the subtopic, so Federal data standards, communication standards, Open Geographic Information Systems (GIS) standards, and industry-standard tools and techniques will be strongly favored over proprietary ‘black-box’ solutions. Endorsement by the end user of both system requirements and the proposed solution concept is desirable. While the proposed application system may be specific to a particular end user or market, techniques and tools that have broad potential applicability will be favored. An objective assessment of market value or benefit/cost will help reviewers assess the relative potential of proposed projects.

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      • 52292

        E4.02Advanced Educational Processes and Tools

        Lead Center: GSFC

        This subtopic focuses on innovation in effective applications related to classroom- or museum-ready software tools for display and/or analysis of Earth science information for learners in both formal and informal settings, and tools for organization and dissemination of NASA's Earth science… Read more>>



        This subtopic focuses on innovation in effective applications related to classroom- or museum-ready software tools for display and/or analysis of Earth science information for learners in both formal and informal settings, and tools for organization and dissemination of NASA's Earth science educational materials to a wide array of educational audiences. The Earth science educational program covers a wide range of audiences from students to adults in both classroom settings, such as public schools or continuing education venues, to all matter of informal learning settings such as radio, television, museums, parks, scouts, and the Internet. In these venues, the learning focuses on the scientific discoveries by the ESE, the technology innovations and the applied use of these discoveries and technologies for improved decision making by all.



        The areas of interest (described below) cross-cut the three programmatic areas within the ESE program (formal, informal, and professional development) and hence, are anticipated to have utility in at least two of these areas and most likely in all three areas.



        The first area of interest focuses on innovation in the application of digital library technologies to educational materials and audiences. NASA's Earth Science Education Program currently collaborates with the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE). The successful proposal must be able to integrate with, or be integrated into, existing educational digital library efforts within NASA and/or make contributions to DLESE. These proposals will advance the use and usability of globally distributed, networked information resources, and encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative applications areas. Collaboration between Earth scientists, formal or informal education community professionals, and computer scientists is required for these proposals to demonstrate useful results. Areas of interest include:


        • Extend the current Joined Digital Library (JOIN) effort by developing additional Jini applications. (JOIN is a collection of tools based on Sun's Jini technology used to implement efficient, decentralized, and distributed computing systems and follows "the network is the computer" philosophy.)
        • Development of formal and informal education audience-specific interfaces (e.g., specific interfaces for students, park interpreters, TV producers, curriculum developers, etc.).
        • Development of interfaces to promote diversity within educational audiences (e.g., age, ethnicity, cultural, urban/rural, etc.).
        • Development of accessibility tools for disabled users to interact and search digital libraries.
        • Development and access to educational materials including new resources for science, mathematics, and engineering education at all levels.
        • Development of interoperability tools to integrate dissimilar library archives.
        • Development of tools to administer and manage end-user expectations and satisfaction.
        • Develop applications that enhance the general functionality of existing digital libraries by providing new general-purpose tools for archive management, metadata ingestion, intelligent search, and retrieval.
        • Tools to support online community interaction, which could include new means for gathering, interacting, and communicating with other library users.



        The second area of interest focuses on innovation in effective software and related development techniques, and in highly practical methods for maintaining and disseminating software for use by educational audiences engaged in teaching or learning about Earth science. The specific areas of greatest interest are highly-portable, classroom-ready software for analysis, visualization, and processing of Earth science satellite data, and methods to provide long-term support and viability for educational software. Collaboration between Earth scientists, educators, computer scientists, and "business" model experts is required for these proposals to demonstrate useful results. Areas of interest include:


        • Extend the current Image 2000 effort by developing additional plug-in applications and modifying core software if necessary. Image 2000 is a Java/Java Advanced Imaging (JAI)-based image processing package being developed at GSFC.
        • User-friendly, extensible, Earth science satellite image processing software for multiple operating systems, for educational use in K–12, undergraduate and continuing education venues.
        • Techniques and software for integrating vector and raster data for the visualization and analysis of geo-spatial Earth science data.
        • Tutorials geared toward the use of image processing software for visualization and analysis of Earth science related satellite imagery.
        • Infrastructure and startup of an Internet based user-supported support and development network, in the spirit of "Open-Source," to ensure continued maintenance and development of Earth science satellite image processing software and tutorials for educational audiences.

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      • 52171

        E4.03Wireless Technologies for Spatial Data, Input, Manipulation and Distribution

        Lead Center: SSC

        Technical innovation is solicited for the development of wireless technologies for field personnel and robotic platforms to send and receive digital and analog data from sensors such as photography cameras, spectrometers, infrared and thermal scanners, and other sensor systems to collection hubs… Read more>>



        Technical innovation is solicited for the development of wireless technologies for field personnel and robotic platforms to send and receive digital and analog data from sensors such as photography cameras, spectrometers, infrared and thermal scanners, and other sensor systems to collection hubs. The intent of this new innovation is to rapidly, in real time, ingest data sequentially from a variety of input sensors, provide initial field verification of data, and distribute the data to various nodes and servers at collection, processing, and decision hub sites. Data distribution should utilize state-of-the-art wireless, satellite, land carriers, and local area communication networks. The technologies’ operating system should be compatible with commonly available systems. The operating system should not be proprietary to the offeror. The innovation should include biometric capability for password protection and relational tracking of data to the field personnel inputting the data and/or sensors and platforms sending information. The innovation should contain technologies that recognize multiple personnel and other sources (robotics) so that several personnel and platforms can use the same unit in the field. Biometric identification can be fingerprint, retina scans, facial, or other methods. The innovation should include geospatial technologies to use digital imagery and have Global Positioning System (GPS) location capabilities. The innovation should be able to display with sufficient size and resolution the rendering of vector and raster data and other sensor data for easy understanding. The field capability of the innovation must be fully integrated end to end with computing capabilities that range from mobile computers to servers at distant locations. Field personnel and robotic platforms providing information and support to science investigations, resource managers, and community planners will use the innovative wireless technology. First responders to natural, human-made disasters and emergencies will also be users of this innovation.



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    • + Expand Sun Earth Connection Topic

      Topic S1 Sun Earth Connection PDF


      The overarching goal of the Sun–Earth Connection (SEC) theme in Space Science is an understanding of how the Sun, heliosphere, and planetary environments are connected in a single system. The three principal science objectives spring from this goal:

      1. Understanding the changing flow of energy and matter throughout the Sun, heliosphere, and planetary environments;
      2. Exploring the fundamental physical processes of plasma systems in the solar system; and
      3. Defining the origins and societal impacts of variability in the Sun–Earth Connection.

      SEC missions investigate the physics of the Sun, the heliosphere, the local interstellar medium, and all planetary environments within the heliosphere. They address problems such as solar variability, the responses of the planets to such variability, and the interaction of the heliosphere with the galaxy. Increasingly, SEC investigations have focused upon space weather, the diverse array of dynamic and interconnected space phenomena that affects life, society, and exploration systems. Technology plays an important role in maximizing the science return from all SEC missions.

      • 50804

        S1.01Technologies for Particles and Fields Measurements

        Lead Center: GSFC

        The SEC theme encompasses the Sun with its surrounding heliosphere carrying its photon and particle emissions and the subsequent responses of the Earth and planets. This requires remote and in situ sensing of upper atmospheres and ionospheres, magnetospheres and interfaces with the solar wind,… Read more>>



        The SEC theme encompasses the Sun with its surrounding heliosphere carrying its photon and particle emissions and the subsequent responses of the Earth and planets. This requires remote and in situ sensing of upper atmospheres and ionospheres, magnetospheres and interfaces with the solar wind, the heliosphere, and the Sun. Improving our knowledge and understanding of these requires accurate in situ measurements of the composition, flow, and thermodynamic state of space plasmas and their interactions with atmospheres, as well as the physics and chemistry of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere systems. Remote sensing of neutral atoms are required for the physics and chemistry of the Sun, the heliosphere, magnetospheres, and planetary atmospheres and ionospheres. Because instrumentation is severely constrained by spacecraft resources, miniaturization, low power consumption, and autonomy are common technological challenges across this entire category of sensors. Specific technologies are sought in the following categories.



        Plasma Remote Sensing (e.g, neutral atom cameras)

        This may involve techniques for high-efficiency and robust imaging of energetic neutral atoms covering any part of the energy spectrum from 1 eV to 100 keV, within resource envelopes less than 5 kg and 5W.

        • Miniaturized, radiation-tolerant, autonomous electronic systems for the above, within resource envelopes of 1–2 kg and 1–2 W.



        In Situ Plasma Sensors

        • Improved techniques for imaging of charged particle (electrons and ions) velocity distributions, as well as improvements in mass spectrometers in terms of smaller size or higher mass resolution.
        • Improved techniques for the regulation of spacecraft floating potential near the local plasma potential, with minimal effects on the ambient plasma and field environment.
        • Low power digital time-of-flight analyzer chips with subnanosecond resolution and multiple channels of parallel processing.
        • Miniaturized, radiation-tolerant, autonomous electronic systems for the above, within resource envelopes of 1–2 kg and 1–2 W.



        Fields Sensors

        • Improved techniques for measurement of plasma floating potential and DC electric field (and by extension the plasma drift velocity), especially in the direction parallel to the spin axis of a spinning spacecraft.
        • Measurement of the gradient of the electric field in space around a single spacecraft or cluster of spacecraft.
        • Improved techniques for the measurement of the gradients (curl) of the magnetic field in space local to a single spacecraft or group of spacecraft.
        • Direct measurement of the local electric current density at spatial and time resolutions typical of space plasma structures such as shocks, magnetopauses, and auroral arcs.
        • Miniaturized, radiation-tolerant and autonomous electronic systems for the above, within resource envelopes of 1–2 kg and 1–2 W.



        Electromagnetic Radiation Sensors

        • Radar sounding and echo imaging of plasma density and field structures from orbiting spacecraft.
        • Miniaturized, radiation-tolerant and autonomous electronic systems for the above, within resource envelopes of 1–2 kg and 1–2 W.

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      • 51000

        S1.02Deep Space Propulsion

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC, JSC

        Spacecraft propulsion technology innovations are sought for upcoming deep space science missions. Propulsion system functions for these missions include primary propulsion, maneuvering, planetary injection, and planetary descent and ascent. Innovations are needed to reduce spacecraft propulsion… Read more>>



        Spacecraft propulsion technology innovations are sought for upcoming deep space science missions. Propulsion system functions for these missions include primary propulsion, maneuvering, planetary injection, and planetary descent and ascent. Innovations are needed to reduce spacecraft propulsion system mass, volume, and/or cost. Applicable propulsion technologies include solar electric, chemical and thermal, solar sails, aeroassist and aerocapture and emerging technologies.



        Solar Electric Propulsion

        Innovations in electric propulsion system technologies are being sought for space science applications. One area of emphasis pertains to high-performance propulsion systems capable of delivering specific impulse (Isp) greater than 2000 s, using electrical power from radioisotope or solar energy sources. Thruster technologies include, but are not limited to, ion engines, Hall thrusters, and pulsed electromagnetic devices. Other areas of interest include propellant storage, direct drive and other innovative power processing, power management and distribution, heat-to-electrical power conversion, and waste heat disposal. Innovations considered here may focus on the component, subsystem or system level, and must ultimately result in significant improvements in spacecraft capability, longevity, mass, volume, and/or cost.



        Solar Sails

        Solar sails are envisioned as a low-cost, efficient transport system for future near-Earth and deep space missions. NASA mission's enabled and enhanced by solar sail propulsion include Tech Pull Missions such as Geotail, Comet Sample and Titan Flyby all to be launched between 2009 and 2012. Another category of NASA missions is the Particle Acceleration Solar Orbiter, including the L1-Diamond and the Solar Polar Imager, both to be launched between 2015 and 2028. Solar Sails are enabling for several strategic missions in the Sun-Earth Connection Space Science theme, including Solar Polar Imager and Interstellar Probe, the latter being a sail mission to explore interstellar space. Missions in the Exploration of the Solar System theme would be broadly enhanced by the availability of proven sail technology. Innovations are sought that will lower the cost and risk associated with sail development and application, and enhance sail delivery performance. Innovations are sought in the following areas: systems engineering, materials, structures, mechanical systems, fabrication, packaging and deployment, system control (attitude, etc.), maneuvering and navigation, operations, durability and survivability, and sail impact on science. Development of ultra-lightweight inflatable and deployable support structures is of significant interest, including rigidization approaches. Innovations in ultra-light reflective thin films are also sought. Three parameters have been used as sail performance metrics in mission applications: sail size, sail survivability for close solar approaches, and areal density (ratio of mass of the sail to area of the sail). In addition, important programmatic metrics are cost, benefit, and risk. Technologies of interest should be geared toward a wide range of sail sizes, solar closest approach distances, and aerial densities, and may be optimized for one portion of the range rather than trying to cover the whole range. Sail sizes may range from very small (meter-sized for use with very tiny picosat payloads or for use as auxiliary propulsion), to medium (50–100 m size for achieving high-inclination solar orbits or non-Keplerian near-Earth orbits) and ultimately to the very large (hundreds of meters for levitated orbits, high delta V, and for use in leaving the Solar System at high speed). Sail weight should include, but not be limited to, ultra-lightweight sail materials (


        Chemical and Thermal Propulsion

        Innovations in low-thrust chemical propulsion system technologies are being sought for Space Science missions applications. One area of interest is a bipropellant engine with Isp greater than 360 s. Component, subsystem, or system level technology development will be considered but work must ultimately result in significant reductions in spacecraft system mass, volume, and/or cost. Other areas to be considered include lightweight, compact and low-power propellant management components, such as valves, flow control/regulation, fluid isolation, dependable ignition systems, and lightweight tankage.



        Aeroassist

        Aeroassist is a general term given to various techniques to maneuver a space vehicle within an atmosphere, using aerodynamic forces in lieu of propulsion fuel. Aeroassist systems enable shorter interplanetary cruise times, increased payload mass, and reduced mission costs. Subsets of aeroassist are aerocapture and aerogravity assist.
        Aerocapture relies on the exchange of momentum with an atmosphere to achieve a decelerating thrust leading to orbit capture. This technique permits spacecraft to be launched from Earth at higher velocities, thus providing a shorter overall trip time. At the destination, the velocity is reduced by aerodynamic drag within the atmosphere. Without aerocapture, a substantial propulsion system would be needed on the spacecraft to perform the same reduction of velocity. Aerogravity assist is an extension of the established technique of gravity assist with a planetary body to achieve increases in interplanetary velocities. Aerogravity assist involves using propulsion in conjunction with aerodynamics through a planetary atmosphere to achieve a greater turning angle during planetary fly-by. In particular, this subtopic seeks technology innovations that are in the following areas:



        Aerocapture

        Thermal Protection Systems: Development of advanced thermal protection systems and insulators. Materials need high strength (modulus in the tens of GPa) and very low density (tens of kg/m3). Improvements needed in materials include having highly anisotropic thermal properties, i.e., high thermal diffusivity tangential to the spacecraft shape and low thermal diffusivity normal to the spacecraft shape.

        Sensors for Inflatable Decelerators: Health monitoring method for inflatable thin film systems.

        Analytical Tools: Development of advanced tools to perform coupled aeroelastic and aerothermal analysis of inflatable decelerator systems.



        Aerogravity Assist

        Aerogravity Assist Technology Analysis: Research advancements in leading edge materials and provide CFD analysis of heating environment for aerogravity assist maneuvers at a small planet (e.g., Venus).



        Emerging Propulsion Technologies

        This effort will focus on technologies supporting innovative and advanced concepts for propellantless propulsion and other revolutionary transportation technologies. The categories under Emerging Propulsion Technologies include, but are not limited to: electrodynamic and momentum-exchange tether propulsion, beamed energy, ultra-light solar sails, bimodal sails, and low to medium power electric propulsion (including pulse inductive devices). The electrodynamic tether propulsion uses electromagnetic interaction with a planetary magnetic field to exchange angular momentum . Momentum exchange tethers (such as the MXER tether concept use a strong tether to transfer angular momentum and orbital energy to a payload. Beamed energy propulsion concepts include lasers or microwave energy to directly propel a spacecraft or to supply power that is utilized for propulsion onboard the spacecraft. Ultra-light or bimodal sail propulsion developing conventional solar sails into extremely high-performing systems. The low to medium electric propulsion is a general category for fresh variations of electric thrusters (Hall, MHD, PIT, etc.) that support near or mid-term solar powered spacecraft (e.g., below ~50 kW). Unique, innovative and novel propulsion ideas are sought but with reasonable expectations to progress to hardware prototypes. The concept must be above TRL 2 with rapid demonstration to TRL 4 expected. Distinctive variations of existing propulsion methods or chief subsystem component improvements are also suitable for submission. Proposals should provide development of specific innovative technologies or techniques supporting any of the above approaches. A clear plan for demonstrating feasibility, noting any test and experiment requirements, is also recommended. Key to each idea is an unambiguous knowledge of past research and concepts conducted on related work, and specifically, how this new proposal differs to the extent that it appears to offer a significant benefit. Identification of the fundamental technology to be developed is also crucial.

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      • 50993

        S1.03Multifunctional Autonomous Robust Sensor Systems

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        NASA seeks innovative concepts for Multifunctional Autonomous Robust Sensor Systems (MARSS) to increase spacecraft autonomy and robustness. These concepts are intended to lower overall mission costs, reduce reliance on human control and monitoring, and allow for systems that are inherently… Read more>>



        NASA seeks innovative concepts for Multifunctional Autonomous Robust Sensor Systems (MARSS) to increase spacecraft autonomy and robustness. These concepts are intended to lower overall mission costs, reduce reliance on human control and monitoring, and allow for systems that are inherently robust and provide maximum flexibility of the space vehicles throughout mission lifecycle and for various space/planetary exploration missions. The systems should include the ability to couple the data from a variety of distributed sensor technologies to relevant response actuation systems of the vehicle.  As we move from 10s of sensors to 1000s of sensors and beyond, new approaches must be investigated that will allow the vehicle to efficiently obtain “knowledge” about the health and optimization of its systems, and the ever changing environment it is in.



        Robustness and autonomy in space vehicles are two of the keys to achieving maximum efficiency of missions and increasing the probability of success. Distributed, self-sufficient, reconfigurable sensors are at the heart of this capability. Technologies such as, but not limited to, MEMS, nanotechnology, integrated /distributed processors and fuzzy logic are potential elements of MARSS. These systems should be able to provide their own power by scavenging it from the environment and provide real-time knowledge from large numbers of sensors to various response systems to comprise “sense and respond” systems. In addition, methods are sought to improve radiation shielding of systems components. This includes, but are not limited to, metal and metal matrix materials that may offer better radiation protection properties than the current state-of-the-art aluminum alloys, and high atomic number intercalated graphite composites for light weight strong radiation shielding of electronics to improve their robustness.



        Emphasis should be placed on technologies that provide a sense-and-respond capability using technologies that are small, reliable, low-cost, lightweight, and would allow space probes to adapt to a wide range of space missions. Sensing requirements include both intrinsic (relating to the performance and health of the vehicle itself) and extrinsic (relating to the performance of the mission and adapting to the operating environment).



        Evaluators will be looking for system concepts and not just individual pieces that could be used for a system. This requires multidiscipline collaboration on various proposals and clear explanations of system functionality, benefit, and improvement over existing technology. In addition, details of how systems will function in relevant space environments should be provided. The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) for submissions should be in the TRL 4-6 range. Please see the SBIR Web site for more details.



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      • 50803

        S1.04Spacecraft Technology for Micro- and Nanosats

        Lead Center: GSFC

        NASA seeks research and development of components, subsystems and systems that enable inexpensive, highly capable small spacecraft for future SEC missions. The proposed technology must be compatible with spacecraft somewhere within the micro-to-nano range of 100 kg down to 1 kg. All proposed… Read more>>

        NASA seeks research and development of components, subsystems and systems that enable inexpensive, highly capable small spacecraft for future SEC missions. The proposed technology must be compatible with spacecraft somewhere within the micro-to-nano range of 100 kg down to 1 kg. All proposed technology must have a potential for providing a function at current performance levels with significantly reduced mass, power, and cost, or have a potential for significant increase in performance without additional mass, power, and cost. These reduction and/or improvement factors should be significant and show a minimum factor of 2 with a goal of 10 or higher.



        A proposed technology must state the type or types of expected improvements, (performance, mass, power, and cost), list the assumptions for the current state-of-the-art, and indicate the spacecraft range of sizes for which the technology is applicable.



        The integration of multiple components into functional units and subsystems is desirable but not a requirement for consideration.


        • Avionics and architectures that support command and data handling functions, including input and output, formatting, encoding, processing, storage, and analog-to-digital conversion. System level architecture, software operating systems, low voltage logic switching, radiation-tolerant design, and packaging techniques are also appropriate technologies for consideration.
        • Sensors and actuators that support guidance, navigation, and control functions such as Sun–Earth sensors, star trackers, inertial reference units, navigation receivers, magnetometers, reaction wheels, magnetic torquers, and attitude thrusters. Technologies with applications to either spinning or three-axis stable spacecraft are sought.
        • Power system elements including those that support the generation, storage, conversion, distribution regulation isolation, and switching functions for spacecraft power. System level architecture, low voltage buss design, radiation tolerant design, and novel packaging techniques are appropriate technologies for consideration.
        • New and novel application of technologies for manufacturing, integration and test of micro and nano size spacecraft are sought. Limited production runs of up to several hundred spacecraft can be considered. Efficiencies can derive from increased reliability, flexibility in the end-to-end production process, as well as cost, labor, and schedule.
        • Technologies that support passive and active thermal control suitable for micro and nano size spacecraft are sought. These functions include heat generation, storage, rejection, transport, and the control of these functions. Efficient system level approaches for integrated small spacecraft that may see a wide range of thermal environments are desirable. These environments may range from low heliocentric orbits to 2 hr shadows.
        • Elements that support Earth-to-space or space-to-space communications functions are sought. This includes receivers, transmitters, transceivers, transponders, antennas, RF amplifiers, and switches. S and X are the target communications bands.
        • System architectures and hardware that lead to greater spacecraft and constellation autonomy and, therefore, reduce operational expenses are desired. Technologies that derive added capability for a fixed bandwidth, efficient utilization of ground systems, status analysis, and situation control or other enhancing performance for operations are sought.
        • Structure and mechanism technologies and material applications that support the micro and nano class of spacecraft are desired. Exoskeleton structures, spin release mechanisms, and bi-stable deployment mechanisms are typical of the desired technology.
        • Propulsion system elements that provide delta-V capability for spinning and/or three-axis stable spacecraft are sought. This includes solid, cold-gas, and liquid systems, and their components such as igniters, thrust vector control mechanisms, tanks, valves, nozzles, and system control functions.



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      • 52056

        S1.05Information Technology for Sun-Earth Connection Missions

        Lead Center: GSFC

        A large number of multiple-spacecraft missions are planned for the future of SEC science. Cost-effective implementation of these missions will require new information technology: tools, systems and architectures for mission planning, implementation, and operations; and science data processing… Read more>>



        A large number of multiple-spacecraft missions are planned for the future of SEC science. Cost-effective implementation of these missions will require new information technology: tools, systems and architectures for mission planning, implementation, and operations; and science data processing and analysis that facilitate scientific understanding. Specific research areas of interest for these SEC multi-spacecraft missions include the following items below.



        Information Technology for Cost-Effective Mission Planning and Implementation

        Tools or systems are needed that improve the system engineering, integration, test, and synchronous operations of semiautonomous multispacecraft missions with intermittent contact and large communication latencies; automated approaches to onboard science data processing and reactive onboard instrument management and control; and tools that capture and represent scientific objectives as preplanned and reactive onboard autonomous drivers.



        Data Analysis

        Items of interest in this area focus on innovative approaches and the tools necessary to support space and solar physics virtual observatories (physically distributed heterogeneous science data sources considered as a logical entity).



        Tools are needed for enabling automated systematic identification, access, ad hoc science analysis, and distribution of large distributed heterogeneous data sets from space and solar physics data centers; and technologies and tools supporting inclusion of individual researcher provided, ad hoc, science analysis modules as a component of search criteria for remote data mining at space and solar physics data centers.

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      • 52055

        S1.06UV and EUV Optics

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        From the Sun's atmosphere to the Earth's aurora, remote imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetry at ultraviolet (UV) and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) wavelengths are important tools for studying the Sun-Earth connection. A far ultraviolet (FUV) range is sometimes interposed between UV and EUV, but… Read more>>



        From the Sun's atmosphere to the Earth's aurora, remote imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetry at ultraviolet (UV) and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) wavelengths are important tools for studying the Sun-Earth connection. A far ultraviolet (FUV) range is sometimes interposed between UV and EUV, but the terminology is arbitrary: the pertinent full range of wavelength is approximately 20–300 nm.



        Proposals should explain specifically how they intend to advance the state-of-the-art in one or more of the following areas.



        Imaging Mirrors

        • Large aperture: 1–4 m
        • Low mass: 5–20 kg m-2
        • Accurate figure: ~0.01 wave rms or better at 632 nm. Figure accuracy must be maintained through launch and on orbit (including, for mirrors subjected to direct or concentrated solar radiation, the effects of differential heating)
        • Low microroughness: ~1 nm rms or better on scales below 1 mm.



        Optical Coatings and Transmission Filters

        • Coatings (filters) with improved reflectivity (transmission) and selectivity (narrow bands, broad bands, or edges). Technologies include (but are not limited to) multilayer coatings, transmission gratings, and Fabry-Pérot étalons.



        Diffraction Gratings

        • High groove density (> 4000 mm-1) for high spectral resolving power in conjunction with achievable focal lengths and pixel sizes
        • High efficiency and low scattter (microroughness)
        • Variable line spacing
        • Echelle gratings
        • Active gratings (replicated onto deformable surfaces)
        • Aspherical concave substrates, such as toroids and ellipsoids



        Proposals that address detector requirements of Sun-viewing instruments, such as large format, deep wells, fast readout, or "3-D" (spatial-spatial-energy) resolution, should be submitted to Topic S2.05.

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    • + Expand Structure and Evolution of the Universe Topic

      Topic S2 Structure and Evolution of the Universe PDF


      The goal of the Space Science Enterprise's Structure and Evolution of the Universe (SEU) Theme is to seek the answer to three fundamental questions:

      1. What is the structure of the universe and what is our cosmic destiny?
      2. What are the cycles of matter and energy in the evolving universe?
      3. What are the ultimate limits of gravity and energy in the universe?

      SEU's strategy for understanding this interactive system is organized around four fundamental Quests, designed to answer the following questions:

      1. Identify dark matter and learn how it shapes galaxies and systems of galaxies,
      2. Explore where and when chemical elements were made,
      3. Understand the cycles in which matter, energy, and magnetic fields are exchanged between stars and the gas between stars,
      4. Discover how gas flows in disks and how cosmic jets formed,
      5. Identify the sources of gamma-ray bursts and high energy cosmic rays, and
      6. Measure how strong gravity operates near black holes and how it affects the early universe.

      • 50818

        S2.01Sensors and Detectors for Astrophysics

        Lead Center: JPL

        Future NASA astrophysics missions like Sofia, Herschel, Planck, FAIR, MAXIM, EXIST, and ARISE (http://spacescience.nasa.gov/missions/index.htm) need improvements in sensors and detectors. Beyond 2007, expected advances in detectors and other technologies may allow the Filled Aperture Infrared… Read more>>



        Future NASA astrophysics missions like Sofia, Herschel, Planck, FAIR, MAXIM, EXIST, and ARISE (http://spacescience.nasa.gov/missions/index.htm) need improvements in sensors and detectors. Beyond 2007, expected advances in detectors and other technologies may allow the Filled Aperture Infrared instrument (FAIR) to extend HST observations into the mid- and far-infrared (40–500 micron) region; the Micro-Arcsecond X-ray Imaging Mission Pathfinder (MAXIM) will demonstrate the feasibility of x-ray interferometry with a resolution of 100 micro-arc seconds, which is 5000 times better than the Chandra observatory; the Energetic X-ray Imaging Survey Telescope (EXIST) will conduct the first high sensitivity, all-sky imaging survey at the predominantly thermal (x-ray) and non-thermal (gamma-ray) universe requiring a wide-field coded aperture telescope array; and the Advanced Radio Interferometry between Space and Earth (ARISE) mission will create an interferometer including radio telescopes in space and on Earth.



        Space science sensor and detector technology innovations are sought in the following areas:



        Mid/Infrared, Far Infrared and Submillimeter

        Future space-based observatories in the 10-40 micron spectral regime will be passively cooled to about 30 K. They will make use of large sensitive detector arrays with low-power dissipation array readout electronics. Improvements in sensitivity, stability, array size, and power consumption are sought. In particular, novel doping approaches to extend wavelength response, lower dark current and readout noise, novel energy discrimination approaches, and low noise superconducting electronics are applicable areas. Future space observatories in the 40 micron to 1 mm spectral regime will be cooled to even lower temperatures, frequently 20 W Hz-1/2 over most of the spectral range in a 100x100 pixel detector array, with low-power dissipation array readout electronics. The ideal detector element would count individual photons and provide some energy discrimination. For detailed line mapping (e.g., C+ at 158 micron), heterodyne receiver arrays are desirable, operating in the same frequency range near the quantum limit.



        Space Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI)

        The next generations of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) missions in space will demand greatly improved sensitivity over current missions. These new missions will also operate at much higher frequencies (at first to 86 GHz and eventually to 600 GHz). These thrusts will require development of improved space-borne low-power ultra-low-noise amplifiers and mixers to serve as primary receiving instruments.

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      • 50801

        S2.02Terrestrial and Extra-Terrestrial Balloons and Aerobots

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        Innovations in materials, structures, and systems concepts have enabled buoyant vehicles to play an expanding role in NASA's Space and Earth Science Enterprises. A new generation of large, stratospheric balloons based on advanced balloon envelope technologies will be able to deliver payloads of… Read more>>



        Innovations in materials, structures, and systems concepts have enabled buoyant vehicles to play an expanding role in NASA's Space and Earth Science Enterprises. A new generation of large, stratospheric balloons based on advanced balloon envelope technologies will be able to deliver payloads of several thousand kilograms to above 99.9% of the Earth's absorbing atmosphere and maintain them there for months of continuous observation. Smaller scale, but similarly designed, balloons and airships will also carry scientific payloads on Mars, Venus, Titan, and the outer planets 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. Robotic balloons, known as aerobots, have a wide range of potential applications both on Earth and on other solar system bodies. NASA is seeking innovative and cost-effective solutions in support of terrestrial and extraterrestrial balloons and aerobots in the following areas.



        Stratospheric Long Duration Balloon (LDB) Support



        Materials

        • Innovative membranes for terrestrial applications to support the Long Duration Balloon (LDB) and Ultra-Long Duration Balloon (ULDB) development efforts. The material of interest shall meet all environmental, design, fabrication, and operational requirements and must be producible in large quantities in a lay-flat width of at least 1.6 m.
        • Innovative concepts for reducing the UV degradation of flight components including balloon membranes, load carrying members, and parachute components.

        Support Systems

        • Innovative concepts for trajectory control and/or station-keeping for effectively maneuvering large terrestrial and small extraterrestrial aerobots in either the horizontal latitude or vertical altitude plane or both.
        • Innovative low mass, high density, and high efficiency power systems for terrestrial balloons that produce 2 kW or more continuously.
        • Innovative power systems that enable long duration, sunlight independent missions for a duration of 30 days or more.
        • Innovative, low cost, low power, low mass, precision instrument pointing systems that permit arcsecond or better accuracy.
        • Innovative sensor concepts for balloon gas or skin temperature measurements.
        • Innovative floatation systems for water recovery of payloads.



        Design and Fabrication

        • Innovative, efficient, reliable and cost-effective balloon fabrication and inspection techniques to support the current ULDB development efforts.
        • Innovative balloon design concepts for long duration missions which can provide any or all of the following:

          • Reduced material strength requirements;
          • Increased reliability;
          • Enhanced performance;
          • Reduced manufacturing time;
          • Reduced manufacturing cost; and
          • Improved mission flexibility.



        Titan Missions Support

        Titan is the second largest moon in the solar system and the only one that features a sufficiently dense atmosphere for buoyant vehicle flight. Targeted for exploration by Cassini-Huygens in 2004 and beyond, Titan is expected to be a geologically and chemically diverse world containing important clues on the nature of prebiotic chemistry. NASA is starting to lay the ground work for post-Cassini-Huygens exploration of Titan using highly autonomous, self-propelled aerobots capable of surveying many widely separated locations on the world and potentially including surface sampling and composition analysis. Innovative technologies are sought in the following areas:


        • Concepts, devices and materials for sealing (repairing) of small holes in the balloon envelope material during flight at Titan. Repair of these holes may be required to enable the long mission lifetimes (6–12 months) desired at Titan. Although the balloon envelope material for Titan has not yet been specified, repair strategies should be generally compatible with polymer materials and the 90 K environment. It is imperative that proposed solutions be low mass (on the order of a few kilograms) and low power (a few Watts).
        • Concepts and devices for the processing of atmospheric methane into hydrogen gas and its use as a makeup gas to compensate for leakage during operational flight at Titan. It is imperative that proposed solutions be low mass (on the order of a few kilograms) and low power (a few Watts).



        Venus Missions Support

        Venus is the second planet from the Sun and features a dense, CO2 atmosphere completely covered by clouds. Although already explored by various orbiters and short-lived atmospheric probes and landers, Venus retains many secrets pertaining to its formation and evolution. One of NASA’s long-term objectives is to develop the technologies required for a surface sample return mission. A high temperature balloon is one key element that will be needed to loft the sample from the surface to a high altitude for launching a return rocket back to Earth. Innovative technologies are, therefore, sought in the following area:


        • Designs, materials, and prototypes for surface-launched Venus balloons. Balloon volumes in the range of 0.5–5 m3 are required when fully inflated. The balloon must be storable in a packaged condition for up to 1 year and have an areal density of less than 1000 g/m2. Proposed concepts must include an automatic surface launch that will work in the Venus environment consisting of 460(C temperature, 90 atmosphere pressure, and surface winds of up to 1 m/s.



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      • 52216

        S2.03Cryogenic Systems

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, MSFC

        Cryogenic systems have long been used to perform cutting edge space science, but at high cost and with limited lifetime. Improvements in cryogenic system technology enable further scientific advancement at lower cost and/or lower risk. Lifetime, reliability, mass, and power requirements of the… Read more>>

        Cryogenic systems have long been used to perform cutting edge space science, but at high cost and with limited lifetime. Improvements in cryogenic system technology enable further scientific advancement at lower cost and/or lower risk. Lifetime, reliability, mass, and power requirements of the cryogenic systems are critical performance concerns. Of interest are cryogenic coolers for cooling detectors, telescopes, and instruments. In addition, cryogenic coolers for lunar and interplanetary exploration are of interest. The coolers should have long life, low vibration, low mass, low cost, and high efficiency. Specific areas of interest include the following:


        • Highly efficient coolers in the range of 4–10 K as well as 50 mK and below, and cryogen-free systems that integrate these coolers together;
        • Low-mass, highly efficient coolers for gas sample collection and liquefaction of gases for use in propulsion systems;
        • Essentially vibration-free cooling systems, such as reverse Brayton cycle cooler technologies;
        • Highly reliable, efficient, low-cost Stirling and pulse tube cooler technologies in the 10 K, 15 K, and 35 K regions;
        • Highly efficient magnetic and dilution cooling technologies, particularly at very low temperatures;
        • Hybrid cooling systems that make optimal use of radiative coolers; and
        • Miniature, MEMS, and solid-state cooler systems.

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      • 50800

        S2.04Optical Technologies

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        The NASA Space Science Enterprise is studying future missions to explore the Structure and Evolution of the Universe (SEU). To understand the structure and evolution of the universe, a variety of large space-based observatories are necessary to observe cosmic phenomena from radio waves to the… Read more>>

        The NASA Space Science Enterprise is studying future missions to explore the Structure and Evolution of the Universe (SEU). To understand the structure and evolution of the universe, a variety of large space-based observatories are necessary to observe cosmic phenomena from radio waves to the highest energy cosmic rays. It will be necessary to operate some of these observatories at cryogenic temperatures (to 4 K) beyond geosynchronous orbits. Apertures for normal incidence telescope optics are required up to 40 m in diameter, while grazing incidence optics are required to support apertures up to 10 m in diameter. For some missions, these apertures will form a constellation of telescopes operating as interferometers. These interferometric observatories may have effective apertures up to 1000 m diameter. Low mass of critical components such as the primary mirror, its support and/or deployment structure, is extremely important. In order to meet the stringent optical alignment and tolerances necessary for a high quality telescope and to provide a robust design, there are significant benefits possible from employing systems that can adaptively correct for image degrading sources from inside and outside the spacecraft. This includes correction systems for large aperture space telescopes that require control across the entire wavefront, typically at low temporal bandwidth. The following technologies are sought:


        • Grazing incidence focusing mirrors with response up to 150 keV.
        • Large, ultra-lightweight grazing incidence optics for x-ray mirrors with angular resolutions less than 5 arcsec.
        • Wide field-of-view optics using square pore slumped microchannel plates or equivalent.
        • Develop fabrication techniques for ultra-thin-flat silicon (or like material) for grating substrates for x-ray energies
        • Large area thin blocking filters with high efficiency at low energy x-ray energies (
        • Ultraviolet filters with deep blocking (
        • Develop novel materials and fabrication techniques for producing ultra-lightweight mirrors, high-performance diamond turned optics (including freeform optical surfaces), and ultra-smooth (2–3 angstroms rms) replicated optics that are both rigid and lightweight. Lightweight high modulus (e.g., silicon carbide) optics and structures are also desired.
        • High-performance (e.g., high modulus, low density, high thermal conductivity) materials and fabrication processes for ultra-lightweight, high precision (e.g., subarcsecond resolution or
        • Advanced, low-cost, high quality large optics fabrication processes and test methods including active metrology feedback systems during fabrication, and artificial intelligence controlled systems.
        • Large, ultra-lightweight optical mirrors including membrane optics for very large aperture space telescopes and interferometers.
        • Cryogenic optics, structures, and mechanisms for space telescopes and interferometers.
        • Ultra-precise, low mass deployable structures to reduce launch volume for large-aperture space telescopes and interferometers.
        • Segmented optical systems with high-precision controls; active and/or adaptive mirrors; shape control of deformable telescope mirrors; and image stabilization systems.
        • Advanced, wavefront sensing and control systems including image based wavefront sensors.
        • Wavefront correction techniques and optics for large aperture membrane mirrors and refractors (curved lenses, Fresnel lenses, diffractive lenses).
        • Nanometer to sub-picometer metrology for space telescopes and interferometers.
        • Develop ultra-stable optics over time periods from minutes to hours.
        • Advanced analytical models, simulations, and evaluation techniques, and new integrations of suites of existing software tools allowing a broader and more in-depth evaluation of design alternatives and identification of optimum system parameters including optical, thermal, structural, and dynamic performance of large space telescopes and interferometers.
        • Develop portable and miniaturized state-of-the-art optical characterization instrumentation and rapid, large-area surface-roughness characterization techniques are needed. In addition, develop calibrated processes for determination of surface roughness using replicas made from the actual surface. Traceable surface roughness standards suitable for calibrating profilometers over sub-micron to millimeter wavelength ranges are needed.
        • Develop instruments capable of rapidly determining the approximate surface roughness of an optical surface, allowing modification of process parameters to improve finish, without the need to remove the optics from the polishing machine. Techniques are needed for testing the figure of large, convex aspheric surfaces to fractional wave tolerances in the visible.



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      • 50802

        S2.05Advanced Photon Detectors

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        The next generation of astrophysics observatories for the infrared, ultraviolet (UV), x-ray, and gamma-ray bands require order-of-magnitude performance advances in detectors, detector arrays, readout electronics, and other supporting and enabling technologies. Although the relative value of the… Read more>>



        The next generation of astrophysics observatories for the infrared, ultraviolet (UV), x-ray, and gamma-ray bands require order-of-magnitude performance advances in detectors, detector arrays, readout electronics, and other supporting and enabling technologies. Although the relative value of the improvements may differ among the four energy regions, many of the parameters where improvements are needed are present in all four bands. In particular, all bands need improvements in spatial and spectral resolutions, in the ability to cover large areas, and in the ability to support the readout of the thousands to millions of resultant spatial resolution elements.



        Innovative technologies are sought to enhance the scope, efficiency, and resolution of instrument systems at all energies and wavelengths:

        • The next generation of gravitational missions will require greatly improved inertial sensors. Such an inertial sensor must provide a carefully fabricated test mass which has interactions with external forces (i.e., low magnetic susceptibility, high degree of symmetry, low variation in electrostatic surface potential, etc.) below 10–16 of the Earth's gravity, over time scales from several seconds to several hours. The inertial sensor must also provide a housing for containing the proof mass in a suitable environment (i.e., high vacuum, low magnetic and electrostatic potentials, etc.).
        • 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.
        • Significant improvements in wide band gap (such as GaN and AlGaN) materials, individual detectors, and arrays for UV applications.
        • Improved microchannel plate detectors, including improvements to the plates themselves (smaller pores, greater lifetimes, alternative fabrication technologies, e.g., silicon), as well as improvements to the associated electronic readout systems (spatial resolution, signal-to-noise capability, dynamic range), and in sealed tube fabrication yield.
        • 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.
        • For advanced x-ray calorimetry improvements in several areas are needed, including:

          • Superconducting electronics for cryogenic x-ray detectors such as SQUID-based amplifiers and their multiplexers for low impedance cryogenic sensors and superconducting single-electron transistors and their multiplexers for high impedance cryogenic sensors;
          • Micromachining techniques that enhance the fabrication, energy resolution, or count rate capability of closely-packed arrays of x-ray calorimeters operating in the energy range from 0.1–10 keV; and
          • Surface micromachining techniques for improving integration of x-ray calorimeters with read-out electronics in large scale arrays.

        • Improvements in readout electronics, including low power ASICs and the associated high density interconnects and component arrays to interface them to detector arrays.
        • Superconducting tunnel junction devices and transition edge sensors for the UV and x-ray regions. For the UV, these offer a promising path to having "three-dimensional" arrays (spatial plus energy). Improvements in energy resolution, pixel count, count rate capability, and long wavelength rejection are of particular interest. We seek techniques for fabrication of close packed arrays, with any requisite thermal isolation, and sensitive (SQUID or single electron transistor), fast, readout schemes and/or multiplexers.
        • Arrays of CZT detectors of thickness 5–10 mm to cover the 10–500 keV range, and hybrid detector systems with a Si CCD over a CZT pixelated detector operating in the 2–150 keV range.
        • For improvements to detector systems for solar and night-time UV and EUV (approx. 20–300nm) observing the following areas are of interest: Large format (4 K x 4 K and larger); high quantum efficiency; small pixel size; large well depth; low read noise; fast readout; low power consumption (including readout); intrinsic energy and/or polarization discrimination (3d or 4d detector); active pixel sensors (back-illumination, UV sensitivity); and high-resolution image intensifiers, UV and EUV sensitive, insensitive to moisture.
        • Space spectroscopic observations in the UV, visible and IR requiring long observations times would be much more sensitive with high quantum efficiency (QE) and zero read noise. Techniques are sought which improve the QE of photon counters, or eliminate the read noise of solid state detectors.
        • X-ray and gamma-ray imaging with higher sensitivity, dynamic range, and angular resolution requires innovations in modulation collimators and detection devices. The energy range of interest is from a few kilo-electron Volts to hundreds of milli-electron Volts for observations of solar flares and cosmic sources. Collimators with size scales down to a few microns and thicknesses commensurate with photon absorption over a significant fraction of this energy range are required. Low-background detectors capable of

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      • 50813

        S2.06Technologies for Gravity Wave Detection

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        Instruments that detect low frequency gravity waves offer a new window on the universe, its origin, evolution and structure. Complementing ground-based experiments such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), and the… Read more>>



        Instruments that detect low frequency gravity waves offer a new window on the universe, its origin, evolution and structure. Complementing ground-based experiments such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), and the follow on vision mission, Big Bang Observer, will implement ambitious systems to detect and characterize gravity waves associated with the Big Bang, mergers of black holes, and other significant astrophysical phenomena. The success of such investigations will largely depend on the technology building blocks that are needed to implement multiple spacecraft constellations with extremely precise laser interferometers and test masses which are actively decoupled from systematic and random disturbances.



        The technology areas are organized into two subsystems, one dealing with the disturbance rejection subsystem, which houses the proof mass with active sensors and thrusters to cancel non-gravity wave disturbances, and the other implementing the network of laser interferometers with nanometer-level resolution of relative range between the test masses. Because the systems will be deployed in space, the technologies to be considered must be, or have, credible paths toward full space flight qualification, including thermal and radiation considerations. Background information on LISA, along with preliminary technology discussions, can be found in the proceedings of the 4th International LISA Symposium, Penn State University, 19–24 July 2002, published in the Classical and Quantum Gravity Journal, Volume 20, Number 10, 21 May 2003.



        Disturbance Reduction System (DRS)

        • Vacuum system – non-magnetic vacuum pump for reaching pressures of -6 Pa with a pumping volume of 1 liter; with associated valves and electronics
        • Vacuum gauge – read pressure down to 10-6 Pa on orbit, must be non-magnetic
        • Caging actuator – hold 2 kg mass ~4 cm3 against launch loads of ~25 g rms, with the capability for moving caged test mass over ~10 micron range with ~1 nm precision during ground testing
        • Test mass, ~4 cm3, mass ~1–2 kg, magnetic susceptibility -6 (e.g., 73% gold/27% platinum)



        Laser Interferometer

        • Laser with exceptional power, frequency noise, amplitude noise, lifetime characteristics.

          • Fiber coupled output power (1 W) CW
          • A combination of a lower power master oscillator with suitable amplifier to yield 1 W of total fiber coupled output power may be acceptable
          • Frequency and amplitude noise characteristics: Frequency stability to (30 Hz/vHz at 1mHz), and power stability to (2x10-4 /vHz at 1 mHz)
          • Lifetime of 10 years or more.
          • Wavelength is nominally 1.064 micron, but +/- 20% of that value is acceptable.
          • Semiconductor diode pump laser with outstanding reliability to operate with a suitable solid-state laser (e.g., non-planar ring oscillator laser) is required.

        • Electro-optical modulator – produce phase modulation of continuous laser beam with 10% (power) modulation depth at frequencies from 1.9–2.1 GHz with fiber coupled input and output. Baseline operation will be at 1.064 microns. In addition to the space qualification requirements, the modulator must be able to handle optical power levels at ~ 1 W.



        Research and technology development should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit to a participating NASA Center for testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.

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    • + Expand Astronomical Search for Origins Topic

      Topic S3 Astronomical Search for Origins PDF


      The questions “How did we get here?” and “Are we alone?” have driven mankind to explore and expand our understanding of the universe and our role in it since before recorded history. Today, we move our attention to the cosmos. Understanding of how galaxies, stars, and planetary systems formed in the early universe will provide a basis for future exploration. Are planetary systems and Earth-like planets typical? Is life beyond the Earth rare or non-existent? If life in the universe is robust, has it spread throughout the galaxy? Current missions using innovative technology research are Space Interferometer Mission (SIM) and Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). New missions in the planning phase, which requires innovative technology, are Space Astronomy Far Infrared Telescope (SAFIR), Life Finder and Planet Imager. The Origins technology program develops the means to achieve the most ambitious and technically challenging measurements ever made. New large space telescopes and instruments are required to detect the extremely faint signatures from the deep universe. Innovations are needed in these areas: Precision constellations for interferometry, advanced astronomical instrumentation, deployable precision structures, high-contrast astrophysical imaging, large aperture lightweight telescope mirrors, and wavefront sensing and control. These technologies will enable NASA to explore the early universe, find planets around other stars, and search for life beyond Earth.

      • 50816

        S3.01Precision Constellations for Interferometry

        Lead Center: JPL

        This subtopic seeks hardware and software technologies necessary to establish, maintain and operate hyper- precision spacecraft constellations to a level that enables separated spacecraft optical interferometry. Also sought are technologies for analysis, modeling, and visualization of such… Read more>>



        This subtopic seeks hardware and software technologies necessary to establish, maintain and operate hyper- precision spacecraft constellations to a level that enables separated spacecraft optical interferometry. Also sought are technologies for analysis, modeling, and visualization of such constellations.



        In a constellation for large effective telescope apertures, multiple, collaborative spacecraft in a precision formation collectively form a variable-baseline interferometer. These formations require the capability for autonomous precision alignment and synchronized maneuvers, reconfigurations, and collision avoidance. It is important that, in order to enable precision spacecraft formation keeping from coarse requirements (relative position control of any two spacecraft to less than 1 cm, and relative bearing of 1 arcmin over target range of separations from a few meters to tens of kilometers) to fine requirements (micron relative position control and relative bearing control of 0.1 arcsec), the interferometer payload would still need to provide at least 1–3 orders of magnitude improvement on top of the S/C control requirements. The spacecraft also require onboard capability for optimal path planning, and time optimal maneuver design and execution.



        Innovations that address the above precision requirements are solicited for distributed constellation systems in the following areas:

        • Integrated optical/formation/control simulation tools;
        • Distributed, multitiming, 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; and
        • Six degrees of freedom precision formation testbeds.



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      • 52303

        S3.02High Contrast Astrophysical Imaging

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        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. Examples include planetary systems beyond our own and the detailed inner structure of galaxies… 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. Examples include planetary systems beyond our own and the detailed inner structure of galaxies with very bright nuclei. Contrast ratios of one million to one billion over an angular spatial scale of 0.05–1.5 arcsec are typical of these objects. Achieving a very low background against which to detect a planet, 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 any starlight cancellation scheme.



        This innovative research focuses on advances in coronagraphic instruments, interferometric 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 Origins Program theme will be similar in character to instruments used for present day space astrophysical observations. The performance and observing efficiency of these 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, coronography, and polarimetry. There is interest in component development, and innovative instrument design, as well as in the fabrication of subsystem devices to include, but are 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.
        • 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 inhomogeneity, 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.
        • Fiber optic spatial filter development for visible coronagraph wavelengths.
        • Single mode fiber filtering from visible to 20 µm wavelength.
        • Methods of polarization control and polarization apodization.
        • 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 (DM) 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 DM 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.
        • 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. The most promising DM technology may be sensitive to temperature, so developing a MUX that has very low thermal hot-spots, and very uniform temperature performance will improve the control of the mirror surface.
        • High precision wavefront error sensing and control techniques to improve and advance coronagraphic imaging performance.



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      • 50817

        S3.03Precision Deployable Lightweight Cryogenic Structures for Large Space Telescopes

        Lead Center: JPL

        Planned future NASA Origins Missions and Vision Missions such as the Single Aperture Far-IR (SAFIR) telescope, Life Finder, and Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure (SPECS) require 10–30 m class telescopes that are diffraction limited at wavelengths between the visible and… Read more>>



        Planned future NASA Origins Missions and Vision Missions such as the Single Aperture Far-IR (SAFIR) telescope, Life Finder, and Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure (SPECS) require 10–30 m class telescopes that are diffraction limited at wavelengths between the visible and the near IR, and operate at temperatures from 4–300 K. The desired areal density is 3–10 kg/m2. Wavefront control may be either passive (via a high stiffness system) or active control. Potential architecture implementations must package into an existing launch volume, deploy and be self-aligning to the micron level. The environment is expected to be L2.



        This topic solicits proposals to develop enabling component and subsystem technology for these telescopes in the areas of precision deployable structures, i.e., large deployable optics manufacture and test; innovative concepts for packaging integrated actuation systems; metrology systems for direct measurement of the structure; deployment packaging and mechanisms; active control implemented on the structure (downstream corrective and adaptive optics are not included in this topic area); actuator systems for alignment (2 cm stroke actuators, lightweight, submicron dynamic range, nanometer stability); mechanical and inflatable deployable technologies; new thermally-stable materials for deployables; new approaches for achieving packagable structural depth; etc.



        The goal for this effort is to mature technologies that can be used to fabricate 20 m class lightweight cryogenic flight-qualified telescope primary mirror systems. Proposals to fabricate demonstration components and subsystems with direct scalability to flight systems (concept described in the proposal) will be given preference. The target volume and disturbances, along with the estimate of system performance should be included in the discussion. A successful proposal shows a path toward a Phase II delivery of demonstration hardware on the scale of 3 m for characterization.

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      • 52274

        S3.04Large-Aperture Lightweight Cryogenic Telescope Components & Systems

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        Planned future NASA infrared, far infrared and submillimeter missions such as the Single Aperture Far-IR (SAFIR) telescope, Space Infrared Interferometric Telescope (SPIRIT) and Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure (SPECS) require both 10–30 m and 2–4 m class telescopes… Read more>>



        Planned future NASA infrared, far infrared and submillimeter missions such as the Single Aperture Far-IR (SAFIR) telescope, Space Infrared Interferometric Telescope (SPIRIT) and Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure (SPECS) require both 10–30 m and 2–4 m class telescopes that are diffraction limited at 5–20 mm and operate at temperatures from 4–10 K. The desired areal density is 3–10 kg/m2. Wavefront control may be either passive (via a high stiffness system) or active control. Potential architecture implementations include 2 m class segments, 4 m class mirrors, or membrane systems. It is anticipated that active cooling will be required. Potential telescope system architectures require transporting 1 W of heat at 15 K with 5 W/K, while others require 100 mW at 4 K with 1 W/K. This topic solicits proposals to develop enabling component and sub-system technology for cryogenic telescopes, including but not limited to: large-aperture lightweight cryogenic optic manufacture and test; thermal management, distributed cryogenic cooling, multiple heat lift; structure, deployment, and mechanisms; deployable cryogenic coolant lines; active wavefront control; etc. The goal for this effort is to mature technologies that can be used to fabricate 2–4 m and 10–30 m class lightweight cryogenic flight-qualified telescope primary mirror systems at a cost of less than $300,000 per square meter. Proposals to fabricate demonstration components and subsystems with direct scalability to flight will be given preference.





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    • + Expand Exploration of the Solar System Topic

      Topic S4 Exploration of the Solar System PDF


      NASA's program for Exploration of the Solar System seeks to answer fundamental questions about the Solar System and life: How do planets form? Why are planets different from one another? Where did the makings of life come from? Did life arise elsewhere in the solar system? What is the future habitability of Earth and other planets? The search for answers to these questions requires that we augment the current remote sensing approach to solar system exploration with a robust program that includes in situ measurements at key places in the solar system, and the return of materials from them for later study on the Earth. We envision a rich suite of missions to achieve this, including a comet nucleus sample return, a Europa lander, and a rover or balloon-borne experiment on Saturn's moon Titan, to name a few. Numerous new technologies will be required to enable such ambitious missions.

      • 50808

        S4.01Science Instruments for Conducting Solar System Exploration

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        This subtopic supports the development of advanced instruments and instrument technology to enable or enhance scientific investigations on future planetary missions. New measurement concepts, advances in existing instrument concepts, and advances in critical components are all of interest.… Read more>>



        This subtopic supports the development of advanced instruments and instrument technology to enable or enhance scientific investigations on future planetary missions. New measurement concepts, advances in existing instrument concepts, and advances in critical components are all of interest. Proposers are strongly encouraged to relate their proposed technology development to future planetary exploration goals.



        Instruments for both remote sensing and in situ investigations are required for NASA’s planned and potential solar system exploration missions. Instruments are required for the characterization of the atmosphere, surface and subsurface regions of planets, satellites, and small bodies. These instruments may be deployed for remote sensing, on orbital or flyby spacecraft, or for in situ measurements, on surface landers and rovers, subsurface penetrators, and airborne platforms. In situ instruments cover spatial scales from surface reconnaissance to microscopic investigations. These instruments must be capable of withstanding operation in space and planetary environmental extremes, which include temperature, pressure, radiation, and impact stresses.



        Examples of instruments that will meet the goals include, but are not limited to, the following:

        • Instrumentation for definitive chemical, mineralogy, and isotopic analysis of surface materials: soils, dusts, rocks, liquids, and ices at all spatial scales, from planetary mapping to microscopic investigation. Examples include advanced techniques in reflectance spectroscopy, wet chemistry, laser-induced breakdown spectrometers, water and ice detectors, novel gas chromatograph and mass spectrometry, and age-dating systems.
        • Instrumentation for the assessment of surface terrain and features. Examples include lidar systems and advanced imaging systems.
        • Geophysical sensing systems to determine the near-surface and subsurface structure, textures, bulk components, and composition, such as seismic sensors, porosity measurement devices, permeameters, and surface penetrating radars.
        • Instruments and components that will rely on, and take advantage of, high power capabilities, up to 100 kW, for measurements of planetary surfaces. The instruments may make direct or indirect use of the power, long duration observations, or extremely high data rates.
        • Instrumentation focused on assessments of the identification and characterization of biomarkers of extinct or extant life, such as prebiotic molecules, complex organic molecules, biomolecules, or biominerals.
        • Instrumentation for the chemical and isotopic analysis of planetary atmospheres.
        • Advanced detectors for solar absorption spectrometry. One example is a detector that is fast and linear, i.e., does not saturate under high photon fluxes.
        • Environmental sensing systems, such as meteorological sensors, humidity sensors, wind and particle size distribution sensors, and sounders for atmospheric profiling.
        • Particles and fields measurements, such as magnetometers, and electric field monitors.
        • Enabling instrument component and support technologies, such as laser sources, miniaturized pumps, sample inlet systems, valves, integrated bulk sample handling and processing systems, and fluidic technologies for sample preparation.



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

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      • 50815

        S4.02Extreme Environment & Aerial Mobility

        Lead Center: JPL

        This subtopic is composed of two elements: (1) Technologies for High Temperature/High Pressure Environments and (2) Technologies for Aerial Mobility. Both areas are focused on the future in situ exploration needs for Titan and Venus, worlds featuring dense atmospheres with low and high… Read more>>



        This subtopic is composed of two elements: (1) Technologies for High Temperature/High Pressure Environments and (2) Technologies for Aerial Mobility. Both areas are focused on the future in situ exploration needs for Titan and Venus, worlds featuring dense atmospheres with low and high temperature extremes, respectively. Note that some technologies developed for the cryogenic environment of Titan will also be applicable to other severe low temperature destinations such as asteroids, comets, and Europa.



        Titan is the second largest moon in the solar system and the only one that features a sufficiently dense atmosphere for buoyant vehicle flight. The atmosphere is predominantly nitrogen with a surface temperature of approximately 90 K. Targeted for exploration by Cassini-Huygens in 2004 and beyond, Titan is expected to be a geologically and chemically diverse world containing important clues on the nature of prebiotic chemistry. NASA is starting to lay the ground work for post-Cassini-Huygens exploration of Titan using autonomous, self-propelled aerobots capable of surveying many widely separated locations and potentially including surface sampling and composition analysis. Venus is the second planet from the Sun and features a dense, CO2 atmosphere completely covered by clouds with sulfuric acid aerosols, a surface temperature of 460ºC and a surface pressure of 90 atmospheres. Although already explored by various orbiters and short-lived atmospheric probes and landers, Venus retains many secrets pertaining to its formation and evolution. NASA is interested in expanding its ability to explore the deep atmosphere and surface of Venus through use of long lived (days or weeks) balloons and landers.



        Technologies for High Temperature and High Pressure Environments

        • Advanced thermal control for Venus, including lightweight (50 kg/m3), insulated pressure vessels able to protect the electronics and instruments enclosed inside for a few hours at 460ºC and 100 bar; new lightweight thermal insulation materials (0.1 W/mK at 460ºC), thermal storage (with 300–1000 kJ/kg energy density), thermal switches (over 1 W/K for “on” and 0.01 W/K for “off” mode), and high performance heat pipes (0.05 W/mK at 460 ºC and 100 bar).
        • Science and engineering sensors able to operate at 460ºC and 100 bar, including seismometers.
        • High temperature electronics and electronic packaging for sensor and actuator interfaces at 460 ºC, including low noise (10 nV/sqHz) preamplifiers, transmitters (S-band), drivers (with 0–100 V digital output for driving piezoelectric, electrostatic, or electromagnetic actuators), and high value (on the order of one to hundreds of micro Farad) capacitors.
        • High temperature primary batteries (200 Whr/kg, 100 cycles) for operation at 460ºC.
        • Sample handling and acquisition systems including high temperature drills, motors, and actuators able to operate in the 460ºC, 90 atmosphere surface environment of Venus.



        Technologies for Aerial Mobility

        In addition to the severe environment technologies above, innovative technologies are also sought in the following areas of robotic technologies for aerial mobility:

        • Concepts and devices for a low mass (~1–2 kg), high efficiency electric drive motor for the 90 K Titan environment. This motor needs to operate continuously for up to 12 months on Titan and drive the main propulsion propeller at up to 5 revolutions per second with a controllable power input across the range of 0–50 W.
        • Concepts and devices for a low mass (
        • Concepts and devices for surface sample acquisition from an aerobot in the 90 K surface environment of Titan. These can include, but are not limited to, station keeping, landed or anchored (tethered) aerobots. Both liquid and solid (ice or rock; loose particle or drilled core) samples are of interest.



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

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      • 50810

        S4.03Advanced Flexible Electronics and Nanosensors

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

        The strategic plan within the Office of Space Science at NASA calls for intense exploration of a wide variety of bodies in the solar system within a modest budget. To achieve this will require revolutionary advances over the capabilities of traditional spacecraft systems and a broadening of the… Read more>>



        The strategic plan within the Office of Space Science at NASA calls for intense exploration of a wide variety of bodies in the solar system within a modest budget. To achieve this will require revolutionary advances over the capabilities of traditional spacecraft systems and a broadening of the tool set through the introduction of new kinds of space exploration systems. These systems will include, but are not limited to, orbiters, landers, atmospheric probes, rovers, penetrators, aerobots (balloons), planetary aircraft, subsurface vehicles (ice and soil), and submarines. Also of interest are delivery of distributed sensor systems consisting of networks of tiny (


        Nanosensors

        The nanosensing and bio-nanotechnology for the sensing aspect of this subtopic seeks to leverage breakthroughs in the emerging fields of nano-technology and biotechnology to develop advanced sensors and actuators with increased sensitivity and small size for solar system exploration. Technologies should provide enhanced capabilities over the current state-of-the-art and be able to operate in an extreme environments. This harsh environment includes steady operation and cycling in the temperature range of -180°C to 100°C, and high radiation. Of particular interest are harsh environment-operable nanosystems for single molecule sensing and manipulation, on-chip biomolecular analysis, and semiconductor laser diodes in the 2–5 µm and detectors in the greater than 15 µm wavelength range.



        Flexible Electronics

        Electronically steerable L-band phased array antennas are needed for missions to the Moon, Mars, Titan and Venus. L-band provides the capability to detect surface and subsurface topology including ice or features hidden by the surface dust. Flexible, lightweight active arrays enable better packaging efficiency for the antenna and are critical for these missions. Currently, manufacturing reliable passive arrays with required tolerances is challenging and the only method for integration of the electronics is to attach and interconnect the electronic components on the surface. This method is expensive, unreliable and impractical for large arrays. Technologies enabling large area flexible antennas including flexible electronics are needed. State-of-the-art flexible, printable electronics have low switching frequencies. Innovative new materials or processes will be needed to enable devices that can handle the gigahertz frequencies needed for radar. In addition, large area manufacturing methods are needed to manufacture these passive and active antennas.



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

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      • 52173

        S4.04Deep Space Power Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL, JSC

        Innovative concepts using advanced technology are solicited in the areas of energy conversion, storage, power electronics, and power system materials. Power levels of interest range from tens of milliwatts, to hundreds of watts. NASA Space Science missions in deep space environments require… Read more>>



        Innovative concepts using advanced technology are solicited in the areas of energy conversion, storage, power electronics, and power system materials. Power levels of interest range from tens of milliwatts, to hundreds of watts. NASA Space Science missions in deep space environments require energy systems with long life capability, high energy density, high radiation tolerance, reliability, and low overall costs (including operations) which can operate in high and low temperatures and over wide temperature ranges. Advanced technologies are sought in the following areas:



        Energy Conversion

        Advances in photovoltaic technology are sought, including high power solar arrays and ultra lightweight thin and concentrator arrays with substantial increases in specific power watts per kilogram. Advances in radioisotope power conversion to electricity (tens of milliwatts to hundreds of watts with efficiencies >20 %) are sought. This includes advances in thermophotovoltaics, thermoelectrics, and Stirling. All proposed energy conversion technologies must be able to operate in deep-space environments with high radiation and wide-temperature operations.



        Energy Storage

        Includes advances in primary and secondary (rechargeable) battery technologies. Rechargable technologies include lithium ion batteries, lithium polymer batteries, and other advanced concepts providing long life capability, and dramatic increases in mass and volume energy density watt hours per kilogram and watt hours per liter. Primary battery technologies include Li-CFx and other high specific energy electrochemical systems. Must be able to operate in deep-space environments, including high radiation and low (-100°C) to high (400°C) temperature regimes.



        For operation on planetary surfaces, the use of regenerative fuel cells, both conventional and unitized - passive designs, with substantial increases in mass and volume-specific energy for those situations where there are substantial time periods of charging and recharging (anywhere from hours to days).



        Power Electronics

        Advanced power electronic materials and devices for deep-space power systems are sought. The materials of interest include soft magnetics, dielectrics, insulation, and semiconductors. Devices of interest include transformers, inductors, electrostatic capacitors, high power semiconductor switches and diodes, and integrated control and driver circuits. Proposed technologies must improve upon the following characteristics: high temperature operation (>200°C), low-temperature (cryogenic) operation, wide-temperature operation (25–200°C), and/or high levels of space radiation (>150 krad) resistance.



        Electronics Packaging

        Advanced electronics packaging technologies that reduce volume and mass capable of either high temperature or wide temperature operation and space radiation resistance for use in space power systems are of interest. Also of interest are thermal control technologies of high heat flux capability which are integral to the electronic package.



        Power System Materials

        Advances are sought in materials, surfaces, and components that are durable for soft x-ray, electron, proton, and ultraviolet radiation and thermal cycling environments, lightweight electromagnetic interference shielding, and high-performance, environmentally-durable thermal control surfaces.

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      • 50773

        S4.05Astrobiology

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        Astrobiology includes the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. New technologies are required to enable the search for extant or extinct life elsewhere in the solar system, to obtain an organic history of planetary bodies, to discover and explore water sources… Read more>>

        Astrobiology includes the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. New technologies are required to enable the search for extant or extinct life elsewhere in the solar system, to obtain an organic history of planetary bodies, to discover and explore water sources elsewhere in the solar system, and to detect microorganisms and biologically important molecular structures within complex chemical mixtures. Biomarkers produced by microbial communities are profoundly affected by internal biogeochemical cycling. The small spatial scales at which these biogeochemical processes operate necessitate measurements made using microsensors. The search for life on other planetary bodies will also require systems capable of moving and deploying instruments across, and through, varied terrain to access biologically important environments.



        A second element of Astrobiology is the understanding of the evolutionary development of biological processes leading from single-cell organisms to multi-cell specimens and to complex ecological systems over multiple generations. Understanding of the effects of radiation and gravity on lower organisms, plants, humans and other animals (as well as elucidation of the basic mechanisms by which these effects occur) will be of direct benefit to the quality of life on Earth. These benefits will occur through applications in medicine, agriculture, industrial biotechnology, environmental management, and other activities dependent on understanding biological processes over multiple generations.



        A third component of Astrobiology includes the study of evolution on ecological processes. Astrobiology intersects with NASA Earth Science studies through the highly accelerated rate of change in the biosphere being brought about by human actions. One particular area of study with direct links to Earth Science is microbe–environment interactions.



        NASA seeks innovations in the following technology areas:

        • For Mars exploration, technologies that would enable to provide a broad survey of areas in the vicinities of a rover or lander to narrow down a field of search for biomarkers.
        • For Mars exploration, technologies that (using x-ray, neutron, ultrasonic, and other types of tomography) would enable a noninvasive, nondestructive analysis of the subsurface environment and areas inside rocks and ice to depths 10–20 cm with spatial resolutions of 2–10 micron. Such technologies should provide the capability for analysis of structures inside opaque matrices created by endolithic organisms or fossil structures, and possible elemental analysis of such structures.
        • Technologies that would enable the aseptic acquisition of deep subsurface samples, the detection of aquifers, or enhance the performance of long distance ground roving, tunneling, or flight vehicles are required.
        • For Europa exploration, technologies to enable the penetration of deep ice are required.
        • Desirable features for both Mars and Europa exploration include the ability to carry an array of instruments and imaging systems, to provide aseptic operation mode, and to maintain a pristine research environment.
        • Low-cost, lightweight systems to assist in the selection and acquisition of the most scientifically interesting samples are also of significant interest.
        • High sensitivity, (femtomole or better) high resolution methods applicable to all biologically relevant classes of compounds for separation of complex mixtures into individual components.
        • Advanced miniaturized sample acquisition and handling systems optimized for extreme environment applications.
        • High sensitivity (femtomole or better) characterization of molecular structure, chirality, and isotopic composition of biogenic elements (H, C, N, O, S) embodied within individual compounds and structures.
        • High spatial resolution (5 angstrom level) electron microscopy techniques to establish details of external morphology, internal structure, elemental composition, and mineralogical composition of potential biogenic structures.
        • Innovative software to support studies of the origin and evolution of life. The areas of special interest are (1) biomolecular and cellular simulations, (2) evolutionary and phylogenetic algorithms and interfaces, (3) DNA computation, and (4) image reconstruction and enhancement for remote sensing.
        • Technologies capable of measuring a range of volatile compounds at small spatial scales. Improved sensor designs for a wide range of analytes, including oxygen, pH, sulfide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and small molecular weight organic acids both on and near surfaces that could serve as habitats for microbes.
        • Biotechnology – determining mutation rates and genetic stability in a variety of organisms, as well as accurately determining protein regulation changes in microgravity and radiation environments.
        • Automated chemical analytical instrumentation for determining gross metabolic characteristics of individual organisms and ecologies, as well as chemical composition of environments.
        • Spectral and imaging technology with high resolution and low power requirements.
        • Habitat support – technologies for supporting miniature closed ecosystems, data collection, and transmission technologies in concert with the automated chemical instrumentation described above.
        • Miniature-to-microscopic, high resolution, field worthy, smart sensors, or instrumentation for the accurate and unattended monitoring of environmental parameters that include, but are not limited to, solar radiation (190–800 nm at
        • High resolution, high sensitivity (femtomole or better) methods for the isolation and characterization of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) from a variety of organic and inorganic matrices.
        • Mathematical models capable of predicting the combined effects of elevated pCO2 (change in CO2 over the eons) and solar UV radiation on carbon sequestration and N2O emissions from experimental data obtained from field and laboratory studies of C-cycling rates, N-cycling rates, as well as diurnal and seasonal changes in solar UV.
        • Microscopic techniques and technologies to study soil cores, microbial communities, pollen samples, etc., in a laboratory environment for the detailed spectroscopic analysis relevant to evolution as a function of climate changes.
        • Robotic systems designed to provide access to environments such as deep-ocean hydrothermal vents.



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    • + Expand Mars Exploration Topic

      Topic S5 Mars Exploration PDF


      Technology enables us to answer our scientific questions. Without the continual development of new technologies, our thirst for knowledge will go unfulfilled. Our goal is to invent new technologies, rigorously test them here on Earth or in space and apply them to Mars Exploration. The technologies developed and tested in each mission will help enable even greater achievements in the missions that follow. See URL: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/technology/ for additional information.

      • 50809

        S5.01Detection and Reduction of Biological Contamination on Flight Hardware and in Return Sample Handling

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        As solar system exploration continues, NASA remains committed to the implementation of its planetary protection policy and regulations. Missions designed to return the first extraterrestrial samples since the Apollo moon landings are currently in space–the Stardust and Genesis spacecraft will… Read more>>



        As solar system exploration continues, NASA remains committed to the implementation of its planetary protection policy and regulations. Missions designed to return the first extraterrestrial samples since the Apollo moon landings are currently in space–the Stardust and Genesis spacecraft will return cometary and solar wind particles to Earth within this decade. A mission to return samples from Mars is being planned for the next decade. Other missions will seek evidence of life through in situ investigations far from Earth. One of the great challenges, therefore, is to develop or find the technologies or system approaches that will make compliance with planetary protection policy routine and affordable. Planetary protection is directed to 1) the control of terrestrial microbial contamination associated with robotic space vehicles intended to land, orbit, flyby, or otherwise be in the vicinity of extraterrestrial solar system bodies; and 2) the control of contamination of the Earth by extraterrestrial solar system material collected and returned by such missions. The implementation of these requirements will ensure that biological safeguards to maintain extraterrestrial bodies as biological preserves for scientific investigations are being followed in NASA's space program. To fulfill its commitment, NASA seeks technologies and system approaches that will support compliance with planetary protection requirements.



        Examples of such technologies include:

        • Techniques for cleaning of organics to the nanogram per square centimeter level on complex surfaces (nondestructively and without residues) and validation of cleanliness at this level or better
        • Nonabrasive cleaning techniques for narrow aperture occluded areas on spacecraft
        • Techniques for in situ (i.e., at the exploration site) cleaning and sterilization to prevent cross-contamination between planetary surface samples
        • A device or methodology for controlled measurement of microbial reduction at temperatures from 200–300°C to enable generation of microbial lethality curves.



        Examples of systems approaches include:

        • Containerization and encapsulation of samples to be returned to Earth, including innovative mechanisms for isolation, sealing, and leak detection
        • System design concepts to enable facile and rapid use of cleaning and sterilization technologies during flight hardware assembly
        • System design concepts to maintain the integrity of cleaned and sterilized complex flight systems and/or subsystems
        • System concepts that would facilitate spacecraft sterilization at the system level just before launch or in flight



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware and software demonstration, and that will, when possible, deliver a demonstration unit or software package for JPL testing before the completion of the Phase II contract.



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      • 50814

        S5.02Mars In Situ Robotics Technology

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): LaRC

        During future exploration of planets, moons, and small solar system bodies (such as comets and asteroids), developments are needed in new innovative robotic technologies for surface operations, subsurface access, and autonomous software for each. Because of limited spacecraft resources, elements… Read more>>

        During future exploration of planets, moons, and small solar system bodies (such as comets and asteroids), developments are needed in new innovative robotic technologies for surface operations, subsurface access, and autonomous software for each. Because of limited spacecraft resources, elements must be robust and have low power, volume, mass, computation, telemetry bandwidth, and operational overhead requirements. Successful technologies will have to operate in environments characterized by extremes of temperatures, pressures, gravity, high-gravity landing impacts, vibration, and thermal cycling. In particular, this subtopic seeks technology innovations in the following areas:



        Subsurface Access: Research should be conducted to develop complete, lightweight, dry drilling systems with a penetration depth of 10–50 m and have the capability of penetrating both regolith and rocks. The development should focus on significant reduction in mass from the currently available state-of-the-art interplanetary drilling systems as well as the automation required for real-time control and fault diagnosis and recovery. In addition, because of the lack of water in most of the environments of interest, the drilling should be performed without a lubricant between the bit and rock. Of interest also is the development of ice penetrators, designed with explicit consideration of limited computation and power, which use heat to melt their way through the surface.



        Rover Technology: Long-range autonomous navigation systems that focus on long distance (greater than 5 km) traverses through natural terrain, using no a priori knowledge of the subject terrain. Inflatable rover technology with a focus on the development of low-mass, highly capable platforms for exploration of extreme terrain through innovations in novel mechanisms and the automation required for real-time control. Systems enabling navigation in very rough terrain with explicit consideration of limited sensing, computation, and power. Development of new sensor prototypes, with a clear path to flight-ready status within a short time span and at minimum cost. Concepts for new mobility systems or components, such as innovative wheel or suspension designs. Instrument placement with a focus on improved tools for the design of manipulation systems, to perform contact and noncontact operations such as drilling, grasping, sample acquisition, sample transfer, and contact and noncontact science instrument placement and pointing. Infrastructure for research, including low-cost, mass producible, research-quality rovers and supporting elements.



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



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      • 50819

        S5.03Mars and Deep Space Telecommunications

        Lead Center: JPL

        This subtopic seeks innovative technologies for both RF and Free-Space Optical Communications supporting missions to Mars, including both planetary and proximity ranges, and for other planetary missions and local planetary networks. RF Communications Ultra-small, low-cost, low-power,… Read more>>



        This subtopic seeks innovative technologies for both RF and Free-Space Optical Communications supporting missions to Mars, including both planetary and proximity ranges, and for other planetary missions and local planetary networks.



        RF Communications

        • Ultra-small, low-cost, low-power, innovative deep-space 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 BPSK/QPSK modulation at X-band (8.4 GHz) and Ka-band.
        • Sub-microradian antenna pointing techniques for Ka-band spacecraft antennas.
        • High rate (10–200 Mbps) turbo-encoder and decoder and wavelet compression chips.
        • Technologies for surface-to-surface communications in planetary environments.
        • Fault-tolerant digital signal processing: Current space qualified DSP elements do not support high bandwidths because of the power consumption associated with radiation hardened manufacturing processes. Reconfigurable signal processing elements are sought that provide autonomous fault detection and correction with a graceful degradation in performance over the service life.
        • Antenna systems: Novel materials and approaches are sought to construct large, inflatable reflective and RF focusing surfaces for use as large aperture antennas. Need to provide highly directional surface to orbit antenna patterns to maintain high rate data links.



        Optical Communications

        • Efficient (greater than 20% wall plug), lightweight, flight-qualifiable, variable repetition-rate (1–60 MHz), pulsed lasers with greater than 1 kW of peak power per pulse (over the entire pulse-repetition rate), and potential for up to 10 W of average power.
        • Photon counting 1064 nm and 1550 nm detectors with the gain greater than 1000, detection efficiency greater than 50%, very low additive noise, about 0.5 mm in diameter, bandwidth greater than 500 MHz, saturation levels > 50Mcounts/s.
        • Lightweight, compact, high precision (less than 0.1 micro-radian), high bandwidth (0–2kHz), inertial reference sensors (angle sensors, gyros) for use onboard spacecraft.
        • Novel schemes for stray-light control and sunlight mitigation, especially for large (> 5 m) ground-based optical antennae that must operate when pointed to within a few (about 3) degrees of the Sun.
        • Low-cost, lightweight, efficient, compact, high precision (one micro-radian accuracy) star-trackers for spaceflight application.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware and software demonstration, and that will, when possible, deliver a demonstration unit or software package for JPL testing before completion of the Phase II contract.






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