NASA SBIR/STTR 2005 Program Solicitation Details | SBIR Research Topics

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    • + Expand Space Communications Topic

      Topic O1 Space Communications PDF


      NASA communications capabilities are based on the premise that communications shall be an enabler and not constrain missions. Communications must be robust to support the numerous missions for space science, Earth science, and exploration of the universe. Technologies such as long range optical communications (under the Science Mission Directorate), near earth and intersatellite optical communications, RF communications technologies including antennas, surface networks, reprogrammable/reconfigurable communications systems, advanced antenna technology and transmit array concepts, and communications in support of launch services are very important to the future of the exploration and science activities of NASA. Communications that enable the range safety data from sensitive instruments is imperative. The subtopics below address these technologies and support the goals of the Agency.

      • 50850

        O1.01Coding, Modulation, and Compression

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL

        Power and spectrum efficient solutions are needed for both near Earth and deep space application scenarios. Coding efficiency from 50% to 87% will be combined with digital modulation from 2bits/symbol/Hz up to yield-optimal solutions. In compression, tunable technique from over 10:1 compression… Read more>>

        Power and spectrum efficient solutions are needed for both near Earth and deep space application scenarios. Coding efficiency from 50% to 87% will be combined with digital modulation from 2bits/symbol/Hz up to yield-optimal solutions. In compression, tunable technique from over 10:1 compression ratio to lossless is desired. Proposals are sought in the following specific areas:



        Compression

        • Software for transcoding of compressed bit streams from CCSDS Image Data Compression recommendation to commercial JPEG2k bit stream;and
        • Demonstration in either PC-based or workstation-based systems with minimal loss of quality during the transcoding process.



        Coding and Coded Modulation

        • A design for a set of coded modulations operating at bandwidth efficiencies from 0.5 bits/symbol/Hz to 3+ bits/symbol/Hz, in steps of approximately 0.5 bits/symbol/Hz. Each point design shall require a bit signal-to-noise ratio not higher than 1 dB above the unconstrained-input, 2-dimensional capacity of the additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channel. The preferred input block frame length is 4K to 16K bits.
        • Special emphasis is placed on a channel coding design suitable for near Earth missions, operating at least at over 80% coding rate with an error floor lower than Bit-Error-Rate (BER) of 10e-10, and encoder/decoder complexity consistent with implementations at data rates up to 1 Gbps. The new design, when compared with current CCSDS Reed-Solomon (255,223) coder at BER of 10e-5, should have over 2dB Eb/No gain. The preferred code block frame length is from 4K to 16K bits.
        • High-speed implementation of the coded modulation suite with processing throughput close to 300 Mbits/sec and demonstration in test bed. The test bed shall include functions of encoding, modulation, demodulation, and decoding. The ability for the test bed to incorporate channel impairments, an over-the-air RF component, and software re-configurability, are desirable.
        • RF receivers with symbol synchronizer providing soft-decision output over 8 bits/sample, as input to Maximum Likelihood Detector to provide metrics for decoding Trellis-coded-Modulation.



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      • 50870

        O1.02Precision Navigation and Tracking

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        This call for proposals is meant to serve NASA's ever-evolving set of missions which require precise tracking of spacecraft position and velocity in order to achieve mission success. The call seeks evolutionary improvements in modularity, sustainability, cost, and performance for current space… Read more>>

        This call for proposals is meant to serve NASA's ever-evolving set of missions which require precise tracking of spacecraft position and velocity in order to achieve mission success. The call seeks evolutionary improvements in modularity, sustainability, cost, and performance for current space navigation concepts that support the Vision for Space Exploration, including all development spirals of systems of systems supporting Projects Constellation, Prometheus, robotic servicing, and robotic earth and space science missions. NASA also seeks disruptive navigation concepts that might not match the modularity, sustainability, cost, and/or performance of current technologies and their near-term evolution, but have convincingly demonstrable potential to overtake the evolution of current technologies within the timeframe of the later spirals of Projects Constellation and Prometheus, and earth and space science missions in the 2015-2020 timeframes.



        While the definition of "precise" depends upon the mission context, typical interplanetary scenarios have required Earth-based radiometric ranging accuracies of order 1-2m at 1 AU, doppler to 0.03 mm/sec, and plane-of-sky angles to 2.5 nano-radians. While some legacy applications remain at 2.3 GHz, most current tracking is being done at 8.4 GHz. Forward looking demonstrations are being planned at 32 GHz. These radiometric techniques have been complimented by optical techniques which achieve ~1.5 micro-radian angular accuracy upon target approach. The accuracy of radio-based techniques is typically limited by one's ability to calibrate the path delay through intervening media (troposphere, ionosphere) and by the phase stability of electronics in both the spacecraft and ground systems. For both media and electronics, the stability goal is to achieve Allan standard deviations of 4e-15 at 100 seconds and of 1.5 e-15 at 1e3 to 1e4 seconds while maintaining or improving upon current levels of reliability.



        Space navigation technology concepts should support launch and return to Earth, including range safety, early orbit operations, in-space assembly, cis-lunar and interplanetary transit, lunar and planetary approach and orbit, ascent and descent from lunar and planetary surfaces, including precision landing, lunar and planetary surface operations, automated rendezvous and docking, and formation flying spacecraft forming synthetic apertures for science imaging and interferometry. NASA considers applicability to multiple operational regimes through modularity and/or missionization of common components a key element in its exploration strategy. Space navigation systems must produce accurate long-term trajectory predictions as well as definitive epoch solutions. Where applicable, proposed concepts should be interoperable with and/or leverage the resources of NASA's space communications architecture. All navigation systems should be compatible, where applicable, to continuous or near-continuous trajectory perturbations generated by onboard spacecraft systems. All concepts must show some significant advantages over current techniques in at least one of the following areas: accuracy, cost, reliability, modularity, sustainability, or for onboard systems, mass, power, and volume.



        Innovative technologies are sought in the following areas:


        • Highly phase-stable RF ground systems are critical to high accuracy radiometric tracking. Present systems rely upon analog transmission over 0.5 to 10 km distances of a broadband (100-600 MHz) spectrum. Transmission induced phase errors could be greatly reduced by developing highly phase stable digital sampling and time tagging systems that can be placed near (~10m) to the RF feedhorn without measurably degrading the RF signal capture with spurious tones and noise. Phase stability goals are given above. The sampler should Nyquist sample the 100-600 MHz band with at least 8-bit resolution and be capable of digitally transmitting the resulting samples over fiber optic lines;
        • The VLBI parameter estimation software used to build the radiometric reference frames used for precise tracking relies on a Square Root Information Filter that makes use of Householder transformation techniques. These solutions often take several days of CPU on a modern workstation. Block matrix techniques have the potential to optimize the interaction of the CPU and cache memory thereby greatly reducing the CPU time needed for solutions. The goal is a factor of three improvement in total solution time for problems with 7 million data points and 500,000 parameters which include at least 5000 parameters that are active over the entire data set;
        • Microwave radiometry of atmospheric emission lines (22 GHz H20, 60 GHz O2) has been successful in demonstrating 1 mm level calibration of tropospheric path delay. However, the usefulness of this technique has been limited by the large mass and size of the instrument packages. Identifying/developing low mass, low cost implementations of this technique without significantly sacrificing accuracy would greatly enhance precise tracking;
        • Develop low mass, (Less than 1 kg) low cost onboard radio frequency standards for generating highly phase-stable onboard radio signals which achieve Allan standard deviations of 1 x 10-15 at 1000 seconds and drift of less than 10-15/day;
        • Develop innovative tracking technologies using new wavelengths (X-ray, Infra-red, etc.), such as systems using celestial and planetary emissions and reflections (not limited to the visible spectrum) that can produce three-dimensional absolute and relative position and velocity in regions where Earth-based GPS measurements are not available, The technologies can exploit either ground based or on-board techniques;
        • Develop innovative technologies for improving the state of the art in terms of cost and performance in making spacecraft-to-spacecraft measurements, such as omni-directional range and bearing sensors and robotic-vision-based systems; and
        • Develop innovative navigation algorithms and software supporting analysis, design, and mission operations that will reduce operations costs and support multiple systems in simultaneous, tightly-coupled, non-quiescent operations, such as robotic servicing and formation flying.



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      • 50849

        O1.03Communiction for Space-Based Range

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, KSC, MSFC

        Metric tracking of launch vehicles for range safety purposes is currently based on redundant radars, telemetry receivers, and uplink command transmitters at the launch site with additional assets deployed downrange in order to maintain line of sight communications with the vehicle as it passes over… Read more>>

        Metric tracking of launch vehicles for range safety purposes is currently based on redundant radars, telemetry receivers, and uplink command transmitters at the launch site with additional assets deployed downrange in order to maintain line of sight communications with the vehicle as it passes over the horizon to orbital insertion. The vision of space-based range architecture is to assure public safety, cut the costs of launch operations, decrease response time, and improve geographic and temporal flexibility by reducing or eliminating these assets. In order to achieve this, a number of advancements in tracking and telemetry are required. Some of NASA's needs are:



        GPS/IMU Metric Tracking and Autonomous Systems

        Realization of a space-based range requires development of GPS receivers that incorporate: (a) low power consumption, (b) low mass/volume, (c) compliance with range safety standards, (d) flexible tracking loop programmability, (e) programmable output formats, and (f) operability in high G environments. Other highly desirable GPS specific characteristics include open architecture supported by development software and the capability of being incorporated onto circuit boards designed for multiple functions.



        Tactical grade IMUs are needed which can function on spin stabilized rockets (up to 7 rps) and reliably function during sudden jerk and acceleration associated with launch and engine firings and can be coupled with GPS receivers.



        Also needed are approaches to processing the outputs of navigation sensors and combining them with rule-based systems for autonomous navigation and termination decision making.



        Space Based Telemetry

        Small, lightweight, low cost transceivers capable of establishing satellite communications links for telemetry and control during the launch and assent stages of flight are required to provide unbroken communications throughout the launch phase. These may enable use of the NASA TDRSS; or commercial communications satellites. Techniques for multiplexing narrow bandwidth channels to permit increased bit rates and improved algorithms for ensuring smooth transition of support between communications satellites are also needed.


        GPS Attitude Determination for Launch Vehicles

        Investigate using inexpensive arrays of GPS antennas and receivers on small expendable launch vehicles to determine the attitude angles and their rates of change as an alternative to traditional inertial measurement units. The system should be contained entirely on the vehicle and not rely on ground-based processing. The attitude accuracy should be comparable to gyroscope-based systems and should be free of drift and gimble lock. The system must be able to maintain attitude output during periods of high dynamics and erratic flight. The attitude must be determined at a rate of least 10 Hz with minimal processing delay and must be output in a format compatible with vehicle telemetry systems.



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      • 50837

        O1.04Antenna Technology

        Lead Center: GRC

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

        NASA seeks advanced antenna systems for use in spacecraft and planetary surface vehicles used in science, exploration systems, and space operations missions. Future manned missions to the Moon and Mars will have stringent communication requirements. Highly robust communication networks will be… Read more>>

        NASA seeks advanced antenna systems for use in spacecraft and planetary surface vehicles used in science, exploration systems, and space operations missions. Future manned missions to the Moon and Mars will have stringent communication requirements. Highly robust communication networks will be established in the vicinity of the planet to support long-term human interplanetary mission. Such networks will consist of a large number of communication links that connect the various network nodes. Some of these nodes must also maintain continuous high data rate communication links between the Moon and the Earth. Great demands will be placed upon these communication systems to assure crew safety, robustness in harsh environments, and high reliability for long-duration manned missions.



        Areas of interest include lightweight deployable antenna systems, high-gain antenna architectures, multi-frequency and dual polarized antennas, self-orienting systems, reconfigurable antennas, and novel concepts such as antennas that can adapt to failed components without compromising performance and operability (e.g., smart antennas). NASA seeks to develop a lightweight, scanning, phased array antenna system that enables assured communication links for human interplanetary exploration.



        Large inflatable membrane antennas to significantly reduce stowage volume, provide high deployment reliability, and significantly reduced mass (i.e.


        High efficiency, miniature antennas with smaller than lambda square aperture size, to provide astronauts and robotics communications for surface-to-surface and surface-to-orbit for lunar, Mars, and planetary exploration missions. Recent antenna research and development has shown that it is possible to design and build aperture antennas with smaller than the minimum effective aperture sizes of dipoles. This new class of antennas can provide higher antenna gains (>2.5 dBi) than a dipole antenna in much smaller aperture sizes (


        The architecture for lunar exploration is expected to involve a layered communications and navigation network. This network may include lunar vicinity relay satellites at L1 and L2 Lagrange points as well as lunar polar orbiting satellites. The lunar proximity network must be able to access dedicated assets, such as Malapert Station, and eventually include human assets, such as crewed rovers, as relay nodes. Consequently, there is interest in antenna technologies that enable low-cost but reliable, reconfigurable, and agile antennas at frequencies up to 38 GHz. Another component technology that shows high interest in the area of Earth and planet science is thin-membrane, mountable T/R modules, phase shifters, beam former, control circuitry, etc. for future deployable/inflatable, large-aperture, phased array application. This topic seeks novel smart antenna concepts that address the aforementioned requirements.



        There is also interest in space-to-surface links at 25.5 GHz and 37 GHz. The size of reflector antennas is limited by the accuracy of the reflector surface that can be achieved and maintained on-orbit. Development of special materials and structural techniques to control their environment, etc., reduces environmentally-induced surface errors and increases the maximum useable reflector size. Distortions caused by thermal gradients are inherently a large-scale phenomenon. The reflector surface is usually sufficiently accurate over substantially large local areas but these areas are not on the same desired parabolic surface. An array of feed elements can be designed to illuminate the reflector with a distorted spherical wave. This distortion can be used to compensate for large-scale surface errors induced by thermal gradients, gravitational and other forces, and manufacturing processes. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: compensating feed system for an antenna reflector surface with large-scale distortions; techniques for the remote measurement of satellite antenna profile errors; determination of orbiting S/C antenna distortion by ground-based measurements; measuring and compensating antenna thermal distortions; reflector measurements and corrections using arrays; reflector distortion measurement and compensation using array feeds.



        NASA is interested in low-cost phased array antennas for suborbital vehicles such as sounding rockets, balloons, UAV's, and expendable vehicles. The frequencies of interest are S band, Ku band, and Ka band. The arrays are required to be aerodynamic in shape for the sounding rockets, UAVs, and expendable platforms. The balloon vehicles primarily communicate with TDRS and can tolerate a wide range of mechanical dimensions.



        Finally, antenna pointing techniques and technologies for Ka-band spacecraft antennas that can provide spacecraft knowledge with sub-milliradian precision (e.g.,


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      • 50867

        O1.05Antenna Array Transmission Techniques

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GRC

        NASA is designing arrays of ground-based antennas to serve the telecommunications needs of future space exploration. Medium-size (12m class) antennas have been selected for receiving, and arrays of hundreds of them are expected to be required. Applications include communication with distant… Read more>>

        NASA is designing arrays of ground-based antennas to serve the telecommunications needs of future space exploration. Medium-size (12m class) antennas have been selected for receiving, and arrays of hundreds of them are expected to be required. Applications include communication with distant spacecraft; radar studies of solar system objects; radio astronomy; and perhaps other scientific uses. A significant challenge is the implementation of an array for transmitting (uplinking), which may or may not use the same antennas that are used for receiving. The uplink frequency will be in the 7.1-8.6 GHz band (X-band) in the near term and may be in the 31.5-33.0 GHz band (Ka Band) in the future; it will likely carry digital modulation at rates from 10 kbps to 30 Mbps. An EIRP of at least 500 GW is required, and some applications contemplate an EIRP as high as 10 TW. It is also desirable to support as many as ten simultaneously-operating deep-space missions from one complex on Earth, and to have at least three geographically separated complexes so communication is possible with a given spacecraft at any time of the day.



        The major open questions in the uplink array design are:


        • Minimizing the life-cycle cost of an array that produces a given EIRP by selecting the optimum combination of antenna size, transmitter power, and number of antennas. This becomes much more difficult if the option of using the same antenna for both uplink and downlink is considered;
        • Identifying/developing low-cost, highly reliable, easily serviceable components for key systems. This could include highly integrated RF and digital signal processing electronics, including mixed-signal ASICs. It could also include low-cost, high-volume antenna manufacturing techniques. (For the receiving array, another key component is a cryogenic refrigerator for the 15-25K range.) Also, low-cost transmitters (including medium-power (of the order of 100s of Watts) amplifiers are key;
        • Phase calibration techniques are required to ensure coherent addition of the signals from individual antennas at the spacecraft. It is important to understand whether space-based techniques are required or ground-based techniques are adequate. In general, a target spacecraft in deep space cannot be used for calibration because of the long round-trip communication delay;
        • Design of ultra phase-stable electronics to maintain the relative phase among antennas. These will minimize the need for continuous, extensive and/or disruptive calibrations;
        • Understanding the effect of the medium (primarily the Earth's troposphere) on the coherence of the signals at the target spacecraft. Generally, turbulence in the medium tends to disrupt the coherence in a way that is time-dependent and site-dependent. A quantitative understanding of this is needed; and
        • Techniques for integrating a very low-noise, cryogenically-cooled receiver with medium power (1W to 200W) transmitter. If transmitting and receiving are combined on the same antenna, the performance of each should be compromised as little as possible while maintaining low cost and high reliability.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration that will, when appropriate, deliver a demonstration unit for testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 50838

        O1.06Reconfigurable/Reprogrammable Communication Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

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

        NASA seeks novel approaches in reconfigurable, reprogrammable communication systems to enable the vision of Space, Exploration, Science, and Aeronautical Systems. Exploration of Martian and lunar environments will require advancements in communication systems to manage the demands of the harsh space… Read more>>

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



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


        • Advancements in bandwidth capacity, reduced resource consumption, or adherence to standard and open hardware and software interfaces. Techniques should include fault tolerant, reliable software execution, reprogrammable digital signal processing devices;
        • Reconfigurable software and firmware that provide access control, authentication, and data integrity checks of the reconfiguration process including partial reconfiguration, which allows simultaneous operation and upload of new waveforms or functions;
        • Operator or automated reconfiguration, or waveform load detection failure, and the ability to provide access back to a known, reliable operational state. An automated restore capability ensures the system can revert to a baseline configuration, thereby avoiding permanent communications loss due to an errant reconfiguration process or logic upset;
        • Dynamic or distributed on-board processing architectures to provide reconfigurability and processing capacity. For example, demonstrate technologies to enable a common processing system capacity for communications, science, and health monitoring;
        • Adaptive modulation and waveform recognition techniques are desired to enable transceivers to exchange waveforms with other assets automatically or through ground control;
        • Low overhead, low complexity hardware and software architectures to enable hardware or software component or design reuse (e.g., software portability) to demonstrate cost or time savings. Emphasis is on the application of open standard architectures to facilitate interoperability among different vendors and to minimize the operational impact of upgrading hardware and software components;
        • Software tools or tool chain methodologies that enable both design and software modeling and code reuse, and advancements in optimized code generation for digital signal processing systems;
        • The use of reconfigurable logic devices in software-defined radios is expected to increase in the future to provide reconfigurability and on-orbit flexibility for waveforms and applications. As the densities of these devices continues to increase, and size decreases, the susceptibility of the electronics to single event effects also increases. Novel approaches are sought to mitigate single event effects in reconfigurable logic caused by charged particles, thereby improving reliability. New methods may show advancements in reduced cost, power consumption, or complexity compared to traditional approaches (i.e., voting schemes and constant updates {e.g., scrubbing}).
        • Techniques and implementations to provide a core capability within the software-defined radio in the event of failure or disruption of the primary waveform and/or system hardware. Communication loss should be detected and core capability (e.g., "gold" waveform code) is automatically executed to provide access control and restore operation;
        • Innovative solutions to software-defined radio implementations that reduce power consumption and mass. Solutions should enable future hardware scalability among different mission classes (e.g., low-rate, deep space to moderate or high-rate near planetary, or relay spacecraft) and should promote modularity and common, open interfaces; and
        • In component technology, advancements in analog-to-digital converters or digital-to-analog converters to increase sampling and resolution capabilities; novel techniques to increase memory densities; and advancements in processing and reconfigurable logic technology, each reducing power consumption and improving performance in harsh environments.



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      • 50943

        O1.07Extravehicular (EVA) Radios

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC

        Human exploration of the Martian environment demands radio technology that tolerates extreme conditions. The harsh environment of the Martian atmosphere contains not only increased radiation, which is damaging to semiconductors, but also dust and ionic storms, which are disruptive to communications.… Read more>>

        Human exploration of the Martian environment demands radio technology that tolerates extreme conditions. The harsh environment of the Martian atmosphere contains not only increased radiation, which is damaging to semiconductors, but also dust and ionic storms, which are disruptive to communications. Frequency agility will be necessary during periods of disruption due to these storms. Small volume and low mass are always sought for any space mission; they are critical for systems embedded in EVA spacesuits, which seek to enhance the astronaut's mobility on the planet's surface.



        The focus of this activity is to develop radio methodologies that ensure increased reliability and fault-tolerance in the processor electronics and performance of EVA radios for human interplanetary missions. Exploring unknown worlds with unforeseeable threats is understandably stressful for the most intrepid astronaut. By providing a system that is even less likely to fail and easier to use, this can be mitigated. In a human exploration mission, loss of communications is not merely inconvenient; it can be deadly.



        The radio systems design must reflect the very special human factors requirements imposed by the mission and the protective spacesuit. While these latter provide a pressurized atmosphere, temperature control, protection from micrometeroids, communications, and a myriad of other functions essential to the survival of an astronaut, the best designs add bulk and inhibit natural movements. EVA radio systems must be designed to be easily operable in any circumstance.



        This solicitation seeks to develop an EVA radio that notionally consists of limited front-end complexity hardware combined with a signal processing back end while minimizing traditional radio analog system components in order to maintain waveform flexibility and reconfigurability. The communication bands of interest are the space allocations from UHF to Ka; the precise band used will be dictated by bandwidth needs and the specific application. The radio should support multiple bandwidths of data transmission to support telemetry, voice, and video, and should have automatic adaptive techniques to handle changing propagation and interference. The radio should have an upper mass limit of 300g, a peak transmission power of 5W, and a receive mode which consumes no more than 10 mW.



        Additionally, this radio must be configurable for many applications, with a goal of reducing radio inventory management. Ka-band is the most appropriate for high data rate video links, while UHF bands can be used for low-rate telemetry and voice applications. Operational scenarios will dictate the exact requirements, but it is envisioned that EVA radios will need to transmit both audio and video to surface rovers, landers, and habitats. An EVA-Ka proximity link will be needed to track the rover should it travel outside the astronaut's field of view. Astronauts will need to communicate with each other while performing maintenance or service tasks either on the ground or in orbit, so an EVA-to-EVA video link will be needed. It is possible that the EVA radio will need the capability to relay communications through a satellite to maintain constant contact with landers, habitats, or astronauts that are obscured or whose signals are otherwise blocked.



        Ideally, one radio type will be suitable for many applications, without extensive configuration efforts, through the use of automatic self-configuration or adaptation to the application environment. It is intended that the dual goals of flexibility and survivability can be met with a modular architecture and operational paradigm. New and innovative solutions are sought that provide provable performance and survivability improvements.



        The radio should underscore design of both hardware and software for failure tolerance and slow and soft degradation upon component or gate failure. Operation should be maintained following any single point failure in a discrete component or logic gate, even if in diminished capacity. Handling multiple failures with degradation is preferred. Methods that address space hardening of critical components are envisioned. Designs should also consider fallback schemes where the goal is to maintain communications even at the cost of quality, bandwidth, or functionality



        Phase 1: The Phase 1 proposal should address the technical challenges posed by the design considerations enumerated above. During the Phase 1 effort, the EVA radio requirements definition, the initial design, and the method of testing the EVA radio will be developed. Because testing needs to include both ground testing and space testing, the proposal should address both of these elements as well as the proposed migration path between the two. Deliverables should include a prototype simulation of the design demonstrating the EVA radio's ability to reconfigure between bands/applications and a hardware prototype demonstrating some degree of fault survivability or reconfiguration.



        Phase 2: During Phase 2, prototype integrated hardware and software comprising the EVA radio will be developed, finalized, and tested based on the designs developed in Phase 1. Design changes will be finalized in this phase as a result of testing according to the guidelines developed in Phase 1.



        Phase 3: EVA radios suitable for early lunar missions will be fabricated, tested, and demonstrated according to the testing guidelines developed in Phase 1 and the prototypes fabricated in Phase 2.



        Commercialization: Fire, police, and other civil and law enforcement agencies would benefit from radios that could be reconfigured on-the-fly to interoperate with each other. Currently, police and fire officials must usually be routed through a central hub and precious time is lost in the attempt to communicate between agencies. Major disasters have shown a need for a universal communication system that is adaptable.



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      • 50843

        O1.08Transformational Communications Technology

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        NASA seeks revolutionary, highly innovative, "transformational" communications and navigational technologies to potentially enable breakthrough performance improvements for science, exploration systems, and space operations mission applications. Research focuses on (but is not limited to) the… Read more>>

        NASA seeks revolutionary, highly innovative, "transformational" communications and navigational technologies to potentially enable breakthrough performance improvements for science, exploration systems, and space operations mission applications. Research focuses on (but is not limited to) the following areas:


        • Use of quantum entanglement or innovative breakthroughs in quantum information physics to specifically address curious effects and critical unknowns relevant to revolutionary improvements in communicating data, information, or knowledge between independent entities across space-time. Methods or techniques that demonstrate extremely novel means of effectively packaging, storing, encrypting (e.g., quantum key distribution), and/or transferring information or knowledge in space-to-space or space-to-ground links;
        • Innovative methods of using X-ray or radio pulsar signals for precise navigation or positioning of spacecraft. Small, low mass, reliable detectors, improvements in position accuracy, digital signal processing advances for time of arrival, drift estimation, and position estimation;
        • Development of nano-scale communication devices and systems (e.g., FET arrays, nano-antennas, nano-transceivers, etc.) for nano-spacecraft applications;
        • RF Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) devices. MEMS devices have low spatial volume, are lightweight, and have low-power consumption, making them attractive to operate as high Q components and perform frequency selectivity (i.e., agile pre-selectors, multi-couplers, and diplexers). Selectivity, or Q, for band pass filters currently comes at an unacceptably high penalty in size and mass. At present, most high rejection diplexers for space-based radios are quite large. To build and design high performance, tightly coupled, low volume space radios, compact selectivity-determining devices are a critical enabler. Most high Q filters above 400MHz, such as inter-digital filters and others involving resonant cavities, are wholly mechanical assemblies which can be "folded" in their design and lend themselves to micro machining techniques; and
        • Other areas of investigation to consider lie within the area between MEMS and micro-machined devices, including electromechanically tuned filters, 3D micro-machined RF resonators, filter configurations consisting of cantilevered structures, as well as carbon nano-tube waveguides. Development of RF MEMS circuitry that applies and demonstrates significant advantages that proliferate the implementation of next-generation lightweight communications systems.





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    • + Expand Space Transportaion Topic

      Topic O2 Space Transportaion PDF


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

      • 52182

        O2.01Automated Optical Tracking and Identification of 3D Tumbling Objects

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        Automated Optical Tracking Develop a fully automated optical tracking system using data from multiple tracking stations located in and around the spaceport to provide accurate real-time trajectory and range data on space-lift vehicles for as long as possible following launch. The necessary… Read more>>

        Automated Optical Tracking

        Develop a fully automated optical tracking system using data from multiple tracking stations located in and around the spaceport to provide accurate real-time trajectory and range data on space-lift vehicles for as long as possible following launch. The necessary optical tracking algorithms will be developed and modeled, with an emphasis on a robust automated tracking capability in the presence of smoke, clouds, or haze. The camera locations may be either land or sea based, or mounted on aerial vehicles, or some combination of all three. The initial investigation will determine the maximum downrange tracking distance, the tracking errors as a function of downrange distance, the processing speed, and the means for transmitting analyzed data to the command center.



        Tracking and Identification of 3D Tumbling Objects

        Develop techniques to track and construct 3-dimensional views of tumbling objects in the atmosphere or space using digital optical tracking images for a variety of missions. These views will be used to determine the objects' approximate geometric sizes and shapes. The potential application is to help track and identify debris quickly after an accident or flight anomaly. The data will be provided by sequential digital images from one or more tracking cameras, ideally operating autonomously. The goal is to track and identify between 50 to 100 objects with typical cross-sections varying from tens of square meters down to one square meter or less within several minutes after an accident. The initial investigation will determine the minimum size that can be imaged using current technology, the probability of correctly estimating an object's size and shape, the processing speed, and the means for transmitting analyzed data to the command center.



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      • 50959

        O2.02Space Transportation Test Requirements and Instrumentation

        Lead Center: SSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, MSFC

        Ground testing of propulsion systems is a critical requirement to enable NASA's New Vision for Exploration announced by President Bush. Relevant ground testing technologies and capabilities are crucial to the Development, Qualification, and Acceptance process of validating cargo launch vehicles and… Read more>>

        Ground testing of propulsion systems is a critical requirement to enable NASA's New Vision for Exploration announced by President Bush. Relevant ground testing technologies and capabilities are crucial to the Development, Qualification, and Acceptance process of validating cargo launch vehicles and Human Rated Vehicles including Crew Exploration Vehicles (CEV), CEV Launch Systems, Cargo Launch Systems, and Lunar Surface Access Modules propulsion systems. The ability to quickly and efficiently perform system certification greatly impacts all space programs. While hydrocarbon engines have not been officially selected as the next generation of launch vehicle propulsion systems, it is widely agreed that a return to hydrocarbon propellants is necessary to achieve the heavy lift capability required by these programs.



        Engine Plume Sensors and Modeling

        Engine plume in situ remote measurements during ground testing can provide information on the engine health and the engine performance as well as concentrations of environmentally sensitive species without disturbing the engine testing. In particular, since hydrocarbon fueled rocket engine plumes contain carbon soot because of fuel-rich combustion, soot measurements and modeling are very important. Rocket plume sensors must be able to detect gas species, temperature, and velocity for hydrocarbons (kerosene), and hybrid fuels.



        Innovative sensors are required for measuring flow rate, temperature, pressure, rocket engine plume constituents, and effluent gas detection. Sensors must not physically intrude into the measurement space. High accuracy (0.2%), low-millisecond to sub-millisecond response time is required. Temperature sensors must be able to measure both cryogenic and high temperature fluids under high pressure (up to 15,000 psi) and high flow rate conditions (82 ft/sec). Response time must be on the order of a few milliseconds to sub-milliseconds.



        Innovative methods in phenomenology, modeling, sensors, and instrumentation for the prediction, characterization, and measurement of rocket engine combustion instability are of interest. Sensor systems should have bandwidth capabilities in excess of 100 kHz. Emphasis is on development of optical-based sensor systems that will be non-intrusive in the test article hardware or exhaust plume.



        Sensors must support integration with Integrated Systems Health Management (ISHM) technologies.



        Engine Acoustic Energy Prediction and Sensing

        The high levels of acoustic energy generated by rocket engines can be destructive to both launch vehicles and ground test/launch facilities. Current acoustic energy prediction methods can only provide a rough order of magnitude estimate of the amount of acoustic energy that a rocket engine will generate. Consequently, facilities and vehicles may be unnecessarily over designed to withstand the higher predictions, adding unnecessary weight and complexity.



        New and innovative acoustic measurement techniques and sensors are necessary to accurately measure and predict the rocket plume acoustic environment. Current methods of predicting far-field and near-field acoustic levels produced by rocket engines rely on empirical models and require numerous physical measurements. New and innovative acoustic prediction methods are required that can accurately predict the acoustic levels a priori or using fewer measurements. New, innovative techniques based on energy density measurements rather than pressure measurements show promise as replacements for the older models.



        Computational and Modeling Tools and Methods

        The wide range of pressures, flow rates, and temperatures associated with rocket propulsion systems result in complex dynamics. It is not realistic to physically test each component and the component-to-component interaction in all states before designing a system. Consequently, systems must be tuned after fabrication, requiring extensive testing and often component redesign. Tools and methods are necessary that will allow the use of computational methods to accurately model and predict system performance.



        Development of tools that integrate simple operator interfaces with detailed design and/or analysis software for modeling and enhancing the flow performance of flow system components such as valves, check valves, pressure regulators, flow meters, cavitating venturis, and propellant run tanks. In addition, new and improved methods to accurately model the transient interaction between cryogenic fluid flow and immersed sensors that predict the dynamic load on the sensors, frequency spectrum, heat transfer, and effect on the flow field are needed.



        Propulsion System Exhaust Plume Flow Field Definition and Associated Plume Induced Environments (PIE)

        An accurate definition of a propulsion system exhaust plume flow field and its associated PIE are required to support the design efforts necessary to safely and optimally accomplish many phases of any space flight mission from sea level or simulated altitude testing of a propulsion system to landing on and returning from the Moon or Mars. Accurately defined PIE result in increased safety, optimized design, and minimized costs associated with:


        • Propulsion system and/or component testing of both the test article and test facility;
        • Launch vehicle and associated launch facility during liftoff from the Earth, Moon, or Mars;
        • Launch vehicle during the ascent portion of flight including staging, effects of separation motors, and associated pitch maneuvers;
        • Effects of orbital maneuverings systems (including contamination) on associated vehicles and/or payloads and their contribution to space environments;
        • Vehicles intended to land on and return from the surface of the Moon or Mars; and
        • Effects of a vehicle propulsion system on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars including the contaminations of those surfaces by plume constituents and associated propulsion system constituents.



        In general, the current plume technology used to define a propulsion system exhaust plume flow field and its associated plume induced environments is far superior to that used in support of the original Space Shuttle design. However, further improvements of this technology are required:


        • To reduce conservatism, in the current technology, allowing greater optimization of any vehicle and/or payload design while keeping in mind crew safety through all mission phases; and
        • To support the efforts to fill current critical technology gaps (below). PIE areas of particular interest include: single engine and multi-engine plume flow field definition for all phases of any space flight mission, plume induced acoustic environments, plume induced radiative and convective ascent vehicle base heating, plume contamination, and direct and/or indirect plume impingement effects.



        Current critical technology gaps in needed PIE capabilities include:


        • An accurate analytical prediction tool to define convective ascent vehicle base heating for both single engine and multi-engine vehicle configurations;
        • An accurate analytical prediction tool to define plume induced environments associated with advanced chemical, electrical and nuclear propulsion systems; and
        • A validated, user friendly, free molecular flow model for defining plumes and plume induced environments for low density external environments that exist on orbit, as well as interplanetary and other planets.



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      • 52198

        O2.03Automated Collection and Transfer of Range Surveillance/Intrusion Data

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

        Range surveillance is a primary focus of launch range safety and often a cost and schedule driver. Launch delays, due to the difficulty of verifying a cleared range, are common and will increase as spaceports are developed in new areas. Proposals are sought for sensors and communications… Read more>>

        Range surveillance is a primary focus of launch range safety and often a cost and schedule driver. Launch delays, due to the difficulty of verifying a cleared range, are common and will increase as spaceports are developed in new areas. Proposals are sought for sensors and communications technologies that expedite range clearance such as sonobouys; high altitude airships (HAAs) and related developments for thermal and gas pressure management, power systems, propulsion systems, and flight control; UAVs; use of commercial communication satellites for data transfer over the horizon; imaging through atmosphere and self learning/neural networks for pattern recognition.







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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:

      • 50952

        A1.01Crew Systems Technologies for Improved Aviation Safety

        Lead Center: LaRC

        NASA seeks highly innovative, crew-centered, technologies to improve aerospace system safety. Such advanced technologies may meet this goal by ensuring appropriate situation awareness; facilitating and extending human perception, information interpretation, and response planning and selection;… Read more>>

        NASA seeks highly innovative, crew-centered, technologies to improve aerospace system safety. Such advanced technologies may meet this goal 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 appropriate access to airspace as constrained by safety and security concerns. We require improved methods and tools for characterizing current and future users of aerospace systems, and tailoring designs to users. Such advanced technologies must be evaluated sensitively and in operationally-valid contexts. Therefore, NASA also seeks tools and methods for measuring and evaluating aerospace system operator performance, and as this performance is reflected by system performance. 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. Specific topical areas of interest include the following:


        • 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 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 operators, and pilots from special population groups
        • 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;
        • Presentation and aiding concepts for the display and use of data with spatial or temporal uncertainty, and of integrated streams of data with various levels of integrity
        • Individual and team performance metrics, analysis methods, and tools to better evaluate and certify human and system performance for use in operational environments, simulation, and model-based analyses



        Proposals should describe technologies, tools, and approaches with high potential to serve NASA program objectives, and to be developed as marketable products.



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      • 50847

        A1.02Aviation Safety and Security; Fire, Icing, Propulsion and Secure CNS Aircraft Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        NASA is concerned with the prevention of hazardous in-flight conditions and the mitigation of their effects when they do occur. 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. One particular… Read more>>

        NASA is concerned with the prevention of hazardous in-flight conditions and the mitigation of their effects when they do occur. 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. One particular emphasis is on early, false-alarm resistant detection of the location, spread, and suppression of in-flight fires in hidden, inaccessible areas of the aircraft. Examples of hidden areas are behind cabin panels, inside ductwork, and so on. Another area of interest is in-tank monitoring of fuel /air flammability factors to provide more efficient active control of fuel tank inerting systems.



        A second emphasis for this subtopic is on propulsion system health management, in order to predict, 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. Specifically the following are sought: propulsion health management technologies such as instrumentation, sensors, ground and on-wing nondestructive inspection, health monitoring algorithms, and fault accommodating logic, which will predict/prognose, diagnose, prevent, assess, and allow recovery from propulsion system malfunctions, degradation, or damage.



        A third 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). 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:


        • 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, ice sensors that provide detection and accretion rate for all possible icing conditions, wide area ice detection, detection that serves both ground and in-flight applications, ice crystal detection probe (for non-research aircraft applications), engine icing probe (that can measure Liquid Water Content and Total Water Content inside engine passages), and de-icing systems that operate at near anti-icing performance. Any submittal must be cost competitive to current technologies.



        A fourth 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 and secure onboard information processing, computing, and air/ground networking. Technology is needed to harden the CNS systems, both onboard and air-to-ground, against abnormalities and deliberate attacks towards also enabling the next-generation airborne, ground- and space-based surveillance systems. Other communications related needs can be found in other NASA SBIR subtopics areas.



        The final emphasis for this subtopic is on propulsion damage adaptive controls technologies and systems for new aircraft security applications. This technology is needed to enable a propulsion system to mitigate aircraft damage from hostile attacks.



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      • 50948

        A1.03Aviation Security Technologies

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL

        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,… Read more>>

        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.



        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 on-board 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 datalinks; 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 retrofit, certification, system implementation, and cost-benefit 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; 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 datalink systems, intrusion-tolerant communications networks and communications systems to support emerging aviation security applications; tools to support real-time management of security information; and Chem/Bio sensor development. Technologies may take the form of tools, models, techniques, procedures, substantiated guidelines, prototypes, and devices:


        • Intelligent Systems monitoring and alerting technologies;
        • 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;
        • 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;
        • Computational approaches to monitoring crew health, stress level, state of duress, and performance;
        • Validation methods and tools for advanced safety/security critical systems;
        • Technologies that enable secure communications, navigation, and surveillance on-board the aircraft;
        • 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;
        • Decision-support tools and methods to improve communication and collaborative and distributive decision-making; and
        • Data fusion technologies for integrating disparate sources of flight-related information.



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      • 51035

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

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC

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

        Online health monitoring is a critical technology for improving air transportation safety in the 21st century. Safe, affordable, and more efficient operation of aircraft 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 and prognostics. 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 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;
        • Methods and tools for remaining life estimation and prognostics for critical aircraft components;
        • Automated nondestructive evaluation for faulty structural components;
        • Electrical system monitoring and fire prevention;
        • Architectures for online monitoring, including architectures that exploit wireless communication technology to reduce costs;
        • Model-reference or model-updating schemes based on measured data, which operate autonomously;
        • Proactive maintenance concepts for aircraft engines, including engine life-cycle monitors;
        • Predicting or detecting any equipment malfunction;
        • Middleware or software toolkits to lower the cost of developing online aircraft health monitoring applications; and
        • Innovative solutions for harvesting, managing, archiving, and retrieving aircraft health data.





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    • + Expand Vehicle Systems Topic

      Topic A2 Vehicle Systems PDF


      The Vehicle Systems Program (VSP) goal is to provide breakthrough technologies for significantly advanced future air vehicles. The approach is to develop these technologies and demonstrate them in flight to provide evidence of barrier breakthroughs. The benefits of these breakthrough technologies including opening more communities to air transportation, enabling new air transportation models by doubling vehicle speed capacity, eliminating aviation pollution, and enabling new science platforms. VSP will focus on four demonstration projects. The subsonic noise reduction project will start by demonstrating a 50% noise reduction compared to 1997 state of the art. The sonic boom reduction project will begin by demonstrating technology that could enable an acceptable sonic boom level. The high altitude, long endurance project will start by demonstrating a 14-day duration high-altitude aircraft. Finally, the zero emissions aircraft will begin by demonstrating an aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

      • 50846

        A2.01Noise Breakthrough Turbine-Based Propulsion Technologies

        Lead Center: GRC

        Future subsonic and supersonic aircraft may be required to achieve reduced noise levels up to 20 effective perceived noise levels (EPNdB) below FAR 36 Stage 3 certification levels without significant impacts to performance. The main emphasis of this subtopic is on high-risk, breakthrough… Read more>>

        Future subsonic and supersonic aircraft may be required to achieve reduced noise levels up to 20 effective perceived noise levels (EPNdB) below FAR 36 Stage 3 certification levels without significant impacts to performance. The main emphasis of this subtopic is on high-risk, breakthrough technologies in order to reduce the technical risk associated with the development and deployment of new technologies in future commercial products. Subsonic noise reduction to date has predominantly been achieved via higher-bypass-ratio engines. With current practices, the nacelle diameter limit has physically been reached and engine noise is now comparable to airframe noise on approach. Engine noise reduction concepts proposed for subsonic applications must be compatible with low noise propulsion/airframe integration designs and continuous descent approach, low noise guidance flight procedures. Innovative noise reduction concepts need to be identified that provide economical alternatives to conventional propulsion systems.



        Integrated, advanced propulsion systems with intelligent controls technologies will enable supersonic vehicles (up to Mach 2) having acceptable takeoff/landing noise and increased efficiency. Studies suggest that gas turbine engines with increased thrust-to-weight, bypass ratios, and decreased thrust specific fuel consumption are required to support quiet supersonic aircraft. NASA is interested in the development of advanced gas turbine engine concepts and key enabling technologies that can dramatically reduce the landing/take-off noise to an acceptable level, and which have the potential to dramatically improve the sustained cruise performance of a supersonic aircraft. Concepts proposed for supersonic applications must not adversely impact the airframe configurations to reduce sonic boom intensity, especially with regard to the formation of shaped waves and the human response to shaped waves.



        Specific areas of interest include but are not limited to the following:



        Subsonic Propulsion System Technologies

        • Innovative source identification techniques for fan, jet, combustor, or turbine noise;
        • Advanced turbine engine cycles to achieve effective very high-bypass-ratio with smaller diameter engines;
        • Innovative technologies for reduction of fan, jet, combustor, or turbine noise; and
        • Advanced sound attenuating liners, including active and passive control.



        Supersonic Propulsion System Technologies

        • Advanced turbine engine cycle concepts to achieve low takeoff/landing noise and high supersonic cruise efficiency, including high pressure, high bypass multiple spool cycles, inter-stage turbine burning, variable cycle engines;
        • Advanced propulsion system technologies, including advanced integrated airframe-propulsion control methodologies, adaptive flow control technologies, smart structures for nozzles and inlets, inlet technologies for weight/ performance/ operability/ stability; and
        • High temperature materials such as monolithic ceramics and nano materials, evaporatively cooled turbine blades, and counter rotating stages enable more compact engine cores, greater thermal efficiency, and higher thrust to weight ratios.



        Proposals must show improvements to the state-of-the art and viable application to aircraft.



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      • 50830

        A2.02Fuel Cell Technologies for Aircraft Propulsion & Power

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC

        Fuel cells offer a promising technology for clean, efficient power generation important to both High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) remotely piloted aircraft, and future envisioned environmentally friendly commercial transports. Both consumable fuel and regenerative fuel based fuel cells are of… Read more>>

        Fuel cells offer a promising technology for clean, efficient power generation important to both High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) remotely piloted aircraft, and future envisioned environmentally friendly commercial transports. Both consumable fuel and regenerative fuel based fuel cells are of interest. The former type is applicable to both HALE and commercial transports, while the latter type is of interest for a solar-electric powered HALE capable of multi-month missions. The consumable fuel based fuel cell will likely use atmospheric air for the cathode gas, while the regenerative systems will likely use pure oxygen stored and regenerated on-board. For both applications, the focus of this subtopic is on hydrogen fuel based systems including liquid for consumable fuel systems and gaseous for regenerative fuel cell systems.



        To realize these aircraft applications will require one or even two orders of magnitude improvement in unit power and power density (volume and weight) for the power generation system, and specifically the fuel cell stack, as compared to ground based systems. In addition, the systems are required to operate at altitude, including high altitudes (>= 60,000 ft) for the HALE applications, and provide service life and reliability significantly greater than ground-based systems. Thus, NASA is seeking "break-through" technologies necessary for aircraft instead of evolutionary improvement to current state-of-the-art.



        Technologies of specific interest include:


        • Innovative fuel cell power systems demonstrating high specific power and high efficiency using consumed liquid hydrogen fuel with scalability to 100's of kW and capable of high altitude operations;
        • PEM stack demonstrating >= 2 kW/kg and >= 50% efficiency (LHV) with scalability to 100's of kW;
        • SOFC stack demonstrating >= 1 kW/kg and >= 50% efficiency (LHV) with scalability to 100's of kW; and
        • Innovative regenerative fuel cell energy storage systems and critical components (e.g., unitized fuel cell and electolyzer stack, PEM or SOFC based systems, etc) demonstrating >= 600 watt-hr/kg and high round trip efficiency.



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      • 50831

        A2.03Hydrogen Fuel Systems and Components for Aircraft Applications

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, LaRC

        Hydrogen is the most likely fuel to enable future zero emissions aircraft and High Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Operated Aircraft (HALE ROA). Due to the increased volume required for hydrogen systems as compared to current hydrocarbon fueled aircraft, key technologies are required to reduce feed… Read more>>

        Hydrogen is the most likely fuel to enable future zero emissions aircraft and High Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Operated Aircraft (HALE ROA). Due to the increased volume required for hydrogen systems as compared to current hydrocarbon fueled aircraft, key technologies are required to reduce feed system weight while maximizing propellant storage efficiency. To be a viable technology for future aircraft systems, hydrogen feed components most likely will require life cycles approaching 10,000+ with an expectation of 20+ years in service, a significant difference from current state-of-the-art for space flight systems. For HALE ROA systems, vehicle mass must be kept low enough for flights up to altitudes exceeding 60,000 ft. Insulation systems must be lightweight and designed for minimum maintenance. Hydrogen storage and feed systems can be either cryogenic or gaseous depending upon the vehicle configuration. Tank mass fraction requirements (mass of storage system/mass of hydrogen) for liquid hydrogen on the order of 15% are expected to meet mission requirements. Hydrogen tank systems applications will be expected to provide storage for flight vehicles for up to 14 days duration with cryogenic systems and 6 months for aircraft with gaseous hydrogen. System safety is a critical factor in the design and development of any hydrogen system. To ensure public safety it is important that highly-sensitive, low-power-use sensors and instrumentation are developed to identify and diagnose potential problems with the hydrogen systems. Technology focus areas will include storage, distribution, and propellant conditions. Innovations are solicited in the following areas:



        Storage and Distribution Components

        • Lightweight, low thermal conductivity on-board cryogenic storage tanks, feed lines, valves, and relief devices;
        • Lightweight, low thermal conductivity insulation for tanks and feed lines that requires minimal inspection and maintenance;
        • Lightweight, low permeable gaseous hydrogen storage tanks and feed lines; and
        • Low power, high-sensitivity sensors for hydrogen leak detection and condition monitoring.



        Propellant Conditioning Components and Technologies

        • Innovative methods to reduce the volume of stored hydrogen while minimizing system weight;
        • Technologies for the reformation of hydrocarbon based fuels to hydrogen;
        • Advanced technologies to minimize losses during loading and unloading of hydrogen, including autonomous operations, tank transfers, delivery to propulsion system, venting, and/or hydrogen recovery;
        • Advanced technologies to minimize hydrogen losses and reduce energy requirements for system pre-chill, delivery to propulsion system, venting and/or hydrogen recovery, and long duration temperature.



        Proposals must show improvements to the state-of-the-art and viable application to aircraft.



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      • 50951

        A2.04Aircraft 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 aero acoustic analysis, which can be adapted for design codes;
        • Simulation and prediction of aero acoustic noise sources particularly for airframe noise sources and situations with significant interactions between airframe and propulsion systems;
        • Concepts for active and passive control of aero acoustic 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; and
        • Prediction and control of high-amplitude aero acoustic loads on advanced aerospace structures and the resulting dynamic response and fatigue.



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      • 50833

        A2.05Electric Drive Components, Power Management and Distribution Technologies

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL, JSC

        Future environmentally harmonious aircraft propulsion systems may be driven by electric power. These new systems will likely be fueled by hydrogen stored as a cryogenic liquid. Like all flight systems, these new electric based propulsion concepts will require each component to be extremely… Read more>>

        Future environmentally harmonious aircraft propulsion systems may be driven by electric power. These new systems will likely be fueled by hydrogen stored as a cryogenic liquid. Like all flight systems, these new electric based propulsion concepts will require each component to be extremely lightweight, especially when compared to similar ground-based systems. Future specific power requirements for the entire propulsion system from power supply to electric motor could reach 20-kW/kg. The total electric power supplied for aircraft will be orders of magnitude higher than for existing flight-rated secondary electrical systems. Future high power electric systems present a number of challenges for application to volume and weight limited aircraft. NASA is interested in the development of innovative technologies that demonstrate the feasibility of high power densities (>5kW/kg) for electric power delivery and propulsion. Specific areas of interest include but are not limited to the following:


        • High power density electric motors and actuators, including superconducting, cryogenic and non-cryogenic systems;
        • Cryogenically cooled lightweight, possibly superconducting, high power transmission lines;
        • Cryogenically cooled and non-cryogenic lightweight power conditioning and control technology including technologies for isolation of noise-sensitive avionics power busses from main propulsion power busses;
        • Cryogenically cooled and non-cryogenic lightweight high voltage high power density power management components;
        • Highly integrated dual function components and systems that have the potential to reduce overall vehicle and subsystem weight (e.g., power conductors that are integrated into the airframe structure, motors directly integrated into the fan/propeller structure);
        • Advanced enabling technologies such as nanoelectronics, smart sensors, and actuators;
        • Advanced diagnostics, health monitoring and control concepts, smart sensors, electronics and actuators for enabling self-diagnosis and prognosis, and self-reconfiguration capabilities;
        • Concepts that integrate distributed sensing with actuation and control logic for micro-level control of parameters (such as propulsion system internal flows, electrical states, etc. that impact performance and environment).



        Proposals must show improvements to the state-of-the-art and viable application to aircraft.



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      • 50824

        A2.06Smart, Adaptive Aerospace Vehicles With Intelligence

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): LaRC

        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… 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.



        There are a number of specific areas of interest:


        • 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; and
        • 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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      • 50829

        A2.07Revolutionary Atmospheric 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, and 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, aerodynamic systems optimization for planetary aircraft (Venus, Mars, Io, and/or Titan), flexible system stability derivative identification, innovative approaches to thermal protection that minimize 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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      • 50828

        A2.08Modeling, Identification, and Simulation for Control of Aerospace Vehicles to Prepare for 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, aero elastic maneuver performance, and load control including smart actuation and active aero structural 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 aero elastic model identification for stability and performance monitoring and prediction in adaptive control;
        • Self-learning control strategies for aero structural 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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      • 50827

        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 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 provide 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.

      • 51034

        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 , Short Take-off and Landing , and Vertical/Short Take-off and Landing ) 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; and
        • 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 Robotic Exploration of the Moon and Mars Topic

      Topic S1 Robotic Exploration of the Moon and Mars PDF


      NASA is aggressively pursuing the search for resources on the Moon necessary to sustain prolonged human habitation and water and life on Mars using robotic explorers. NASA will augment this program and prepare for the next decade of research missions by investing in key capabilities to enable advanced robotic missions to the Moon and Mars. This suite of technologies will enable NASA to rapidly respond to discoveries this decade and pursue the search for water and life at Mars wherever it may lead. 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 on Mars Exploration technologies. Key goals are to 1) conduct robotic expeditions to further science and to test new exploration approaches, technologies, and systems that will enable future human exploration of the Moon and Mars, and 2) conduct sustained, long-term robotic exploration of Mars to understand its history and evolution, to search for evidence of life, and to expand the frontiers of human experience and knowledge.

      • 50863

        S1.01Detection and Reduction of Biological Contamination on Flight Hardware

        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. A Mars sample return mission is being planned for the next decade. Other missions will seek evidence of life through in situ investigations far from Earth. One of… Read more>>

        As solar system exploration continues, NASA remains committed to the implementation of its planetary protection policy and regulations. A Mars sample return mission 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. Methods for the detection and reduction of biological contamination are also frequently applicable to non-biological particulate and molecular contamination. To fulfill its commitment, NASA seeks technologies and systems approaches that will support mission compliance with planetary protection requirements. Examples of such technologies include:


        • Techniques for cleaning of organics to the level of nanograms per square centimeter on complex surfaces (nondestructively and without residues) and for 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;
        • Nondestructive and highly efficient sampling methods for detection of the remnants of microbial, particles, and molecular contamination on cleaned spacecraft surfaces;
        • Methodology for the quantitative detection of viable microbial cells in the interior of non-metallic space-craft materials;
        • Rapid cleaning validation methods with ultra high sensitivity for the major classes of biomolecules: proteins, amino acids, DNA/RNA, lipids, polysaccharides, etc.;
        • A device or methodology for controlled measurement of microbial reduction at temperatures from 200-300°C to enable generation of microbial lethality curves. Rapid ramp-up and cool-down rates are critical to minimize the microbial killing that occurs during the ramp periods;
        • Device or methodology for direct observation and evaluation of particles and biological contamination on spacecraft parts;
        • Device or methodology for quantitative and homogeneous deposition of particles, microbial cells, and bio-molecules on material surfaces for cleaning, sampling, and contamination transport studies;
        • 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; and
        • 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 1 and to show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration. The research will, when possible, deliver a demonstration unit or software package for JPL testing before the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 50873

        S1.02Mars 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. 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. Modular robotic joints that are small (0.5 kg), low power, low mass and can be used to build prototype manipulators and/or legs. Quick changeout mechanisms for planetary manipulators that can enable changing of tools or instruments on the end of a manipulator.



        Of particular interest is infrastructure for research, including low-cost, mass producible, research-quality rovers and supporting elements. The development of a low-cost, Rocker-Bogie style, six-wheel steerable, robotic research platform that can drive around in rough terrain is desired.



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



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      • 50868

        S1.03Long Range Optical Telecommunications

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC

        This subtopic seeks innovative technologies for long range optical telecommunications supporting the needs of space missions. Proposals are sought in the following areas: Space-qualifiable, efficient (greater than 20% wall plug), lightweight, variable repetition-rate (1-60 MHz), tunable (± 0.1… Read more>>

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


        • Space-qualifiable, efficient (greater than 20% wall plug), lightweight, variable repetition-rate (1-60 MHz), tunable (± 0.1 nm) pulsed 1064-nm transmitter sources (diode-pumped fiber amplifier or bulk crystal la-ser/amplifier) with greater than 1 kW of peak power per pulse (over the entire pulse-repetition rate), and greater than 10 W of average power, and narrow (
        • Space-qualifiable, high-peak power (> 1.2 W), average-power (> 300 mW), operating wavelength less than 1000 nm single-mode-fiber pigtailed laser diode transmitters (includes necessary modulator; internal or external driver) with narrow spectral width ( 25%);
        • Space-qualifiable, reliable (> 3 years at 100 Mega photons per second continuous photon flux), photon counting 1064 nm and/or 1550 nm detectors with the gain greater than 1000, detection efficiency greater than 50%, very low (50Mcounts/s. and non-gated (continuous operation);
        • 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 telescopes that must operate when pointed to within a few (about 3) degrees of the Sun;
        • Low-cost, lightweight, efficient, r pigtailed laser diode transmitters including compact, high precision (one micro-radian accuracy) star-trackers for spaceflight application that can be integrated with an optical communications terminal;
        • Novel techniques and technologies that will enable very low cost, large aperture (>5m equivalent aperture diameter) telescopes for ground or space-borne use;
        • High power ground-based, relatively low-cost diode-pumped laser technology capable of reaching 100 kW average power levels in a TEMoo mode, for uplink to spacecraft;
        • Artificial laser guide-star and beam compensation techniques capable of removing all significant atmospheric turbulence distortions (tilt and higher-order components) on an uplink laser beam;
        • Novel techniques to reduce the development cost and risk of future space-borne optical communications transceivers (e.g. automatic focusing or alignment techniques);
        • High BW Intersatellite Links (ISL) in Earth orbit and deep space ISL or possibly satellite to ground communications; and
        • Systems and technologies relating to sub-microradian pointing, acquisition, and spacecraft vibration.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration that will, when appropriate, deliver a demonstration unit for testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 50874

        S1.04Entry, Descent and Landing

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JSC, LaRC

        Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) systems are an enabling component of future planetary surface and airborne explorations. EDL systems are naturally comprised of a wide variety of tightly integrated subsystems. These subsystems can include, but are not limited to: entry body, thermal protection,… Read more>>

        Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) systems are an enabling component of future planetary surface and airborne explorations. EDL systems are naturally comprised of a wide variety of tightly integrated subsystems. These subsystems can include, but are not limited to: entry body, thermal protection, avionics for guidance during entry and/or powered descent (including terrain sensors), aerodynamic decelerators including supersonic or subsonic parachutes, and touch-down systems. In addition to these hardware specific subsystems, algorithms for guidance and hazard detection are an integral element of future EDL systems. Innovations are sought that provide benefits in the following general areas: increased payload delivery mass, improved delivery accuracy, and improved hazard detection and avoidance. The intended outcome of these improvements is to develop the capability to land safely within 100m or less of a preselected landing site and to deliver larger payloads for future Mars missions. In particular, this subtopic seeks technology innovations in the following areas:


        • Entry body systems and subsystems including lightweight aeroshells and thermal protection;
        • Entry guidance algorithms/methods/techniques capable of reducing uncertainty in parachute deployment altitude, for missions employing bank-only control (i.e., no control of angle of attack) during hypersonic entry;
        • Aerodynamic decelerator systems including supersonic and subsonic parachutes. Particular areas of interest include approaches that hold promise for delivering increased mass to the surface (e.g., increasing the Mach-Q deployment envelope beyond Viking-heritage capability) and techniques of reducing the cost of testing/validating the performance of new aerodynamic decelerator systems for use at Mars. Also of interest are para-guidance techniques for pinpoint landing;
        • Terrain hazard detection approaches that provide real-time three-dimensional terrain mapping capability during parachute descent and powered terminal descent. In addition, compact, low-mass, high accuracy, and high bandwidth GNC sensors such as attitude and velocity sensors are highly desirable; and
        • Lightweight, low-cost, hazard-tolerant touchdown system approaches including (but not limited to) airbag, shock struts, and structural crush zones; allowing landings in moderately cratered terrains with surface rock distribution encountered over a wide variety of Martian landing sites.





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      • 50872

        S1.05Sample Return Technologies

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        The NASA Mars Exploration Program has recently adopted a plan that includes a Mars Sample Return mission. Such a mission would require breaking the chain of contact with Mars: the exterior of the sample container must not be contaminated with unsterilized Mars material. One mission concept involves… Read more>>

        The NASA Mars Exploration Program has recently adopted a plan that includes a Mars Sample Return mission. Such a mission would require breaking the chain of contact with Mars: the exterior of the sample container must not be contaminated with unsterilized Mars material. One mission concept involves placing a grapefruit sized sample container in Mars orbit where it can be picked up by an orbiting spacecraft for return to Earth. Tenuous issues of contamination of the sample container exterior with Mars dust must be dealt with as well as contamination-free handling of the return sample in the receiving facility.



        Receiving Facility Sample Handling Technologies

        The items described briefly below would find eventual utilization in a sample receiving facility whose basic functions are to do physical and chemical characterizations, bio-hazard detection, and life detection, within a series of double-walled containment vessels. The facility would be operated with significant utilization of robotics, operated either in situ, or remotely, or both.


        • Demonstrate fine-scale manipulations, either in situ or remotely, of a strawman 6-axis ultra-clean robot within the confines of a double-walled containment vessel. The robot can be current state-of-art. Demonstrate the use of different end effectors to manipulate small samples for observation. The task may require use and/or modification of current state-of-the-art control software.
        • Demonstrate a sample container/carrier, possibly adapted from a container/carrier currently in use by semiconductor and/or pharmaceutical industries; that has the capability to be identified (labeled) and tracked, for use in cataloging, transporting, and tracking samples of various kinds; generally of approximately 100-micron size, and consisting of fines, dust, individual grains, and very small rocks, or gases; following the certification of these samples for release to a facility for long-term curation and distribution;
        • Develop double-walled gloves for use within a double-walled containment vessel. Such gloves would perhaps require self-healing and/or warning systems, in case of a breach, and be compatible with ports developed for double-walled containment vessels; and
        • Identify specific sterilization methods and techniques for use in sterilization of extraterrestrial samples. Determine the sterilization levels achieved for sample coupons defined and/or provided by a NASA-sponsored science/biosafety working group.



        Miniature Leak Detector

        Proposals are sought for the development of a miniature, low-mass, low-power leak detection sensor that can be used to indicate a loss of pressure from a container with a volume of 0.5 liter, that has a pressure of 6 torr, as expected on Mars. Areas of interest include:


        • A sensor, driver, and the power source designed for placement inside the container that is made of metal. The metal alloy that will be used will be determined at a later time;
        • The sensor and its control electronics that provides power, data processing, and communications should not exceed the volume of 5-cm3;
        • The device should be operational at temperatures that are as low as -70°C and as high as room temperature; and
        • A miniature battery as power source is acceptable. Preferably, a wireless power transfer mechanism and a rechargeable battery that is designed for placement inside the container, would be preferred.



        Sample Containerization and Protection

        Proposals are sought for the development of a robust method of sealing a sample that would be acquired from an extraterrestrial surface for possible return to Earth in future NASA missions. Areas of interest include:


        • A simple and reliable process of hermetically seaming and sealing a "coffee-cup" size container with a rock or soil sample;
        • The process needs to simultaneously perform sterilization of the container sealed area and its external surface while releasing the container into an area that simulates a clean section of a lander;
        • This process should "break-the-chain" of contact of an acquired soil or rock sample from the original area that simulates the environment of an extraterrestrial planet;
        • The required process needs to simultaneously seal the contained sample while destroying any potential biological materials that may contaminate the external surface of the container;
        • The process to sterilize the surface of a grapefruit-sized sample container in Mars orbit (e.g., pyrotechnic paint) requiring minimal power and minimizing effect on the sample container interior;
        • The contained sample should be protected from any mechanical, chemical, or thermal damage during or after the activation of the "break-the-chain" process;
        • The process needs to be computer simulated and allow a high degree of control of its parameters; and
        • Demonstrate probability of success of the feasibility to seal the container while performing sterilization.



        Sample Acquisition

        Proposals are sought for mechanisms to acquire clean core samples for Mars rocks and regolith including development of low-mass, low-normal-force, 10x1 cm coring tool, low-mass core sampling tool integrated with sample containment, acquire Mars dust samples, and development of six-axis force-torque sensor (ranges about 160 Newtons, 15 N-m) operating in Mars ambient.







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    • + Expand Robotic Exploration Throughout the Solar System Topic

      Topic S2 Robotic Exploration Throughout the Solar System PDF


      NASA's program for Solar System Exploration 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. These robotic explorers will pursue compelling scientific questions, demonstrate breakthrough technologies, identify space resources, and extend an advanced telepresence that will send stunning imagery back to Earth. Numerous new technologies will be required to enable such ambitious missions. This topic includes investments in technology to enable the delivery and access of scientific instruments to planetary surfaces and atmospheres. This includes landing, flying, roving, and digging, as well as sample acquisition for delivery to instruments. This topic will also address Earth entry vehicles for sample return missions, planetary protection, and contamination control for in situ missions. The planetary bodies of interest are the Moon, Mars, Venus, Titan, and the icy satellites of the outer planets.

      • 50864

        S2.01Science 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. Proposers… 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; and
        • 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 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit or software package for JPL testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 50866

        S2.02Extreme High Temperature/High Pressure Environment

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GRC

        Proposals are sought for technologies to enable operation and survivability in high-temperature/high-pressure space environments. These technologies service the needs of the future in situ exploration of Venus as well as the atmospheric probes for giant planets. Venus features a dense, CO2… Read more>>

        Proposals are sought for technologies to enable operation and survivability in high-temperature/high-pressure space environments. These technologies service the needs of the future in situ exploration of Venus as well as the atmospheric probes for giant planets.



        Venus features a dense, CO2 atmosphere completely covered by clouds with sulfuric acid aerosols, a surface temperature of 486ºC, 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 the use of long-lived (days or weeks) balloons and landers. Survivability in extreme high temperatures (380°C) and high pressures (>100 bar) is also required for deep atmospheric probes to giant planets.



        Technology needs for high-temperature and high-pressure environments include:


        • Advanced passive and active thermal control for Venus missions, including lightweight (50 kg/m3), high strength/stiffness, high buckling stress resistant pressure vessels to protect the electronics and instruments for several hours; new lightweight thermal insulation materials with conductivity less than 0.1 W/mK at 486ºC, thermal storage systems with 300-1000 kJ/kg energy density, thermal switches with a switching ratio of at least 100:1 between "On" and "Off" modes, and high temperature heat pipe systems operating over a temperature range of 25 to 500ºC. Refrigeration systems capable of pumping heat from a 25 to 75ºC source to the Venus sink temperature of 486ºC;
        • Science and engineering sensors able to operate at 486ºC and 100 bar, including for example, high temperature imagers, hybrid imaging system that utilizes high temperature fiber optics, seismometers, and pressure sensors;
        • High-temperature, low-power, and ultra low-power electronics and electronic packaging technology for sensor and actuator interfaces at 486ºC, including low-noise (10 nV/sqHz) preamplifiers, power amplifiers and transmitters (S-band), temperature stable oscillators, 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;
        • Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools for predicting the performance, reliability, and life cycle for high-temperature electronic systems and components;
        • High-temperature primary batteries (200 Whr/kg)) for operation at 380ºC and 486ºC;
        • Actuators for sample handling and acquisition systems including high-temperature drills, motors, and actuators able to operate in the 486ºC, 90 atmosphere surface environment of Venus; and
        • Anticorrosive coatings to protect optical systems and spacecraft structures from corrosive agents present in the upper levels of Venus' atmosphere (sulfuric acid clouds) or near surface (besides carbon oxide and nitrogen, the atmosphere contains sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and hydrofluoric acid).



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

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      • 52042

        S2.03Nanosensors

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        The 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… Read more>>

        The 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 environment. This harsh environment includes steady operation and cycling in the temperature range of -180 degrees Centigrade to 100 degrees Centigrade, 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 um wavelength range, and detectors in the greater than 15 um wavelength range.



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      • 50835

        S2.04Deep 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, power electronics, and power system materials. Power levels of interest range from milliwatts to 1 KW. NASA Space Science missions in deep space environments require energy systems with long life… Read more>>

        Innovative concepts using advanced technology are solicited in the areas of energy conversion, power electronics, and power system materials. Power levels of interest range from milliwatts to 1 KW. NASA Space Science missions in deep space environments require energy systems with long life capability, 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

        All proposed energy conversion technologies must be able to show substantial increases over state-of-the-art in efficiency and specific power (W/kg) and to operate in deep-space environments with high radiation and wide-temperature operations (-200°C to 300°C). Long-life (>14 years), highly reliable advanced energy conversion technologies are sought that keep manufacturability in mind. Advances in photovoltaic technology are sought, including high power solar arrays and ultra lightweight, thin film, and concentrator arrays. Advances in radioisotope thermal to electric power conversion technology (milliwatt/multiwatt and 100W-1KW classes with efficiencies (state-of-the-art) are sought. This includes advances in thermophotovoltaics, thermoelectrics, Brayton, Rankine, and Stirling technologies as well as compact heat exchangers. Innovative control methods are also sought.



        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 (-125°C to 200°C), and/or high levels of space radiation (>150 krad) resistance.



        Electronics Packaging and Materials

        Advanced electronics packaging technologies that reduce volume and mass capable of either high temperature, cryogenic, wide temperature operation, and/or space radiation resistance for use in space power systems are of interest. Advances are sought in power electronics packaging materials, surfaces, and components that are durable for soft X-ray, electron, proton, and ultraviolet radiation and thermal cycling environments.



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      • 51038

        S2.05Astrobiology

        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 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 microns. 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; and
        • Robotic systems designed to provide access to environments such as deep-ocean hydrothermal vents.



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      • 52049

        S2.06Advanced Flexible Electronics

        Lead Center: JPL

        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… Read more>>

        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 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit or software package for JPL testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 52190

        S2.07Risk Modeling and Analysis

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): LaRC

        The purpose of this subtopic is to advance the state-of-the-art in risk modeling and analysis, particularly for use in early design (formulation) phases. Of particular interest would be methods for risk characterization and modeling that extend beyond typical technical aspects, including software,… Read more>>

        The purpose of this subtopic is to advance the state-of-the-art in risk modeling and analysis, particularly for use in early design (formulation) phases. Of particular interest would be methods for risk characterization and modeling that extend beyond typical technical aspects, including software, programmatic, operations, organization, and management elements. This subtopic includes tools and methods, visualization techniques, and process enhancements. Technical areas to address include:


        • Uncertainty modeling including both epistemic and aleatory uncertainties;
        • Attribute-driven risk identification;
        • Risk reduction modeling that includes both preventative and mitigative activities;
        • Methods for aggregation and/or integration of quantitative and qualitative risks;
        • Methods for characterization and integration of software, organizational, operations, and other non-physics based risks;
        • Integration of risks and risk insights into the trade and formal design processes, including new techniques for risk visualization and new methods for directly trading risk against other design aspects;
        • Development of risk model library elements and techniques for selecting, maintaining, and integrating the elements;
        • Methods for cost-effective adaptation and utilization of PRA and other probabilistic methods in early design (e.g., conceptual design) which can be integrated directly into the design process (i.e., can be utilized directly by the system designers without additional analyst support); and
        • Methods for risk-based margin determination and management.





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    • + Expand Astronomical Observatories to Seek Earth-like Extrasolar Planets and Environments Topic

      Topic S3 Astronomical Observatories to Seek Earth-like Extrasolar Planets and Environments PDF


      The NASA Science Missions Directorate seeks to conduct advanced telescope searches for Earth-like planets and habitable environments around neighboring stars. This topic will consider technologies necessary to enable future telescopes and observatories collecting all electromagnetic bands, ranging from X-rays to millimeter waves, and also include gravity waves. The subtopics will consider all technologies associated with the collection and combination of any observable signals.

      • 50930

        S3.01Precision Formations 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, multi-timing, high fidelity simulations;
        • Formation modeling techniques;
        • Precision guidance and control architectures and design methodologies;
        • Centralized and decentralized formation estimation;
        • Distributed sensor fusion;
        • RF and optical precision metrology systems;
        • Formation sensors;
        • Precision microthrusters/actuators;
        • Autonomous reconfigurable formation techniques;
        • Optimal, synchronized, maneuver design methodologies;
        • Collision avoidance mechanisms;
        • Formation management and station keeping; and
        • Six degrees of freedom precision formation test beds.





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      • 50865

        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 with… 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; and
        • Components and methods to insure amplitude uniformity in both coronagraphs and interferometers, specifically materials, processes, and metrology to insure coating uniformity.



        Wavefront Control Technologies

        • Development of small stroke, high precision, deformable mirrors (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; and
        • High precision wavefront error sensing and control techniques to improve and advance coronagraphic imaging performance.



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      • 50876

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

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        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… 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 2 delivery of demonstration hardware on the scale of 3 m for characterization.



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      • 52215

        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, Interferometric Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF-I), Infrared Origin's Probes, Space Infrared Interferometric Telescope (SPIRIT), and Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of… Read more>>

        Planned future NASA infrared, far infrared, and submillimeter missions, such as the Single Aperture Far-IR (SAFIR) telescope, Interferometric Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF-I), Infrared Origin's Probes, 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 (via mechanisms and deformable mirrors). Potential architecture implementations include 2 m class segments, 4 m class mirrors, or membrane systems. Component and system testing techniques are a particular challenge for low areal density or cryogenic specific architectures. 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 and 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 Universe Beyond Our Solar System Topic

      Topic S4 Exploration of the Universe Beyond Our Solar System PDF


      The Universe division of the NASA/GSFC is charged with exploring the universe beyond the solar system - out to its very edges. To do this, requires ever more powerful missions (beyond Chandra, Spitzer, and Hubble) with larger and better optics and detector systems. Future mission may include optics that fold and deploy and can be assembled on orbit, as well as larger arrays of detectors, bolometers, microcalorimeters (superconducting), and room temperature semiconductors. Our missions cover the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum and gravitational waves. Some of our major science goals are to identify dark matter, to understand dark energy, to produce a census of black holes, to image material in the accretion disks around black holes, and to measure gravitational waves from a wide range of sources. In addition, we are exploring new technologies for sub-orbital platforms including long duration balloons, tethered balloons, and airships. We are soliciting ideas and concepts in six areas covering optical systems, UV, visible, IR and sub-mm detectors, X-ray and Gamma-ray detectors, lasers for gravitational wave measurements, and sub-orbital platforms. The subtopics in this area are described in detail in each subtopic section.

      • 50875

        S4.01Infrared & Sub-mm Sensors and Detectors

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        NASA astrophysics missions currently under development, such as Sofia, Herschel, and Planck (http://science.hq.nasa.gov/missions/phase.html) have been enabled by improvements in sensors and detectors. Beyond 2007, expected advances in detectors, readout electronics, and other technologies,… Read more>>

        NASA astrophysics missions currently under development, such as Sofia, Herschel, and Planck (http://science.hq.nasa.gov/missions/phase.html) have been enabled by improvements in sensors and detectors. Beyond 2007, expected advances in detectors, readout electronics, and other technologies, particularly those enabling polarimetry and large format imaging arrays for the far IR/submm and spectroscopy with unprecedented sensitivity. These advances may enable future mission concepts such as the Single Aperture Far Infrared (SAFIR) Observatory (http://safir.jpl.nasa.gov/technologies.shtml), SPICA (http://www.ir.isas.ac.jp/SPICA/), and CMBPOL.



        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


        Space Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI)

        The next generations of 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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      • 50852

        S4.02Terrestrial 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 Science Mission Directorate and Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. A new generation of large, stratospheric balloons, based on advanced balloon envelope technologies,… Read more>>

        Innovations in materials, structures, and systems concepts have enabled buoyant vehicles to play an expanding role in NASA's Science Mission Directorate and Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. 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. NASA is seeking innovative and cost-effective solutions in support of terrestrial balloons in the following areas:


        • Innovative concepts for reducing the UV degradation of flight components including balloon membranes, load carrying members, and parachute components;
        • Innovative concepts for the measurement of strain in a thin film during flight;
        • Innovative sensor concepts for balloon gas or skin temperature measurements;
        • Innovative concepts for trajectory control and/or station keeping for effectively maneuvering large terrestrial balloons 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 durations of 30 days or more;
        • Innovative floatation systems for water recovery of payloads;
        • Innovative guided or gliding parachutes systems for use in thin atmospheres;
        • Innovative balloon design concepts for long duration missions that can provide any or all of the following: reduced material strength requirements, increased reliability, enhanced performance, reduced manufacturing time, reduced manufacturing cost, or improved mission flexibility; and
        • 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. Proposals are sought in the following areas:



        Aerobot Surface Sample Acquisition Device

        NASA is soliciting concepts and prototypes for surface sample acquisition devices that can be used on aerobots to collect icy material from Titan and Mars. Typical sample volumes range from 1 to 2 cubic centimeters, with preference for a solid ice core as well as possible granular material. Collection depths of 0 to 2 cm are desired. Preferred techniques do not require close proximity of the aerobot balloon skin to the ground to reduce the probability of damaging the vehicle during sample acquisition. Examples include tethered collection devices deployed from modest altitudes (10s to 100s of meters) or short duration "touch and go" sampling from directional and/or altitude controlled aerobots. Proposed devices can be disposable (single use), but if reusable must avoid cross-contamination between samples. All devices must include solid sample transfer functionality to an analysis chamber on the aerobot itself. Concepts will be preferred that feature low mass (few kilograms or less), small volume (~1 liter) and low electrical power consumption drawn from the aerobot (


        Apex Valve for Montgolfiere Balloons

        Solar-heated Montgolfiere balloons are an attractive platform for the exploration of Mars, particularly the polar regions which experience long periods of solar illumination during summer solstice. These balloons can be altitude controlled through selective venting of the heated gas through a valve located at the apex of the balloon. Proposals are sought for concepts and prototypes for this valve to be used on a solar-heated balloon on Mars. Typical specifications include large flow area (10 m2), low mass (few kilograms), packaged into a small volume for transport to Mars (3) and consume minimal electrical energy (


        Aerial Deployment Modeling Tool

        Planetary aerobots at Mars, Titan, and Venus will likely be aerially deployed and inflated during parachute descent after arrival at the destination. Proposals are sought that would provide computer modeling tools that can simulate this complex process. Of particular importance is the ability to model the balloon shape and material stresses as a function of time, taking into account the aerodynamic forces generated by the parachute and by the uninflated or partially inflated balloon, as well as transient loads during balloon deployment from its storage container. The balloons can be either polymer films or polymer film plus reinforcing fabric laminates.



        Metal Bellows for High Temperature Venus Balloons

        Cylindrically-shaped metal bellows are a potential solution to the problem of making balloons that can tolerate the 460°C temperatures near the surface of Venus. Commercial off-the-shelf metal bellows are limited in diameter to approximately 0.4 m. NASA seeks proposals for metal bellows technology that can produce prototypes in the range of 1-2 m in diameter and 5-10 m long; tolerant of sulfuric acid; good fatigue properties at 460°C; and areal densities of up to 1 kg/m2.



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      • 52044

        S4.03Cryogenic Systems for Sensors and Detectors

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, MSFC

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

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


        • Highly efficient coolers in the range of 4-10 Kelvin as well as at 50 milli-Kelvin and below, and cryogen-free systems which integrate these coolers together;
        • Highly reliable, efficient, low-cost Stirling and pulse tube cooler technologies in the 15 Kelvin and 35 Kelvin regions;
        • Essentially vibration-free cooling systems such as reverse Brayton cycle cooler technologies;
        • 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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      • 50855

        S4.04Optics and Optical Telescopes (including X-ray, UV, Visual, IR)

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

        With the reorganization of NASA activities into the Exploration Mission Directorate (EMD) and the Space Mission Directorate (SMD), there is a renewed call for novel optical technologies that extend the state-of-the-art across wavelength bands from far-IR to Gamma-ray. Missions to study the Earth and… Read more>>

        With the reorganization of NASA activities into the Exploration Mission Directorate (EMD) and the Space Mission Directorate (SMD), there is a renewed call for novel optical technologies that extend the state-of-the-art across wavelength bands from far-IR to Gamma-ray. Missions to study the Earth and Sun, the other solar system planets and objects, and the origins and fate of the universe are proposed to operate from low Earth orbit to L2 or drift-away trajectories depending on their system of study and environmental requirements.



        Among other areas of study, future planet finder missions will require lightweight optical apertures of tens of square meters with sub-nanometer surface figure errors. Infrared versions will require cooling optics to cryogenic temperatures (to 4 K). Telescopes studying the Sun and its environment in the UV and EUV (20-300 nm wavelength) require novel optical coatings and filters, high precision aspheric optics, and high-density uniform and variable line density diffraction gratings. And high-energy X-ray telescopes will study the origins and fate of the universe with


        For all missions, low-mass optics and deployment structures are extremely important. Also, wavefront sensing and control systems are sought that may alleviate the stringent mass and stiffness requirements of such large optics. Finally, advanced, low-cost manufacturing, metrology, and modeling techniques will be required to make these missions possible.



        The previous year's Optical Technologies (S2.04) and UV and EUV Optics (S1.06) have been merged to form this year's Optics and Optical Telescopes subtopic. All previously relevant areas of research are invited in this new subtopic including:



        Optics

        • Ultra-smooth (2-3 Angstroms rms) replicated optics that are rigid and lightweight;
        • Lightweight, high modulus (e.g., silicon carbide) optics and structures;
        • Ultra-stable optics over time periods from minutes to hours;
        • Cryogenic optics, structures, and mechanisms for space telescopes and interferometers;
        • High-performance, diamond turned optics (including freeform optical surfaces);
        • Large, thin, ultra-lightweight grazing incidence optics for X-ray mirrors with angular resolutions less than 5 arcsec. (>100 cm2, 2 areal density);
        • Wide field-of-view optics using square pore slumped microchannel plates or equivalent;
        • Large, ultra-lightweight optical mirrors (2 at near-IR through visible), including membrane optics for very large aperture space telescopes and interferometers;
        • UV and EUV Imaging mirrors with simultaneously large aperture (1-4 m diameter), low mass (5-20 kg/m2), accurate figure (~0.01 wave rms or better at 632 nm), and low micro-roughness (
        • Smooth sub-mm scale image slicer and microlens array component technologies to allow fabrication of integral field spectrographs in the UV and visible, for simultaneous spectroscopy of two spatial dimensions and one spectral dimension.



        Filters

        • Large area, thin blocking filters with high efficiency at low energy X-ray energies (
        • Ultraviolet filters with deep blocking (5) of longer and shorter wavelengths, including "solar blind" performance; novel near- to far-IR filters with increased bandwidth, stability, and out-of-band blocking performance;
        • FUV and EUV coatings (filters) with improved reflectivity (transmission) and selectivity (narrow bands, broad bands, or edges). Technologies include multilayers, transmission gratings, and Fabry-Perot etalons, among others; and
        • Improved X-ray and Gamma-ray modulation optics and coded aperture masks (sub-arcsecond resolution at 10 keV to 10 arcsecond resolution at 1 MeV).



        Gratings

        • Fabrication techniques for ultra-thin-flat silicon (or like material) for grating substrates for X-ray energies
        • High resolving power diffraction gratings (>4000 lines/mm) at acceptable focal lengths and pixel sizes; and
        • Improvements in grating manufacturing technologies, such as high efficiency/low scatter gratings, variable line spacing, improved echelle gratings, active grating surfaces (gratings replicated onto deformable substrates), and gratings ruled onto concave, aspheric surfaces.



        Metrology

        • Low-cost, high quality, large optics fabrication processes and test methods including active metrology feedback systems during fabrication, and artificial intelligence controlled systems;
        • Portable and miniaturized state-of-the-art optical characterization instrumentation and rapid, large-area surface-roughness characterization techniques are needed. 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; and
        • 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 for testing the figure of large, convex, aspheric surfaces to fractional wave tolerances in the visible.



        Wavefront Sensing and Control

        • Optical systems with high-precision controls, active and/or adaptive mirrors, shape control of deformable telescope mirrors, and image stabilization systems; and
        • Advanced, wavefront sensing and control systems including image based wavefront sensors;
        • Nanometer to sub-picometer metrology for space telescopes and interferometers.



        Optical Design

        • 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.





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      • 50860

        S4.05Sensor and Detector Technology for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments

        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, and 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 observation 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; and
        • 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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      • 50856

        S4.06Technologies for Gravity Wave Detection

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

        Laser Technologies for Gravitational Wave Detection NASA is now developing the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission to search for gravitational waves from astrophysical phenomena such as the Big Bang, mergers of supermassive black holes, and galactic binary inspirals. Detection of… Read more>>

        Laser Technologies for Gravitational Wave Detection

        NASA is now developing the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission to search for gravitational waves from astrophysical phenomena such as the Big Bang, mergers of supermassive black holes, and galactic binary inspirals. Detection of gravitational waves would open a new astrophysical window on the universe with great potential for unexpected discoveries. A number of gravitational wave follow-on missions to LISA are also under study.



        The disturbance caused by the passage of a gravitational wave is expected to be very small (of order picometers) and will be measured with laser interferometry. The technology areas below deal with technical problems in these measurements. Because the systems will be deployed in space, the technologies to be considered must have credible paths toward space flight qualification. Background information on LISA, along with preliminary technology discussions, can be found in the Proceedings of the 5th International LISA Symposium, , Penn State University, 19-24 JULY 2002, published in the Classical and Quantum Gravity Journal, Vol 20, Number 10, 21 May 2003.



        Issues of Space Qualification of LISA Laser: the LISA laser must produce >1W CW of 1.06 micron light with fiber coupled output (for example, a combination of a lower-power master oscillator {eg, NPRO} with suitable amplifier). The laser will have the following characteristics:

        • 10 year lifetime;
        • Power stability
        • Linewidth



        This task will involve investigating the issues of space qualification of the system, experimentally studying the relevant problems, and proposing a realistic plan of development of this system. Given the magnitude of the effort to develop a space qualified LISA laser, it is not expected that the outcome of this task will result in a space qualified laser; rather, the outcome should be a sufficient understanding of the important technical issues in space qualification (e.g., diode lifetime, thermal and vibrational robustness, etc.) so that a clear path towards the development of a fully space qualified system can be identified.



        LISA Electro-optical Modulator: produce a phase modulator for a 1 W continuous laser beam, providing 10% power modulation depth at frequencies from 1.9 to 2.1 GHz. The modulator should be fiber coupled (input and output), at 1.06 micron wavelength. The modulator must be space qualified.



        LISA Telescope Articulator: produce a mechanical actuator that can articulate the LISA telescope over a 5 mm dynamic range with a 0.1 nm resolution. The actuator must be space qualified and have noise




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    • + Expand Sun - Solar System Connection Topic

      Topic S5 Sun - Solar System Connection PDF


      The strategic priorities of the Sun-Solar System Connection derive from a stated NASA Strategic Objective, namely: "Explore the Sun-Earth system to understand the Sun and its effects on Earth, the solar system, and the space environmental conditions that will be experienced by human explorers, and demonstrate technologies that can improve future operational systems." SSSC has identified three science and exploration objectives. The program will provide the knowledge needed to: 1) open the frontier to space environment prediction: understand the fundamental physical processes of the space environment - from the Sun to Earth, to other planets, and beyond to the interstellar medium; 2) understand the nature of our home in space: understand how society, technological systems, and the habitability of planets are affected by the variable space environment; 3) safeguard our outbound journey: maximize the productivity and safety of human and robotic explorers by developing predictive capability for the extreme and dynamic conditions in space.

      • 50954

        S5.01Low Thrust and Propellantless Propulsion Technologies

        Lead Center: MSFC

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

        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 advanced chemical, solar sails, aerocapture, and emerging technologies.



        Advanced Chemical Propulsion

        Innovations in low-thrust chemical propulsion system technologies are being sought for deep-space, scientific, robotic mission applications. Delta Vs for the missions of interest range from 1000 m/sec to 3000 m/sec. Technologies of interest are bipropellant engines with Isp greater than 360 seconds, both pressure-fed and pump-fed, with chamber pressures ranging from 100 to 500 psia. Throttling capability is desired for engines used for planetary ascent, descent, and orbit insertion maneuvers. Passive long-term storage (greater than 5 years) for advanced bipropellant propulsion systems for deep space missions are of interest. Reliable ignition systems are needed for non-hypergolic propellants. Activities in development of lightweight, compact, and low-power propellant management components, such as valves, flow control/regulation, fluid isolation, and lightweight tankage are also solicited. Advanced materials to allow development of systems for use with advanced bipropellants (higher Isp, higher pressure) are also solicited.



        Solar Sail Propulsion

        Solar sails have been studied for a variety of missions and have the potential to provide cost-effective, propellantless propulsion that enables longer on-station operation, increased scientific payload mass fraction, and access to previously inaccessible orbits (e.g., non-Keplerian, high solar latitudes, etc.).



        NASA missions enabled and enhanced by solar sail propulsion include those that can provide: 1) situational awareness for human and robotic exploration in the Earth-Moon system (e. g., Heliostorm, L1 Diamond); 2) comprehensive monitoring of the inner heliosphere (e.g., Solar Sentinels, Solar Polar Imager, Particle Acceleration Solar Observatory); and 3) pathfinder exploration beyond the solar system (Interstellar Probe). The technology required for these missions can further be classified into two categories: 1) near-term (2; and 2) far-term (>15 years) for use in orbits at 25 AU with a propulsive area of greater then 1 x 105 m2. A solar sail propulsion system includes the sail membrane and support structure, the thrust vector control subsystem, the health and monitoring diagnostic subsystem, and the launch stowage structure. Three parameters that are used as sail performance metrics in mission applications are: sail size, sail durability in its orbital environment, and areal density (ratio of sail system mass to propulsive area of the sail). In addition, important programmatic metrics are cost, benefit, and risk. Innovations are sought that will lower the cost and risk associated with sail system development through advancements in: manufacturing, fabrication, and assembly; durable lightweight materials, structures, and mechanisms; comprehensive simulations of maneuvering, navigation, trajectory control, propulsive performance, and operations; and integrated diagnostic health monitoring.



        Tether Technologies

        This effort focuses on technologies supporting innovative and advanced concepts for propellantless propulsion based upon space tethers concepts. The categories under Tether Technologies include, but are not limited to: ElectroDynamic (ED) tether propulsion, Momentum eXchange Electrodynamic Reboost (MXER) tethers or its subsystems, Jovian tether mission concepts, Earth orbiting telescope ED tether reboost, and other innovative in space tether technologies. In general, the electrodynamic tether propulsion method exchanges momentum with a planet's rotational angular momentum through electrodynamic interaction with the planetary magnetic field. Momentum exchange tethers or MXER concepts use orbital energy to provide a high thrust to a payload in LEO. Distinctive variations of existing propulsion methods or chief subsystem component improvements are also suitable for submission. Proposals should provide the development plan of specific innovative technologies or techniques supporting the planned research. Identification of the fundamental technology to be developed is also crucial. A clear plan for demonstrating feasibility, noting any test and experiment requirements, is recommended. Key to each idea is an unambiguous knowledge of past research/concepts conducted on related work and specifically how this new proposal differs from, or enhances, the existing tether roadmaps, particularly for robotic mission support.



        Aeroassist

        Aeroassist is a general term given to various techniques to maneuver a space vehicle within an atmosphere using aerodynamic forces in lieu of propulsive 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 for planetary aerocapture.



        Low Temperature/High Temperature Adhesives Trade Study: aerocapture inflatable decelerators are currently proposed to be manufactured from thin film materials and/or high temperature fabrics, stowed during transport, and inflated prior to atmospheric entry for aerocapture applications at planetary destinations.


        • Prior to the aerocapture maneuver, the inflatable decelerator will be stowed for many years (up to 10) in an uncontrolled space environment (-130oC) during transport to outer solar system destinations;
        • Before atmospheric entry, the inflatable decelerator will be unstowed and inflated; and
        • During the aerocapture maneuver, up to 24 hours after the inflation process, the inflatable decelerator will experience temperatures to 500oC (or higher).



        Conduct a thorough study of the adhesives trade space and select and test adhesive candidates that will maintain bond strength during the temperature extremes and long-term space exposure experienced by inflatable decelerators. The product of this study will be a report thoroughly documenting sample preparation, test procedures, and test results of all materials investigated. This report will be disseminated to inflatable decelerator developers.



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      • 50851

        S5.02Accommodation and Mitigation of Space Environmental Effects

        Lead Center: GSFC

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

        This subtopic is concerned with improving the capability to accommodate or mitigate the effects of the space environment on spacecraft design and operations. It will achieve its goal by designing and building flight investigations, developing models, collecting data from investigations in space and… Read more>>

        This subtopic is concerned with improving the capability to accommodate or mitigate the effects of the space environment on spacecraft design and operations. It will achieve its goal by designing and building flight investigations, developing models, collecting data from investigations in space and from ground tests, and analyzing data to improve the models, tools, and/or databases used for spacecraft design and operations. The resulting products will reduce the design margins and uncertainties in the induced environment definition (i.e., the environment in the presence of a spacecraft) and its effects on spacecraft design and operations. The environments to be considered include planetary-trapped radiation, solar proton events, cosmic rays, the plasma environment at planets and in the solar wind, magnetic fields, EUV/VUV, and the interplanetary meteoroid environment.



        The investigations selected have the opportunity to be integrated on the Space Environment Testbed (SET) Carrier. The SET Project opportunities for flight will be in orbits other than LEO. Investigations do not need to fly with the SET Carrier if an investigator makes arrangements for other access to space.



        Examples of investigations and models that would satisfy those requirements are described below. A more detailed description, with examples of investigation needs, can be found at: http://lws-set.gsfc.nasa.gov/Opportunities.htm.



        Areas for which proposals are sought include:


        • Characterization of the space environment, both natural and induced, in the vicinity of a spacecraft;
        • Definition of the mechanisms for material and materials applications degradation and the performance characterization of materials (such as coatings, optical properties, composites, etc.) in the space environment;
        • Accommodation and/or mitigation of charging/discharging effects on spacecraft and spacecraft components;
        • Methods for performance improvement of radiation tolerance of microelectronics used in space, including reduction of single event upsets and other single particle-induced soft errors, and elimination of single event latch-ups and other single particle-induced destructive conditions;
        • Development of novel methods for increasing crew safety and system performance relative to the effects of the natural space environment; and
        • Development of novel methods of increasing ground-based systems performance and reliability by reducing the effects of the natural space environment on those systems (e.g., space environment-induced soft errors in the power grid).



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      • 50862

        S5.03Technologies 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, the… 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; and
        • 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; and
        • 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; and
        • 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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    • + Expand Earth-Sun System Instrument and Sensor Technology Topic

      Topic S6 Earth-Sun System Instrument and Sensor Technology PDF


      NASA's Earth-Sun Systems (ESS) Division is committed to studying how our global environment is changing. Using the unique perspective available from spaceborne 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 ESS 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 this 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 to enable new Earth observations measurements. The following subtopics are concomitant with this objective and are organized by measurement technique.

      • 50947

        S6.01Passive Optics

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, MSFC

        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… 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; responses are solicited for these topics.


        • Technology leading to visible/NIR narrowband optical filters exhibiting greatly improved degradation properties over existing filters and minimal spectral drift for long-term space-based applications;
        • 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;
        • 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; and
        • High-performance, four-band two-dimensional (2D) 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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      • 50950

        S6.02Lidar 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 components 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 that enable Earth-sun system measurements such as:


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



        Innovative component technologies that directly address the measurement needs above will be considered. Dual-use technologies addressing Planetary Exploration are highly desirable (see subtopics X1.03 and S1.04). For the PY05 SBIR, we are soliciting component technologies described below.


        • Pulsed, single frequency, diode-based seed laser MOPA systems are desired due to inherent robustness, efficiency, thermal and alignment stability. If the cost per unit is reasonable, and the size is small, then many of these can be installed on a spacecraft for either parallel operation or as backup units to lengthen the life of the mission. Systems with the following specifications are solicited:

          • Single frequency 1064 nm operation.
          • Small, pinned package(s) that can generate CW powers in the 100's of mW and higher pulse powers yielding at least 10 nJ pulse energies.
          • Gaussian pulsewidths between 100 ps and 5 ns.
          • MOPA design configuration is desired where the pulse production cavity is short and more readily impedance matched for the fast rise times, gain switching, etc.
          • A semiconductor amplifier, or possibly a small cm-scale Yb:fiber amplifier, can be coupled to the oscillator chip's output, itself contained in a hermetic butterfly or similar package.
          • Repetition rates as low as 100 Hz and as high as 10 kHz is needed, with pulsed lifetimes in the trillion shot regime (1012).
          • Single mode, PM fiber output is needed.
          • Short term drift less than 1 MHz.


        • CW, dual frequency, diode-based seed laser systems are desired for high power solid-state laser cavity feedback and locking at 1064 nm. If two wavelengths are produced, one must be 1064 nm and another single wavelength 5 nm or more offline (in either direction). Systems with the following specifications are solicited:

          • Simultaneous dual frequency operation; 1064 nm and a second wavelength at least 5 nm (either plus or minus) from 1064 nm.
          • Small, pinned package(s) that can generate CW powers in the 100s of mW and higher pulse powers.
          • CW output powers of >10 mW in each wavelength. Individual tunability is not required, but tunability of the 1064 nm output is required.
          • Dual PM, single mode fiber output is desired, but not absolutely required.
          • 5 MHz or less short term drift over 30 sec.


        • Efficient and compact single frequency solid state or fiber lasers operating at 1.5 and 2.0 micron wavelength regimes. Suitable for coherent lidar applications, these lasers must meet the following general requirements: pulse energy 2 mJ to 100 mJ, repetition rate 10 Hz to 200 Hz, and pulse duration of approximately 200 nsec.


        • 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.


        • Novel, high-power laser diodes capable suitable for pumping Holmium-based solid state lasers:

          • Quasi-CW laser diode arrays operating in 1939 nm or 1906.8 nm wavelengths with pulse duration of at least 1 msec, peak power in 10s watts regime, and duty cycle of greater than 2%;
          • Quasi-CW fiber-coupled laser diode pump arrays operating in 785 nm or 792 nm wavelengths with pulse duration of at least 1 msec, peak power in 100s watts regime, and duty cycle of greater than 2%; and
          • CW fiber-coupled laser diode pump arrays operating in 1939 nm or 1906.8 nm wavelengths.


        • Lightweight, compact lidar telescopes operating at one or more of the primary laser wavelengths in 1.0 to 2.0 micron wavelength region. The general requirements are: optical quality better than 1/6 wave at 632 nm, mass density less than 12 kg/m2, and aperture diameter from 10 cm to 30 cm. Proof of scalability to 0.5-1.0 m diameter for deployment in space is required.

        • Laser beam steering and scanning technologies (such as dual-wedge, diffractive optical elements, and liquid crystal) operating at 1.5 or 2.05 micron with 2 cm to 25-cm aperture diameter meeting the following requirements: 

          • 60 deg. field of regard.
          • 90% optical throughput.
          • 1/4-wave single pass optical quality at 632 nm.



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      • 50848

        S6.03Earth In Situ Sensors

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        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; and
        • Aircraft or UAV instruments for in situ measurements of physical and optical properties of clouds and aerosols with instantaneous measurement volumes ranging from cubic meters up to a maximum of a cubic kilometer, the purpose being to furnish validation for satellite remote sensing at the spatial scales satellites actually provide.



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      • 50861

        S6.04Passive 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 key… 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 multi-spectral 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 also an important element of competitive proposals under this solicitation.



        Specific technology innovation areas include:



        Electronics Technologies

        • Imaging radiometers, receivers, or receiver arrays on a chip;
        • Microwave and millimeter-wave frequency sources as an alternative to Gunn diode oscillators. Compact (100 mW), and low power consumption (
        • Wideband and ultra-wideband sensors with >15dB cross-pole isolation across the bandwidth;
        • Low noise (
        • Undersampling, multibit, analog-to-digital converters with Multigigahertz RF input bandwidth, low power consumption, and associated digital signal processing logic circuit;
        • Low power, lightweight microwave with DC power consumption of less than 2 W;
        • Electronic design approaches and subsystems that can be incorporated into microwave radiometers to detect and suppress RFI within or near the reception band of the radiometer, thus insuring higher data quality;
        • 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;
        • Monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC), low-noise amplifiers (LNA). Of particular interest are LNAs covering the frequency range of 165 to 193 GHz with low 1/f noise, and having a noise figure of 6.0 dB or better; and
        • GPS receiver systems for application as bi-static altimeters and scatterometers.



        Antenna Technologies

        • Sensor elements with low mutual coupling allowing close spacing within large arrays;
        • Large format, millimeter wave, focal plane array modules for large-aperture passive imaging applications; and
        • Large aperture, deployable antenna concepts. Such large apertures can be real or synthetic. Of particular interest are highly compact launch configurations.



        Calibration Technologies

        • New technology calibration reference sources for microwave radiometers that provide greatly improved reference measurement accuracy. Of particular interest are high emissivity (near-black-body) surfaces for use as onboard calibration targets for microwave radiometers-which will significantly reduce the weight of aluminum core target designs, while reliably improving the uniformity and knowledge of the calibration target temperature; and
        • New approaches, concepts, and techniques for microwave radiometer system calibration over or within the 1-300 GHz frequency band-which provide end-to-end calibration to better than 0.1K, including corrections for temperature changes and other potential sources of instrumental measurement drift and error.



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      • 50869

        S6.05Active 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, soil moisture mapping, accurate global wind retrieval, and snow inundation mapping, global 3D 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, soil moisture mapping, accurate global wind retrieval, and snow inundation mapping, global 3D 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 and Ka-band interferometers for snow cover measurement over land (Ku-band), 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 3D rain mapping.
          • Lightweight, low-cost, Ku/Ka band radar system for ground-based rain measurements.
          • Light weight, wideband (>200 MHz), low-sidelobe (
          • Low-power, high-speed, multi-channel single board digital receivers.
          • High-power, high-duty cycle solid state power amplifier from X through W-band.



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      • 50929

        S6.06Passive 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; and 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; and
        • Calibrated radiometer systems that can achieve accuracy and stability of 0.1 K.



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      • 50854

        S6.07Thermal Control for Instruments

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

        Future instruments for NASA's Science Mission Directorate will require increasingly sophisticated thermal control technology. Innovative proposals for thermal control technologies are sought in the following areas: Instrument Optical alignment needs, lasers, and detectors that require tight… Read more>>

        Future instruments for NASA's Science Mission Directorate will require increasingly sophisticated thermal control technology. Innovative proposals for thermal control technologies are sought in the following areas:


        • Instrument Optical alignment needs, lasers, and detectors that require tight temperature control, often to better than +/- 1°C. Some new missions, such as LISA and TPF, require methods of temperature measurement and control to micro-Kelvin levels.
        • Heat flux levels from lasers and other high power devices are increasing with some projected to go as high as 100 W/cm2. They will require thermal technologies such as spray and jet impingement cooling. Also, high conductivity, vacuum compatible interface materials will be needed to minimize thermal losses across make/break interfaces.
        • Future missions will utilize large, distributed structures such as mirrors and detector arrays at both ambient and cryogenic temperatures. These missions will require creative techniques to integrate thermal control functions and minimize weight. Some anticipated technology needs include: advanced thermoelectric coolers capable of providing cooling at ambient and cryogenic temperatures, high conductivity structural materials to minimize temperature gradients and provide high efficiency lightweight radiators, and advanced thermal control coatings such as variable emittance surfaces and coatings with a high emissivity at ambient and cryogenic temperatures.
        • The push for miniaturization also drives the need for new thermal technologies towards the MEMS level. Miniaturized heat transport devices, especially those suitable for cooling small sensors, devices, and electronics, include miniaturized mechanical pumps, Loop Heat Pipes (LHPs), and Capillary Pumped Loops (CPLs) which allow multiple heat load sources and multiple sinks.
        • The drive towards robotic missions and reconfigurable spacecraft presents engineering challenges for science instruments, which must become more self-sufficient. Some of the technology needs are:

          • Advanced analytical techniques for thermal modeling focusing on techniques that can be easily integrated into existing codes, emphasizing inclusion of LHPs, CPLs, and mechanically pumped system models;
          • Single and two-phase mechanically pumped fluid loop systems, which accommodate multiple heat sources and sinks, and long life, lightweight pumps for these systems; and
          • Efficient, lightweight vapor compression systems for cooling up to 2 KW.





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    • + Expand Earth-Sun System Data Applications Topic

      Topic S7 Earth-Sun System Data Applications PDF


      The Science Mission Directorate strives to understand the Sun, heliosphere, and the Earth's system of land, oceans, geology, and atmosphere and the complex interactions of all these systems as a single, connected, end-to-end system. The Directorate's mission is to reap the benefits of Earth and Sun exploration for society by providing accurate, objective scientific data and analysis to help policy makers, businesses, and citizens achieve economic security and to promote environmental stewardship. In this topic, the Directorate wants innovative companies to propose technology and techniques to assist the Directorate in achieving a portion of the mission in the shortest timeframe that is practical. The topic goal is to accelerate the deployment of Sun-Earth science data and understanding into operational decision support tools used by managers concerned with stewardship of the Earth's resources. This goal addresses the development of innovative technology solutions that simplify the processing, analysis, interpretation, and visualization of science data that will 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 management of land/biota, air, water, and emergency issues.

      • 50960

        S7.01Geospatial 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 applications of Earth Science and other remote sensing data. Focus areas are to provide tools for processing, analysis, interpretation, and visualization of remotely sensed data… Read more>>

        Proposals are sought for the development of advanced technologies in support of scientific, commercial, and educational applications of Earth Science and other remote sensing data. Focus areas are to provide tools for processing, analysis, interpretation, and visualization of remotely sensed data sets. Earth Science data needs to be benchmarked for practical use 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://science.hq.nasa.gov/strategy/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 database.



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      • 52187

        S7.02Innovative Tools and Techniques Supporting the Practical Uses of Earth Science Observations

        Lead Center: SSC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        Technical innovations 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… Read more>>

        Technical innovations 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://science.hq.nasa.gov/). 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 Applied Science Directorate may be found at http://www.asd.ssc.nasa.gov. Innovation 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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      • 50961

        S7.03Wireless 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 technology's 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 Science Spacecraft Systems Technology Topic

      Topic S8 Science Spacecraft Systems Technology PDF


      NASA has combined the Earth and Space Sciences into a new mission directorate called the Science Mission Directorate. The Science Mission Directorate will carry out the scientific exploration of our Earth, the planets, moons, comets, and asteroids of our solar system and beyond; chart the best route of discovery; and reap the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society. A major objective of the NASA science 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. NASA is fostering innovations that support implementation of the Earth Science (ES) and Space Science (SS) integrated international undertaking to study the Earth and space systems. The Science Mission Directorate Programs define the platforms as the host systems for science instruments. That is, 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. However, 'platform' 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, drop sondes, and sounding rockets). These application examples are given to illustrate the wide diversity of possibilities for acquiring Earth and space science data consistent with the future vision of the Science Mission Directorate and indicate types of platforms for which technology development is required.

      • 50853

        S8.01Guidance, Navigation and Control

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        Future science architectures will include observation and sensing platforms of varying type, size and complexity in a number of mission-operational regimes, trajectories and orbits. Advanced Guidance Navigation and Control (GN&C) technology is required for these platforms to address high… Read more>>

        Future science architectures will include observation and sensing platforms of varying type, size and complexity in a number of mission-operational regimes, trajectories and orbits. 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, volume and affordability constraints. In particular, there are many technology gaps in challenging orbital environments, including highly elliptical Earth orbits, libration point orbits, and lunar and planetary orbits.



        A vigorous effort is needed to develop guidance, navigation and control methodologies, algorithms, and sensor-actuator technologies to enable revolutionary science missions. Of particular interest are highly innovative GN&C technology proposals directed towards enabling scientific 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 spacecraft and/or the management of large fleets of heterogeneous and/or homogeneous assets are desired. Specific areas of research include:



        GN&C System Technologies

        Innovative GN&C solutions are sought for scientific instrument and laser communication system pointing, tracking, and stabilization. Proposals that exploit and combine recent advances in, spacecraft attitude determination and control, advanced electro-mechanical packaging, MEMS technology, and ultra-low power microelectronics are encouraged. Of particular interest is 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 rendezvous/proximity operations.



        GN&C Sensors and Actuators

        Advanced technology sensors and actuators are sought such as Sun sensors, Earth sensors, star/celestial object trackers, fine guidance sensors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, inertial measurement units, navigation devices, magnetometers, reaction/momentum wheels, control-moment gyros, magnetic torquers, tethers, attitude control thrusters, etc. These devices should have enhanced capabilities and performance as well as reduced cost, mass, power, volume, and reduced complexity for all platform GN&C system elements.



        Of particular interest are technologies that will provide a sensing or actuation function, having performance (e.g., dynamic range, stability, accuracy, noise, sensitivity, bandwidth, control authority, etc.) consistent with the state-of-the-art, with significantly reduced mass, power, volume, and cost. Technologies having the potential for significantly increased performance without additional mass, power, volume, and cost are also of interest. These resource reduction and/or performance improvement factors should be quantified in the proposal and show a minimum factor of 2 with a goal of 10 or greater. Highly autonomous and robust GN&C devices with multifunctional capabilities 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 relative navigation functions.



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      • 52200

        S8.02Command and Data Handling

        Lead Center: GSFC

        The goal for this subtopic is the development of advanced space technology and concepts to further high-performance science image and data processing. The instrument electronics must operate reliably and effectively for long periods of time in harsh environments. These systems require management of… Read more>>

        The goal for this subtopic is the development of advanced space technology and concepts to further high-performance science image and data processing. The instrument electronics must operate reliably and effectively for long periods of time in harsh environments. These systems require management of data and products, low power, and radiation.



        The objective for this development goal is to elicit novel concepts, architectures, and component technologies that have realistic and achievable potential for flight applications and are responsive to the priority areas of this subtopic. Technologies will be selected based on the potential that their final end products are sustainable (affordable, reliable/safe, and effective) and will advance solutions to the challenges of reusability, modularity, and autonomy.



        Priority areas are: reconfigurable/modular implementations; onboard science (data and image) processing and management; and low-power, radiation-resistant electronics. Additional information about the solicited technologies follows:



        Onboard Processing

        • Hardware technologies and architectures that support instrument science (data and image) processing and that are reconfigurable in flight and modular;
        • Hardware-based algorithms for onboard data and image processing of raw science into multiple custom data products. The intent is to minimize onboard bandwidth constraints;
        • Autonomous capability of hardware and algorithm management without ground intervention;
        • Low-power electronics: in order to provide higher capabilities on smaller and/or less expensive instruments and decrease subsequent thermal load; and
        • Radiation resistant electronics (hardware or application).

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      • 52201

        S8.03Long Range and Near Earth RF Communications

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC

        This subtopic seeks innovative technologies for long-range RF telecommunications supporting the needs of space missions. Proposals are sought in the following areas: Ultra-small, low-cost, low-power, modular deep-space transceivers, transponders, and components, incorporating MMICs and Bi-CMOS… Read more>>

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


        • Ultra-small, low-cost, low-power, modular deep-space transceivers, transponders, and components, incorporating MMICs and Bi-CMOS circuits;
        • MMIC modulators with drivers to provide large linear phase modulation (above 2.5 rad), high-data rate (10-200 Mbps), BPSK/QPSK modulation at X-band (8.4 GHz), and Ka-band (32 GHz and 38 GHz);
        • High-efficiency (>70 %) Solid-Sate Power Amplifiers (SSPAs), of both medium output power (10-50 W) and high-output power (150 W- 1 KW), using power combining techniques and/or wide-bandgap semiconductor devices at X-band (8.4 GHz) and Ka-band (32 GHz and 38 GHz);
        • Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTAs), SSPAs, modulators, and MMICs for 26 GHz Ka-band (lunar comm);
        • TWTAs operating at millimeter wave frequencies and at data rates of 10 Gbps or higher;
        • Ultra low-noise amplifiers (MMICs or hybrid) for RF front-ends (
        • MEMS-based RF switches and photonic control devices needed for use in reconfigurable antennas, phase shifters, amplifiers, oscillators, and in-flight reconfigurable filters. Frequencies of interest include S-, X-, Ka-, and V-band (60 GHz). Of particular interest is Ka-band from 25.5-27 GHz and 31.5-34 GHz.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase 1 and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware demonstration that will, when appropriate, deliver a demonstration unit for testing at the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



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      • 50836

        S8.04Spacecraft Propulsion

        Lead Center: GRC

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

        Innovations in propulsion technologies are needed to support the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) goals of better understanding the Earth-Sun system, exploring our solar system, and investigating the nature of the universe beyond our solar system. Planetary spacecraft need ever-increasing… Read more>>

        Innovations in propulsion technologies are needed to support the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) goals of better understanding the Earth-Sun system, exploring our solar system, and investigating the nature of the universe beyond our solar system. Planetary spacecraft need ever-increasing propulsive performance and flexibility for ambitious missions requiring high-duty cycles and years of operation. Satellites and satellite constellations have high-precision propulsion requirements, usually in volume- and power-limited envelopes. Propulsion systems must avoid contamination of instruments from thruster plumes. This subtopic seeks innovations in propulsion technologies to increase the capabilities of SMD spacecraft. Specifically, technology innovations are sought in the areas of solar electric propulsion, monopropellant technology, and miniature/precision propulsion.



        Solar Electric Propulsion

        Technology advancements are needed to improve the capability of low- to medium-power electric propulsion systems, including ion, Hall, and advanced plasma thrusters. Areas where innovations are sought include power processing, long-life, high-efficiency cathodes and neutralizers, electrodeless plasma production, low-erosion materials for ion optics and Hall discharge chambers, high-temperature magnetic circuits, and next-generation thrusters. Innovations sought include, but are not limited to, those that improve performance, increase lifetime, reduce mass, and decrease cost. Improvements are also sought for propellant management system components including storage, distribution, and flow control to support solar electric propulsion applications.



        Monopropellant Technology

        Advancements are sought for propulsion systems using advanced monopropellants. Spacecraft using high-performance (Isp >275 s), high-density (>1 g/cc) monopropellant formulations will need high-durability catalyst materials or, alternatively, non-catalytic ignition technology for power-limited spacecraft. Critical component materials (e.g., tank bladders, valve seats, and filters) that are compatible with advanced monopropellants need to be developed. Performance and density improvements are sought for applications with very low propulsion requirements.



        Miniature/Precision Propulsion

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


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      • 50832

        S8.05Energy Conversion and Storage for Space Applications

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        Earth science observation missions will employ spacecraft, balloons, sounding rockets, surface assets, 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… Read more>>

        Earth science observation missions will employ spacecraft, balloons, sounding rockets, surface assets, 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 characteristics of the technological challenges to be faced and are representative of the type of developments required beyond the state-of-the-art.



        The energy conversion technologies solicited include photovoltaics and thermophotovoltaic as well as related technologies such as array, concentrator, and thermal technologies. Specific areas of interest include:


        • Photovoltaic cell and array technologies with significant improvements in efficiency, mass specific power, stowed volume, cost, radiation resistance, and wide operating conditions are solicited. Photovoltaic cell technologies for wide temperature operation and radiation environments are solicited;
        • Potential array technologies of interest include rigid and deployable arrays, concentrators (rigid or inflatable, primary or secondary), ultra-lightweight arrays for lightweight, flexible, thin-film photovoltaic cells, and electrostatically clean spacecraft solar arrays;
        • Proposals are sought addressing structural and microbatteries and rechargeable lithium-based batteries with advanced anode and cathode materials and advanced liquid and polymer electrolytes;
        • Primary fuel cell systems that can function in high altitude platforms are solicited. These include primary H2:Air systems that operate at low air pressure and H2:O2 systems;
        • Future micro-spacecraft require distributed power sources that integrate energy conversion and storage into a hybrid structure with microelectronics devices/instruments; and
        • 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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      • 52301

        S8.06Platform Power Management and Distribution

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        NASA science missions employ Earth orbit and planetary spacecraft, along with terrestrial balloons, surface assets, aircraft, and marine craft as observation platforms. Advanced electrical power technologies are required for the electrical components and systems on these platforms to address the… Read more>>

        NASA science missions employ Earth orbit and planetary spacecraft, along with terrestrial balloons, surface assets, aircraft, and marine craft as observation platforms. Advanced electrical power 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 devices, components, and packaging,

        Power Electronic Materials and Components

        Advanced magnetic, dielectric, and semiconductor materials, devices, and circuits are of interest. Proposals must address improvements in energy density, speed, efficiency, or wide temperature operation (-125°C to 200°C) with a high number of thermal cycles. Candidate devices and applications include transformers, inductors, semiconductor switches and diodes, electrostatic capacitors, current sensors, and cables.



        Power Conversion, Motor Drive, Protection, and Distribution

        Technologies that provide significant improvements in mass, size, power quality, reliability, or efficiency in electrical power conversion, motor drives, and protective switchgear components are of interest. Candidate applications include solar array regulators, battery charge and discharge regulators, power conversion, power distribution, fault protection, high-speed motors/generators, magnetic bearing drivers, and integrated flywheel energy storage and attitude control electronics.



        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 Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis for Science Topic

      Topic S9 Advanced Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis for Science PDF


      Modeling and simulation are being used more pervasively and more effectively throughout the space program for both engineering and science pursuits. These are tools that allow high fidelity simulations of systems in environments that are difficult or impossible to create on Earth, allow removal of humans from experiments in dangerous situations, and provide visualizations of datasets that are extremely large and complicated. Examples of past simulation successes include simulations of entry conditions for man-rated space flight vehicles, visualizations of distant planet topography via simulated fly-over, and three-dimensional visualizations of coupled ocean and weather systems. In many of these situations, assimilation of real data into a highly sophisticated physics model is needed. Also use NASA missions and other activities to inspire and motivate the nation's students and teachers, to engage and educate the public, and to advance the scientific and technological capabilities of the nation.

      • 51036

        S9.01Automation 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. Areas of interest include all aspects of data collection, processing analysis, and decision making. NASA wants… 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. Areas of interest include all aspects of data collection, processing analysis, and decision making. NASA wants to go from specifying "how" something is done to specifying "what" is needed and letting the system figure what data and resources best meet the high-level goals under a set of constraints (e.g., cost, time, etc.).



        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 assembling and processing large volumes of data (commonly available on the Internet) into useful information; 3) intelligent searches 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; 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. Areas of interest include all aspects of data collection, processing analysis and decision making. NASA wants to from specifying "how" something is done to specifying "what" is needed and letting the system figure what data and resources best meet this high level goals under a set of constraints (e.g. cost, time and etc)



        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 assembling and 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; and
        • Control of Field Programmable Gate-Arrays (FPGA) to provide real-time products.



        Problems address must be relevant to Earth and Solar Sciences including space weather.



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      • 51037

        S9.02Distributed 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 teams… 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 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;
        • 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; and
        • Tools for rapidly porting and hosting science applications in a distributed environment. These applications should be 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; and
        • Novel supercomputing approaches using FPGAs, graphics processors, and other novel architectures and technologies.



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      • 52060

        S9.03Data Management and Visualization

        Lead Center: GSFC

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

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



        3D Virtual Reality Environments

        • 3D virtual reality environments for scientific data visualization that make use of novel 3D presentation techniques that minimize or eliminate the need for special user devices such as goggles or helmets; and
        • Software tools that will enable users to 'fly' through the data space to locate specific areas of interest.



        Distributed Scientific Collaboration

        • Tools that enable high bandwidth scientific collaboration in a wide area distributed environment; and
        • Novel tools for data viewing, real-time data browsing, and general purpose rendering of multivariate geospatial scientific data sets that use geo-rectification, data overlays, data reduction, and data encoding across widely differing data types and formats.



        Distributed Data Management

        • Metadata catalog environments to locate very large and diverse science data sets that are distributed over large geographic areas; and
        • Object based storage systems, file systems, and data management systems that promote the long-term preservation of data in a distributed, online (i.e., disk based) storage environment, and provide for recovery from system and user errors.



        Distributed Data Access

        • Dynamically configurable, high-speed access to data stored in Storage Area Networks (SAN) distributed over wide area environments; and
        • Technologies for sharing data over newly developed, high-speed, wide area networks such as the National Lambda Rail (NLR).

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      • 50826

        S9.04On-Board Science for Decisions and Actions

        Lead Center: ARC

        Current sensors are stove-piped systems, which can collect more data than is possible to transmit to the ground. Intelligence in the sensor or platform can prioritize or summarize the data and send down high priority or synoptic science data. In the future, a sensor-web capability will demand this… Read more>>

        Current sensors are stove-piped systems, which can collect more data than is possible to transmit to the ground. Intelligence in the sensor or platform can prioritize or summarize the data and send down high priority or synoptic science 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 three 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 re-targeting of sensors in response to user demand or in significant events seen in other sensors. Included are software that supports the reasoning and modeling of such capabilities for demonstration and mission simulation. Also included in this category is onboard analysis of sensor data that could run on 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.



        Simulation and Analysis of Sensor Webs

        Software that allows for the simulation of a sensor web of varying platform types producing a variety of data streams. These platforms could be in various orbits (L1, L2, NEO, LEO, etc.) and suborbital (UAV) that are automatically assigned different temporal and spatial coverages. Data streams would be assigned to these platforms and the system computes how the sensor web would cover of events (e.g., volcanic eruption, fires, and crop monitoring) at user designated, particular, geospatial locations (or areas).





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    • + Expand Communications, Computing, Electronics and Imaging (CCEI) Topic

      Topic X1 Communications, Computing, Electronics and Imaging (CCEI) PDF


      The goals of this topic are to develop advanced space communications and networking technology; high-performance computers and computing architectures for space systems and data analysis; low-power electronics to enable robotic operations in extreme environments; and imaging sensors for machine vision systems and the characterization of planetary resources. Subtopics of this topic area include:

      In-Space Computing and Reconfigurable Electronics. This subtopic includes architectures and components required for space-based computing and avionics systems. Architecture efforts will emphasize modular, fault-tolerant approaches that leverage commercial standards and COTS devices. Component work will focus on capabilities for enhancing general- and special-purpose processing to meet multiple mission goals. Products of particular interest include reconfigurable electronics, fault-tolerant, reconfigurable processor, micro-controllers and storage devices.

      Extreme Environments/Low Temperature Electronics. This subtopic includes radiation-tolerant, wide-temperature-range digital, analog, mixed signal, dynamic member and RF electronic components, and integrated modules suitable for operation in the extreme environments of the Moon, Mars and other deep space destinations. Efforts will emphasize supporting electronics for sensors, actuators and communications. The focus of this subtopic is radiation-tolerant, analog, mixed signal, dynamic memory and RF electronic components, and integrated modules suitable for operation in extreme low-temperature space environments.

      Sensing and Imaging. This subtopic includes orbital remote sensing for topographical and resource mapping and atmospheric profiling and control-loop sensing for robotic functions such as rendezvous and docking, assembly and construction, and precision landing. Products of particular interest include control-loop sensors for position, velocity and force, rapid detection and readout arrays for 2D and 3D imaging at 1.5 µm and multi-wavelength IR and visible laser arrays.

      Surface Networks and Access Links. This subtopic includes communications technologies to support operational activities in space beyond low Earth orbit and on planetary surfaces in which nodes are simultaneously connected to each other, to Earth, and to the CEV via in-space relay orbiters, and via wired and wireless networks providing the bidirectional voice, video and data needed. The focus of this subtopic is on the modular, reconfigurable RF communications and networking technologies needed to support a human presence on remote lunar and planetary surfaces with short-range networks and access links to long-haul systems.

      • 50858

        X1.01In-Space Computing and Reconfigurable Electronics

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

        The goal for this subtopic is the development of advanced space technology to further high-performance computers and computing architectures and reliable electronic systems that can operate effectively for long periods of time in harsh environments. These systems require management of low power and… Read more>>

        The goal for this subtopic is the development of advanced space technology to further high-performance computers and computing architectures and reliable electronic systems that can operate effectively for long periods of time in harsh environments. These systems require management of low power and radiation, and must be reliable, robust and reconfigurable.



        The objective for this development goal is to elicit novel architectural concepts and component technologies that have realistic potential and achievable applications and are responsive to the priority areas of this subtopic. Technologies will be selected based on the potential that their final end products are sustainable (affordable, reliable/safe and effective), and will advance solutions to the challenges of reusability, modularity and autonomy. Priority areas are:



        Data processing

        • General purpose processors (piece part, rather than an entire board) possessing fault tolerance at cell and or die levels, floating point and error correction.
        • Technologies that reduce the physical size and power requirements of computing systems: making the data system more adaptable, modular, and cost effective.
        • New standard models for analysis of interplanetary radiation and radiation belts, and technologies that enable radiation measurements such as total dose and single event effects in computing systems: enhances capability to design radiation tolerant data systems, monitor systems in flight, and predict errors and contingencies.



        Reconfigurable Electronics and Implementations

        • Reconfigurable designs and architectures that support fault tolerance and are functionally and physically modular.
        • Solutions, designed around generic blocks, for recovery from multipoint failures (as opposed to single fault) component failure, where a system can monitor and identify the failing components, and self-repair or bypass small portions of the electronics. These prioritized generic blocks would enable graceful degradation of higher functions while maintaining the system core functionality.



        Data System Support Electronics

        • Radiation-hard microcontrollers, phase lock loops (PLL), and high-speed oscillators (greater than 150 MHz, equal duty cycle).
        • FPGA: Environmentally tested, reliable, tolerant IO, radiation hardened cell structures, Anti-Fuse or reconfigurable.
        • Robust and reliable non-volatile storage devices such as EEPROMs and FLASH memory.



        Command and Data Transfer

        • Inter-system data transfer communications between spacecraft subsystems based on standard interfaces that address high multi-drop throughput (10 to 100 mbps), self diagnosis, inherent redundancy and low power, and support subsystem data transfer to realize higher autonomy.
        • Intra-system data transfer communications within the spacecraft subsystems, between cards within a box, to replace the conventional passive backplanes, e.g., switched fabric backplanes with fault detection and serial interfaces.





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      • 50871

        X1.02Extreme Environment Electronics/SEE

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, MSFC

        Moon equatorial regions experience wide temperature swings from -180°C to +130°C during the lunar day/night cycle, and the sustained temperature at the shadowed regions of lunar poles can be as low as -230°C. Mars diurnal temperature changes from about -120°C to +20°C. All exploration endeavors… Read more>>

        Moon equatorial regions experience wide temperature swings from -180°C to +130°C during the lunar day/night cycle, and the sustained temperature at the shadowed regions of lunar poles can be as low as -230°C. Mars diurnal temperature changes from about -120°C to +20°C. All exploration endeavors, including robotic, habitat, and ISRU systems that are expected to reliably operate on the Moon or Mars surface for years will need electronics that are able to survive and operate in a wide temperature range and thermal-cycling environment. The lunar and Martian temperatures are well outside the specification range of military and commercial electronics. While many types of devices, especially Si CMOS transistors, can operate down to low temperatures. There are significant circuit design challenges that need to be addressed, especially in the case of mixed signal and analog circuits.



        In addition, thermal cycling present in lunar, and especially Mars, environments introduces reliability concerns associated with mechanical stress and fatigue of the IC package. For example, compounds optimized for Earth-like packaging of electronic systems have glass transition temperatures that are within the cycling range of these environments, and cycling of electronic systems packaged using these materials will likely result in package failures. Hence, the choice of packaging technology and material combination used is extremely critical for these missions.



        Proposals are sought in following specific areas:


        • Wide temperature (-180°C to +130°C) and low-temperature (-230°C), radiation-tolerant and SEU immune, low power, mixed-signal circuits including analog-to-digital converters, digital-to-analog converters, low-noise pre-amplifiers, voltage and current references, multiplexors, power switches, microcontrollers, and integrated command/control/drive electronics for sensors, actuators, and communications transponders.
        • High-density packaging able to survive large numbers of thermal cycles (hundreds) and tolerant of the extreme temperatures of the Moon and Mars, including appropriate selection of packaging materials combinations (substrates, die-attach, encapsulants, etc.) modular system level electronics packaging, including power, command and control, and processing functions, enabling integration of electronics with sensors and actuators elements.
        • Wide temperature (-180°C to +130°C) and ultra-low temperature (-230°C) RF electronics for short range and long-range communication systems.
        • Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools for predicting the electrical performance, reliability, and life cycle for low-temperature electronic systems and components.



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



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      • 52294

        X1.03Sensing and Imaging

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, LaRC

        Sensing and imaging systems can provide a number of capabilities required for anticipated NASA missions including exploration of Mars and the Moon. Capabilities of interest include the following: Orbiting sensors to map: Extent and concentration of useful, surface, or subsurface resources to… Read more>>

        Sensing and imaging systems can provide a number of capabilities required for anticipated NASA missions including exploration of Mars and the Moon. Capabilities of interest include the following:


        • Orbiting sensors to map:

          • Extent and concentration of useful, surface, or subsurface resources to identify promising outpost or science sites and traversable terrains;
          • Surface topography and roughness to identify promising safe landing sites for human, robotic science, and pre-provisioning missions, and to guide pinpoint landing algorithms.

        • Robot-mounted sensors for: estimating robot pose and motion; recovering 3D scene structure; identifying hazards or objects of interest; identifying articulation of observed objects, and performing visual serving. Flight ready (radiation and temperature hardened), high cycle rate, and low power systems are generally preferred. Applications include:

          • Autonomous rendezvous and docking;
          • Pinpoint landing;
          • Surface navigation;
          • Surface and on-orbit assembly/construction;
          • Resource mining/processing;
          • Multi-vehicle cooperation.



        Specific technologies of interest in addressing these challenges include:

        • Rapid frame rate arrays for 1, 1.5 and 2 µm vision (2D and 3D);
        • Multi-wavelength laser arrays;
        • Flight-ready, high-speed, medium-resolution (640x480) stereo-vision sensors;
        • Flight-ready, low-power lighting systems (headlights) to allow imaging during nighttime robotic operations;
        • Tightly coupled inertial and vision sensors for pose estimation;
        • Ground truthing systems for evaluating performance of ranging systems.



        A number of related technologies are of interest but are covered under other subtopics, including:

        • High power or high rep-rate lasers (S6.02, S1.04);
        • Ultra-high sensitivity detectors and arrays (S4.01);
        • Active and passive microwave sensors (S6.04, S6.05).





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      • 50834

        X1.04Surface Networks & Access Links

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL, JSC

        To develop safe and sustainable exploration capabilities at minimum cost, while maximizing return, an incremental spiral development process will guide a build out of an integrated communication, navigation, networking, computing, informatics, and power architecture that supports all surface and… Read more>>

        To develop safe and sustainable exploration capabilities at minimum cost, while maximizing return, an incremental spiral development process will guide a build out of an integrated communication, navigation, networking, computing, informatics, and power architecture that supports all surface and proximity nodes, including humans in spacesuits, robots, rovers, human habitats, satellite relays, and pressurized vehicles.



        The architecture will enable operational activities in which both fixed and mobile nodes with vastly differing communications requirements are seamlessly interoperable. Nodes are simultaneously connected to each other, to Earth, and to the CEV via in-space relay orbiters, and via wired and wireless networks that provide the bidirectional voice, video, and data needed. The need to be self-sufficient during exploration requires local control and an unprecedented level of autonomous operation to seamlessly connect the nodes and reduce operations cost. The Moon and Mars environments require SEU and extreme temperature-tolerant equipment tightly constrained by power, mass, and volume. Human presence requires at least one usable bidirectional link to the communications network at all times and high definition video to engage the public interest.



        This subtopic focuses on the modular, reconfigurable RF communications and networking technologies needed to support a human presence on remote lunar and planetary surfaces with surface-to-surface and surface-to-orbit (access) communications.



        Surface Networks

        The complexity of astronaut excursions, habitats, surface manned and unmanned rovers, and landers make surface operations and man-occupation complex and daunting tasks. Exploration of planetary surfaces will require short-range, bidirectional, multi-point links to provide on-demand, autonomous interconnection among surface-based assets. Some of the nodes will be fixed (base stations) and some will be moving (rovers and humans). This will encompass a number of communications and networking technologies for communications in the 2.4 Ghz range, including: integrated low mass, low power (100's of milliwatts) transceivers for very short-range interfaces with sensors and other small devices; power-efficient, miniature, modular transceivers for short-range communications among large (e.g., lander) and medium-sized (e.g., rover) surface assets; reconfigurable directionally selectable, multi-frequency arrays for wide coverage, high-gain links among surface assets; miniaturized modular antenna technology for surface-to-surface communications among mobile and fixed nodes; wireless products integrated with low-power space-rated ASICs and FPGAs; short (~ 1km) range access point base stations, or wireless router bridges for extending surface network coverage; fixed, long (~ 50km) range, wireless network terminals for extending high data rate communications over large distances; self-healing ad-hoc network MAC and protocols for intelligent, autonomous link management; and networking technologies to enable autonomous, seamless interconnectivity among all nodes.



        Access Links

        To interface with orbiting relays, terminals capable of providing seamless connectivity between surface networks and orbiting relays will be positioned on lunar and planetary surfaces and in orbit. Such an access link communications system will include: high rate, efficient, solid state amplifiers capable of very high data rates over 1,000-10,000 km distances with ranging signals embedded; very low-power data rates, and cost inter-spacecraft S-band transceivers/transponders for inexpensive spacecraft; optical transceivers capable of very high data rates over 1,000-10,000 km distances; SEU and solar flare tolerant transponders capable of: programmable wide-carrier frequency ranges from S-band to Ka-band, taking GPS measurements, and handling IP at the digital level; micro software radio technology for autonomous and intelligent space applications; low mass, volume, power, and cost-stable oscillators to provide accurate time and frequencies for autonomous operations; autonomously reconfigurable receivers capable of automatic link configuration and management; microwave ranging hardware built into communication systems for rendezvous and collision avoidance; and ad hoc long range spacecraft-to-spacecraft network protocols to setup links on demand, such that each node can route data through to another node.





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    • + Expand Advanced Materials and Structural Concepts (AMSC) Topic

      Topic X2 Advanced Materials and Structural Concepts (AMSC) PDF


      The goals of this topic are to develop high-performance materials, fabrics, modular vehicle structural concepts, and mechanical components for exploration systems. Major technology drivers include reducing system cost, mass, and launch volume; enabling the construction of space and surface infrastructure from modular elements; extending the performance and lifetime of systems operating in extreme environments; and providing systems with integrated diagnostic and adaptive capabilities. This topic is responsible for basic technology level research, development, and testing through experimental and/or analytical validation of novel materials and structural concepts for a wide range of exploration applications. The three subtopics include Advanced Materials and Mechanisms, Structures and Habitats, and Nanotechnology.

      • 52282

        X2.01Advanced Materials

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, MSFC

        Technology areas included in this subtopic are high performance, super lightweight structural materials, space-durable materials, multifunctional materials, and flexible material systems. Materials of interest include ceramics, metals, polymers, and their composites as well as coatings for erosion… Read more>>

        Technology areas included in this subtopic are high performance, super lightweight structural materials, space-durable materials, multifunctional materials, and flexible material systems. Materials of interest include ceramics, metals, polymers, and their composites as well as coatings for erosion resistance and environmental protection. Proposals with innovative and revolutionary ideas in the area of advanced materials are sought for explorations applications such as:


        • Flexible fabrics and thermal insulation for spacesuits and habitats;
        • High strength-to-weight and high temperature composite materials for lightweight vehicle structures and power and propulsion systems;
        • Self-healing materials to repair damage to spacesuits, habitats, and wire insulation electronics, sensing, and actuators for monitoring system health and adapting to changing mission conditions;
        • Flexible fabrics relevant to mission needs such as inflatable systems for ballutes, habitats, airbags, parachutes, and suits;
        • Innovative approaches to materials systems yielding durable, lightweight, flexible films and fabrics.





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      • 50949

        X2.02Structures and Habitats

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, JSC, MSFC

        This subtopic solicits innovative structural concepts, materials, and assembly techniques that support the development of modular space systems. Also needed is a criteria to judge the different concepts in terms of impact on the overall performance and weight. Structural concepts can include… Read more>>

        This subtopic solicits innovative structural concepts, materials, and assembly techniques that support the development of modular space systems. Also needed is a criteria to judge the different concepts in terms of impact on the overall performance and weight. Structural concepts can include inflatable, erectable, deployable, or easily connected modules to create large space structures utilizing membranes, composites, or other material concepts. Modular units can provide reconfigurable structures, such as multiple-energy configurations using cables and linkages, compliant structures or mechanisms that adapt to varying surfaces, or multi-purpose integrated structures, such as load-bearing modular power distribution, thermal management, or radiation protection systems. Additionally, this subtopic includes research related to novel rotating devices, actuators, tribology, and seals. It further includes intelligent structural, electrical, and fluid interfaces to enable the assembly (or 'self-assembly') of modular systems.



        Of particular interest are inflatable structures and habitats to minimize launch volume and costs. Large inflatable structures can be folded into compact packages for launch, pressurized for deployment once in space, and rigidized after deployment so that internal pressure is not required to maintain structural stiffness and shape.



        New concepts, materials, and methods for in-space structures and habitats to enable humans to safely and effectively live and work in space are needed. Specifically, structures or habitats with integral radiation shielding, impact shielding, thermal management, and integral diagnostics/health monitoring capabilities are of interest as well as high strength-to-weight materials (e.g., foamed materials), structural elements, and beams that can be deployed or fabricated in situ. Development of smart and multifunctional modular structures, including the use of embedded sensors and actuators, is encouraged.



        Also solicited are assembly technologies such as innovative connectors for joining and/or bonding techniques, module positioning and alignment concepts, component deployment or erection concepts, and component/module inspection and verification techniques. Structures and materials that support reconfigurable modular architectures are also solicited.



        Modeling and structural testing techniques and analyses that support the design of modular structural concepts or their assembly are of interest. Two areas are of particular interest: one is controls-structures interaction (CSI) techniques and the second one is hybrid-test and physics based-modeling approaches. Application of advanced controls-structures interaction (CSI) techniques for measuring and controlling structural dynamics and geometry are important. Solutions for incorporation of CSI techniques for controlling such inflatable structures are also highly desirable. On hybrid modeling, ways to integrate test and physics-based models for cases where the physics-based models are not sufficient is also desirable.



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      • 52277

        X2.03Nanostructured Materials

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JSC, LaRC

        The applications of advances in Nanotechnology are anticipated to have a profound impact on NASA's future missions by offering significant advantages in terms of cost affordability and reliability from multifunctional materials. Nanotechnology enables systems performance beyond those expected from… Read more>>

        The applications of advances in Nanotechnology are anticipated to have a profound impact on NASA's future missions by offering significant advantages in terms of cost affordability and reliability from multifunctional materials. Nanotechnology enables systems performance beyond those expected from conventional materials. While many fundamental findings are reported in the literature, there is a strong need to focus efforts on the demonstration of real benefits provided by nanostructured material systems.



        It is especially interesting to meet exploration challenges with the development of high strength-to-weight and multi-functionality possible from the unique combinations of desirable properties of the nano-structred materials. The promise of high strength-to-weight, multi-functional, nano-structured materials has led to intense interest in developing them for near-term applications for human spaceflight and exploration.



        Nano-structured materials of interest include, but are not limited to, the utilization of single wall, carbon, nanotube-based composites, ceramic nanofibers, and bio/nano-inspired materials and composites.



        Due to the size scale and fundamental physical properties of the structures involved, a successful proposal for applications development should demonstrate a mature understanding of nano-material synthesis and material quality, as well as incorporate the development and use of new characterization methodologies to fully assess the impact of the nano-structured materials upon a given matrix or system.



        The specific focus of this subtopic will include, but not be limited to:


        • New materials for structures and components offering significant mass reduction and increased strength with improved thermal conductivity, low permeability, low density, and improved damage tolerance through self-repairing mechanisms;
        • Application of nano-structured materials to self-healing and self-repair materials and concepts;
        • Nano-structured materials offering enhanced radiation protection;
        • Development of nano-material systems that are resistant to large thermal fluctuations, radiation, electrostatic charging, abrasion, and micrometeoroid debris damage;
        • Nano-materials for energy generation, storage, and distribution.





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    • + Expand Power Propulsion and Chemical Systems (PPCS) Topic

      Topic X3 Power Propulsion and Chemical Systems (PPCS) PDF


      The goals of this topic are to develop high-efficiency power conversion/generation, energy storage, and power management and distribution systems to provide abundant power for long-duration, sustainable, human and robotic exploration missions as well as systems for the storage and handling of cryogens and other propellants. The subtopics include: Power Generation and Transmission, Energy Storage, and Cryogenic and Thermal Management.

      • 52279

        X3.01Power Generation & Transmission

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

        All innovative technologies for power generation and conversion are highly encouraged under this subtopic. Proposals addressing technologies, including solar photovoltaic conversion, thermo-photovoltaic conversion, thermoelectric conversion, and thermodynamic conversion (heat engines), etc., are… Read more>>

        All innovative technologies for power generation and conversion are highly encouraged under this subtopic. Proposals addressing technologies, including solar photovoltaic conversion, thermo-photovoltaic conversion, thermoelectric conversion, and thermodynamic conversion (heat engines), etc., are encouraged. In addition, research and technology development in topics related to advanced power cabling and power management are also needed.



        Significant improvements in photovoltaic systems are required to enable future exploration missions. Dramatic increases in array mass specific power (>1000 W/kg), reductions in stowed volume, increases in operational voltages to 1000V, increases in radiation hardness enabling reliable operation in high-radiation environments, increases in survivability over wide temperature extremes, as exists on a lunar surface, and developments of automated deployment systems for surface power applications. Developments are sought for photovoltaic cells on flexible, ultra-lightweight substrates, array technologies that maintains the high mass specific power of these cells, nanostructures incorporated to enhance the performances of thin-film, organic/inorganic, or single-crystal photovoltaic cells and thermo-photovoltaic cells. Demonstrations of high efficiency, lightweight, concentrator cell and supporting array techniques, multi-quantum well and multi-quantum dot devices, and advanced multi-band gap devices are also of interest. Advanced photovoltaic areas of emphasis include high-efficiency quantum well technology. Nano-engineered materials are an area of emphasis for all of these applications.



        High power solar dynamic power conversion systems, including Brayton and Stirling, support the development of solar-electric propulsion and power systems requiring low overall system specific mass (kg/kW). The objectives for solar dynamic systems, with power output capacities ranging from 100W to >100kW, require demonstrating thermal efficiencies greater than 30% over a range of cycle temperature ratios and heat rejection temperatures. A system specific mass of


        Technological advances are needed for large deployable solar concentrators and secondary concentrators, high temperature heat receivers with thermal energy storage capability, and advanced lightweight heat rejection sub-systems. For Brayton power, advances are needed in ceramic high temperature turbine technology, high efficiency compressors matched to turbine performance, high efficiency alternators, lightweight carbon composite heat exchangers and recuperators.



        For Stirling, advances required are: high frequency, low inductance linear alternators, low mass displacer, hot-end materials and structures, efficient cold-end thermal integration with lightweight radiators, high efficiency low mass controllers, and regenerators.



        For power management and distribution systems, areas of emphasis include: high reliability, light weight, radiation-hardened power electronic components (semiconductor switches, diodes, capacitors, and transformers); high voltage switching contactors (>100Vdc) tolerant to corona discharge; and high efficiency (>95%) modular DC converters for boost and buck conversion. Concepts for monitoring power system status, fault tolerance, redundancy, and energy management. Advanced power cabling including high voltage, superconductors, carbon nanotube, and cable mbedded with structural elements. Also of importance are, intelligent and modular distribution switchgear and power management that can autonomously reconfigure in response to faults and changing loads.



        Research for Wireless Power Transmission (WPT) technology development, to reduce the cost of electrical power and to provide a stepping stone to NASA for delivery of power between objects in space, between space, and surface sites, between ground and space, and between ground and air-platform vehicles. WPT can involve lasers or microwaves along with the associated power interfaces. Microwave and laser transmission techniques have been studied with several promising approaches to safe and efficient WPT identified. These investigations have included microwave phased array transmitters, as well as visible light laser transmission, and associated optics. There is a need to produce "proof-of-concept" validation of critical WPT technologies for both the near-term as well as far-term applications. These investments will be harvested in near-term, beam-safe demonstrations of commercial WPT applications. Proposals are sought that include such activities as the technology elements, architecture, and demonstration programs for wireless transmission of power. Receiving sites (users) include ground-based stations for terrestrial electrical power, orbital sites to provide power for satellites and other platforms, future space elevator systems, and space-based sites for spacecraft and space vehicle propulsion.



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      • 50841

        X3.02Energy Storage

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        All exploration missions require advanced primary and rechargeable energy storage devices that are high-density, have long-life capability, and have the ability to function at extreme temperatures. The energy storage requirements vary significantly from a few watt-hours (astronaut equipment) to… Read more>>

        All exploration missions require advanced primary and rechargeable energy storage devices that are high-density, have long-life capability, and have the ability to function at extreme temperatures. The energy storage requirements vary significantly from a few watt-hours (astronaut equipment) to hundreds of kilowatt-hours (human outposts), depending on the mission. Similarly, power requirements also vary from a few watts (astronaut equipment) to several kilowatts, depending on the mission (human rovers, human outposts, and crew exploration vehicles).



        Advanced energy storage devices, such as primary batteries, rechargeable batteries, fuel cells, and flywheels are required to enable future robotic and human exploration missions. Advanced primary batteries are required for applications such as astronaut equipment, communication devices, in situ resource utilization systems, sensor networks, etc. Advanced rechargeable batteries are required for solar powered landers and rovers, solar powered human outposts, astronaut equipment, and spacecraft. Primary fuel cells are required for crew exploration vehicles and rovers. Regenerative fuel cells provide an enabling, mass-efficient solution for surface electrical energy storage for future long-duration human exploration of the lunar and Mars surfaces. Flywheels provide an effective solution to meeting peak power requirements when used in hybrid systems with battery or fuel cell systems providing the base power, and offer the capability of integrated power and attitude control.



        Energy Storage devices are needed for EVA and EVA accessory applications as well as vehicle and base back-up or peaking power applications. Areas of emphasis include advanced battery materials and cell designs with the potential to achieve the performance and safety advancements required for manned applications. Hybrid systems consisting of fuel cells, batteries, flywheels, and/or ultra capacitors are of interest. Also sought are high energy density fuel cell reactant storage innovations compatible with the performance and safety goals specified herein. Micro and nano-engineered materials are an area of emphasis for all of these applications. Proposals addressing micro-batteries, and integrated power generation and storage are sought.



        Primary and rechargeable lithium-based batteries with advanced anode and cathode materials and advanced liquid and polymer electrolytes and solid-state systems are of particular interest. Technology advancements that contribute to the following performance goals are sought: specific energy >180 Wh/kg, calendar life (>15years), and a wide operating temperature range (-60°C to 60°C). Primary batteries with the following performance targets are of interest: low temperature operation capable of delivering >30% of their ambient temperature capacity at temperatures as low as -100°C, specific energy: >400 Wh/kg, long calendar life >15 years, and high rate capability >C/10.



        Fuel cell (FC) and regenerative fuel cell (RFC) systems with power capabilities in the range of 100-1000 watts and 2-10kW are of interest. Technological advances are sought that FC/RFC based systems with the following characteristics: specific energies: FC >1500 W/kg, RFC >600 Wh/kg. Efficiencies: FC>70% at 1500 W/kg, RFC >60% at 600 Wh/kg, and lifetimes: FC >10,000 hours, RFC >1500 cycles. Concepts that incorporate passive operation and advanced reactant storage options (example: H2, O2) are sought.



        Advanced fuel cell development should include proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC - high and low temperature), regenerative fuel cells (RFC), and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). PEMFC areas of emphasis include long-life stacks and systems with emphasis on gravity-independent water management within the stack or elsewhere in the system, passive water separators, and passive reactant recirculation devices. RFC areas of emphasis include long-life, high-efficiency PEMFCs and electrolyzers. SOFC areas of emphasis include the capability to utilize CO/CO2 and methane fuels for power generation.



        Flywheel technology areas of interest are: system configuration concepts for high specific energy (>100Wh/kg for systems >500Whr and >50Wh/kg for systems 600 Wh/kg, and/or concepts that integrate energy storage, momentum storage, and spacecraft structure are sought.



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      • 50958

        X3.03Cryo & Thermal Management

        Lead Center: MSFC

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

        This subtopic includes technologies for waste heat management, movement, and rejection; technologies including lightweight and/or high-temperature radiators, heat pipes, heat sinks, etc. Also includes cryo-coolers and related low-temperature systems. These technologies will impact space solar power… Read more>>

        This subtopic includes technologies for waste heat management, movement, and rejection; technologies including lightweight and/or high-temperature radiators, heat pipes, heat sinks, etc. Also includes cryo-coolers and related low-temperature systems. These technologies will impact space solar power systems, spacesuits and habitation systems, robotics, and surface systems.



        Spaceport operations, both on Earth as well as extraterrestrial, are heavily dependent upon a wide range of cryogenic systems, including liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen, liquid helium, and supercritical breathing air. Each above application has unique performance requirements that need to be met. Sizes of these systems range from the small (3400 m3 for LOXand LH2 ground propellant storage). Advanced cryogenic technologies are being solicited for all these applications. Proposed technologies should offer enhanced safety, reliability, or economic efficiency over current state-of-the-art, or should feature enabling technologies to allow NASA to meet future space exploration goals. Technology focus areas are divided as follows: passive systems, storage and distribution components, refrigeration systems, advanced instrumentation, and advanced operational concepts.



        Cryogenic propellants such as hydrogen, methane, and oxygen are required for many current and future space missions. Operating efficiency and reliability of these cryogenic systems must be improved considering the launch environment, operations in a space environment, and system life, cost, and safety. Innovative concepts are requested for cryogenic insulation systems, fluid system components, and instrumentation. Although this subtopic solicits unique and innovative concepts in the cryogenic components and instrumentation areas, there is an emphasis at this time for:


        • Advanced thermal switches to isolate heat transfer from a de-powered cryocooler;
        • Advanced low-gravity submersible pumps designed specifically for moving cryogen heat that enters the tank wall to the heat exchanger coupled to the cryocooler;
        • Advanced tank support systems capable of supporting tanks during the launch environment, but decoupling on on-orbit to minimize thermal loads;
        • Advanced cryocoolers which are reliable, lightweight, and capable of removing significant heat at liquid hydrogen temperatures;
        • Low heat leak cryogenic quick disconnects capable of sealing against the vacuum of space;
        • Long-life, low power valves capable of sealing at cryogenic temperatures and being cycled many times without consuming pressurant gas;
        • Liquid acquisition devices capable of preventing gas ingestion into engine feed lines in low gravity;
        • Methods for cryogenic fluid acquisition and transfer in zero gravity;
        • Methods of determining liquid remaining in propellant tanks in low gravity;
        • High accuracy differential pressure transducers, which can be read submerged in liquid cryogen;
        • On-orbit leak detectors;
        • Lightweight, low-power temperature sensors which can be placed internally to the storage tank with a minimum number of feed-throughs;
        • New technology valves for cryogenic applications, including LOX, LH2 and Lhe, that minimize thermal losses and pressure drops. Components include shutoff and flow-control valves. Valves should be adaptable to electromechanical actuation and range in size from ½ to 6 inches;
        • Integrated heat exchangers in large-scale storage systems designed to provide for zero boiloff and densification of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen;
        • Advanced low-temperature materials for cryogenic containment;
        • Insulation materials capable of retaining structural integrity while accommodating large operating temperatures ranging from cryogenic to elevated temperature conditions.



        Thermal management systems are needed for the rejection of heat to hot environments for daytime operations on the lunar surface, large space radiators to dissipate heat from power and propulsion systems, thermal control for mobile systems, cryogenic propellant storage and handling for in-space refueling, and long-term cryogen storage for propellant depots.



        Thermal management concepts include advanced heat sinks, heat pipes, and interface materials with high thermal conductivity that are electrically isolative. Innovative methods of increasing the specific thermal capacitance of the power systems are also sought:


        • Qualified heat pumps to reject heat to hot environments;
        • Multi-zone thermal control systems for spacesuits and mobile systems;
        • Lightweight deployable low temperature radiators for use on the lunar surface;
        • Concepts for the thermal management of advanced power system component designs for operation in deep space, lunar, and Martian environments.





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    • + Expand Advanced Studies Concepts and Tools (ASCT) Topic

      Topic X4 Advanced Studies Concepts and Tools (ASCT) PDF


      The goal of this topic is to develop ESR&T (Exploration Systems Research and Technology) tools that advance the SOA (State-Of-Art) for: the study of revolutionary exploration system advanced concepts, system technologies, and architectures; the prioritization of mission enabling technologies; systems engineering analysis, which reduces mission risk; systems design and analysis; and the conduct of exploratory research and development for emerging technologies. The projects to be selected are expected to challenge SBIR companies to take on research projects with higher technology development risk and higher potential payoff than they would, otherwise; and, in addition, are judged to be likely to provide new capabilities to meet NASA's strategic goals and objectives for Exploration Systems. Projects must press the state-of-the-art, display a high degree of innovation, and involve significant technical challenges. Projects must be technically feasible, but the proposer should not assume that the lower the technical risk in a project, the greater the probability that it will be funded. Component-related, system-related, and process-related projects are all of interest. Subtopics of this ASCT topic area include: Technology Systems Analysis Tools - this subtopic includes the development of advanced tools to support: advanced concept analysis; systems architecture analysis; emerging systems technology analysis; technology portfolio assessment and forecast analysis; campaign analysis; technology databases; advanced concept development risk and cost modeling; etc. This subtopic encompasses support for technology road map definition. Systems Design and Analysis Tools - this subtopic includes the development of advanced tools for implementing: an advanced modeling and systems simulation environment; integrated analysis for assessing potential system engineering impacts of new technologies; design and analysis databases; system engineering models; engineering discipline analysis; system level risk analysis; probabilistic risk analysis (PRA); reliability, maintainability, and availability analyses; human factor analysis; life cycle cost analysis; and other systems engineering Figures of Merit (FOM) analyses. This ASCT topic is currently focusing on developing advanced tools, which enable the following:

      • Study of revolutionary exploration system advanced concepts, technologies, and architectures;
      • Exploratory research and technology in the full range of technical fields related to space exploration;
      • Integrated modeling and simulation of exploration systems and mission risk.

      • 50840

        X4.01Technology Systems Analysis

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop new tools to ensure that advanced technology investments are guided by appropriate analyses. These analyses are needed in areas involving all of the various element programs within ESR&T. The analyses will support the definition of technology road maps for… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop new tools to ensure that advanced technology investments are guided by appropriate analyses. These analyses are needed in areas involving all of the various element programs within ESR&T. The analyses will support the definition of technology road maps for ESR&T.



        The scope of Technology Systems Analysis Tools includes the development of advanced tools to support technology systems analyses, such as: portfolio analysis; campaign analysis; system technology architecture impact analysis; advanced concept analysis; sensitivity analysis; verification and validation analysis; development cost analysis; and the population of advanced technology databases and information systems. The ASCT analyses planned will be performed using low-fidelity/high-level techniques. They will focus on entry level technologies and notional architectures. Higher fidelity assessments will be performed using ESMD (Exploration Systems Mission Directorate) Simulation Based Acquisition (SBA) resources.



        This Technology Systems Analysis Tools subtopic is currently focusing on developing advanced tools which enable the following:


        • Conducting exploratory research and development of emerging technologies and advanced concepts with high potential payoff;
        • Performing architecture, campaign, and technology analyses to identify and inform portfolio development for relevant exploration applications;
        • Technology analysis to identify and prioritize mission enabling technologies;
        • Architecture, mission, advanced concept, and technology risk analysis;
        • Technology databases, roadmaps, and portfolio development;
        • Exploration and implementation of different advanced concepts development methodologies and techniques to enable more effective and efficient study development;
        • Development of advanced concepts analyses and sensitivity analyses that can incorporate the full range of technical fields related to space exploration;
        • Analysis of advanced concepts, advanced technologies, and portfolio analysis;
        • Campaign analysis including the synthesis and analysis of many missions, architectures and competing capabilities and technologies against FOMs;
        • Technology analysis that identifies SOA and levels of performance metrics associated with cost- and risk-dependent chronologies (technology datasheets);
        • Advanced concept and system technology verification and validation;
        • Effective techniques for presenting tradeoffs and recommendations to decision-makers.



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      • 50859

        X4.02Design and Analysis Tools

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, LaRC

        The goal of this subtopic is to maximize the credibility of the integrated systems analysis efforts being performed within ASCT by providing validated systems design, system analysis, and systems engineering tools. This will include the development of tools to produce: a modeling and simulation… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to maximize the credibility of the integrated systems analysis efforts being performed within ASCT by providing validated systems design, system analysis, and systems engineering tools. This will include the development of tools to produce: a modeling and simulation environment, design and analysis databases, system engineering models, engineering discipline analysis, parametric-based risk analysis, and probabilistic risk analysis (PRA), etc. This effort will closely coordinate with and support the development of the Simulation Based Acquisition (SBA) system in support of Exploration System Mission Directorate (ESMD) program acquisition and analysis.



        The scope of System Design and Analysis Tools includes tool development activities in the following areas: advanced systems simulation modeling environment; design and analysis databases and system models; performance and structural sizing; SBA advanced systems engineering tools for mid-technology level simulation and visualization of life cycle cost, risk, reliability, supply chain logistics, maintainability, availability, and other system engineering Figures of Merit.



        This subtopic is currently focusing on the following technology areas:


        • Systems engineering tools and discipline analysis tools in support of Simulation Based Acquisition. See ESMD-RQ-0025, ESMD-RQ-0026 and SBA Strategy in the Crew Exploration Vehicle Procurement Bidder's library (http://exploration.nasa.gov/acquisition/cev_procurement.html) for additional information.
        • Advanced engineering tools that integrate performance, risk, and cost modeling.
        • Development of system engineering tools that implement new analytical methodologies and techniques in support of both ESR&T and SBA activities.
        • Advanced systems simulation modeling environment that includes database technologies and data collection tools.
        • Seamless integration of design tools, modeling tools, simulation tools, and other systems engineering tools via standards-based software interoperability.
        • Novel approaches to assessing the performance, cost, or risk of proposed mission architectures.
        • Techniques for characterizing and optimizing investments in Modeling and Simulation.
        • Methods to extend and reuse models and simulations over the program lifecycle.
        • Model-based techniques for optimizing designs in distributed, multi-organization, multi-contract design teams.





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    • + Expand Software, Intelligent Systems and Modeling Topic

      Topic X5 Software, Intelligent Systems and Modeling PDF


      This SBIR Topic seeks innovative concepts for technologies that will reduce life-cycle mission costs by providing high-confidence design of onboard autonomy, including safe and reliable human autonomy interaction. NASA is preparing for human-robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars. Traditional means of providing system information, such as inspections and preventive maintenance, have limited utility for exploration missions. Other solutions, such as telemetry data, become less useful as communication bandwidth shrinks and communication delays increase. Under these circumstances, increasing the autonomy of the onboard systems provides the best means of managing system operations. Autonomous onboard system technologies involve the use of goal-oriented operations, requiring means for sensing the environment and making intelligent choices with regard to resources, procedures, health and safety, logistics, and configuration. The Software, Intelligent Systems and Modeling (SISM) Element program will develop and test reliable software, autonomous and human-robotic systems, and model-based methods for design, analysis, and operations. SISM is being formulated in collaboration with several ESRT Technology Maturation Program elements (for example, Advanced Space Operations, Lunar and Planetary Surface Operations, and Advanced Space Platforms and Systems), as well as the Human-Systems Integration Program in HSRT. In addition, this Element Program is cognizant of on-going FY04 SBIR tasks in related areas, such as advanced modeling and simulation. To focus the role of this SBIR Topic within the overall scope of SISM, there will be an emphasis on concepts that reduce life-cycle costs by increasing the usability of key classes of advanced design methods and tools. The key classes of methods and tools are defined by the two subtopics, Software Engineering (X5.01) and Human-Autonomy Interaction (X5.02). These kinds of design and test technologies have made great advances during the past ten years, but the usability of the technologies, and therefore their actual impact, has lagged behind their potential impact.

      • 51039

        X5.01Software Engineering

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JSC

        The objective of this subtopic is to bring to fruition software engineering technologies that enable engineers to cost-effectively develop and maintain NASA mission-critical software systems. Particular emphasis will be on software engineering technologies for sustaining engineering: achieving… Read more>>

        The objective of this subtopic is to bring to fruition software engineering technologies that enable engineers to cost-effectively develop and maintain NASA mission-critical software systems. Particular emphasis will be on software engineering technologies for sustaining engineering: achieving affordable reliability over successive spirals of mission software development, maintenance, and upgrades for Crew Exploration Vehicle and Project Constellation. A key requirement is that projects address the usability of software engineering technologies by NASA (including NASA contractors) engineers, and not only specialists.



        Many of the capabilities needed for successful human exploration of space will rely on software. In addition to traditional capabilities, such as GNC (guidance, navigation, and control) or C&DH (command and data handling), new capabilities are under development: integrated vehicle health management, autonomous vehicle-centered operations, automated mission operations, and mixed human-robotic teams to accomplish mission objectives. These capabilities will be needed in exploration spirals 2 and 3, including the extended lunar missions. Ensuring that these capabilities are reliable and can be developed and maintained affordably, will be challenging but critical to both the lunar missions and the subsequent Martian missions. Proposals should clearly indicate how the technology is expected to address the challenge of reliability and affordability. Mission phases that can be addressed include not only the software life-cycle (requirement engineering through verification and validation) but also upstream activities (e.g., simulation-based acquisition for software capabilities; mission planning that incorporates trade-space development of software-based capabilities) and post-deployment (e.g., new approaches for computing fault tolerance; rapid reconfiguration, and certification of mission-critical software systems).



        Software engineering tools and methods that address reliability for exploration missions are sought. Projects can address technology development and maturation that provide for the following and related capabilities:


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



        A requirement for a sustainable and affordable human exploration presence in space is the need for modular, reusable elements and subsystems. Major subsystems (e.g., integrated vehicle health management) will present challenges in terms of software-based reconfigurability needed over a long sequence of missions. Projects can address technology development and maturation that provide for the following and related capabilities:


        • Software reuse for mission-critical, real-time applications;
        • Architectures that facilitate reconfiguration with upgraded components;
        • Affordable verification, validation, and certification of upgraded components and sub-systems within a system (or system-of systems) context;
        • Intelligent management of software assets;
        • Middleware that enables software platforms to migrate to new hardware platforms (e.g., middleware that enables command and control software to be transparently ported to distributed grid and cluster computer platforms).



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      • 50940

        X5.02Human Autonomy Interaction

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC

        Autonomous and automated operations will be required for systems fulfilling the Vision for Space Exploration. This subtopic addresses the need for modeling and analysis tools and technologies for design, test, and evaluation of human-autonomy interaction systems. The tools will support analyses of… Read more>>

        Autonomous and automated operations will be required for systems fulfilling the Vision for Space Exploration. This subtopic addresses the need for modeling and analysis tools and technologies for design, test, and evaluation of human-autonomy interaction systems. The tools will support analyses of scenarios, tasks, information, and communication. They can validate and build confidence in human-autonomy interfaces and interaction support by identifying and mitigating risks (e.g., workload, situational awareness, and error). The technologies will interoperate with models and tools for design, evaluation, and certification of hardware and software systems, and will support understanding by engineers and planners who are not experts in human-system design or human factors. They will be cost-effective to use and be easily updated and reconfigured to reflect changes in designs and plans.



        The human-autonomy modeling and analysis technology will be applied to astronaut crew-autonomy and ground-crew-autonomy interactions in space missions. Autonomous systems can include exploration vehicles and subsystems, science stations, robots, robotic manipulators, rovers, and communications satellites. Autonomous operations can include rendezvous, proximity operations, mating of on-orbit elements, in-space assembly, maintenance, and robotic operations, including inspection, material transport, and sampling. These operations can be nominal, off-nominal, or contingency operations. Autonomy will be essential to ensure safe robot operation in the proximity of critical systems and humans. Autonomous functions can include science traverse and path planning, crew and resource scheduling, procedure execution, and control of subsystems such a power, thermal, propulsion, and communications.



        Innovative human-autonomy modeling and analysis technologies are needed to address unique challenges of space missions. These include multi-modal interfaces, asynchronous communication with long delays and long blackouts, unanticipated problems, and rare crew interactions by exception. Human-autonomy interactions can include supervisory control, communication, and coordination in shared planning and operations. They can include interactions to adapt, modify, and maintain systems to respond to emerging requirements and challenges. The interactions can also include dynamic control and adjustment of level of autonomy or supervision, type of coordination, and type of communication.



        This subtopic seeks projects that will demonstrate innovative technologies for use by engineering and operations teams for analyzing human-autonomy interactions and risks and for evaluating proposed mitigations of these risks, within the constraints of an affordable and timely mission design and planning process.



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    • + Expand Advanced Space Operations (ASO) Topic

      Topic X6 Advanced Space Operations (ASO) PDF


      This Topic covers a range of key technology options associated with future space exploration systems and architectures that involve a variety of combinations of advanced robotic and human capabilities, ranging from remotely telesupervised robotic systems, through locally-teleoperated systems, to focused human presence (with robotic agent assistance). Technologies that enable in-space assembly, maintenance, and servicing are also included. Key objectives derive from the goals of safe/reliable, affordable, and effective future human and robotic space exploration in support of the U.S. Vision for Space Exploration. These efforts will be closely coordinated with spacecraft subsystem, system, and related R&D within the Advanced Space Platforms and Systems Topic.

      • 51040

        X6.01Intelligent Operations Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop intelligent systems and technologies that could dramatically improve the affordability and productivity of long-duration human space operations, while preserving the high degree of safety and flexibility offered by state-of-the-art approaches. The current… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop intelligent systems and technologies that could dramatically improve the affordability and productivity of long-duration human space operations, while preserving the high degree of safety and flexibility offered by state-of-the-art approaches. The current operations models used for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station, which require large ground teams continuously managing the daily operation of the spacecraft and the activities of the crew, are a major cost driver for these programs. As the human exploration campaign ventures farther into deep space, the communications time delays and longer-duration missions will require greater crew autonomy from Earth-based support. To achieve NASA's exploration goals, technologies are needed that can enable a new paradigm for human space operations.



        Intelligent Planning and Execution Systems for Crew Autonomy

        Greater autonomy from Earth-based support implies that crewmembers will need to manage their exploration missions holistically. This will be possible only if automation helps the crew to integrate the complex interactions among many spacecraft subsystems efficiently and to manage and prioritize human and automated activities. Intelligent systems will need to be seamlessly integrated with operational procedures so that all the information required to make key decisions is continuously updated and presented to the crew in a rapidly comprehensible fashion. Crew interfaces (e.g., displays, voice recognition, etc.) will need to be intuitive and reliable. Validated, automated systems are needed that help a spacecraft/habitat crew coordinate and prioritize plans and execute nominal/off-nominal procedures in accordance with codified mission rules and objectives. These systems should improve upon capabilities already demonstrated in human space exploration missions (e.g., Space Shuttle and International Space Station).



        To evaluate proposed intelligent systems technologies, it is important to identify measurable performance objectives. Such performance measures include: (1) the speed and ease by which astronauts can plan and schedule future activities and understand the consequences of exercising various planning options; (2) the reliability, speed, and ease by which astronauts can maintain comprehensive situational awareness of a complex spacecraft/habitat without cognitive overload; (3) the reliability, speed, and ease by which astronauts can derive (on demand, or in response to detection, of an off-nominal condition) sufficiently detailed knowledge of the spacecraft/habitat, to issue commands that isolate anomalies, perform recovery procedures, and make other safety/mission-critical decisions.



        Modular designs that employ open architectures and interface standards are very important to assure cost-effectiveness and flexibility of intelligent operations systems. These architectures should promote extensibility/evolvability and accommodate future system upgrades. Such designs could include standalone tools that capture and manage corporate knowledge about manned spacecraft operations.



        Also of interest, though of lesser priority, are innovative technologies that can significantly enhance ground operational efficiency and performance.



        Intelligent Modular Training Systems

        Intelligent training systems are needed that enable flight crews to operate complex spacecraft safely and effectively, retain proficiency during long-duration missions, adapt easily to an evolving and expanding set of flight systems during the course of the exploration campaign, and achieve flight certification faster and more cost-efficiently than is possible with existing systems. Plug-and-play crew training systems that employ open architectures and interface standards are very important. These architectures should promote extensibility/evolvability and accommodate future system upgrades. The intelligent training systems should enable connectivity with models from various sources, with simulated or flight data (real-time and archived), with students and teachers at multiple locations, and with various platforms including ground-based/desktop environments and in-space, zero-g/partial-g portable or control station systems. When integrated with an operational environment, these systems must demonstrate effectiveness while ensuring that the performance of the vehicle or facility is unaffected.



        Focus should be on the following applications:


        • Intelligent onboard technologies for human space exploration; and
        • Intelligent human space exploration mission control technologies.



        Note: Related technologies of interest but covered under other SBIR subtopics include:


        • X5.01 Software Engineering;
        • X5.02 Human Autonomy Interaction;
        • X6.03 Launch Site Technologies (Launch site command and control system technologies); and
        • X8.01 Vehicle Health Management Systems.



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      • 50857

        X6.02Space Assembly Maintenance & Servicing

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop technologies that enable reliable and affordable in-space assembly, maintenance, and servicing for human and robotic exploration missions in Earth orbit and beyond. Systems that enhance crew safety and mission reliability by automating these functions (whether… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop technologies that enable reliable and affordable in-space assembly, maintenance, and servicing for human and robotic exploration missions in Earth orbit and beyond. Systems that enhance crew safety and mission reliability by automating these functions (whether robotically, tele-robotically, or with integrated human/robotic teams) are needed. Technologies that enable robust and reliable Earth-orbit assembly of spacecraft components (both modular and non-uniform), and thus alleviate the difficulties of launching larger, pre-integrated payloads, are of particular interest. Long-duration maintenance and servicing systems that are modular and generically applicable to a variety of orbital or transfer exploration spacecraft are also of interest.



        Focus should be on the following applications:


        • Earth-orbit assembly of large spacecraft systems (e.g. heat shields, propellant stages);
        • Autonomous inspection of spacecraft systems using either small free-flying inspection spacecraft or attached, highly-mobile inspection robots; and
        • Autonomous removal and replacement of failed spacecraft systems.



        Specific technologies of interest in addressing these challenges include:


        • Self-contained collision prevention/avoidance systems for robots (free-flying or attached) in close proximity to spacecraft, instruments, astronauts, etc.;
        • Dexterous robotic end-effectors/manipulators for robotic assembly and maintenance, including systems that accommodate instability between robotics and target surfaces;
        • Robotic non-destructive structural inspection technologies;
        • Advanced robotic control systems (e.g., systems that provide active damping of robotic arms to reduce un-commanded motion, high degree-of-freedom (DOF) systems, systems that function in multiple mission environments, and systems that incorporate intuitive man-machine interfaces and/or virtual reality simulation);
        • Robotic tele-operation control systems that accommodate latency and enable "real time" robotic operations;
        • Vision systems for both autonomous and tele-robotic operations, including systems that demonstrate: autonomous and rapid object recognition, affordable zoom/focus lens control, robust spatial perception of working environments, ability to operate under various lighting conditions, economical video compression and 3-D mapping techniques, and low power autonomous visual inspection systems;
        • Robotically operable structural/precision interface attachment systems;
        • Modeling of contact dynamics in zero gravity for capture and manipulation;
        • Test beds to validate robotic systems, including 6-DOF simulated weightless testing; and
        • Orbital mechanics optimization of libration point rendezvous for assembly and servicing.



        Note: Related technologies of interest but covered under other SBIR subtopics include:


        • Robot-mounted sensors for on-orbit assembly/construction (X1.03 Sensing and Imaging), and
        • Plug-and-play avionics and attachment technologies for autonomous rendezvous and docking (X8.02 Intelligent Modular Systems).



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      • 50946

        X6.03Launch Site Technologies

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, MSFC

        The purpose of this subtopic is to develop technologies and concepts that will improve launch processing safety through the use of automated systems with limited human contact; make launch operations more cost- and time-efficient through standardization, commonality, and interoperability of launch… Read more>>

        The purpose of this subtopic is to develop technologies and concepts that will improve launch processing safety through the use of automated systems with limited human contact; make launch operations more cost- and time-efficient through standardization, commonality, and interoperability of launch systems and spaceport infrastructure; and improve the flexibility and adaptability of spaceport infrastructure in order to accommodate multiple vehicle types and diverse missions. Improvements in launch site operations can enable airport-like efficiencies at reduced cost and shortened processing turnaround time, thereby contributing significantly to the goal of a sustained and affordable space exploration program. Additionally, advanced launch operations technologies and concepts that may significantly improve launch vehicle specific energy or otherwise improve launch performance, affordability, and sustainability for space exploration missions are of interest. Topic areas that will be emphasized for improvements in launch site operations include:


        • Propellant handling systems: autonomous propellant loading; automated umbilicals; improved control of cryogenic mass loss; hazardous leak and flame detection; and improved cryogenic cooling, insulation, and sealing technologies;
        • Common integrated command and control system technologies for launch site operations: ground integrated health management systems, work control, configuration management, and other support systems;
        • Test equipment: universal avionics test equipment and automated and wireless built-in test equipment that reports launch vehicle and/or payload status;
        • Launch acoustic modeling and mitigation systems; and
        • Payload and launch vehicle systems handling equipment.



        Modular designs that employ open architectures and interface standards are very important to assure cost-effectiveness and flexibility of launch site technologies. These architectures should promote extensibility/evolvability and accommodate future system upgrades. Topic areas related to advanced launch operations technologies and concepts include:


        • Horizontal launch assist ground systems, including systems that preclude the need for vehicle take-off gear. Specific technology areas of interest include: vehicle acceleration mechanisms, vehicle structural support or levitation systems, control and stabilization systems, separation mechanisms, runway or track stability and maintenance systems, and energy storage and delivery systems; and
        • Other novel launch operations technologies and concepts.



        Focus should be on the following applications:


        • Earth-based launch site systems for human and robotic space exploration missions.



        Note: Related technologies of interest but covered under other SBIR subtopics include:


        • X6.01 Intelligent Operations Systems.





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    • + Expand High Energy Space Systems (HESS) Topic

      Topic X7 High Energy Space Systems (HESS) PDF


      This Topic covers a range of key technology options associated with future space exploration systems and architectures that are 'energy rich'-including high power space systems, highly efficient and reliable space propulsion systems, and the storage, management, and transfer of energy/propellants in space. It also addresses high-energy maneuvering including aero-entry, aero-braking, and other aero-assist related R&D. The affordable deployment of systems and logistics beyond low Earth orbit will depend on high-power space transportation. In addition, a broad range of future systems and technologies will be constrained or enabled by the availability (or lack) of significant power at an affordable cost.

      • 50953

        X7.01Chemical Propulsion Systems and Modeling

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovative chemical propulsion systems and system concepts as well as modeling tools and capabilities that support chemical propulsion system design and analysis. Applications of interest include earth-to-orbit and in-space transportation, with a particular… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovative chemical propulsion systems and system concepts as well as modeling tools and capabilities that support chemical propulsion system design and analysis. Applications of interest include earth-to-orbit and in-space transportation, with a particular focus on versatile, multi-use in-space cryogenic engines with exceptionally high reliability, space-based reusability (i.e. capability for many restarts with little to no maintenance), and deep-throttling capability. These are needed for all phases of exploration missions, including trans-lunar injection, decent to the lunar surface, ascent to lunar orbit, and return to Earth. Also of interest are safe and affordable earth-to-orbit systems that enable high overall vehicle payload mass-to-liftoff mass ratios, with improvements in thrust-to-engine weight ratio, trajectory-averaged specific impulse, and overall reliability.



        Specific areas of interest for technology advancement and innovations include:


        • Propulsion system design concepts that address LOX/LH2, as well as LOX/CH4 and other LOX/Hydrocarbon engine and main propulsion systems integration issues;
        • Integrated chemical propulsion system concepts that integrate primary propulsion and reaction control system elements;
        • Design and analysis tools that significantly enhance the overall systems engineering evaluation of advanced chemical propulsion system concepts. These include tools for sensitivity analysis, quantification of system benefits to changes, propulsion system operability, "bottoms up" weight estimating, cost estimating, and reliability prediction for propulsion systems;
        • Manufacturing techniques that allow for significant reduction in the cost and schedule required to fabricate engine and main propulsion system components. These techniques can use current or emerging processes and manufacturing technologies to develop engine and main propulsion system components that will reduce complexity, increase reliability, and that are easier to assemble, install, and test when integrated onto the vehicle;
        • Concepts for solid or hybrid rockets that increase mass fraction, decrease the need for thermal insulation, and reduce or eliminate the need for staging; and
        • High-performance advanced propellants (as indicated by high specific impulse and high specific impulse density) and non-toxic propellants that can significantly improve safety and cost of propulsion systems operations.



        Note: Related technologies of interest but covered under other SBIR subtopics include:


        • X7.02 Chemical Propulsion Components
        • X8.01 Vehicle Health Management Systems



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      • 50956

        X7.02Chemical Propulsion Components

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JSC

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovative chemical propulsion component technologies that improve the safety, operability, reliability, and performance of propulsion systems required for human and robotic exploration missions. Components should be applicable to earth-to-orbit or… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovative chemical propulsion component technologies that improve the safety, operability, reliability, and performance of propulsion systems required for human and robotic exploration missions. Components should be applicable to earth-to-orbit or long-duration in-space transportation systems (both primary propulsion and reaction control systems) for a variety of exploration mission phases, including trans-lunar injection, decent to the lunar surface, ascent to lunar orbit, and return to Earth.



        System masses will be critical in these far-reaching missions, dictating the use of lightweight components and the use of propellants harvested or manufactured on the surface of the Moon, Mars, or other destinations-an approach known as in situ resource utilization (ISRU). Candidate ISRU propellants include hydrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, various other hydrocarbons, and compounds derived from these materials.

         

        In some scenarios, one propellant may be manufactured in situ while its oxidizer or fuel is brought from Earth. Because the use of ISRU propellants represents a departure from the state-of-the-art and from the existing base of engines and technologies, a new suite of propulsion system and component technologies will be required.

         

        These new in-space propulsion systems are expected to encounter conventional challenges such as regulator leakage, valve leakage, valve heating (on pulsing engines), solubility effects (such as combustion instabilities caused by gas bubble evolution in liquid propellants), and propellant acquisition (i.e., extracting gas-free propellant from the tank and delivering it to the engine). In-space chemical propulsion systems that incorporate long-term use of cryogenic propellants such as hydrogen, methane and oxygen present new challenges, including efficient, reliable, and durable propellant cryocooling, storage, acquisition (from tanks), transfer (through feed lines), gauging and flow measurement; however, these particular challenges are addressed by a separate sub-topic, X3.03 Cryo and Thermal Management.



        Chemical propulsion component technologies that demonstrate improved capabilities using a variety of propellant combinations are of interest, including:


        • Advanced turbopumps with wider throttle range and improved cavitation control, plus specific turbomachinery components such as bearings, turbines, and impellers that demonstrate greater reliability and lifetime;
        • Injectors with low thermal mass and long-duration reliability (e.g. for high duty-cycle attitude control thrusters);
        • Long-life combustion chambers (e.g., based on use of advanced materials);
        • Innovative thruster valve designs that tolerate high thermal loading due to heat soak-back during pulse mode operation;
        • Innovative concepts for fast acting valves to enable use of larger thrusters for small impulses (i.e. spacecraft fine pointing);
        • Highly-reliable long-duration seals;
        • Long-life, high-reliability ignition systems;
        • Lightweight, highly reliable gas compressors for pumping gaseous propellant into pressure vessels either in-flight or on a terrestrial surface;
        • Novel pressurization approaches that minimize dissolution of pressurant gas in storable propellants (e.g., nitrogen tetroxide, hydrazine, and hydrazine derivatives)
        • Novel concepts that increase performance or decrease mass of pressurization systems;
        • Development of advanced materials that exhibit high compatibility with gaseous oxygen;
        • Propulsion components based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology;
        • Advanced nozzle concepts for in-space propulsion systems;
        • Reaction control system thrusters that burn in situ and non-toxic propellants;
        • Innovative thruster designs that minimize or prevent high heat soak-back during pulse mode operation;
        • Highly reliable, lightweight compressors for use in gaseous propellant storage and distribution systems;
        • Advanced lightweight multi-use positive expulsion devices for storable propulsion systems; and
        • Other innovative chemical propulsion system components that improve system safety, affordability, or effectiveness.



        Note: Related technologies of interest but covered under other SBIR subtopics include:


        • X3.03 Cryo and Thermal Management
        • X7.01 Chemical Propulsion Systems and Modeling
        • X8.01 Vehicle Health Management Systems



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      • 50842

        X7.03High-Power Electric Propulsion

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovations in high-power (100 kW to MW-class) electric propulsion systems. High-power (high-thrust) electric propulsion may enable dramatic mass and cost savings for lunar and Mars cargo missions, including Earth escape and near-Earth space maneuvers. At very… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovations in high-power (100 kW to MW-class) electric propulsion systems. High-power (high-thrust) electric propulsion may enable dramatic mass and cost savings for lunar and Mars cargo missions, including Earth escape and near-Earth space maneuvers. At very high power levels, electric propulsion may enable piloted exploration missions as well. Improved performance of propulsion systems that are integrated with associated power and thermal management systems and that exhibit minimal adverse spacecraft-thruster interaction effects are of interest. Innovations are sought that increase system efficiency, increase system and/or component life, increase system and/or component durability, reduce system and/or component mass, reduce system complexity, reduce development issues, or provide other definable benefits. Desired specific impulses range from a value of 2000 s for Earth-orbit transfers to over 6000 s for planetary missions. System efficiencies in excess of 50% and system lifetimes of at least 5 years are desired. Specific technologies of interest in addressing these challenges include:


        • Long-life, high-current cathodes (100,000 hours);
        • Electric propulsion designs employing fuels that are more readily available (whether from Earth or in situ space resources) and easy to store/handle;
        • Electrode thermal management technologies;
        • Innovative plasma neutralization concepts;
        • Metal propellant management systems and components;
        • Cathodes for metal propellants;
        • Low-mass, high-efficiency power electronics for RF and DC discharges;
        • Lightweight, low-cost, high-efficiency power processing units;
        • Low-voltage, high-temperature wire for electromagnets;
        • High-temperature permanent magnets and/or electromagnets;
        • Application of advanced materials for electrodes and wiring;
        • Highly accurate propellant control devices/schemes;
        • Miniature propellant flow meters;
        • Lightweight, long-life storage systems for krypton and/or hydrogen;
        • Fast-acting, very long-life valves and switches for pulsed inductive thrusters;
        • Superconducting magnets;
        • Lightweight thrust vector control for high-power thrusters; and
        • High fidelity methods of determining the thrust of ion, Hall, and advanced plasma engines without using conventional thrust-stands.



        Note: Related technologies of interest but covered under other SBIR subtopics include:


        • Low- to medium-power solar electric propulsion for planetary science missions (S8.04 Spacecraft Propulsion).



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      • 50932

        X7.04Aeroassist Systems

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, LaRC

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovative human-rated aeroassist systems for missions including lunar return to Earth and precursor missions for human Mars exploration. Systems are needed to support the following flight regimes: aerocapture, entry interface to subsonic speeds, and Mach 5 to… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovative human-rated aeroassist systems for missions including lunar return to Earth and precursor missions for human Mars exploration. Systems are needed to support the following flight regimes: aerocapture, entry interface to subsonic speeds, and Mach 5 to subsonic speeds. Systems must be capable of controlled flight and be compatible with pinpoint, soft landing systems, which achieve landing accuracies of 10s of meters at touchdown or powered descent initiation. These systems must be compatible with launch vehicles and transit vehicles and capable of safely discarding unneeded and constraining hardware on landing and providing surface access. Technology needs include aeroassist system design, Thermal Protection System (TPS) designs, modeling capabilities, sensor systems, and navigation technologies that support reliable aerocapture or aerobraking of multi-metric-ton-class piloted or cargo spacecraft. In particular, this subtopic seeks innovations in the following areas:


        • Innovative aeroassist system designs. This includes low-mass, rigid aeroassist systems based on robust, high-temperature structures and adhesives, modular or deployable/inflatable aeroshells with large surface area, and inflatable ballutes;
        • TPS designs for human-rated aeroassist vehicles returning to Earth from the Moon and Mars, and for Mars aerocapture and Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL). Innovative TPS concepts are solicited to reduce current TPS mass fractions by 25% to 50% and to reduce TPS costs;
        • Ablative and reusable TPS materials and concepts that significantly enhance performance and reduce mass. This includes development and characterization of single- and multi-use TPS materials, TPS for rigid aeroshells, and flexible TPS materials for deployable aeroshells. Thermo-chemical and mechanical properties data for probabilistic design, spallation characteristics, and accurate simulation tools to predict material behaviors and material compatibility are required. Innovative TPS concepts are solicited to reduce current TPS mass fractions by 25% to 50% and to reduce TPS costs;
        • Aerothermodynamic modeling tools with greater accuracy and less uncertainty: (1) Innovative and accurate computer modeling of fluid structure interactions, including flow stability and surface deflections under dynamic conditions for decelerator deployment and inflation; (2) Modeling and simulation of convection/radiation/ablation coupled three-dimensional flow fields, for both optically thick and thin shock layers and highly ionized flows; (3) Accurate prediction of wake heating including radiative heating components; (4) Accurate prediction of single and multiple rocket plume effects (e.g., reaction control system thrusters) on the vehicle aerodynamics and heating;
        • Innovative sensor systems which are capable of providing real-time or near real-time updates to atmospheric pressure, temperature, density, and winds to support the guidance systems used on aeroassist vehicles;
        • Innovative sensor systems for inflatable aeroassist vehicles capable of providing real time aerosurface temperature, strain, deflection, flight loads and other significant parameters; and
        • Lightweight flexible materials that will reduce the mass and increase the strength and thermal characteristics for applications to deployable aeroshells and supersonic deployed decelerators.



        Focus should be on aeroassist systems applied to the following mission classes:


        • Earth return of piloted spacecraft from the Moon. Return-to-Earth scenarios for human lunar missions include: (1) short-range direct entry and landing; (2) extended-range entry using a skip out of the atmosphere with subsequent EDL to the Earth's surface; and (3) aerocapture into a low-energy Earth orbit followed by EDL. Inertial arrival speeds of approximately 11 km/s (up to 12 km/s for some abort scenarios) with entry masses of at least 5 metric tons are expected for normal lunar return. Acceptable sustained loads for these piloted missions are limited to about 5 gs perpendicular to the human spine in the "eye balls in" direction; and
        • Mars precursor missions for human exploration. These include robotic missions designed to deliver pre-deployed cargo or to conduct technology demonstrations in anticipation of follow-on human Mars missions. Candidate human mission scenarios for Mars include human and cargo aerocapture into a Mars orbit followed by EDL to the Mars surface and return to Earth. Mars aerocapture missions are expected to have arrival speeds of 6 to 8 km/s and aerocapture mass on the order of many 10s of metric tons. Return-to-Earth scenarios for human Mars missions are similar to those for lunar missions, except for higher arrival speeds (11.5 - 12.5 km/s, up to 14 km/s for some off-nominal scenarios).



        Note: Related technologies of interest but covered under other SBIR subtopics include:


        • Inflatable and other innovative structures (X2.02 Structures and Habitats); and
        • Aeroassist systems for deep space robotic science missions (S5.01 Low Thrust and Propellantless Propulsion Technologies).





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    • + Expand Advanced Space Platforms and Systems Topic

      Topic X8 Advanced Space Platforms and Systems PDF


      This Topic covers a range of key technology options associated with future space exploration systems and architectures that are resilient, reliable, and reconfigurable through the use of miniaturization, modularization of key functions in novel systems approaches. Platforms technologies that support self-assembly and in-space assembly, as well as in-space maintenance and servicing, are included. These efforts are coordinated with in-space assembly and related R&D within the Advanced Space Operations Topic (e.g., involving extra-vehicular activity (EVA) systems, robotics, etc.).

      • 50825

        X8.01Vehicle Health Management Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC, SSC

        In order to meet the automation and autonomy requirements of the Vision for Space Exploration, innovative health management technologies are required throughout the system lifecycle including design, development, test, validation, integration, operation, maintenance, and disposition. Traditional… Read more>>

        In order to meet the automation and autonomy requirements of the Vision for Space Exploration, innovative health management technologies are required throughout the system lifecycle including design, development, test, validation, integration, operation, maintenance, and disposition. Traditional means of supporting vehicle health such as invasive inspections are extremely limited in their utility for exploration missions. Other solutions such as ground-based monitoring of telemetry data become less useful as communication delays or bottlenecks increase. Under these circumstances, autonomous and automated solutions to systems health management provide the best means of increasing crew safety and mission success probability for future space exploration missions.



        Another significant concern is in mission operations. Operations models that require large numbers of ground controllers and other mission support staff will be cost prohibitive in the future. Future systems must provide appropriate levels of safety and mission success factors while reducing support staff on the ground. In addition, future space missions will have to maintain a healthy balance and seamless transition between crewed and robotic operations.



        Proposals should be responsive to the overall goals and objectives of the Exploration System-of-Systems as defined in Project Constellation requirements. Proposals may address specific vehicle health management capabilities required for exploration system elements (crewed spacecraft, launch systems, habitats, rovers, etc.). In addition, projects may focus on one or more relevant subsystems such as propulsion, structures, thermal protection systems, power, avionics, life support, and communications. Proposals that involve the use of existing NASA health management test beds (power, propulsion, systems integration, life support, diagnostics, networking, etc.) for technology validation are encouraged.



        Specific technical areas of interest related to vehicle health management systems include the following:


        • Methods and tools to enable concurrent design of system function and health management systems. These methods and tools should provide a means to optimize health management system design at the functional level to decide on failure detection methods, sensor types and locations, and identify additional functionality to safeguard against failures before costly design decisions have been made;
        • Health monitoring and management technologies to enable situational awareness of system health, safety, and margins. Solutions may include novel approaches to fault detection and isolation, diagnostics, and mitigation of system degradations and failures. Solutions may also include innovative health management system architectures that are robust to single point failures and are scalable, modular, and expandable without costly redesigns;
        • Methods for robust control of critical components, subsystems, and systems and robust execution of critical sequences during flight. Of special interest are robust recovery methods and innovative approaches to functional redundancy for the purpose of enhancing safety, availability, and maintainability;
        • System-of-systems health management concepts to provide robust cooperation of multiple Exploration elements, e.g., spacecraft constellations or rendezvous and docking operations;
        • Prognostic techniques able to anticipate system degradation and enable further improvements in mission success probability, operational effectiveness, human-machine teaming, and automated recovery of function;
        • Real-time data analysis methods for structural sensing, including detection, localization, damage assessment, and automated assessment of thermal protection system integrity;
        • Crew-automation interfaces that are capable of reporting quantitative/qualitative sensor readings, assessing system status, explaining current conditions, predicting likely system behaviors, and proposing corrective actions in a manner that does not exceed the capacity of human understanding, especially in high-risk situations requiring rapid human response. Innovative ways for the health management system to convey a wealth of information quickly and effectively are desired; and
        • End-to-end health management system architectures that are integrated with and validated on spacecraft subsystems on ground-based (or virtual) test beds.



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      • 50957

        X8.02Intelligent Modular Systems

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JSC

        This subtopic will involve development and demonstration of a range of technologies for reconfigurable, intelligent, modular space subsystems, systems, and systems of systems. Technologies should focus on establishing the validity of new approaches to Earth-Moon human and robotic operations, with a… Read more>>

        This subtopic will involve development and demonstration of a range of technologies for reconfigurable, intelligent, modular space subsystems, systems, and systems of systems. Technologies should focus on establishing the validity of new approaches to Earth-Moon human and robotic operations, with a view toward longer-term applications for the inner Solar System (e.g., Mars) exploration missions. Many of these future missions, systems, and capabilities imply the need for the development of large and complex systems and infrastructures in space. But, the size-constraints, mass-capability, and cost of launching large monolithic payloads into space limit the development and realization of these capabilities. If a different design approach using intelligent modular systems rather than monolithic payloads is used, these large space systems become more tractable. Also, intelligent modular systems include low system impact of a single launch vehicle loss, since modular systems are launched on multiple vehicles at multiple times. Replacement of modules over the system lifetime is, in many cases, a more reasonable approach to maintaining a system; and, graceful degradation of the system capability can be more readily managed with modular units. Hardware costs of multiple identical units can be reduced through economies of scale, and modular approaches can accommodate cost-phased programs that develop and fly a "pilot" system, which can initially prove a capability, and then be added to later as demand for capability increases. Technologies of interest include:



        Modular Structures (MSFC)

        Structural technologies of interest include inflatable, erectable, deployable, or easily connected modules to create large space structures. Assembly technology of interest may include approaches for integrating deployable modular units with larger structures such as habitation modules or propellant tanks, and approaches for assembly of erectable modules that form backbones or support trusses. Attachment technologies such as autonomous rendezvous and docking, innovative connectors and joining, bonding techniques, and module positioning and alignment systems are also of interest.



        Adaptable and Reconfigurable Modular Systems (GSFC)

        Integrated, reconfigurable modular systems incorporating multiple elements such as solar collection arrays, radiators, power, data, utility lines, science instruments, plug and play avionics, and integrated inspection and verification techniques are solicited, including modular structures using embedded sensors and actuators.



        Human-Robotic Modular Systems (JSC)

        Multi-functional robotic hardware and software systems are of interest to aide in surface and in-space operations. Robotic surface operations including exploration, assembly, fabrication, construction and transportation operations are of interest as well as similar systems for in-space operations. In addition, techniques are solicited for effective, efficient, and intuitive operation and control of robotic hardware through design and development of advanced human-computer interfaces.





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    • + Expand Lunar and Planetary Surface Operations Topic

      Topic X9 Lunar and Planetary Surface Operations PDF


      This Topic covers a range of key technology options associated with future lunar and planetary surface exploration and operations for a range of increasingly-ambitious human and robotic mission options through the development of in situ resource utilization technologies, highly-capable surface mobility systems, and various supporting infrastructures. Key objectives are derived from the goals of safe/reliable, affordable and effective future human and robotic lunar and planetary surface exploration in support of the U.S. Vision for Space Exploration.

      • 50944

        X9.01In-Situ Resource Utilization & Space Manufacturing

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, KSC, MSFC

        The goals of using resources that are available at the site of exploration and pursuing the philosophy of "living off the land" instead of bringing it all the way from Earth are to achieve a reduction in launch and delivered mass for exploration missions, a reduction in mission risk and cost, enable… Read more>>

        The goals of using resources that are available at the site of exploration and pursuing the philosophy of "living off the land" instead of bringing it all the way from Earth are to achieve a reduction in launch and delivered mass for exploration missions, a reduction in mission risk and cost, enable new missions not possible without in situ resource utilization (ISRU), and to expanded the human presence in space. Past studies have shown making propellants and other mission critical consumables (life support and power) in situ can significantly reduce mission mass and cost, and also enable new mission concepts (e.g., surface hoppers). Experience with the Mir and International Space Station, and the recent grounding of the Shuttle fleet, have highlighted the need for backup caches or independent life support consumable production capabilities, and a different paradigm for repair of failed hardware from the traditional orbital replacement unit (ORU) spares and replacement approach for future long duration missions. Lastly, for future astronauts to safely stay on the Moon or Mars for extended periods of time, surface construction and utility/infrastructure growth capabilities for items such as radiation protection, power generation, habitation space, and surface mobility will be required or the cost and risk of these missions will be prohibitive. However, before ISRU capabilities are incorporated into mission architectures, Earth and flight demonstrations of critical processes and systems will be required to validate performance goals and increase confidence in mission planners.



        Proposals for ISRU are requested in four subtopic areas: in situ Resource Extraction and Separation, in situ Resource Processing and Refining, Surface Manufacturing, and Surface Construction. Areas of interest for each of these four subtopic areas are defined below. Acceptable proposals can either address a single subtopic or can include concepts that encompass more then one subtopic into an integrated system. ISRU technologies or processes proposed for this subtopic must be shown to be beneficial compared to bringing everything from Earth. Proposals must also demonstrate an understanding of any past work, competing processes, and the current state-of-the-art with respect to the technology or process being proposed. To distinguish work supported under this subtopic from related work not using in situ resources, successful proposal must show some understanding of the native resource properties and the environmental conditions involved in their use. Proposals that can support future flight demonstrations of ISRU that are scalable to human mission requirements are encouraged, and point of departure mission information is provided below to help provide size and rate parameters for technologies and processes of interest. Proposals that support lunar ISRU applications or both lunar and Mars ISRU applications may be weighted higher then proposals that solely support Mars ISRU applications.



        In Situ Resource Extraction and Separation

        In situ Resource Extraction and Separation capabilities include resource characterization, prospecting, excavation, and delivery to resource processing units, and simple extraction and separation of desired resources from the bulk resource (including atmospheres). To be successfully implemented, in situ Resource Extraction and Separation proposals must minimize the mass which must be brought from the Earth, including the mass of the required power system and Earth-supplied processing consumables, and produce 100s of times their own mass of extracted resource in their useful lifetimes. These processes may also be required to operate in extreme temperature and abrasive environments, and in micro-g (asteroids, comets, Mars moons, etc.) or partial-g (e.g., Moon and Mars). In addition, the maintenance, human supervision, crew operation, and crew training required for process operation must be minimal and affordable. Specific areas of interest include:


        • Technologies, processes, and systems for robotic precursor and early human missions to the Moon in the areas of resource characterization, excavation and extraction of lunar resources (especially in the polar regions), and performing initial resource separation and collection of water, regolith volatiles, or feedstock for Surface Manufacturing, Surface Construction, or in situ Resource Processing;
        • Technologies, processes, and systems for robotic precursor missions to Mars in the areas of resource characterization, excavation and extraction of Mars resources, and performing initial resource separation and collection of atmospheric gases, regolith water/volatiles, or feedstock for in situ Resource Processing; and
        • Evaluation of granular physics in low gravity and development of models and its effect on material excavation and handling; and developing dust-insensitive excavation hardware, actuators, and bearings particularly for lunar resource extraction.



        In Situ Resource Processing and Refining

        The purpose of this subtopic is to identify and experimentally validate single and multi-step in situ Resource Processing and Refining units that have the potential for achieving the goals for ISRU stated previously. Such processes may include thermal, chemical, and electrical processing of extracted resources into useful products. In situ Processing and Refining includes efficient and economical production of propellants, fuel cell reagents, life support gases and water, manufacturing feedstock (such as silicon, aluminum, iron, and polymers) for use in Surface Manufacturing, and construction feedstock (concrete, wires, trusses, etc.) for use in Surface Construction from resources that have been extracted and separated using processes defined and developed under in situ Resource Excavation and Separation. To be successfully implemented, in situ Resource Processing and Refining proposals must minimize the mass which must be brought from the Earth, including the mass of the required power system and Earth-supplied processing consumables, and produce 100s to 1000s of times their own mass of product in their useful lifetimes. These processes may also be required to operate in extreme temperature and abrasive environments, and micro-g or partial-gravity. In addition, the maintenance, human supervision, crew operation, and crew training required for process operation must be minimal and affordable. Process evaluation metrics include: mass of product made per hour, final mass of product per mass of processor, Watts per mass of product produced per hour, percentage conversion of resources into product in single pass, and mass of Earth consumables used per mass of in situ product made. Specific areas of interest include:


        • Technologies, processes, and systems for robotic precursor and early human missions to the Moon in the areas of processing of lunar resources into oxygen, propellants, and feedstock for in situ manufacturing or surface construction;
        • Technologies, processes, and systems for robotic precursor missions or eventual human missions to Mars, which produce mission critical consumables, such as oxygen, propellants, life support gases, fuel cell reagents, and in situ manufacturing feedstock. Robotic and human missions to Mars that consider initial or evolutionary use of ISRU consumables currently assume the use of liquid oxygen and hydrocarbon fuel (methane, propane, methanol, ethanol, or low freezing point mixtures) propellants for propulsion systems and mobile fuel cell power systems; and
        • Developing and evaluating seals for high temperature multi-temperature and operation cycle regolith processors, water electrolysis and carbon dioxide electrolysis units; developing and evaluating low gas loss regolith inlet and outlet units (seals, augers, hoppers) for regolith processing; and developing and evaluating 0-g water separation, and separation of nitrogen from carbon dioxide are of particular interest for lunar and Mars resource processing.



        Surface Manufacturing w/In Situ Materials

        The purpose of the Surface Manufacturing element of the ISRU subtopic is to identify and experimentally validate capabilities that include production of sub-element and replacement components, assembly of complex products, and manufacturing support equipment to ensure parts/products manufactured meet required dimensions and specifications. Surface Manufacturing can use either in situ or Earth-supplied feedstock, however the long-term goal is to exclusively use in situ processed feedstock. Therefore, minimum requirements for process feedstock are advantageous to prevent excessive feedstock processing requirements (i.e., raw aluminum metal vs. specific aluminum alloy characteristics). For in situ manufacturing to be beneficial compared to bringing everything from Earth, some or all of the following attributes are required: ability to create wide variety of shapes and sizes, ability to utilize multiple feedstocks (plastic, metal, and ceramics), produce greater than its own mass of product and the mass of potential Earth supplied spares, operate in partial-g environments, and require a minimum of maintenance, human supervision, crew operation, and crew training. Specific areas of interest include:


        • Additive Manufacturing Techniques;
        • Subtractive Manufacturing Techniques;
        • Formative Manufacturing Techniques; and
        • Part Assembly/Integration.



        Manufacturing Support Processes

        Proposals that demonstrate manufacturing flexibility capabilities, such as part size, part complexity, and material feedstock for manufacturing while recognizing the mass, volume, and power limitations of future space habitats and delivery systems are highly encouraged.



        Surface Construction w/In Situ Materials

        The purpose of this subtopic is to identify and experimentally validate surface construction techniques that can be applied on the Moon and Mars for future human exploration missions. Early construction capabilities in the form of site preparation and shielding for lander plume debris, meteorites, and solar/galactic radiation can significantly reduce hardware and crew health concerns for missions exceeding several days and returning to the same site of exploration. Also, the ability to construct hardware bunkers, habitats, and power generation, management, and distribution capabilities is essential for mass efficient infrastructure growth on the Moon and Mars. These processes may also be required to operate in extreme temperature and abrasive environments, and micro-g or partial-gravity. Specific areas of interest include:


        • Construction techniques for robotic precursor and early human missions that support site planning and preparation and the use, manipulation, and placement of raw materials and expected feedstock materials from in situ Resource Processing and Refining for lander plume debris, meteorites, and solar/galactic radiation shielding;
        • Construction techniques for robotic precursor and early human missions that support bunker and habitat structure construction using and manipulating raw and expected feedstock;
        • Construction techniques that can be demonstrated on robotic precursor missions that demonstrate dust mitigation concepts for surface mobility around landing pads, habitats, dust-sensitive instruments, and airlocks; and
        • Lunar in situ fabrication techniques that can be demonstrated on robotic precursor missions that enable growth in solar power generation, storage, management, and distribution capabilities using raw materials, expected feedstock. Demonstrations can initially assume use of Earth supplied consumables in small amounts.



        Point of Departure Mission Information for Proposals

        For processing concepts that can be used on robotic precursor missions, payload masses (including rovers) are typically below 300 kilograms (kg). Robotic precursor concepts must demonstrate critical functions and must be scalable to human mission needs. Excavation and separation proposals must show supportability to future resource processing needs.



        Excavation, separation, and processing needs for lunar missions depend on the resource of interest, location, and concentration of the resource and the processing technology considered. Mars sample return missions that incorporate in situ propellant production require atmospheric carbon dioxide collection and possibly atmospheric or regolith water extraction to support the production of 300 kg to 2000 kg of propellant depending on the size of the sample and whether the mission is a Mars orbit rendezvous or direct Earth return mission. Breathing rates for astronauts are approximately 0.07 kg of oxygen (O2)/person/hour in habitats and 0.1 kg O2/person/hour for Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs). Early human lunar mission surface durations may vary from 3 to 45 days and can include from 2 to 6 crewmembers. Lunar human landers require approximately 5000 to 8000 kg of propellant for ascent and approximately 15,000 to 25,000 kg for landing and ascent combined. Mars mission surface durations are 30 to 90 days for opposition class missions and 450 to 600 days for conjunction class missions. Mars human ascent vehicles typically require 20,000 to 30,000 kg of propellant. Fuel cell reagent consumption rates depend on the power required for the application, the reagents, and the fuel cell technology used. EVA suits and small rovers can require 500W to 1 KW of power/hour, unpressurized rovers can require 3 to 6 KW of power/hour and pressurized rovers can require 10 KW/hour and above.



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      • 52043

        X9.02Surface Mobility/Mechanisms

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JSC

        This subtopic seeks innovative mobility and mechanisms technologies for robotic systems, crew vehicles, and cargo systems for robotic lunar and Mars missions. Precursor Mobility Systems Precursor mobility systems address development of hardware and software mobility technologies for precursor… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks innovative mobility and mechanisms technologies for robotic systems, crew vehicles, and cargo systems for robotic lunar and Mars missions.



        Precursor Mobility Systems

        Precursor mobility systems address development of hardware and software mobility technologies for precursor lunar missions that also support missions to Mars. Topics include enabling technologies for modular robotic systems, alternative mobility systems, and the development of software to autonomously control and integrate mobility technologies. Mechanisms include traditional wheel motor and harmonic drives, distributed mechanical drives, traction drives, tracked drives, and walking mechanisms.



        Proposals may also focus on surface systems for autonomous robotic outposts. Emphasis is placed on the ability to test, verify, and validate such system prototypes in representative laboratory and field environments. The applicable technologies and design concepts span the full range of surface mobility including high dexterity robotic scouts, long-range navigation on the lunar surface, and robotic systems for structural construction, inspection and repair.



        This year, emphasis is placed on: 1) modular robotic systems and subsystems (mechanical and electrical), 2) assembly and control of modular systems, and 3) alternative mobility systems such as inflatable systems or tracked vehicles, and walking systems.



        Crew Mobility Systems

        We will also consider highly innovative mobility technology in specific support of crew and cargo vehicles. Proposals addressing this area should focus on space-relevant hardware, mobility options, crew transports over rough terrain, and logistical issues such as ingress/egress and loading/unloading.





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    • + Expand Prometheus Technologies Topic

      Topic X10 Prometheus Technologies PDF


      The primary goal of the Prometheus Nuclear Systems and Technology (PNS&T) Theme is to mature technology and develop systems to overcome current limitations of space power and propulsion in support of the Vision for Space Exploration. Developing and demonstrating safe and reliable nuclear fission-based spacecraft power and propulsion systems will enable human and robotic exploration, enhance scientific capabilities, and facilitate unprecedented levels of exploration and scientific return. Potential benefits of space nuclear power include very high total energy and total power capability, and high delta-V nuclear-electric propulsion that can enable a wide range of solar system exploration missions not possible today. To meet the goals of the Vision for Space Exploration, new exploration missions would have requirements exceeding what current power and propulsion systems can provide, particularly for surface and outer planet applications. Prometheus nuclear systems can provide a viable, enabling, alternative for those missions that have no other practical solution. The PNS&T Theme is comprised of two programs - the Nuclear Flight Systems program and the Advanced Systems and Technology program. The Nuclear Flight Systems program is focused on developing the first Prometheus demonstration of nuclear fission power in space, including development of nuclear reactor power, electric propulsion and other associated spacecraft systems. The Advanced Systems and Technology program is focused on conducting research and development of advanced systems and technologies beyond those needed for the first demonstration mission including research for advanced power and propulsion systems, materials development, integrated spacecraft systems, and other capabilities. This advanced technology development will be necessary to support NASA's goal of more distant, more ambitious, and longer duration human and robotic exploration of Mars and other destinations. Five key program research areas include advanced nuclear electric propulsion, advanced fission-based power systems, advanced nuclear propulsion systems, advanced nuclear vehicle and spacecraft systems, and long-range nuclear reactor systems technology development. The five PNS&T subtopics are focused on these Advanced Systems and Technology program areas.

      • 50955

        X10.01Long-Life Validation and Flight Qualification of Nuclear Space Systems Hardware Prior to Flight Use

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL

        Nuclear space systems are expected to be an integral part of the national Vision for Space Exploration. Nuclear electric power would allow human and robotic exploration to reach beyond the constraints of solar power systems and is expected to be crucial for long-duration habitation and exploration… Read more>>

        Nuclear space systems are expected to be an integral part of the national Vision for Space Exploration. Nuclear electric power would allow human and robotic exploration to reach beyond the constraints of solar power systems and is expected to be crucial for long-duration habitation and exploration of the Moon and Mars. Nuclear propulsion systems offer the potential for significantly higher specific impulse and/or significantly higher delta-V than chemical engines, reducing the amount of propellant and associated costs needed to perform a given mission. Nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems up to several hundred megawatts and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems from 30 kW to hundreds of kilowatts and more, are being considered for the economical delivery of lunar and Mars cargo, rapid crew transit to Mars, and, in the case of nuclear electric propulsion, robotic exploration of the solar system and beyond. However, the long-duration performance and life testing of these high power nuclear space systems can be very expensive and poses several unique and significant challenges. The intent of this solicitation is to elicit new or significantly improved approaches that accelerate or simplify the long-life validation and flight qualification of high power nuclear space systems hardware.



        While the testing of nuclear reactors is clearly beyond the scope of this solicitation, proposals are invited for innovative methods that simplify, accelerate, reduce the cost, or otherwise improve upon current techniques to ground test and validate the life and performance of non-reactor high power space nuclear power and propulsion components, subsystems, and systems. Also invited are proposals that address new and innovative approaches to seamlessly integrate high power space nuclear power and propulsion hardware elements into complete systems of systems, with corresponding methods for flight qualification prior to flight use.



        Sample high power space nuclear power and propulsion areas that could benefit from accelerated or simplified performance and life validation include, but are not limited to: electric power conversion systems for in-space or planetary surface power; electric power management and distribution systems; accelerated testing of pulsed or steady-state high power electric thrusters or thruster arrays under appropriate vacuum and thermal conditions; performance and life testing of component materials and structures under simulated NTP hot hydrogen flows; the simulated operation, shut-down, and restart of NTP system components over simulated mission profiles in relevant vacuum, thermal, and radiation test environments; other space nuclear power and propulsion hardware elements that must operate in extreme environments over extended mission durations; and simplified or accelerated techniques for hardware integration and flight qualification of a complete system of systems prior to flight use. Proposed methods should substantially and demonstrably reduce the time and expense to validate the life and performance of space nuclear power and propulsion technologies compared to state of the art techniques.



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      • 50845

        X10.02Critical Technologies for In-Space Application of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC, SSC

        NASA is interested in the development of critical technologies for first in-space applications of solid core nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems for use in a variety of future exploration missions. For short, round trip, human missions to Mars, NTP systems may be enabling. It can potentially… Read more>>

        NASA is interested in the development of critical technologies for first in-space applications of solid core nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems for use in a variety of future exploration missions. For short, round trip, human missions to Mars, NTP systems may be enabling. It can potentially also help reduce launch mass or increase payload delivery for cargo and crewed missions to the Moon and other destinations. The first anticipated in-space application of solid core NTP systems could occur in the time frame of 2025 to 2030 and could be based on a high-thrust/high-Isp (~850 - 950s) NTP system that uses a fission reactor with U-235 fuel as its source of thermal energy. During the short primary propulsion maneuvers of a typical conceptual mission, large quantities of thermal power (100s of MWt) would be produced within the NTP system and removed using LH2 propellant that is pumped through the engine's reactor core. The superheated hydrogen gas is then exhausted out the engine's nozzle to generate thrust. Recent NASA studies have shown that small engines (~15-25 klbf), used individually or in clusters, could support a broad range of mission types. Representative ranges of engine performance include: 1) hydrogen exhaust temperatures ~2500-2900 K; 2) propellant flow rates ~7-13 kg/s; 3) chamber pressures ~500 -1500 psi ; and 4) nozzle expansion area ratio ~200:1-500:1.



        Proposals are sought to further improve safety, performance, reliability, and life factors as well as reduce projected weight and costs for the first in-space NTP systems, subsystems, and components beyond that in previously achieved ground test systems. Proposals are solicited in the following key technology/concept areas:


        • High temperature, radiation tolerant instrumentation and avionics for engine health monitoring. Non-invasive designs for measuring neutron flux (outside of reactor), chamber temperature, operating pressure, and H2 propellant flow rates over wide range of temperatures are desired;
        • Long-life, lightweight, reliable hydrogen turbopump designs and technologies;
        • Lightweight, long-life, high heat flux thrust chambers, regenerative-cooled nozzles and radiation-cooled skirt extensions that are compatible with hot hydrogen;
        • Radiation tolerant materials compatible with above engine subsystem applications and operating environments;
        • High temperature, low-to-moderate burn-up carbon- and ceramic-metallic (cermet)-based nuclear fuels for use in NTR and BNTR engines;
        • Improved chemical vapor deposition (CVD)/coating techniques for heritage "Rover/NERVA" type carbon-based fuels that reduce and/or prevent cracking, fuel element erosion via H2 attack, and release of fission product gases into the engine's H2 exhaust stream;
        • Mass-optimum neutron and gamma radiation shielding materials and designs that minimize exposure/damage to key engine components and subsystems (e.g., LH2 turbopumps) and provide radiation protection for the crew; and
        • Dual-use shielding materials and designs that also provide habitat protection against galactic cosmic rays and solar flares are also encouraged.



        Note that any associated NTP simplified test approaches, power systems, and thermal management/heat rejection systems technologies should be submitted to subtopic areas X10.01, X10.03, and X10.04, respectively.

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      • 52297

        X10.03Critical Technologies for Space-Based Nuclear Fission Power Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC, MSFC

        NASA is interested in the development of highly advanced systems, subsystems, and components for use with high-power, fission power systems for a variety of future robotic and manned exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Anticipated electric power levels range from 30 to 100s of… Read more>>

        NASA is interested in the development of highly advanced systems, subsystems, and components for use with high-power, fission power systems for a variety of future robotic and manned exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Anticipated electric power levels range from 30 to 100s of kilowatts for the nearer-term and possibly up to multi-megawatts for the far-term. Fission-based systems are anticipated to enable long duration stays of approximately 45 to 90 days over the lunar night and may have in situ resource utilization applications. Power levels needs are anticipated to be between 30-50 kWe for these early exploration missions.



        Potential Mars-surface human outpost applications for high-power space nuclear power systems could include habitats, resource processing, propellant production/liquefaction/maintenance, and excavating and mining equipment. These potential Mars surface human mission activities could require power in the 100 kWe range. Also, space nuclear power systems could be needed for robotic outposts as a precursor to human Mars surface exploration with 50-500 day stays. Power levels of about 30-50 kWe may be needed to support these initial robotic outposts and other science applications such as: deep drilling, resource production demonstrations, rovers, weather stations, etc.



        Potential electric propulsion applications include high power space nuclear power systems for primary electric propulsion, vehicle housekeeping, cryogenic propellant maintenance, orbiting power assets and science payloads. Power levels in the 100-200 kWe range are envisioned for robotic vehicles. Far-term vehicles for human missions may also be needed and could require about 1-2 MWe for high-mass cargo vehicles to the Moon or Mars and the low 10s of MWe for piloted electric propulsion vehicles. Nuclear thermal propulsion systems could also be designed to produce electric power and power levels of about 50 kWe could be needed to meet crew habitat, propellant boil-off, and other spacecraft power requirements.



        Proposals are sought in the following specific technologies areas:


        • Advanced, high-efficiency, high-temperature high-power conversion >20%, 30-200 kWe for the nearer-term, and up to MWe-unit size for the far-term (with technical issues of scaling to high power unit);
        • Electrical power management, control and distribution in the 1000-5000 V range;
        • Deployment systems/mechanisms and innovative methodologies for surface mobility systems for remote emplacement of power systems and for use of indigenous shielding materials;
        • Material compatibility with local environments;
        • Systems/technologies to mitigate lunar and planetary surface environments including dust accumulation, lunar surface temperature extremes, wind, planetary atmospheres (CO2, corrosive soils, etc.);
        • Power system design considerations for long life (>10 years), autonomous control and operation, including sensor technologies; and
        • Radiation tolerant systems and materials (including lunar, Mars and in-space environments) for robust, long-life operation.



        In addition to reducing overall system mass, volume and cost, increased safety, and reliability are of extreme importance. It is envisioned that these high power space nuclear power system technologies could be used on robotic and human exploration missions and it is to NASA's advantage to develop those technologies that evolve from robotic to human exploration mission requirements with a minimum of redesign. Technologies that enable challenging missions such as, nuclear electric propulsion, planetary surface power, and in-space electric power generation are of particular interest. Technologies that easily and efficiently scale in power output and can be used in a host of applications (high commonality) are desired.



        Proposals for thermal management systems and innovative materials computational engineering should be proposed to X10.04 and X10.05, respectively.



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      • 50839

        X10.04Heat Rejection Technologies for Nuclear Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL, MSFC

        NASA is interested in the development of advanced heat rejection subsystems for use with high-power, fission-based power and propulsion systems for a variety of future robotic and manned exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Anticipated electric power levels for these high-power, space… Read more>>

        NASA is interested in the development of advanced heat rejection subsystems for use with high-power, fission-based power and propulsion systems for a variety of future robotic and manned exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Anticipated electric power levels for these high-power, space nuclear systems could range from 30 to 100s of kilowatts for the nearer-term and possibly up to multi-megawatts (2-20 MWe) for the far-term. Potential applications include in-space transfer vehicles and planetary orbiters, and surface bases with global site capability on the lunar and Mars surface. The heat rejection sub-systems for any of the possible high power space nuclear power plant choices would need to be matched with the thermodynamic cycles of the power plants in a manner that will maximize space nuclear power system performance while keeping heat rejection subsystem and overall power system specific mass (kg/kW) to a minimum. The levels of heat rejection could be from about 100 kilowatts to many megawatts, and the task could be even more challenging by the long life requirements imposed by deep space missions, the extreme radiation environments possibly encountered, and the unique challenges imposed by surface missions including the effect of an atmosphere, elevated sink temperature, and particle contamination. The radiator operating temperature range can vary greatly depending on the mission, but temperatures as low as 400K and in excess of 1000K are possible.



        Typical heat rejection systems usually include a) a heat transport loop carrying heat to radiator surfaces for rejection to space, and b) a space radiator, which accomplishes the final heat rejection to space by thermal radiation. If the cycle working fluid is different from the radiator heat transport fluid, a "heat sink" heat exchanger and a fluid-circulating pump also need to be included in the design.



        Proposals are sought in the following critical technologies areas:


        • Low areal density heat rejection radiators (2);
        • Innovative heat transfer approaches between heat transport loop and radiating surfaces;
        • Development of light weight, radiation tolerant, thermally stable, high-performance components and pump loop systems including heat pipes and pumps in the low to intermediate temperature ranges (300K to 500K), intermediate temperature ranges (450K to 650K), and intermediate to high temperature ranges (700K to 1000K and higher);
        • Pumped loops that take advantage of the abundance of waste heat and transport some of it to the spacecraft and payload components for thermal management. Waste heat source to spacecraft radiator distances will likely be too large for passive technologies, and pumped loops may offer a possible solution. Since rejection of megawatts of waste heat could require large radiating surfaces, loop heat pipes may provide a lightweight solution to distributing this heat over long distances. Specific areas of interest for this area include:

          • Long term material/working fluid compatibility, lightweight material integration, and working fluid performance for the various temperature ranges; and
          • High temperature, long-life pump technology, single- and two-phase systems, and thermal bus concepts involving multi-evaporators and condensers.

        • High temperature, lightweight heat rejection system materials. Such materials may include those to enable lightweight radiators and heat pipes. Work in this area should address harsh radiation environments, launch/landing loads, and long life issues;
        • Durable low-absorptivity/high-emissivity and variable emissivity coatings for radiating surfaces;
        • Novel and efficient deployment systems/mechanisms for radiators in zero gravity and/or non-zero gravity fields to minimize mass, complexity, and stowed area/volume;
        • Systems and technologies to mitigate adverse effects of planetary surface operating environments, such as cosmic and fission process induced radiation, dust accumulation, wind loading, planetary atmospheric effects due to CO2, and variable sink temperatures;
        • Design considerations for heat rejection subsystems should include long service life (>10 years) and autonomous operation;
        • Development of advanced, high temperature heat pump technologies based upon conventional vapor compression cycles, absorption/adsorption cycles, and advanced thermoelectric and/or thermo-acoustic technologies;
        • Advanced eutectic working fluids capable of extended duration use that would mitigate design issues related to the freezing and subsequent reuse of thermal management coolants; and
        • Alternate cooling technologies for the rejection of waste heat from large capacity planetary or surface nuclear power systems. Such systems may include, but are not limited to, deployable cooling towers and/or optimized radiators.



        In addition to reducing overall system mass, volume, radiator area, and cost, increased safety and reliability are of prime importance. Technologies are desired that readily scale in heat rejection capability for various power plant outputs, and thus can be used in a range of applications.



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      • 52179

        X10.05Computational Material Science Tools for Space Nuclear Systems Design

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        NASA is interested in the development of highly advanced systems, subsystems, and components for use with high-power, fission power and propulsion systems for a variety of future robotic and manned exploration missions, including in-space, lunar-surface, and Mars-surface applications. Advanced… Read more>>

        NASA is interested in the development of highly advanced systems, subsystems, and components for use with high-power, fission power and propulsion systems for a variety of future robotic and manned exploration missions, including in-space, lunar-surface, and Mars-surface applications. Advanced high-power space nuclear power and propulsion systems for robotic and human exploration missions involve a range of specialized materials for the reactor, heat transfer system, energy conversion system, propulsion system, and other nuclear vehicle systems. These materials may include carbon-carbon, super alloys, refractory alloys, structural ceramics, ceramic matrix composites, and other high-temperature space nuclear systems materials. Long-term stability greater than 10 years is critical for long-life space nuclear power system applications. Materials would be subjected to fission process radiation while exposed to in-space (plasma, out-gassing, etc.) and/or planetary operating environments.



        This subtopic is focused on the development of computational materials science tools to develop and select these specialized space nuclear systems materials. Many considerations go into selection of materials for demanding applications. These include strength, creep resistance, phase stability, oxidation/corrosion resistance, nuclear capture cross-section, and radiation tolerance. In recent years computational materials science has assisted with not only the selection of existing materials with a given set of properties but also with the development of new materials with those properties. These tools include first principles calculations of phase equilibria, computational thermodynamics (the CALPHAD technique), and creep modeling.



        Proposals are sought for the specific technologies areas:


        • A computational 'toolbox' for material selection with particular emphasis on space nuclear power and propulsion systems requirements;
        • Computational tools to address particular issues in mechanical property degradation in space nuclear power and propulsion systems over long times. This includes, but is not limited to, long-term creep modeling;
        • Computational tools to predict long-term oxidation/corrosion and flow-induced erosion issues in the high temperature portions of these systems, including the heat transfer system. This includes thermodynamic modeling of heat transfer media attack of alloys;
        • Computational tools to predict long term stability of various joining techniques used in these space nuclear systems. This includes diffusion modeling in alloys; and
        • Computational tools to predict interaction of the radiation environment. This includes effective capture cross-section for complex materials systems and production of secondary energy and potential impact on components.



        It is anticipated that Phase 1 will focus primarily on the new computational tools for material selection and development with some limited experimental verification. Later phases should involve more extensive verification, to the point where these tools could be readily utilized for the design of space nuclear systems.





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    • + Expand Human Systems Research and Technology Topic

      Topic X11 Human Systems Research and Technology PDF


      The crews that leave the Earth for exploration destinations must keep healthy to perform their mission and to return safely back to Earth. The subtopics seek innovative technologies that will enable crew health and performance, and that will assure there will be no unacceptably long-term consequences after returning while supporting healthy and productive sustained human presence. Proposals for technologies that will enable human space exploration are sought in the areas of Radiation Health and Radiation Shielding; Human Health Countermeasures including artificial gravity, exercise, pharmacology and nutrition, cell and tissue-based analog systems, and physiological countermeasures; Exploration Biology, including the science, spaceflight systems, and technologies that support human exploration; Autonomous Medical Care including technologies of prevention, monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment of human medical problems. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during the Phase 1 contract and show a path toward a Phase 2 specific deliverable. The contractor will then, when appropriate, deliver a demonstration unit of the instrumentation for NASA testing before the completion of the Phase 2 contract.

      • 50942

        X11.01Radiation Health

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, LaRC, MSFC

        The goal of the NASA Space Radiation Research Program is to assure that we can safely live and work in the space radiation environment, anywhere, any time. Space radiation is distinct from terrestrial forms of radiation, being comprised of high-energy protons and heavy ions and their secondaries… Read more>>

        The goal of the NASA Space Radiation Research Program is to assure that we can safely live and work in the space radiation environment, anywhere, any time. Space radiation is distinct from terrestrial forms of radiation, being comprised of high-energy protons and heavy ions and their secondaries produced in shielding and tissue. The Radiation Program Element uses the NASA Research Announcement as a primary means of soliciting research to reduce the uncertainties in risk projections; however, there are specific areas where the SBIR technologies can potentially contribute to NASA's overall goal:



        Ground-Based Heavy Ion Accelerator Research Support Equipment

        NASA utilizes facilities at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) to conduct fundamental radiobiology and shielding experiments. However, the facilities at BNL were not developed with NASA's high number of investigators in mind, thus there are areas where technology developments can improve efficiency and throughput. Technologies of specific interest include, but are not limited to, the following:


        • Advanced animal support equipment, sample holders, live imaging of samples on the beam line during heavy ion irradiation, or specimen transport systems that allow remote transport into and out of the target areas, and precise positioning of specimens in the beam line with minimal human interaction in the target areas;
        • Environmental control for cell studies while in the beam line and automated fixation capabilities to perfuse small cell and tissue samples directly after exposure to the ion beam;
        • Controlled beam line access that provides safe, but rapid and reliable human access to the beam target areas and lockout during specimen exposure; and
        • Advanced detector systems to provide rapid assessments of elemental fluence spectra and neutron fluence spectra following heavy ion irradiation of biological or shielding samples.

        High Throughput Genomic Analysis Techniques

        Following low-dose irradiation of cells by protons and heavy ions, damage is localized to only a very few cells. The ability to separate cells with or without genetic changes in an automated manner is of interest. Current technologies are inefficient in identifying small-scale genetic changes (less than several thousand base-pairs (Mbp)) under these conditions. Technologies of interest are:


        • Complementary technologies to the fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) method used to score large scale (>1 Mbp) genetic changes to chromosomes following low dose irradiation in order to rapidly score small-scale genetic changes (
        • Imaging techniques to rapidly identify with high accuracy undamaged cells from a cell population irradiated at low doses.



        Radiation Shielding and Fabrication

        The NASA Space Radiation Research Program uses the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) as the primary means of soliciting research to conceive and radiation-test new radiation shielding materials concepts. The materials concepts include new and innovative lightweight radiation shielding materials to shield humans in crew exploration vehicles, large space structures such as space stations, orbiters, landers, rovers, habitats, and spacesuits. The materials emphasis is on non-parasitic radiation shielding materials, or multifunctional materials, where one of the functions is the radiation shielding, but also serves as structural and other functional components of flight and/or habitat systems. The specific areas in which SBIR-developed technologies can contribute to NASA's overall mission requirements for advanced radiation shielding materials technologies are:


        • Characterization of the physical, chemical and relevant functional properties and the validation and qualification of such multi-functional radiation shielding materials;
        • New and innovative manufacturing techniques for producing quality-controlled advanced radiation shielding products and structural components, including innovative scale-up methods for producing quality-controlled viable quantities of advanced radiation shielding materials;
        • New and innovative processing methods for producing quality-controlled advanced radiation shielding materials of all forms - resins, fibers, fabrics, composites and fiber-reinforced composite materials;
        • New and innovative fabrication techniques for fabricating advanced radiation shielding materials into useful products and structural components; and
        • New and innovative commercialization strategies to introduce advanced radiation shielding materials technologies into the marketplace to enable availability of the technologies for use by NASA and the space exploration community.



        Reliable Radiation Dosimeters for Manned and Unmanned Spaceflight

        Current environment dosimeters have exceeded their designed lifetimes and should be replaced. These include small, active dosimeters to monitor individual astronauts' exposure, Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counters (TEPC), Charged Particle Directional Spectrometer (CPDS) capable of internal and external deployment, and externally deployed electron and neutron detectors. New software needs to be fault tolerant and updated to current operating systems; new hardware and software must be fully documented (schematics, etc.). Areas of interest are:


        • Advanced spaceflight detector systems to provide reliable environment data for a specific spectrum of energies, including: real time dosimetry providing dose and particle types and energies and cumulative dosimeters for characterizing space environments for use onboard spacecraft and planetary surfaces as well as alarm systems for Solar Particle Events; and
        • Microdosimetry for operational and research applications, including implantable dosimeters for biological studies, that translate particle counts into biologically relevant dose or damage.



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      • 50939

        X11.02Human Health Countermeasures

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, MSFC

        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… 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 extra planetary 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. Since 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, 1/6g, and 3/8g becomes more important as we march towards human Moon and Mars missions.



        Exercise and Related Hardware

        Development of an immersive visual display system is required to be interfaced with treadmill exercise devices. This system may not be head-mounted but could 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 in-flight or on-surface treadmill exercise. In addition, miniaturized exercise hardware (treadmill or resistance exercise); physiological monitoring devices; and metabolic gas (carbon dioxide and oxygen) analysis systems for use with exercise and miniaturized interactive feedback and entertainment systems.



        A tool or toolkit should simulate and visualize the exercise device design and performance. A comprehensive, scaled 3D/virtual human model interface would be valuable to show biomechanical and kinetic effects of the exercise device. Relative physiological data from anthropometry to stress/fatigue to trauma/insult onset should be targeted. If in-flight/on-orbit micro gravitational and planetary surface gravitational forces can be simulated, this could help produce germane simulations with which to implement new designs and products. A time-delay algorithm would be advantageous in helping provide for latency-moderated haptics (force-feedback) and long-distance teleoperative control. This will allow remote teleoperation with force-feedback despite the high latencies involved.



        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 hypo-gravity environments, which may interfere with their activity by sensitizing or desensitizing the crewmember or interfering in other ways with the desired physiological effect. Micro-encapsulation of drugs, radio contrast 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. Devices for continual monitoring of physiology during pharmacotherapy would also be advantageous to ensure that on-orbit expression of therapies relates to on-Earth histories.



        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.



        Device for Measuring Body Fluid Shift

        A body impedance device to measure fluid shifts in four segments of the body associated with a short-radius centrifuge. The device should measure the following parameters, namely, resistance, change in resistance and rate of change of resistance and reactance. The device should withstand g forces (5g) produced by centrifugation and meet safety standards such as subject isolation.



        MEMS-Based Human Blood Cell Analyzer

        Development of a small, automated and micro- and hypo-gravity capable instrument that will analyze micro liter 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 micro fluidics, micromechanics, micro-optics, microelectronics, and data telemetry capabilities in an integrated handheld package with a user-friendly operator interface.



        Cell/Tissue Analog Studies

        Cell/Tissue analog studies in ground-based, microgravity-analog bioreactors allow us to understand the ill-effects of microgravity and radiation on human tissues-especially, bone, muscle, and cardiac and immune response. Technologies that allow automated biosampling, lyophilization of mammalian cells, miniaturized protein microarray analyzer, tools derived from Bionanotechnology relevant to the understanding are of interest.



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      • 50933

        X11.03Autonomous Medical Care

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

        Exploration missions require a healthy, well-performing crew supported by a robust infrastructure for the monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment of medical conditions. Since return time to Earth and communications delays during such missions will greatly reduce the effectiveness of Earth-involvement,… Read more>>

        Exploration missions require a healthy, well-performing crew supported by a robust infrastructure for the monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment of medical conditions. Since return time to Earth and communications delays during such missions will greatly reduce the effectiveness of Earth-involvement, the crew must be capable of performing the majority of medical activities independently. Therefore, this system of autonomous medical care must provide the capability for patient care as well as measure and assess fitness levels for duty during a mission with little or no real-time support from Earth. The objective of this subtopic is to sponsor applied research leading to the development of such an infrastructure with the associated medical devices and procedures that will mitigate crew health, safety, and performance risks during future flight missions to the Moon and Mars. Medical diagnostic, treatment, 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, consumables, and power consumption that are capable of multiple functions in both micro-g and sub-g environments. Design enhancements that improve the operation, reliability, flexibility, and maintainability of medical devices in the space environment are also sought. Additional considerations include innovative approaches to human-device interactivity and interface, automation of device functions, improved ease of use, and astronaut comfort.



        Device for Body Chemistry Assessment

        Development of an integrated, adaptable laboratory analysis system/sensor system for in-flight assessment of body fluids (including blood) and solids is desired. This system would be used to obtain quantitative measurement of dissolved gases, calcium ions, and other electrolytes, proteins, lipids, hormones, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and clinical drug levels with minimal or no consumables usage or specimen preparation skill. Likely candidates will be based on MEMS technology and will employ a biocompatible combination of micro fluidics, micromechanics, micro-optics, microelectronics, and data telemetry capabilities in an integrated handheld package with a user-friendly operator interface.



        Voice- and Gesture-Actuated Interactive Procedures

        Astronauts working in space or on the lunar or Martian surface will require a hands-free, interactive, step-by-step environment for performing flight medical procedures. This system should have the capability to utilize links, prepare textual or graphical indication of progress through a procedure, return to previous steps, page forward/page backward, and automatically annotate verbal input relative to subject response during procedure or treatment. An inventory capability must exist for obtaining and stowing required items (including medications) as well as a mechanism to assess the resulting consumables status after a procedure has been completed. Ground-monitoring capability is also required, at least in the early stages.



        Closed Loop Medical Respirator

        A closed loop flight and human certified medical respirator with real-time remote monitoring and remote control capability is required. This respirator must incorporate a function to limit the amount of O2 leaking into the space vehicle or surface habitat. Current O2 limits range from ~20/21% at sea level with maximum levels of 30% in a 10.2 psi environment. (This upper limit mitigates flammability concerns and is dictated by ambient pressure.) The system should incorporate real-time remote monitoring and control capabilities.



        Medical Grade Water Generation

        Methods and technologies for in-flight creation of medical grade water from any available water source are required. Because some pharmacological preparations appear to degrade in the space environment, it is highly desirable, from both a consumables perspective as well as from the standpoint of mass, to fly desiccated pharmacological substrates whenever possible and to reconstitute them only when needed. For this reason, medical grade water is required along with a low-g (e.g., 0 g, 1/3 g, and 1/6 g) system to deliver generated water to the substrate and mix as necessary. The general requirements of low mass, user-friendly interface, reliability, and automation are critical to this system. There should be a mechanism included to verify that the water produced meets standard requirements for the medical grade designator.



        Diagnostic Imaging Capability

        During long duration flights, it will be important to have medical imaging capability available to assist in diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring during and after medical events. This capability is likely to be an ultrasonic, low power, portable device that provides for diagnostic assistance via data processing algorithms. These algorithms would be expected to provide guidance for the crewmember administering the exam as well as identifying probable diagnoses options and possible treatments for each. The system should be flexible enough to provide fracture analysis, bone density levels, and body cavity status.



        In-Flight Suction

        Long duration missions must have the capability to provide medical suction for patients in the event of injury or serious illness. This system must be capable of providing suction for a variety of body orientations in multiple reduced gravity environments. It should be a stand-alone system that does not require oversight by another crewmember. In the event of malfunction, it should provide an audio alert, a display of the malfunction type, plus a safing algorithm. The contents of the suction system must be easily disposed of safely and without release of contents into the environment.



        Biomedical Signal Processing

        Assessment of an ill or injured crewmember may sometimes be accomplished in large part by the status of the biomedical signal, or EKG. This will have to be a "smart" system, which analyzes sensor placement, sensor health, signal monitoring, signal normalcy, and signal analysis. It is required that the biomedical signal be capable of monitoring cardiac health and physiological state. The processor must be fail-safe and must annunciate an audible alarm when a malfunction occurs. A display should provide a readout of the anomaly type and the system must safe itself when malfunctions occur. (NOTE: There may be a subset of malfunctions {e.g., loose lead} that will not require a shut-off or self-safing function.) The system must be volumetrically small with minimal mass.



        Intelligent Software Modules

        Software modules with the capability to review medical data in a SQL compliant database, assign or suggest appropriate SNOMED CT codes, and store the suggested codes in electronic format with discrete elements is highly desirable to avoid having to train hierarchical nomenclature to crewmembers. The hierarchical relationships between SNOMED codes should be maintained and stored in the output.





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    • + Expand Life Support and Habitation Topic

      Topic X12 Life Support and Habitation PDF


      Achieving sustained human presence in space and on lunar and Martian sites requires innovative life support and habitation technologies. Proposals are sought that improve life support and habitation systems in the areas of: Advanced Life Support including closed loop, and to a lesser extent, open loop technologies for air revitalization (including lunar dust abatement technologies), water reclamation, solid waste management (including small disposal units for human waste), food management systems (including galley), and biomass production; Extra Vehicular (EVA) technologies including suit assembly, life support systems, power communications and information handling; Contingency Response technologies including fire prevention, detection and suppression, in situ fabrication and repair, and in situ resource utilization; Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Control including air, water and surface monitoring, external environment monitoring, and life support integrated control.

      • 50935

        X12.01Advanced Life Support: Air and Thermal

        Lead Center: JSC

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

        Advanced life support systems will be essential to enable human planetary missions as outlined in the Vision for Space Exploration. Innovative, efficient, and practical concepts are needed for regenerative air revitalization, ventilation, temperature, and humidity control. Requirements include safe… Read more>>

        Advanced life support systems will be essential to enable human planetary missions as outlined in the Vision for Space Exploration. Innovative, efficient, and practical concepts are needed for regenerative air revitalization, ventilation, temperature, and humidity control. Requirements include safe operability in micro- and partial-gravity, ambient and reduced-pressure environments, high reliability, regeneration and minimal use of expendables, ease of maintenance, and low-system volume, mass, and power. Proposals should explicitly describe how their work is expected to improve power, volume, mass, logistics, crew time, safety and reliability, with comparisons to existing state-of-the-art technologies. Information and documentation on advanced life support systems can be found at http://advlifesupport.jsc.nasa.gov.



        Air Revitalization

        The management of cabin atmosphere in spacecraft and habitats includes concentration, separation, and control techniques for oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, particulates and trace chemical components. This includes processing and recovering resources derived from waste streams and from in situ planetary resources. Technologies focused at closing the air loop will have higher priority. Areas of emphasis include:


        • Atmosphere revitalization process integration to achieve energy and logistics mass reductions;
        • Separation of carbon dioxide from a mixture primarily of nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor to maintain carbon dioxide concentrations below 0.3% by volume;.
        • Recovery of oxygen from carbon dioxide including approaches to deal with by-products of the process;
        • Regenerable processes for removing trace chemical components from cabin air and/or gas product streams from other systems (e.g., water reclamation, waste management, etc.);
        • Regenerable, re-usable, particulate filters for air;
        • Novel approaches to suspended particulate matter removal from cabin and habitat atmospheres, including approaches to isolating cabin and habitat living areas from external dust sources such as Martian or lunar soil; and
        • Methods of storage and delivery of atmospheric gases to reduce mass and volume and improve safety.



        Advanced Thermal Control 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 technologies for temperature and humidity control; however, advanced active thermal control also includes technologies in the areas of heat acquisition, transport, and rejection. Areas of emphasis include:


        • Liquid-to-liquid heat exchangers that provide two physical barriers preventing inter-path 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;
        • Alternate methods of atmospheric humidity control that do not use liquid-to-air heat exchanger (dependent on the spacecraft active thermal control system) or mechanical refrigeration technology;
        • 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, to 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. For maintenance of temperatures of -20°C, -40°C, -80°C or -180°C;
        • Highly accurate, remotely monitored, in situ, non-intrusive thermal instrumentation; and
        • Low-energy, low-noise, high-capacity fans or similar devices for moving air.



        Component Technologies

        Energy efficient, low mass, low noise, low vibration, or vibration isolating, fail-safe, and reliable components for handling gases, fluids, particulates, and solids applicable to spacecraft environmental control and air revitalization, including actuators, fans, pumps, compressors, coolers, tubing, ducts, fittings, 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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      • 50934

        X12.02EVA Technologies

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

        Advanced Extravehicular Activity (EVA) systems are necessary for the successful support of future human exploration space missions. Advanced EVA systems include the space suit pressure garment, the portable life support system, tools and equipment, and mobility aids such as rovers. Exploration EVA… Read more>>

        Advanced Extravehicular Activity (EVA) systems are necessary for the successful support of future human exploration space missions. Advanced EVA systems include the space suit pressure garment, the portable life support system, tools and equipment, and mobility aids such as rovers. Exploration EVA missions require innovative approaches for maximizing human productivity and for providing the capability to perform useful work tasks. Top-level requirements include reduction of system weight and volume, increased hardware reliability, maintainability, durability, and operating lifetime, increased human comfort, and less-restrictive work performance capability in the space environment, in hazardous ground-level contaminated atmospheres, or in extreme ambient thermal environments. Areas in which innovations are solicited include the following:



        Environmental Protection

        • Radiation protection technologies that protect the suited crewmember from radiation;
        • Puncture protection technologies that provide self-sealing capabilities when a puncture occurs and minimizes punctures and cuts from sharp objects;
        • Dust and abrasion protection materials or technologies to exclude or remove dust and withstand abrasion; and prevent dust adhesion; and
        • Flexible space suit thermal insulation suitable for use in vacuum and low ambient pressure.





        EVA Mobility

        • Space suit low profile bearings that maximize rotation necessary for partial gravity mobility requirements and are lightweight.



        Life Support System

        • Long-life and high-capacity chemical oxygen storage systems for an emergency supply of oxygen for breathing;
        • Low-venting or non-venting regenerable individual life support subsystem(s) concepts for crewmember cooling, heat rejection, and removal of expired water vapor and CO2;
        • Fuel cell technology that can provide power to a space suit and other EVA support systems;
        • Lightweight convection and freezable radiators for thermal control;
        • Innovative garments that provide direct thermal control to crewmember;
        • High reliability pumps and fans that provide flow for a space suit but can be stacked to give greater flow for a vehicle;
        • CO2 and humidity control devices that, while minimizing expendables function in a CO2 environment; and
        • Variable conductivity flexible suit garment that can function as a radiator for high metabolic loads and as an insulator during period of low physical activity and low metabolic rates.





        Sensors, Communications, Cameras, and Informatics Systems

        • Space suit mounted displays for use both inside and outside the space suit-outside mounted displays will be compatible with the space environment;
        • CO2, bio-med (heart rate and blood oxygen level), radiation monitoring, and core temperature sensors with reduced size, lightweight, increased reliability, decreased wiring, and packaging flexibility;
        • Visible spectrum camera that provides environment awareness for crewmembers and the public and are integratable into a spacesuit that is lightweight and low power;
        • Lightweight sensor systems that detects N2, CO2, NH4, O2, ammonia, hydrazine partial pressures, including self-powered sensors;
        • Lightweight, low power, radio and laser communications with the capability to integrate audio, video, and data on the same data stream to provide reliable communications between the crew and a lander or habitat; and
        • Low power, lightweight, radiation hardened, or radiation tolerant informatics computer systems with standard graphics outputs and standard audio inputs and outputs, capable of running commercial operating systems and applications.



        Integration

        • Robot control by EVA crewmember via voice control or other methods;
        • Minimum gas loss airlocks providing quick exit and entry and can accommodate an incapacitated crewmember; and
        • Work tools that assist the EVA crewmember during operations in zero gravity and at worksites; specifically, devices that provide temporary attachments, which rigidly restrain equipment to other equipment and the EVA crewmember, and that contain provisions for tethering and storage of loose articles such as tool sockets.



        EVA Navigation and Location

        • Systems and technologies for providing an EVA crewmember real-time navigation and position information while traversing on foot or a rover; and
        • Systems and technologies for managing and locating tools during planetary surface science and maintenance EVA sorties.



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      • 50844

        X12.03Contingency Response Technologies

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

        Decades of experience in manned space flight have demonstrated that during any mission, unexpected events will occur. If the crew is adequately equipped to address such contingencies during exploration missions, the chances of successfully completing that mission can be greatly increased. The… Read more>>

        Decades of experience in manned space flight have demonstrated that during any mission, unexpected events will occur. If the crew is adequately equipped to address such contingencies during exploration missions, the chances of successfully completing that mission can be greatly increased. The objective of this subtopic is to develop technologies in the areas of fire prevention, detection, and suppression (FPDS) and in situ fabrication and repair (ISFAR) that will support the crew in the event of a fire or if a critical component breaks during a mission, respectively. These technologies may be in the form of devices, models, and/or instruments for use in microgravity and/or for commercial applications on Earth. The top-level requirements for a viable technology include the reduction of system hardware weight and volume and increased hardware reliability, durability, and operating lifetime. Research conducted during the Phase 1 contract should focus on demonstrating the technical feasibility of the FPDS or ISFAR protocol/system and show a path toward a Phase 2-specific deliverable. The contractor will, when appropriate, deliver a demonstration unit of the instrumentation for NASA testing before the completion of the Phase 2 contract.



        Fire Prevention, Detection, and Suppression

        The objective of the Fire Prevention, Detection, and Suppression (FPDS) subtopic is to develop technologies that, when incorporated into the design philosophy and functional design of exploration vehicles and habitats, will quantitatively reduce the likelihood of a fire and reduce the impact to the mission should a fire occur. The element is composed of four major theme areas including: fire prevention and material flammability, fire signatures and detection, fire suppression and response, and analysis of fire scenarios. Innovations are sought in the following theme areas:


        • Quantifying the effects of microgravity, 1/6-g (lunar) and 1/3-g (Martian) on the ignitability of materials and the subsequent flame spread, particularly related to determining relevant low-gravity behavior from normal gravity tests;
        • Improving the performance of spacecraft fire safety systems through the development of advanced fire detection and suppression systems and strategies as well as predicting the effects of smoke and precursor generation and transport; and
        • Developing techniques for creating and analyzing the effectiveness of fire resistant materials and coatings, including fire prevention techniques, for spacecraft structures, radiation shielding materials, paneling, fabrics (cotton, paper, synthetics), foams, etc.



        In Situ Fabrication and Repair

        In Situ Fabrication and Repair develops technologies for life support system maintenance and integrated habitat radiation shielding fabrication with a focus on contingency response and maximization of in situ resource utilization to reduce launch mass and volume. The manufacture or repair of components during a mission is essential to human exploration and development of space. Fabrication and repair beyond low Earth orbit is required to reduce resource requirements, spare parts inventory, and to enhance mission security. Proposals are sought in the technical themes listed below:


        • Application of Free Form Fabrication (FFF) methods to low gravity (3/8 and 1/6 g level) manufacturing of near net shape products and spare parts from in situ derived resources or provisional feedstock;
        • Processes for extracting in situ resources into raw materials and feedstock for use with rapid prototyping technology;
        • Extension of fused deposition methods to the use of binderless metal wire feed stock;
        • Adaptation of ultrasonic consolidation methods to use narrow ribbon metal feedstock to reduce subsequent machining operations and waste;
        • Novel and innovative in situ repair methods such as but not limited to: welding, composite repair, and self healing materials;
        • Development of highly automated habitat construction methods that incorporates in situ materials on surface or primary structure may use in situ construction;
        • Development of dust mitigation techniques applicable to planetary habitat construction;
        • Integration of radiation shielding materials into habitat construction methods; and
        • Innovative approaches for recycling of materials for secondary uses.



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      • 52280

        X12.04Advanced Environment Monitoring and Control

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GRC, JSC

        This subtopic addresses monitoring and control technologies, which support the operation of an Advanced Life Support (ALS) system for future long duration space missions. There are two application areas: Acoustics Monitoring and Environmental Controls. Acoustics Monitoring Section The objective… Read more>>

        This subtopic addresses monitoring and control technologies, which support the operation of an Advanced Life Support (ALS) system for future long duration space missions. There are two application areas: Acoustics Monitoring and Environmental Controls.



        Acoustics Monitoring Section

        The objective is a proof-of-concept acoustic sensor system consisting of fixed and crew-worn transducers. At least ten fixed transducers shall be distributed in a habitable volume of at least 2x2x6m. The goal for the fixed microphones is to provide sound pressure level measurements with Type I measurement accuracy over the Octave Band frequency range from 63 Hz through 20 kHz. The system shall be capable of measuring 1/3 Octave Band, Octave Band, and Narrow Band sound pressure levels averaged over a specified interval with user defined data acquisition parameters. The fixed microphones shall also operate as an acoustic dosimeter with Type III accuracy and shall measure and log the maximum, A-weighted, Overall Sound Pressure Level every 30 seconds for at least 24 hours. The system shall also detect Hazard Levels of 85+ dBA and generate an alarm. The crew-worn transducer, clipped to a shirt collar, shall operate as a Type III acoustic dosimeter and shall measure and log the maximum, A-weighted, Overall Sound Pressure Level every 30 seconds for at least 24 hours. The size and mass of the device shall be comparable to COTS dosimeters. All system measurements shall be carried out remotely and the data managed by software. The system shall be demonstrated in a mock-up, and calibrations and comparisons made with appropriate instruments and methods.



        Environmental Controls

        Advanced Environmental Controls - the development of advanced control system technologies is necessary for the integrated operation of environmental systems for future long-duration human space missions. The interdependence of advanced environmental processing systems requires a non-avionics requirements process that allows design for controllability. This year particular emphasis is placed on the following:


        • Control strategies for closed-loop systems - closed loop and biological systems have different constraints and control paradigms than conventional processes. There is a need for new control algorithms, analyses, design methodologies, strategies, and techniques to provide this capability;
        • Ontologies for integrated operations - 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 ontology must be developed to enable the integration of control of advanced life support systems; and
        • Development and integration of autonomous system and inter-system control with crew and ground operations - there is a need for tools, architectures, and technologies that can support the integration of operations between crew, ground operators, ground applications, and on-board applications.





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      • 50936

        X12.05Advanced Life Support: Food Provisioning and Biomass

        Lead Center: JSC

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

        Exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit greatly limit allowable consumables and require development of innovative low maintenance, reconfigurable, reusable, or self-sufficient food production. Advancements are necessary to develop a combination of extended duration shelf life stored foods… Read more>>

        Exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit greatly limit allowable consumables and require development of innovative low maintenance, reconfigurable, reusable, or self-sufficient food production. Advancements are necessary to develop a combination of extended duration shelf life stored foods augmented with fresh foods grown within the spacecraft. Crop systems, in addition to producing fresh vegetables, storage roots, grains and legumes may contribute to air revitalization and utilize wastes from water recovery and waste management systems.



        Crop Systems

        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 lunar 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. Areas in which innovations are solicited include:


        • Crop lighting, such as LED, solar collectors and innovative technologies. Lighting transmission and distribution systems, luminaries, fiber optics, water jackets, and other heat removal technologies are also areas of interest;
        • Water and nutrient management systems such as hydroponics and/or solid substrates for food production and separation of nutrients from waste streams are solicited. In this area, regenerable media for seed germination plant support are also of interest as is separation and recovery of usable minerals from wastewater and solid waste products for use as a source of mineral nutrients. Consideration should be given tor systems operation in microgravity and hypogravity (1/6 g on Moon, 3/8 g on Mars) environments; and
        • Other areas of interest: crop mechanization and automation, facility or system sanitation, crop health measurement, flight equipment support, structures and environmental monitoring and control technologies that are specific to crop systems (e.g., ethylene detection and removal, sensors for root zone oxygen and water content, etc.).



        Food Provisioning

        • Safe, nutritious, acceptable, and varied shelf-stable foods with a shelf life of 3 to 5 years will be required to support the crew during future exploration missions to the Moon or Mars. Shelf-life extension may be attained through food preservation methods and/or packaging. Packaging materials must provide sufficient oxygen and water barrier properties to maintain shelf life. Food packaging technologies are needed that minimize a potentially significant trash management problem by using packaging with less mass and volume and/or by using packaging that is biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable;
        • Processing crops or bulk ingredients into edible food ingredients or table-ready products will be necessary to provide a self-sustaining food system for an exploration mission. Equipment that is highly reliable, safe, automated, and minimizes crew time, power, water, mass, and volume will be required. 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;
        • Food preparation systems will be required to heat and rehydrate the shelf stable food items and to prepare meals from the processed and re-supplied items. Technologies to support on-orbit crew meal storage, preparation, dining activities, and trash dispensing are being sought;and
        • Food quality and safety are essential components in the maintenance of crew health and well being. Efforts should be focused on control of food spoilage and food quality throughout the entire shelf life of the food. Effects of radiation on crop functionality and the stored food system quality are also needed.





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      • 50938

        X12.06Habitation Systems

        Lead Center: JSC

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

        Habitation Systems Habitation systems for future crewed micro-gravity transits, reduced gravity planetary lunar or Martian surfaces, and long duration, deep-space environments are requested. Products can include basic research, system analysis, mockup evaluation, functionality… Read more>>

        Habitation Systems

        Habitation systems for future crewed micro-gravity transits, reduced gravity planetary lunar or Martian surfaces, and long duration, deep-space environments are requested. Products can include basic research, system analysis, mockup evaluation, functionality demonstrations/tests, and actual prototype hardware. Exploration missions away from low Earth orbit greatly limit allowable consumables and require development of innovative low maintenance, re-configurable, and reusable systems. Minimal volume configurations (or dual use) during non-use mission phases are highly desirable.



        Habitation systems should consider the following broad themes: re-configurable crew volumes for multi-gravity environments (micro and reduced gravity), multi-use work stations, multi-gravity translation strategies, crew radiation exposure mitigation, physically and psychologically ergonomic personal volumes, automated deployment, quiescent operations between missions, multi-purpose stowage systems for food/trash, advanced hygiene systems, and automated housekeeping/self-repairing habitat surfaces, durability, commonality of hardware/systems, and low total life-cycle costs. Specific areas in which advanced habitability system innovations are solicited include:



        Wardroom Systems: Erectable or inflatable systems that support crew dinning, conference, external viewing (windows), illumination, and relaxation activities. Includes off-nominal uses (emergency medical or repair) while maintaining hygienic conditions.



        Galley Systems: Systems requiring minimal crew preparation (heating, cooling, and rehydration) for food heating and accurate water dispensing. Specific areas include systems that allow individual crew meal flexibility and high-energy efficiency.



        Crew Hygiene Systems: Low maintenance/self-cleaning fecal, urine, menstrual, emesis, hand/body wash, and grooming systems. Specific areas include non-foaming separatorsand no-rinse/non-alcohol hygiene products. Toilet systems should consider air, liquid, vacuum, and low-gravity transport methods. Collected waste should be prepared for recovery or long-term stabilization. Integrated hygiene systems should provide, acoustic and odor isolated private crew volumes compatible with multi-gravity interfaces.



        Crew Accommodation Systems: Reconfigurable, deployable, or inflatable integrated crew accommodations that provide visual and acoustical isolated crew volumes for sleeping, audiovisual communication/entertainment, personal stowage, quiet ventilation/thermal control, and radiation exposure reduction/safe-haven.



        Clothing Systems: Low mass reusable or long usage clothing options that meet flammability, out gassing, and crew comfort requirements. Used clothing cleaning/drying systems with low-water usage and non-toxic detergents/enzymes compatible with biological water reclamation systems or non-water cleaning methods.



        Stowage Systems: Interior/exterior stowage systems for partial gravity environments that maximize usable volume and include contents identification and inventory control systems. Long-term external stowage for biological or other wastes on a planetary surface that safe and consistent with planetary protection policies.



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      • 50937

        X12.07Advanced Life Support: Water and Waste Processing

        Lead Center: JSC

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

        Regenerative closed-loop life support systems will be essential to enable human planetary exploration as outlined in the Vision for Space Exploration. These future systems must provide additional mass balance closure to further reduce logistics requirements and to promote self-sufficiency. Recovery… Read more>>

        Regenerative closed-loop life support systems will be essential to enable human planetary exploration as outlined in the Vision for Space Exploration. These future systems must provide additional mass balance closure to further reduce logistics requirements and to promote self-sufficiency. Recovery of useful resources from liquid and solid wastes will be essential. Requirements include safe operability in micro- and partial-gravity, ambient and reduced-pressure environments, high reliability, regeneration and minimal use of expendables, ease of maintenance, and low-system volume, mass and power. Proposals should explicitly describe how the work is expected to improve power, volume, mass, logistics, crew time, safety and/or reliability, giving comparisons to existing state-of-the art technologies. Additional documentation and information can be found at http://advlifesupport.jsc.nasa.gov, including the expected composition of solid wastes and wastewater, which can be found within the "Baseline Values and Assumptions Document".



        Water Reclamation

        Efficient, direct treatment of wastewater and product water consisting of urine, brines, wash water, humidity condensate, and or product water derived from in situ planetary resources, to produce potable and hygiene water supplies. Technologies that contribute to closing the water loop will be given higher priority. Areas of emphasis include:


        • Novel methods of process design and integration to minimize trace contaminant carryover from the cabin atmosphere leading to reduced logistics needs;
        • Physicochemical methods for primary wastewater treatment to reduce total organic carbon from 1000 mg/L to less than 50 mg/L and/or 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 recovery of water from brine solutions;
        • Methods to eliminate or manage solids precipitation in wastewater lines;
        • Disinfection technologies for potable water storage and point-of-use. Residual disinfectants for potable water that is compatible with processing systems including biological treatment; and
        • Techniques to minimize or eliminate biofilm and microbial contamination from potable water and water treatment systems, including components such as pipes, tanks, flow meters, check valves, regulators, etc.



        Solid Waste Management

        Wastes (trash, food packaging, feces, biomass, paper, tape, filters, water brines, clothing, hygiene wipes, etc.) must be managed to protect crew health, safety, and quality of life, to avoid harmful contamination of planetary surfaces (Moon, Earth, and Mars), and to recover useful resources. Treatment methods can include both oxidative and non-oxidative approaches. Areas of emphasis include:


        • Volume reduction of wet and dry solid wastes;
        • Small and compact fecal collection and/or treatment systems;
        • 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 (to the crew, to Mars, to Earth) associated with waste;
        • Mineralization of wastes (especially fecal) to ash and simple gaseous compounds (e.g. CO2, CH4);
        • Containment of solid wastes onboard the spacecraft that incorporates odor abatement technology;
        • Containment devices or systems, with low volume and mass, that can maintain isolation of disposed waste on planetary surfaces (such as Mars); and
        • Microgravity-compatible technologies for the containment and jettison of solid wastes in space.



        Component Technologies

        Energy-efficient, low-mass, low-noise, low-vibration or vibration isolating, fail-safe, and reliable components for handling fluids, slurries, biomass, particulates, and solids applicable to spacecraft wastewater treatment and solid waste management, including particle size reduction technologies (0.2 cm to 100 microns), actuators, pumps, conveyors, tubing, ducts, bins, fittings, tanks, couplings, quick disconnects, and valves that operate under varied levels of gravity, pressure, and vacuum.





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    • + Expand Human Systems Integration Topic

      Topic X13 Human Systems Integration PDF


      Long-term presence in space in confined, isolated, and foreign environments may lead to impairments of human performance and behavioral health problems. Proposals are sought in the areas of space human factors engineering such as physical, cognitive, and team performance; behavioral health and performance including psychosocial, neurobehavioral adaptation as well as cognitive task performance, and sleep and Circadian rhythms. The topics include, but are not limited to: design and verification tools that provide predictions of human-system performance; tools that facilitate designing human-system interfaces or environments; tools useful in verifying human-system requirements; psychological factors relevant to crew selection and performance; pre-launch and in-flight crew training systems; self-sufficient operations in case of emergency and without external resources; technology that can assist the mission control operations: design of workflow in vehicle maintenance, preparation checkout, and launch control.

      • 50931

        X13.01Space Human Factors Engineering

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

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

        The long-term goal for this subtopic is to enable planning, designing, training, and carrying out human space missions of up to 5 years with crew independence, without re-supply 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 non-intrusively. 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. Embedded measures to detect significant changes in crew readiness to perform physical or cognitive tasks;
        • Predicting human performance: methods and models for predicting effects on physical performance of encumbrances of clothing, space suits, etc. Models for predicting effects of physical environment (e.g., lighting, noise, temperature, contaminants) on human performance. Models to simulate and optimize interactions between humans and equipment/vehicle. Capability to implement time-delay algorithm and functionality into simulation for higher fidelity and effectiveness. Models for predicting effects of cognitive changes on performance;
        • 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; and
        • 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, and 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.



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      • 52283

        X13.02Behavioral Health and Performance

        Lead Center: ARC

        Behavioral Health and Performance provides the necessary technology, techniques, capabilities, and knowledge that will support mission success, during human exploration flight and return to Earth. This will be accomplished by optimizing the behavioral health and performance of each astronaut and… Read more>>

        Behavioral Health and Performance provides the necessary technology, techniques, capabilities, and knowledge that will support mission success, during human exploration flight and return to Earth. This will be accomplished by optimizing the behavioral health and performance of each astronaut and crewmember, and by mitigating psychosocial, neurobehavioral, sensorimotor, cognitive, and sleep chronobiology risks. Behavioral health and performance research contributes to medical standards, guidelines, and requirements and produces design tools and diagnostic measures for the Chief Health and Medical Officer, flight surgeons, and astronauts. The technical areas supported by this program include performance readiness, effective and efficient teamwork for pre-, in-, and post-flight expedition missions, and psychological selection validated criteria, tools, and procedures. Prolonged missions and the associated adaptation and de-conditioning due to microgravity, as well as significant time delays between Earth and the space environment increase the likelihood of serious crew conflict as well as behavioral health and performance decrements. Proposals are solicited that seek to develop core knowledge, predictive models, and enabling technologies that address these specific needs:


        • Non-intrusively monitoring and maintaining human performance. Specifically, minimally invasive and unobtrusive devices and techniques to monitor the behavior and performance (physical, cognitive, perceptual, sensorimotor, etc.) of individuals and teams during long-duration space flights or analog missions. Embedded measures to detect significant changes in crew readiness to perform physical or cognitive tasks; and
        • Monitoring and maintaining non-intrusively behavioral health. For example, self assessment tools for determining levels of stress, fatigue, conflict, and anxiety of an individual crewmember and training techniques for coping and on-board support tools for behavioral health.



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      • 50941

        X13.03Systems Engineering and Requirements

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, KSC

        The goal of effective Human Systems Integration 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 systems. These various technology areas must… Read more>>

        The goal of effective Human Systems Integration 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 systems. These various technology areas must eventually be integrated into a system-of-systems. Particular emphasis is placed on the following:



        System Engineering Tools

        Technologies, tools, and methodologies are needed that assure development activity is congruent with Exploration Mission capability requirements. Decision support tools are needed to help in the visualization of portfolio balance and clear representation of complex systems as well as a capture method for the interactions/interdependencies/ interfaces between system elements.



        System Simulation Tools

        The ability to analyze, synthesize, and develop integrated function-based and simulation-based system architectures in support of Human Systems. Key to this requirement is either the further extension/enhancement of current available SE tools or acquisition/development of tools that will allow for system level concept development and concept simulation.



        System Integration Tools

        The ability to enable human system integration for exploration missions is strongly affected by the structure and architecture of the systems used to sustain and protect the crew. There is a need for the development and evaluation of control architectures and strategies for determining relative benefit, risk, and costs of the utilization of candidate system architectures. Tools for capturing state knowledge of the entire portfolio by project, including dependencies, maturity, and relationships to requirements are also needed.



        Capability-based requirements methods require tools and methodologies that enable capture of current practice for information integration between ground-based systems, on-board systems, and crew systems; goal analysis; surveys of existing and proposed technologies; mapping of technology to tasks; prototyping; integrated testing and evaluation criteria; and development of experienced personnel.



        Integration Test Bed Tools and Applications

        Integrated ground tests for human exploration missions will provide a test bed for development of hardware, requirements, hardware acquisition strategies, novel system concepts, and management. Tools are needed that provide techniques for real-time analysis; techniques for planning, scheduling, and conducting complex integrated mission simulations; tools to develop system-level mathematical models of missions; and systems engineering and analysis tools for mission architecture studies.



        Human-System Integration for Manufacturing and Launch Site Operations

        Human-System Integration of Manufacturing and Launch Site Operations addresses the following functional areas: Manufacturing, Spacecraft Processing, Launch Control, Landing and Recovery, Repair and Refurbishment, and Enabling Operations. Specific areas of interest include intelligent work instruction systems; maintainer/launch controller situational awareness; human/robotic maintainer on-board capability; reduced size ground crew training modules; and predictive labor requirement models.

        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during the Phase 1 contract and show a path toward a Phase 2 hardware and software demonstration. The contractor will, when possible, deliver a demonstration unit of the monitoring instrumentation for NASA testing before the completion of the Phase 2 contract.





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    • + Expand Space-Based Industry Enabling Technologies Topic

      Topic X14 Space-Based Industry Enabling Technologies PDF

      The goal of this topic is to enable the optimization of investments made in technologies for the development of systems to support and maintain space-based industries and for benefiting NASA’s exploration mission infrastruc-tures. As stated in the Report of the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, "This new space industry will reduce the cycle time for critical technology innovation. It will immeasurably augment NASA’s ability to explore the universe.” It is anticipated that, in order to go to the Moon and beyond, a sizable in-space commercial infrastructure will be required. NASA will need this commercially driven infrastructure to build upon in order to further exploration that is affordable and sustainable. This topic seeks breakthrough technologies, concepts, and methods that reduce the cost and risks of the expansion of space-based industries. Innovative approaches are needed that identify what the space-based industries might be doing and their needed infrastructures as well as the technologies required to achieve the infrastructures.

      • 52197

        X14.01Space-Based Industries

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Innovative techno-economic research proposals are sought for space-based industries ideas that identify their purpose, basic required infrastructures, and how they might complement NASA's exploration missions. The Phase 1 work must sufficiently develop one or more industry ideas to show they are… Read more>>

        Innovative techno-economic research proposals are sought for space-based industries ideas that identify their purpose, basic required infrastructures, and how they might complement NASA's exploration missions. The Phase 1 work must sufficiently develop one or more industry ideas to show they are sufficiently feasible, both technically and economically, for Phase 2 demonstrations of their viability. The demonstrations may use physical and mathematical modeling and other research techniques. Each industry idea may have infrastructures that include a wide variety of needed innovations that will be common to NASA's exploration goals as well as to space industries that have a wide variety of purposes like tourism, servicing and maintenance of satellites, food production, energy production, fuels and propellants production, entertainment, in-space fabrication, workshops, hotels and habitats, life support systems, vehicles, freight and warehousing, roads, and spaceports. The research should include economic business models, cost feasibility examination, and analyses that can show how innovations that are common to the multiple goals can save money for NASA as well as space industries. The technical innovations may include, but are not limited to: materials, fabrication processes, power and power distribution, communications, waste management, robotic support, and more. It is expected that the technical innovative ideas will go further than the specific exploration topics and subtopics requests made elsewhere in this 2005 solicitation due to the broader scope of applications.



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      • 50945

        X14.02Multi-Use Microgravity and Software

        Lead Center: JSC

        The purpose of this subtopic is to develop technologies, methodologies, and tools that can support the integrated development of the software system-of-systems necessary for exploration missions. Human space flight challenges many areas of software technology, including distributed data management… Read more>>

        The purpose of this subtopic is to develop technologies, methodologies, and tools that can support the integrated development of the software system-of-systems necessary for exploration missions. Human space flight challenges many areas of software technology, including distributed data management and control, sensor interpretation, planning and scheduling, modeling and simulation, and validation and verification of autonomous systems. This subtopic focuses on the development portion of the mission life cycle and the dependence of the eventual mission solutions on the processes and methods used to define and build vehicles and support operations. The need for such technologies, methodologies, and tools is evidenced by the low success rate of commercial and government systems, where failure occurs at delivery rather than during operation. Management of the development of such large systems is essential to integration.



        Software Architecture and Systems Integration

        The challenges of human system integration for exploration missions is strongly affected by the structure and architecture of the software systems required to provide control and status pathways to ground support systems and personnel; to support mission planning and operation; to provide crew interfaces for status, control, and operation of the vehicle systems, science, and operations, including communications, planning, task management, interpersonal activity, system configuration management, inventory, food, workflow, resource management, experiments, and vehicle operation and maintenance. Onboard software must integrate, and be interoperable with the ground support systems for planning, logistics, operations, science, medical, and engineering, as well as with subsequent exploration spirals. This requires the development of structures and methods for determining relative benefits, risks, and costs of the utilization of various engineering approaches. Project management tools are needed that can conduct and manage Exploration Mission capability and technology gap analysis; provide technology-to-capability mapping; map technology gaps to research initiatives; and provide decision support.



        Systems Engineering Support to Human Systems

        There is a need for new tools to support the development of non-avionic 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. Particular emphasis is placed on design methods that address the interdependencies between systems. Adapting the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) approach to systems engineering requires development of tools and methodologies that enable: surveys of current information integration practices between ground-based systems, on-board systems and crew systems; goal analysis (software task analysis); surveys of existing and proposed technologies; mapping of technology to tasks; prototyping to drive out design constraints and detailed requirements; development of testing and evaluation criteria for advanced or untried architectures and technologies and maturation of those technologies into an integrated system of systems; tracking lessons learned, methods, and processes; and development of an experienced personnel base.



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





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