NASA SBIR/STTR 2011 Program Solicitation Details | SBIR Research Topics

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    • + Expand Space Communications Topic

      Topic O1 Space Communications PDF


      NASA's communications capability is based on the premise that communications shall enable and not constrain missions. Communications must be robust to support the numerous missions for space science, Earth science and exploration of the universe. Technologies such as optical communications, RF including antennas and ground based Earth stations, surface networks, cognitive networks, access links, reprogrammable communications systems, advanced antenna technology, transmit array concepts, and communications in support of launch services including space based assets are very important to the future of exploration and science activities of the Agency. Emphasis is placed on size, weight and power improvements, and even greater emphasis is placed on these attributes as small satellites (e.g., micro and nano satellite) technology matures. Communication technologies enabling acquisition of range safety data from sensitive instruments is imperative. Innovative solutions centered on operational issues are needed in all of the aforementioned areas. All technologies developed under this topic area to be aligned with the Architecture Definition Document and technical direction as established by the NASA Office of Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN). For more details, see: (https:/www.spacecomm.nasa.gov/spacecomm/, https://www.spacecomm.nasa.gov/spacecomm/programs/default.cfm, https://www.spacecomm.nasa.gov/spacecomm/programs/technology/default.cfm,
      https://www.spacecomm.nasa.gov/spacecomm/programs/technology/sbir/default.cfm). A typical approach for flight hardware would include: Phase I - Research to identify and evaluate candidate telecommunications technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a hardware/software demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable. Phase II - Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated flight conditions. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into space-worthy systems. The contract should deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. Some of the subtopics in this topic could result in products that may be included in a future flight opportunity or on-orbit testing. Please see the following for more details:

      • 52136

        O1.01Antenna Technology

        Lead Center: GRC

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

        NASA seeks advanced antenna systems and technologies to enable communications for future space operations, space science, Earth science and solar system exploration missions. These areas, in priority order, are: Novel Materials for Next Generation Antennas NASA is interested in exploiting novel… Read more>>

        NASA seeks advanced antenna systems and technologies to enable communications for future space operations, space science, Earth science and solar system exploration missions. These areas, in priority order, are:

        Novel Materials for Next Generation Antennas

        NASA is interested in exploiting novel materials approaches for next generation antennas. For example, "smart" materials such as shape memory polymers or ionic polymer metal composites to permit active shape control or beam correction are of interest. Artificial electromagnetic media for phase velocity control and impedance tuning to improve the efficiency and bandwidth of electrically small antennas is of interest. Emerging novel technologies such as ferroelectrics, multiferroics and spintronics concepts leading to new antenna designs are desirable.



        Smart, Reconfigurable Antennas

        Smart antennas, reconfigurable in frequency, polarization and radiation pattern, are of interest for space and planetary exploration missions. In particular, antenna designs and proof-of-concepts leading to the reduction of the number of antennas needed to meet the communication requirements associated with rovers, pressurized surface vehicles, habitats, etc., are highly desired. In addition to the aforementioned reconfigurability requirements, specific antenna features include multi-beam operation to support connectivity to different communication nodes on planetary surfaces, or in support of communication links for satellite relays around planetary orbits. Innovative receiver front-ends or technologies that allow for the DSP to move closer to the antenna terminal furthering the impact of the aforementioned, revolutionary "game-changing" antenna technology concepts are highly desirable.



        Ground-based Uplink Antenna Array Designs

        NASA is considering arrays of ground-based antennas to increase capacity and system flexibility, to reduce reliance on large antennas and high operating costs, and eliminate single point of failure of large antennas. A large number of smaller antennas arrayed together results in a scalable, evolvable system, which enables a flexible schedule and support for more simultaneous missions. 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. Arraying concepts that can enable technology standardization across each NASA network (i.e., DSN, NEN, and SN), within the framework of the newly envisioned NASA integrated network architecture, at Ka-band frequencies and above, are highly desired.



        Phased Array Antennas

        High performance phased array antennas, i.e., with efficiencies at least 3X that of state-of-practice MMIC-based phased arrays, are needed for high-data rate communication at Ka-Band frequencies and above as well as for remote sensing applications. Communications applications include: planetary exploration, landers, probes, rovers, extravehicular activities (EVA), suborbital vehicles, sounding rockets, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's), TDRSS communication, and expendable launch vehicles (ELV's). Also of interest are multi-band phased array antennas (e.g., X- and Ka-band) and RF/optical shared aperture dual use antennas, which can dynamically reconfigure active elements in order to operate in either band as required to maximize flexibility, efficiency and minimize the mass of hardware delivered to space. Phased array antennas for space-based range applications to accommodate dynamic maneuvers are also of interest. The arrays are required to be aerodynamic or conformal in shape for sounding rockets, UAV's, and expendable platforms and must be able to withstand the launch environment. Potential remote sensing applications include: radiometers, passive radar interferometer platforms, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) platforms for planetary science.



        Large Aperture Deployable Antennas

        Large aperture deployable antennas with surface root-mean-square (rms) quality better than λ/40 at Ka-Band frequencies and above, are desired. In addition, these antennas should significantly reduce stowage volume (packaging efficiencies as high as 50:1), provide high deployment reliability, and significantly reduced mass density (i.e., 2). These large Gossamer-like antennas are required to provide high-capacity communication links with low fabrication costs from deep space (Mars and beyond). Concepts addressing antenna adaptive beam correction with pointing control are also of interest.



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



        Phase I Deliverables: Research to identify and evaluate candidate telecommunications technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a hardware/software demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable.



        Phase II Deliverables: Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated flight conditions. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into space-worthy systems. The contract should deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.

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      • 52135

        O1.02Reconfigurable/Reprogrammable Communication Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

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

        NASA seeks novel approaches in reconfigurable, reprogrammable communication systems to enable the vision of space, exploration, science, and aeronautical flight systems. Advancements are required in communication systems to manage the demands of the harsh space environment on space electronics,… Read more>>

        NASA seeks novel approaches in reconfigurable, reprogrammable communication systems to enable the vision of space, exploration, science, and aeronautical flight systems. Advancements are required 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 ranging from 1's to 10's Mbps at UHF & S frequency bands while X & Ka frequency bands require 10's to 1000's of Mbps. Available mission resources also vary greatly 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, which can be used to maximize transceiver efficiency while minimizing resources consumed. Larger platforms such as vehicles or relay spacecraft may provide more resources but may also be expected to perform more complex functions or support multiple and simultaneous communication links to a diverse set of assets.



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


        • Software/firmware for the management of waveform and/or functional reconfiguration during simultaneous radio operation while adhering to the Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS) is desired.
        • Methods and tools for the development of software/firmware components that are portable across multiple platforms. Standards-based approaches are preferred.
        • Dynamic/distributed on-board processing architectures that are scalable and designed to operate in space environments.
        • Component technology advancements in bandwidth capacity and reduced resource consumption.
        • Analog-to-digital converters or digital-to-analog converters to increase sampling and resolution capabilities.
        • Novel techniques or processes to increase memory densities.
        • Novel approaches to mitigate device susceptibility to radiation effects.



        STRS Architecture documentation is available at the following link:



        (http://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/SpaceOps/CoNNeCT/).



        The above URL also provides an overview of the Communications, Navigation, and Networking reConfigurable Testbed (CoNNeCT) flight program. The reconfigurable radios developed for this system represent the state-of-the-art in technology for space flight communication systems and may be used as a reference for the focus areas above. See also subtopic O1.06 - CoNNeCT Experiments for additional information.



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



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



        Phase I Deliverables: Research to identify and evaluate candidate telecommunications technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a hardware/software demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable.



        Phase II Deliverables: Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated flight conditions. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into space-worthy systems. The contract should deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.



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      • 51513

        O1.03Game Changing Technologies

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JSC

        NASA seeks revolutionary, highly innovative, game changing communications technologies that have the potential to enable order of magnitude performance improvements for space operations, exploration systems, and/or science mission applications. Research is geared towards far-term research focused in… Read more>>

        NASA seeks revolutionary, highly innovative, game changing communications technologies that have the potential to enable order of magnitude performance improvements for space operations, exploration systems, and/or science mission applications. Research is geared towards far-term research focused in (but not limited to) the following areas:


        • Develop novel techniques for size, weight, and power (SWAP) of communications sys-tems by addressing digital processing and logic implementation tradeoffs, dynamic power management, hardware and software partitioning. Address high-speed, high resolution, low power consumption, and radiation tolerance (e.g., SiGe) to support near Earth and deep space mission environments. Investigate and demonstrate novel technologies to alleviate the demanding requirements (3- to- 5X improvement in sampling rate/resolution over state-of-the-art) on analog to digital converters (ADCs) and digital signal processors (DSPs).
        • Develop technologies to evolve NASA communication networking and radio capabilities to autonomously sense and adapt to their environment, detect and repair problems and learn as they operate. Nodes will be dynamically aware of state and configuration of other nodes and adapt accordingly. Communications and navigation subsystems on future missions will interpret their situation on their own, understand their options, and select the best means to communicate or navigate.
        • High-performance, multifunctional, nano-structured materials are of interest for applications in human spaceflight and exploration. These materials (notably single wall carbon nanotubes) exhibit extraordinary mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties at the nanoscale and possess exceptionally high surface area. The development of nano-scale communication devices and systems including nano-antennas, nano-transceivers, etc. are of interest for nano-spacecraft applications.
        • Quantum entanglement, quantum key distribution or innovative breakthroughs in quantum information physics. Address proposed revolutionary improvements in communicating data, information or knowledge. Methods or techniques that demonstrate extremely novel means of effectively packaging, storing, encrypting, and/or transferring information are sought. Significant development is needed in high flux single photon sources and entangled pair sources for highly efficient, free space communications.
        • Small spacecraft, due to their limited surface area, are typically power constrained, limiting small spacecraft communications systems to low-bandwidth architectures. Technologies and architectures, which can exploit commercial or other terrestrial communication infrastructures to enable novel smallsat missions to enable a wider variety of space missions are desired. Address how existing communications architectures can be adapted and utilized to provide routine, low cost, high bandwidth communications capabilities for spacecraft to ground, and spacecraft to spacecraft applications.
        • Ultra wide-band (UWB) technology is sought to support robotic localization of surface assets. Whether two-way ranging (time -of-flight) or time-difference of arrival, the ability to synchronize the receivers determine the localization accuracy. Efficient Media Access Control (MAC) and networking protocols are paramount to ensure power efficiency and scalability. Integrating communications and positioning in an ad hoc network can indeed enable situational awareness, keeping track of location and relative position to other astronauts, robots, and vehicles at any time through visual and/or audio cues. Because initial synchronization or signal acquisition for Impulse Radio Ultra-Wide Band (IR-UWB) using equivalent-time sampling takes a long time especially for low pulse repetition rate systems, precise timing and coherent reception demand more power consumption and complexity than non-coherent IR-UWB. To maintain clock stability, most IR-UWB systems do not power down the receivers during operation. Narrower pulse width spreads the RF energy over a wider bandwidth but generation of precise low jitter (
        • Develop methods for use of neutrinos for communications, timing, and ranging. Neutrinos are small, near light speed particles with no electric charge. Since neutrinos travel through most matter, they could be used for extreme long-distance signaling. Detection of neutrinos currently require massive underground liquid detectors. Highly innovative concepts, methods, techniques to enable neutrino based communication, ranging, timing, are sought.



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



        Phase I Deliverables: Deliverables expected at the end of Phase I include trade studies, conceptual designs, simulations, analyses, reports, etc. at TRL 1-2.



        Phase II Deliverables: Demonstrate performance of technique or product through simulations and models, hardware or software prototypes. It is expected that at the end of the Phase II award period, the resulting deliverables/products will be at or above TRL 3.



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      • 51542

        O1.04Long 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: Systems and technologies relating to acquisition, tracking and sub-micro-radian pointing of the optical communications beam… Read more>>

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



        Systems and technologies relating to acquisition, tracking and sub-micro-radian pointing of the optical communications beam under typical deep-space ranges (to 40 AU) and spacecraft micro-vibration environments. Within these domains of interest, desired proposal focus areas to develop and/or demonstrate technologies are as follows:



        Isolation Platforms

        Compact, lightweight, space qualifiable vibration isolation platforms for payloads massing between 3 and 50 kg that require less than 15 W of power and mass less than 3 kg that will attenuate an integrated angular disturbance of 150 micro-radians from 0.01 Hz to 500 Hz to less than 0.5 micro-radians 1-sigma.



        Laser Transmitters

        Space-qualifiable, greater than 20% DC to optical efficiency, 0.2 to 16 nanosecond pulse-width 1550-nm laser transmitter for pulse-position modulated data with from 16 to 320 slots per symbol, less than 35 picosecond pulse rise and fall times, near transform limited spectral width, single polarization output with at least 20 dB polarization extinction ratio, amplitude extinction ratio greater than 38 dB, average power of 5 to 20 Watt, massing less than 500 grams per Watt. Also of interest for the laser transmitter are: robust and compact packaging with radiation tolerant electronics inherent in the design, and high speed electrical interface to support output of pulse position modulation encoding of sub nanosecond pulses and inputs such as Spacewire, Firewire or Gigabit Ethernet. Detailed description of approaches to achieve the stated efficiency is a must.



        Photon Counting Near-Infrared Detectors Arrays for Ground Receivers

        Hexagonal close packed kilo-pixel arrays sensitive to 1000 to 1650 nm wavelength range with single photon detection efficiencies greater than 60% and single photon detection jitters less than 40 picoseconds 1-sigma, active diameter greater than 15 microns/pixel, and 1 dB saturation rates of at least 10 mega-photons (detected) per pixel and dark count rates of less than 1 MHz/square-mm.



        Photon Counting Near-Infrared Detectors Arrays for Flight Receivers

        For the 1000 to 1600 nm wavelength range with single photon detection efficiencies greater than 40% and 1dB saturation rates of at least 1 mega-photons/pixel and operational temperatures above 220K and dark count rates of


        Ground-Based Telescope Assembly

        Telescope/photon-buckets with primary mirror diameter ~2.5-m, f-number of ~1.1 and Cassegrain focus to be used as optical communication receiver/transmitter optics at 1000-1600nm. Maximum image spot size of ~20 micro-radian, and field-of-view of a~50 micro-radian. Telescope shall be positioned with a two-axis gimbal capable of 0.25 milli-radian pointing. Desired manufacturing cost for combined telescope, gimbal and dome in quantity (tens) of approximately $2 M each.



        Research should be conducted to convincingly prove technical feasibility during Phase I, ideally through hardware development, with clear pathways to demonstrating and delivering functional hardware, meeting all objectives, in Phase II.



        Phase I Deliverables:


        • Feasibility study, including simulations and measurements, proving the proposed approach to develop a given product (TRL 3-4).
        • Verification matrix of measurements to be performed at the end of Phase II, along with specific quantitative pass-fail ranges for each quantity listed.



        Phase II Deliverables:


        • Working model of proposed product, along with full report of development and measurements, including populated verification matrix from phase II (TRL 5).
        • Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization.

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      • 51543

        O1.05Long Range Space RF Telecommunications

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC

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

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



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

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



        The current state-of-the-art in long-range RF space telecommunications is 6 Mbps from Mars using microwave communications systems (X-Band and Ka-Band) with output power levels in the low tens of Watts and DC-to-RF efficiencies in the range of 10-25%.



        Technologies of interest

        This subtopic seeks innovative technologies in the following areas:


        • Ultra-small, light-weight, low-cost, low-power, modular deep-space transceivers, transponders and components, incorporating MMICs, MEMs and Bi-CMOS circuits.
        • MMIC modulators with drivers to provide a wide range of linear phase modulation (greater than 2.5 rad), high-data rate (10 - 200 Mbps) BPSK/QPSK modulation at X-band (8.4 GHz), and Ka-band (26 GHz, 32 GHz and 38 GHz).
        • High DC-to-RF-efficiency (> 60%), low mass Solid-State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs), of both medium output power (10 W-50 W) and high-output power (150 W-1 KW), using power combining and/or wide band-gap semiconductors at X-band (8.4 GHz) and Ka-band (26 GHz, 32 GHz and 38 GHz).
        • Utilization of nano-materials and/or other novel materials and techniques for improving the power efficiency or reducing the mass and cost of reliable vacuum electronics amplifier components (e.g., TWTAs and Klystrons).
        • Ultra low-noise amplifiers (MMICs or hybrid, uncooled) for RF front-ends (
        • MEMS-based integrated RF subsystems that reduce the size and mass of space transceivers and transponders. Frequencies of interest include UHF, X- and Ka-Band. Of particular interest is Ka-band from 25.5 - 27 GHz and 31.5 - 34 GHz.



        For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path towards Phase II hardware/software demonstration with delivery a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.



        Phase I Deliverables: Feasibility study, including simulations and measurements, proving the proposed approach to develop a given product (TRL 3-4). Verification matrix of measurements to be performed at the end of Phase II, along with specific quantitative pass-fail ranges for each quantity listed.



        Phase II Deliverables: Working engineering model of proposed product, along with full report of development and measurements, including populated verification matrix from Phase I (TRL 5-6). Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization.



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      • 51514

        O1.06CoNNeCT Experiments

        Lead Center: GRC

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

        NASA has developed an on-orbit, reprogrammable, software defined radio-based (SDR) testbed facility aboard the International Space Station (ISS), to conduct a suite of experiments to advance technologies, reduce risk, and enable future mission capabilities. The Communications, Navigation, and… Read more>>

        NASA has developed an on-orbit, reprogrammable, software defined radio-based (SDR) testbed facility aboard the International Space Station (ISS), to conduct a suite of experiments to advance technologies, reduce risk, and enable future mission capabilities. The Communications, Navigation, and Networking reConfigurable Testbed (CoNNeCT) provides SBIR recipients and through other mechanisms NASA, large business, other Government agencies, and academic partners the opportunity to develop and field communications, navigation, and networking technologies in the laboratory and space environment based on reconfigurable, software defined radio platforms. Each SDR is compliant with the Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS) Architecture, NASA's common architecture for SDRs. The Testbed is installed on the truss of ISS and communicates with both NASA's Space Network via Tracking Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) at S-band and Ka-band and direct to/from ground systems at S-band. One SDR is capable of receiving L-band at the GPS frequencies of L1, L2, and L5.



        NASA seeks innovative software experiments to run aboard CoNNeCT to demonstrate and enable future mission capability using the reconfigurable features of the software defined radios. Experiment software/firmware can run in the flight SDRs, the flight avionics computer, and on a corresponding ground SDR at the Space Network, White Sands Complex. Unique experimenter ground hardware equipment may also be used.



        Experimenters will be provided with appropriate documentation (e.g., flight SDR, avionics, ground SDR) to aid their experiment application development, and may be provided access to the ground-based and flight SDRs to prepare and conduct their experiment. Access to the ground and flight system will be provided on a best effort basis and will be based on their relative priority with other approved experiments. Please note that selection for award does not guarantee flight opportunities on the ISS.



        Desired capabilities include, but are not limited to, the examples below:


        • Demonstration of mission applicability of SDR.
        • Aspects of reconfiguration.

          • Unique/efficient use of processor, FPGA, DSP resources.
          • Inter-process communications.

        • Spectrum efficient technologies.
        • Space internetworking.

          • Disruption Tolerant Networking.

        • Position, navigation and timing (PNT) technology.
        • Technologies/waveforms for formation flying.
        • High data rate communications.
        • Uplink antenna arraying technologies.
        • Multi-access communication.
        • RF sensing applications (science emulation).
        • Cognitive applications.



        Experimenters using ground or flight systems will be required to meet certain pre-conditions for flight including:


        • Provide software/firmware deliverables suitable for flight (i.e., NASA Class C flight software).
        • Document development and build environment and tools for waveform/applications.
        • Provide appropriate documentation (e.g., experimenter requirements, waveform/software user's guide, ICD's) throughout the development and code deliverable process.
        • Software/firmware deliverables compliant to the Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS) Architecture, Release 1.02.1.
        • Verification of performance on ground based system prior to operation on the flight system.



        Methods and tools for the development of software/firmware components that is portable across multiple platforms and standards-based approaches are preferred.



        Documentation for both the CoNNeCT system and STRS Architecture may be found at the following link:



        (http://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/SpaceOps/CoNNeCT/).



        These documents will provide an overview of the CoNNeCT flight and ground systems, ground development and test facilities, and experiment flow. Documentation providing additional detail on the flight SDRs, hardware suite, development tools, and interfaces will be made available to successful SBIR award recipients. Note that certain documentation available to SBIR award recipients is restricted by export controls and available to U.S. citizens only.



        For all above technologies, Phase I will provide experimenters time to develop and advance waveform/application architectures and designs along with detailed experiment plans. The subtopic will seek to leverage more mature waveform developments to reduce development risk in subsequent phases. The experiment plan will show a path toward Phase II software/firmware completion, ground verification process, and delivering a software/firmware and documentation package for NASA space demonstration aboard the flight SDR. Phase II will allow experimenters to complete the waveform development and demonstrate technical feasibility and basic operation of key algorithms on CoNNeCT ground-based SDR platforms and conduct their flight system experiment. Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization.



        Phase I Deliverables:


        • Experiment Reference Design Mission Document.
        • Waveform/application architecture and detailed design document, including plan/approach for STRS compliance.
        • Experiment Plan.
        • Demonstrate simulation or model of key waveform/application functions.
        • Feasibility study, including simulations and measurements, proving the proposed approach to develop a given product (TRL 3-4).



        Phase II Deliverables:


        • Experiment Requirements Document.
        • Simulation or model of waveform application.
        • Demonstration of waveform/application in the laboratory on CoNNeCT breadboards or engineering models.
        • Software/firmware application source and binary code and documentation. Source/binary code will be run on engineering models and/or demonstrated on-orbit in flight system (at TRL-5-7) SDRs.



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    • + Expand Space Transportation Topic

      Topic O2 Space Transportation PDF


      Achieving space flight remains a challenging enterprise. It is an undertaking of great complexity, requiring numerous technological and engineering disciplines and a high level of organizational skill. Overcoming Earth's gravity to achieve orbit demands collections of quality data to maintain the security required of the range. The harsh environment of space puts tight constraints on the equipment needed to perform the necessary functions. Not only is there a concern for safety but the 2004 Space Transportation Policy directive states that the U.S. should maintain robust transportation capabilities to assure access to space. This crosscutting SBIR Topic seeks to enable commercial solutions for U.S. space transportation systems providing significant reductions in cost, and increases in reliability, flight-rate, and frequency of access to space. The goal is a breakthrough in cost and reliability for a wide range of payload sizes and types (including passenger transportation) supporting future orbital flight that can be demonstrated on interim suborbital vehicles. The vision is a competitive marketplace with multiple commercial providers of highly-reusable space transportation systems and services with aircraft-like operations, high-flight rates, and short turnaround times (days-to-hours, rather than months). Lower cost and reliable space access will provide significant benefits to civil space (human and robotic exploration beyond Earth as well as Earth science), to commercial industry, to educational institutions, for support to the International Space Station National Laboratory, and to national security. While other strategies can support frequent, low-cost and reliable space access, this topic focuses on the technologies that dramatically alter reusability, reliability and operability of next generation space access systems.

      • 51558

        O2.01Nano/Small Sat Launch Vehicle Technology

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        The space transportation industry is in need of low-cost, reliable, on-demand, routine space access. Both government and private entities are pursuing various small launch systems and architectures aimed at addressing this market need. Significant technical risk and cost exists in new system… Read more>>

        The space transportation industry is in need of low-cost, reliable, on-demand, routine space access. Both government and private entities are pursuing various small launch systems and architectures aimed at addressing this market need. Significant technical risk and cost exists in new system development and operations - reducing incentive for private capital investment in this still-nascent industry. Public and private sector goals are aligned in reducing these risks and enabling the development of small launch systems capable of reliably delivering payloads to low Earth orbit. The Nano/Micro Launch Vehicle (NMLV) will provide the nation with a new, small payload access to space capability. The primary objective is to develop a capability to place nano and micro satellites weighing up to approximately 20 kilograms into a reference orbit defined as circular, 450 kilometer altitude, from various inclinations ranging from 0 to 98 degrees.



        This SBIR subtopic seeks commercial solution in the areas of nano and micro spacecraft launch vehicle technologies.



        This subtopic will particularly focus on higher risk entrepreneurial projects for dedicated nano and micro spacecraft launch vehicles. This subtopic seeks proposals including, but not limited to, the following areas:


        • Sub-orbital booster conceptual designs of system/architectures capable of reducing the mission costs associated with the launching of small payloads to LEO.
        • Sub-orbital booster technologies traceable to an orbital capable Nano/Micro Launch Vehicle (NMLV)*, whereby specific technologies are identified for Phase II development and test.



        For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path towards Phase II hardware/software demonstration with delivery of a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.



        Phase I Deliverables: Feasibility study, including simulations and measurements, proving the proposed approach to develop a given product.



        Also required are for all technologies are performance predictions, cost objectives, and development and demonstration plans for the Nano/Micro Launch Vehicle (NMLV). Formulate and deliver a verification matrix of measurements to be performed in Phase II, along with specific quantitative pass-fail ranges for each quantity listed.

        The report shall also provide options for commercialization opportunities after Phase II.



        Phase II Deliverables: Working engineering model of proposed Phase I components or technologies, along with full report on development and measurements, including populated verification matrix from Phase I. The prototype hardware shall emphasize launch cost reduction technologies, and possess sufficient design information to fabricate, integrate, and operate the selected high-risk component(s) for demonstration. Refinement of the sub-orbital booster design is required as knowledge is gained through the critical component development process. Exit TRL 5-6 is expected at the end of Phase II



        *The NMLV would be a smaller vehicle than the Pegasus launch vehicle which is considered a Small Launch Vehicle (SLV).



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      • 52139

        O2.02Propulsion Technologies

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, MSFC

        Current launch to orbit vehicles, both expendable and reusable, require months of preparation for flight. Although there are available (in-production) practical propulsion options for such a vehicle, the costs for outfitting the booster stage are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. If reusable,… Read more>>

        Current launch to orbit vehicles, both expendable and reusable, require months of preparation for flight. Although there are available (in-production) practical propulsion options for such a vehicle, the costs for outfitting the booster stage are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. If reusable, additional months are required to verify all components and systems before re-flight. These costs severely limit what missions NASA can perform. The propulsion systems are a major focus during this time, yet aircraft engines are checked and certified for re-flight in less than an hour. While rocket engines actually have many similarities to aircraft engines, there are several factors that drive the complexity and therefore the cost of rocket engines. These include toxic propellants that require special protections for personnel and the environment, cryogenic propellants that require complex tank fill operations and costly specialized ground support equipment, high combustion chamber temperatures for increased performance and thrust, and high combustion chamber pressures for increased performance and reduced engine size and weight.



        To move more toward low cost access to space, the above barriers to low-cost propulsion systems must be addressed and overcome. Of primary focus are non-toxic propellant combinations that provide adequate performance without requiring excessive specialized handling equipment and procedures, and engines that provide reliable and adequate performance without needing to push the far limits of temperature and pressure environments. Component technologies that move toward these top-level goals that are of interest include:


        • Ablative materials and manufacturing techniques that increase capability while reducing production time and cost.
        • Innovative chamber cooling concepts that reduce manufacturing complexity, reduce pressure drop, and minimize performance losses caused by cooling.
        • Development of non-toxic propellants and technologies that enable their use such as catalysts, compatible materials, feed/storage systems, etc.
        • Low-cost nozzle materials, manufacturing techniques, and coatings to reduce the amount of active cooling required.
        • Ignition concepts that require low part count and/or low energy to be used as either primary or redundant ignition sources.
        • Manufacturing techniques that lower the cost of manufacturing complex components such as injectors and coolant channels. Examples include, but are not limited to, development and demonstration of rapid prototype techniques for metallic parts, power metallurgy techniques for the manufacture of geometrically complex parts, and application of nanotechnology for near net shape manufacturing.
        • Sensors, instruments, and algorithms to diagnose the health of the engine valves, injector, igniter, chamber, coolant channels, etc. without requiring hours of manual inspections.



        Specified target metrics include:


        • A cost target of
        • Reduced ground support equipment.
        • Increased performance margin (e.g., operating temperature % of material limit, operating stress % of component limit, etc.).



        These are critical technology improvements that are required in the next 3 - 8 years. Projects are required to demonstrate the component or technology to a TRL level of 5 - 6 in order to allow for infusion into low-cost earth-to-orbit propulsion systems. The NASA Office of Chief Technologist has developed Technology Roadmaps that identify technology gaps and needs to enable certain future missions. This subtopic calls for technologies that are discussed in more detail in the Technology Area 1 (Launch Propulsion Systems) and Technology Area 13 (Ground & Launch Systems Processing) roadmaps. These are available for viewing at (http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/home/roadmaps/index.html). Proposals should reference specific elements from these and other relevant roadmaps and explain how the proposed technology will address identified technology gaps and needs.



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



        Phase I Deliverables: Lab-scale component or technology demonstrations and reports of target metric performance.



        Phase II Deliverables: Subscale component or technology demonstrations and reports of target metric performance. Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization.



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      • 51559

        O2.0321st Century Spaceport Ground Systems Technologies

        Lead Center: KSC

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

        This subtopic seeks innovative solutions that will allow spaceport launch service providers to operate in an efficient, low cost manner and increases capabilities associated with integration, checkout, and preparations required to configure and ready space systems for launch. The goal is a set of… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks innovative solutions that will allow spaceport launch service providers to operate in an efficient, low cost manner and increases capabilities associated with integration, checkout, and preparations required to configure and ready space systems for launch. The goal is a set of technologies, processes, and strategic concepts that can be collectively used to facilitate launch vehicle processing by reducing complexity, turn-around times, and mission risk while implementing novel concepts for the processing of launch vehicles.



        The long-term vision is to have "airport-like" spaceport operations. Therefore, the development of effective spaceport technologies is of primary importance to NASA. These technologies will need to support both the existing and future vehicles and programs. Additional key operating characteristics for a spaceport focus are interoperability, ease of use, flexibility, safety/environmental protection, support multiple concurrent operations, and the de-coupling of pre-launch processing from other users on the range.



        Specific areas of interest:


        • End-to-End Command and Control Services.
        • Technologies and Capabilities that enable flexible and adaptable control by integrating enterprise capabilities with remote and distributed control functions while simultaneously maintaining security and safety for critical operation.
        • Communications Services and RF/Optical Services to enable virtual distributed teams for control, engineering, safety analysis and support.
        • Technologies and Capabilities that enable multi-government teams of operate existing or new assets in the most cost efficient manner. In, addition technologies or capabilities that would move existing government provided capabilities and provide a path to commercialization in the future.
        • Preventative and condition based maintenance along with self-healing capabilities for ground systems.
        • Technologies and Capabilities that reduce required work content, through an automated understanding of when and if maintenance work needed to be performed, in addition, capabilities that reduce cost or provide additional mission assurance capabilities at comparable or reduced cost.
        • De-coupled pre-launch processing where the strategy for de-coupling involves the spaceport?s capacity, configurability and Space-Based capabilities.
        • Technologies and Capabilities that reduce the amount of ground operations that must be coordinated with other Range users, which would enable every user on the Range to believe they are the only user of the range throughout the ground flow.
        • Spaceport and Range technologies and capabilities that increase launch attempts per day and/or consecutive days across the entire Florida Launch and Range Complex.
        • Technologies and Capabilities that provide, localized, accurate forecasting of weather in support of Ground Operations.
        • Improve security and control of range hazard areas.
        • Technologies and Capabilities that improve the security of the range while reducing the cost to perform and monitor the Range volume.
        • Innovative systems for payload recovery techniques with advancements in the areas of Mid-Air Retrieval (MAR) systems and guided payload recovery systems (such as a guided parafoil system).
        • Technologies and Capabilities that allow in-flight recovery of small vehicles and payloads. In addition, Technologies and Capabilities that significantly reduce the cost of recovery operations.



        Priority will be given to innovative solutions that:


        • Enable low-cost concepts that reduce operations and life cycle costs.
        • Demonstrate a transition path into spaceport operations.
        • Can achieve high-fidelity ground-based demonstrations within the next 4 years; longer-term development proposals will be accepted, but will be considered at a lower priority for funding.



        Research should be conducted to convincingly prove technical feasibility during Phase I, with clear pathways to demonstrating and delivering functional prototypes, meeting all objectives, in Phase II.



        Phase I Deliverables: Feasibility study, including simulations and measurements, proving the proposed approach to develop a given product (TRL 3-4). Verification matrix of measurements to be performed at the end of Phase II, along with specific quantitative pass-fail ranges for each quantity listed.



        Phase II Deliverables: Working model of proposed product, along with full report of development and measurements, shall emphasize cost reduction and efficiency technologies, and include a populated verification matrix from Phase II (TRL 5). Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization.



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      • 51578

        O2.04Advanced Tank Technology Development

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        The objective of this subtopic is to dramatically reduce the cost of achieving low Earth orbit by advancing the technology required for spaceflight propellant tank development. The ability for launch vehicles to combine the significant weight savings of composite tanks and composite overwrap… Read more>>

        The objective of this subtopic is to dramatically reduce the cost of achieving low Earth orbit by advancing the technology required for spaceflight propellant tank development. The ability for launch vehicles to combine the significant weight savings of composite tanks and composite overwrap pressure vessels (COPVs) with airline like operations could be possible if these tanks are reusable, reliable, and need little to no maintenance between flights.



        Composite and composite overwrap tanks offer significant weight savings, however, there are significant shortfalls in terms of reusability, especially when using cryogenic fluids. This lack of reusability severely hampers adoption of this enabling technology in future reusable vehicle designs. This subtopic seeks to mature such emerging technologies pertaining to high performance, light-weight tanks and pressure vessels suitable for cryogenic and non-cryogenic temperatures at high pressures; seeks to develop technologies that extend life and/or decrease cost while being mindful of permeability, damage tolerance, safe-life and checkout issues; and seek out seal and joint development, increasing tank robustness and life while not increasing weight or cost; all against the current state-of-the-art capabilities and technologies.



        Areas of interest to develop and/or demonstrate are as follows:


        • Material Development: New composite material development specifically for cryogenic use demonstrating cycling, reparability, and knowledge of permeability and damage tolerance. Data should clearly show materials and processes used in producing a vessel that performs well under long-term use in a cryogenic condition. Vessel performance and cycling should be analyzed at and during operational conditions (i.e., cryogenic conditions) to verify material integrity. The vessel would minimize micro cracking, should be damage tolerant and repairable, and have mounting capabilities. Permeability of the material should be addressed and evaluated against current material usage and limitations.
        • Reusability and Reliability: Reusable, reliable, and low cost tanks that need little to no maintenance between flights and minimal check-out are required for economic and operational sustainability. These innovative propellant tank (either cryogenic or non-cryogenic) developments can:

          • Ease operability of the tank diagnostics.
          • Enable tank prognostics.
          • Enable tanks to handle high pressure cycles and loads without leaking or developing structural failure.
          • Promote ease of manufacture by more than one American company.
          • Promote ease of repair without returning tanks to the manufacturer's facility.
          • Promote rapid certification/recertification techniques to meet expected FAA commercial RLV requirements.

        • Data and Technology Development: Of specific concern and interest are safe-life and damage tolerance testing. There is much scrutiny regarding the manner and degree of testing in these areas, specifically after some number of pressure cycles. Also of concern is the effect of temperature during cycling and on material integrity. Due to the limited amount of flight and long term performance data there is little to base future design on when the desire is heritage similarity. Thus, development in regards to these specific metrics (safe-life and damage tolerance testing) would be most beneficial to both short and long term missions.



        For the proposed technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward Phase II hardware demonstration and testing. Delivery of a demonstration unit for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract is also required.



        Phase I Deliverables: Desired deliverables at the end of Phase I should be at TRL 3-4. Final report containing:


        • Optimal design and feasibility of concept.
        • Detailed path towards Phase II demonstration.
        • Detailed results of Phase I analysis, modeling, prototyping and development testing .
        • Material coupon data and a prototype sub-scale tank.



        Phase II Deliverables: Deliverables expected at the end of Phase II should be at TRL 5-6. By the end of Phase II, working proof-of-concept technologies, including features and demonstration of long term, high cycle performance at cryogenic temperatures, demonstrated and delivered to NASA for testing and verification.



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      • 51581

        O2.05Advanced Propulsion Testing Technologies

        Lead Center: SSC

        The aim of this subtopic is to develop new technologies to reduce cost and schedule, improve reliability and quality, and increase safety of Rocket Propulsion Testing. To this end, proposals for technology development will be accepted for any of the following four subject areas: Critical Vacuum… Read more>>

        The aim of this subtopic is to develop new technologies to reduce cost and schedule, improve reliability and quality, and increase safety of Rocket Propulsion Testing. To this end, proposals for technology development will be accepted for any of the following four subject areas:


        • Critical Vacuum Sensing.
        • Helium Recovery.
        • Robust Components.
        • Advanced Propulsion Test Data Management.



        Critical Vacuum Sensing Technology

        Develop new innovative methods for remotely and automatically locating and quantifying vacuum leaks in large vacuum chambers subject to harsh environmental conditions. A new test stand, A3, is being built at SSC to test rocket engines at altitude conditions. Information on A3 Test Stand can be found at the following URLs:




        To simulate altitude during rocket engine testing, A3 test stand produces a vacuum of 0.15psia inside a large, 40 ft diameter, rocket engine test chamber using 27 chemical steam generators and a 2-stage diffuser/ejector system. If vacuum leaks occur, the desired simulated altitude may not be achievable thus any leaks must be located and repaired. However, personnel access to the vacuum test chamber during operation is restricted due to the hazardous nature of its operation. This makes locating vacuum leaks difficult, if not impossible. Therefore, automated remote detection and location of areas of air in-leakage is required. Due to the unique nature of this test facility, innovation in these technologies is necessary. Performance metrics include accuracy and sensitivity in detecting leaks in the harsh operational environment with high levels of noise and vibration while not producing false leak indications, as well as robust design for the harsh environment.



        Helium Recovery Technology

        Helium is a rare and nonrenewable resource with many properties critical to the commercial, military, and fundamental scientific research sectors. NASA consumes approximately 1 million pounds of helium each year, primarily for purging of cryogenic propellant systems in which the helium is discharged to atmosphere and lost. The goal of this subtopic thrust area is to develop innovative helium recovery technologies that economically dissociate helium from large volumes of mixtures of helium, air, and hydrogen purge discharge, and pressurize the reclaimed helium for storage and reuse. The total cost of recovering and reusing helium, from both capital and energy expenditure, should be less than procuring the same amount of helium from traditional sources. Also, particular emphasis is placed on portability (i.e., not a fixed installation) and speed of separation (near-real-time) that accommodates a single system servicing numerous distinct sources of helium, air, and hydrogen mixtures developed over the range of rocket propulsion testing and ground and flight operations and the temporal transient nature of production of these mixtures.



        Robust Component Technologies

        Rocket propulsion test hardware as well as ground and flight launch operations hardware regularly experience large and rapid changes in pressures, temperatures, vibration, and fluid flow rates while demanding high precision control and reliability. Typical ranges in these parameters are pressures from vacuum all the way up to 10,000 psi, working fluids at ambient temperature all the way down to -420F, vibration environments in the 100's of G RMS acceleration. These parameters can span their entire range in milliseconds. State of the art propulsion system testing hardware has evolved over time as better materials and experience in hardware interactions with these environments have progressed. Innovation in component performance diagnostics technology is required to continue the current progression in hardware operational reliability, cost, and weight optimization. Accordingly, the goal of this subtopic thrust area is to develop innovative in situ hardware performance measurement and diagnostics technology along with the accompanying data acquisition and management systems required for utilization the new technologies.



        Advanced Propulsion Test Data Management Capability

        Substantial advances in data capture and storage technologies have exponentially increased real and near-real time data availability in rocket propulsion testing. Effective utilization of this increase in data availability requires evolution of data management technologies, methods, and concepts that will enable greater and more effective real-time access, manipulation, and application in the control and quality of propulsion systems testing. Recent initiatives in development of hardware-in-the-loop technologies, merging measured and simulation data in real time feedback with propulsion test hardware have demonstrated the feasibility and utility of this technology. The goal of this subtopic thrust area is to develop innovative ways to take advantage of increased propulsion test data availability utilizing high performance hardware such as GPU based computer systems along with innovation in algorithms and software to implement new data management technologies, methods, and concepts.





        In these subject areas, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward hardware and/or software development as appropriate, which occurs during Phase II and culminates in a proof-of-concept system.



        Phase I Deliverables: A final report describing optimal design for the technology concept including feasibility, trade studies, detailed results of Phase I analysis, modeling, prototyping, and testing as applicable. The report should also contain a detailed path towards Phase II hardware and/or software proof-of-concept system. The technology concept at the end of Phase I should be at a TRL of 3-4.



        Phase II Deliverables: A working proof-of-concept system successfully demonstrated in a relevant environment and delivered to NASA for testing and verification. The technology at the end of Phase II should be at a TRL of 6-7.





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    • + Expand Processing and Operations Topic

      Topic O3 Processing and Operations PDF


      The Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) provides mission critical space exploration services to both NASA customers and to other partners within the U.S. and throughout the world: from flying out the Space Shuttle, to assembling and operating the International Space Station; ensuring safe and reliable access to space; maintaining secure and dependable communications between platforms across the solar system; and ensuring the health and safety of our Nation's astronauts. Activities include ground-based and in-flight processing and operations tasks, along with support that ensures these tasks are accomplished efficiently and accurately enables successful missions and healthy crews. This topic area, while largely focused on operational space flight activities, is broad in scope. NASA is seeking technologies that address how to improve and lower costs related to ground and flight assets, and maximize and extend the life of the International Space Station. A typical flight focused approach would include:

      • Phase I: Research to identify and evaluate candidate technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a hardware/software demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable.
      • Phase II: Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated flight conditions.

      The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into space-worthy systems. For ground processing and operations tasks, the proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into ground or flight systems. The contract shall deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract and, if possible, demonstrate earth based uses or benefits.

      • 51456

        O3.01Remotely Operated Mobile Sensing Technologies for inside ISS

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        This subtopic seeks proposals to develop technologies that advance capabilities for space telepresence and mission operations situation awareness, fault diagnosis, isolation, and recovery onboard the ISS using an onboard free-flyer as a mobile sensor platform. In order to increase productivity and… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks proposals to develop technologies that advance capabilities for space telepresence and mission operations situation awareness, fault diagnosis, isolation, and recovery onboard the ISS using an onboard free-flyer as a mobile sensor platform. In order to increase productivity and reduce risks on long-missions on spacecraft, such as the ISS, leading toward human exploration, commercialization, and colonization of space, ground personnel have a need to remotely command a wide-variety of sensors on mobile platforms to collect data from a variety of positions within spacecraft. The sensors include, but are not limited to, those capable of performing imaging, identifying inventory, and measuring electromagnetic radiation, temperature, acoustics, atmospheric properties, and chemical concentrations. To increase crew productivity, it is highly desirable that the mobile platform be capable of being deployed by ground command, move to the commanded location, collect data, and then return to its storage dock where it is recharged all without requiring crew assistance.



        This subtopic solicitation calls for developing a variety of software and hardware technologies that would enable a free-flyer to operate in multiple modules inside ISS including but not limited to:


        • Free-flyer localization capability without engineering environment.
        • Collision avoidance capability.
        • Adjustable autonomous control software that supports safe operation with low-bandwidth, intermittent command communication loop with varying latencies > 10 sec.
        • EXPRESS rack-based auto-docking, recharging, refueling, deployment mechanism with matching free-flyer mechanism.
        • Quiet propulsion capability meeting ISS noise limit requirements (
        • Vision-based object identification capability.
        • RFID-based inventory identification capability.



        Proposals may address any one or a combination of the above or related subjects.



        Three SPHERES satellites have operated inside ISS since 2006. In addition to performing dozens of experiments, these satellites demonstrate that mobile platforms in the form of free-flyers can be operated on ISS. However, these satellites have not been operated by ground personnel and their current design is inadequate to meet the needs described above for several reasons, e.g., the satellites require crew assistance to operate, require that batteries and CO2 cartridges (propellant) be replaced by crew between test sessions, and are confined to a work area bounded by external beacons used by the satellites to localize themselves within their workspace, approximately 2x2x2 meters. However, the SPHERES satellites may be useful in demonstrating technologies called for by this subtopic. Proposals are encouraged that leverage the SPHERES satellites operating onboard ISS and SPHERES engineering units at the NASA Ames Research Center. More information on SPHERES is at:




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



        Phase I Deliverables:


        • Midterm Technical Report.
        • Final Phase I Technical Report with a feasibility study including: simulations and measurements demonstrating the approach used to develop and test the prototype, constraints on other systems, concept of operations, verification matrix of measurements with pass/fail ranges for each quantity to be verified at the end of Phase II, and the Phase II integration path.
        • Proof-of-concept simulation and/or bench top demonstration (TRL 3-4).



        Phase II Deliverables:


        • Midterm Technical Report.
        • Final Phase II Technical Report with specifications including: design, development approach, tests to verify the prototype, verification matrix of measurements with pass/fail ranges for each quantity verified, constraints on other systems, and operations guide. Opportunities and plans for potential commercialization should also be included.
        • Fully-functional engineering prototype of proposed product (TRL 5-6).



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      • 51555

        O3.02ISS Utilization

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, KSC

        NASA is investigating the near- and mid-term development of highly-desirable systems and technologies that provide innovative ways either to leverage existing ISS facilities for new scientific payloads or, to provide on orbit analysis to enhance capabilities and reduce sample return requirements. … Read more>>

        NASA is investigating the near- and mid-term development of highly-desirable systems and technologies that provide innovative ways either to leverage existing ISS facilities for new scientific payloads or, to provide on orbit analysis to enhance capabilities and reduce sample return requirements.

        Current utilization of the ISS is limited by available upmass, downmass, and crew time as well as by the capabilities of the interfaces and hardware already developed. Innovative interfaces between existing hardware and systems, which are common to ground research, could facilitate both increased, and faster, payload development.



        Desired capabilities include, but are not limited to, the below examples:


        • Enabling additional cell and molecular biology culture techniques. Providing innovative hardware to allow for safe, contained transfer of cells from container to container within the Microgravity Sciences Glove Box (MSG) would permit new types of studies on ISS. On orbit analysis techniques that would reduce or remove the need for downmass - such as a system for gene array tests, or kits for DNA extractions for long term storage - are also examples of hardware possibilities that would extend and enable additional research.
        • Providing compact Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) hardware. Development of a compact robust DLS instrument based on diode lasers and photo detectors capable of providing significant power and weight savings now make it possible to measure the diffusion coefficient of experimental systems using the Light Microscopy Module (LMM) on the International Space Station (ISS). The light scattering instrument (laser, detector, optics) to be mounted on a Leica DM/RXA microscope camera port should be about the size of a 40mm diameter tube around 60mm long) with associated support electronics (including the correlator) being able to fit into a volume of about 30mm x 100mm x 100mm, or less. The intensity dynamic range should be able to cover between 10^-10 to 10^-7 Watts. The relaxation time range should be capable to spanning 200nsec to 50sec. This peer-reviewed science was considered a decade ago but not developed due to technology limitations. It is now possible to meet the required performance criteria (with the above size and power requirements) to measure diffusion coefficients. From the measured diffusion coefficient, particle size can be extracted, or the temperature determined for the location being viewed (e.g., in a capillary cell with a temperature gradient along it) can be deduced (for known particles and solvents) using the Stokes-Einstein equation.
        • Providing compact laser tweezers and supporting software. Development of a compact robust Holographic Laser Tweezers (LT) instrument and associated control scripts for use with a microscope on the International Space Station (ISS) based on the recent developments of holographic techniques. This could expand the types of experiments conducted on orbit. The laser tweezers that would mount on a Leica DM/RXA microscope should be less than ~100mm on a side and the associated control electronics should be less than ~150mm on a side. This technology should now be robust side it is solid-state and no longer requires gimbaled mirrors. This peer-reviewed science was previously considered but not developed because of the size and technology limitations of a decade ago. LT holds open the possibility of performing scientific experiments that manipulate groups of particles that evolve uniquely in space when gravitational sedimentation and jamming no longer exist. Any new LT and its corresponding control software should allow for tracking of particle positions to better than one micron in 3D (before the concentration becomes too high) and impart rotational forces. Being able to accurately track the position of particles while measuring the forces on them is important for laying the foundations of colloidal engineering. Because of its use on space station, the instrument should be self-calibrating. The instrument would need to meet the size and volume limitations of the Light Microscopy Module (LMM).
        • Providing additional on-orbit analytical tools. Providing flight qualified hardware that is similar to commonly used tools in biological and material science laboratories could allow for an increased capacity of on-orbit analysis thereby reducing the number of samples, which must be returned to Earth. Examples of tools that will reduce downmass or expand on-orbit analysis include: sample handling tools; mass measurement devices; a (micro) plate reader; a mass spectrometer; an atomic force microscope (for biological and material science samples), non-cryogenic sample preservation systems; autonomous in-situ bioanalytical technologies; centrifuges for analysis and for providing fractional-g environments; microbial and cell detection and identification systems; and fluidics and microfluidics systems to allow autonomous on-orbit experimentation and high throughput screening.
        • Providing Nanorack compatible inserts to enable additional life science payloads. Development of 1, 2 and/or 4 cube design biological payload hardware for use with the ISS Nanorack platform would decrease the need for development of multiple control racks and reduce development time of future payload experiments.
        • Enabling additional payloads. Innovative methods for further subdividing payloads lockers would allow for numerous pico-payloads. Developing multi-generational or multi-use habitats would reduce the upmass and downmass required to conduct biological experiments on ISS.



        The existing hardware suite and interfaces available on ISS may be found at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments_category.html.



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



        Phase I Deliverables: Written report detailing evidence of demonstrated technology (TRL 5 or 6) in the laboratory or in a relevant environment and stating the future path toward hardware and software demonstration on orbit.



        Phase II Deliverables: Hardware and/or software prototype that can be demonstrated on orbit (TRL 7).



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      • 52141

        O3.03ISS Demonstration & Development of Improved Exploration Technologies

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        The focus of this subtopic is on technologies and techniques that may advance the state of the art of spacecraft systems by utilizing the International Space Station as a technology test bed. Successful proposals will address using the long duration, microgravity and extreme vacuum environment… Read more>>

        The focus of this subtopic is on technologies and techniques that may advance the state of the art of spacecraft systems by utilizing the International Space Station as a technology test bed.



        Successful proposals will address using the long duration, microgravity and extreme vacuum environment available on the ISS to demonstrate component or system characteristics that extend beyond the current state of the art by:


        • Increasing capability/operating time including overall operational availability.
        • Reducing logistics and maintenance efforts.
        • Reducing operational efforts, minimizing crew interaction with both systems and the ground.
        • Reducing known spacecraft/spaceflight technical risks and needs.
        • Providing information on the long-term space environment needed in the development of future spacecraft technologies through model development, simulations or ground testing verified by on orbit operational data.



        While selection for award does not guarantee flight opportunities, the proposed demonstrations should focus on increasing the TRL in the following technology areas of interest:


        • Propulsion (in-space and novel, electromagnetic and/or very high specific impulse systems).
        • Power and energy storage.
        • Robotics tele-robotics and autonomous (RTA) Systems.
        • Human health, life support and habitation systems.
        • Science instruments, observatories and sensor systems.
        • Nanotechnology.
        • Materials, structures, mechanical systems and manufacturing.
        • Thermal management systems including novel heat radiation techniques.
        • Spacecraft (including ISS) plasma and contamination in-situ diagnostics.
        • Environmental control systems, including improved carbon dioxide removal.



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



        Phase I Deliverables: Research to identify and evaluate candidate telecommunications technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a hardware/software demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable.



        Phase II Deliverables: Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated flight conditions. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into space-worthy systems. The contract should deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.



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      • 51561

        O3.04Vehicle Integration and Ground Processing

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): SSC

        This subtopic seeks to create new and innovative technology solutions to improve safety and lower the life cycle costs of assembly, test, integration and processing of the ground and flight assets at our nation's spaceports and propulsion test facilities. The following areas are of particular… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks to create new and innovative technology solutions to improve safety and lower the life cycle costs of assembly, test, integration and processing of the ground and flight assets at our nation's spaceports and propulsion test facilities. The following areas are of particular interest:



        Control of Material Degradation

        Technologies are needed to reduce costs due to material degradation of materials in spaceport and propulsion test facility infrastructure and ground support equipment, Material solutions must meet current and emerging environmental restrictions and endure today's corrosive and highly acidic launch environments. These needs include:


        • New environmentally friendly technologies for paint removal and surface preparation that can be applied to large structures. New technologies must achieve better performance than conventional abrasive blasting techniques by reducing the cost of collecting and/or processing waste while keeping blasting rates the same or better than conventional technologies. These technologies must work for inorganic zinc coating.
        • New environmentally friendly technologies for prevention/reduction of microbial corrosion in steel piping systems utilizing brackish or untreated water.
        • Sub-scale or laboratory tests that can be used to evaluate the suitability of refractory concrete for use in launch pad and rocket test facilities flame deflectors. Proposed tests must show that they are relevant to full scale blast effects.
        • Innovative refractory material application methods to ensure field applications have the same properties (strength, density, performance, etc...) as small scale test coupons.



        Spaceport Processing Evaluation/Inspection Tools

        Innovative solutions are desired that reduce inspection times, provide higher confidence in system reliability, increase safety and lower life cycle costs. Technologies must support identifying composite material defects, evaluating material integrity, damage inspection and/or acceptance testing of composite systems. These include:


        • Technologies in support of defect detection in composite materials.
        • Methods for determining structural integrity of composite materials and bonded assemblies.
        • Non-intrusive inspection of Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (COPV), Orion heat shield and other composite systems.
        • In-situ evaluation of refractory concrete as installed in the flame trenches associated with propulsion test and launch pad infrastructure.



        Hypergolic Propellant Sensing Technologies

        Technologies for leak detection and leak visualization for hypergolic propellants, such as:


        • Novel, cost effective technology solutions to provide leak detection of hypergolic propellants at concentrations of 10ppb with minimal environmental sensitivity (i.e., humidity). Sensors and leak detection systems should provide quantitative data with minimum interferences, drift, and exposure and recovery time.
        • Novel, cost effective technology solutions to provide leak detection of hypergolic propellants at concentrations of 1ppm with minimal environmental sensitivity (i.e., humidity). Sensors and leak detection systems should provide quantitative data with minimum interferences, drift, and exposure and recovery time.
        • Technology to provide leak visualization of hypergolic propellants to support operations (propellant loading, pressurization, leak check).



        Cold Gas Storage and Servicing of Launch Vehicle Systems

        Storing high-pressure pneumatic gases in a chilled state increases the on board density of gasses used for pressurization during flight. Traditional solutions embed these 3000 - 6000 psig metallic tanks into the flight vehicles' main cryogenic propellant tanks. To achieve the lightest weight tanks, final pressurization takes place after the tanks are immersed to maximize strength gained by the lower temperatures. Under these conditions, it takes several hours to achieve thermal equilibrium with the host tank and maximize mass density of the compressed gas. Solutions are sought to reduce this time to less than 60 minutes to achieve thermal equilibrium of the compressed gas with the host liquid cryogen tank and maximize pneumatic gas mass on board the flight vehicle.



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



        Phase I Deliverables: Demonstration of technical feasibility (TRL 2-4).



        Phase II Deliverables: Demonstration of technology (TRL 4-6)



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      • 51579

        O3.05Advanced Motion Imaging

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        Digital motion imaging technologies provide great improvements over analog systems, but also present significant challenges. Digital High Definition Television (HDTV) cameras flown on the Shuttle and International Space Station have shown higher susceptibility to ionizing radiation damage,… Read more>>

        Digital motion imaging technologies provide great improvements over analog systems, but also present significant challenges. Digital High Definition Television (HDTV) cameras flown on the Shuttle and International Space Station have shown higher susceptibility to ionizing radiation damage, manifested by visible "dead" pixels in the image. In order to practically deploy HDTV cameras, sensors and processors need to survive operations on orbit for years without debilitating radiation damage that degrades image quality and performance.



        The focus of this subtopic is the development of components, systems, and core technologies that advance the capabilities to capture, process and distribute high-resolution digital motion imagery without performance degradation from ionizing radiation that would require frequent upmass to orbit to replace components or systems.



        Current State of the Art

        HDTV cameras flown on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station have proven to be highly susceptible to damage from ionizing radiation. This damage is manifested by bad pixels that eventually render the camera useless after short periods of on-orbit use, usually less than one year. In addition, upmass and downmass constraints make the use of large format motion picture film cameras impractical, so a digital equivalent is needed for large venue documentary film productions, such as IMAX films.



        Domains of Interest

        Domains of interest in the near term address needs for space environment, radiation tolerant, HDTV and digital cinema cameras and down-stream video processors. Mid and Long term goals include radiation tolerant, reprogrammable, highly bandwidth efficient encoders and improved distribution systems for video data signals. Current HDTV transmissions from the ISS require approximately 25 Mbps. Bitrates with equal or better video quality are desired at half that bit rate. These systems are highly desired by the human spaceflight programs.



        Technologies of Interest

        Technologies are sought that provide high resolution, progressively scanned motion imagery with limited or mitigated radiation damage to sensors, are viable for astronaut hand-held applications or external spacecraft use, and that provide imagery that meets standards commonly used by digital television or digital cinema production facilities. Commercial HDTV cameras used for internal hand-held use have generally been small and light (5" x 6" x 11", between 2 and 3 pounds), run off rechargeable batteries, and utilize standard lens mounts. Future cameras for exterior applications ideally would be smaller and more modular in design (no larger than 4" x 5" x 7" and 2.5 pounds). The critical technology need is the radiation tolerance of the sensor, not the size, weight and mass of the camera that results from such a sensor.



        While commercial HDTV and Digital Cinema cameras for use on Earth are mature technologies, there are no flight-proven radiation tolerant HDTV and Digital Cinema cameras and sensors currently available. Commercial cameras flown on the Shuttle and ISS thus far do function, but degrade within a year on orbit. While hard to classify, the current TRL for these cameras within the context of spaceflight operations could be considered to be a 5 or 6. The ultimate goal is to develop radiation-hardened camera sensors capable of surviving three or more years in space.



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



        Phase I Deliverables: Deliverables for Phase I will include designs and development plans with plausible data and rationale that demonstrates why the designs and plans should mitigate radiation effects on the sensors, and a detailed path towards Phase II hardware demonstration. The report shall also provide options for commercialization opportunities after Phase II.



        Phase II Deliverables: Deliverables for Phase II will include developmental hardware suitable for testing in a lab or space flight environment (TRL 6) as well as a test plan, relevant data, and defined expected lifespan of the sensors.



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      • 51469

        O3.06Environmental Control Systems & Technologies for NR & Cubesats

        Lead Center: ARC

        A significant challenge faced by free-flying spacecraft and shared by ISS-bound experiment packages is the requirement for a controlled (or at least known) environment while the payload is awaiting launch on the launch vehicle or is in transit to the ISS. Due to the retirement of the Space Shuttle,… Read more>>

        A significant challenge faced by free-flying spacecraft and shared by ISS-bound experiment packages is the requirement for a controlled (or at least known) environment while the payload is awaiting launch on the launch vehicle or is in transit to the ISS. Due to the retirement of the Space Shuttle, NASA has a need for flight qualified, environmentally conditioned transportation systems compatible with new space launch systems capable of sustaining and extending the life of perishable materials and specimens until experiment packages can be installed and properly interfaced on-board ISS. This solicitation seeks to develop innovative environmental control technologies for the ground and space transportation of nanorack cubes and cubesats.



        Cubesat integration timelines frequently call for passively mating to the launch vehicle or deployer system many weeks in advance of launch. The environment that the payload experiences plays a major role on the shelf life of certain materials and specimens within the spacecraft. Technologies capable of monitoring and extending the shelf life of perishable payloads are of interest to NASA as the environment in and around the launch vehicle is not always controlled in a manner favorable to a payload. Technologies can be either integrated directly into the Cubesat or external to the Cubesat.



        Two applications for these technologies are sought:


        • ISS Nanorack Transportation System.

          • This system will have the ability to maintain temperatures within relevant ranges for biological and/or perishable Nanorack payloads from time of experiment preparation at the payload processing facility until installation into the host facility on ISS. This also includes ground transportation phases of the mission.
          • The Transportation System will also provide a time history of relevant parameters ie temperature, relative humidity, vibration, etc, during the transportation periods up to payload installation on ISS.

        • Cubesat applications.

          • Cubesat applications involve technologies that may be incorporated into the Cubesat spacecraft itself, or systems that can be used as adjuncts to monitor and control the environment in and around the Cubesat payload/spacecraft. These technologies can be passive and/or active in nature.
          • Cubesat applications will also provide a time history of relevant parameters ie temperature, relative humidity, etc during the dwell time on the pad while awaiting launch.



        Innovative approaches to this problem will significantly increase the utility of Nanoracks modules and/or Cubesat spacecraft in that this technology will enable an expanded set of experiment types and mission scenarios. Such a capability may also be extended in support of ground control experiments where on-orbit environments must be duplicated in the lab.



        Nanorack information can be found here: http://nanoracks.com.

        Cubesat information can be found here: http://cubesat.org/.



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



        Phase I Deliverables:


        • Midterm Technical Report.
        • Final Phase I Technical Report with a feasibility study including: simulations and measurements demonstrating the approach used to develop and test the prototype, constraints on other systems, concept of operations, verification matrix of measurements with pass/fail ranges for each quantity to be verified at the end of Phase II, and the Phase II integration path.
        • Proof-of-concept simulation and/or bench top demonstration (TRL 3-4).



        Phase II Deliverables:


        • Midterm Technical Report.
        • Final Phase II Technical Report with specifications including: design, development approach, tests to verify the prototype, verification matrix of measurements with pass/fail ranges for each quantity verified, constraints on other systems, and operations guide. Opportunities and plans for potential commercialization should also be included.
        • Fully-functional engineering prototype of proposed product (TRL 5-6).



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    • + Expand Navigation Topic

      Topic O4 Navigation PDF


      NASA seeks innovative research in the areas of positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) that have relevance to Space Communications and Navigation programs and goals, as described at (https://www.spacecomm.nasa.gov/spacecomm/default.cfm). NASA's Space Communication and Navigation Office considers the three elements of PNT to represent distinct, constituent capabilities: - positioning, by which we mean accurate and precise determination of an asset's location and orientation referenced to a coordinate system - navigation, by which we mean determining an asset's current and/or desired absolute or relative position and velocity state, and applying corrections to course, orientation, and velocity to attain achieve the desired state - timing, by which we mean an asset's acquiring from a standard, maintaining within user-defined parameters, and transferring where required, an accurate and precise representation of time. This year, NASA seeks technology in Metric Tracking of Launch Vehicles, Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Sensors and Components, and Flight Dynamics Technologies and Software. These areas include tracking during launch and landing operations, and research and technology relevant to the planning and development of PNT support and services that NASA may undertake over the next several years. Some of the subtopics in this topic could result in products that may be included in future flight opportunities. Please see the Science MD Topic S4 for more details as to the requirements for small satellite flight opportunities, and the Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology Development and Training (FAST) website at (http://ipp.nasa.gov/ii_fast.htm).

      • 51560

        O4.01Metric Tracking of Launch Vehicles

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, MSFC

        The goal of this subtopic is to have a highly reliable way of tracking vehicles from launch to orbit. Launch vehicles can exhibit high dynamics during flight and there can be external interference on the GPS frequency. Proposals can either address a single area as described below or a combination of… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to have a highly reliable way of tracking vehicles from launch to orbit. Launch vehicles can exhibit high dynamics during flight and there can be external interference on the GPS frequency. Proposals can either address a single area as described below or a combination of multiple areas. The following technology areas are of interest:



        Position, Attitude, and Inertial Metrics

        Metric tracking of launch vehicles requires the development of accurate and stable integrated metric tracking and inertial measurement units. The focus is on technologies that enable and advance development of low Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP), tactical grade, integrated metric tracking units that provide accurate and stable positioning, attitude, and inertial measurements on high dynamic platforms. Factors to address include:


        • Ultra-tight coupling of rate sensors, accelerometers, and attitude determining GPS receivers that will provide very high frequency integrated metric solutions.
        • The ability to reliably function on spin-stabilized rockets (up to 7 rev/s), during sudden jerk and acceleration maneuvers, and in high vibration environments.
        • Advancements in MEMs-based rate sensors and accelerometers, algorithm techniques and Kalman filtering, high bandwidth and low noise outputs, phased-based attitude determination, single aperture systems, quick Time to First Fix and reacquisition.
        • Robust tracking during separation.



        Use of GPS and Ability to Mitigate Interference Signals

        Innovative technologies to increase the accuracy of the L1 C/A navigation solution by combining the pseudo ranges and phases of the L1 C/A signals, and use of the L2 and L5 carriers. Factors that degrade the GPS signals can be obtained by differencing the available carrier phase and pseudo range measurements and then removing these differences from the navigation solution.



        Technologies are sought that combine spatial processing of signals from multiple antennas with temporal processing techniques to mitigate interference signals (jamming) received by the GPS receiver. The coordinated response of adaptive pattern control (beam and null steering) and digital excision of certain interfering signal components can minimize strong jamming signals. Adaptive nulling minimizes interfering signals by the optimal control of the GPS antenna pattern (null steering).



        For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I (to reach TRL 3) and show a path toward Phase II hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract (to reach TRL 5).



        Phase I Deliverables:


        • Midterm Technical Report.
        • Final Phase I Technical Feasibility Report with a Phase II Integration Path. Proof-of-concept bench top demonstration preferred.
        • Verification matrix of measurements to be performed at the end of Phase II, along with specific quantitative pass-fail ranges for each quantity listed.



        Phase II Deliverables:


        • Working model of proposed product, along with full report of development and measurements, including populated verification matrix from phase II (TRL 5).
        • Final Phase II Technical Report.
        • Demonstration hardware/software/field test.
        • Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization.



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      • 51533

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

        Lead Center: GSFC

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

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

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

        Proposals are encouraged that leverage the following NASA developed state of-the-art capabilities:




        NASA is not interested in funding efforts that seek to "re-invent the wheel" by duplicating the many investments that NASA and others have already made in establishing the current state-of-the-art. We seek to maximize the work listed above in the new work sought for this subtopic.



        General Operational Needs, Requirements and Performance Metrics:



        Onboard Near-Earth Navigation Systems

        NASA seeks proposals that would develop a commercially viable transceiver with embedded orbit determination software to provide enhanced accuracy and integrity for autonomous onboard GPS- and TDRSS-based navigation and time-transfer in near-Earth space via augmentation messages broadcast by the proposed TDRSS Augmentation for Satellites Signal (TASS; http://www.gdgps.net/system-desc/papers/Bar-Sever.pdf). Innovations that will increase the integration, reducing the size, weight, and power of such transceiver platforms, and improving their performance in high radiation environments, are sought. Proposers are advised that NASA's GEONS and GIPSY orbit determination software packages already support the capability to ingest TASS messages.



        Onboard Deep-Space Navigation Systems

        NASA seeks proposals to develop an onboard autonomous navigation and time-transfer system for reduction of DSN tracking requirements. Such a system should provide accuracy comparable to delta differenced one-way ranging (DDOR) solutions anywhere in the inner solar system, and exceed DDOR solution accuracy beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Proposers are advised that NASA's GEONS and AutoNav navigation software packages already support the capability to ingest many one way forward Doppler, optical sensor observation, and accelerometer data types. In addition, NASA is seeking innovative solutions in the area of planetary surface navigation.



        Technologies Supporting Improved TDRSS-Based Navigation

        NASA seeks proposals providing improvements in TDRS orbit knowledge, TDRSS radiometric tracking, ground-based orbit determination, and Ground Terminal improvements that improve navigation accuracy for TDRS users. Methods for improving TDRS orbit knowledge should exploit the possible future availability of accelerometer data collected onboard future TDRS. The goal is navigation and communications integrated into a single processor.



        Navigation Payload Technology for Planetary Relay Satellites

        NASA seeks planetary relay navigation payload technologies that can:


        • Transmit accurate spread spectrum signals (emphasizing the stability of the frequency reference yielding accurate timing and chipping rate of the PN code and a low noise carrier).
        • Receive same in return (either in coherent mode (the relay transmits and receives using the same frequency reference) or non-coherent mode (where the accurate frequency reference is on one end of link, either the transmit side or the receive side)).



        This relay navigation payload should be capable of receiving a satellite-to-satellite link with similar signal properties. The relay navigation payload has to measure the range (two-way), pseudo-range (one-way), and both one-way and two-way Doppler. The relay navigation payload must be able to de-commutate data received from Earth and bases on other planetary surfaces to maintain time synchronization with a master time source, use the data onboard to either slave its frequency reference or to update its reference, and turn-around the data to modulate onto the user data stream.



        Additionally, the relay navigation payload must have:


        • 'Reasonable fidelity' autonomous filtered navigation capability to fuse all data types listed above as well as antenna gimbal angles, accelerometer data, and rendezvous radar data, to estimate the lunar relay state.
        • Output data rates of 1 Hz for the states of multiple satellites and comprehensive fault detection and correction data.
        • State outputs that can be modulated on transmitted data streams.
        • TASS-like broadcast beacon capability for navigation. The data on the beacon can originate either at a base location (earth, moon), the relay, or another asset with which the relay communicates.
        • Dissemination of time and navigation data for the local environment.



        Proposals can either address a single subject as described above or a combination of subjects.



        For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I (to reach TRL 3) and show a path toward Phase II hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract (to reach TRL 5).



        Phase I Deliverables:


        • Midterm Technical Report.
        • Final Phase I Technical Feasibility Report with a Phase II Integration Path. Proof-of-concept bench top demonstration preferred.



        Phase II Deliverables:


        • Final Phase II Technical Report.
        • Demonstration hardware/software/field test.



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      • 51473

        O4.03Flight Dynamics Technologies and Software

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JPL

        NASA is beginning to invest in re-engineering its suite of tools and facilities that provide navigation and mission design services for design and operations of mid-term and long-term near-Earth and interplanetary missions. This solicitation seeks proposals that will develop the highly desired… Read more>>

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

        Proposals that leverage state-of-the-art capabilities already developed by NASA are especially encouraged, such as:




        Proposers who contemplate licensing NASA technologies are highly encouraged to coordinate with the appropriate NASA technology transfer offices prior to submission of their proposals.





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



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


        • Applications of cutting-edge estimation techniques, such as, but not limited to, sigma-point and particle filters, to spaceflight navigation problems.
        • Applications of estimation techniques that have an expanded state vector (be-yond position and velocity components) to monitor non-Gaussian state noise processes and/or non-Gaussian measurement noise processes.
        • Applications of estimation techniques that combine measurements from multiple sensor suites in a highly coupled manner to improve upon the overall system ac-curacy.
        • Addition of novel estimation techniques to existing NASA mission design software that is either freely available via NASA Open Source Agreements, or that is licensed by the proposer.
        • Applications of advanced dynamical theories to space mission design and analysis, especially in the context of unstable orbital trajectories in the vicinity of small bodies and libration points.
        • Addition of novel measurement technologies to existing NASA onboard navigation software that is licensed by the proposer.
        • Addition of orbit determination capabilities to existing NASA mission design software that is either freely available via NASA Open Source Agreements, or that is licensed by the proposer.



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



        For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I (to reach TRL 3) and show a path toward Phase II hardware and software demonstration and delivering a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract (to reach TRL 5).



        Phase I Deliverables:


        • Midterm Technical Report.
        • Final Phase I Technical Feasibility Report with a Phase II Integration Path.



        Phase II Deliverables:


        • Final Phase II Technical Report.
        • Algorithm Specification.
        • Delivery of software package.
        • Demonstration of software package.







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    • + Expand Aviation Safety Topic

      Topic A1 Aviation Safety PDF


      The Aviation Safety Program conducts fundamental research and technology development of known and predicted safety concerns as the nation transitions to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Future challenges to maintaining aviation safety arise from expected significant increases in air traffic, continued operation of legacy vehicles, introduction of new vehicle concepts, increased reliance on automation, and increased operating complexity. Further design challenges also exist where safety barriers may prevent the technical innovations necessary to achieve NextGen capacity and efficiency goals. The program seeks capabilities furthering the practice of proactive safety management and design methodologies and solutions to predict and prevent safety issues, to monitor for them in-flight and mitigate against them should they occur, to analyze and design them out of complex system behaviors, and to constantly analyze designs and operational data for potential hazards. AvSP's top ten technical challenges are:

      • Assurance of Flight Critical Systems.
      • Discovery of Safety Issues.
      • Automation Design Tools.
      • Prognostic Algorithm Design.
      • Vehicle Health Assurance.
      • Crew-System Interactions and Decisions.
      • Loss of Control Prevention, Mitigation, and Recovery.
      • Engine Icing.
      • Airframe Icing.
      • Atmospheric Hazard Sensing and Mitigation.

      AvSP includes three research projects:

      The System-wide Safety Assurance Technologies Project provides knowledge, concepts and methods to proactively manage increasing complexity in the design and operation of vehicles and the air transportation systems, including advanced approaches to enable improved and cost-effective verification and validation of flight-critical systems.

      The Vehicle Systems Safety Technologies Project provides knowledge, concepts and methods to avoid, detect, mitigate, and recover from hazardous flight conditions, and to maintain vehicle airworthiness and health.

      The Atmospheric Environment Safety Technologies Project investigates sources of risk and provides technology needed to help ensure safe flight in and around atmospheric hazards.

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

      • 51562

        A1.01Aviation External Hazard Sensor Technologies

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

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

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



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



        Under this subtopic, proposals are invited that explore new and improved sensors and sensor systems for the detection and monitoring of hazards to aircraft before they are encountered. The scope of this subtopic does not include human factors and development of human interfaces, including displays and alerts, except where explicitly requested in association with special topics. Primary emphasis is on airborne applications, but in some cases the development of ground-based sensor technology may be supported. Approaches that use multiple sensors in combination to improve hazard detection and quantification of hazard levels are also of interest.



        At this time, there are some areas of particular interest to NASA, and these are described below. They are provided as encouragement but not intended to exclude other proposals that fit this subtopic. These areas of interest include two specific hazards to aircraft and specific advancements in fundamental radar technology. The interest in radar technology can be considered to be independent of the interest in the two hazards. While NASA is interested in all aviation hazards, wake vortices and turbulence are of particular interest. Proposals associated with remote sensing investigations addressing these hazards are encouraged. This emphasis is not intended to discourage proposals targeting other or additional hazards such as reduced visibility, terrain, airborne obstacles, volcanic ash, convective weather, lightning, gust fronts, cross winds, and wind shear.



        Airborne detection of wake vortices is considered challenging due to the fact that detection must be possible in nearly all weather conditions, in order to be practical, and because of the size and nature of the phenomena. Proposals are encouraged for the development of novel coherent and direct detection lidar systems and associated components that allow accurate meteorological wind and aerosol measurements suitable for wake vortex characterization. Lidar development includes, but is not limited to, novel transceiver architectures, efficient signal processing methodologies, wake processing algorithms and real time data reduction and display schemes. Improvements in size, weight, range, system efficiency, sensitivity, and reliability based on emerging technologies are desired.



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



        In order to detect and/or discriminate some meteorological hazards, future radars will need multi-frequency and/or polarimetric capabilities. NASA seeks new system/component designs and hazard detection applications for airborne weather radars based upon extending the current design to incorporate multi-frequencies and/or polarimetric capabilities. In addition, the current generation of weather radar is fundamentally limited by its ability to scan the airspace; consequently, NASA is seeking novel designs and enhancements to produce electronically scanned antennas/radars.



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      • 51526

        A1.02Inflight Icing Hazard Mitigation Technology

        Lead Center: GRC

        NASA is concerned with the prevention of encounters with hazardous in-flight conditions and the mitigation of their effects when they do occur. Under this subtopic, proposals are invited that explore new and dramatically improved technologies related to inflight airframe and engine icing hazards for… Read more>>

        NASA is concerned with the prevention of encounters with hazardous in-flight conditions and the mitigation of their effects when they do occur. Under this subtopic, proposals are invited that explore new and dramatically improved technologies related to inflight airframe and engine icing hazards for manned and unmanned vehicles. Technologies of interest should address the detection, measurement, and/or the mitigation of the hazards of flight into supercooled liquid water clouds and flight into regions of high ice crystal density. With these emphases in mind, products and technologies that can be made affordable and capable of retrofit into the current aviation system and aircraft, as well as for use in the future are sought.



        Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:


        • Non-destructive digitization of ice accretions on wind tunnel wing models. NASA has a need for methods to digitize ice shapes with rough external surfaces and internal voids as can occur with accretions on highly swept wing. Current methods based upon scanning with line-of-sight optical digitization methods have been found inadequate for these ice shapes.
        • New instruments are needed utilizing innovative concepts to measure ice-crystal/liquid water mixed phase clouds in ground test facilities and in flight. Cloud properties of interest include: crystal/droplet temperature, material phase, particle size, speed, cloud liquid-water content, ice-water content, air temperature, and humidity. Non-intrusive measurement techniques capable of providing the spatial distribution of these properties across an engine duct with a diameter of at least 3 feet are particularly of interest.
        • New instruments or measurement techniques are also needed for the detailed study of the ice accretion process on wing surfaces and internal engine components. Properties of particular interest are heat transfer, accretion extent, and ice density. The measurement of these properties needs to be non-interfering.

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      • 51525

        A1.03Durable Propulsion Components

        Lead Center: GRC

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

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



        Proposals are sought for the development of physics-based probabilistic fatigue life models for powder metallurgy disk superalloys, which include both crystal plasticity and surface environmental damage modes. The models would capture the evolution of fatigue damage due to crystallographic slip within multiple grains of variable orientation and size, as well as damage due to environmental interactions at the surfaces of compressor and turbine powder metallurgy superalloy disks. This research opportunity is focused on quantifying, modeling and validating each of these damage modes during simple cyclic and dwell fatigue cycles, and then later for simulated service in aerospace gas turbine engine disk materials. Work may involve use of uniform gage and notched fatigue specimens to simulate key disk features, potentially utilizing varied disk surface finish conditions and associated residual stress and cold work. The simulated load history and temperature gas turbine engine conditions should approximate turbine service history reflective of the new generation of gas turbine engines and include the effect of superimposed dwell cycles. NASA will be an active participant in Phase I of the research effort by providing superalloy disk sections, for the proposer to machine into specimens, mechanically test, analyze, and model evolution of these damage modes. Technology innovations may take the form of the unique quantification of the effect of service history on these damage modes, and include analytical modeling descriptions of the evolution of these parameters as a function of simulated service history. The technology innovations may also include models and algorithms extrapolating this damage to service conditions outside of those tested during the program.





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      • 51569

        A1.04Airframe Design and Sustainment

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC

        Conventional aircraft airframe structures have achieved a high level of reliability through decades of experience, incremental technology changes, and an empirically based building block design methodology. Emerging and next generation aircraft will employ new lightweight materials and structural… Read more>>

        Conventional aircraft airframe structures have achieved a high level of reliability through decades of experience, incremental technology changes, and an empirically based building block design methodology. Emerging and next generation aircraft will employ new lightweight materials and structural concepts that have very different characteristics than our current experience base. One element in NASA's effort to ensure the integrity of future vehicles is research to improve the reliability of airframe structures through enhanced computational methods to predict structural integrity and life, and validating correlation between computational models and the as-manufactured and as-maintained aircraft structure.



        NASA seeks tools and methods for improved understanding and prediction of structural response, and experimental methods for measuring and evaluating the performance of new airframe structural designs. Specific areas of interest include the following:


        • Improved structural analysis methods for complex metallic and composite airframe components using novel multi-scale as well as global-local computational codes. The methods used for these solutions need to detail the initiation and progression of damage to determine accurate estimates of residual life and or strength of complex airframe structures. Robust numerical algorithms are required to simulate the nonlinear behavior of damage progression coupled with geometric and material nonlinearity.
        • Correlation between computational models and airframe structures:

          • Experimental methods for detailed characterization of as-manufactured structures relative to the as-designed configuration, to identify deviations in geometry, material application, and possibly identify manufacturing anomalies.
          • Advanced experimental methods for full-field assessment of strain during structural or flight tests for the purpose of validating computational models, and identifying hot-spots in the structure that are not represented in the models. Ease of application on built-up structures will be a significant factor.
          • Technologies to measure residual stresses in structures resulting from manufacturing processes and fit-up during structural assembly, as these residual stresses may severely compromise design margins.

        • Repair technology for metallic or composite structures:

          • Novel approaches to arrest damage and return structural integrity (other than replacement, grind out, scarf, or bonded or bolted doublers).
          • Validation of structural repair: technology to interrogate an applied repair to validate the design of the repair, and correct application of the repair. The intent will be to determine whether the repair performs as expected to return structural integrity.



        Technology innovations may take the form of tools, models, algorithms, and devices.



        All proposals should discuss means for verification and validation of proposed methods and tools in operationally valid, or end-user, contexts.

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      • 52149

        A1.05Sensing and Diagnostic Capabilities for Degradation in Aircraft Materials and Structures

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC

        Many conventional nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and integrated vehicle health management (IVHM) techniques have been used for flaw detection, but have shown little potential for much broader application. One element in NASA's effort to ensure the integrity of future vehicles is research to… Read more>>

        Many conventional nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and integrated vehicle health management (IVHM) techniques have been used for flaw detection, but have shown little potential for much broader application. One element in NASA's effort to ensure the integrity of future vehicles is research to identify changes in fundamental material properties as indicators of material aging-related hazards before they become critical. For example, composites can exhibit a number of micromechanisms such as fiber buckling and breakage, matrix cracking and delaminations as precursor to failure. For complex metallic components an inability to determine residual stress state limits the validity of predictions of the fatigue life of the component.


        To further these goals, NDE and IVHM technologies are being sought for the nondestructive characterization of age-related degradation in complex materials and structures. Innovative and novel approaches to using NDE technologies to measure properties related to manufacturing defects, flaws, and material aging. Measurement techniques, models, and analysis methods related to quantifying material thermal properties, elastic properties, density, microcrack formation, fiber buckling and breakage, etc. in complex composite material systems, adhesively bonded/built-up and/or polymer-matrix composite sandwich structures are of particular interest. Other NDE and IVHM technologies being sought are those that enable the quantitative assessment of the strength of an adhesive region of bonded joints and repairs or enable the rapid inspection of large area structures. The anticipated outcome of successful proposals would be both a Phase II prototype technology for the use of the developed technique and a demonstration of the technology showing its ability to measure a relevant material property or structural damage in the advanced materials and structures in subsonic aircraft.



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      • 52145

        A1.06Propulsion Health State Assessment and Management

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC

        The 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… Read more>>

        The 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, health monitoring algorithms, and fault accommodating logic, which will detect, diagnose, prevent, assess, and allow recovery from propulsion system malfunctions, degradation, or damage. Specific technologies of interest include:


        • Self-awareness and diagnosis of gas path, combustion, and overall engine state (containment systems and rotating and static components), and fault-tolerant system architectures.
        • Analytical and data-driven techniques for diagnosing incipient faults in the presence deterioration, engine-to-engine variation, and transient operating conditions.
        • Innovative sensing techniques for the cost-effective assessment of turbomachinery health in harsh high-temperature environments including high temperature sensors including fiber optic and Microsystems, rotatodynamics monitoring, energy harvesting, communication, and packaging.
        • Prognostic techniques for the accurate assessment of remaining component life while in-flight.

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      • 51460

        A1.07Avionics Health State Assessment and Management

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): LaRC

        Shielded twisted-pair cables are already in common use on-board aircraft and spacecraft, and are destined to be ubiquitous in the all-electric aircraft designs of the future. At present, however, easy to use commercially available connector interfaces between this type of cable and electrical test… Read more>>

        Shielded twisted-pair cables are already in common use on-board aircraft and spacecraft, and are destined to be ubiquitous in the all-electric aircraft designs of the future. At present, however, easy to use commercially available connector interfaces between this type of cable and electrical test equipment (such as oscilloscopes, network analyzers, or handheld diagnostic units) are not readily available, and custom-built test fixtures are the norm. Given the widespread use of this cable type in other commercial wiring applications such as DSL, NASA is investing in the research and development of a commercial-grade product to address this need. Proposals are therefore sought for the design of a novel electrical connector system (or small portable interface board) that can interface the coaxial SMA (or 2.9 mm) ports of typical high-end electrical test equipment with a shielded twisted-pair (STP) cable (2 inner conductors surrounded by a shield). The design should provide two 50 ohm coaxial SMA (or 2.9 mm) inputs, each used to individually excite the common and differential modes of the cable, and one output connection to the STP cable itself. In addition, the design should minimize the mode cross coupling caused by the connector in the frequency range of interest (0-10 GHz). Finally, a critical part of the design must include a calibration method and set of calibration standards for obtaining a high-quality Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) based measurement (using a standard VNA) of the 4 port 4x4 S-parameter matrix covering the differential and common mode ports on each end of the TSP cable from 0-10 GHz.



        Proposals should address the design and the numerical verification of the connector and calibration standards in Phase I, with the experimental validation and the prototype construction reserved for Phase II. Use of a commercial electromagnetics simulator such as COMSOL is strongly encouraged. While the design does not need to be compact or inexpensive at this stage, any obvious impediments to its subsequent miniaturization or commercialization will be considered a serious weakness.



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      • 51574

        A1.08Crew Systems Technologies for Improved Aviation Safety

        Lead Center: LaRC

        The NASA Aviation Safety program aims to model and develop integrated crew-system interaction (ICSI) concepts and to subsequently evaluate this concept in a relevant operational environment in comparison to state-of-the-art. NASA seeks proposals for novel technologies and evaluation tools with high… Read more>>

        The NASA Aviation Safety program aims to model and develop integrated crew-system interaction (ICSI) concepts and to subsequently evaluate this concept in a relevant operational environment in comparison to state-of-the-art. NASA seeks proposals for novel technologies and evaluation tools with high potential to support an ICSI with effective crew-system interactions in the context of NextGen operational requirements (e.g., 4D trajectory-based operations, visual operations in non-visual meteorological conditions, etc.) and assumptions (e.g., net-centric information management environment) (NextGen described in http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/).



        To improve these interactions, we seek interventions that proactively identify and mitigate NextGen flight deck risks; address documented crew-related causal factors in accidents; and improve the ability to unobtrusively, effectively, and sensitively evaluate and model crew and crew-automation system performance. In particular, we seek proposals for the development of advanced technologies that address:


        • Crew challenges associated with piloting terminal area 4D Trajectory-Based Operations in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC).
        • Displays, decision-support, and automation interaction under off-nominal conditions; in particular in that lead to spatial disorientation and loss of energy state awareness leading to loss-of-control (LOC).
        • The appropriate levels of integrity for new classes of information to be made available to the crew as a result of NextGen's net centric information management environment.
        • Pilot proficiency in increasingly automated flight decks (e.g., manual handing skill erosion).
        • Optimal methods for information presentation as distributed over time and display space for multiple operators to maximize crew information processing and coordination.
        • Appropriate trust in, and therefore use of, automation and complex information sources by, for example, conveying constraints on automation reliability and information certainty/timeliness.
        • Effective joint cognitive system design and evaluation with multiple intelligent agents (human and automated, proximal and remote).
        • Improved oculometer, neurophysiological, or other sensors and/or data integration methods that would improve the ability to characterize operator functional status in real time.
        • Improved human-system interaction through effectively modulating operator state, and/or effectively adapting interfaces and automation in response to this functional status.
        • Evaluation of adaptive and adaptable crew-system interfaces.
        • A priori assessment of human error likelihood and consequence in NextGen scenarios



        Phase I proposals that demonstrate relevance to the NASA Aviation Safety Program's VSST and/or SSAT programs, include a detailed resource-loaded schedule, literature-based justification, highly competent staffing, prescription for Phase II work, and clear path to commercialization or utilization in NASA programs are most valued.

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      • 52156

        A1.09Integrated Vehicle Dynamics Modeling Methods for LOC Conditions

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

        Effective characterization of LOC conditions requires inclusion of the flight dynamics effects from multiple disciplines, including aerodynamics, structures, propulsion, and aeroelasticity. However, the types of data and data sets obtained from modeling in these various disciplines can be quite… Read more>>

        Effective characterization of LOC conditions requires inclusion of the flight dynamics effects from multiple disciplines, including aerodynamics, structures, propulsion, and aeroelasticity. However, the types of data and data sets obtained from modeling in these various disciplines can be quite disparate, even within a discipline (e.g., wind-tunnel static versus dynamic data versus CFD flow-field data), and is exacerbated when we consider the non-linear parts of the flight envelope. Further, disciplines have varying levels of sensitivity to certain flight conditions.



        Of interest are software tools that could take such disparate types of information and provide methods to manage and integrate them in a single environment to provide flight-dynamics-relevant implications. Examples include translating thrust response into force and moment increments to superimpose on the nominal aerodynamics, or applying aerodynamic load distributions to key structural components to define flight envelope boundaries based on structural load limits. Such tools can also be useful in highlighting flight conditions where data sets overlap and thus may provide good integrated model fidelity, versus conditions where fidelity may be limited, helping provide guidance on where research emphasis should be placed. Overall, concepts should be aimed at facilitating integrated model implementation into a flight simulation environment.



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      • 52157

        A1.10Advanced Dynamic Testing Capability for Abnormal Flight Conditions

        Lead Center: LaRC

        The goal of developing a comprehensive methodology for obtaining appropriate aerodynamic math models for flight vehicles over a greatly expanded flight envelope requires a more general formulation of the aerodynamic model that more accurately characterizes nonlinear steady and unsteady aerodynamics.… Read more>>

        The goal of developing a comprehensive methodology for obtaining appropriate aerodynamic math models for flight vehicles over a greatly expanded flight envelope requires a more general formulation of the aerodynamic model that more accurately characterizes nonlinear steady and unsteady aerodynamics. This leads to greater demands in the development of dynamic test techniques and correspondingly more demands on test facility capabilities. This topic is for the design and software for a prototype dynamic test rig for wind or water tunnel application, with guidance for scaling up to large facilities. The concept should be aimed at providing high-automation and productivity for arbitrary, programmable, multi-axis motions, and should consider the following test capabilities that are considered an important subset of possible motions for characterizing vehicle dynamics characteristics under abnormal flight conditions: conventional single-axis forced oscillation; constant-rate motion through the use of square and triangle waveforms; steady and oscillatory coning motions; inclined axis coning; coupled, multi-axis motion; and wide-band inputs, such as Schroeder sweeps. Design should include considerations for mitigating blockage and interference effects.



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      • 51564

        A1.11Transport Aircraft Simulator Motion Fidelity For Abnormal Flight Conditions

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC

        Piloted simulation remains an important enabling tool for a wide variety of research aimed at commercial aviation safety. Over the past decade, significant advances in aerodynamic modeling of large transport airplanes at high angles of attack are providing new capabilities for prediction of flight… Read more>>

        Piloted simulation remains an important enabling tool for a wide variety of research aimed at commercial aviation safety. Over the past decade, significant advances in aerodynamic modeling of large transport airplanes at high angles of attack are providing new capabilities for prediction of flight behavior in off-nominal or out-of-envelope conditions. As a result, piloted simulation is now being considered for flight training specifically aimed at stall and post-stall conditions. In addition, other technology areas focused on the problem of loss-of-control accidents, such as advanced controls and crew systems, now stand to benefit from this enhanced simulation capability.



        Simulator motion often plays an important role in simulator fidelity. For example, hexapod motion systems are commonly used for airline flight training and are justified by the increased transfer of training with the added realism of cockpit accelerations. However, it is recognized that all motion systems have limitations and therefore maneuvers must be designed to stay within the limits of the system's capabilities and range of effectiveness. The problem of aircraft upsets and loss-of-control typically involves large-amplitude motions due to extended excursions in vehicle attitudes and angular rates, and the desire to emulate the resulting accelerations has added a new challenge to simulator motion fidelity. A response to this need has been proposals for new motion systems that provide sustained cockpit accelerations that are possible during upset events. Over the past decade, limited research has been conducted on the effects of motion on upset training (both ground-based and in-flight simulation) and one approach has involved analysis of pilot performance with various types of training.



        This subtopic requests a broad study of the requirements and capabilities for simulator motion systems across the range of current and proposed systems, including fixed-base, hexapod, continuous-g and in-flight simulation. It is intended that this research be aimed at large-amplitude motions and address simulation facility requirements for research and training or other uses for a broad range of applications and technologies. In addition, proposals for new or enhanced motion cueing systems are encouraged if justified by this study.



        Desired outcomes of this research include but are not limited to the following:


        • Analysis of motion system requirements and cueing algorithms for large-amplitude maneuvers, including out-of-envelope or loss-of-control events for large transport airplanes.
        • A comparison of maneuver envelopes for current and proposed simulator motion devices.
        • Analysis of the state-of-the-art of motion systems that includes anticipated new requirements.
        • Physiological considerations for transfer of fidelity and realism of cockpit motion environments.
        • Benefits of various motion capabilities based on physiological factors, transfer of training, and other criteria as appropriate.
        • Integration of aerodynamic buffet effects and other cockpit noise and vibration sources.
        • Any other topics that are considered necessary to advance the state-of-the-art and utility of motion systems. for large amplitude maneuvers.
        • Long-term recommended research and potential advantages of advanced simulator motion fidelity.

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      • 51522

        A1.12Propulsion System Performance Prediction for Integrated Flight and Propulsion Control

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): LaRC

        In current aircraft, the flight and propulsion controls are designed independently and pilots manually integrate them through manipulation of the cockpit controls. Although the pilot manages these individual systems well under normal conditions, an integrated design approach would be able to achieve… Read more>>

        In current aircraft, the flight and propulsion controls are designed independently and pilots manually integrate them through manipulation of the cockpit controls. Although the pilot manages these individual systems well under normal conditions, an integrated design approach would be able to achieve maximum benefit from these systems under abnormal conditions, especially for energy management and coordinated control for upset prevention and recovery. NextGen operations might also benefit, especially relative to 4-D trajectory management. If properly integrated up front in the flight control design, the propulsion system could be an effective flight control actuator. However, in order to optimally integrate the two systems, the engine performance must be known. The propulsion performance is dependent on operating condition, and many safety constraints make it highly nonlinear. Thus it is necessary to have a system that can continuously predict the engine performance and constraints at the current operating condition and communicate this to the flight control system to facilitate optimal flight and propulsion integration. Ideally, the flight control system should be able to treat the propulsion system as a linear time-varying constrained system for real-time control purposes. Including the propulsion system in the flight control design provides another degree of freedom for the designer, and because the propulsion system is such a powerful actuator, it is one that potentially enhances upset prevention and recovery. Developing the ability to use the propulsion system to augment the flight control while still providing traditional pilot interaction with the cockpit controls can improve maneuverability and safety transparently.



        Under this research subtopic, an approach to predicting, and communicating engine dynamic response that facilitates integrated flight and propulsion control would be developed. This is a prerequisite to utilizing the engines as flight control actuators to improve maneuverability and aid in upset prevention and recovery.



        Potential NASA resources:

        Commercial Modular Aero-Propulsion System Simulation40k (C-MAPSS40k) and Generic Transport Model (GTM).



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      • 52111

        A1.13Advanced Upset Protection System

        Lead Center: AFRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, LaRC

        One of the common causes for Loss of control (LOC) is the crew's lack of awareness of the current energy state relative to the current mission phase and inappropriate response to a low or high-energy state. Technologies to prevent the development of an inappropriate energy state via manual aids and… Read more>>

        One of the common causes for Loss of control (LOC) is the crew's lack of awareness of the current energy state relative to the current mission phase and inappropriate response to a low or high-energy state. Technologies to prevent the development of an inappropriate energy state via manual aids and automatic approaches are crucial for the prevention of loss of control.



        In large airplanes, energy management refers to the ability to know and control the complex combination of the aircraft's airspeed and speed trend, altitude and vertical speed, configuration, and thrust. For example, near-terminal operations (takeoff and landing) require precise control of airspeed to achieve optimum performance while maintaining safe stall margin, and altitude management is critical for approaches. The penalty for improper energy management can be de-stabilized approaches, excessive pilot workload leading to distraction, and ultimately inadequate altitude or airspeed to recover from a loss-of-control event (e.g., stall). Many loss-of-control incidents/accidents can be attributed to improper management of airspeed, especially those leading to aerodynamic stall or departure from controlled flight.



        Under this research subtopic, an envelope protection system would be developed to prevent low and high energy states based on the aircraft's current mission phase objectives. The envelope protection system should investigate the automatic use of the propulsion system, landing gear and secondary flight controls to maintain energy state. Methods to display information on system status to the pilot should also be considered to prevent adverse pilot interaction with the envelope protection system. Use on both current and NextGen aircraft should also be considered.



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      • 52099

        A1.14Detection, Identification, and Mitigation of Sensor Failures

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC

        Faults related to aircraft sensing systems have been a major cause of loss-of-control accidents and incidents. For example, an airspeed sensing system fault is suspected of setting into motion a chain of events that resulted in the loss of Air France flight 447 (June 2009); a faulty altimeter is… Read more>>

        Faults related to aircraft sensing systems have been a major cause of loss-of-control accidents and incidents. For example, an airspeed sensing system fault is suspected of setting into motion a chain of events that resulted in the loss of Air France flight 447 (June 2009); a faulty altimeter is suspected in the stall and crash of Turkish Airline flight 1951 (February 2009); and faulty angle-of-attack sensing is suspected of causing violent uncommanded motion in Qantas Flight 72 (October 2008). Sensor redundancy is essential to ensure safety and reliability of the flight systems; however, redundancy alone may not be sufficient to avoid problems due to common mode failures across redundant sensors (such as suspected Pitot tube icing in all airspeed sensors). Therefore, research is needed to utilize all information available from multiple- possibly diverse- sensors in order to rapidly detect and isolate sensor faults in real time. The research would involve information fusion across multiple sensors, detection of erroneous behavior within a sensor or sensor suite, and mitigation of information loss through algorithmic redundancy and design to estimate the lost information from a failed sensor. The aim of the research would be to develop technology to prevent loss of control due to sensing system faults.



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      • 51568

        A1.15Unmanned Vehicle Design for Loss-of-Control Flight Research

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC

        Recent advances in unmanned vehicle systems have enabled subscale flight testing using remotely piloted or autonomous vehicles to obtain high fidelity estimates of key aircraft performance parameters. An important requirement for obtaining relevant dynamic flight data from subscale vehicles is to… Read more>>

        Recent advances in unmanned vehicle systems have enabled subscale flight testing using remotely piloted or autonomous vehicles to obtain high fidelity estimates of key aircraft performance parameters. An important requirement for obtaining relevant dynamic flight data from subscale vehicles is to apply dynamic scaling to the aircraft, so as to provide scaled inertial and mass properties, as well as geometric similitude.



        The use of these vehicles is of particular interest in aviation safety studies because they allow exploration into unusual flight attitudes and upset conditions that are difficult to test in full scale aircraft due to structural limits and other safety concerns. Models of the stall and departure characteristics, as can be identified through flight testing, are needed to improve both aircraft training simulators as well as allow the design of control systems to reduce loss-of-control accidents.



        Proposals are sought for a subscale civil transport vehicle design for remotely operated flight testing that allows a wide range of vehicle configurations. The vehicle should be modular in construction to emulate configurations representative of both conventional tail jet transports with under-wing engines and T-tail transports with rear mounted engines. In addition, the design should allow ballasting to achieve a range of target inertias and center of gravity locations. The ability to introduce flexible components for aeroelastic effects, as well components to model structural and control surface failures are also of interest.



        Proposals should address construction methods that allow tradeoffs in costs and complexity while maintaining structural integrity required for loss-of-control flight testing. Control surfaces should be distributed to provide redundancy and allow for experiments involving actuator failures and in-flight dynamic simulation. Vehicle size should be consistent with commercially available turbine engines and allow road transport with manual field assembly.



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      • 51565

        A1.16Validation Methods for Safety-Critical Systems Operating under LOC Conditions

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC

        Validation of future complex integrated systems designed to ensure flight safety under off-nominal conditions associated with aircraft loss of control is a significant challenge. Future systems will ensure vehicle flight safety by integrating vehicle health management functions, resilient control… Read more>>

        Validation of future complex integrated systems designed to ensure flight safety under off-nominal conditions associated with aircraft loss of control is a significant challenge. Future systems will ensure vehicle flight safety by integrating vehicle health management functions, resilient control functions, flight safety assessment and prediction functions, and crew interface and variable autonomy functions. Each of these functions is characterized by algorithmic diversity that must be addressed in the validation process. Vehicle health management involves diagnostic and prognostic algorithms that utilize stochastic decision-based reasoning and extensive information processing and data fusion. Resilient control functions can involve adaptive control algorithms that utilize time-varying parameters and/or hybrid system switching. Flight safety management may involve diagnostic and prognostic reasoning algorithms as well as control theoretic algorithms. Crew interface functions involve displays that are human-factors-based and require information processing and reasoning, and variable autonomy will require assessment and reasoning algorithms. Onboard modeling functions will involve system identification algorithms and databases. Normal operating conditions of the future may extend beyond current-day operational limits. Moreover, safe operation under off-nominal conditions that could lead to loss-of-control events will be a focus of the system design. In particular, operation under abnormal flight conditions, external hazards and disturbances, adverse onboard conditions, and key combinations of these conditions will be a major part of the operational complexity required for future safety-critical systems. Future air transportation systems must also be considered under operational complexity, such as requirements for dense all-weather operations, self separation of aircraft, and mixed capabilities of aircraft operating in the same airspace, including current and future vehicle configurations as well as piloted and autonomous vehicles.



        System validation is a confirmation that the algorithms are performing the intended function under all possible operating conditions. The validation process must be capable of identifying potentially problematic regions of operation (and their boundaries) and exposing system limitations - particularly for operation under off-nominal and hazardous conditions related to loss of control. New methods, metrics, and software tools must be established for algorithms that cannot be thoroughly evaluated using existing methods. Innovative research proposals are sought to address any of the following areas:


        • Analytical Validation Methods.
        • Predictive Capability Assessment Methods.
        • Real-Time (or Run-Time) Validation Methods.



        Analytical validation methods are comprised of a set of analytical methods and tools that facilitate the accurate prediction of system properties under various operating and off-nominal conditions. A wide variety of analytical methods will be needed to evaluate stability and performance of various and dissimilar system functions, robustness to adverse and abnormal conditions, and reliability under errors, faults, failures, and damage. These methods and software tools will be utilized offline and prior to implementation in representative avionics system software and hardware. These methods will enable analysis under a wide range of conditions, and be used to facilitate nonlinear simulation-based and experimental evaluations under selected potentially problematic conditions in order to expose system deficiencies and limitations over a very large operational space. Analytical methods and tools applicable to determining stability, performance, robustness, and reliability of nonlinear, time-varying, and/or hybrid systems involving control theoretic, diagnostic/prognostic, and/or reasoning systems are sought.



        Predictive capability assessment is an evaluation of the validity and level of confidence that can be placed in the validation process and results under nominal and off-nominal conditions (and their associated boundaries). The need for this evaluation arises from the inability to fully evaluate these technologies under actual loss-of-control conditions. A detailed disclosure is required of model, simulation, and emulation validity for the off-nominal conditions being considered in the validation, interactions that have been neglected, assumptions that have been made, and uncertainties associated with the models and data. Cross-correlations should be utilized between analytical, simulation and ground test, and flight test results in order to corroborate the results and promote efficiency in covering the very large space of operational and off-nominal conditions being evaluated. The level of confidence in the validation process and results must be established for subsystem technologies as well as the fully integrated system. This includes an evaluation of error propagation effects across subsystems, and an evaluation of integrated system effectiveness in mitigating off-nominal conditions and preventing cascading errors, faults, and failures across subsystems. Metrics for performing this evaluation are also needed. Uncertainty-based and/or statistical-based methods and tools that enable the determination of level of confidence in the validation of uncertain systems operating under extreme conditions are sought.



        Real-time (or run-time) validation methods are needed for the onboard monitoring of crucial system properties whose violation could compromise safety of flight. These properties might include closed-loop stability, robustness margins, or underlying theoretical assumptions that must not be violated. This information could be used as part of a real-time safety-of-flight assessment system for the vehicle. Real-time methods and software tools are sought that enable onboard validation of nonlinear, time-varying, and reasoning systems.



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      • 51465

        A1.17Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery

        Lead Center: ARC

        The fulfillment of the SSAT project's goal requires the ability to transform the vast amount of data produced by the aircraft and associated systems and people into actionable knowledge that will aid in detection, causal analysis, and prediction at levels ranging from the aircraft-level, to the… Read more>>

        The fulfillment of the SSAT project's goal requires the ability to transform the vast amount of data produced by the aircraft and associated systems and people into actionable knowledge that will aid in detection, causal analysis, and prediction at levels ranging from the aircraft-level, to the fleet-level, and ultimately to the level of the national airspace. The vastness of this data means that data mining methods must be efficient and scalable so that they can return results quickly. Additionally, much of this data will be distributed among multiple systems. Data mining methods that can operate on the distributed data directly are critical because centralizing large volumes of data is typically impractical. However, these methods must be provably able to return the same results as what a comparable method would return if the data could be centralized because this is a critical part of verifying and validating these algorithms, which is important for aviation safety applications. Additionally, algorithms that can learn in an online fashion---can learn from new data in incremental fashion without having to re-learn from the old data---will be important to allow deployed algorithms to update themselves as the national airspace evolves. The data is also heterogeneous: it consists of text data (e.g., aviation safety reports), discrete sequences (e.g., pilot switches, phases of flight), continuous time-series data (e.g., flight-recorded data), radar track data, and others. Data mining methods that can operate on such diverse data are needed because no one data source is likely to be sufficient for anomaly detection, causal analysis, and prediction.



        This topic will yield efficient and scalable data-driven algorithms for anomaly detection, causal analysis, and prediction that are able to operate at levels ranging from the aircraft level to the fleet level. To that end, the methods must be able to efficiently learn from vast historical time-series datasets (at least 10 TB) that are heterogeneous (contain continuous, discrete, and/or text data). Distributed data-driven algorithms that provably return the same results as a comparable method that requires data to be centralized are also of great interest. Online algorithms that can update their models in incremental fashion are also of great interest for this subtopic.



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      • 51454

        A1.18Prognostics and Decision Making

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC, LaRC

        The benefit of prognostics will be realized by converting remaining life estimates and dynamically changing context information into actionable decisions. These decisions can then be enacted at the appropriate level, depending on the prognostic time horizon and safety criticality of the affected… Read more>>

        The benefit of prognostics will be realized by converting remaining life estimates and dynamically changing context information into actionable decisions. These decisions can then be enacted at the appropriate level, depending on the prognostic time horizon and safety criticality of the affected area. In particular, information about RUL could be used either reflexively, through resource re-allocation, through mission replanning, or through appropriate maintenance action.



        To maximize the impact, it is necessary to provide an accurate and precise prognostic output, carefully manage uncertainty, and provide an appropriate contingency. This effort addresses the development of innovative methods, technologies, and tools for the prognosis of aircraft faults and failures in aircraft systems and how to decide on remedial actions.



        Areas of interest include the development of methods for estimation of RUL, which take into account future operational and environmental conditions; for dealing with inherent uncertainties; for building physics-based models of degradation; for generation of example aging and degradation datasets on relevant components or subsystems; and for development of validation and verification methodologies for prognostics.



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


        • Novel RUL prediction techniques that improve accuracy, precision, and robustness of RUL output, for example through the fusion of different methods.
        • Uncertainty representation and management (reduction of prediction uncertainty bounds) methods. Proposers are encouraged to consider uncertainties due to measurement noise, imperfect models and algorithms, as well as uncertainties stemming from future anticipated loads and environmental conditions.
        • Contingency management methods that act on predictive information. Particular interest is for methods that address the medium-and long term prognostic horizons.
        • Verification and validation methods for prognostic algorithms.
        • Aircraft relevant test beds that can generate aging and degradation datasets for the development and testing of prognostic techniques.



        All methods should be demonstrated on a set of fault modes for a device or component such as composite airframe structures, engine turbomachinery and hot structures, avionics, electrical power systems, or electronics. Prognostic performance needs to be measured on benchmark data sets using prognostic metrics for accuracy, precision, and robustness. Metrics should include prognostic horizon (PH), alpha-lambda, relative accuracy (RA), convergence, and R_delta.



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      • 51466

        A1.19Technologies for Improved Design and Analysis of Safety-Critical Dynamic Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        The NASA Aviation Safety program seeks proposals to support the development of robust human interactive, dynamic, safety-critical systems. The aviation Safety program is particularly interested in methods and tools that support predictive analysis of Human - Automation Interaction of mixed… Read more>>

        The NASA Aviation Safety program seeks proposals to support the development of robust human interactive, dynamic, safety-critical systems. The aviation Safety program is particularly interested in methods and tools that support predictive analysis of Human - Automation Interaction of mixed initiative systems in complex environments.



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


        • Computational/modeling approaches to support determining appropriate human-automation function allocations with respect to safety and reliability. Specifically these methods should focus on metrics that describe the robustness and resilience of a proposed human - automation function allocation.
        • Analysis tools and methods that improve the application of human-centered design principles to the design and certification of mixed human-automated systems.
        • Design and analysis methods or tools to better predict and assess human and system performance in relevant operational environments (e.g., future generations of air traffic management) , particularly in regards to procedural errors. Specifically, this work should include performance estimates that account for differences in training and proficiency.
        • Analysis tools to support the use of mixed initiative systems in off-nominal conditions.
        • Tools that provide validated human performance analysis early in the design process.



        Proposals should describe novel design methods, metrics, and/or tools with high potential to serve the objectives of the Human Systems Solutions element of NASA's Aviation Safety Program's System-wide Safety Assurance Technologies project. Successful Phase I proposals should provide a literature review that on which the proposed work is based, a detailed schedule, and should culminate in a final report that specifies, and a Phase II proposal that would realize, tools that improve the analysis process for human-automation systems in aerospace, or improves the ability to assess effectiveness of such systems during the design phase. All proposals should discuss means for verification and validation of proposed methods and tools in operationally valid, or end-user, contexts.



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      • 52272

        A1.20Verification and Validation of Flight-Critical Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, LaRC

        The Aviation Safety program has been put in charge of addressing the JPDO concerns that current V&V techniques are not sufficient to verify and validate NextGen. This is reflected in the VVFCS element under the SSAT project in the Aviation Safety program. VVFCS has four major themes: … Read more>>

        The Aviation Safety program has been put in charge of addressing the JPDO concerns that current V&V techniques are not sufficient to verify and validate NextGen. This is reflected in the VVFCS element under the SSAT project in the Aviation Safety program.



        VVFCS has four major themes:


        • Argument-based safety assurance, which aims at unifying and formalizing how V&V results for ground and airborne software systems are folded into a safety argument for certification.
        • Distributed Systems, which aims at developing guidance on the V&V of distributed applications, e.g., communication topologies, mixed-criticality architectures, and fault tolerance schemes.
        • Authority and Autonomy, which explores the modeling and analysis of authority problems in the NAS when viewed as a distributed system within which automation and humans interact.
        • Software-intensive systems, which focuses on early, formal methods for the V&V of software systems.



        This year, VVFCS is interested in technologies that can be transitioned (meaning that tools are made available) to industry in the following areas:


        • Run-time monitoring.
        • Safety case.
        • Static analysis.
        • Code libraries implementing fundamental technologies that can be used in formal method research, such as:

          • Memory and time efficient decision procedures.
          • Memory and time efficient abstractions for static analysis.





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    • + Expand Fundamental Aeronautics Topic

      Topic A2 Fundamental Aeronautics PDF


      The Fundamental Aeronautics Program conducts cutting-edge research to achieve technological capabilities necessary to overcome national challenges in air transportation including reduced noise, emissions, and fuel consumption, increased mobility through a faster means of transportation, and the ability to ascend/descend through planetary atmospheres. These technological capabilities enable design solutions for performance and environmental challenges of future air vehicles. Research in revolutionary aircraft configurations, lighter and stronger materials, improved propulsion systems, and advanced concepts for high lift and drag reduction all target the efficiency and environmental compatibility of future air vehicles. The program develops physics-based, multidisciplinary design, analysis and optimization tools to enable evaluation of new vehicle designs and to assess the potential impact of design innovations on a vehicle's overall performance. The FA Program consists of four projects:

      • Subsonic Fixed Wing addresses the challenge of enabling revolutionary energy efficiency improvements of subsonic/transonic transport aircraft that dramatic reduce harmful emissions and noise for sustained growth of the air transportation system Improvements in prediction tools and new experimental methods Noise prediction and reduction technologies for airframe and propulsion systems Emissions reduction technologies and prediction tools Improved vehicle performance through design and development of lightweight, multifunctional and durable structural components, low drag aerodynamic components, and higher bypass ratio engines with efficient power plants, and advanced aircraft configurations Reduce take off and landing field length requirements Multi-disciplinary design and analysis tools and processes.
      • Subsonic Rotary Wing addresses the challenge of radically improving the transportation system using rotary wing vehicles by increasing speed, range, and payload while decreasing noise and emissions. Enable variable-speed rotor concepts Contain the external noise within the landing area and reduce internal noise Assess multiple active rotorcraft concepts Advance technologies such as crashworthiness, safe operations in icing conditions, and condition based maintenance methodologies.
      • Supersonics addresses the challenge of eliminating the environmental and performance barriers that prevent practical supersonic vehicles (cruise efficiency, noise and emissions, performance) Efficiency (supersonic cruise, light weight and durability at high temperature) Jet noise reduction relative to an unsuppressed jet Light weight and durability at high temperature) Environmental challenges (airport noise, sonic boom, high altitude emissions) Performance challenges (aero-propulso-servo-elastic analysis and design, cruise lift/drag ratio) Multidisciplinary design, analysis and optimization challenges.
      • Hypersonics addresses the challenge of enabling airbreathing access to space and high mass entry, descent, and landing into planetary atmospheres Fundamental research to enable very-high speed flight (for airbreathing launch vehicles) and Entry, Descent and Landing into planetary atmospheres High-temperature materials, thermal protection systems (single and multi-use), airbreathing propulsion, aero-thermodynamics, multi-disciplinary analysis and design, guidance, navigation, and control, advanced experimental capabilities, and supersonic decelerator technologies Accurate predictive models for high-speed compressible flow including turbulence, heating, ablation, combustion, and their interactions in order to reduce the uncertainty in predictions of aerodynamic heat loads during the design of hypersonic vehicles Additional information: (http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/fap/index.html).

      • 51523

        A2.01Materials and Structures for Future Aircraft

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, LaRC

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

        Advanced materials and structures technologies are needed in all four of the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program research thrusts (Subsonics Fixed Wing, Subsonics Rotary Wing, Supersonics, and Hypersonics) to enable the design and development of advanced future aircraft. Proposals are sought that address specific design and development challenges associated with airframe and propulsion systems. These proposals should be linked to improvements in aircraft performance indicators such as vehicle weight, fuel consumption, noise, lift, drag, durability, and emissions. In general, the technologies of interest cover five research themes:


        Fundamental Materials Development, Processing and Characterization

        Innovative approaches to enhance the durability, processability, performance and reliability of advanced materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, nanostructured materials, hybrids and coatings). In particular, proposals are sought in:


        • Advanced high temperature materials for aircraft engine and airframe components and thermal protection systems, including advanced blade and disk alloys, ceramics and CMCs, polymers and PMCs, nanostructured materials, hybrid materials and coatings to improve environmental durability.
        • New adaptive materials such as piezoelectric ceramics, shape memory alloys, shape memory polymers, and variable stiffness materials and methods to integrate these materials into airframe and/or aircraft engine structures to change component shape, dampen vibrations, and/or attenuate acoustic transmission through the structure.
        • Multifunctional materials and structural concepts for engine and airframe structures, such as novel approaches to power harvesting and thermal management, lightning strike mitigating, self-sensing, and materials for wireless sensing and actuation.
        • New high strength fibers, in particular low density, high strength and stiffness carbon fibers.
        • Innovative processing methods to reduce component manufacturing costs and improve damage tolerance, performance and reliability of ceramics, shape memory alloys, polymers, composites, and hybrids, nanostructured and multifunctional materials and coatings.
        • Development of joining and integration technologies including fasteners and/or chemical joining methods for ceramic-to-ceramic, metal-to-metal (with an emphasis on joining dissimilar forms of nickel base superalloys, e.g., powder metallurgy to cast or directionally solidified alloys), and metal-to-ceramic as well as solid state joining methods such as advanced friction stir welding.
        • Innovative methods for the evaluation of advanced materials and structural concepts (in particular multifunctional and/or adaptive) under simulated operating conditions, including combinations of electrical, thermal and mechanical loads.
        • Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods for the detection of as-fabricated flaws and in-service damage for textile polymeric, ceramic and metal matrix composites, nanostructured materials and hybrids. NDE methods that provide quantitative information on residual structural performance are preferred.



        Structural Analysis Tools and Procedures

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


        • Multiscale design tools for aircraft and engine structures that integrate novel materials, mechanism design, and structural subcomponent design into systems level designs.
        • Life prediction tools for textile composites including fiber architecture modeling methods that enable the development of physics-based hierarchical analysis methods. Fiber architecture models that address yarn-to-yarn and ply-to-ply interactions covering a wide range of textile perform structures in either a relaxed or compressed deformation state as well as tools to predict debonding and delamination of through thickness reinforced (stitched, z-pinned) composites are of particular interest.
        • Tools to predict durability and damage tolerance of new material forms including metallic-composite hybrids, friction stir-welded metallic materials and powder metallurgy-formed materials.
        • Meso scale tools to guide materials placement to enable tailored load paths in multifunctional structures for enhanced damage tolerance.



        Computational Materials Development Tools

        Methods to predict properties, damage tolerance, and/or durability of both airframe and propulsion materials, thermal protection systems and ablatives based upon chemistry and processing for conventional as well as functionally graded, nanostructured, multifunctional and adaptive materials. In particular proposals are sought in:


        • Ab-initio methods that enable the development of coatings for multiple uses at temperatures above 3000°F in an air environment.
        • Computational tool development for structure-property modeling of adaptive materials such as piezoelectric ceramics, shape memory alloys, shape memory polymers to characterize their physical and mechanical behavior under the influence of an external stimulus.
        • Computational and analytical tools to enable molecular design of polymeric and/nanostructured materials with tailored multifunctional characteristics.
        • Computational microstructural and thermodynamic analysis tools and technique development for designing new lightweight alloy compositions for subsonic airframe and engines from first principles, functionally graded (chemically or microstructurally) materials, and/or novel metals processing techniques to accelerate materials development and understanding of processing-structure-property relationships.
        • Software tools to predict temperature dependent phase chemistries, volume fractions, shape and size distributions, and lattice parameters of phases in a broad range of nickel and iron-nickel based superalloys. Toolset should utilize thermodynamic and kinetic databases and models that are fully accessible, which allow modifications and user-input to expand experimental databases and refine model predictions.



        Advanced Structural Concepts

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


        • Innovative structural concepts, materials, manufacturing and fabrication leading to reliable, entry descent and landing systems including deployable rigid and flexible heat shields and structurally integrated multifunctional systems. Of particular interest are high temperature honeycombs, hat stiffeners, rigid fibrous and foam insulators, as well as high temperature adhesives, films and fabrics for advanced flexible heat shields.
        • New actuator concepts employing shape memory alloys.
        • Advanced mechanical component technologies including self-lubricating coatings, oil-free bearings, and seals.
        • Advanced material and component technologies to enable the development of mechanical and electrical drive system to enable the development of turboelectric propulsion systems, which utilize power from a single turbine engine generator to drive multiple propulsive fans. Innovative concepts are sought for AC-tolerant, low loss ( 1.5 T field and 500 Hz electrical frequency; and high efficiency (= 30% of Carnot), low mass (
        • Novel structural designs for integrated fan cases that combine hardwall composite cases for blade containment with acoustic treatments as well as concepts that integrate the case with the fan inlet to maximize structural, acoustic attenuation and weight benefits.
        • Innovative approaches to structural sensors for extreme environments (>1800°F) including the development and validation of improved methods (i.e., adhesives, plasma spraying techniques, etc.) for attaching sensors to advanced high-temperature materials as well as approaches to measure strain, temperature, heat flux and/or acceleration of structural components.

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      • 51521

        A2.02Combustion for Aerospace Vehicles

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): LaRC

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

        Combustion research is critical for the development of future aerospace vehicles. Vehicles for subsonic and supersonic flight regimes will be required to emit extremely low amounts of gaseous and particulate emissions to satisfy increasingly stringent emissions regulations. Hypersonic vehicles require combustion systems capable of sustaining stable and efficient combustion in very high speed flow fields where fuel/air mixing must be accomplished very rapidly and residence times for combustion are extremely limited; a major challenge is developing scaling laws that will allow the size of scramjet engines to be increased by a factor of 10, i.e., to mass flow rates of 100 lbm/sec. Fundamental combustion research coupled with associated physics based model development of combustion processes will provide the foundation for technology development critical for aerospace vehicles. Combustion for aerospace vehicles typically involves multi-phase, multi-component fuel, turbulent, unsteady, 3D, reacting flows where much of the physics of the processes are not completely understood. CFD codes used for combustion do not currently have the predictive capability that is typically found for non reacting flows. Practical aerospace combustion concepts typically require very rapid mixing of the fuel and air with a minimum pressure loss to achieve complete combustion in the smallest volume. Reducing emissions may require combustor operation where combustion instability can be an issue and active control may be required. Areas of specific interest where research is solicited includes:


        • Development of laser-based diagnostics and novel experimental techniques for measurements in reacting flows.
        • Two-phase flow simulation models and validation data under supercritical conditions.
        • Development of ultra-sensitive instruments for measuring gas turbine black carbon emissions at temperatures and pressures characteristic of commercial aircraft cruise altitudes.
        • High frequency actuators (bandwidth ~1000 Hz) that can be used to modulate fuel flow at multiple fuel injection locations (with individual Flow Numbers of 3 to 5) with minimal fuel pressure drop for active combustion control.
        • Combustion instability modeling and validation.
        • Novel combustion simulation methodologies.
        • Concepts that will allow the scaling of scramjet engines burning hydrogen and/or hydrocarbon fuels.



        The following areas are of particular interest:


        • The effect that size has on mixing, injection, and thermal loading losses.
        • The effect of size on mixing and flame propagation.
        • The effect of size on injection strategies.
        • The scaling of ignition devices, flameholders, and mixing devices.
        • The effect that the size and thickness of the incoming boundary layer has on ignition devices and flameholders.
        • Whether there is a ratio between the size of inviscid stirring structures and turbulent structures that is optimal for rapid mixing.

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      • 51566

        A2.03Aero-Acoustics

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

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

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

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

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      • 51570

        A2.04Aeroelasticity

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC

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

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


        The program's work on aeroelasticity includes conduct of broad-based research and technology development to obtain a fundamental understanding of aeroelastic and unsteady-aerodynamic phenomena experienced by aerospace vehicles in subsonic, transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic speed regimes. The program content includes theoretical aeroelasticity, experimental aeroelasticity, and advanced aeroservoelastic concepts. Of interest are:


        • Aeroelastic, aeroservoelastic, and unsteady aerodynamic analyses at the appropriate level of fidelity for the problem at hand.
        • Aeroelastic, aeroservoelastic, and unsteady aerodynamic experiments to validate methodologies and to gain valuable insights available only through testing.
        • Development of computational-fluid-dynamic, computational-aeroelastic, and computational-aeroservoelastic analysis tools that advance the state of the art in aeroelasticity through novel and creative application of aeroelastic knowledge.



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


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

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      • 51573

        A2.05Aerodynamics

        Lead Center: LaRC

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

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

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



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



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



        This solicitation seeks proposals to develop and validate:


        • Turbulence models and advanced computational techniques such as detached eddy, large eddy, or direct numerical simulations that capture the physics of separation onset at Reynolds numbers relevant to flight, where relevant to flight is dependent on a targeted vehicle class and mission profile.
        • Boundary-layer transition models suitable for direct integration with state-of-the-art flow solvers.
        • Active flow control concepts targeted at separation control, shock wave manipulation, and/or viscous drag reduction with an emphasis on the development of novel, practical, lightweight, low-energy actuators.
        • Innovative aerodynamic concepts targeted at vehicle efficiency or control, including but not limited to concepts targeted at turbulent boundary skin friction drag reduction.
        • Physics-based models for simultaneous low boom/low drag prediction and design.
        • Aerodynamic concepts enabling simultaneous low boom and low drag objectives.
        • Innovative methods to validate both flow models and aerodynamic concepts with an emphasis on aft-shock effects, which are hindered by conventional wind tunnel model mounting approaches.
        • Uncertainty quantification methods suitable for use with state-of-the-art flow solvers.
        • Accurate aerodynamic analysis and multidisciplinary design tools for multi-body flexible structures in the atmospheres of planets and moons including the Earth, Mars, and Titan.
        • Advanced flow control technologies to alleviate off-design performance penalties for reusable hypersonic vehicles.

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      • 51462

        A2.06Aerothermodynamics

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC, LaRC

        Development of hypersonic flight vehicles for airbreathing access to space and for planetary entry poses several design challenges. One of the primary obstacles is the large uncertainty in predictive capability of the aerothermal environment to which these vehicles are subjected. For airbreathing… Read more>>

        Development of hypersonic flight vehicles for airbreathing access to space and for planetary entry poses several design challenges. One of the primary obstacles is the large uncertainty in predictive capability of the aerothermal environment to which these vehicles are subjected. For airbreathing access to space vehicles, predictions of boundary layer transition to turbulence and shock boundary layer interactions in a turbulent flow regime are sources of large aerothermal uncertainty and require conservative assumptions. For planetary entry vehicles with either rigid or flexible thermal protection systems (TPS), sources of large aerothermal uncertainty in high enthalpy conditions also include the catalytic or ablative properties of the TPS. The fluid dynamic and thermochemical interactions of a rough ablating surface with the aerothermal environment leads to many poorly understood coupled phenomena such as early boundary layer transition, turbulent heating augmentation, catalytic heating, radiation absorption, etc. At high entry speeds and large vehicle sizes, shock layer radiation becomes a large component of the aeroheating, with an increasing fraction of the radiation produced in the poorly understood vacuum ultraviolet part of the spectrum. The low confidence in the predictive capability is apparent in high enthalpy flows that are often difficult to adequately reproduce in a ground test facility.



        The model uncertainties require designers to resort to large margins, resulting in reduced mission capabilities and increased costs. Future science and human exploration missions to Mars and other planets will require dramatic improvements in our current capability to land large payloads safely on these worlds. Research in aerothermodynamics focuses on solving some of the most difficult challenges in hypersonic flight. These include the development of predictive models via experimental validation for shock layer radiation phenomena, non-equilibrium thermodynamic and transport properties, catalycity, transition and turbulence, and ablation phenomena, as well as the development of new experimental datasets, especially in high enthalpy flow that can be used to validate theoretical and computational models.



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


        • Advancement of NASA boundary layer transition tools, especially including high enthalpy effects.
        • Development of shock turbulent boundary layer interaction models and validation with an experimental program.
        • Development of radiation models supported by experimental validation in a laboratory (using shock tube, plasma torch, etc.) simulating extreme entry environments at Earth, Mars, Titan, and the Giant Planets.
        • Development of high enthalpy RANS level turbulence models in a rough, ablating environment using experimentation or use of high fidelity computational techniques such as DNS or LES.
        • Development of instrumentation for use in high-enthalpy flows to measure pressure, shear, radiation intensity, and off body flow quantities with enhanced capability such as high frequency measurements and/or high temperature tolerance.
        • Development of tools and techniques that enable remote thermal imaging of entry vehicles with high temperature and spatial resolution, and lower uncertainty than the state-of-the art.
        • Development of numerical techniques and computational tools that advance the start-of-the-art in computations of unsteady, turbulent separated flows with reasonable computational efficiency.


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      • 51464

        A2.07Flight and Propulsion Control and Dynamics

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, GRC, LaRC

        NASA is conducting fundamental aeronautic research to develop innovative ideas that can lead to next generation aircraft design concepts with improved aerodynamic efficiency, lower emissions, less fuel burn, and reduced noise and carbon footprints. To realize these potential benefits, innovative… Read more>>

        NASA is conducting fundamental aeronautic research to develop innovative ideas that can lead to next generation aircraft design concepts with improved aerodynamic efficiency, lower emissions, less fuel burn, and reduced noise and carbon footprints. To realize these potential benefits, innovative vehicle design concepts can exhibit many complex modes of interactions due to many different effects of flight physics such as aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, propulsion, structural dynamics, and external environment in all three flight regimes. Advanced flight control strategies for innovative aircraft design concepts are seen as an enabling technology that can harvest potential benefits derived from these complex modes of interaction. The following technology areas are of particular interest:



        Active Aeroelastic Wing Shape Tailoring for Aircraft Performance and Control

        Modern aircraft are increasingly designed with light-weight, flexible airframe structures. By employing distributed flight control surfaces, a modern wing structure (which implies aircraft wing, horizontal stabilizer, and vertical stabilizer) can be strategically tailored in-flight by actively controlling the wing shape so as to bring about certain desired vehicle characteristics. For example, active aeroelastic wing shape tailoring can be employed to control the wash-out distribution and wing deflection in such a manner that could result in improved aerodynamic performance such as reduced drag during cruise or increased lift during take-off. Another novel use of active aeroelastic wing shape tailoring is for flight control. By actively controlling flexible aerodynamic surfaces differentially or collectively, the motion of an aircraft can be controlled in all three stability axes. In high speed supersonic or hypersonic vehicles, effects of airframe-propulsion-structure interactions can be significant. Thus, propulsion control can play an integral role with active aeroelastic wing shape tailoring control in high speed flight regimes.



        Technology development of active aeroelastic wing shape tailoring may include, but are not limited to the following:


        • Innovative aircraft concepts that can significantly improve aerodynamic, performance and control by leveraging active aeroelastic wing shape tailoring.
        • Sensor technology that will enable in-flight wing twist and deflection static and dynamic measurements for control development.
        • Actuation methods that include novel modes of operation and concepts of actuation for actively controlling wing shape in-flight.
        • Vehicle dynamic modeling capability that includes effects of aero-propulsive-servo-elasticity for vehicle control and dynamics.
        • Integrated approaches for active aeroelastic wing shape tailoring control with novel control effector concepts that will provide multi-objective advanced optimal or adaptive control strategies to achieve simultaneously aerodynamic performance such as trim drag reduction, aeroelastic stabilization or mode suppression, and load limiting.



        Gust Load Alleviation Control

        In a future NextGen operational concept, close separation between aircraft in super density operations could lead to more frequent wake vortex encounters. Airframe flexibility in modern aircraft will inherently lead to a potential increase in vehicle dynamic response to turbulence and wake vortices. Gust load alleviation control technology can improve ride qualities and reduce undesired structural dynamic loading on flexible airframes that could shorten aircraft service life. Gust load alleviation control technology can be either reactive or predictive. In a traditional reactive control framework, flight control systems can be designed to provide sufficient aerodynamic damping characteristics that suppress vehicle dynamic response as rapidly as possible upon a turbulence encounter. There is a trade off, however, between increased damping for mode suppression and command-following objectives of a flight control system. Large damping ratios, while desirable for mode suppression, may result in poor flight control performance.



        Predictive control can provide a novel gust load alleviation strategy for future aircraft design with light-weight flexible structures. Novel look-ahead sensor technology can measure or estimate turbulent intensity to provide such information to a predictive gust load alleviation control system which in turn would dynamically reconfigure flight control surfaces as an aircraft enters a turbulent atmospheric region. Technology development of predictive gust load alleviation control may include, but are not limited to the following:


        • Novel sensor methods for Optical Air Data Systems based on LIDAR or other novel detection methods that can measure near-field air turbulent velocity components directly in front of an aircraft in the order of one-body length scale to provide nearly instantaneous predictive capability to significantly improve the effectiveness of a gust load alleviation control system.
        • Predictive gust load alleviation control approaches or other effective methods that can reliably reconfigure flight control surfaces dynamically based on the sensor information of the near-field turbulence to mitigate the vehicle structural dynamic response upon a turbulence encounter. The predictive control strategies should be cognizant of potential adverse effects due to potential latency issues that can counteract the objective of gust load alleviation, or potential structural mode interactions due to control input signals that may contain frequencies close to the natural frequencies of the airframe.



        Advanced Control Concepts for Propulsion Systems

        Enabling high performance "Intelligent Engines" will require advancement in the state of the art of propulsion system control. Engine control architectures/methods need to be developed that provide a tighter bound control on engine parameters for improved propulsion efficiency while maintaining safe operation. The ability of the controller to maintain its designed improvement of engine operation over the entire life and particular health condition of the propulsion system is critical. The controller needs to adapt to the specific health conditions of each engine to eventually allow for a "personalized" control, which will maintain the most efficient operation throughout the engine lifetime and increase the useful operating life. Possible advanced engine control concepts could include:


        • Direct nonlinear control design such as predictive model based methods to directly control engine thrust while maintaining safety limits such as stall margins.
        • Model-Based Multivariable control to allow direct control of quantities of interest such as thrust, temperature and stall margins while using all available actuators for feedback.
        • Adaptive control schemes to maintain robust performance with changing engine condition with usage.

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      • 51567

        A2.08Aircraft Systems Analysis, Design and Optimization

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

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

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

        • Variable Fidelity, Physics-Based Design/Analysis Tools.
        • Technology Assessment and Integration.
        • Evaluation of Advanced Concepts.



        Current interdisciplinary design/analysis involves a multitude of tools not necessarily developed to work together, hindering their application to complete system design/analysis studies. NASA has developed a capability that integrates several conceptual design/analysis tools and models in ModelCenter. In addition, development work is continuing on a python-based, open-source architecture (OpenMDAO) that should serve as the long term solution for a multi-fidelity, multi-disciplinary optimization framework. Solicited topics are targeted around these three themes that will support this NASA research area.



        Variable Fidelity, Physics-Based Design/Analysis Tools

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


        Research challenges include the engineering details needed to numerically zoom (i.e., numerical analysis at various levels of detail) between multi-fidelity components of the same discipline, as well as, multi-discipline components of the same fidelity. A major computer science challenge is developing boundary objects that will be reused in a wide variety of simulations. Proposals will be considered that enable coupling differing disciplines, numerical zooming within a single discipline, deploying large simulations and assembling and controlling secure or non-secure simulations.



        Technology Assessment and Integration

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



        Analysis tools are solicited that are capable of analyzing new and unconventional aircraft and propulsion integrated systems. These include:


        • New combustor designs, alternate fuel operation, and the ability to estimate all emissions.
        • Noise source models (e.g., fan, jet, turbine, core and airframe components). Analyses tools that are scalable, especially to small aircraft, are desired.



        Evaluation of Advanced Concepts

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

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      • 51463

        A2.09Rotorcraft

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, LaRC

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

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

        Experimental Capabilities: Instrumentation and Techniques for Rotor Blade Measurements
        Instrumentation and measurement techniques are encouraged for assessing scale rotor blade boundary layer state (e.g., laminar, transition, turbulent flow) in simulated hover and forward flight conditions, measurement systems for large-field rotor wake assessment, and fast-response pressure sensitive paints applicable to blade surfaces.

        Acoustics: Interior and Exterior Rotorcraft Noise Generation, Propagation and Control
        Interior noise topics of interest include, but are not limited to, prediction and/or experimental methods that enhance the understanding of noise generation and transmission mechanisms for cabin noise sources (e.g., power-train noise), active and combined active/passive methods to reduce cabin noise, and novel structural systems or materials to reduce cabin noise without an excessive weight penalty. Exterior noise topics of interest include, but are not limited to, noise prediction methods that address the understanding of issues such as noise generation, propagation, and control. These methods may address topics such as novel or drastically improved source noise prediction methods, novel or drastically improved noise propagation methods (e.g., through the atmosphere) to understand and/or control noise sources and their impact on the community. Methods should address one or more of the major noise components such as: harmonic noise, broadband noise, blade-vortex interaction noise, high-speed impulsive noise, interactional noise, and/or low frequency noise (e.g., propagation, psychoacoustic effects, etc).

        Rotorcraft Power Train System Improvements
        Health management of rotorcraft power trains is critical. Predictive, condition-based maintenance improves safety, decreases maintenance costs, and increases system availability. Topics of interest include algorithm development, software tools and innovative sensor technologies to detect and predict the health and usage of rotorcraft dynamic mechanical systems in the engine and drive system. Rotorcraft health management technologies can include tools to: increase fault detection coverage and decrease false alarm rates; detect onset of failure, isolate damage, and assess damage severity; predict remaining useful life and maintenance actions required; system models, material failure models and correlation of failure under bench fatigue, seeded fault test and fielded data; tools to correlate propulsion system operational parameters back to actual usage and component fatigue life; Also of interest are advanced gear technologies for rotorcraft transmissions.

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

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      • 51472

        A2.10Propulsion Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): GRC

        This subtopic is divided into three parts. The first part is the Turbomachinery and Heat Transfer and the second part is Developments Needed in Turbulence Modeling for Propulsion Flowpaths and third is Propulsion System Integration: Turbomachinery and Heat Transfer There is a critical need for… Read more>>

        This subtopic is divided into three parts. The first part is the Turbomachinery and Heat Transfer and the second part is Developments Needed in Turbulence Modeling for Propulsion Flowpaths and third is Propulsion System Integration:

        Turbomachinery and Heat Transfer

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



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


        • Advanced instrumentation to enable time-accurate, detailed measurement of unsteady velocities, pressures and temperatures in three-dimensional flowfields such as found in turbomachinery components. This may include instrumentation and measurement systems capable of operating in conditions up to 900 degrees F and in the presence of shock-blade row interactions, as well as in high speed, transonic cascades. The instrumentation methods may include measurement probes, non-intrusive optical methods and post-processing techniques that advance the state of the art in turbomachinery unsteady flowfield measurement for purposes of accurately resolving these complex flowfield.
        • Advanced compressor flow control concepts to enable increased high stage loading in single and multi-stage axial compressors while maintaining or improving aerodynamic efficiency and operability. Technologies are sought that would reduce dependence on traditional range extending techniques (such as variable inlet guide vane and variable stator geometry) in compression systems. These may include flow control techniques near the compressor end walls and on the rotor and stator blade surfaces. Technologies are sought to reduce turbomachinery sensitivity to tip clearance leakage effects where clearance to chord ratios may be on the order of 5% or above.
        • Novel turbine cooling concepts are sought to enable very high turbine cooling effectiveness especially considering the manufacturability of such concepts. These concepts may include film cooling concepts, internal cooling concepts, and innovative methods to couple the film and internal cooling designs. Concepts proposed should have the potential to be produced with current or forthcoming manufacturing techniques. The availability of advanced manufacturing techniques may actually enable improved cooling designs beyond the current state-of-the-art.



        Developments Needed in Turbulence Modeling for Propulsion Flowpaths and Propulsion System Integration

        Flowpaths within propulsion systems are characterized by several aerodynamic and thermodynamic features which are very difficult for currently available computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods to calculate accurately. Experiments alone are limited in their ability to provide detailed insights to the complex flow physics which occur in advanced propulsion-airframe integrated systems for future subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic applications. Therefore, the continued need for competent CFD methods to be used in conjunction with experiments is high. The one CFD modeling area that has remained the most challenging, yet most critical to the success of integrated propulsion system simulations is turbulence modeling. The flow features specific to the propulsion system components that provide the greatest turbulence modeling challenges include separated flows whether they be from subsonic diffusion or turbulent shock wave-boundary layer interactions, inlet/vehicle forebody boundary layer transition, unsteady flowfields resulting from incorporation of active flow control, strongly three-dimensional and curved flows in turbomachinery, turbulent-chemistry interactions from subsonic combustors to scramjets, and heat transfer.



        Propulsion system integration challenges are encountered across all of the speed regimes from subsonic "N+3" vehicle concepts (with projected fuel burn benefits from boundary layer ingestion or distributed propulsion systems, for example), to supersonic "N+2" vehicle concepts with low-boom, high-performance inlets and nozzles integrated with variable cycle engine systems, to hypersonic reusable air-breathing launch vehicle concepts which incorporate integrated combined-cycle propulsion systems.



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


        • Advancement of turbulence modeling for shock wave-boundary layer interactions.
        • Advancement of Reynolds-stress closure models for propulsion flowpath analyses, including application of LES and or DNS for model development and validation.
        • Development of mid-level CFD models for the interaction of turbulence and chemical reaction that give superior results to the simple models (e.g., Magnussen), but which do not require the large computational expense of the very complex models (e.g., PDF evolution methods).
        • Advancement of boundary layer transition models, especially in cases of low freestream turbulence levels that occur in actual flight.
        • Incorporation of NASA high-order accurate numerical methods (e.g., Flux Reconstruction) into propulsion CFD tools using both structured as well as unstructured meshes.
        • Development of methods and software tools to quantify uncertainty as part of the CFD solution procedure.



        Development of meaningful metrics that quantify the difference between computed solutions and experimental data and use the metrics to validate the CFD codes. Development of tools to enable rapid post-processing and assessment of CFD solutions, especially from NASA in-house CFD tools such as Wind-US and VULCAN (e.g., automatically interpolating numerical solutions to the measurement locations, generating "metrics of goodness" for parameters of interest, etc.).



        Propulsion integration topics:


        • Development of methodologies that provide installed nozzle performance, specifically conceptual level design/analysis methods, capable of addressing conventional and unconventional geometries. Geometries should be valid for subsonic, supersonic, and/or hypersonic flight applications. Documentation of methodologies should include: underlying theory and mathematical models, computational solution methods, source-code, validation data, and limitations.
        • Technologies and/or concepts to enable integrated, high-performance, light-weight supersonic inlets and nozzles that have minimal impact on an aircraft's sonic boom signature.
        • Development of supersonic inlet systems that are "Fail Safe" and require no net mass extraction (i.e., bleed) or mass injection to control the shock wave/boundary-layer separations that inevitably arise in any supersonic inlet.
        • Shorter, accurate, robust inlet mass flow measurement systems to replace the classic cold pipe/mass flow plug and measure mass-flow with distorted inflow.

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    • + Expand Airspace Systems Topic

      Topic A3 Airspace Systems PDF


      NASA's Airspace Systems Program (ASP) is investing in the development, validation and transfer of advanced innovative concepts, technologies and procedures to support the development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). This investment includes partnerships with other government agencies represented in the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and joint activities with the U.S. aeronautics industry and academia. As such, ASP will develop and demonstrate future concepts, capabilities, and technologies that will enable major increases in air traffic management effectiveness, flexibility, and efficiency, while maintaining safety, to meet capacity and mobility requirements of NextGen. ASP integrates the two projects NextGen Concepts and Technology Development (CTD) and NextGen Systems Analysis Integration and Evaluation (SAIE), to directly address the fundamental research needs of NextGen vision in partnership with the member agencies of the JPDO. The CTD develops and explores fundamental concepts, algorithms, and air-borne and ground-based technologies to increase capacity and throughput of the national airspace system, to address demand-capacity imbalances, and achieve high efficiency in the use of resources such as airports, en route and terminal airspace. The SAIE Project is responsible for facilitating the Research and Development maturation of integrated concepts through evaluation in relevant environments, providing integrated solutions, characterizing airspace system problem spaces, defining innovative approaches, and assessing the potential system impacts and design ramifications of the program's portfolio. Together, the projects will also focus NASA's technical expertise and world-class facilities to address the question of where, when, how and the extent to which automation can be applied to moving air traffic safely and efficiently through the NAS and technologies that address optimal allocation of ground and air technologies necessary for NextGen. Additionally, the roles and responsibilities of humans and automation influence in the ATM will be addressed by both projects. Key objectives of NASA's AS Program are to:

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

      • 51461

        A3.01Concepts and Technology Development (CTD)

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, LaRC

        The Concepts and Technology Development (CTD) Project supports NASA Airspace Systems Program objectives by developing gate-to-gate concepts and technologies intended to enable significant increases in the capacity and efficiency of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), as defined… Read more>>

        The Concepts and Technology Development (CTD) Project supports NASA Airspace Systems Program objectives by developing gate-to-gate concepts and technologies intended to enable significant increases in the capacity and efficiency of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), as defined by the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO).

        The CTD project develops and explores fundamental concepts, algorithms, and technologies to increase throughput of the National Airspace System (NAS) and achieve high efficiency in the use of resources such as airports, en route and terminal airspace. The CTD research is concerned with conducting algorithm development, analyses and fast-time simulations, identifying and defining infrastructure requirements, field test requirements, and conducting field tests.



        Innovative and technically feasible approaches are sought to advance technologies in research areas relevant to NASA's CTD effort. The general areas of primary interest are:



        Traffic Flow Management

        • Flow management to mitigate large-scale climate disruptions, such as volcanic ash, or other natural disaster phenomena.



        Super Density Operations

        • Environmental and traffic efficiency metrics and assessments to compare different super-density operations concepts and technologies.
        • Application of environmental and traffic efficiency metrics specifically for congested airspace or mixed equipage scenarios.
        • Cost-effective integration of advanced speed control capabilities into the cockpit to enable environmentally friendly super density operations.

        Separation Assurance

        • Develop and demonstrate a prototype capability to output real-time schedules (e.g., from Traffic Management Advisor ) from current operational en route computers (e.g., ERAM and/or Host) to an external system to support trajectory-based operations research and simulation.



        Trajectory Design

        • Trajectory design and conformance monitoring for surface, terminal area, and en route.
        • Trajectory implementation/execution in flight deck automation and automated air traffic control.
        • Innovative methods to improve individual aircraft (surface, climb, descent and cruise) trajectories and air traffic operations to reduce the environmental impact.



        Dynamic Airspace Configuration

        • Flexible/adaptable airspace boundaries for NextGen operations in both en route and terminal airspace.
        • Generic-airspace operations, including airspace design attributes and human factors considerations such as procedures and decision support tools.
        • Tubes-in-the-sky operational concept development, including air/ground equipage requirements and design of a dynamic tube network.
        • Dynamic airspace allocation to facilitate operations of UAVs and/or commercial space vehicles in the national airspace system .



        Human Factors

        • Design considerations for Tower/surface controller tools.
        • Graphical user-interface systems for air traffic management/flight deck and ground-based automation simulation and testing applications.

        Weather

        • Common situational awareness between flight deck and ground automation systems for weather avoidance (may be related to 4D weather cube)
        • Integrating weather products into decision support tools
        • Airspace capacity estimation in presence of weather
        • Means for creating realistic, consistent 3-D weather objects/imagery across numerous automation systems (e.g., a flight simulator out-the-window scene, cockpit radar display, airline operations weather display, ground radar image of the same weather object).

        Atmospheric Hazards

        • Development of wake vortex detection and hazard metric tools.
        • Wake modeling and sensing capabilities implemented into the flight deck for airborne aircraft separation and spacing.
        • Development of enroute wake turbulence identification and mitigation tools, processes, and systems.
        • Novel, compact, and field-deployable laser remote sensing technologies for measuring meteorological parameters (e.g., wind, temperature, pressure, and turbulence) at ranges >1km in support of characterization of aircraft generated wake vortices.



        Methods and Methodologies

        • Algorithms and methods to satisfy multi-criteria design needs in air traffic management.
        • Integrated hardware/software tool for accelerating general optimization tasks.
        • Applying novel computing concepts to ATM problems.
        • Experimental methodology, including scenario development, for incorporating rare events in realistic and dynamic human-in-the-loop air traffic management research, and methods for analyzing cause and effect in post experiment data.
        • Stand-alone graphical user interface capabilities for data collection and processing of meteorological remote sensing technologies.



        Other

        • Derived sensor information from both ground-based radar trackers and ADS-B information for derivation of airspeed and local wind information.

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      • 51563

        A3.02Systems Analysis Integration Evaluation (SAIE)

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC

        SAIE will provide systems level analysis of the NAS characteristics, constraints, and demands such that a suite of capacity-increasing concepts and technologies for system solutions are enabled and facilitated, integrated, evaluated and demonstrated. SAIE is responsible for characterizing airspace… Read more>>

        SAIE will provide systems level analysis of the NAS characteristics, constraints, and demands such that a suite of capacity-increasing concepts and technologies for system solutions are enabled and facilitated, integrated, evaluated and demonstrated. SAIE is responsible for characterizing airspace system problem spaces, defining innovative approaches, assessing the potential system-level benefits, impacts and safety.

        Specific innovative research topics being sought by SAIE include:



        Airspace System Level Concepts Development

        • NextGen airspace system safety assessment, graceful degradation, fault tolerant, and recovery concepts and methodologies.
        • System level capacity and environmental (e.g., CO2, NOx emissions and noise) improvement concepts and assessments and methodologies.
        • System level NextGen assessments, concepts and methodologies that incorporate and/or inform future vehicle and fleet designs.
        • Autonomous and distributed system concepts.
        • Concepts that study system-wide effects of various functional allocations.
        • Revolutionary airspace system concepts, designs and methodologies.



        Trajectory Modeling and Uncertainty Prediction

        • Analysis of growth of uncertainty as a function of look-ahead time on different phases of flight.
        • Development of methods to determine, for a target concept/system, the TP accuracy needed to be able to achieve the minimum acceptable system/concept performance as well as identify sources of errors.
        • Development of methods for managing/reducing trajectory uncertainty to meet specified performance requirements.
        • Identify critical aircraft behavior data for exchange for interoperability.
        • Innovative methods to improve individual aircraft (surface, climb, descent and cruise) trajectories and air traffic operations to reduce the environmental impact.



        Roles and Responsibilities in NextGen

        • Systems analysis concepts, assessments and methodologies to optimize air-ground and automation functional allocation for NextGen (e.g., functional allocation options between human/machine and among AOC, flight deck and service provider).
        • Airspace systems-level concepts, assessments and methodologies using increasing levels of autonomy.



        Modeling and Simulation (should be relevant to NASA Airspace Program objectives)

        • Develop new methods that help in assessing and designing airspace to improve system level performance (e.g., increase capacity, reduce complexity, optimize or improve performance of the air transportation network architecture).
        • Explicit methodologies relevant to applications can include:

          • Rigorous predictive modeling of uncertainty in various parts of the system and its propagation.
          • Multiobjective decision making algorithms for all aspects of decision making and optimization in the system.
          • Model/dimension reduction for improved computational tractability.
          • Methods for managing multiscale phenomena in the NAS.
          • Methods for quantifying and managing complexity and uncertainty.
          • Methods for assessing the necessary balance between predictability and flexibility in the system, especially in the presence of autonomy.

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    • + Expand Aeronautics Test Technologies Topic

      Topic A4 Aeronautics Test Technologies PDF


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

      • 52103

        A4.01Ground Test Techniques and Measurement Technology

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC

        NASA is seeking highly innovative and commercially viable test measurement technologies, test techniques, and facility performance technologies that would increase efficiency, capability, productivity for ground test facilities. The types of technology solutions sought, but not limited to, are: skin… Read more>>

        NASA is seeking highly innovative and commercially viable test measurement technologies, test techniques, and facility performance technologies that would increase efficiency, capability, productivity for ground test facilities. The types of technology solutions sought, but not limited to, are: skin friction measurement techniques; improved flow transition and quality detection methodologies; non-intrusive measurement technologies for velocity, pressure, temperature, and strain measurements; force balance measurement technology development; and improvement of current cutting edge technologies, such as Particle Based Velocimetry (LDV, PIV), Pressure Sensitive Paint (PSP), and focusing acoustic measurements that can be used more reliably in a production wind tunnel environment. Instrumentation solutions used to characterize ground test facility performance are being sought in the area of aerodynamics performance characterization (flow quality, turbulence intensity, mach number measurement, etc.). Of interest are subsonic, transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic speed regimes. Specialized areas may include cryogenic conditions, icing conditions, and rotating turbo machinery. Proposals that are applicable specifically to the ATP facilities (see http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/atp) and across multiple facility classes are especially important. The proposals will also be assessed for their ability to develop products that can be used in other aerospace ground test facilities.

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      • 51471

        A4.02Flight Test Techniques and Measurement Technology

        Lead Center: AFRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, LaRC

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

        NASA's flight research and test facilities are reliant on a combination of both ground and flight research capabilities. By using state-of-the-art flight test techniques, measurement and data acquisition technologies, NASA will be able to operate its flight research facilities more effectively and also meet the challenges presented by NASA's cutting edge research and development programs. The Aeronautical Test Program pertains to a variety of flight regimes and vehicle types ranging from civil transports, low-speed, to high-altitude long-endurance to supersonic, to hypersonic and access-to-space.



        The scope of this subtopic is broad. Flight research and test capabilities should address (but are not limited to) the following NASA aeronautical test facilities: Aeronautical Test Range, Aero-Structures Flight Loads Laboratory, Flight Research Simulation Laboratory, and Research Test Bed Aircraft. Proposals should address innovative methods and technologies to extend the health, maintainability and test capabilities of these flight research support facilities.



        NASA is committed to improve the ATP effectiveness to support and conduct flight research. This includes developing test techniques that improve the control of both ground-based and in-flight test conditions, expanding measurement and analysis methodologies, and improving test data acquisition and management with sensors and systems that have fast response, low volume, minimal intrusion, and high accuracy and reliability.



        NASA requires improved measurement and analysis techniques for acquisition of real-time, in-flight data used to determine aerodynamic, structural, flight control, and propulsion system performance characteristics. These data will also be used to provide test conductors the information to safely expand the flight and test envelopes of aerospace vehicles and components. This requirement includes the development of sensors to enhance the monitoring of test aircraft safety and atmospheric conditions during flight testing.



        Areas of interest include:


        • Multi-disciplinary nonlinear dynamic systems prediction, modeling, identification, simulation, and control of aerospace vehicles.
        • Test techniques for conducting in-flight boundary layer flow visualization, shock wave propagation, Schlieren photography, near and far-field sonic boom determination, atmospheric modeling.
        • Measurement technologies for steady & unsteady aerodynamic, aero-thermal dynamics, structural dynamics, stability & control, and propulsion system performance.
        • Verification & Validation (V&V) of complex highly integrated flight systems including hardware-in-the-loop testing.
        • Manufacturability, affordability, and performance of small upper-stage booster technologies for small- & nano-satellites.
        • Innovative techniques that enable safer operations of aircraft (e.g., non destructive examination of composites through ultrasonic techniques).



        Also of interest to NASA are innovative methods and analysis techniques to improve the correlation of data from ground test to flight test.





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    • + Expand Integrated System Research Project (ISRP) Topic

      Topic A5 Integrated System Research Project (ISRP) PDF


      The Integrated Systems Research Program (ISRP), a new program effort that began in FY10, will conduct research at an integrated system-level on promising concepts and technologies and explore, assess or demonstrate their benefits in a relevant environment. The integrated system-level research in this program will be coordinated with on-going long-term, foundational research within the three other research programs, as well as efforts within other Federal Government agencies. As the NextGen evolves to meet the projected growth in demand for air transportation, researchers must address the national challenges of mobility, capacity, safety, and energy and the environment in order to meet the expected growth in air traffic. In particular, the environmental impacts of noise and emissions are a growing concern and could limit the ability of the system to accommodate growth. ISRP will explore and assess new vehicle concepts and enabling technologies through system-level experimentation to simultaneously reduce fuel burn, noise and emissions, and will focus specifically on maturing and integrating technologies in major vehicle systems/subsystems for accelerated transition to practical application. ISRP is comprised of two projects - the Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project. Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) The project's primary goal is to select vehicle concepts and technologies that can simultaneously reduce fuel burn, noise and emissions; it contains three subprojects: Airframe Technology, Propulsion Technology and Vehicle Systems Integration.

      • Testing unconventional aircraft configurations that have higher lift to drag ratio, reduced drag and reduced noise around airports.
      • Achieving drag reduction through laminar flow.
      • Developing composite (nonmetallic) structural concepts to reduce weight and improve fuel burn; and
      • Testing advanced, fuel-flexible combustor technologies that can reduce engine NOx emissions. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) The project's primary goal is to address technology development in several areas to reduce the technical barriers related to the safety and operational challenges of UAS routine operations in the NAS.
      • Separation Assurance - Safely and seamlessly integrate UAS into NextGen separation assurance through demonstrate of 4DT applications that result in the same or fewer losses of separation as traditional separation services.
      • Human Systems Integration - Demonstrate reduced workload of UAS pilots by advanced interface design and automation; Collect Human in the Loop (HITL) data to apply to computational model that provides for 100% situational awareness of aircraft within 5 nm and 1200 ft; and Develop at standard against which to assess UAS ground control stations.
      • Communication - Demonstrate a secure UAS command and control datalink which meets communication confidentiality, availability and integrity requirements and which meets FAA communication latency requirements. Certification - Document applicability of possible certification method meeting airworthiness requirements for the full range of UAS and collect UAS-specific data in a civil context to support development of standards and regulations.
      • Integrated Test and Evaluation - Creation of an appropriate test environment; Integration of the technical research to probe and evaluate the concepts; and Coordination and prioritization of facility and aircraft schedules.

      • 51470

        A5.01UAS Integration in the NAS

        Lead Center: AFRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, LaRC

        The following subtopic is in support of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project under ISRP. There is an increasing need to fly UAS in the NAS to perform missions of vital importance to National Security and Defense, Emergency Management, Science,… Read more>>

        The following subtopic is in support of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project under ISRP. There is an increasing need to fly UAS in the NAS to perform missions of vital importance to National Security and Defense, Emergency Management, Science, and to enable Commercial Applications. UAS are unable to routinely access the NAS today due to a lack of:

        • Automated separation assurance integrated with collision avoidance systems.
        • Robust communication technologies.
        • Robust human systems integration.
        • Standardized safety and certification.



        The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations are built upon the condition of a pilot being in aircraft. There exist few, if any, regulations specifically addressing UAS today. The primary user of UAS to date has been the military. The technologies and procedures to enable seamless operation and integration of UAS in the NAS need to be developed, validated, and employed by the FAA through rule making and policy development. The Project goal is to develop capabilities that reduce technical barriers related to the safety and operational challenges associated with enabling routine UAS access to the NAS. This goal will be accomplished through a two-phased approach based on development of system-level integration of key concepts, technologies and/or procedures, and demonstrations of integrated capabilities in an operationally relevant environment. The project is further broken down into five subprojects: Separation Assurance; Communications; Human Systems Integration; Certification; and Integrated Test and Evaluation. The fifth sub-project, Integrated Test and Evaluation, integrates the other four subprojects. The Phase I technical objectives include:


        • Developing a gap analysis between current state of the art and NextGen Concept of Operations.
        • Validating the key technical elements identified by the project requirements.
        • Initial modeling, simulation, and flight testing.
        • Completion of subproject Phase I deliverables (Spectrum requirements, comparative analysis of certification methodologies, etc.) and continue Phase II preparation (infrastructure, tools, etc.).



        The Phase II technical objectives include:


        • Providing regulators with a methodology for developing airworthiness requirements for UAS, and data to support development of certifications standards and regulatory guidance.
        • Providing systems-level, integrated testing of concepts and/or capabilities that address barriers to routine access to the NAS, through simulation and flight testing, address issues including separation assurance, communications requirements, and Human Systems Integration in operationally relevant environments.



        This solicitation seeks proposals to develop:


        • Desktop Simulation System for Rapid Collection of Human-in-the-Loop Simulation Data. Study, design and build a desktop human-in-the-loop simulation system that integrates UAS ground control stations, unmanned vehicles, manned aircraft, and controller interfaces to rapidly evaluate concepts for separation assurance, separation algorithms, procedures for off-nominal conditions, and other research questions. In addition, investigate training requirements and verification methods for the quality of the data, the types of tasks for which such a system could provide meaningful data, and the architecture required to ensure scalability. The simulation system could be based on the Multi Aircraft Control System (MACS), which already includes all those elements except the UAS ground control station. An initial implementation could include a single human operator with all other agents simulated, while advanced implementations would connect several instances of the simulator to capture interactions between human controllers, pilots and UAS operators.
        • UAS Model Construction from Real-time Surveillance Data. In order to improve trajectory predictions for aircraft types without detailed models, a real-time system identification process is needed to automatically construct propulsion and aerodynamics models from available Air Traffic Control (ATC) surveillance data (primary or secondary radar, ADS-B, etc.) while the aircraft is in flight. Initial work would establish what real-time surveillance data is required for a model of sufficient fidelity to reliably predict aircraft trajectories ten or more minutes into the future and over tens of thousands of vertical feet, and what types of aircraft maneuvers would provide maximum observability of the unknown parameters (e.g., the vehicle's response to commanded doublets in altitude at max climb/descent speed or step changes in commanded aircraft velocity as observed by radar or ADS-B). These maneuvers would be commanded of the UAS by ATC to improve a poorly understood vehicle model in real-time. Model construction could also be done with archived surveillance data as a first step, but real-time construction is the preferred ultimate outcome.
        • Certified control and non-payload communications (CNPC) system. Current civil UAS operations are significantly constrained by the lack of a standardized, certified control and non-payload communications (CNPC) system. The UAS CNPC system is to provide communications functions between the Unmanned Aircraft (UA) and the UA ground control station for such applications as: telecommands; non-payload telemetry; navigation aid data; air traffic control (ATC) voice relay; air traffic services (ATS) data relay; sense and avoid data relay; airborne weather radar data; and non-payload situational awareness video. New and innovative approaches to providing terrestrial and space-based high-bandwidth CNPC systems that are inexpensive, small, low latency, reliable, and secure offer opportunities for quantum jumps in UAS utility and capabilities. Of particular interest are technologies for the enhancement/improvement of CNPC performance for UAS operations in urban locations, taking into account the propagation, reflection/refraction and shadowing/blockage environment encountered in the urban environment.
        • System for Rapid Automated UAS Mission Planning. UAS mission planning is currently a very cumbersome and time-consuming activity that involves a highly manual process. In order to provide better UAS integration in the NAS, an automated mission planning system is required with the following capabilities:

          • During the pre-flight mission phase, automation is needed to identify emergency landing sites, ditch sites, and develop UAS responses to contingency events at all points along the route commensurate with UAS platform performance.
          • During the in-flight mission phase, automation is needed to assess and integrate real-time weather information, such as that provided via Flight Information Services - Broadcast (FIS-B), to dynamically re-plan the route for safe navigation. This includes fuel planning and weather assessment capabilities to select and fly to appropriate alternate destination airfields.
          • During the in-flight mission phase, automation is needed to assess real-time route deviations/changes imposed by Air Traffic Control (ATC). The assessment would consider fuel, weather and emergency landing/ditch site constraints to verify the route change is supportable and safe.

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    • + Expand Sensors, Detectors and Instruments Topic

      Topic S1 Sensors, Detectors and Instruments PDF


      NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/) encompasses research in the areas of Astrophysics (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/astrophysics), Earth Science (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/earth-science), Heliophysics (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/heliophysics), and Planetary Science (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/planetary-science). A major objective of SMD instrument development programs is to implement science measurement capabilities with smaller or more affordable spacecraft so development programs can meet multiple mission needs and therefore make the best use of limited resources. The rapid development of small, low-cost remote sensing and in situ instruments is essential to achieving this objective. For Earth Science needs, in particular, the subtopics reflect a focus on instrument development for airborne and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms. Astrophysics has a critical need for sensitive detector arrays with imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetric capabilities, which can be demonstrated on ground, airborne, balloon, or suborbital rocket instruments. Heliophysics, which focuses on measurements of the sun and its interaction with the Earth and the other planets in the solar system, needs a significant reduction in the size, mass, power, and cost for instruments to fly on smaller spacecraft. Planetary Science has a critical need for miniaturized instruments with in situ sensors that can be deployed on surface landers, rovers, and airborne platforms. For planetary missions, planetary protection requirements vary by planetary destination, and additional backward contamination requirements apply to hardware with the potential to return to Earth (e.g., as part of a sample return mission). Technologies intended for use at/around Mars, Europa (Jupiter), and Enceladus (Saturn) must be developed so as to ensure compliance with relevant planetary protection requirements. Constraints could include surface cleaning with alcohol or water, and/or sterilization treatments such as dry heat (approved specification in NPR 8020.12; exposure of hours at 115C or higher, non-functioning); penetrating radiation (requirements not yet established); or vapor-phase hydrogen peroxide (specification pending). For the 2011 program year, we are encouraging proposals for two new subtopics, S1.10 for technologies in support of atomic interferometry to enable precise targeting, pointing, and tracking and S1.11 for technologies in support of the specific needs of planetary orbital remote sensing instruments. A key objective of this SBIR topic is to develop and demonstrate instrument component and subsystem technologies that reduce the risk, cost, size, and development time of SMD observing instruments and to enable new measurements. Proposals are sought for development components that can be used in planned missions or a current technology program. Research should be conducted to demonstrate feasibility during Phase I and show a path towards a Phase II prototype demonstration. The following subtopics are concomitant with these objectives and are organized by technology.

      • 51572

        S1.01Lidar and Laser System Components

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

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

        Accurate measurements of atmospheric parameters with high spatial resolution from ground, airborne, and space-based platforms require advances in the state-of-the-art lidar technology with emphasis on compactness, efficiency, reliability, lifetime, and high performance. Innovative lidar component technologies that directly address the measurements of the atmosphere and surface topography of the Earth, Mars, the Moon, and other planetary bodies will be considered under this subtopic. Frequency-stabilized lasers for a number of lidar applications such as CO2 concentration measurements as well as for highly accurate measurements of the distance between spacecraft for gravitational wave astronomy and gravitational field planetary science are among technologies of interest. Single longitudinal mode lasers and optical filter technologies for high spectral resolution lidars are also of interest. Proposals relevant to the development of components that can be used in planned missions or current technology programs are highly encouraged. Examples of planned missions and technology programs are: Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), Doppler Wind Lidar, Lidar for Surface Topography (LIST), Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS), and Aerosols-Clouds-Ecosystems (ACE). In addition, innovative technologies relevant to the NASA sub-orbital programs, such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Venture-class focusing on the studies of the Earth climate, carbon cycle, weather, and atmospheric composition, are being sought.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II prototype demonstration. For the PY11 SBIR Program, we are soliciting only the specific component technologies described below:


        • Highly efficient solid state laser transmitter operating in the 1.0 µm - 1.7 µm range with wall-plug efficiency of greater than 25%.  The proposed laser must show path in maturing to space applications. The laser transmitter must be capable of single frequency with narrow spectral width capable of generating transform-limited pulses, and M2 beam quality 70% are of interest. Although amplifiers such as planar waveguide or grazing incidence have been shown to generate optical efficiencies >50%, much higher efficiency is needed for space applications.  Proposed solutions should incorporate electronics packages suitable for use in aircraft demonstration (i.e., small, well packaged, low power).
        • Narrow linewidth laser transmitters and receiver components (seeds, fiber amplifiers, modulators, drivers, etc.) supporting laser absorption spectroscopy applications in the 1.3, 1.5 and 2.0 micron wavelength regimes. The lasers and components should be tunable by several nm, support amplitude modulation at frequencies from 50 KHz to 10 MHz, have frequency stability of less than 3 MHz, and be capable of mixing and simultaneous transmission of multiple lines for differential absorption measurements without introducing non-linear mixing effects. Techniques for cloud and aerosol discrimination are also sought.
        • Efficient and compact single mode solid state or fiber lasers operating at 1.5 and 2.0 micron wavelength regimes suitable for direct detection differential absorption lidar (DIAL) and coherent lidar applications. These lasers must meet the following general requirements: pulse energy 0.5 mJ to 50 mJ, repetition rate 10 Hz to 10 kHz, and pulse duration of either 10 nsec or 200 nsec regimes.
        • Low noise detectors operating in 1.5 to 2.0 micron wavelength for use in differential absorption lidar (DIAL) instruments measuring CO2 concentration. Large area (>250 micron dia.) detectors with high quantum efficiency (>75%), noise equivalent power of less than 2x 10-14 W/Hz1/2, and bandwidth greater than 50 MHZ are being sought. Additionally, arrays of 4x4 PIN detectors for coherent detection and avalanche photodiodes with a minimum gain of 10 are of interest. Other detectors relevant to NASA programs are low-noise, high quantum efficiency devices operating at 355 nm, 532 nm, and 1064 nm with gain greater than or equal to 100. These detectors must be linear or correctable for incident power levels ranging from 0.1 pW to 50 nW and have bandwidths exceeding 200 MHz with excellent transient recovery.
        • Novel compact solid-state UV laser for Ozone DIAL measurements from surface and airborne UAS science platforms that also enables technology demonstrations for future spaceborne measurements are needed. New and novel technology developments that enable solid-state UV lasers operating within the 280 nm - 320 nm wavelength range (305-320 nm for the spaceborne lasers) generating laser pulses of up to 1 KHz rate and average output power greater than 1 Watt. Operation at two distinct wavelengths separated by 10 nm to 15 nm is required for the Ozone measurements. Scalability of the laser design to power levels greater than 10 W for space deployment is important.
        • Novel scanning telescope capable of scanning over 360 degrees in azimuth with nadir angle fixed in the range of 30 to 45 degrees. Clear apertures scalable to 1 m, good optical performance (although diffraction limited performance is not necessary), and high optical efficiency are desired, as is ability to operate at multiple wavelengths from 1064 nm to 355 nm. Optical materials (e.g., substrates and coatings) and components should be space qualifiable. Phase II should result in a prototype unit capable of demonstration in a high-altitude aircraft environment, with aperture on the order 8 inches. Due to issues with spacecraft momentum compensation and previous investments, concepts for large articulating telescopes will not be considered responsive to this request, nor will holographic substrates.
        • Flash Lidar Receiver for planetary landing application with at least 128X128 pixels capable of generating 3-dimensional images and detection of hazardous terrain features, such a as rocks, craters and steep slopes from at least 1 km distance. The receiver must include real-time image processing capability with 30 Hz frame rate. Embedded image enhancement and classification algorithms are highly desirable. Proposals for low noise Avalanche Photodiode (APD) arrays with 256x256 pixels format suitable for use in Flash Lidar receiver will be also considered. The detector array must operate in the 1.06 to 1.57 micron region and be able to detect laser pulses with 6 nsec in duration. The array needs to achieve greater than 90% fill factor with a pitch size of 50 to 100 microns with provisions for hybridization with an Integrated Readout Circuit (ROIC).



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



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      • 51545

        S1.02Active Microwave Technologies

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, LaRC

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

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



        Low-Loss, Dual-Polarized W-band Radiator Array With MMIC Integration

        • Frequency: 94 GHz.
        • Radiation Efficiency: >70%.
        • Polarization isolation = 25 dB.
        • Interconnect loss:
        • No dielectric materials.



        These radiator and interconnect technologies are critical to achieving the density and RF signal performance required for scanning millimeter-wave array radars.



        High Performance W-band Millimeter-wave Transmit/Receive MMICs

        • Frequency: 94 GHz.
        • Transmit Power: >1W, TX PAE: >25%.
        • TX Gain >20 dB.
        • RX NF:
        • RX Gain: > 20 dB.
        • RX input power tolerance >250mW
        • Monolithic integration of TR function is required to meet space constraints for high-density arrays and to reduce assembly costs.



        Low-Cost mm-wave Beamforming MMIC Receiver

        • Frequencies: 35.6, 94 GHz.
        • Input Channels: 16.
        • Phase shifter: 360 deg.
        • 5-bits, Output IF: 1 channel @
        • Bandwidth: >100 MHz.
        • Serial phase update rate: >10kHz for all channels.



        Millimeter-wave phased arrays require integration of a large number of phase shifters in a small space, leading to impossible interconnect requirements. Integrating many channels vastly reduces the number of interconnects required, achieving the needed array density.



        High-Speed Radar Distributed Target Simulator

        Given model inputs of radar parameters, radar/target geometries and distributed target properties, generates simulated radar echo signals. For some missions, a single scene would take approximately a year to simulate on a single processor and global simulations are not feasible. It is critical to reduce simulation time for global validation of on-board processor. The simulator should be able to produce and store simulated returns for a product of 40 billion targets and pulses per second.



        Low-Jitter Programmable Delay/Divide Clock Distribution IC

        • Total Jitter:
        • Fanout: >=10.
        • Prog. Delay: up to 192 ns.
        • Delay Resolution: 2 ps.
        • Divide by: 2 or 3.
        • Temp. range: -40 to +80C.
        • Implemented in radiation-hard technology.



        This part is critical to high-speed real-time digital beamforming and processing required for next generation of Earth and space based high-resolution sensors.



        L-band Array Antennas

        • Compact, lightweight arrays (
        • Dual-polarization.
        • High polarization isolation (> 25 dB) for airborne and spaceborne radar applications.
        • W-band (94 GHz).
        • Ka-band (35GHz).
        • Low loss (
        • High speed (transition time
        • Peak power >= 1.5 kW.
        • Average power >= 75 W.
        • Isolation >= 25 dB.



        Fast Turn on and Turn Off Power Amplifiers

        To increase solid state radar sensitivity NASA requires compact and high efficiency (> 50%) power amplifiers (> 25 W peak.) in P, L, and X-bands that can be switched off during the receive period to prevent noise leakage.  Switch on and switch off times under 1 µs, stable amplitude (


        Small Radar Packaging Concepts for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV)

        Miniaturization of radar and radiometer components while maintaining power and performance is a requirement for UAV science. Seeking high isolation switched filters and phase shifters for interleaved radar/radiometer operation at multiple channels, LNAs, stable noise sources, circulators, and solid-state power amplifiers for operation at L-, C- X-, and Ku-Bands.



        Real Time Adaptive Waveform-Agile Radars for Very Weak Targets Detection in Strong Clutter/Noise Environment for Remote Sensing

        NASA seeks novel ideas in advancing software and hardware technology of real time adaptive waveform-agile radars for detection and exploration of weak targets hidden behind strong targets (such as sub-surface planetary surfaces). -25 dB signal-to-clutter, range resolution


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      • 52071

        S1.03Passive Microwave Technologies

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

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

        NASA employs passive microwave and millimeter-wave instruments for a wide range of remote sensing applications from measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11820) to cosmic background emission. Proposals are sought for the development of innovative technology to support future science and exploration missions employing 450 MHz to 5 THz sensors. Technology innovations should either enhance measurement capabilities (e.g., improve spatial, temporal, or spectral resolution, or improve calibration accuracy) or ease implementation in spaceborne missions (e.g., reduce size, weight, or power, improve reliability, or lower cost). While other concepts will be entertained, specific technology innovations of interest are listed below for missions including decadal survey missions (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html) such as PATH, SCLP, and GACM and the Beyond Einstein Inflation Probe (Inflation Probe - cosmic microwave background, http://science.gsfc.nasa.gov/660/research/):


        • High emissivity (>40 dB return loss) surfaces/structures for use as onboard calibration targets that will reduce the weight of aluminum core targets, while reliably improving the uniformity and knowledge of the calibration target temperature. Earth Science Decadal survey missions which apply: SCLP and PATH.
        • Room temperature LNAs for 165 to 193 GHz with low 1/f noise, and a noise figure of 6.0 dB or better; and cryogenic LNAs for 180 to 270 GHz with noise temperatures of less than 150K. Earth Science Decadal Survey missions that apply: PATH, GACM and future Earth Venture Class low cost millimeter wave instruments.
        • Low noise amplifiers, MMIC or discrete transistor, at frequencies below 2 GHz, operating at room temperature or thermoelectrically cooled, and giving noise figures below 0.25 dB (17K noise temperature). Amplifier should have S11 25 dB, over an octave band, and be stable for any generator impedance at any frequency. For highly red shifted hydrogen spectroscopy for early universe cosmology.
        • Local Oscillator technologies for 2nd generation instruments for SOFIA, next generation HIFI, and suborbital instruments (GUSSTO). This can include: GaN based frequency multipliers that can work in the 200-400 GHz range (output frequency) with input powers up to 1 W. Graphene based devices that can work as frequency multipliers in the frequency range of 1-3 THz.
        • Enabling technology for ultra-stable microwave noise references (three or more) embedded in switched network with reference stability (after temperature correction) to within 0.01K/year. Applies to: PATH, SCLP, GACM, SWOT.
        • RFI mitigation approaches employing channelizers for broadband (>100MHz) radiometers at frequencies between 1 and 40 GHz. These systems should demonstrate both detection and removal approaches for mitigating RFI. Earth Science Decadal Survey missions that apply: SCLP, SWOT.
        • Multi-Frequency and/or multi-Beam Focal Plane Arrays (FPA) as a primary feed for reflector antennas. Earth Science Decadal Survey missions that apply: PATH, SCLP, SWOT.
        • In addition to the technologies listed above, proposals for innovative passive microwave instruments for a wide range of remote sensing applications from measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere to cosmic background emission would also be welcome.



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



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      • 51546

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

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, KSC, LaRC

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

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



        The following technologies are of interest for the Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder (http://mls.jpl.nasa.gov/index-cameo.php) on the Global Atmospheric Composition Mission, Single Aperture Far Infrared (SAFIR) Observatory (http://safir.jpl.nasa.gov/technologies.shtml), the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) airborne observatory (http://www.sofia.usra.edu/), and Inflation Probe (cosmic microwave background, http://science.gsfc.nasa.gov/660/research/):


        • Radiation tolerant digital polyphase filterbank back ends for sideband separating microwave spectrometers. Requirements are >5GHz instantaneous bandwidth per sideband, 2 MHz resolution, low power (
        • Improved submillimeter mixers for frequencies >2 THz are needed for heterodyne receivers to fly on SOFIA. Minimum noise temperatures for cyrogenic operation and instantaneous bandwidths >5 GHz are key parameters.
        • Large format (megapixel) broadband detector arrays in the 30 to 300 micron wavelength range are needed for SAFIR. These should offer background limited operation with cooled (5 K) telescope optics, and have minimal power dissipation at low temperatures. Low power frequency multiplexers are also of interest for readout of submm bolometer arrays for SAFIR and Inflation Probe.



        High performance sensors and detectors that can operate with low noise under the severe radiation environment (high-energy electrons, =1 megarad total dose) anticipated during the Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM) are of interest (see the Jupiter Europa Orbiter Mission Study 2008: Final Report, http://opfm.jpl.nasa.gov/library/). Notional instruments include visible and infrared cameras and spectrometers, a thermal imager and laser altimeter. Devices can be radiation hardened by design and/or process:


        • Hardened visible imaging arrays with low dark currents even in harsh radiation environments, line or framing arrays suitable for use in pushbroom and framing cameras. Detectors include CCDs (n or p-channel), CMOS imagers, PIN photodiode hybrids, etc.
        • Hardened infrared imaging arrays with a spectral range of 400 to 5000 nm with high quantum efficiency and low dark current, as well as compatible radiation hardened CMOS readouts. These devices could include substrate removed HgCdTe hybrid focal plane arrays responsive from 400 to 2500 nm and IR only focal plane arrays responsive from 2500 nm to 5000 nm.
        • High-speed radiation hardened avalanche photodiodes that respond to a 1.06 micron laser beam suitable for use in time of flight laser rangefinders. Devices should have high and stable gain with lower dark current in harsh radiation environments.
        • Radiation hardened detectors suitable for use in uncooled thermal imagers that respond to spectral bands ranging from 8 to 100 microns. Detectors could include thermopile or microbolometer small line arrays.



        Technologies are needed for active and passive wave front and amplitude control, and relevant missions include Extra solar Planetary Imaging Coronagraph (EPIC), and other coronagraphic missions such as Terrestrial Planet Finder (http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_index.cfm) and Stellar Imager (http://hires.gsfc.nasa.gov/si/):


        • Spatial Filter Array (SFA) consisting of a monolithic array of up to 1200 coherent, polarization preserving, single mode fibers, or custom waveguides, that operate with minimal coupling losses over a large fraction of the spectral range from 0.4 - 1.0 microns. The SFA should have input and output lenslet with each pair mapped to a single fiber or waveguide and such that the lenslets maintain path length uniformity to
        • MEMS based segmented deformable mirrors consisting of arrays of up to 1200 hexagonal packed segments with strokes over the range of 0 to 1.0 microns, quantized with 16-bit electronics with segment level stabilities of 0.015 nm rms (1-bit) over 1 hour intervals. Segments should be flat to 2 nm rms or better and the substrate flat to 125 nm or better and high uniformity of coatings (1% rms).



        Thermal imaging, LANDSAT, all IR Earth observing missions:


        • Development of uncooled or passively cooled detectors with NEΔT30% in the 6-14 µm infrared wavelength region. Formats ~ 640 x 512 with a goal to exceed 3,000 pixel linear dimension. Also, work in promising new technologies such as InAs/GaSb type-II strain layer superlattices.



        The Geo-CAPE Mission



        Wide Field 0.26-15um and Narrow Field 0.35-2.1µm. PanFTS 60µm pixel pitch, 256 X 256 format with in-pixel ADC digitization ROIC, 16-bit precision, 16kHz frame rate.



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      • 51531

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

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

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

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



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




        Specific technology areas are listed below:


        • Significant improvement in wide band gap semiconductor materials, such as AlGaN, ZnMgO and SiC, individual detectors, and detector arrays for operation at room temperature or higher for missions such as Geo-CAPE, NWO, ATALAST and planetary science composition measurements.
        • Highly integrated, low noise (
        • Large format UV and X-ray focal plane detector arrays: micro-channel plates, CCDs, and active pixel sensors (>50% QE, 100 Megapixels,
        • Advanced Charged Couple Device (CCD) detectors, including improvements in UV quantum efficiency and read noise, to increase the limiting sensitivity in long exposures and improved radiation tolerance. Electron-bombarded CCD and CMOS detectors, including improvements in efficiency, resolution, and global and local count rate capability. In the X-ray, we seek to extend the response to lower energies in some CCDs, and to higher, perhaps up to 50 keV, in others. Possible missions are future GOES missions and International X-ray Observatory.
        • Wide band gap semiconductor, radiation hard, visible and solar blind large format imagers for next generation hyperspectral Earth remote sensing experiments. Need larger formats (>1Kx1K), much higher resolution (
        • Solar blind, compact, low-noise, radiation hard, EUV and soft X-ray detectors are required. Both single pixels (up to 1cm x 1cm) and large format 1D and 2D arrays are required to span the 0.05nm to 150nm spectral wavelength range. Future GOES missions post-GOES R and T.
        • Visible-blind SiC Avalanche Photodiodes (APDs) for EUV photon counting are required. The APDs must show a linear mode gain >1E6 at a breakdown reverse voltage between 80 and 100V. The APD's must demonstrate detection capability of better than 6 photons/pixel/s at near 135nm spectral wavelength. See needs of National Research Council's Earth Science Decadal Survey (NRC, 2007): Tropospheric ozone.
        • Imaging from low-Earth orbit of air fluorescence, UV light generated by giant air showers by ultra-high energy (E >10E19 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 (2g/cm2 goal). Individual pixel readout is required. The entire focal plane detector can be formed from smaller, individual sub-arrays.
        • Large area (3 m2) photon counting near-UV detectors with 3 mm pixels and able to count at 10 MHz. Array with high active area fraction (>85%), 0.5 Megapixels and readout less than 1 mW/channel. Future instruments are JEM-EUSO and OWL.
        • Large area (m2) X-ray detectors with 85%).
        • Improve beyond CdZnTe detectors using micro-calorimeter arrays at hard X-ray, low gamma-ray bands (above 10 keV and Below 80 keV).
        • Improvement of spatial resolution for the hard x-ray band up to 10 and ultimately to 5 arcsecond resolution.



        Future instrument is a Phased-Fresnel X-ray Imager.



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      • 51534

        S1.06Particles and Field Sensors and Instrument Enabling Technologies

        Lead Center: GSFC

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

        Advanced sensors for the detection of elementary particles (atoms, molecules and their ions) and electric and magnetic fields in space and associated instrument technologies are often critical for enabling transformational science from the study of the sun's outer corona, to the solar wind, to the… Read more>>

        Advanced sensors for the detection of elementary particles (atoms, molecules and their ions) and electric and magnetic fields in space and associated instrument technologies are often critical for enabling transformational science from the study of the sun's outer corona, to the solar wind, to the trapped radiation in Earth's and other planetary magnetic fields, and to the atmospheric composition of the planets and their moons. Improvements in particles and fields sensors and associated instrument technologies enable further scientific advancement for upcoming NASA missions such as Solar Orbiter, Solar Probe Plus, ONEP, SEPAT, INCA, CISR, DGC, HMag and planetary exploration missions. Technology developments that result in a reduction in size, mass, power, and cost will enable these missions to proceed. Of interest are advanced magnetometers, electric field booms, ion/atom/molecule detectors, and associated support electronics and materials. Specific areas of interest include:


        • Self-calibrating scalar-vector magnetometer for future Earth and space science missions. Performance goals: dynamic range: ±100,000 nT, accuracy with self-calibration: 1 nT, sensitivity: 5 pT • Hz–1/2 (max), max sensor unit size: 6 x 6 x 12 cm, max sensor mass: 0.6 kg, max electronics unit size: 8 x 13 x 5 cm, max electronics mass: 1 kg, and max power: 5 W operation, 0.5 W standby, including, but not limited to “sensors on a chip”.
        • High-magnetic-field sensor that measures magnetic field magnitudes to 16 Gauss with an accuracy of 1 part in 105.
        • Strong, lightweight, thin, compactly-stowed electric field booms possibly using composite materials that deploy sensors to distances of 10-m or more.
        • Cooled (-60ºC) solid state ion detector capable of operating at a floating potential of -15 kV relative to ground.
        • Low noise magnetic materials for advanced magnetometer sensors with performance equal to or better than those in the 6-81.3 Mo-Permalloy family.
        • Radiation hardened ASIC spectrum analyzer module that determines mass spectra using fast algorithm deconvolution to produce ion counts for specific ion species.
        • Low-cost, low-power, fast-stepping (= 50-µs), high-voltage power supplies 5-15 kV.
        • Low-cost, efficient low-power power supplies (5-10 V).
        • Low-power charge sensitive preamplifiers on a chip.
        • High efficiency (5% or greater) conversion surfaces for low energy neutral atom conversion to ions possibly based on nanotechnology.
        • Miniature low-power, high efficiency, thermionic cathodes, capable of 1-mA electron emission per 100-mW heater power with emission surface area of 1-mm2 and expected lifetime of 20,000 hours.
        • Long wire boom (= 50 m) deployment systems for the deployment of very lightweight tethers or antennae on spinning spacecraft.
        • Systems to determine the orthogonality of a deployed electric/magnetic field boom system in flight (for use with three-axis rigid 10-m booms) accurate to 0.10° dynamic.
        • Die-level optical interferometer, micro-sized, for measuring Fabry-Perot plate spacing with 0.1-nm accuracy.
        • Diffractive optics (photon sieves) of 0.1-m aperture or larger with micron-sized outer Fresnel zones for high-resolution EUV imaging.



        Developing near-real time data-assimilative models and tools, for both solar quiet and active times, which allow for precise specification and forecasts of the space environment, beginning with solar eruptions and propagation, and including ionospheric electron density specification.



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      • 51532

        S1.07Cryogenic Systems for Sensors and Detectors

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, MSFC

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

        Cryogenic cooling systems often serve as enabling technologies for detectors and sensors flown on scientific instruments as well as advanced telescopes and observatories. As such, technological improvements to cryogenic systems (as well as components) further advance the mission goals of NASA through enabling performance (and ultimately science gathering) capabilities of flight detectors and sensors. Presently, there are six potential investment areas that NASA is seeking to expand state of the art capabilities in for possible use on future programs such as GEOID, SPICA, WFirst (http://wfirst.gsfc.nasa.gov/), Space Infrared Interferometric Telescope (SPIRIT), Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure (SPECS), as well as, the Planetary and Europa Science missions (http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/jpl-europa20090218.html). The topic areas are as follows:


        • Extremely Low Vibration Cooling Systems - Examples of such systems include Joule Thompson, pulse tube and turbo Brayton cycles. Desired cooling capabilities sought are on the order of 40 mW at 4K or 1 W at 50K. Present state of the art capabilities display
        • Advanced Magnetic Cooler Components - An example of an advanced magnetic cooler might be Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigeration systems. Specific components sought include:

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

        • Continuous Flow Distributed Cooling Systems - Distributed cooling provides increased lifetime of cryogen fluids for applications on both the ground and spaceborne platforms. This has impacts on payload mass and volume for flight systems which translate into costs (either on the ground, during launch or in flight). Cooling systems that provide continuous distributed flow are a cost effective alternative to present techniques/methodologies. Cooling systems that can be used with large loads and/or deployable structures are presently being sought after.
        • Heat Switches - Heat switches for operating ranges of
        • Highly Efficient Magnetic and Dilution Cooling Technologies - The desired temperature range for a proposed system is
        • Low Input Power (



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      • 52063

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

        Lead Center: GSFC

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

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

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



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



        Priorities include:


        • Atmospheric measurements in the troposphere and lower stratosphere: Aerosol Optical and Microphysical Properties, Cloud Properties and Particles, Water, Chemical Composition, i.e., Carbon Dioxide (12CO2 and 13CO2), Carbon Monoxide, Methane, Nitrogen Dioxide, Hydrogen Peroxide, Formaldehyde, Bromine Oxides, Ozone, and Three-dimensional Winds and Turbulence.
        • Oceanic, coastal, and fresh water measurements including inherent and apparent optical properties, temperature, salinity, currents, chemical and particle composition, sediment, and biological components such as nutrient distribution, phytoplankton, harmful algal blooms, fish or aquatic plants.
        • Hyperspectral radiometers for above water (340 -1400 nm) and shallow water (340 - 900 nm) profiling: high frequency measurements of sky-radiance, sun irradiance, water leaving radiance, and bidirectional reflectance, with solar-tracking and autonomous operation.
        • Instrument systems for hazardous environments such as volcanoes and severe storms, including measurements of Sulfur Dioxide, Particles, and Precipitation.
        • Land Surface characterization geopotential field sensors, such as gravity, geomagnetic, electric, and electromagnetic.
        • Urban air-quality profiler: ground based, compact, inexpensive, (laser based) systems suited for unattended measurement (e.g., ozone) profiles of the troposphere.



        Instrument systems to support satellite measurement calibration and validation observations, as well as field studies of fundamental processes are of interest. A priority is applicability to NASA's research activities such as the Atmospheric Composition and Radiation Sciences programs, including Airborne Science support thereof, as well as the Applied Sciences, and Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry programs. Support of algorithm development for the Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (Geo-CAPE) mission is also a priority. Development of instruments that will provide near-term benefit to the NASA science community is a priority - working prototypes delivered by the completion of Phase II are desired.



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      • 51540

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

        Lead Center: JPL

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

        This subtopic solicits development of advanced instrument technologies and components suitable for deployment on planetary and lunar missions. These technologies must be capable of withstanding operation in space and planetary environments, including the expected pressures, radiation levels, launch… Read more>>

        This subtopic solicits development of advanced instrument technologies and components suitable for deployment on planetary and lunar missions. These technologies must be capable of withstanding operation in space and planetary environments, including the expected pressures, radiation levels, launch and impact stresses, and range of survival and operational temperatures. Technologies that reduce mass, power, volume, and data rates for instruments and instrument components without loss of scientific capability are of particular importance. In addition, technologies that can increase instrument resolution and sensitivity or achieve new & innovative scientific measurements are solicited. For example missions, see http://science.hq.nasa.gov/missions. For details of the specific requirements see the National Research Council's, Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/2013decadal/. Technologies which support NASA's Planetary Flagship mission candidates (Mars 2018, JEO, & Uranus Orbiter & Probe Mission), New Frontiers Mission candidates (Comet Surface Sample Return, Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return, Saturn Probe, Trojan Tour & Rendezvous, Venus In-Situ Explorer, Io Observer, and the Lunar Geophysical Network) and Discovery missions to various planetary bodies are of top priority.



        In situ technologies are being sought to achieve much higher resolution and sensitivity with significant improvements over existing technologies. Orbital sensors and technologies that can provide significant improvements over previous orbital missions are also sought. Specifically, this subtopic solicits instrument development that provides significant advances in the following areas, broken out by planetary body:


        • Mars: Sub-systems relevant to current in situ instrument needs (e.g., lasers and other light sources from UV to microwave, X-ray and ion sources, detectors, mixers, mass analyzers, etc.) or electronics technologies (e.g., FPGA and ASIC implementations, advanced array readouts, miniature high voltage power supplies). Technologies that support high precision in situ measurements of elemental, mineralogical, and organic composition of planetary materials are sought. Conceptually simple, low risk technologies for in situ sample extraction and/or manipulation including fluid and gas storage, pumping, and chemical labeling to support analytical instrumentation. Seismometers, mass analyzers, technologies for heat flow probes, and atmospheric trace gas detectors. Improved robustness and g-force survivability for instrument components, especially for geophysical network sensors, seismometers, and advanced detectors (iCCDs, PMT arrays, etc.). Instruments geared towards rock/sample interrogation prior to sample return are desired.
        • Europa & Io: Technologies for high radiation environments, e.g., radiation mitigation strategies, radiation tolerant detectors, and readout electronic components, which enable orbiting instruments to be both radiation-hard and undergo the planetary protection requirements of sterilization (or equivalent) for candidate instruments on the Europa-Jupiter System Mission (JEO) and Io Observer are sought.
        • Titan: Low mass and power sensors, mechanisms and concepts for converting terrestrial instruments such as turbidimeters and echo sounders for lake measurements, weather stations, surface (lake and solid) properties packages etc., to cryogenic environments (95K). Mechanical and electrical components and subsystems that work in cryogenic (95K) environments; sample extraction from liquid methane/ethane, sampling from organic 'dunes' at 95K and robust sample preparation and handling mechanisms that feed into mass analyzers are sought. Balloon instruments, such as IR spectrometers, imagers, meteorological instruments, radar sounders, air sampling mechanisms for mass analyzers, and aerosol detectors are also solicited.
        • Venus: Sensors, mechanisms, and environmental chamber technologies for operation in Venus's high temperature, high-pressure environment with its unique atmospheric composition. Approaches that can enable precision measurements of surface mineralogy and elemental composition and precision measurements of trace species, noble gases and isotopes in the atmosphere are particularly desired.
        • Small Bodies: Technologies that can enable sampling from asteroids and from depth in a comet nucleus, improved in situ analysis of comets. Also, imagers and spectrometers that provide high performance in low light environments.
        • Saturn, Uranus and Neptune: Technologies are sought for components, sample acquisition and instrument systems that can enhance mission science return and withstand the low-temperatures/high-pressures of the atmospheric probes during entry.
        • The Moon: This solicitation seeks advancements in the areas of compact, light-weight, low power instruments geared towards in situ lunar surface measurements, geophysical measurements, lunar atmosphere and dust environment measurements & regolith particle analysis, lunar resource identification, and/or quantification of potential lunar resources (e.g., oxygen, nitrogen, and other volatiles, fuels, metals, etc.). Specifically, advancements geared towards instruments that enable elemental or mineralogy analysis (such as high-sensitivity X-ray and UV-fluorescence spectrometers, UV/fluorescence flash lamp/camera systems, scanning electron microscopy with chemical analysis capability, time-of-flight mass spectrometry, gas chromatography and tunable diode laser sensors, calorimetry, laser-Raman spectroscopy, imaging spectroscopy, and LIBS) are sought. These developments should be geared towards sample interrogation, prior to possible sample return. Systems and subsystems for seismometers and heat flow sensors capable of long-term continuous operation over multiple lunar day/night cycles with improved sensitivity at lower mass and reduced power consumption are sought. Also of interest are portable surface ground penetrating radars to characterize the thickness of the lunar regolith, as well as low mass, thermally stable hollow cubes and retro-reflector array assemblies for lunar surface laser ranging. Of secondary importance are instruments that measure the micrometeoroid and lunar secondary ejecta environment, plasma environment, surface electric field, secondary radiation at the lunar surface, and dust concentrations and its diurnal dynamics are sought. Further, lunar regolith particle analysis techniques are desired (e.g., optical interrogation or software development that would automate integration of suites of multiple back scatter electron images acquired at different operating conditions, as well as permit integration of other data such as cathodoluminescence and energy-dispersive x-ray analysis.)



        Proposers are strongly encouraged to relate their proposed development to:


        • NASA's future planetary exploration goals.
        • Existing flight instrument capability, to provide a comparison metric for assessing proposed improvements.



        Proposed instrument architectures should be as simple, reliable, and low risk as possible while enabling compelling science. Novel instrument concepts are encouraged particularly if they enable a new class of scientific discovery. Technology developments relevant to multiple environments and platforms are also desired.



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



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      • 51528

        S1.10Atomic Interferometry

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        "Atom/BEC (Bose Einstein Condensate) Interferometry for space applications" Sensors based on Atom/BEC Interferometry are attractive because: Atoms have internal and external degrees of freedom that are used to optimize detection of desired signal. These states are easily manipulated by external… Read more>>

        "Atom/BEC (Bose Einstein Condensate) Interferometry for space applications"



        Sensors based on Atom/BEC Interferometry are attractive because:



        Atoms have internal and external degrees of freedom that are used to optimize detection of desired signal. These states are easily manipulated by external magnetic and electric fields. Different Atoms posses a wide range of different properties that offer the experimentalists an opportunity to address a wide range of problems. Laser Cooling and Atom trapping enable experimentalists long measurement times that translates to high precision Interferometry measurements. Generally these measurements are done in the inertial frame of the atoms, which is mostly isolated from the environment.



        The Atom/BEC Interferometry based sensors of interest to NASA are:


        • Accelerometers.
        • Gyros.
        • Inertial Measurement Units for navigation.
        • Gravity Gradient sensors (Gravimeters and gradiometers).
        • Optical metrology instrumentation.
        • Large area matter wave interferometers.
        • Precise clocks for space applications.
        • Higher sensitivity space magnetometers.



        These are subset of the possible sensors based on this technology that has direct applications to GRACE II, Gravity Wave Science Mission, and small explorer missions. In general, Atom/BEC Interferometry enables much higher precision of the phase than optical Interferometers.



        This subtopic seeks concepts and prototypes of devices below:


        • Compact Low Noise accelerometers are Vital to gravity mapping, gravity wave detections, and navigation. Noise of 5E-10 (m/s2 Hz-1/2) over frequency range of 1E-05 Hz to 1E+00 Hz are required.
        • Compact Low Noise gyroscopes based on Atom/BEC Interferometry with better than 0.01deg/hour accuracy and better than 0.001deg/sqrt(Hz) low drift.



        The criteria for evaluations also include:


        • Lowest temperature achieved.
        • Number of Atoms in the gas.



        Robustness of the design /prototype to Space environments.



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      • 51547

        S1.11Planetary Orbital Sensors and Sensor Systems (POSSS)

        Lead Center: JPL

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

    • + Expand Advanced Telescope Systems Topic

      Topic S2 Advanced Telescope Systems PDF


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

      • 51541

        S2.01Precision Spacecraft Formations for Telescope Systems

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

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

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



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



        Innovations are solicited for:


        • Sensor systems for inertial alignment of multiple vehicles with separations of tens of meters to thousands of kilometers to accuracy of 1 - 50 milli-arcseconds.
        • Development of nanometer to sub-nanometer metrology for measuring inter-spacecraft range and/or bearing for space telescopes and interferometers.
        • Control approaches to maintain line-of-sight between two vehicles in inertial space near Sun-Earth L2 to milli-arcsecond levels accuracy.
        • Development of combined cm-to-nanometer-level precision formation flying control of numerous spacecraft and their optics to enable large baseline, sparse aperture UV/optical and X-ray telescopes and interferometers for ultra-high angular resolution imagery. Proposals addressing staged-control experiments, which combine coarse formation control with fine-level wavefront sensing based control are encouraged.



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


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



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



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      • 52146

        S2.02Proximity Glare Suppression for Astronomical Coronagraphy

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC

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



        This innovative research focuses on advances in coronagraphic instruments, starlight cancellation instruments, and potential occulting technologies that operate at visible and near infrared wavelengths. The ultimate application of these instruments is to operate in space as part of a future observatory mission. Measurement techniques include imaging, photometry, spectroscopy, and polarimetry. There is interest in component development, and innovative instrument design, as well as in the fabrication of subsystem devices to include, but not limited to, the following areas:



        Starlight Suppression Technologies

        • Advanced starlight canceling coronagraphic instrument concepts.
        • Advanced aperture apodization and aperture shaping techniques.
        • Advanced apodization mask or occulting spot fabrication technology controlling smooth density gradients to 10-4 with spatial resolutions ~1 µm, low dispersion, and low dependence of phase on optical density.
        • Metrology for detailed evaluation of compact, deep density apodizing masks, Lyot stops, and other types of graded and binary mask elements. Development of a system to measure spatial optical density, phase 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.
        • Pupil remapping technologies to achieve beam apodization.
        • Techniques to characterize highly aspheric optics.
        • Methods to distinguish the coherent and incoherent scatter in a broadband speckle field.
        • Methods of polarization control and polarization apodization.
        • Components and methods to insure amplitude uniformity in both coronagraphs and interferometers, specifically materials, processes, and metrology to insure coating uniformity.
        • Coherent fiber bundles consisting of up to 10^4 fibers with lenslets on both input and output side, such that both spatial and temporal coherence are maintained across the fiber bundle for possible wavefront/amplitude control through the fiber bundle.



        Wavefront Control Technologies

        • Development of small stroke, high precision, deformable mirrors and associated driving electronics scalable to 104 or more actuators (both to further the state-of-the-art towards flight-like hardware and to explore novel concepts). Multiple deformable mirror technologies in various phases of development and processes are encouraged to ultimately improve the state-of-the-art in deformable mirror technology. Process improvements are needed to improve repeatability, yield, and performance precision of current devices.
        • Development of instruments to perform broadband sensing of wavefronts and distinguish amplitude and phase in the wavefront.
        • Adaptive optics actuators, integrated mirror/actuator programmable deformable mirror.
        • Reliability and qualification of actuators and structures in deformable mirrors to eliminate or mitigate single actuator failures.
        • Multiplexer development for electrical connection to deformable mirrors that has ultra-low power dissipation.
        • High precision wavefront error sensing and control techniques to improve and advance coronagraphic imaging performance.
        • Optical Coating and Measurement Technologies.
        • Instruments capable of measuring polarization cross-talk and birefringence to parts per million.
        • Highly reflecting broadband coatings for large (> 1 m diameter) optics.
        • Polarization-insensitive coatings for large optics.



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



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      • 51544

        S2.03Precision Deployable Optical Structures and Metrology

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, LaRC

        Planned future NASA Missions in astrophysics, such as: Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) and the New Worlds Technology Development Program (coronagraph, external occulter and interferometer technologies) will push the state of the art in current optomechanical technologies. Mission… Read more>>

        Planned future NASA Missions in astrophysics, such as: Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) and the New Worlds Technology Development Program (coronagraph, external occulter and interferometer technologies) will push the state of the art in current optomechanical technologies. Mission concepts for New Worlds science would require 10 - 30 m class, cost-effective telescope observatories that are diffraction limited at wavelengths from the visible to the far IR, and operate at temperatures from 4 - 300 K. In addition, ground based telescopes such as the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope (CCAT) require similar technology development.


        The desired areal density is 1 - 10 kg/m2 with a packaging efficiency of 3-10 deployed/stowed diameter. Static and dynamic wavefront error tolerances to thermal and dynamic perturbations may be achieved through passive means (e.g., via a high stiffness system, passive thermal control, jitter isolation or damping) or through active opto-mechanical control. Large deployable multi-layer structures in support of sunshades for passive thermal control and 20m to 50m class planet finding external occulters are also relevant technologies. Potential architecture implementations must package into an existing launch volume, deploy and be self-aligning to the micron level. The target space environment is expected to be the Earth-Sun L2.


        This subtopic solicits proposals to develop enabling, cost effective component and subsystem technology for deploying large aperture telescopes with low cost. Research areas of interest include:


        • Precision deployable structures and metrology for optical telescopes (e.g., innovative active or passive deployable primary or secondary support structures).
        • Architectures, packaging and deployment designs for large sunshields and external occulters.



        In particular, important subsystem considerations may include:


        • Innovative concepts for packaging fully integrated subsystems (e.g., power distribution, sensing, and control components).
        • Mechanical, inflatable, or other precision deployable technologies.
        • Thermally-stable materials (CTE
        • Innovative systems, which minimize complexity, mass, power and cost.
        • Innovative testing and verification methodologies.



        The goal for this effort is to mature technologies that can be used to fabricate 16 m class or greater, lightweight, ambient or cryogenic flight-qualified observatory systems. Proposals to fabricate demonstration components and subsystems with direct scalability to flight systems through validated models will be given preference. The target launch volume and expected disturbances, along with the estimate of system performance, should be included in the discussion. Proposals with system solutions for large sunshields and external occulters will also be accepted. A successful proposal shows a path toward a Phase II delivery of demonstration hardware scalable to 5 meter diameter for ground test characterization.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop the relevant subsystem technologies and to transition into future NASA program(s).



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      • 51576

        S2.04Advanced Optical Component Systems

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        The National Academy Astro2010 Decadal Report specifically identifies optical components and coatings as key technologies needed to enable several different future missions, including: X-ray imaging mirrors for the International X-Ray Observatory (IXO). Active lightweight x-ray imaging mirrors for… Read more>>

        The National Academy Astro2010 Decadal Report specifically identifies optical components and coatings as key technologies needed to enable several different future missions, including:


        • X-ray imaging mirrors for the International X-Ray Observatory (IXO).
        • Active lightweight x-ray imaging mirrors for future very large advanced x-ray observatories.
        • Large aperture, lightweight mirrors for future UV/Optical telescopes.
        • Broadband high reflectance coatings for future UV/Optical telescopes.



        X-ray mirrors are identified by the Decadal as the most important, critical technology needed for IXO. IXO requires 3 m2 collecting aperture x-ray imaging mirror with 5 arc-second angular resolution. Mirror areal density depends upon available launch vehicle capacities. Additionally, future x-ray missions require advanced multilayer high-reflectance coating for hard x-ray mirrors (i.e., NuSTAR) and x-ray transmission/reflection gratings.



        Future UVOIR missions require 4 to 8 or 16 meter monolithic and/or segmented primary mirrors with 2 for a 5 m fairing EELV vs. 60 kg/m2 for a 10 m fairing SLS). Additionally, future UVOIR missions require high-reflectance mirror coatings with spectral coverage from 100 to 2500 nm.



        Heliophysics missions also require advanced lightweight, super-polished precision normal and grazing incidence optical components and coatings. Potential missions which could be enabled by these technologies include: Origins of Near-Earth Plasma (ONEP); Ion-Neutral Coupling in the Atmosphere (INCA); Dynamic Geospace Coupling (DGC); Fine-scale Advanced Coronal Transition-Region Spectrograph (FACTS); Reconnection and Micro-scale (RAM); and Solar-C. Heliophysics missions need normal incidence mirror systems ranging from 0.35 meter to 1.5 meters with surface figure errors of 0.1 micro-radians rms slope from 4-mm to 1/2 aperture spatial periods, roughness of 0.2-nm rms and micro-roughness of 0.1-nm rms; and, grazing incidence mirror systems with an effective collecting area of ~3 cm2 from 0.1 to 4 nm, 4 meter effective focal length, 0.8 degree angle of incidence and surface roughness of 0.2-nm rms. Additionally, future Heliophysics missions require high-reflectance normal incidence spectral, broadband, dual and even three-band pass multi-layer EUV coatings.


        The geosynchronous orbit for GEO-CAPE coastal ecosystem imager requires technology for alternative solar calibration strategies including new materials to reduce weight, and new optical analysis to reduce the size of calibration systems. GEO-CAPE will need a lightweight large aperture (greater than 0.5 m) diffuse solar calibrator, employing multiple diffusers to track on-orbit degradation. Typical materials of interest are PTFE (such as Spectralon® surface diffuser) or development of new Mie scattering materials for use as volume diffusers in transmission or reflection.


        Finally, NASA is developing a heavy lift space launch system (SLS). An SLS with a 10 meter fairing and 100 mt capacity to LEO would enable extremely large space telescopes. Potential systems include 12 to 30 meter class segmented primary mirrors for UV/optical or infrared wavelengths and 8 to 16 meter class segmented x-ray telescope mirrors. These potential future space telescopes have very specific mirror technology needs. UV/optical telescopes (such as ATLAST-9 or ATLAST-16) require 1 to 3 meter class mirrors with


        In all cases, the most important metric for an advanced optical system is affordability or areal cost (cost per square meter of collecting aperture). Currently both x-ray and normal incidence space mirrors cost $3 million to $4 million per square meter of optical surface area. This research effort seeks a cost reduction for precision optical components by 20 to 100 times, to less than $100K/m2.



        The subtopic has three objectives:


        • Develop and demonstrate technologies to manufacture and test ultra-low-cost precision optical systems for x-ray, UV/optical or infrared telescopes. Potential solutions include, but are not limited to, new mirror materials such as silicon carbide, nanolaminates or carbon-fiber reinforced polymer; or new fabrication processes such as direct precision machining, rapid optical fabrication, roller embossing at optical tolerances, slumping or replication technologies to manufacture 1 to 2 meter (or larger) precision quality mirror or lens segments (either normal incidence for UV/optical/infrared or grazing incidence for x-ray). Solutions include reflective, transmissive, diffractive or high order diffractive blazed lens optical components for assembly of large (16 to 32 meter) optical quality primary elements. The EUSO mission requires large-aperture primary segmented refractive, Fresnel or kinoform PMMA or CYTOP lenses with
        • Develop and demonstrate optical coatings for EUV and UVOIR telescopes. UVOIR telescopes require broadband (from 100 nm to 2500 nm) high-reflectivity mirror coating with extremely uniform amplitude and polarization properties. Heliophysics missions require high-reflectance (> 90%) normal incidence spectral, broadband, dual and even three-band pass multi-layer coatings over the spectral range from 6 to 200 nm. Studies of improved deposition processes for new UV reflective coatings (e.g., MgF2), investigations of new coating materials with promising UV performance, and examination of handling processes, contamination control, and safety procedures related to depositing coatings, storing coated optics, integrating coated optics into flight hardware are all areas where progress would be valuable. In all cases, an ability to demonstrate optical performance on 2 to 3 meter class optical surfaces is important.
        • Large aperture diffusers (up to 1 meter) for periodic calibration of GeoStationary Earth viewing sensors by viewing the sun either in reflection or transmission off the diffuser.



        In regard to large-aperture diffusers material needs to be stable in BTDF/BSDF to 2%/year from 250nm -2.5 microns and highly lambertian (no formal specification for deviation from lambertian.



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



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      • 51530

        S2.05Optics Manufacturing and Metrology for Telescope Optical Surfaces

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

        This subtopic focuses primarily on manufacturing and metrology of optical surfaces, especially for very small or very large and/or thin optics. Missions of interest include: Dark Energy Mission concepts (e.g., http://wfirst.gsfc.nasa.gov) Large X-Ray Mission concepts (e.g., http://ixo.gsfc.nasa… Read more>>

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



        Dark Energy Mission concepts (e.g., http://wfirst.gsfc.nasa.gov)

        Large X-Ray Mission concepts (e.g., http://ixo.gsfc.nasa.gov/),

        Gravity Wave Science Mission concepts (e.g., http://lisa.gsfc.nasa.gov/)

        ICESAT (http://icesat.gsfc.nasa.gov/), CLARIO, and ACE

        ATLAST (http://www.stsci.edu/institute/atlast/)



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



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



        Examples of technologies and instruments of interest include:


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



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





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    • + Expand Spacecraft and Platform Subsystems Topic

      Topic S3 Spacecraft and Platform Subsystems PDF


      The Science Mission Directorate will carry out the scientific exploration of our Earth, the planets, moons, comets, and asteroids of our solar system and the universe beyond. SMD's future direction will be moving away from exploratory missions (orbiters and flybys) into more detailed/specific exploration missions that are at or near the surface (landers, rovers, and sample returns) or at more optimal observation points in space. These future destinations will require new vantage points, or would need to integrate or distribute capabilities across multiple assets. Future destinations will also be more challenging to get to, have more extreme environmental conditions and challenges once the spacecraft gets there, and may be a challenge to get a spacecraft or data back from. A major objective of the NASA science spacecraft and platform subsystems development efforts are to enable science measurement capabilities using smaller and lower cost spacecraft to meet multiple mission requirements thus making the best use of our limited resources. To accomplish this objective, NASA is seeking innovations to significantly improve spacecraft and platform subsystem capabilities while reducing the mass and cost, that would in turn enable increased scientific return for future NASA missions. A spacecraft bus is made up of many subsystems like: propulsion; thermal control; power and power distribution; attitude control; telemetry command and control; transmitters/antenna; computers/on-board processing/software; and structural elements. Science platforms of interest could include unmanned aerial vehicles, sounding rockets, or balloons that carry scientific instruments/payloads, to planetary ascent vehicles or Earth return vehicles that bring samples back to Earth for analysis. This topic area addresses the future needs in many of these sub-system areas, as well as their application to specific spacecraft and platform needs. Innovations for 2011 are sought in the areas of:

      • Command and Data Handling, and Instrument Electronics
      • Thermal Control Systems
      • Power Generation and Conversion
      • Propulsion Systems
      • Power Electronics and Management, and Energy Storage
      • Guidance, Navigation and Control
      • Unmanned Aircraft and Sounding Rocket Technologies
      • Terrestrial and Planetary Balloons

      Significant changes to the S3 Topic for 2011 are:

      • Merged the 2010 subtopics of S3.08 Planetary Ascent Vehicles and S3.10 Earth Entry Vehicles into a broader "Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions" sub-topic under the S5 Topic.
      • Moved power electronics/power processing unit content for electric propulsion systems from S3.04 Propulsion Systems to the revised sub-topic of S3.05 Power Electronics and Management, and Energy Storage.

      The following references discuss some of NASA's science mission and technology needs:

      • 51537

        S3.01Command, Data Handling, and Electronics

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, LaRC

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

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

        The subtopic goals are to:


        • Develop high-performance processors, memory architectures, and reliable electronic systems.
        • Develop tools technologies that can enable rapid deployment of high-reliability, high-performance onboard processing applications and interface to external sensors on flight hardware. The subtopic objective is to elicit novel architectural concepts and component technologies that are realistic and operate effectively and credibly in environments consistent with the future NASA science missions.



        Successful proposal concepts should significantly advance the state-of-the-art. Proposals should clearly:


        • State what the product is.
        • Identify the needs it addresses.
        • Identify the improvements over the current state of the art.
        • Outline the feasibility of the technical and programmatic approach.
        • Present how it could be infused into a NASA program.



        Furthermore, proposals should indicate an understanding of the intended operating environment, including temperature and radiation. It should be noted that environmental requirements can vary significantly from mission to mission. For example, some low Earth orbit missions have a total ionizing dose (TID) radiation requirement of less than 10 krad(Si), while some planetary missions can have requirements well in excess of 1 Mrad(Si). For descriptions of radiation effects in electronics, the proposer may visit (http://radhome.gsfc.nasa.gov/radhome/overview.htm). If a Phase II proposal is awarded, the combined Phase I and Phase II developments should produce a prototype that can be characterized by NASA.



        The technology priorities sought are listed below:



        Novel, Ruggedized Packaging/Interconnect

        • High-density packaging (enclosures, printed wiring boards) enabling miniaturization.
        • Novel high density and low resistance cabling, including carbon nanotube (CNT) based wiring.



        Discrete Components for C&DH Subsystems

        • Processors - General purpose (processor chips and radiation-hardened by design synthesizable IP cores) and special purpose single-chip components (DSPs), with sustainable processing performance and power efficiency (>40,000 MIPS at >1,000 MIPS/W for general purpose processing platforms, >20 GMACs at >5 GMACS/W for computationally-intensive processing platforms), and tolerance to total dose and single-event radiation effects. Concepts must include tools required to support an integrated hardware/software development flow.



        Tunable, Scalable, Reconfigurable, Adaptive Fault-Tolerant Onboard Processing Architectures

        • Development system design tools that:

          • Take full advantage of rapid prototyping hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) environments for hybrid processing platforms.
          • Automate/accelerate the deployment of data processing and sensor interface design on flight hardware.



        Technologies Enabling Custom Radiation-Hardened Component Development

        • Radiation-Hardened-By-Design (RHBD) cell libraries.
        • Radiation-hardened Programmable Logic Devices (PLDs) and structured ASIC devices (digital and/or mixed-signal).
        • Intellectual Property (IP) cores allowing the implementation of highly reliable System-On-a-Chip (SOC) devices for spacecraft subsystems or instrument electronics. Functions of interest include processors, memory interfaces, and data bus interfaces.



        Power Conversion and Distribution relevant to Command, Data Handling, and Electronics, will be covered in sub-topic S3.05 Power Management and Storage.



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      • 51536

        S3.02Thermal Control Systems

        Lead Center: GSFC

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

        Future Spacecraft and instruments for NASA's Science Mission Directorate will require increasingly sophisticated thermal control technology. Innovative proposals for the crosscutting thermal control discipline are sought in the following areas: New generations of electronics used on numerous… Read more>>

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


        • New generations of electronics used on numerous missions have higher power densities than in the past. High conductivity, vacuum-compatible interface materials that minimize losses across make/break interfaces are needed to reduce interface temperature gradients and facilitate heat removal.
        • Sensitive instruments and electronics drive increased requirements for high electrical conductivity on spacecraft surfaces. This has increased the need for advanced thermal control coatings, particularly those with low absorptance, high emittance, and good electrical conductivity. Also, variable emittance surfaces to modulate heat rejection are needed.
        • Exploration science missions beyond Earth orbit present engineering challenges requiring systems that can withstand extreme temperatures ranging from high temperatures on Venus to the cryogenic temperatures of the outer planets. High performance insulation systems, which are more easily fabricated than traditional multi-layer (MLI) systems, are required for both hot and cold environments. Potential applications include traditional vacuum environments, low-pressure carbon dioxide atmospheres on Mars, and high-pressure atmospheres found on Venus. Systems that incorporate Micro-meteorite and Orbital Debris protection (MMOD) are also of interest.
        • Future high-powered missions, some possibly nuclear powered, may require active cooling systems to efficiently transport large amounts of heat. These include single and two-phase mechanically pumped fluid loop systems which accommodate multiple heat sources and sinks; and long life, lightweight pumps which are capable of generating a high pressure head. It also includes efficient, lightweight, oil-less, high lift vapor compression systems or novel new technologies for high performance cooling up to 2 KW.
        • Phase change systems are needed for Mars, Venus, or Lunar applications. Reusable phase change systems are desired which can be employed to absorb transient heat dissipations during instrument operations. Technology is sought for phase change systems, typically near room temperature, which can then either store this energy or provide an exothermic process that would provide heat for instrument power-on after the dormant phase.



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



        Note to Proposer: Subtopic X3.04 Thermal Control Systems for Human Spacecraft, under the Exploration Mission Directorate, also addresses thermal control technologies. Proposals more aligned with exploration mission requirements should be proposed in X3.04.



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      • 51516

        S3.03Power Generation and Conversion

        Lead Center: GRC

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

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

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



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



        Radioisotope Power Conversion

        Radioisotope technology enables a wide range of mission opportunities, both near and far from the Sun and hostile planetary environments including high energy radiation, both high and low temperature and diverse atmospheric chemistries. Technology innovations capable of advancing lifetimes, improving efficiency, highly tolerant to hostile environments are desired for all thermal to electric conversion technologies considered here. Specific systems of interest for this solicitation are listed below.



        Stirling Power Conversion: advances in, but not limited to, the following

        • System specific mass greater than 10 We/kg.
        • Highly reliable autonomous control.
        • Low EMI.
        • High temperature, high performance materials, 850-1200 C.
        • Radiation tolerant sensors, materials and electronics.



        Thermoelectric Power Conversion: advances in, but not limited to, the following

        • High temperature, high efficiency conversion greater than 10%.
        • Long life, minimal degradation.
        • Higher power density.



        Photovoltaic Energy Conversion

        Photovoltaic cell, blanket, and array technologies that lead to significant improvements in overall solar array performance (i.e., conversion efficiency >33%, array mass specific power >300watts/kilogram, decreased stowed volume, reduced initial and recurring cost, long-term operation in high radiation environments, high power arrays, and a wide range of space environmental operating conditions) are solicited. Technologies specifically addressing the following mission needs are highly sought:


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



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


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



        Note to Proposer: Topic X8 under the Exploration Mission Directorate also addresses power technologies (X8.03 Space Nuclear Power Systems, and X8.04 Advanced Photovoltaic Systems). Proposals more aligned with exploration mission requirements should be proposed in X8.



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      • 51475

        S3.04Propulsion Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

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

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



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



        The focus of this solicitation is for next generation propulsion systems and components, including high-pressure chemical rocket technologies and low cost/low mass electric propulsion technologies. Specific sample return propulsion technologies of interest include higher-pressure chemical propulsion system components, lightweight propulsion components, and Earth-return vehicle propulsion systems. Propulsion technologies related specifically to planetary ascent vehicles will be sought under S3.08 Planetary Ascent Vehicle. Propulsion technologies related specifically to Power Processing Units will be sought under S3.05 Power Management and Storage.

        Chemical Propulsion Systems

        Technology needs include:


        • Pump or alternate pressurization technologies that provide for high-pressure operation (chamber pressures > 500 psia) of spacecraft primary propulsion systems (100- to 200-lbf class) using Earth storable or space storable bipropellants.
        • Catalytic and non-catalytic ignition technologies that provide reliable ignition of high-performance (Isp > 240 sec), nontoxic monopropellants for power-limited spacecraft.



        Electric Propulsion Systems

        This subtopic also seeks proposals that explore uses of technologies that will provide superior performance for high specific impulse/low mass electric propulsion systems at low cost. These technologies include:


        • Thrusters with efficiencies > 50% and up to 1 kW of input power that operate with a specific impulse between 1600 to 3500 seconds.
        • An efficient (>60 %), dual mode thruster that is capable of operating in both high thrust (>60 mN/kW) and high specific impulse (>3000 sec) modes for a fixed power level.
        • High power electric propulsion thrusters (up to 25 kW) and components including cathodes, ion optics, low sputtering materials with long life (>1x10^8 N-s), high temperature insulators with low secondary electron emission, and high temperature, low electrical resistivity wire.



        Proposals should show an understanding of the state of the art, how their technology is superior, and of one or more relevant science needs. The proposals should provide a feasible plan to develop fully a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.



        Note to Proposer: Topic X2 under the Exploration Mission Directorate also addresses advanced propulsion. Proposals more aligned with exploration mission requirements should be proposed in X2.



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      • 51518

        S3.05Power Electronics and Management, and Energy Storage

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, JSC

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

        Future NASA science objectives will include missions such as Earth Orbiting, Venus, Europa, Titan/Enceladus Flagship, Lunar Quest and Space Weather missions. Under this subtopic, proposals are solicited to develop energy storage and power electronics to enable or enhance the capabilities of future science missions. The unique requirements for the power systems for these missions can vary greatly, with advancements in components needed above the current State of the Art (SOA) for high energy density, high power density, long life, high reliability, low mass/volume, radiation tolerance, and wide temperature operation. Other subtopics that could potentially benefit from these technology developments include S5.05 - Extreme Environments Technology, and S5.01 - Planetary Entry, Descent and Landing Technology. Battery development could also be beneficial to X6.02 - Advanced Space-rated Batteries, which is investigating some similar technologies in the secondary battery area but with very different operational requirements. Power Management and Distribution could be beneficial to X8.05 - Advanced Power Conversion, Management and Distribution (PMAD) for High Power Space Exploration Applications, which is investigating some similar technologies but at a much higher power level. This subtopic is also directly tied to S3.04 - Propulsion Systems for the development of advanced Power Processing Units and associated components.



        Power Electronics and Management

        The 2009 Heliophysics roadmap (http://sec.gsfc.nasa.gov/2009_Roadmap.pdf), the 2010 SMD Science Plan (http://science.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/), the 2010 Planetary Decadal Survey White Papers & Roadmap Inputs (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/SSB/CurrentProjects/ssb_052412), the 2011 PSD Relevant Technologies document, the 2006 Solar System Exploration (SSE) Roadmap (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy), and the 2003 SSE Decadal Survey describe the need for lighter weight, lower power electronics along with radiation hardened, extreme environment electronics for planetary exploration. Radioisotope power systems (RPS) and Power Processing Units (PPUs) for Electric Propulsion (EP) are two programs of interest that would directly benefit from advancements in this technology area. Advances in electrical power technologies are required for the electrical components and systems for these future platforms to address program size, mass, efficiency, capacity, durability, and reliability requirements. In addition, the Outer Planet Assessment Group has called out high power density/high efficiency power electronics as needs for the Titan/Enceladus Flagship and planetary exploration missions. These types of missions, including Mars Sample Return using Hall thrusters and PPUs, require advancements in radiation hardened power electronics and systems beyond the state-of-the-art. Of importance are expected improvements in energy density, speed, efficiency, or wide-temperature operation (-125oC to over 450oC) with a number of thermal cycles. Advancements are sought for power electronic devices, components and packaging for programs with power ranges of a few watts for minimum missions to up to 20 kilowatts for large missions. In addition to electrical component development, RPS has a need for intelligent, fault-tolerant Power Management And Distribution (PMAD) technologies to efficiently manage the system power for these deep space missions.



        SMD's In-space Propulsion Technology and Radioisotope Power Systems programs are direct customers of this subtopic, and the solicitation is coordinated with the 2 programs each year.



        Overall technologies of interest include:


        • High voltage, radiation hardened, high temperature components, such as capacitors and semiconductors, for EP PPU applications.
        • High power density/high efficiency power electronics.
        • High temperature devices and components/power converters (up to 450oC).
        • Intelligent, fault-tolerant electrical components and PMAD systems.
        • Advanced electronic packaging for thermal control and electromagnetic shielding.



        In addition, development is needed in the area of advanced High Voltage Transformer-Rectifier Technology Development for Advanced Cloud and Precipitation Radars, Interferometers, and other Advanced SAR applications where an integrated Transformer-Rectifier Assembly is needed to provide increased stability in the output voltages provided to the Cathode and Collector of a Vacuum Tube (EIK). This would result in increases in the RF phase stability of the output RF Pulse or current approaches. The Transformer-Rectifier Assembly should address using innovative, single-integrated body regulator designs that regulate collector vs. cathode potential, and demonstrate increasing voltage stability over other approaches. The entire Transformer-Rectifier Assembly (Cathode-Collector-Body) should be optimized to achieve maximum energy efficiency and minimum size/mass of the system taking into account necessary high voltage insulation and potting for operation in a space environment (vacuum). Of interest are assemblies that demonstrate:


        • Cathode voltages in excess of -12 kV, and Collector voltage in the -3 KV ranges with Beam currents in excess of 340 mA.
        • Assemblies for which the primary winding of the transformer is driven through 60VDC (full load) switched at a nominal frequency of 40.5±1.5kHz, or higher.
        • Duty cycles up to 16%.

        Energy Storage

        Future science missions will require advanced primary and secondary battery systems capable of operating at temperature extremes from -100oC for Titan missions to 400o to 500oC for Venus missions, and a span of -230°C to +120°C for Lunar Quest. The Outer Planet Assessment Group and the 2011 PSD Relevant Technologies Document have specifically called out high energy density storage systems as a need for the Titan/Enceladus Flagship and planetary exploration missions. In addition, high energy-density rechargeable electrochemical battery systems that offer greater than 50,000 charge/discharge cycles (10 year operating life) for low-Earth-orbiting spacecraft, 20-year life for geosynchronous (GEO) spacecraft, are desired. Advancements to battery energy storage capabilities that address one or more of the above requirements for the stated missions combined with very high specific energy and energy density (>200 Wh/kg for secondary battery systems), along with radiation tolerance are of interest.





        In addition to batteries, other advanced energy storage/load leveling technologies designed to the above mission requirements, such as flywheels, supercapacitors or magnetic energy storage, are of interest. These technologies have the potential to minimize the size and mass of future power systems.



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



        Disclaimer: Technology Available (TAV) subtopics may include an offer to license NASA Intellectual Property (NASA IP) on a non-exclusive, royalty-free basis, for research use under the SBIR award. When included in a TAV subtopic as an available technology, use of the available NASA IP is strictly voluntary. Whether or not a firm uses available NASA IP within their proposal effort will not in any way be a factor in the selection for award.



        Patent 6,461,944, Methods for growth of relatively large step-free SiC crystal surfaces Neudeck, et al. October 8, 2002




        Summary: A method for growing arrays of large-area device-size films of step-free (i.e., atomically flat) SiC surfaces for semiconductor electronic device applications is disclosed. This method utilizes a lateral growth process that better overcomes the effect of extended defects in the seed crystal substrate that limited the obtainable step-free area achievable by prior art processes. The step-free SiC surface is particularly suited for the heteroepitaxial growth of 3C (cubic) SiC, AlN, and GaN films used for the fabrication of both surface-sensitive devices (i.e., surface channel field effect transistors such as HEMT's and MOSFET's) as well as high-electric field devices (pn diodes and other solid-state power switching devices) that are sensitive to extended crystal defects.



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      • 51535

        S3.06Guidance, Navigation and Control

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, JSC

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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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      • 51529

        S3.07Terrestrial and Planetary Balloons

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): JPL

        NASA's Scientific Balloons provide practical and cost effective platforms for conducting discovery science, development and testing for future space instruments, as well as training opportunities for future scientists and engineers. Balloons can reach altitudes above 36 kilometers, with suspended… Read more>>

        NASA's Scientific Balloons provide practical and cost effective platforms for conducting discovery science, development and testing for future space instruments, as well as training opportunities for future scientists and engineers. Balloons can reach altitudes above 36 kilometers, with suspended masses up to 3600 kilograms, and can stay afloat for several weeks. Currently, the Balloon Program is on the verge of introducing an advanced balloon system that will enable 100-day missions at mid latitudes and thus resemble the performance of a small spacecraft at a fraction of the cost. In support of this development, NASA is seeking innovative technologies in three key areas to monitor and advance the performance of this new vehicle.



        Power Storage

        Devices or methods to store electrical energy onboard the balloon with lower mass than current techniques are needed.  Long duration balloon flights at mid-latitudes will experience up to 12 hours of darkness, during which electrical power is needed for experiments and NASA support systems.  Typically, solar panels are flown to generate power during the daylight hours, and excess power is readily available.  This excess power needs to be stored for use during the night.  Current power storage techniques consist of rechargeable batteries that range from lead-acid to lithium-ion chemistries.  Innovative alternatives to these batteries, either advanced chemistries or alternate power storage techniques such as capacitors or flywheels, which result in overall mass savings are needed.  Nominal voltage levels for balloon systems are 28 volts DC, and nominal power levels can vary from 100 watts to 1000 watts.  Therefore, power storage requirements range from 1000 watt-hours to 12,000 watt-hours or more.  Alternative power systems that do not rely on solar panels may also be proposed.  These alternative systems may use energy storage techniques such as fuel cells or flywheels, which are prepared or charged on the ground prior to flight, and then would provide continuous power throughout the flight at the power levels specified above.

        Balloon Instrumentation

        Devices or methods are desired to accurately measure ambient air temperature, helium gas temperature, balloon film temperatures, film strain, and tendon load. These measurements are needed to accurately model the balloon performance during a typical flight at altitudes of approximately 36 kilometers. The measurements must compensate for the effects of direct solar radiation through shielding or calculation. Minimal mass and volume are highly desired.  Remote sensing of the parameters and non-invasive and non-contact approaches are also desired.  The non-invasive and non-contact approaches are highly desired for the thin polyethylene film measurements used as the balloon envelope, with film thickness ranging from 0.8 to 1.5 mil.  Strain measurements of these thin films via in-flight photogrammetric techniques would be beneficial.  Devices or methods to accurately measure axially loaded tendons on an array of ~50 or up to 300 separate tendons during flight are of interest.  Tendons are typically captured at the end fittings via individual pins with loading levels ranging from ~20 N to ~8,000 N per tendon, and can be exposed to temperatures from room temperature to the troposphere temperatures of -90 degrees Celsius or colder.  The measurement devices must be compatible with existing NASA balloon packaging, inflation, and launch methods. These instruments must also be able to interface with existing NASA balloon flight support systems or alternatively, a definition of a data acquisition solution be provided.  Support telemetry systems are not part of the this initiative; however, data from any sensors (devices) that are selected from this initiative must be able to be stored on board and/or telemetered in-flight using single-channel (two-wire) interface into existing NASA balloon flight support systems.  The devices of interest shall be easily integrated and shall have minimal impact on the overall mass of the balloon system.



        Low-Cost Variable Conductance Heat Pipes for Balloon Payloads

        With the ever-increasing complexity of both scientific instruments and NASA mission support equipment, advanced thermal control techniques are needed. The type of advanced thermal control techniques desired are similar to those utilized on large-budget orbital and deep space payloads (variable conductance heat pipes, diode heat pipes, loop heat pipes, capillary pumped loops, heat switches, louvers), but these techniques are far more expensive to implement on balloon payloads that their limited budgets can afford. Innovative solutions are sought that would allow these more advanced thermal control measures to be utilized with reduced expense.



        Though not considered "cutting-edge technology", commercial quality, constant conductance, copper-methanol heat pipes have begun to be utilized on balloon payloads to effectively move heat significant distances. The problem with these devices is that the conductance cannot effectively be reduced under cold operating or cold survival environment conditions without expending significant energy in an active heater to keep the condenser section warm. It is desirable to develop a cost-effective method of conducting the heat in this manner while allowing the flow to be reduced/eliminated when conditions warrant. Innovative thermal control techniques and devices developed must be inexpensive to implement. They must function reliably at balloon altitudes of 30-40 km and temperature ranges from -90°C to +40°C. They should require little or no energy consumption and provide the capability of moderating heat flow autonomously or by remote control under certain thermal conditions.



        Planetary Balloon Technologies

        Innovations in materials, structures, and systems concepts have enabled buoyant vehicles to play an expanding role in planning NASA's future Solar System Exploration Program. Balloons are expected to carry scientific payloads at Titan and Venus that will perform in situ investigations of their atmospheres and near surface environments. Both Titan and Venus feature extreme environments that significantly impact the design of balloons for those two worlds. Proposals are sought in the following areas:



        Steerable Antenna for Titan and Venus Telecommunications

        Many concepts for Titan and Venus balloons require high gain antennas mounted on the balloon gondola to transmit data directly back to Earth. This approach requires that the antenna remain pointed at the Earth despite the motions experienced during balloon flight. A beacon signal from the Earth will be available to facilitate pointing. Innovative concepts are sought for such an antenna and pointing system with the following characteristics: antenna diameter of 0.8 m, total mass of antenna and pointing system of = 10 kg, power consumption for the steering system = 5 W (avg.), pointing accuracy = 0.5 deg (continuous), hemispheric pointing coverage (2 pi steradians), azimuthal and rotational slew rates ( 30 deg/sec. It is expected that a Phase I effort will involve a proof-of-concept experiment leading to a plan for full scale prototype fabrication and testing in Phase II. Phase II testing will need to include an Earth atmosphere balloon flight in the troposphere to evaluate the proposed design under real flight conditions.



        Long-Life Ballonets for Titan Aerobots

        Maintenance of a pressurized balloon shape during large altitude changes requires an internal bladder, or ballonet, that can fill and discharge atmospheric gas and thereby maintain the total gas-filled volume. Ballonets are commonplace in terrestrial blimps and airships; however, the cryogenic 85 K temperature at Titan reduces the flexibility of polymer materials and greatly increases the likelihood of pinhole defect formation over time. Innovative concepts are sought for materials and system designs of a ballonet that can function pinhole-free at 85 K for a minimum of 6 months at Titan while executing repeated altitude excursions from 100 m to 10,000 m. The proposed ballonet design should be scalable across the range of 1 to 50 m3 in volume. Preference will be given to projects that do some cryogenic experimentation in Phase I that builds confidence in the viability of the proposed approach.





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      • 51538

        S3.08Unmanned Aircraft and Sounding Rocket Technologies

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, GRC, JPL, KSC, LaRC

        All proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) offer significant potential for Suborbital Scientific Earth… Read more>>

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



        Unmanned Aircraft Systems

        Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) offer significant potential for Suborbital Scientific Earth Exploration Missions over a very large range of payload complexities, mission durations, altitudes, and extreme environmental conditions. To more fully realize the potential improvement in capabilities for atmospheric sampling and remote sensing, new technologies are needed. Scientific observation and documentation of environmental phenomena on both global and localized scales that will advance climate research and monitoring; e.g., U.S. Global Change Research Program as well as Arctic and Antarctic research activities (Ice Bridge, etc.).



        NASA is increasing scientific participation to understand impacts associated with worldwide environmental changes. Capability for suborbital unmanned flight operations in either the North or South Polar Regions are limited because of technology gaps for remote telemetry capabilities and precision flight path control requirements. It is also highly desirable to have UAS ability to perform atmospheric and surface sampling.



        Telemetry, Tracking and Control

        Low cost over-the-horizon global communications and networks are needed. Efficient and cost effective systems that enable unmanned collaborative multi-platform Earth observation missions are desired.



        Avionics and Flight Control

        Precise/repeatable flight path control capabilities are needed to enable repeat path observations for Earth monitoring on seasonal and multi-year cycles. In addition, long endurance atmospheric sampling in extreme conditions (hurricanes, volcanic plumes) can provide needed observations that are otherwise not possible at this time:


        • Precision flight path control solutions in smooth atmospheric conditions.
        • Attitude and navigation control in highly turbulent atmospheric conditions.
        • Low cost, high precision inertial navigation systems (

        UA Integrated Vehicle Health Management

        • Fuel Heat/Anti-freezing.
        • Unmanned platform icing detection and minimization.



        Guided Dropsondes

        NASA Earth Science Research activities can benefit from more capable dropsondes than are currently available. Specifically, dropsondes that can effectively be guided through atmospheric regions of interest such as volcanic plumes could enable unprecedented observations of important phenomena. Capabilities of interest include:


        • Compatibility with existing dropsonde dispensing systems on NASA/NOAA P-3's, the NASA Global Hawk, and other unmanned aircraft.
        • Guidance schemes, autonomous or active control.
        • Cross-range performance and flight path accuracy.
        • Operational considerations including airspace utilization and de-confliction.



        Sounding Rockets:

        The NASA Sounding Rocket Program (NSRP) provides low-cost, sub-orbital access to space in support of space and Earth sciences research and technology development sponsored by NASA and other users by providing payload development, launch vehicles, and mission support services. NASA utilizes a variety of vehicle systems comprised of military surplus and commercially available rocket motors, capable of lofting scientific payloads, up to 1300lbs, to altitudes from 100km to 1500km.



        NASA launches sounding rocket vehicles worldwide, from both land-based and water-based ranges, based on the science needs to study phenomenon in specific locations.



        NASA is seeking innovations to enhance capabilities and operations in the following areas:


        • Autonomous vehicle environmental diagnostics system capable of monitoring flight loading (thermal, acceleration, stress/strain) for solid rocket vehicle systems.
        • Location determination systems to provide over-the-horizon position of buoyant payloads to facilitate expedient location and retrieval from the ocean.
        • Flotation systems, ranging from tethered flotation devices to self-encapsulation systems, for augmenting buoyancy of sealed payload systems launched from water-based launch ranges.
        • High-glide parachute designs capable of deploying at altitudes above 25,000 ft to facilitate mid-air retrieval and/or fly-back/fly-to-point precision landing.



        Disclaimer: Technology Available (TAV) subtopics may include an offer to license NASA Intellectual Property (NASA IP) on a non-exclusive, royalty-free basis, for research use under the SBIR award. When included in a TAV subtopic as an available technology, use of the available NASA IP is strictly voluntary. Whether or not a firm uses available NASA IP within their proposal effort will not in any way be a factor in the selection for award.



        Patent 7,431,243 Guidance and Control for an Autonomous Soaring UAV, Allen, Michael J., October 7, 2008





        Summary: The invention provides a practical method for UAVs to take advantage of thermals in a manner similar to piloted aircrafts and soaring birds.  In general, the invention is a method for a UAV to autonomously locate a thermal and be guided to the thermal to greatly improve range and endurance of the aircraft.





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    • + Expand Low-Cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies Topic

      Topic S4 Low-Cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies PDF


      Low-Cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies This subtopic is targeted at the development of technologies and systems that can enable the realization of small spacecraft science missions. While small spacecraft have the benefit of reduced launch costs by virtue of their lower mass, they may be currently limited in performance and their capacity to provide on-orbit resources to payload and instrument systems. With the incorporation of smaller bus technologies, launch costs, as well as total life cycle costs, can continue to be reduced, while still achieving and expanding NASA's mission objectives. The Low-Cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies category is focused on the identification and development of specific key spacecraft technologies primarily in the areas of integrated avionics, attitude determination and control including de-orbit technologies, and spacecraft power generation and management. The primary thrust of this topic is directed at reducing the footprint and resources that these bus subsystems require (size, weight, and power), allowing more of these critical resources to be shifted to payload and instrument systems, and to further reduce the overall launch mass and volume requirements for small spacecraft. Note that related topics of interest to S4 Low-cost Small Spacecraft and Technologies may be found in other areas of the solicitation: S3.01 Command, Data Handling and Electronics; S3.03 Power Generation and Conversion; and S3.05 Power Management and Storage. Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware and/or software demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.

      • 51468

        S4.01Unique Mission Architectures Using Small Spacecraft

        Lead Center: ARC

        Advancements in space technologies can now enable discussions on how small spacecraft might be used to assemble or form large space structures, which are significantly more capable than the individual spacecraft unit, while exploiting the advantages of small spacecraft such as low unit and launch… Read more>>

        Advancements in space technologies can now enable discussions on how small spacecraft might be used to assemble or form large space structures, which are significantly more capable than the individual spacecraft unit, while exploiting the advantages of small spacecraft such as low unit and launch costs.



        This subtopic solicits technologies that include the integration of critical subsystems required to allow small spacecraft to work collaboratively to create sparse arrays, large-scale or synthetic apertures, distributed sensors or clusters of sensors, and robotic technologies which could be used in space to perform novel missions using multiple spacecraft in a coordinated fashion. These technologies could include, but are not limited to: high precision timing systems combined with high precision attitude determination and control systems, satellite-to-satellite communications technologies, autonomous systems, and small, efficient in-space propulsion technologies.



        Proposers are asked to build a conceptual system/spacecraft design/operational scenario that details the architecture, components and specifications, as well as existing technology gaps necessary to replace the function of a single large spacecraft with an alternative that uses small spacecraft. Supporting analysis including cost and feasibility should be included. Phase II contract efforts should be used to simulate and prototype to the extent possible the system or further reaching subsystems detailed in Phase I.



        For small spacecraft planetary missions, planetary protection requirements vary by planetary destination, and additional backward contamination requirements apply to hardware with the potential to return to Earth (e.g., as part of a sample return mission). Technologies intended for use at/around Mars, Europa (Jupiter), and Enceladus (Saturn) must be developed so as to ensure compliance with relevant planetary protection requirements. Constraints could include surface cleaning with alcohol or water, and/or sterilization treatments such as dry heat (approved specification in NPR 8020.12; exposure of hours at 115C or higher, non-functioning); penetrating radiation (requirements not yet established); or vapor-phase hydrogen peroxide (specification pending).





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    • + Expand Robotic Exploration Technologies Topic

      Topic S5 Robotic Exploration Technologies PDF


      NASA is pursuing technologies to enable robotic exploration of the Solar System including its planets, their moons, and small bodies. NASA has a development program that includes technologies for the atmospheric entry, descent, and landing, mobility systems, extreme environments technology, sample acquisition and preparation for in situ experiments, and in situ planetary science instruments. Robotic exploration missions that are planned include a Europa Jupiter System mission, Titan Saturn System mission, Venus In Situ Explorer, sample return from Comet or Asteroid and lunar south polar basin and continued Mars exploration missions launching every 26 months including a network lander mission, an Astrobiology Field Laboratory, a Mars Sample Return mission and other rover missions. Numerous new technologies will be required to enable such ambitious missions. The solicitation for in situ planetary instruments can be found in the in situ instruments section of this solicitation. See URL: (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/index.cfm) for mission information. See URL: (http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/) for additional information on Mars Exploration technologies. Planetary protection requirements vary by planetary destination, and additional backward contamination requirements apply to hardware with the potential to return to Earth (e.g., as part of a sample return mission). Technologies intended for use at/around Mars, Europa (Jupiter), and Enceladus (Saturn) must be developed so as to ensure compliance with relevant planetary protection requirements. Constraints could include surface cleaning with alcohol or water, and/or sterilization treatments such as dry heat (approved specification in NPR 8020.12; exposure of hours at 115C or higher, non-functioning); penetrating radiation (requirements not yet established); or vapor-phase hydrogen peroxide (specification pending).

      • 51550

        S5.01Planetary Entry, Descent and Landing Technology

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JSC, LaRC

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

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



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


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



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



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



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      • 51548

        S5.02Sample Collection, Processing, and Handling

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JSC

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

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



        Sample Acquisition

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

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


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

        Sample Integrity (e.g., encapsulation and contamination control)


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



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



        For a sample return mission, solutions are sought for sample transfer of a payload into a planetary ascent vehicle including automated payload transfer mechanisms and Orbiting Sample (OS) sealing techniques.



        Sample Return Facility capabilities

        Technologies are needed for terrestrial handling of returned samples, including sample quarantine, biological activity and biohazard assessment, techniques for performing sample science.



        Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Technical feasibility should be demonstrated during Phase I and a full capability unit of at least TRL 4 should be delivered in Phase II.



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      • 51549

        S5.03Surface and Subsurface Robotic Exploration

        Lead Center: JPL

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

        Technologies are needed to enable access, mobility, and sample acquisition at surface and subsurface sampling sites of scientific interest on Mars, Venus, small planetary bodies, and the moons of Earth, Mars, Jovian and Saturnian systems. For planetary bodies where gravity dominates, such as the… Read more>>

        Technologies are needed to enable access, mobility, and sample acquisition at surface and subsurface sampling sites of scientific interest on Mars, Venus, small planetary bodies, and the moons of Earth, Mars, Jovian and Saturnian systems.



        For planetary bodies where gravity dominates, such as the Moon and Mars, many scientifically valuable sites are accessible only via terrain that is too difficult for state-of-the-art planetary rovers to traverse in terms of ground slope, rock obstacle size, plateaus, and non-cohesive soils types. Sites include crater walls, canyons, gullies, sand dunes, and high rock density regions. Tethered systems, non-wheeled systems, and marsupial systems are examples of mobility technologies that are of interest. Mars is particularly interested in fast traverse capabilities aimed at a fetch rover that would potentially need to travel a long distance to retrieve a sample cache deposited by a prior mission. For small planetary bodies with micro-gravity environments, novel access systems are desired to enable exploration and sample acquisition. Small body missions include Comet Surface Sample Return, Cryogenic Comet Sample Return, and asteroid Trojan Tour and Rendezvous.



        For surface and subsurface sampling, advanced manipulation technologies are needed to deploy instruments and tools from spacecraft, landers and rovers. Technologies to enable acquisition of subsurface samples are also needed. Technologies are needed to acquire core samples in the shallow subsurface to about 10cm and to enable subsurface sampling in multiple holes at least 1 - 3 meters deep through rock, regolith, or ice compositions. For Europa, penetrators and deployment systems to allow deep drilling are needed to sample and bore the outer water-ice layer and through 10 to 30km to a potential liquid ocean below.



        Innovative component technologies for low-mass, low-power, and modular systems tolerant to the in situ environment are of particular interest, e.g., for Europa, the radiation environment is estimated at 2.9 Mrad total ionizing dose (TID) behind 100 mil thick aluminum. Technical feasibility should be demonstrated during Phase I and a full capability unit of at least TRL level 4 should be delivered in Phase II. Specific areas of interest include the following.


        • Steep terrain adherence for vertical and horizontal mobility.
        • Tether play-out and retrieval systems including tension and length sensing.
        • Low-mass tether cables with power and communication.
        • Sampling system deployment mechanisms such as tethers, booms, and manipulators.
        • Low mass/power vision systems and processing capabilities that enable faster surface traverse while maintaining safety over a wide range of surface environments.
        • Modular actuators with 1000:1 scale gear ratios.
        • Electro-mechanical couplers to enable change out of instruments at the end of a manipulator.s
        • Autonomy to enable adaptation of exploration to new conditions.



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



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      • 51524

        S5.04Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions

        Lead Center: GRC

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

        NASA plans to perform sample return missions from a variety of targets including Mars, outer planet moons, and small bodies such as asteroids and comets. In terms of spacecraft technology, these types of targets present a variety challenges. Some targets, such as Mars and some moons, have… Read more>>

        NASA plans to perform sample return missions from a variety of targets including Mars, outer planet moons, and small bodies such as asteroids and comets. In terms of spacecraft technology, these types of targets present a variety challenges. Some targets, such as Mars and some moons, have relatively large gravity wells and will require ascent propulsion. Other targets are small bodies with very complex geography and very little gravity, which present difficult navigational and maneuvering challenges. In addition, the spacecraft will be subject to extreme environmental conditions including low temperatures (120K or below), dust, and ice particles. Technology innovations should either enhance vehicle capabilities (e.g., increase performance, decrease risk, and improve environmental operational margins) or ease mission implementation (e.g., reduce size, mass, power, cost, increase reliability, or increase autonomy). Specific areas of interest are listed below.



        SMD's In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) program is a direct customer of this subtopic, and the solicitation is coordinated with the ISPT program each year. The ISPT program views this subtopic (and the previous Planetary Ascent Vehicle subtopic) as a fertile area for providing possible Phase III efforts. Many of the Planetary Decadal Survey white papers/studies evaluating technologies needed for various planetary, small body, and sample return missions refer to the need for sample return spacecraft technologies.



        Small body missions:


        • Autonomous operation.
        • Terrain based navigation.
        • Guidance and control technology for landing and touch-and-go.
        • Anchoring concepts for asteroids.
        • Propulsion technology for proximity or landed operations.
        • Low temperature capable non-contaminating propellants.
        • Surface manipulation technologies (e.g., rakes, drills, etc.).
        • Concept to obtain a stratified subsurface comet core sample.
        • Sample mass, volume, ice content verification.
        • Hermetic sample sealing concepts.
        • Low power long life cryogenic sample storage.
        • Applicable propulsion technologies for ascent vehicles and for the return to Earth.
        • Erection mechanisms for setting azimuth and elevation of the Mars Ascent Vehicle.



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      • 52148

        S5.05Extreme Environments Technology

        Lead Center: JPL

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

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

        High-Temperature, High-Pressure, and Chemically-Corrosive Environments

        NASA is interested in expanding its ability to explore the deep atmosphere and surface of Venus through the use of long-lived (days or weeks) balloons and landers. Survivability in extreme high-temperatures and high-pressures is also required for deep atmospheric probes to giant planets. Proposals are sought for technologies that enable the in situ exploration of the surface and deep atmosphere of Venus and the deep atmospheres of Jupiter or Saturn for future NASA missions. Venus features a dense, CO2 atmosphere completely covered by sulfuric acid clouds at about 55 km above the surface, a surface temperature of about 486 degrees Centigrade and a surface pressure of about 90 bars. Technologies of interest include high-temperature and acid resistant high strength-to-weight textile materials for landing systems (balloons, parachutes, tethers, bridles, airbags), high-temperature electronics components, high-temperature energy storage systems, light-mass refrigeration systems, high-temperature actuators and gear boxes for robotic arms and other mechanisms, high-temperature drills, phase change materials for short term thermal maintenance, low-conductivity and high-compressive strength insulation materials, high-temperature optical window systems (that are transparent in IR, visible and UV wavelengths) and advanced materials with high-specific-heat-capacity and high-specific-strength for pressure vessel construction, and pressure vessel components compatible with materials such as steal, titanium and beryllium for applications like low leak rate wide-temperature (-50 degrees Centigrade C to 500 degrees Centigrade) seals capable of operating between 0 and 90 bars.

        Low-Temperature Environments

        Low-temperature survivability is required for surface missions to Titan (-180 degrees Centigrade), Europa (-220 degrees Centigrade), Ganymede (-200 degrees Centigrade) and comets. Also the Earth's Moon equatorial regions experience wide temperature swings from -180 degrees Centigrade to +130 degrees Centigrade during the lunar day/night cycle, and the sustained temperature at the shadowed regions of lunar poles can be as low as -230 degrees Centigrade. Mars diurnal temperature changes from about -120 degrees Centigrade to +20 degrees Centigrade. Also for the baseline concept for Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM), with a mission life of 10 years, the radiation environment is estimated at 2.9 Mega-rad total ionizing dose (TID) behind 100 mil thick aluminum. Proposals are sought for technologies that enable NASA's long duration missions to low-temperature and wide-temperature environments. Technologies of interests include low-temperature-resistant high strength-weight textiles for landing systems (parachutes, air bags), low-power and wide-operating-temperature radiation-tolerant /radiation hardened RF electronics, radiation-tolerant/radiation-hardened low-power/ultra-low-power wide-operating-temperature low-noise mixed-signal electronics for space-borne system such as guidance and navigation avionics and instruments, low-temperature radiation-tolerant/radiation-hardened power electronics, low-temperature radiation-tolerant/radiation-hardened high-speed fiber optic transceivers, low-temperature and thermal-cycle-resistant radiation-tolerant/radiation-hardened electronic packaging (including shielding, passives, connectors, wiring harness and materials used in advanced electronics assembly), low to medium power actuators, gear boxes, lubricants and energy storage sources capable of operating across an ultra-wide temperature range from -230 degrees Centigrade to 200 degrees Centigrade and Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools for modeling and predicting the electrical performance, reliability, and life cycle for wide-temperature electronic/electro-mechanical systems and components.



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



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      • 51551

        S5.06Planetary Protection

        Lead Center: JPL

        Participating Center(s): LaRC

        Technologies intended for use at/around Mars, Europa (Jupiter), and Enceladus (Saturn) must be developed so as to ensure compliance with relevant planetary protection requirements. NASA seeks innovative technologies to facilitate meeting Forward and Backward Contamination Planetary Protection… Read more>>

        Technologies intended for use at/around Mars, Europa (Jupiter), and Enceladus (Saturn) must be developed so as to ensure compliance with relevant planetary protection requirements. NASA seeks innovative technologies to facilitate meeting Forward and Backward Contamination Planetary Protection objectives especially for a potential Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission and to facilitate Forward Planetary Protection implementation for a potential mission to Europa.



        Backward Contamination Planetary Protection deals with the possibility that Mars (or other planetary) material may pose a biological threat to the Earth's biosphere. This leads to a constraint that returned samples of Mars material be contained with extraordinary robustness until they can be tested and proved harmless or be sterilized by an accepted method. Achieving this containment goal will require new technology for several functions. Containment assurance requires "breaking the chain of contact" with Mars: the exterior of the sample container must not be contaminated with Mars material. Also, the integrity of the containment must be verified, the sample container and its seals must survive the worst-case Earth impact corresponding to the candidate mission profile, and the Earth entry vehicle (EEV) must withstand the thermal and structural rigors of Earth atmosphere entry - all with an unprecedented degree of confidence.



        Backward Contamination Planetary Protection technologies for the following MSR functions are included in this call:


        • Container Design, Sealing, & Verification: Options for sealing the sample container include (but are not limited to) brazing, explosive welding, and various types of soft seals, with sealing performed either on the Mars surface or in orbit. Confirmation of sealing can be provided by observation of sealing system parameters and by leak detection after sealing. Wireless data and power transmission may be needed to support such leak detection technologies. Additional containment using a flexible liner within the EEV that is sealed while in Mars orbit has also been considered. Further validation prior to Earth entry may also be needed.
        • Breaking-the-Chain & Dust Mitigation: Several paths have been identified that would result in Mars material contaminating the outside of the sealed sample container and/or the Earth return vehicle (ERV). Technology options for mitigation include ejection of containment layers during ascent and orbit and/or capturing a contaminated "Orbiting Sample" into a clean container on the ERV and then ejecting the capture device.
        • Meteoroid Protection & Breach Detection: Protection is required for both the sample container and the EEV heat shield. New lightweight shielding techniques are needed. Even with these, there may be a requirement for technology to detect a breach of the shield or damage to the EEV.



        Forward Contamination Planetary Protection technologies are desired, particularly for Mars and Europa missions that allow sterilization of previously non-sterilizable flight hardware by either i) dry heat processing or ii) gamma/e-beam irradiation. NASA also seeks to use iii) hydrogen peroxide vapor processes for resterilization of assembled flight hardware elements. Proposals are invited for innovative approaches to sterilization of flight hardware in the pre-flight environment using this technology. Note: this call is not for novel sterilization processes. For Europa, products and technologies are sought that can be demonstrated to be compatible with the three identified sterilization processes, as well as the environmental conditions of spaceflight and the Jovian system.



        Candidate technologies for the following functions and capabilities are included in this call:


        • Sterilization Process Compatibility: Options for proving compatibility of novel product elements (materials, parts) with recognized spacecraft sterilization process parameters are desired.
        • Redesign for Sterilization: Development of alternative solutions for spacecraft hardware is needed where there are known sterilization process incompatibilities. Current planning is to facilitate system-level sterilization of spacecraft, so heat tolerant technology solutions for sensors, seals (battery, valve), optical coatings, etc., are highly desired.
        • Biobarrier Technology: Demonstration of novel biobarrier and recontamination prevention approaches for spacecraft hardware is needed when applying one or more of these three sterilization processes.



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





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    • + Expand Information Technologies Topic

      Topic S6 Information Technologies PDF


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

      • 51455

        S6.01Technologies for Large-Scale Numerical Simulation

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC

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

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


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



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



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



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



        Specific technology areas of interest:



        Efficient Computing

        In spite of the rapidly increasing capability and efficiency of supercomputers, NASA's HEC facilities cannot purchase, power, and cool sufficient HEC resources to satisfy all user demands. This subtopic element seeks dramatically more efficient and effective supercomputing approaches in terms of their ability to supply increased HEC capability or capacity per dollar and/or per Watt for real NASA applications. Examples include:


        • Novel computational accelerators and architectures.
        • Enhanced visualization technologies.
        • Improved algorithms for key codes.
        • Power-aware "Green" computing technologies and techniques.
        • Systems (including both hardware and software) for data-intensive computing.
        • Approaches to effectively manage and utilize many-core processors including algorithmic changes, compiler techniques and runtime systems.

        User Productivity Environments

        The user interface to a supercomputer is typically a command line in a text window. This subtopic element seeks more intuitive, intelligent, user-customizable, and integrated interfaces to supercomputing resources, enabling users to more completely leverage the power of HEC to increase their productivity. Such an interface could enhance many essential supercomputing tasks: accessing and managing resources, training, getting services, developing codes (e.g., debugging and performance analysis), running computations, managing files and data, analyzing and visualizing results, transmitting data, collaborating, etc.

        Cloud Supercomputing

        Cloud computing has made tremendous promises, and demonstrated some success, for business computing. For operations, potential benefits include: resource virtualization, incremental and transparent provisioning, enhanced resource consolidation and utilization, automated resource management, automated job migration, and increased service availability, and others. For users, potential benefits include: out-sourced operations, on-demand resource availability, increased service reliability, customized software environments, a web user interface, and more. This subtopic element seeks technologies that enable Cloud computing to be used for efficient and effective supercomputing operations and services.



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      • 51580

        S6.02Earth Science Applied Research and Decision Support

        Lead Center: SSC

        Participating Center(s): AFRC, ARC, JPL

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

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



        This subtopic seeks proposals for utilities, plug-ins or enhancements to geobrowsers that improve their utility for Earth science research and decision support. Examples of geobrowsers include Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth, NASA World Wind (http://worldwindcentral.com/wiki/Main_page) and COAST (http://www.coastal.ssc.nasa.gov/coast/COAST.aspx). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:


        • Visualization of high-resolution imagery in a geobrowser.
        • Enhanced geobrowser animation capabilities to provide better visual-analytic displays of time-series and change-detection products.
        • Discovery and integration of content from web-enabled sensors.
        • Discovery and integration of new datasets based on parameters identified by the user and/or the datasets currently in use.
        • Innovative mechanisms for collaboration and data layer sharing.
        • Applications that subset, filter, merge, and reformat spatial data.



        This subtopic also seeks proposals for advanced information systems and decision environments that take full advantage of multiple data sources and platforms. Special consideration will be given to proposals that provide enhancements to existing, broadly used decision support tools or platforms. Tailored and timely products delivered to a broad range of users are needed to protect vital ecosystems such as coastal marshes, barrier islands and seagrass beds; monitor and manage utilization of critical resources such as water and energy; provide quick and effective response to manmade and natural disasters such as oil spills, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and wildfires; and promote sustainable, resilient communities and urban environments.



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





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      • 51539

        S6.03Algorithms and Tools for Science Data Processing, Discovery and Analysis, in State-of-the-Art Data Environments

        Lead Center: GSFC

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

        This subtopic seeks technical innovation and unique approaches for the processing, discovery and analysis of data from NASA science missions. Advances in such algorithms will support science data analysis and decision support systems related to current and future missions, and will support mission… Read more>>

        This subtopic seeks technical innovation and unique approaches for the processing, discovery and analysis of data from NASA science missions. Advances in such algorithms will support science data analysis and decision support systems related to current and future missions, and will support mission concepts for:




        Research proposed to this subtopic should demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I, and in partnership with scientists show a path toward a Phase II prototype demonstration, with significant communication with missions and programs to ensure a successful Phase III infusion. It is highly desirable that the proposed projects lead to software that is infused into NASA programs and projects.



        In the area of algorithms, innovations are sought in the following areas:


        • Optimization of algorithms and computational methods to increase the utility of scientific research data for models, data assimilation, simulations, and visualizations. Success will be measured by both speed improvements and output validation.
        • Improvement of data discovery, by identifying data gaps in real-time, and/or derive information through synthesis of data from multiple sources. The ultimate goal is to increase the value of data collected in terms of scientific discovery and application.
        • Techniques for data analysis, that focus on data mining, data search, data fusion and data subsetting that scale to extremely large data sets in cloud, large cluster, or distributed computing environments.



        In the area of tools, innovations are sought in the following areas:


        • Frameworks and related tools such as open source frameworks or framework components that would enable sharing and validation of tools and algorithms.
        • Integrated ecosystem of tools for developing and monitoring applications for high performance processing environments, including cloud computing, high performance cluster, and GPU processing environments, that support software development for science data discovery applications, including support for compilation, debugging, and parallelization.
        • Integrated tools to collect, analyze, store, and present performance data for cloud computing and large scale cluster environments, including tools to collect data throughput of system hardware and software components such as node and network interconnects (GbE, 10 GbE, and Infiniband), storage area networks, and disk subsystems, and to allow extensibility for new metrics, and verification of the configuration and health of a system.



        Tools and products developed under this subtopic may be used for broad public dissemination or within a narrow scientific community. These tools can be plug-ins or enhancements to existing software, on-line data/computing services, or new stand-alone applications or web services, provided that they promote interoperability and use standard protocols, file formats and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) or prevalent applications. When appropriate, compliance with the FDGC (Federal Geographic Data Committee) and OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) is recommended.



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      • 51527

        S6.04Integrated Mission Modeling for Opto-mechanical Systems

        Lead Center: GSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        NASA seeks innovative systems engineering modeling methodologies and tools to define, develop and execute future science missions, many of which are likely to feature designs and operational concepts that will pose significant challenges to existing approaches and applications. Specific areas of… Read more>>

        NASA seeks innovative systems engineering modeling methodologies and tools to define, develop and execute future science missions, many of which are likely to feature designs and operational concepts that will pose significant challenges to existing approaches and applications.



        Specific areas of interest include the following:



        Low-cost Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) methodologies (defined as some combination of tools, methods, and processes - refer to the "INCOSE Survey of MBSE Methodologies") for rapid and agile definition of mission architectures during the conceptual design phase. Here, "low-cost" is intended to capture multiple aspects of the investment in the methodology, including initial purchase, maintenance, and training/learning-curve. These methodologies must support requirements analysis, functional decomposition, definition of verification and validation methods, and analysis of system behavior and performance. Development of methods and applications based on, or supporting, standards such as UML and SysML is highly encouraged, as is tight integration with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project.



        Interfaces between existing (or proposed) MBSE tools and CAD/CAE/PM applications used to support NASA science mission development, which typically include (but are not limited to): Pro/E, NX, NASTRAN, ANSYS, ABAQUS, ADAMS (for MCAD and structural/mechanical systems analysis); TSS, SINDA, Thermal Desktop, TMG (for thermal systems analysis); Code V, ZEMAX, OSLO (for optical systems analysis); Hyperlynx Analog, Hyperlynx GHz, System Vision, DxDesigner, ModelSim (for ECAD and electrical systems analysis); Matlab, Simulink, STK (for guidance, navigation and control systems analysis); Excel, MathCAD, Mathematica (for general purpose numerical and symbolic analysis); DOORS (for requirements management); PRICE-H, SEER, SSCM, COSYSMO (for cost modeling)



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      • 51577

        S6.05Fault Management Technologies

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL

        As science missions are given increasingly complex goals and have more pressure to reduce operations costs, system autonomy increases. Fault Management (FM) is one of the key components of system autonomy. FM consists of the operational mitigations of spacecraft failures. It is implemented with… Read more>>

        As science missions are given increasingly complex goals and have more pressure to reduce operations costs, system autonomy increases. Fault Management (FM) is one of the key components of system autonomy. FM consists of the operational mitigations of spacecraft failures. It is implemented with spacecraft hardware, on-board autonomous software that controls hardware, software, information redundancy, and ground-based software and operations procedures.



        Many recent Science Mission Directorate (SMD) missions have encountered major cost overruns and schedule slips during test and verification of FM functions. These overruns are due to a lack of understanding of FM functions early in the mission definition cycles, and to FM architectures that do not provide attributes of transparency, verifiability, fault isolation capability, or fault coverage. The NASA FM Handbook is under development to improve the FM design, development, verification & validation and operations processes. FM approaches, architectures, and tools are needed to improve early understanding of needed FM capabilities by project managers and FM engineers, and to improve the efficiency of implementing and testing FM.



        Specific objectives are to:


        • Improve ability to predict FM system complexity and estimate development and operations costs.
        • Enable cost-effective FM design architectures and operations.
        • Determine completeness and appropriateness of FM designs and implementations.
        • Decrease the labor and time required to develop and test FM models and algorithms.
        • Improve visualization of the full FM design across hardware, software, and operations procedures.
        • Determine extent of testing required, completeness of verification planned, and residual risk resulting from incomplete coverage.
        • Increase data integrity between multi-discipline tools.
        • Standardize metrics and calculations across FM, SE, S&MA and operations disciplines.
        • Increase reliability of FM systems.



        Expected outcomes are better estimation and control of FM complexity and development costs, improved FM designs, and accelerated advancement of FM tools and techniques.



        The approach of this subtopic is to seek the right balance between sufficient reliability and cost appropriate to the mission type and risk posture. Successful technology development efforts under this subtopic would be considered for follow-on funding by, and infusion into, SMD missions. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility and NASA relevance during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II prototype demonstration.



        Offerors should demonstrate awareness of the state-of-the-art of their proposed technology, and should leverage existing commercial capabilities and research efforts where appropriate.

        Specific technology in the forms listed below is needed to increase delivery of high quality FM systems. These approaches, architectures and tools must be consistent with and enable the NASA FM Handbook concepts and processes.


        • FM design tools: System modeling and analyses significantly contributes to the quality of FM design; however, the time it takes to translate system design information into system models often decreases the value of the modeling and analysis results. Examples of enabling techniques and tools are modeling automation, spacecraft modeling libraries, expedited algorithm development, sensor placement analyses, and system model tool integration.
        • FM visualization tools: FM systems incorporate hardware, software, and operations mechanisms. The ability to visualize the full FM system and the contribution of each mechanism to protecting mission functions and assets is critical to assessing the completeness and appropriateness of the FM design to the mission attributes (mission type, risk posture, operations concept, etc.). Fault trees and state transition diagrams are examples of visualization tools that could contribute to visualization of the full FM design.
        • FM verification and validation tools: As complexity of spacecraft and systems increases, the extensiveness of testing required to verify and validate FM implementations can be resource intensive. Automated test case development, false positive/false negative test tools, model verification and validation tools, and test coverage risk assessments are examples of contributing technologies.
        • FM Design Architectures: FM capabilities may be implemented through numerous system, hardware, and software architecture solutions. The FM architecture trade space includes options such as embedded in the flight control software or independent onboard software; on board versus ground-based capabilities; centralized or distributed FM functions; sensor suite implications; integration of multiple FM techniques; innovative software FM architectures implemented on flight processors or on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs); and execution in real-time or off-line analysis post-operations. Alternative architecture choices could help control FM system complexity and cost and could offer solutions to transparency, verifiability, and completeness challenges.



        Multi-discipline FM Interoperation: FM designers, Systems Engineering, Safety and Mission Assurance, and Operations perform analyses and assessments of reliabilities, failure modes and effects, sensor coverage, failure probabilities, anomaly detection and response, contingency operations, etc. The relationships between multi-discipline data and analyses are inconsistent and misinterpreted. Resources are expended either in effort to resolve disconnects in data and analyses or worse, reduced mission success due to failure modes that were overlooked. Solutions that address data integrity, identification of metrics, and standardization of data products, techniques and analyses will reduce cost and failures.



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    • + Expand In Situ Resource Utilization Topic

      Topic X1 In Situ Resource Utilization PDF


      The purpose of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is to harness and utilize resources at the site of exploration to create products and services which can enable and significantly reduce the mass, cost, and risk of near-term and long-term space exploration. The ability to make propellants, life support consumables, fuel cell reagents, and radiation shielding can significantly reduce the cost, mass, and risk of sustained human activities beyond Earth. The ability to modify the landscape for safer landing and transfer of payloads, creation of habitat and power infrastructure, and extraction of resources for construction, power, and in-situ manufacturing can also enable long-term, sustainable exploration of the solar system. Since ISRU can be performed wherever resources may exist, both natural and discarded, ISRU systems will need to operate in a variety of environments and gravitations. Also, because ISRU systems and operations have never been demonstrated before in missions, it is important that ISRU concepts and technologies be evaluated under relevant conditions (gravity, environment, and vacuum) as well as anchored through modeling to regolith/soil and environmental conditions. While the discipline of ISRU can encompass a large variety of different concept areas, resources, and products, the ISRU Topic will focus on technologies and capabilities associated with solid in-situ material handling and processing along with atmospheric and trash/waste processing.

      • 51557

        X1.01In-Situ Resource Characterization, Extraction, Transfer, and Processing

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, KSC, MSFC

        The ability to characterize, collect, transfer, and process resources at the site of exploration on the Moon, Mars, and Near Earth Objects (NEOs)/Phobos can completely change robotic and human mission architectures. The subtopic seeks proposals for the design and subsequent build of hardware and… Read more>>

        The ability to characterize, collect, transfer, and process resources at the site of exploration on the Moon, Mars, and Near Earth Objects (NEOs)/Phobos can completely change robotic and human mission architectures. The subtopic seeks proposals for the design and subsequent build of hardware and technologies that perform critical functions and operations for characterization, collection, transfer, and processing operations that can be inserted for integration into on-going and future system-level development and demonstration efforts. The technologies and hardware must utilize local materials with the minimum Earth-supplied feedstock possible. There are three main areas of interest:



        Extraterrestrial Material-Based ISRU

        • Methods for collection and transfer of NEO/Phobos material under micro-gravity conditions under vacuum/space environmental conditions. Proposals must state and explain material properties and water content considered in the design.
        • Methods for the transfer of Mars surface material containing water at 1 to 5 kg/hr under Mars surface environmental conditions. Proposals must state and explain material properties and water content considered in the design, and locations on Mars where the method proposed is applicable
        • Use of ionic liquids for processing and extracting oxygen and metals from extraterrestrial material at temperatures below 200 C at 0.2 kg/hr. Proposals must include methods for product separation and ionic liquid reagent regeneration for subsequent processing.
        • Development of reactors with dust tolerant gas-tight seals and valving to extract and collect of water and other potential volatiles from extraterrestrial materials at 0.5 to 5 kg/hr of material processing rate. Proposals must state and explain material properties, water content, mixing technique, and gravity conditions considered in the design. Proposals may combine material transfer with water/volatile processing to minimize mass and power. Proposals for processing reactor systems should focus on highly effective approaches to energy utilization, including internal heat and mass transport enhancements and/or other physical or operational characteristics. Proposals that cover more than one material for consideration are of particular interest.
        • Development of a compact, lightweight gas chromatograph - mass spectrometer (GC-MS) instrument that can quantify volatile gases released by sample heating below atomic number 70 (of particular interest H2, He (and isotopes), CO, CO2, CH4, H2O, N2, O2, Ar, NH3, HCN, H2S, SO2). The instrument should be designed to be able to withstand exposure to the release of HF, HCl, or Hg that may result from heating regolith samples to high temperatures. The instrument should be capable of detecting 1000 ppm to 100% concentration of the volatiles in the gas phase. The instrument should have a clear path to flight with a flight instrument design with a mass of less than 5 kg not including any vacuum components required to operate in the laboratory environment.



        Extraterrestrial Atmosphere Based ISRU

        • Devices that collect and separate Mars atmospheric argon and nitrogen using a standalone device or as part of carbon dioxide collection concepts at carbon dioxide collection rates (0.5 to 2 kg CO2/hr rate and supply pressure at >15 psi for subsequent processing).
        • Micro-channel reactor and heat exchanger concepts for efficient processing of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into water and/or methane with hydrogen at 0.5 to 2 kg/hr rate.



        Discarded Material-Based ISRU

        • Trash processing reactor concepts for production of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water, and methane from plastic trash and dried crew solid waste. Proposals must define use of solar or electrical energy during processing, and any reagents/consumables. Recycling schemes for reactants/reagents used in the processing should be included. Highly efficient, compact water vapor removal/separation devices from product gas streams is also of interest.



        Proposals must consider the physical/abrasive, mineral, and volatile/water properties and characteristics of the material/resource of interest, and the gravity environment in which collection, transfer, and processing will occur. Concepts that can operate in micro & low-gravity (1/6-g & 3/8-g), as well as multiple resources are of greater interest. Designs that are compatible for subsequent analog, micro/low-g flight experiments, and ground vacuum experiments are also of greater interest. Proposals that utilize rotating gears and actuators must be designed for abrasive/dusty environmental conditions. Proposals will be evaluated against state-of-the-art capabilities with respect to mass, power, and process efficiency. Figures of merit include consumable production rate (kg/hr), production energy efficiency (kg produced/ hr per KWe), and extraction/reactant recovery efficiency.





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    • + Expand Propulsion Topic

      Topic X2 Propulsion PDF


      Human Exploration requires advances in propulsion for transport to the moon, Mars, and beyond. A major thrust of this research and development activity will be related to space launch and in-space propulsion technologies. These efforts will include earth-to-orbit propulsion, in-space chemical propulsion, in-space nuclear propulsion, and in-space electric propulsion development and demonstrations. NASA is interested in making propulsion systems more capable and less expensive. NASA is interested in technologies for advanced in-space propulsion systems to support exploration, reduce travel time, reduce acquisition costs, and reduce operational costs.

      • 52143

        X2.01Low Cost Heavy Lift Propulsion

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, KSC

        Heavy lift launch vehicles envisioned for exploration beyond LEO will require large first stage propulsion systems. Total thrust at lift-off in will probably exceed 6 million pounds. There are available, in-production, practical propulsion options for such a vehicle. However, the cost for outfitting… Read more>>

        Heavy lift launch vehicles envisioned for exploration beyond LEO will require large first stage propulsion systems. Total thrust at lift-off in will probably exceed 6 million pounds. There are available, in-production, practical propulsion options for such a vehicle. However, the cost for outfitting the booster with the required propulsion systems is in the hundreds of millions of dollars (2011 $). This cost severely limits what missions NASA can perform. Low cost design concepts and manufacturing techniques are needed to make future exploration affordable.



        Objectives include:



        Development of propulsion concepts whose cost is less than 50% of currently available heavy-lift propulsion options but with similar performance (i.e., reduced parts count, increased robustness to allow less expensive manufacturing techniques, less complex parts to maximize vendor competition, maximization of common parts, etc.) - both solid and liquid options are desired.



        Development and demonstration of low-cost manufacturing techniques (i.e., use of rapid prototype techniques for metallic parts, application of nano-technology for manufacturing of near net shape manufacturing, etc.).



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      • 51520

        X2.02High Thrust In-Space Propulsion

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

        This solicitation intends to examine a range of key technology options associated with cryogenic, non-toxic storable, and solid core nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems for use in future exploration missions. Non-toxic engine technology, including new mono and bi-propellants, is desired for use… Read more>>

        This solicitation intends to examine a range of key technology options associated with cryogenic, non-toxic storable, and solid core nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems for use in future exploration missions. Non-toxic engine technology, including new mono and bi-propellants, is desired for use in lieu of the currently operational NTO/MMH engine technology. Handling and safety concerns with toxic chemical propellants can lead to more costly propulsion systems. For future short round trip missions to Mars, NTP systems using nuclear fission reactors may be enabling by helping to reduce launch mass to reasonable values and by also increasing the payload delivered for Mars exploration missions. Non-toxic and cryogenic engine technologies could range from pump fed or pressure fed reaction control engines of 25-1000 lbf up to 60,000 lbf primary propulsion engines. Pump fed NTP engines in the 15,000-25,000 lbf class, used individually or in clusters, would be used for primary propulsion.



        Specific technologies of interest to meet proposed engine requirements include:


        • Non-toxic bipropellant or monopropellants that meet performance targets (as indicated by high specific impulse and high specific impulse density) while improving safety and reducing handling operations as compared to current state-of-the-art storable propellants.
        • High temperature, low burn-up carbide- and ceramic-metallic (cermet)-based nuclear fuels with improved coatings and /or claddings to maximize hydrogen propellant heating and to reduce fission product gas release into the engine's hydrogen exhaust stream.
        • Low-mass propellant injectors that provide stable, uniform combustion over a wide range of propellant inlet temperature and pressure conditions.
        • High temperature materials, coatings and/or ablatives or injectors, combustion chambers, nozzles, and nozzle extensions.
        • High temperature and cryogenic radiation tolerant instrumentation and avionics for engine health monitoring. Non-invasive designs for measuring neutron flux (outside of reactor), chamber temperature, operating pressure, and liquid hydrogen propellant flow rates over wide range of temperatures are desired. Sensors need to operate for months/years instead of hours.
        • Combustion chamber thermal control technologies such as regenerative, transpiration, swirl or other cooling methods, which offer improved performance and adequate chamber life.
        • Long life, lightweight, reliable turbopump designs and technologies include seals, bearing and fluid system components. Hydrogen technologies are of particular interest.
        • Highly-reliable, long-life, fast-acting propellant valves that tolerate long duration space mission environments with reduced volume, mass, and power requirements is also desirable.
        • Radiation tolerant materials compatible with above engine subsystem applications and operating environments.



        Note to Proposer: Subtopic S3.04 under the Science Mission Directorate also addresses in-space propulsion. Proposals more aligned with science mission requirements should be proposed in S3.04.



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      • 51474

        X2.03Electric Propulsion Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovative technologies for 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… Read more>>

        The goal of this subtopic is to develop innovative technologies for 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 (total impulse > 1 x 107 N-sec) are desired. Specific technologies of interest in addressing these challenges include:


        • Long-life, high-current cathodes (100,000 hours).
        • Electric propulsion designs employing alternate fuels (ISRU, more storable).
        • Electrode thermal management technologies.
        • Innovative plasma neutralization concepts.
        • Metal propellant management systems and components, and cathodes.
        • Low-mass, high-efficiency power electronics for RF and DC discharges.
        • Lightweight, low-cost, high-efficiency power processing units (PPUs).
        • PPUs that accept variable input voltages of greater than 200V and vary by a factor of 2-to-1.
        • Direct drive 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.
        • Fast-starting cathodes.
        • Propellantless cathodes.
        • High temperature electronics for power processing units.



        Note to Proposer: Subtopic S3.04 under the Science Mission Directorate also addresses in-space propulsion. Proposals more aligned with science mission requirements should be proposed in S3.04.





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    • + Expand Life Support and Habitation Systems Topic

      Topic X3 Life Support and Habitation Systems PDF


      Life support and habitation encompasses the process technologies and equipment necessary to provide and maintain a livable environment within the pressurized cabin of crewed spacecraft. Functional areas of interest to this solicitation include thermal control and ventilation, atmosphere resource management and particulate control, water recovery systems, solid waste management, habitation systems, food production, environmental monitoring and fire protection systems. Technologies must be directed at long duration missions in microgravity, including earth orbit and planetary transit. Requirements include operation in microgravity and compatibility with cabin atmospheres of up to 34% oxygen by volume and pressures ranging from 1 atmosphere to as low as 7.6 psi (52.4 kPa). Special emphasis is placed on developing technologies that will fill existing gaps, reduce requirements for consumables and other resources including mass, power, volume and crew time, and which will increase safety and reliability with respect to the state-of-the-art. Non-venting processes may be of interest for technologies that have future applicability to planetary protection. Technology solutions involving both physicochemical and biological approaches are sought. Results of a Phase I contract should demonstrate proof of concept and feasibility of the technical approach. A resulting Phase II contract should lead to development, evaluation and delivery of prototype hardware. Specific technologies of interest to this solicitation are addressed in each subtopic.

      • 52070

        X3.01Enabling Technologies for Biological Life Support

        Lead Center: KSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JSC, MSFC

        Biochemical Systems for CO2 Removal and Processing to Useful Products NASA is interested in biochemical or biological systems and supporting hardware suitable for purifying the atmosphere in confined spaces such as crewed spacecraft or space habitat cabins. Of special interest is the removal and… Read more>>

        Biochemical Systems for CO2 Removal and Processing to Useful Products

        NASA is interested in biochemical or biological systems and supporting hardware suitable for purifying the atmosphere in confined spaces such as crewed spacecraft or space habitat cabins. Of special interest is the removal and fixation of CO2 from a cabin atmosphere via biochemical pathways or autotrophic organisms (plants, algae, cyanobacteria, etc) to produce oxygen and other useful products, including food. Processes considering photosynthesis must address how quantum and/or radiation use efficiency will be improved. Systems should consider minimizing power, mass, consumables and biologically produced waste, while maximizing reliability and efficiency.



        Biochemical Systems for Wastewater Treatment

        NASA is interested in biological or biochemical approaches to assist in purifying and recycling wastewater in confined spaces such as crewed spacecraft or space habitat cabins. Of special interest are novel approaches for removing carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus to potable or near potable concentrations, and reduction of biosolids. Systems should consider operating with low power, low consumables, low volume, high reliability and rapid deployment, as well as addressing multi-phase flow issues for reduced gravity.



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      • 52076

        X3.02Crew Accommodations and Waste Processing for Long Duration Missions

        Lead Center: ARC

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

        Critical gaps exist with respect to interfaces between human accommodations and life support systems for long duration human missions beyond low Earth orbit. New technologies are needed for management and processing of human fecal waste and for clothing and laundry. Proposals should explicitly… Read more>>

        Critical gaps exist with respect to interfaces between human accommodations and life support systems for long duration human missions beyond low Earth orbit. New technologies are needed for management and processing of human fecal waste and for clothing and laundry. Proposals should explicitly describe the weight, power, volume, and microgravity performance advantages.



        Human Fecal Waste Management

        Microgravity technology is needed to collect, stabilize, safen, recover useful materials, and store human feces or its processed residuals. Simple low energy systems that recover water and sterilize/sanitize feces or mineralize it to minimal residuals (and perhaps gases or fuels) are desired. Complete systems are desired that include consideration of preprocessing, processing, and venting or containment for storage of the resultant residuals and/or recovered materials.



        Clothing and Laundry Systems

        The requirements for crew clothing are balanced between appearance, comfort, wear, flammability and toxicity. Ideally, crew clothing should have durable flame resistance in a 34% O2 (by volume) enriched environment. Fabrics must enable multiple crew wear cycles before cleaning/disposal.



        The laundry system should remove or stabilize the combined contamination from perspiration salts, organics, dander and dust, preserve flame resistance properties, and use cleaning agents compatible with water recovery technologies, including both physiochemical and biological processes. Proposals using water for cleaning should use significantly less than 10 kg of water per kg of clothing cleaned.



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      • 52151

        X3.03Environmental Monitoring and Fire Protection for Spacecraft Autonomy

        Lead Center: JPL

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

        Environmental Monitoring Monitoring technologies to ensure that the chemical and microbial content of the air and water environment of the crew habitat falls within acceptable limits, and life support system is functioning properly and efficiently, are sought. Required technology characteristics:… Read more>>

        Environmental Monitoring

        Monitoring technologies to ensure that the chemical and microbial content of the air and water environment of the crew habitat falls within acceptable limits, and life support system is functioning properly and efficiently, are sought. Required technology characteristics: 2-year shelf-life; functionality in microgravity, low pressure and elevated oxygen cabin environments. Significant improvements in miniaturization, operational reliability, life-time, self-calibration, and reduction of expendables should be demonstrated. Proposals should focus on one of the following areas:


        • Process control monitors for life support. Improved reliability for closed-loop feedback control system.
        • Trace toxic metals, trace organics in water.
        • Monitoring trace contaminants in both air and water with one instrument.
        • Microbial monitoring for water and surfaces using minimal consumables.
        • Optimal system control methods. Operate the life support system with optimal efficiency and reliability, using a carefully chose suite of feedback and health monitors, and the associated control system.
        • Sensor suites. Determine, with robust technical analysis, the optimal number and location of sensors for the information that is needed, and efficient extraction of data from the suite of sensors.



        Fire Protection

        Spacecraft fire protection technologies to detect the overheating or combustion of spacecraft materials by their particulate and/or gaseous signatures are also sought. These must be of suitable size, mass, and volume for a distributed sensor array. Technologies that detect smoke particulates and identify characteristics (mean particulate sizes or distribution) would also be useful. Catalytic or sorbent technologies suitable for the rapid removal of gases, especially CO, and particulate during a contingency response are desired.



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      • 51556

        X3.04Spacecraft Cabin Ventilation and Thermal Control

        Lead Center: JSC

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

        Future spacecraft will require quieter fans, better cabin air filtration, and advanced active thermal control systems. Small Fan Aero-Acoustics Procedures and non-intrusive apparatus to measure the sound pressure levels in the inlet and exhaust duct of a candidate spacecraft ventilation fan are… Read more>>

        Future spacecraft will require quieter fans, better cabin air filtration, and advanced active thermal control systems.



        Small Fan Aero-Acoustics

        Procedures and non-intrusive apparatus to measure the sound pressure levels in the inlet and exhaust duct of a candidate spacecraft ventilation fan are requested. Details of the aerodynamic design and the predicted aerodynamic performance of the candidate spacecraft cabin ventilation fan are reported in NASA CR-2010-216329, "Aerodynamic Design and Computational Analysis of a Spacecraft Cabin Ventilation Fan". The duct diameter for this fan (89 mm) falls below the minimum diameter required (150 mm) by ASHRAE Standard 68. The pressure rise at design point for this fan (925 Pa) exceeds the maximum recommended (750 Pa) in ISO 10302. The procedure that is requested to be developed should apply to fans of similar size and capacity (or greater) as the identified candidate spacecraft ventilation fan. The procedure developed should overcome the deficiencies in the standards by providing plots of overall sound power levels as a function of fan flow rate (from full flow to fully throttled conditions) along lines of constant fan rotational speed in the inlet and exhaust ducts. Values of the radial and circumferential duct mode sound power levels calculated from the pressure measurement should be recorded and made available for subsequent examination at all tested conditions. It also must be shown that the flow-induced microphone self-noise, if any, does not contribute significantly to the measured fan sound pressure levels or sound power levels. Validation of the measured fan sound power levels must be shown for a sub-set of the performance range using an alternate technique.

        Methods of Particulate Separation and Filtration from Air

        Methods of particulate air filtration and/or separation targeting a range of particle sizes from tens of micron down to submicron in conjunction with efficient methods of regeneration are sought. The proposed technical solutions should reduce crew maintenance time and eliminate the need for consumable filter elements. These units should be able to handle large surges of particles and operate over very long periods. They should also be self-cleaning in-place (preferable) or off-line. Targeted technologies should be compact and lightweight, easily integrated with the spacecraft life support system, and provide viable methods for disposing of collected particulate matter while minimizing or eliminating direct contact by the crew.



        Active Thermal Control Systems

        Thermal control systems will be required that can dissipate a wide range of heat loads with widely varying environments while using fewer of the limited spacecraft mass, volume and power resources. The thermal control system designs must accommodate high input heat fluxes at the heat acquisition source and harsh thermal environments at the heat rejection sink. Advances are sought for microgravity thermal control in the areas of:


        • Innovative Thermal Components and System Architectures that are capable of operating over a wide range of heat loads in varying environments (for example, a 10:1 heat load range in environments ranging from 0 to 275K).
        • Two-phase Heat Transfer Components and System Architectures for nuclear propulsion that will allow the acquisition, transport, and rejection of waste heat on the order of megawatts,.
        • Heat rejection hardware for transient, cyclical applications using either phase change material heat exchangers or efficient evaporative heat sinks.
        • Smaller, lighter high performance heat exchangers and coldplates.
        • Low temperature external working fluids (a temperature limit of less than 150K with favorable thermophysical properties - e. g., viscosity and specific heat).
        • Internal working fluids that are non-toxic, have favorable thermophysical properties, and are compatible with aluminum tubing (i.e., no corrosion for up to 10 years).
        • Low mass, high conductance ratio thermal switches.
        • Long-life, lightweight, efficient single-phase thermal control loop pumps capable of producing relatively high-pressure head (~4 atm).
        • Dust tolerant long-life radiators.
        • Variable area radiators (e. g., variable capacity heat pipe radiators or drainable radiators).
        • Radiators compatible with inflatable volumes.
        • Thermal systems and/or components to extend operational times for spacecraft under the extreme planetary environments, for example: the Venusian surface at approximately 460C and 98 atm.
        • Flexible heat pipes.
        • Methods to predict the performance of cryogenic multi-layer insulation blankets at 1 atmosphere and during ascent venting.
        • Advanced thermal analysis tools that utilize stream processing to improve computational speed over conventional approaches. Possible candidates are: view factor calculation via ray tracing, orbital heating rate calculations, and thermal environment modeling.
        • Inflatable/deployable shades to enhance reduce boiloff of cryogenic propellants in long-term storage in low earth orbit.





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    • + Expand Extra-Vehicular Activity Technology Topic

      Topic X4 Extra-Vehicular Activity Technology PDF


      Advanced Extra -Vehicular Activity (EVA) systems are necessary for the successful support of the International Space Station (ISS) beyond 2020 and future human space exploration missions for in-space microgravity EVA and for planetary surface exploration. Advanced EVA systems include the space suit pressure garment, airlocks, the Portable Life Support System (PLSS), Avionics and Displays, and EVA Integrated Systems. Future human space exploration missions will require innovative approaches for maximizing human productivity and for providing the capability to perform useful tasks safely, such as assembling and servicing large in-space systems and exploring surfaces of the Moon, Mars, and small bodies. Top-level requirements include reduction of system weight and volume, low or non-consuming systems, increased hardware reliability, durability, operating life, increased human comfort, and less restrictive work performance in the space environment. All proposed Phase I research must lead to specific Phase II experimental development that could be integrated into a functional EVA system.

      • 52109

        X4.01Space Suit Pressure Garment and Airlock Technologies

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC

        Advanced space suit pressure garment and airlock technologies are necessary for the successful support of the International Space Station (ISS) and future human space exploration missions for in-space microgravity EVA and planetary surface operations. Research is needed in the following space suit… Read more>>

        Advanced space suit pressure garment and airlock technologies are necessary for the successful support of the International Space Station (ISS) and future human space exploration missions for in-space microgravity EVA and planetary surface operations.



        Research is needed in the following space suit pressure garment areas:


        • The space suit pressure garment requires innovative technologies that increase the life, comfort, mobility, and durability of gloves, self sealing materials to minimize the effects of small punctures or tears, and materials that are resistant to abrasion.
        • Innovative garments that provide direct thermal control to crew member that minimize consumables are needed as well as materials for helmets that are scratch resistant or prevent fogging
        • Technologies for space suit flexible thermal insulation suitable for use in vacuum and low ambient pressure are also needed.
        • Light Weight Bearings for use in mobility joints in the pressure garment are needed.
        • Advanced cooling garments that are highly efficient in removing metabolic heat and are low power consuming are needed.
        • Advanced suit materials that provide radiation protection and reduce risks associated with electrical charging and shock.



        Due to the expected large number of space walks that will be performed on the ISS beyond 2020 and future human space exploration missions, innovative technologies and designs for both microgravity and surface airlocks will also be needed.



        Research is needed in the following space suit airlock area:



        Technology development is needed for minimum gas loss airlocks providing quick exit and entry that can accommodate an incapacitated crew member, suit port/suit lock systems for docking a space suit to a dust mitigating entry/hatch in order for the space suit to remain in the airlock and prevent dust from entering the habitable environment.



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      • 51553

        X4.02Space Suit Life Support Systems

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): GRC

        Advanced space suit life support systems are necessary for the successful support of the International Space Station (ISS) and future human space exploration missions for in-space microgravity EVA and planetary surface operations. Exploration missions will require a robust, lightweight, and… Read more>>

        Advanced space suit life support systems are necessary for the successful support of the International Space Station (ISS) and future human space exploration missions for in-space microgravity EVA and planetary surface operations. Exploration missions will require a robust, lightweight, and maintainable Primary Life Support System (PLSS). The PLSS attaches to the space suit pressure garment and provides approximately an 8 hour supply of oxygen for breathing, suit pressurization, ventilation and CO2 removal, and a thermal control system for crew member metabolic heat rejection. Innovative technologies are needed for high-pressure O2 delivery, crewmember cooling, heat rejection, and removal of expired CO2 and water vapor.



        Focused research is needed in the following space suit life support system areas:



        Feedwater Supply Bladder for PLSS - Focused research is needed to develop a shallow, translucent water bladder that will serve to pressurize the water loop for the new PLSS by using the suit pressure to compress the flexible bladder material. The unique aspect of this bladder includes a detection system to indicate via a signal that the remaining usable feed water is approximately .5 kg. Some additional requirements are: Usable capacity => 4.5 kg, Chemically inert to avoid chemical reactions with the feed water which may be DI water to potable standards, Approximate shape is a semi-circle with a diameter of 16 in (40.6 cm), Configuration is similar to an accumulator with a single inlet, 1/8in hose barb, and the Maximum Allowable Working Pressure => 20 psid (138 kPa differential).



        PPCO2-H2O-O2 Sensor for PLSS - Focused research is needed for a PLSS sensor that is able to measure critical life support constituents in a single combined flow-through sensor configuration. Free water tolerance is an important feature. Test and Shuttle/ISS space suit experience has shown this to be a real possibility that the sensor should tolerate.



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      • 51512

        X4.03Space Suit Radio, Sensors, Displays, Cameras, and Audio

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        Future EVAs need advances in radio technologies, including antennas, tunable RF front-ends, and power amplifiers; low-power cameras; more accurate, reliable, and packaged core temperature, CO2, and biomedical sensors; user-friendly, minimally invasive crewmember information displays; and… Read more>>

        Future EVAs need advances in radio technologies, including antennas, tunable RF front-ends, and power amplifiers; low-power cameras; more accurate, reliable, and packaged core temperature, CO2, and biomedical sensors; user-friendly, minimally invasive crewmember information displays; and technologies that provide improvements in speech quality, listening quality and listening effort for in-helmet aural and vocal communications. Progress in these technologies will help ensure reliable communications, crew safety and comfort, and work efficiency and autonomy. The focus of this subtopic is to advance future EVA lightweight, compact, low-power technologies in five primary areas: radios, sensors, displays, cameras, and suit audio. The expectation for all of these EVA areas is that a report demonstrating the concept, requirements, design, and technical feasibility will be delivered at the end of Phase I, and that a working and fully functional device will be delivered at the end of Phase II.



        The next-generation EVA radio needs to fulfill multiple functions while satisfying stringent requirements on size, weight and power (SWaP) consumption in the ISM S-band (2.4 - 2.483 GHz) and Ka-band (approximately 26 GHz). Ideally, eventual radio SwAP reductions would result in approximately 115 cubic inches, 3.5 - 5.5 pounds, and 15 watts total power consumption, respectively. Next-generation EVA radios will need to support multiple comm loops and point-to-point EVA comm., receive caution and warning messages from the vehicle and other EVA crew, receive, store, and display voice/text messaging to handle comm delays. Moreover, next-generation EVA antenna systems that effectively present uniform coverage around the suit are needed. Likewise, the next-generation EVA radio needs RF front-end architectures capable of presenting baseband or IF signals to waveform processing hardware in multiple bands. Radiation-hardened-by-design transceiver technologies improving upon current Single Event Upset tolerant approaches, along with cognitive technologies, are needed for future EVA exploration to Near Earth Asteroids and beyond.



        In addition, advances in tunable technology that permit high Q factor, minimum insertion losses, and excellent linearity are desirable at the given S- and Ka-band Gigahertz frequencies for agility. The next-generation EVA radios will need to support voice, telemetry, and standard/high definition video data flows (up to 20 Mbps); ensure rapid upgrades via scalable, open, and modular architectures; and, advance power aware technologies to optimize efficiency, conserve EVA battery lifetime power, and prolong duration of EVA operations. Finally, no matter what type of transceiver architecture is used in the next-generation EVA radio, the power amplifier is always a key component to enable new functionality, and to minimize the power consumption of the whole radio. Current amplifiers suffer from one or many of the following drawbacks: a) insufficient power added efficiency, b) insufficient linearity performance and incompatibility with modern modulation signals, and c) incompatible with silicon CMOS technology. Most of the commercial PAs are based on III-V GaAs material system, which is more expensive compared to the CMOS fabrication processes. Additionally, the incompatibility with silicon CMOS technology makes it impossible to realize a fully integrated radio-on-a-chip system. Consequently, the implemented radio with the existing power amplifiers requires much more SwAP and higher fabrication costs. Advances are needed in the efficiency and linearity of power amplifiers for next-generation EVA radio applications.



        Crew health and suit monitoring require advancement of lightweight CO2, biomedical (heart rate, blood OX, EKG) and core temperature sensors with reduced size, increased reliability, and greater packaging flexibility. Consequently, technologies are needed to provide high accuracy, low mass, and low-power sensors that measure flow rate, pressure, temperature, and relative humidity or dew point. All sensors must operate in a low pressure 100% O2 environment with high humidity and may be exposed to liquid condensate.



        Because missions must be designed with appropriate radiation shielding and adjusted to keep the radiation doses within tolerable limits, real-time, accurate, instantaneous and integrated radiation dose measurements and readout are needed such as novel dosimeter sensors. Given sufficient warning, astronauts can move to a more shielded part of the space vehicle and lessen dose impact. As cosmic rays impinge upon the vehicle leaving the magnetosphere, sensors are needed to determine the type of radiation and dose as well as reduce the potential risk of biological tissue damage.



        Future EVAs need a user-friendly and minimally invasive crewmember information display device that provides significant task efficiency improvement for a broad range of EVA tasks. Current Head-Mounted Display and Near-to-Eye display technologies are a non-starter for EVA, because the display must be mechanically decoupled from the user's head in order to improve crew safety, comfort, and prevent display misalignment. This in turn makes for more difficult specifications for the eyebox (tolerance to misalignment before image goes out of focus), field of view (angle of the image created by the optics), and eye relief (working distance from the eye to the last optical element). Additionally, current Helmet-Mounted Display technologies are challenged in EVA applications due to geometric constraints within the helmet, and future display technologies must ensure suit displays can operate outside the suit protection in thermal, radiation, and vacuum environments as well as internally without imposing ignition hazards due to 100% oxygen environment. Key performance parameters (targets) include: Graphical Data Presentation: SXGA @ 40 deg FOV (possibly biocular); Decoupled from User's Head - Large Eyebox: 100 mm x 100mm x 50mm (D); Sunlight Readability: 500 fL inside visor, 1800 fL outside visor (>10 to 1 contrast).



        Future EVAs need to support high definition motion and high resolution imagery with ultra compact, low-power HD cameras and low loss compressed digital data output for RF transmissions and/or IP networks. Hemispherical and dynamic cameras are desired, where hemispherical cameras take video views of a crewmember (360 degrees), distorting those views thru optics and then undistorting those views via software on the ground to pan/zoom for total situational awareness. Dynamic cameras can take stills and motion in variable bandwidths, capture image based on link quality, change frame rates, interfaced to gigabit Ethernet and in a rad-tolerant package with dynamically reconfigure compression core(s) and common 'back-end' interfaces.



        The space suit environment presents a unique challenge for capturing and transmitting speech communications to and from a crewmember. The in-suit acoustic environment is characterized by highly reflective surfaces, causing high levels of reverberation, as well as spacesuit-unique noise fields; and wide swings of static pressure levels. Due to these factors, the quality of speech delivered to and from the inside of a spacesuit helmet can be low and can have a negative effect on inbound and outbound speech intelligibility. The traditional approach to overcome the challenges of the spacesuit acoustic environment is to use a skullcap-based system of microphones and speakers. Cap-based systems are less successful, however, in attenuating high noise levels generated outside the spacesuit, and many logistical issues exist for head-mounted caps (e.g., crewmembers are not able to adjust the skullcap, headset or microphone booms during EVA operations, interference between the protuberances of the cap and other devices, comfort, hygiene, proper positioning and dislocation, and wire fatigue and blind mating of the connectors, multiple cap sizes to accommodate anthropometric variations in crew heads).



        NASA is seeking technologies in support of improvements in speech intelligibility, speech quality, listening quality and listening effort for in-helmet aural and vocal communications. The specific focus of this SBIR subtopic is on improving the interface between crewmember and the acoustic pickup (microphones) and generation (speaker) systems. Devices are sought to improve or resolve acoustic, physical and technical problems (listed above) that have been associated with skullcap-mounted speakers and microphones, or allow for the elimination of skullcap-mounted speakers and microphones. In particular, voice communications systems are sought that have provided crewmembers with adequate speech intelligibility over background noise within, and external to, the spacesuit. Overall system performance must provide Mean Opinion Score (MOS) for Listening Quality (Lq) and Listening Effort (Le) of 3.9 or greater, or Articulation Index (AI) of .7 or better or 90% Intelligibility in the crewmember's native language for both inbound and outbound speech communication. Specific technologies of interest include, but are not limited to: acoustic modeling of the in-suit acoustic environment, including the ability to model structure-borne vibration in helmet and suit structures as well as transduction to and from the acoustic medium; low-mass, low-volume, low-distortion, space-qualified speakers with low variation in sensitivity with static pressure. Changes in speaker sensitivity should be less than 2 dB over the speech band with changes in static pressure between 3 and 18 psia; low-mass, ultra-low-volume (




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    • + Expand Lightweight Spacecraft Materials and Structures Topic

      Topic X5 Lightweight Spacecraft Materials and Structures PDF


      The SBIR topic area of Lightweight Spacecraft Materials and Structures centers on developing lightweight inflatable structures, advanced manufacturing technologies for metallic and composite materials, structural sensoring techniques, and in-situ non-destructive evaluation systems. Applications are expected to include space exploration vehicles including launch vehicles, crewed vehicles, and surface and habitat systems. The area of expandable structures solicits innovative concepts to support the development of lightweight-structure technologies that would be viable solutions to high packaging efficiency and increasing the usable primary pressurized volume in habitats, airlocks, and other crewed vessels. Technologies are needed to minimize launch mass, size and costs, while maintaining the required structural performance for loads and environments. Advanced fabrication and manufacturing of lightweight structures focuses on the development of metallic alloys and hybrid materials, processing and fabrication technologies related to near-net shape forming. The goal is to reduce structural weight, assembly steps, and minimize welds, resulting in increased reliability and reduced cost. Research should evaluate material compatibility with forming methods and establish fundamental microstructure/processing/property correlations to guide full-scale fabrication. Laboratory scale test methods are needed to accurately simulate the deformation modes experienced in large-scale manufacturing. Polymer matrix composite (PMC) materials have been identified as a critical need for launch and in-space vehicles. The reduction of structural mass translates directly to additional performance, increased payload mass and reduced cost. PMC materials are also critical for other structures, such as cryogenic propellant tanks. Advances in PMC materials, automated manufacturing processes, non-autoclave curing methods, advances in damage-tolerant/repairable structures, and PMC materials with high resistance to microcracking at cryogenic temperatures are sought. The objective is to advance technology readiness levels of PMC materials and manufacturing for launch vehicle and in-space applications resulting in structures having affordable, reliable, and predictable performance. Practical modular structural sensor systems and NDE technologies are sought for spaceflight missions. Smart, lightweight, low-volume, and stand-alone sensor systems should reduce the complexities of standard wires and connectors and enable sensing in locations not normally accessible. NDE sensor system technology should include modular, low-volume systems and have the ability to perform inspections with minimal human interaction. Systems need to provide the location and extent of damage with the minimal data transfer between the flight system and Earth. Mission application areas include space transportation vehicles, pressure vessels, ISS modules, inflatable structures, EVA suits, MMOD shields, and thermal protection structures. Research under this topic should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a full-scale demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.

      • 52086

        X5.01Expandable Structures

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        The SBIR subtopic area of Lightweight Inflatable Structures solicits innovative concepts to support the development of primary pressurized expandable habitat and storage modules for space exploration environments. Inflatable concepts should illustrate small efficient launch volumes and large… Read more>>

        The SBIR subtopic area of Lightweight Inflatable Structures solicits innovative concepts to support the development of primary pressurized expandable habitat and storage modules for space exploration environments. Inflatable concepts should illustrate small efficient launch volumes and large deployment volumes. Concepts should also illustrate simple designs, efficient deployment techniques, lightweight materials, and potential for integrated hard points. Robustness, damage tolerance, and minor repair capabilities should also be considered in concept submittals. Airlock and window integration into the inflatable should also be considered.



        Lightweight secondary structures for internal outfitting of the inflatable structure after deployment are also solicited. Lightweight concepts of interest include walkways, storage facilities, and hard points for utility or operational subsystems. Secondary structures should be packing and mass efficient, stiff-post deployment, redundant, modular, and multi-functional.



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



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      • 51571

        X5.02Advanced Fabrication and Manufacturing of Metallic and Polymer Matrix Composite Materials for Lightweight Structures

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): GRC, KSC, MSFC

        The objective of the subtopic is to advance technology readiness levels of lightweight structures for launch vehicles and in-space applications, by using advanced materials and manufacturing techniques, resulting in structures having affordable, reliable, predictable performance with reduced costs.… Read more>>

        The objective of the subtopic is to advance technology readiness levels of lightweight structures for launch vehicles and in-space applications, by using advanced materials and manufacturing techniques, resulting in structures having affordable, reliable, predictable performance with reduced costs. Performance metrics include: achieving adequate structural and weight performance; manufacturing and life cycle affordability analysis; verifiable practices for scale-up; validation of confidence in design, materials performance, and manufacturing processes; and quantitative risk reduction capability. Research should be conducted to demonstrate novel approaches, technical feasibility, and basic performance characterization during Phase I, and show a path toward a Phase II design allowables and prototype demonstration. Emphasis should be on demonstrable materials/manufacturing technology combinations that can be scaled up for very large structures.



        Materials topics should focus on lightweight monolithic metallic materials or Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC) that, in combination with design modifications, can significantly reduce structural mass. Research should include assessment of the material response to forming and joining methods and verification of post-forming properties. Also of interest are high temperature PMC materials for high performance composite structures (high temperature applications), particularly those which are compatible with current composite manufacturing techniques. High temperature PMCs should enable reduction of vehicle mass through elimination or reduction of thermal protection systems. Another area of interest covers development of lightweight damage-tolerant materials that are compatible with forming methods that can significantly reduce structural mass. Proposals to each area will be considered separately.



        Fabrication technology topics should focus on near-net-shape and automated manufacturing methods, which can reduce structural weight, processing, and assembly steps, and minimize joints, resulting in increased reliability and reduced cost, and characterization of material response to forming and joining methods. Other interests include development of laboratory scale test methods to accurately simulate large scale manufacturing for use in screening material behavior. Research should include computational modeling and simulation of material behavior and testing to characterize material properties and validate manufacturing methods.



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      • 52150

        X5.03Spaceflight Structural Sensor Systems and NDE

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC

        There is a growing use for modular/low mass-volume, low power, low maintenance systems, that reduce or eliminate wiring, stand-alone smart sensor systems that provide answers as close to the sensor as practical and systems that are flexible in their applicability. The systems should allow for… Read more>>

        There is a growing use for modular/low mass-volume, low power, low maintenance systems, that reduce or eliminate wiring, stand-alone smart sensor systems that provide answers as close to the sensor as practical and systems that are flexible in their applicability. The systems should allow for additions or changes in instrumentation late in the design/development process and enable relocation or upgrade on orbit. They reduce the complexities of standard wires and connectors and enable sensing functions in locations not normally accessible with previous technologies. They allow NASA to gain insight into performance and safety of NASA vehicles as well as commercial launchers, vehicles and payloads supporting NASA missions.



        There is also a need for modular/low mass/volume smart NDE sensors systems and associated software that enable effective use with minimum crew training or re-familiarization after extended periods of no use. Systems should include ability to perform inspections with minimal human interaction. These systems need to provide reliable assessments of the location and extent of damage with the minimal data transfer between vehicle and Earth. Methods are desired to perform inspections in areas with difficult access in pressurized habitable compartments and external environments. Many applications require the ability to see through conductive and/or thermal insulating materials without contacting the surface. Sensors that can dynamically and accurately determine position and orientation of the NDE sensor are needed to automatically register NDE results to precise locations on the structure. Structural design and material configurations are sought that can enhance NDE and monitoring. Advanced processing and displays are needed to reduce the complexity of operations for astronaut crews who may only use the NDE tool infrequently.





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    • + Expand Autonomous Systems and Avionics Topic

      Topic X6 Autonomous Systems and Avionics PDF


      NASA invests in the development of autonomy and automation software, advanced avionics, integrated system health management, and robust software technology capabilities for the purpose of enabling complex missions and technology demonstrations. The software and avionics elements requested within this topic are critical to enhancing flight system functionality, reducing system vulnerability to extreme radiation and thermal environments, reducing system risk, and increasing autonomy and system reliability through processes, operations, and system management. As a game-changing and cross-cutting technology area, autonomous software and avionics are applicable to broad areas of technology emphasis, including heavy lift launch vehicle technologies, robotic precursor platforms, utilization of the International Space Station, and spacecraft technology demonstrations performed to enable long duration space missions. All of these flight applications will require unique advances in software technologies and avionics such as integrated systems health management, autonomous systems for the crew and mission operations, radiation hardened, multi-core processors, and reliable, dependable software. The exploration of space requires the best of the nation's technical community to step up to providing the technologies, engineering, and systems to explore the beyond LEO, visit asteroids and the Moon, and to extend our reach to Mars.

      • 51457

        X6.01Spacecraft Autonomy and Space Mission Automation

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        Future human spaceflight missions will place crews at large distances and light-time delays from Earth, requiring novel capabilities for crews and ground to manage spacecraft consumables such as power, water, propellant and life support systems to prevent Loss of Mission (LOM) or Loss of Crew (LOC).… Read more>>

        Future human spaceflight missions will place crews at large distances and light-time delays from Earth, requiring novel capabilities for crews and ground to manage spacecraft consumables such as power, water, propellant and life support systems to prevent Loss of Mission (LOM) or Loss of Crew (LOC). This capability is necessary to handle events such as leaks or failures leading to unexpected expenditure of consumables coupled with lack of communications. If crews in the spacecraft must manage, plan and operate much of the mission themselves, NASA must migrate operations functionality from the flight control room to the vehicle for use by the crew. Migrating flight controller tools and procedures to the crew on-board the spacecraft would, even if technically possible, overburden the crew. Enabling these same monitoring, tracking, and management capabilities on-board the spacecraft for a small crew to use will require significant automation and decision support software. Required capabilities to enable future human spaceflight to distant destinations include:


        • Enable on-board crew management of vehicle consumables that are currently flight controller responsibilities.
        • Increase the onboard capability to detect and respond to unexpected consumables-management related events and faults without dependence on ground.
        • Reduce up-front and recurring software costs to produce flight-critical software.
        • Provide more efficient and cost effective ground based operations through automation of consumables management processes, and up-front and recurring mission operations software costs.



        The same capabilities for enabling human spaceflight missions are directly applicable to efforts to automate the operation of unmanned aircraft flying in the National Airspace (NAS) and robotic planetary explorers.



        Mission Operations Automation

        Peer-to-peer mission operations planning

        Mixed initiative planning systems

        Elicitation of mission planning constraints and preferences

        Planning system software integration



        Space Vehicle Automation

        Autonomous rendezvous and docking software

        Integrated discrete and continuous control software

        Long-duration high-reliability autonomous system

        Power aware computing



        Robotic Systems Automation

        Mutli-agent autonomous systems for mapping

        Uncertainty management for mapping system

        Uncertainty management for grasping robotic system

        Uncertainty management for path planning and traversing



        Emphasis of proposed efforts:


        • Software proposals only, but emphasize hardware and operating systems the proposed software will run on (e.g., processors, sensors).
        • In-space or Terrestrial applications (e.g., UAV mission management) are acceptable.
        • Proposals must demonstrate mission operations cost reduction by use of standards, open source software, staff reduction, and/or decrease of software integration costs.
        • Proposals must demonstrate autonomy software cost reduction by use of standards, demonstration of capability especially on long-duration missions, system integration, and/or open source software.



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      • 51575

        X6.02Radiation Hardened/Tolerant and Low Temperature Electronics and Processors

        Lead Center: MSFC

        Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL

        Exploration flight projects, robotic precursors, and technology demonstrators that are designed to operate beyond low-earth orbit require avionic systems, components, and controllers that are capable of enduring the extreme temperature and radiation environments of deep space, the lunar surface, and… Read more>>

        Exploration flight projects, robotic precursors, and technology demonstrators that are designed to operate beyond low-earth orbit require avionic systems, components, and controllers that are capable of enduring the extreme temperature and radiation environments of deep space, the lunar surface, and eventually the Martian surface.

        Spacecraft vehicle electronics will be required to operate across a wide temperature range and must be capable of enduring frequent (and often rapid) thermal-cycling. Packaging for these electronics must be able to accommodate the mechanical stress and fatigue associated with the thermal cycling. Spacecraft vehicle electronics must be radiation hardened for the target environment. They must be capable of operating through a minimum total ionizing dose (TID) of 300 krads (Si), provide fewer Single Event Upsets (SEUs) than 10-10 to 10-11errors/bit-day, and provide single event latchup (SEL) immunity at linear energy transfer (LET) levels of 100 MeV cm2/mg (Si) or more. All three characteristics for radiation hardened electronics of TID, SEU and SEL are needed. Electronics hardened for thermal cycling and extreme temperature ranges should perform beyond the standard military specification range of -55°C to 125°C, running as low as -230°C or as high as 350°C.



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


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



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      • 52138

        X6.03Integrated System Health Management for Flexible Exploration

        Lead Center: ARC

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

        Novel integrated system health management technologies will enable NASA’s pursuit of a more sustainable and affordable approach to spaceflight. New heavy lift launch systems will incorporate new engines, propellants, materials, and combustion processes and will increase NASA’s capabilities and… Read more>>

        Novel integrated system health management technologies will enable NASA’s pursuit of a more sustainable and affordable approach to spaceflight. New heavy lift launch systems will incorporate new engines, propellants, materials, and combustion processes and will increase NASA’s capabilities and significantly lower operations costs. Health management is essential for the safe and reliable operation of these complex systems. Innovative health management technologies are also essential for long-duration robotic precursor missions. Projects may focus on one or more relevant subsystems such as rocket engines, liquid propulsion systems, structures and mechanisms, thermal protection systems, power, avionics, life support, communications, and software. Specific technical areas of interest are methods and tools for:

        • Early-stage design of health management functionality during the development of space systems, including failure detection methods, sensor types and locations that enable fault detection to line replaceable units.
        • Sensor validation and robust state estimation in the presence of inherently unreliable sensors. Focus on data analysis and interpretation using legacy sensors.
        • Model-based fault detection and isolation based on existing sensor suites that enables fault detection within time ranges to allow mission abort.
        • Automatic construction of models used in model-based diagnostic strategies, limiting model construction times to 60% of the time required using manual methods.
        • Prognostic techniques able to anticipate system degradation before loss of critical functions and enable further improvements in mission success probability, operational effectiveness, and automated recovery of function.
        • Techniques that address the particular constraints of maintaining long-duration systems health of structures, mechanical parts, electronics, and software systems are also of interest.



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    • + Expand Human-Robotic Systems Topic

      Topic X7 Human-Robotic Systems PDF


      This call for technology development is in direct support of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD). The purpose of this research is to develop component and subsystem level technologies to support robotic precursor exploration missions. To that end, it is the intent of this Topic to capitalize on advanced technologies that allow humans and robots to interact seamlessly and significantly increase their efficiency and productivity in space. The objective is to produce new technologies that will reduce the total mass-volume-power of equipment and materials required to support both short and long duration planetary missions. The proposals must focus on component and subsystem level technologies in order to maximize the return from current SBIR funding levels and timelines. Doing so increases the likelihood of successfully producing a technology that can be readily infused into existing robotic system designs. This research focuses on technology development for the critical functions that will ultimately enable surface exploration for the advancement of scientific research. Surface exploration begins with short duration missions to establish a foundation, which leads to extensible functional capabilities. Successive buildup missions establish a continuous operational platform from which to conduct scientific research while on the planetary surface. Reducing risk and ensuring mission success depends on the coordinated interaction of many functional surface systems including power, communications infrastructure, and mobility and ground operations. This topic addresses technology needs within three subtopic areas:

      • Mobility systems.
      • Dexterous manipulation.
      • The interfaces that facilitate productive and seamless interaction between humans and robots.

      • 52163

        X7.01Human Robotic Systems - Human Robot Interfaces

        Lead Center: ARC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        The objective of this subtopic is to create human-robot interfaces that improve the human exploration of space. Robots can perform tasks to assist and off-load work from astronauts. Robots may perform this work before, in support of, or after humans. Ground controllers and astronauts will remotely… Read more>>

        The objective of this subtopic is to create human-robot interfaces that improve the human exploration of space. Robots can perform tasks to assist and off-load work from astronauts. Robots may perform this work before, in support of, or after humans. Ground controllers and astronauts will remotely operate robots using a range of control modes, over multiple distances (shared-space, line-of-sight, in orbit, and interplanetary), and with a range of time-delay and communications bandwidth.

        This subtopic seeks to develop new technologies that enable crew and ground controllers to better operate, monitor and supervise semi-autonomous robots. Of particular interest is software that improves robot operator productivity, situational awareness, and effectiveness.



        Proposals are sought that address the following technology needs:


        • Crew telerobotic interfaces. User interfaces that enable crew to remotely operate and monitor robots from inside a flight vehicle, habitat and/or during an extra-vehicular activity (EVA). User interfaces must be appropriate and relevant for use with near-term flight systems.
        • Robot performance monitoring software. Software tools that enable remote monitoring of robot performance, detection of anomalies and contingencies, assessment of robot utilization and situational awareness of remote robot operations.
        • Robot tactical planning software. Software tools that enable efficient, rapid handling of contingencies during robot tactical operations. This may involve a combination of embedded and user interface modules.
        • Robot ground data systems. Systems and software for robot command planning and sequencing, telemetry processing, sensor/instrument data management, and automating ground control functions.



        This subtopic does not solicit proposals for direct teloperation (e.g., joystick-based rate control), telepresence, or immersive virtual reality subsystems or systems.



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      • 52164

        X7.02Human-Robotic Systems - Mobility Subsystems

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL

        The objective of this subtopic is to create human-robotic technologies (hardware and software) to improve the exploration of space. Robots can perform tasks to assist and off-load work from astronauts. Robots may perform this work before, in support of, or after humans. Ground controllers and… Read more>>

        The objective of this subtopic is to create human-robotic technologies (hardware and software) to improve the exploration of space. Robots can perform tasks to assist and off-load work from astronauts. Robots may perform this work before, in support of, or after humans.



        Ground controllers and astronauts will remotely operate robots using a range of control modes (teleoperation to supervised autonomy), over multiple spatial ranges (shared-space, line-of-sight, in orbit, and interplanetary), and with a range of time-delay and communications bandwidth.



        Proposals are sought that address the following technology needs:


        • Subsystems to improve the transport of crew, instruments, and payloads on planetary surfaces, asteroids, in-space; and improve handling and maintenance of payloads and assets. This includes hazard detection sensors/perception, active suspension, grappling/anchoring, legged locomotion, robot navigation, and infrastructure-free localization. As well as, tactile sensors, human-safe actuation, active structures, dexterous grasping, modular "plug and play" mechanisms for deployment and setup, small/lightweight excavation/drilling devices to enable subsurface access, and novel manipulation methods.



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    • + Expand High-Efficiency Space Power Systems Topic

      Topic X8 High-Efficiency Space Power Systems PDF


      This topic solicits technology development for high-efficiency power systems to be used for the human exploration of space. Technologies applicable to both space exploration and clean and renewable energy for terrestrial applications are of particular importance. Power system needs include: electric energy generation and storage for human-rated vehicles, electrical energy generation for in-space propulsion systems, and electric energy generation, storage, and transmission for planetary and lunar surface applications. Technology development is sought in: Fuel cells and electrolyzers including both proton exchange membrane and solid oxide technologies; Battery technology including components for improved performance and safety; Nuclear power systems including fission and radioisotope power generation; Photovoltaic power generation including solar cell, blanket and array technology; reliable, radiation tolerant electronic devices; and robust high voltage electronics.

      • 51517

        X8.01Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        Advanced primary fuel cell and regenerative fuel cell energy storage systems are enabling for various aspects of future Exploration missions. Proposals that address technology advances related to the following issues for PEM fuel cell, electrolysis, and regenerative fuel cell systems are desired. … Read more>>

        Advanced primary fuel cell and regenerative fuel cell energy storage systems are enabling for various aspects of future Exploration missions. Proposals that address technology advances related to the following issues for PEM fuel cell, electrolysis, and regenerative fuel cell systems are desired.

        Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers

        Proposals that address technology advances related to the following issues for PEM fuel cell, electrolysis, and regenerative fuel cell systems are desired.



        Oxidation Resistant Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL)

        GDLs are integral to PEM fuel cell membrane-electrode-assemblies (MEAs). Traditional carbon or graphite based GDLs are very susceptible to oxidation under certain operating conditions in the pure oxygen environment of space fuel cell systems. This results in MEA degradation and shortened life. Proposals addressing the development of oxidation resistant GDLs that remain stable to oxidation in a pure oxygen environment, and provide improved performance and longer life are desired.



        Deionizing Water Treatment for High Pressure, High Temperature Water Electrolyzers

        Ultra high purity water is needed for NASA's high pressure, high temperature water electrolyzers. Technology is needed to remove ions within the water that is circulated over the catalyzed electrodes of the electrolyzer. Ions need to be reduced below TBD ppm prior to entering the water electrolyzer. The deionizer must function in flowing water at 2000 psi and 80°C.



        High System Pressure water Pump

        A water pump is needed to circulate water through a high-pressure water electrolyzer. The pump must meet the following criteria:


        • Operating System pressure of >2000 psia.
        • Minimum developed differential pressure of 30 psid.
        • Operating temperature 20-90°C.
        • Minimum liquid flow rate of 30 LPM.
        • Chemically tolerant to water saturated with dissolved oxygen at 2000 psia, 90°C.
        • Tolerant to two-phase mixtures of gaseous oxygen and liquid water without losing pumping effectiveness.
        • Mass ≤ 2 kg.
        • Volume ≤ 0.75 liters.
        • Power Consumption ≤ 120 watts.



        Instrumentation, Control, Health Monitoring, and Data Handling

        Highly reliable voltage monitors for batteries, fuel cells, electrolyzers, and regenerative fuel cells are needed having low mass and low parasitic power consumption. Up to 48 differential voltages (0-5 VDC) with a minimum of 120 VDC common mode rejection must be monitored for system health management over an operating temperature range of -20 to +40°C, and the system must be capable of being upgraded to meet a Grade-1 EEE reliability



        Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers

        Advanced primary Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) and Electrolyzers offer notable advantages in certain space applications when integrated with, respectively, CH4/O2 propulsion systems and systems for producing oxygen from planetary resources. In contrast to most terrestrial/commercial applications, solid oxide devices for spacecraft will operate on pure oxygen and clean fuel streams (e.g., pure methane.) New materials are required to enable their use in these applications. These devices typically operate at high temperatures (800-1000°C) and are expected to undergo on/off cycling in aerospace applications. Technology advances are sought that reduce the time required to get to operating temperature, enable hundreds of rapid start-up/shut-down cycles, and enable systems to accommodate large load swings without leakage or deposition of elemental carbon. Spacecraft solid oxide devices that operate with minimal active cooling are needed. Low recurring costs are not a priority for spacecraft fuel cell materials. Technology advances that reduce the weight and volume, improve the efficiency, life, safety, system simplicity and reliability of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers are desired. Proposals are sought which address the following areas:



        Advanced Primary SOFC Systems

        Their high temperature heat rejection and high efficiency power generation from methane and oxygen make primary SOFC's attractive for application to spacecraft with CH4/O2 propulsion systems. Research directed towards improving the durability, efficiency, and reliability of SOFC systems fed by propellant-grade methane and oxygen is desired. Primary SOFC components and systems of interest:


        • Have power outputs in the 1 to 3 kW range.
        • Offer thermodynamic efficiencies of at least 70% (fuel source-to-DC output) when operating at the current draw corresponding to optimized specific power.
        • Operate as specified after at least 300 start-up cycles (from cold to operating temperature within 5 minutes) and 300 shut-down cycles (from operating temperature to cold within 5 minutes).
        • Operate as specified after at least 2500 hours of steady state operation on propellant-grade methane and oxygen.
        • Are cooled by way of conduction through the stack to a radiator exposed to space and/or by anode exhaust flow.



        Advanced Solid Oxide Electrolyzers

        Their high temperature heat rejection and operation, along with high efficiency, make solid oxide electrolyzers attractive as the final step of producing oxygen from Lunar or Martian regolith by way of hydrogen or carbothermal reduction. They are also attractive components for Sabatier reactors producing methane from the Martian atmosphere. Research directed towards improving the durability, efficiency, and reliability of solid oxide electrolyzers is desired. Solid oxide electrolysis systems of interest:


        • Require power inputs in the 1 to 3 kW range.
        • Operate as specified after 10,000 hours of operation fed by water with mild contamination.
        • Operate as specified after 100 start-up cycles (from cold to operating temperature within 5 minutes) and 100 shut-down cycles (from operating temperature to cold within 5 minutes).
        • Offer thermodynamic efficiencies of at least 70% (DC-input to Lower Heating Value H2 output) when operating at the current feed corresponding to rated power.



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



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      • 52062

        X8.02Space-Rated Batteries

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        Advanced battery systems are sought for future NASA Exploration missions to address requirements for safe, human-rated, high specific energy, high energy density, and high efficiency power systems. Possible applications include extravehicular activities, landers, and rovers. Areas of emphasis… Read more>>

        Advanced battery systems are sought for future NASA Exploration missions to address requirements for safe, human-rated, high specific energy, high energy density, and high efficiency power systems. Possible applications include extravehicular activities, landers, and rovers. Areas of emphasis include advanced cell chemistries with aggressive weight and volume performance improvements and safety advancements over state-of-the-art lithium-based systems. Novel rechargeable battery chemistries with advanced non-toxic anode and cathode materials and nonflammable electrolytes are of particular interest. Priority will be given to efforts addressing novel cathode materials that can be paired with advanced silicon anodes.



        The focus of this solicitation is on advanced concepts and cell components that provide weight and volume improvements and safety advancements that contribute to the following cell level metric goals:


        • Specific energy >350 Wh/kg at C/2 (Fully charged or discharged in 2 hours).
        • Energy density > 650 Wh/l at C/2.
        • Tolerance to abuse such as overcharge, external short-circuit, and over temperature.
        • Calendar life >10 years.
        • Cycle life >250 cycles at 100% depth of discharge.



        Systems that combine all of the above characteristics and demonstrate a high degree of safety and radiation tolerance are desired. Cell safety devices such as shutdown separators, current limiting devices that inhibit thermal runaway, venting, and eliminate flame or fire; autonomous safety features that include safe, non-flammable, non-hazardous operation especially for human-rated applications are of particular interest.



        Proposals should include analysis that demonstrates the potential of the proposed technology to meet the projected performance parameters. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II breadboard demonstration, and when possible, deliver a prototype/ demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.



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      • 51519

        X8.03Space Nuclear Power Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC, MSFC

        NASA is developing fission power system technology for future space transportation and surface power applications using a stepwise approach. Early systems are envisioned in the 10 to 100 kWe range that utilize a 900 K liquid metal cooled reactor, dynamic power conversion, and water-based heat… Read more>>

        NASA is developing fission power system technology for future space transportation and surface power applications using a stepwise approach. Early systems are envisioned in the 10 to 100 kWe range that utilize a 900 K liquid metal cooled reactor, dynamic power conversion, and water-based heat rejection. The anticipated design life is 8 to 15 years with no maintenance. Candidate mission applications include initial power sources for human outposts on the moon or Mars, and nuclear electric propulsion systems (NEP) for Mars cargo transport. A non-nuclear system ground test in thermal-vacuum is planned by NASA to validate technologies required to transfer reactor heat, convert the heat into electricity, reject waste heat, process the electrical output, and demonstrate overall system performance.



        The primary goals for the early systems are low cost, high reliability, and long life. Proposals are solicited that could help supplement or augment the planned NASA system test. Specific areas for development include:


        • 900 K NaK heat transport loops, including pumps and accumulators.
        • 10 kWe-class Stirling and Brayton power conversion devices.
        • 450 K water heat rejection loops, including pumps and accumulators.
        • Composite radiator panels with embedded water heat pipes.
        • Radiator deployment mechanisms and structures.
        • Radiation tolerant materials and components.
        • 120 V - 1k V power management and distribution (PMAD) for high power DC and AC systems, 1 kW to 100 kW respectively.



        The NASA system test is expected to provide the foundation for later systems in the multi-hundred kilowatt or megawatt range that utilize higher operating temperatures, alternative materials, and advanced components to improve system performance. For the later systems, specific power will be a key performance metric with goals of 30 kg/kWe at 100 kWe and 10 kg/kWe at 1 MWe. Possible mission applications include large NEP cargo vehicles, NEP piloted vehicles, and surface-based resource production plants. In addition to low cost, high reliability, and long life, the later systems should address the low system specific mass goal. Proposals are solicited that identify novel system concepts and methods to reduce mass and increase power output. Specific areas for development include:


        • High temperature reactor fuels and structural materials.
        • Reactor heat transport technologies for 1100 K and above.
        • 100 kWe-class Brayton and Rankine power conversion devices.
        • Waste heat rejection technologies for 500 K and above.



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      • 52096

        X8.04Advanced Photovoltaic Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC

        Advanced photovoltaic (PV) power generation and enabling power system technologies are sought for improvements in capability and reliability of PV power generation for space exploration missions. Power levels for PV applications may reach 100s of kWe. System and component technologies are sought… Read more>>

        Advanced photovoltaic (PV) power generation and enabling power system technologies are sought for improvements in capability and reliability of PV power generation for space exploration missions. Power levels for PV applications may reach 100s of kWe. System and component technologies are sought that can deliver efficiency, cost, reliability, mass and volume improvements under various operating conditions.



        PV technologies must enable or enhance the ability to provide low-cost, low mass and higher efficiency for power systems with particular emphasis on high power arrays to support solar electric propulsion missions. Examples of PV technology areas:


        • Very large solar array concepts (>300kW) operating at high voltage (>200V).
        • High voltage electronics for use in solar electric propulsion vehicles operating at bus voltages >200 VDC.
        • Advanced concepts for array packaging, deployment and retraction.
        • Advanced PV blanket and component technology/designs.
        • Array concepts and module/component technologies that emphasize cost reduction (in materials, fabrication and testing).
        • Automated/modular fabrication methods.
        • Component and material availability/ high volume production capability.
        • Ground testability/ space qualification for large array structures.



        Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. A major focus will be on the demonstration of dual-use technologies that address exploration mission needs but also benefit clean/ renewable energy for terrestrial applications.





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    • + Expand Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Technology Topic

      Topic X9 Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Technology PDF


      The Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Technology includes developments in Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) and Supersonic Retropropulsion (SRP). The Thermal Protection System (TPS) protects a spacecraft from the severe heating encountered during hypersonic flight through a planetary atmosphere. Supersonic Retropropulsion has been identified in past studies to be enabling for putting human-scale payloads on the surface of Mars. Thermal Protection Systems: In general, there are two classes of TPS: reusable and ablative. Typically, reusable TPS applications are limited to relatively mild entry environments like that of Space Shuttle. No change in the mass or properties of the TPS material results from entry; a significant amount of energy is re-radiated from the heated surface and the remainder is conducted into the TPS material. Ablative TPS materials, in contrast, accommodate high heating rates and heat loads through phase change and mass loss. All NASA planetary entry probes to date have used ablative TPS. Most ablative TPS materials are reinforced composites employing organic resins as binders. In comparison to reusable TPS materials, the interaction of ablative TPS materials with the surrounding gas environment is much more complex as there are many more mechanisms to accommodate the entry heating. Better performing ablative TPS is needed to satisfy requirements of the most severe missions, e.g., Mars Landing from 8 km/s entry and Mars Sample Return with 12-15 km/s Earth entry. Beyond the improvement needed in ablative TPS materials, more demanding future missions such as large payload missions to Mars will require novel entry system designs that consider different vehicle shapes, deployable or inflatable configurations and integrated approaches of TPS materials with the entry system sub-structure. Supersonic Retropropulsion: When decelerating a vehicle to land on a body with an atmosphere, it is generally more mass-effective to take advantage of the natural environment and use atmospheric drag to its full potential, rather than use a propulsion system. This approach works well at Earth where the atmosphere is dense, but the trade is less conclusive at Mars. Recent studies for landing human-scale payloads on Mars (40-60 mt) have shown that using Supersonic Retropropulsion is probably enabling for this challenge. The scale of an aerodynamic decelerator employed in this flight regime would be very large, and presents issues with payload extraction and deployment in the short time available. Since a terminal propulsion system is already needed for these large landers, starting the engines earlier in the descent profile is an attractive solution. Aerodynamic challenges with this approach center around the interaction of the engine plumes with the oncoming supersonic flowfield, and what instabilities this causes for the system. Controlled wind tunnel testing with high-fidelity instrumentation and subsequent modeling of these complex flowfields is key to predicting system behavior. The SRP system will also need to be flight-tested in a relevant environment as part of the technology maturation. Cost-effective, feasible concepts and vehicle configurations for Earth flight tests are needed, to prove feasibility in the near term.

      • 51458

        X9.01Ablative Thermal Protection Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

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

        The technologies described below support the goal of developing higher performance ablative TPS materials for future Exploration missions. Developments are sought for ablative TPS materials and heat shield systems that exhibit maximum robustness, reliability and survivability while maintaining… Read more>>

        The technologies described below support the goal of developing higher performance ablative TPS materials for future Exploration missions. Developments are sought for ablative TPS materials and heat shield systems that exhibit maximum robustness, reliability and survivability while maintaining minimum mass requirements, and are capable of enduring severe combined convective and radiative heating, including: development of acreage (main body, non-leading edge) materials, adhesives, joints, penetrations, and seals. Three classes of materials will be required:


        • One class of materials, for Mars aerocapture and entry for a rigid mid L/D (lift to drag ratio) shaped vehicle, will need to survive a dual heating exposure, with the first at heat fluxes of 400-500 W/cm2 (primarily convective) and integrated heat loads of up to 55 kJ/cm2, and the second at heat fluxes of 100-200 W/cm2 and integrated heat loads of up to 25 kJ/cm2. These materials or material systems must improve on the current state-of-the-art recession rates of 0.25 mm/s at heating rates of 200 W/cm2 and pressures of 0.3 atm and improve on the state-of-the-art areal mass of 1.0 g/cm2 required to maintain a bondline temperature below 250ºC
        • The second class of materials, for Mars aerocapture and entry for a hypersonic deployable aerodynamic decelerator, will need to survive a dual heating exposure, with the first at heat fluxes of 100-200 W/cm2 (primarily convective) and integrated heat loads of 10 kJ/cm2 and the second at heat fluxes of 30-50 W/cm2 and heat loads of 5 kJ/cm2. These materials may be either flexible or deployable.
        • The third class of materials, for Mars return, will need to survive heat fluxes of 1500-2500 W/cm2, with radiation contributing up to 75% of that flux, and integrated heat loads from 75-150 kJ/cm2. These materials, or material systems must improve on the current state-of-the-art recession rates of 1.00 mm/s at heating rates of 200 W/cm2 and pressures of 0.3 atm and improve on the state-of-the-art areal mass of 4.0 g/cm2, required to maintain a bondline temperature below 250ºC.



        In-situ heat flux sensors and surface recession diagnostics tools are needed for flight systems to provide better traceability from the modeling and design tools to actual performance. The resultant data will lead to higher fidelity design tools, risk reduction, decreased heat shield mass and increases in direct payload. The heat flux sensors should be accurate within 20%, surface recession diagnostic sensors should be accurate within 10%, and any temperature sensors should be accurate within 5% of actual values.



        Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) tools are sought to verify design requirements are met during manufacturing and assembly of the heat shield, e.g., verifying that anisotropic materials have been installed in their proper orientation, that the bondline as well as the TPS materials have the proper integrity and are free of voids or defects. Void and/or defect detection requirements will depend upon the materials being inspected. Typical internal void detection requirements are on the order of 6-mm, and bondline defect detection requirements are on the order of 25.4-mm by 25.4-mm by the thickness of the adhesive.





        Advances are sought in ablation modeling, including radiation, convection, gas surface interactions, pyrolysis, coking, and charring. There is a specific need for improved models for low and mid density as well as multi-layered charring ablators (with different chemical composition in each layer). Consideration of the non-equilibrium states of the pyrolysis gases and the surface thermochemistry, as well as the potential to couple the resulting models to a computational fluid dynamics solver, should be included in the modeling efforts.



        Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 2-3 or higher are sought.



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      • 51459

        X9.02Advanced Integrated Hypersonic Entry Systems

        Lead Center: ARC

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

        The technologies below support the goal of developing advanced integrated hypersonic entry systems that meet the longer-term goals of realizing larger payload masses for future Exploration missions. Advanced integrated thermal protection systems are sought that address: Thermal performance… Read more>>

        The technologies below support the goal of developing advanced integrated hypersonic entry systems that meet the longer-term goals of realizing larger payload masses for future Exploration missions.



        Advanced integrated thermal protection systems are sought that address:


        • Thermal performance efficiency (i.e., ablation vs. conduction).
        • In-depth thermal insulation performance (i.e., material thermal conductivity and heat capacity vs. areal density).
        • Systems thermal-structural performance.
        • System integration and integrity.



        Such integrated systems would not necessarily separate the ablative TPS material system from the underlying sub-structure, as is the case for most current NASA heat shield solutions. Instead, such integrated solutions may show benefits of technologies such as hot structures and/or multi-layer systems to improve the overall robustness of the integrated heat shield while reducing its overall mass. The primary performance metrics for concepts in this class are increased reliability, reduced areal mass, and/or reduced life cycle costs over the current state of the art.



        Advanced multi-purpose TPS solutions are sought that not only serve to protect the entry vehicle during primary planetary entry, but also show significant added benefits to protect from other natural or induced environments including: MMOD, solar radiation, cosmic radiation, passive thermal insulation, dual pulse heating (e.g., aero capture followed by entry). Such multi-purpose materials or systems must show significant additional secondary benefits relative to current TPS materials and systems while maintaining the primary thermal protection efficiencies of current materials/systems. The primary performance metrics for concepts in this class are reduced areal mass for the combined functions over the current state of the art.



        Integrated entry vehicle conceptual development is sought that allow for very high mass (> 20 mT) payloads for Earth and Mars entry applications. Such concepts will require an integrated solution approach that considers: TPS, structures, aerodynamic performance (e.g., L/D), controllability, deployment, packaging efficiency, system robustness/reliability, and practical constraints (e.g., launch shroud limits, ballistic coefficients, EDL sequence requirements, mass efficiency). Such novel system designs may include slender or winged bodies, deployable or inflatable entry systems as well as dual use strategies (e.g., combined launch shroud and entry vehicle). New concepts are enabling for this class of vehicle. Key perormance metrics for the overall design are system mass, reliability, complexity, and life cycle cost.



        Advances in Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) are sought specifically in application to address combined aerothermal environments, material response, vehicle thermal-structural performance, vehicle shape, vehicle size, aerodynamic stability, mass, vehicle entry trajectory/GN&C (Guidance, Navigation and Control), and cross-range, characterizing the entry vehicle design problem.



        Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 2-3 or higher are sought.



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    • + Expand Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer Topic

      Topic X10 Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer PDF


      The Exploration Systems architecture presents cryogenic storage, distribution, and fluid handling challenges that require new technologies to be developed. Reliable knowledge of low-gravity cryogenic fluid management behavior is lacking and yet is critical for future manned and robotic exploration in the areas of storage, distribution, and low-gravity propellant management. Additionally, Earth-based and planetary surface missions will require success in storing and transferring liquid and gas commodities in applications. Some of the technology challenges are for long-term space use cryogenic propellant storage and distribution; cryogenic fluid processing and fluid conditioning; liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen liquefaction processes. Furthermore, specific technologies are required in valves, regulators, instrumentation, modeling, mass gauging, cryocoolers, and passive and active thermal control techniques. The technical focus for component technologies are for accuracy, reduced mass, minimal heat leak, minimal leakage, and minimal power consumption. The anticipated technologies proposed are expected to increase safety, reliability, economic efficiency over current state-of-the-art cryogenic system performance, and are capable of being made flight qualified and/or certified for the flight systems and dates to meet Exploration Systems mission requirements.

      • 51515

        X10.01Cryogenic Fluid Management Technologies

        Lead Center: GRC

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

        This topic solicits technologies related to cryogenic propellant storage, transfer, and instrumentation to support NASA's exploration goals. Proposed technologies should feature enhanced safety, reliability, long-term space use, economic efficiency over current state-of-the-art, or enabling… Read more>>

        This topic solicits technologies related to cryogenic propellant storage, transfer, and instrumentation to support NASA's exploration goals. Proposed technologies should feature enhanced safety, reliability, long-term space use, economic efficiency over current state-of-the-art, or enabling technologies to allow NASA to meet future space exploration goals. This includes a wide range of applications, scales, and environments consistent with future NASA missions. Specifically:


        • Innovative concepts for cryogenic fluid instrumentation are solicited to enable accurate measurement of propellant mass in low-gravity storage tanks, sensors to detect in-space and on-pad leaks from the storage system, minimally invasive cryogenic liquid mass flow measurement sensors, including cryogenic two-phase flow.
        • Passive thermal control for Zero Boil-Off (ZBO) storage of cryogens for both long term (>200 days) and short term (~14 days) in all mission environments. Insulation systems that can also serve as Micrometeoroid/orbital debris (MMOD) protection and are self-healing are also desired.
        • Active thermal control for long term ZBO storage for space applications. Technologies include 20K cryocoolers and integration techniques, heat exchangers, distributed cooling, and circulators.
        • Zero gravity cryogenic control devices including thermodynamic vent systems, spray bars, mixers, and liquid acquisition devices.
        • Advanced spacecraft valve actuators using piezoelectric ceramics. Actuators that can reduce the size and power while minimizing heat leak and increasing reliability.
        • Large scale propellant conditioning and densification technologies for zero loss propellant storage and transfer. Specific component technologies include compact, efficient and economical cryogenic compressors, cryocoolers and integration techniques, Joule-Thompson orifices, vapor shielded transfer lines, and heat exchangers.
        • Liquefaction of oxygen for in space resource utilization applications. This includes passive cooling with low temperature radiators, cryocooler liquefaction, or open cycle systems that work with HP electrolysis.
        • Processes or components/instrumentation that can reduce or eliminate helium usage. This includes real time purge gas concentration visibility, helium capture and purification technology, and alternatives to helium use such as hydrogen gas purges or advanced insulation systems.



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    • + Expand Radiation Protection Topic

      Topic X11 Radiation Protection PDF


      The SBIR topic area of Radiation Protection focuses on the development and testing of mitigation concepts to protect astronaut crews and exploration vehicles from the harmful effects of space radiation, both in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and while conducting long-duration missions beyond LEO. Advances are needed in mitigation schema for the next generation of exploration vehicles inclusive of radiation shielding materials and structures technologies to protect humans from the hazards of space radiation during NASA missions. As NASA continues to form plans for long duration exploration, it has also become increasingly clear that the ability to mitigate the risks posed to both crews and vehicle systems by the space weather environment are also of central importance. This Radiation Protection Topic will have two sub-topics consisting of:

      • Radiation Shielding.
      • Alert and Warning Systems.

      This first area of interest for the 2011 solicitation is radiation shielding materials systems for long-duration Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) and Solar Particle Event (SPE) protection capable of providing structural integrity for architectural element design, while also providing sufficient radiation protection. These material systems should likely possess other multi-functional properties such as thermal and/or MMOD protection, etc., therefore negating the need for the addition of parasitic shield mass. Neutron protection and high-energy electron protection are also of interest. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and to show a path forward to Phase II technology demonstration. Physical, mechanical, structural, and/or other relevant characterization data to validate and qualify multifunctional radiation shielding materials and structures should be demonstrated. Advances are needed in:

      • Innovative tailored materials for lightweight radiation shielding of humans and electronics for NASA missions.
      • Innovative, multifunctional, integrated, or multipurpose structures (primary or secondary structure) for lightweight radiation shielding of humans and electronics for NASA missions.

      Applications are expected to include space exploration vehicles including launch vehicles, crewed vehicles, and surface and habitat systems. Another area of interest in which SBIR-developed technologies can contribute to NASA's overall mission requirements are advances in the understanding and predictability of space weather science. Current operational space weather support utilizes both inter- and extra-agency assets to maintain situational awareness and mitigate radiation risks associated with agency missions. Operational space weather support consists in the most basic terms of maintaining situational awareness of both the state of the Sun as a physical system and the radiation environment and its dynamics within the Heliosphere, and altering in real-time, a mission in order to minimize their effects. Therefore, advances are needed in the development of scientific research products for real-time operational forecasting tools to mitigate mission risk. Research under this topic should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path forward to Phase II hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a full-scale demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.

      • 52266

        X11.01Radiation Shielding Materials Systems

        Lead Center: LaRC

        Participating Center(s): MSFC

        Advances in radiation shielding materials technologies and systems are needed to protect humans from the hazards of space radiation during NASA missions. The primary areas of interest for this 2011 solicitation are radiation shielding materials systems for long-duration galactic cosmic radiation… Read more>>

        Advances in radiation shielding materials technologies and systems are needed to protect humans from the hazards of space radiation during NASA missions. The primary areas of interest for this 2011 solicitation are radiation shielding materials systems for long-duration galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) and solar energetic particles (SEP) protection. Neutron protection and high-energy electron protection are also of interest. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and to show a path toward a Phase II technology demonstration.



        Physical, mechanical, structural, and/or other relevant characterization data to validate and qualify multifunctional radiation shielding materials should be demonstrated. Specific areas in which SBIR-developed technologies can contribute to NASA's overall mission requirements include the following:


        • Innovative tailored materials for lightweight radiation shielding of humans.
        • Innovative, multifunctional, integrated, or multipurpose structures (primary or secondary structures) for lightweight radiation shielding of humans.
        • Innovative processes for developing radiation shielding materials.
        • Smart, or sensing, radiation shielding materials.
        • Radiation shielding materials demonstration experiments for MISSE (Materials International Space Station Experiment) or other ISS experiments.



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      • 52271

        X11.02Integrated Advanced Alert/Warning Systems for Solar Proton Events

        Lead Center: JSC

        Advances are needed in alerts/warnings and risk assessment models that give mission planners, flight control teams and crews sufficient advanced warning of impending Solar Proton Event impact. Research and development should be targeted which leverages modeling techniques used throughout terrestrial… Read more>>

        Advances are needed in alerts/warnings and risk assessment models that give mission planners, flight control teams and crews sufficient advanced warning of impending Solar Proton Event impact. Research and development should be targeted which leverages modeling techniques used throughout terrestrial weather for extreme event assessment. There is particular interest in development of models capable of delivering the probability of no SPE occurrence in a 24-hour time period, i.e., an “All-Clear” forecast.

        Forecast techniques should utilize the historical record of archived SPEs to characterize model forecast validity in terms accepted metrics, i.e., skill score, false alarm rates, etc. Specific areas in which SBIR-developed technologies can contribute to NASA's overall mission requirements include the following:



        Innovative forecasting solutions that leverage model development in other areas such as ensemble forecasting of hurricane tracks, flooding, financial market behavior, and earthquake prediction.



        Innovative methods that integrate historical trending, real-time data, and fundamental physics-based models into advance warning and detection systems.





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    • + Expand Exploration Crew Health Capabilities Topic

      Topic X12 Exploration Crew Health Capabilities PDF


      Human space flight is associated with losses in muscle strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. Crewmembers returning from the International Space Station (ISS) can lose as much as 10-20% of their strength in weight bearing and postural muscles. Likewise, bone mineral density is decreased at a rate of ~1% per month. During future exploration missions such physiologic decrements represent the potential for a significant loss of human performance which could lead to mission failure and/or a threat to crewmember health and safety. NASA is conducting research to enhance and optimize exercise countermeasure hardware and protocols for these missions. In this solicitation, we are seeking portable technologies to collect foot ground reaction force data from current exercise hardware deployed on the International Space Station to be analyzed by research teams on the ground, as well as compact, low mass, low power, high life-cycle, force-generating components for application to future crew exercise concepts.

      • 52152

        X12.01Crew Exercise Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        NASA seeks compact, low mass, low power, hi life-cycle, force-generating components for application to future crew exercise equipment - capable of providing aerobic and resistive (>700 lbs) loads over a range of load increments of 5 lbs. for each load setting 100 lbs., and with adjustable stroke… Read more>>

        NASA seeks compact, low mass, low power, hi life-cycle, force-generating components for application to future crew exercise equipment - capable of providing aerobic and resistive (>700 lbs) loads over a range of load increments of 5 lbs. for each load setting 100 lbs., and with adjustable stroke range up to 70 inches, while providing return: pull stroke load ratios of 0.9:1.0 or greater (e.g., 1.0:1.0 better, or 1.1:1.0 best) over the entire range of motion.



        Phase I Deliverable: Fully developed concept complete with feasibility and top-level drawings/computational methodology as applicable. A breadboard or prototype system is highly desired.



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      • 52137

        X12.02Portable Load Sensing Systems

        Lead Center: GRC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        NASA seeks a portable, force/load measurement system capable of being integrated into existing International Space Station (ISS) exercise systems. During long duration spaceflight, exercise countermeasures are prescribed to mitigate bone and muscle loss. However, advancement of these exercise… Read more>>

        NASA seeks a portable, force/load measurement system capable of being integrated into existing International Space Station (ISS) exercise systems. During long duration spaceflight, exercise countermeasures are prescribed to mitigate bone and muscle loss. However, advancement of these exercise prescriptions may require biomechanical analysis of exercise on orbit. Output parameters from the proposed device must operate in the bandwidth from 0-100Hz and be able to be synchronized with existing analog data systems. Vertical and shear forces are required and the portable system should be low-maintenance, durable, easy to set-up and calibrate, non-disruptive to exercise form (e.g., running, squat, dead lift, and calf raises), reliable, accurate (


        Phase I Deliverable: Fully developed concept complete with feasibility and top-level drawings/computational methodology as applicable. A breadboard or prototype system is highly desired.





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    • + Expand Exploration Medical Capability Topic

      Topic X13 Exploration Medical Capability PDF


      Further human exploration of the solar system will present significant new challenges to crew health including hazards created by traversing the terrain of asteroids or planetary surfaces and the effects of variable gravity environments. The limited communications with ground-based personnel for diagnosis and consultation of medical events creates additional challenges. Providing health care capabilities for exploration missions will require the definition of new medical requirements and development of technologies to ensure the safety and success of Exploration missions, pre-, in-, and post-flight. This SBIR Topic addresses some key medical technology and gaps that NASA will need to solve in order to proceed with exploration missions.

      • 52115

        X13.01Smart Phone Driven Blood-Based Diagnostics

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        As user applications pervade the field of telemedicine, smart phones provide a robust, reconfigurable platform capable of communications, computations and various functions (i.e., imaging, video, power source, signal processing) that will continue to expand at an accelerated pace. By leveraging this… Read more>>

        As user applications pervade the field of telemedicine, smart phones provide a robust, reconfigurable platform capable of communications, computations and various functions (i.e., imaging, video, power source, signal processing) that will continue to expand at an accelerated pace. By leveraging this technology, NASA seeks to exploit the smart phone for blood-based diagnostics to develop an analytical device that can determine basic metabolic (Chem8), blood gas (PaO2, PaCO2, SaO2, HCO3, pH), cardiac (troponin I, CK-MB, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, VDL, triglyecerides and lipoproteins) and liver/renal (total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, ALP, ALT, AST) panels. These panels are representative of the operational and research requirements for space exploration related point of care diagnostics.



        The diagnostic device must interface to a smart phone that will drive the device's electronics and/or optics; or use the built-in features of the phone to interrogate the diagnostic device. The described diagnostic component is to be no larger than the phone itself. The microfluidic device must also be reusable or extremely compact if disposable, and minimize reagent consumption. Other requirements to consider are analytical times in two minutes or less, strategies for operational capability up to 144 hours on battery power and a long shelf-life (> 36 months).



        The Phase I effort will seek to demonstrate the feasibility of one diagnostic panel in the smart phone format. The Phase II effort will demonstrate at least two of the above stated panels in an analytical component that interfaces to a cell phone, and provides a path towards FDA approval or similar.



        NASA Deliverable: Functional Diagnostic System



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      • 52129

        X13.02Non-Wet Prep Electrodes

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        Although physiological monitoring has been conducted since the earliest human flights, there has not been substantial improvement in the technology of the sensors used in space since those early years. The current systems on the International Space Station (ISS) are still using wet-prep electrodes -… Read more>>

        Although physiological monitoring has been conducted since the earliest human flights, there has not been substantial improvement in the technology of the sensors used in space since those early years. The current systems on the International Space Station (ISS) are still using wet-prep electrodes - which are time consuming and inconvenient, requiring shaving, application of electrodes, signal checks, and management of lead wires. Skin irritation sometimes develops from the electrode's interactions with roughened skin. And the signals are still subject to noise, corruption, and loss.



        NASA desires a non-wet prep sensor system that:


        • Is easy to don/doff (requires no shaving or skin prep), has no disposables, and can be worn comfortably for 48 hours.
        • Maintains signal integrity at clinical quality (meets or exceeds ANSI/AAMI EC11 Standard for Diagnostic Electrocardiographic Devices) during rigorous exercise.
        • Solutions that partially involve software (as opposed to strictly hardware) are acceptable, but any developed software code must be easily integrated into the ECG software system(s) used by NASA and not just into the given company's proprietary and/or standalone product.



        NASA Deliverable: Functioning sensor system





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    • + Expand Behavioral Health and Performance Topic

      Topic X14 Behavioral Health and Performance PDF


      The Behavioral Health and Performance topic is interested in developing strategies, tools, and technologies to mitigate Behavioral Health and Performance risks. The Behavioral Health and Performance topic is seeking tools and technologies to prevent performance degradation, human errors, or failures during critical operations resulting from: fatigue or work overload; deterioration of morale and motivation; interpersonal conflicts or lack of team cohesion, coordination, and communication; team and individual decision-making; performance readiness factors (fatigue, cognition, and emotional readiness); and behavioral health disorders. For 2011, the Behavioral Health and Performance topic is interested in the following technologies: Virtual reality and world technologies for team training approaches.

      • 52265

        X14.01Virtual Reality and World Technologies for Team Training Approaches

        Lead Center: JSC

        This subtopic is to develop a virtual reality training environment to support pre-mission and just-in-time training for exploration crews and controllers. The training should encompass individual interactions with other team members as well as with the environment. NASA wishes to identify how… Read more>>

        This subtopic is to develop a virtual reality training environment to support pre-mission and just-in-time training for exploration crews and controllers. The training should encompass individual interactions with other team members as well as with the environment.



        NASA wishes to identify how virtual reality and world technologies could be used to train crews and controllers on topics such as cross-cultural interactions, leadership, psychological support, and effective interactions with other team members or artificial intelligent agents while attempting to complete complicated, multi-agent (human or robotic) tasks.



        The proposal should provide a framework describing:


        • The virtual environment to be developed.
        • Platform in which training will be experienced.
        • How the training will allow the interaction with others (multi-player online or artificial intelligent agents), specific suggestions as to how to evaluate the training module's effectiveness and prediction of team performance and other important team outcomes and an assessment to determine the feasibility of the proposed training modules in the technical skill domains.



        NASA Deliverables: Phase I deliverable should yield a proof of concept which includes both a literature review that encompasses an assessment of current knowledge of virtual reality technologies and its use in team training. In addition, the following deliverables will be required:


        • A requirements document for such a training module.
        • An evaluation plan for assessing the effectiveness of the training module on team outcomes.



        The subsequent Phase II deliverable would provide a prototype of specific training modules that can demonstrate improved team performance (including task performance metrics) by utilizing these training technologies.





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    • + Expand Space Human Factors and Food Systems Topic

      Topic X15 Space Human Factors and Food Systems PDF


      The emphasis on developing new, innovative technologies to enable future space exploration encompasses a need for new approaches in the areas of Space Human Factors and Food Systems. Operations in confined, isolated, and resource-constrained environments can lead to suboptimal human performance. Research and development activities in this topic address challenges that are fundamental to design, development, and operation of the next generation crewed space vehicles. These challenges include:

      • Development of a software tool that automatically processes crew motion and interaction, either on orbit or on the ground, from video footage taken with a single conventional 2D camera to enable unobtrusive and non-invasive measurement of task performance and crew behavioral health.
      • A need to develop a technology or system capable to prevent vitamin degradation of naturally-occurring and supplemented vitamins within a food substrate stored at ambient temperatures for five years. (http://humanresearchroadmap.nasa.gov/evidence/, http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/slsd/about/divisions/hefd/index.html)

      • 52118

        X15.01A New Technique for Automated Analyses of Raw Operational Videos

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        Develop a software tool that automatically processes raw motion video footage (from a single conventional 2D camera) of a crew (spacecraft or ground) during a space mission. Such a tool is needed to address vehicle/habitat design issues, as well as crew-to-crew interaction issues, on the ground.… Read more>>

        Develop a software tool that automatically processes raw motion video footage (from a single conventional 2D camera) of a crew (spacecraft or ground) during a space mission.

        Such a tool is needed to address vehicle/habitat design issues, as well as crew-to-crew interaction issues, on the ground. For example, unprocessed space mission operational videos down linked from a spacecraft that involve humans as the subjects of interest need to be analyzed on the ground for their motion and behavioral health information.



        Requirements:

        • The raw video data shall be video footages from a single conventional 2D camera and with no special lighting or fiduciary markers.
        • The processed data shall contain the subjects' geometric information (position, movement, acceleration) relative to their operational environment and crewmates.
        • A "tool chest" shall be available for visualization aids, velocity computations, etc. For visualization aids, the tool chest shall enable the user to specify areas or actions of interest. The software shall then locate, mark, count, etc. to indicate how many times the crew accessed a piece of hardware, traversed a path, reached above their heads, etc.



        Desirable: 3D information extraction - ability to extract 3D information from the raw video to enable high-precision human motion analyses using the software's tool chest.



        Phase I Deliverable: Algorithm



        Phase II Deliverable: Functional software prototype



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      • 51554

        X15.02Advanced Food Technologies

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): JSC

        The purpose of the NASA Advanced Food Technology Project is to develop, evaluate and deliver food technologies for human centered spacecraft that will support crews on long duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. Safe, nutritious, acceptable, and varied shelf-stable foods with a shelf life of 3 -… Read more>>

        The purpose of the NASA Advanced Food Technology Project is to develop, evaluate and deliver food technologies for human centered spacecraft that will support crews on long duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. Safe, nutritious, acceptable, and varied shelf-stable foods with a shelf life of 3 - 5 years will be required to support the crew during these exploration missions. Concurrently, the food system must efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, water, air, waste, power, and crew time.



        Refrigeration and freezing require dispensable resource utilization, so NASA provisions consist solely of shelf stable foods. Stability is achieved by thermal or irradiative processing to kill the microorganisms in the food or drying to prevent viability of the microorganisms. These methods do impact the micronutrients within the food substrate. Environmental factors (such as moisture ingress and oxidation) are also capable of compromising the nutrient content over the shelf life of the food. Since the food system is the designated source of nutrition to the crew, a significant loss in nutrient availability could significantly jeopardize the health and performance of the crew. Optimal nutritional content of the food for up to five years will ensure that the food can support crew performance and help protect their bodies from deficiencies that cause disease.



        Vitamin content in NASA foods, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, thiamin, and folic acid, is degraded during processing and as the product ages in storage. The goal is to develop a system that protects the vitamins from this degradation at ambient temperatures over a five year duration. Possible technologies that could be investigated to protect food ingredients from biological and chemical degradation of components over time include nanoscale technologies (e.g., encapsulation), biosensors, novel food ingredients, and controlled-release systems. Technologies or systems that could aid in increasing the bioavailability of the nutrients should also be considered.



        Phase I Requirements: Phase I should concentrate on the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation resulting in a feasibility report and concept, complete with analyses.



        NASA Deliverable: A system which will result in higher nutrient content in shelf stable foods.





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    • + Expand Space Radiation Topic

      Topic X16 Space Radiation PDF


      The goal of the NASA Space Radiation Research Program is to assure that we can safely live and work in the space radiation environment, anywhere, any time. Space radiation is different from forms of radiation encountered on Earth. Radiation in space consists of high-energy protons, heavy ions and secondary products created when the protons and heavy ions interact with matter such as a spacecraft, surface of a planet, moon, asteroid, or even the astronauts themselves. NASA requires instruments that can reliably measure these radiations. NASA has a need for compact active radiation detection systems that can meet stringent size, power, and performance requirements. These include real-time personal monitors and area monitors that can be used on the International Space Station (ISS) as well as on future missions beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO). Ending the Space Shuttle program will increase the need to replace the current passive monitoring technologies on the ISS with active ones to reduce up and down mass. Also, as missions extend beyond LEO there will be further premium on reduced size, mass, and power for radiation detection technologies. To achieve such reductions, there will be an increasing need for reliable miniaturized components such as sensors, photomultipliers, data processors, power supplies, and the like that can be used to enhance radiation detection technologies as they develop. Advanced technologies up to technology readiness level (TRL) 4 are requested in these and related areas.

      • 51467

        X16.01Radiation Measurement Technologies

        Lead Center: ARC

        NASA has a need for compact active radiation detection systems that can meet stringent size, power, and performance requirements. These include real-time personal monitors and area monitors that can be used on the ISS as well as on future missions beyond LEO. Ending the Space Shuttle program will… Read more>>

        NASA has a need for compact active radiation detection systems that can meet stringent size, power, and performance requirements. These include real-time personal monitors and area monitors that can be used on the ISS as well as on future missions beyond LEO. Ending the Space Shuttle program will increase the need to replace the current passive monitoring technologies on the ISS with active ones to reduce up and down mass. Also, as missions extend beyond LEO there will be further premium on reduced size, mass, and power for radiation detection technologies. To achieve such reductions, there will be an increasing need for reliable miniaturized components such as sensors, photomultipliers, data processors, power supplies, and the like that can be used to enhance radiation detection technologies as they develop. Advanced technologies up to technology readiness level (TRL) 4 are requested in these and related areas useful to NASA. Also, such advances would likely have potential customers outside NASA and in the commercial sector.



        Metric and desired performance range:



        Personal Monitors

        Sensitive to charged particles with LET of 0.2 to 500 keV/µm and detect charged particles (including protons) with energies 30 MeV/n to 1000 MeV/n. Design goals for mass should be 0.25 kg and for volume, 250 cm3. The monitor should be able to measure dose rate and dose-equivalent rate at both ambient conditions in space (0.01 mGy/hr) and during a large solar particle event (100 mGy/hr). Total power requirement should be in the 1 W range. Monitors shall perform data reduction internally and display dosimetry data in real time.



        Area Monitors

        Same as Personal Monitors but extend LET to 1000 keV/µm and must also detect neutrons between 0.5 MeV and 150 MeV. Design goals for mass should be 1 kg and for volume should be 1000 cm3. Total power requirement should be less than 2 W. Monitors shall perform data reduction internally and display dosimetry data in real time.



        Components

        These may include but are not limited to compact sensors with excellent response to space radiation (e.g., novel scintillation crystals, organic semiconductors, photodiodes), compact low-noise solid state photomultipliers that require less than 0.5 W of power, data processors not to exceed 0.2 W that can perform multi-channel analysis, low noise power supplies that require less than 0.3 W of power.



        Phase I Deliverables: Proof of concept of the technologies requested.



        Phase II Deliverables: Prototypes or components of the monitoring technologies meeting the requirements indicated.





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    • + Expand Inflight Biological Sample Preservation and Analysis Topic

      Topic X17 Inflight Biological Sample Preservation and Analysis PDF


      The Human Research Program (HRP) is an applied research and technology program aimed at providing human health and performance countermeasures, knowledge, technologies, and tools to enable safe, reliable, and productive human space exploration. HRP's specific objectives include development of technologies that serve to reduce human systems resource requirements, such as mass, volume, and power to maximize utilization of spaceflight platforms to perform the essential research and technology development tasks that can only be accomplished during a space mission. Addressing multiple HRP human health and performance risks and knowledge gaps across various disciplines requires collection, preservation and analysis of biological samples from human subjects during a space mission, a common practice in clinical diagnostic medicine. However, the spaceflight environment affords unique challenges for the processing, storage and transport of biological specimens, due to highly constrained resources, such as limited conditioned stowage (mass and volume requiring storage in refrigerators or freezers) available. This topic aims to mitigate those space mission constraints by means of innovative approaches for the collection, long duration ambient temperature preservation, and low-resource small-footprint in situ analysis of human biospecimens, such as blood and urine, for a wide array of biomedically significant analytes.

      • 51552

        X17.01Alternative Methods for Ambient Preservation of Human Biological Samples During Extended Spaceflight and Planetary Operations

        Lead Center: JSC

        Participating Center(s): ARC

        Addressing multiple Human Research Program (HRP) human health and performance risks and knowledge gaps across various disciplines requires collection, preservation and analysis of biological samples from human subjects during a space mission, a common practice in clinical diagnostic medicine.… Read more>>

        Addressing multiple Human Research Program (HRP) human health and performance risks and knowledge gaps across various disciplines requires collection, preservation and analysis of biological samples from human subjects during a space mission, a common practice in clinical diagnostic medicine. However, the spaceflight environment affords unique challenges for the processing, storage and transport of biological specimens, due to highly constrained resources, such as very limited conditioned stowage (mass and volume requiring storage in refrigerators or freezers) to keep and return the biospecimens. This subtopic aims to mitigate those space mission constraints by means of innovative approaches for the long duration ambient temperature preservation of human biological samples, particularly blood and urine, while maintaining the integrity of a wide array of biomedically significant molecular markers for subsequent post-mission processing and analysis.



        This subtopic seeks proposals for novel approaches to preserve analytes of clinical and research interest in human blood and urine samples for a minimum of one year at ambient temperature. Target blood analytes to be preserved include those in the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: glucose, calcium, albumin, total protein, electrolytes (sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride), kidney tests (blood urea nitrogen, creatinine), and liver tests (bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine amino transferase, aspartate amino transferase). Additional blood markers to be preserved include N-telopeptide, sulfate, highly specific C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1, interleukin-6, 8-hydroxy-2-deoxy-guanosine, vitamin D, homocysteine, and selenium. For urine samples, the following analytes should be preserved: creatinine, cortisol, N- and C-telopeptides, hydroxyproline, 4-pyridoxic acid, 3-methylhistidine, G-carboxyglutamic acid, 8-hydroxy-2-deoxy-guanosine, uric acid, phosphorus, citrate, sulfate, oxalate, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride. The proposed technology should be low-resource, low-footprint, and should involve a low volume of supplies/consumables, which do not require refrigeration or freezing for storage.



        NASA Deliverable: Prototype functional system for long duration room temperature preservation of human blood and/or urine biospecimens, demonstrating integrity for a subset of the target analytes (in Phase I).



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