NASA SBIR/STTR 2022 Program Solicitation Details |

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Introduction

The STTR subtopics are organized into groupings called Focus Areas. Focus Areas are a way of grouping NASA interests and related technologies with the intent of making it easier for proposers to understand related needs across the Agency and thus identify subtopics where their research and development capabilities may be a good match. In addition, there are some STTR subtopics that may be closely aligned with the NASA SBIR program. Offerors should consider both programs when planning to apply. To find the NASA SBIR and STTR Solicitations, click this link: https://sbir.nasa.gov/solicitations

Notes:

Offerors are advised to be thoughtful in selecting a subtopic to ensure the proposal is responsive to the NASA need as defined by the subtopic. The NASA STTR program will NOT move a proposal between STTR subtopics other programs such as SBIR.

NASA uses a Subtopic numbering convention for the STTR program and maintains this from year to year. The mapping is as follows:

For STTR Subtopics:

T – Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

Proposers should think of the subtopic lead/participating centers as potential customers for their STTR proposals. Multiple centers may have interests across the subtopics within a Focus Area.

Related subtopic pointers are identified in the subtopic headers when applicable to assist Offerors with identifying related subtopics that also potentially seek related technologies for different customers or applications. As stated in section 3, an Offeror shall not submit the same (or substantially equivalent) completed proposal packages to more than one subtopic. It is the Offeror’s responsibility to select which subtopic to propose to. 

 

STTR Research Topics by Focus Area

    • The exploration of space requires the best of the nation's technical community to provide the technologies that will enable human and robotic exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO): to establish a lunar presence, to visit asteroids, to extend human reach to Mars, and for increasingly ambitious missions. Examples of such missions include robotic platforms like the Europa Lander or crewed missions with extended periods of dormancy such as Gateway. Gateway represents a vital component of NASA’s Artemis program, which will serve as a multi-purpose orbital lunar outpost that provides essential support for a long-term human return to the lunar surface. It will serve as a staging point for deep space exploration. Autonomous Systems technologies provide the means of migrating mission control from Earth to spacecraft, habitats, and robotic explorers. This is enhancing for missions in the Earth-Lunar neighborhood and enabling for deep space missions. Long light-time delays, for example up to 42 minutes round-trip between Earth and Mars, require time-critical control decisions to be closed on-board autonomously, rather than through round-trip communication to Earth mission control. For robotic explorers, this will be done through automation, while for human missions this will be done through astronaut-automation teaming.

      Long-term crewed spacecraft and habitats, such as the International Space Station, are so complex that a significant portion of the crew's time is spent keeping it operational even under nominal conditions in low-Earth orbit, while still requiring significant real-time support from Earth. The considerable challenge is to migrate the knowledge and capability embedded in current Earth mission control, with tens to hundreds of human specialists ready to provide instant knowledge, to onboard automation that teams with astronauts to autonomously manage spacecraft and habitats. For outer planet robotic explorers, the opportunity is to autonomously and rapidly respond to dynamic environments in a timely fashion.

      Specific innovations being sought in this solicitation are described below:

      • Deep neural nets and neuromorphic processing have substantial benefits for in-space autonomy and cognition. Advances in signal and data processing for neuromorphic processors promise to enable artificial intelligence and machine learning for autonomous spacecraft operations.
      • Intelligent autonomous agent cognitive architectures are sought after as an onboard spacecraft capability. Their open, modular framework has the potential to enable decision-making under uncertainty and learn in a manner that the performance of the system is assured and improves over time.
      • Onboard fault management capabilities, such as onboard sensing, computing, algorithms, and models are a critical element of health management for future spacecraft. Offboard components that contribute to onboard fault management are also relevant.
      • Improvements in autonomous systems performance are needed, in the context of multi-agent Cyber-Physical-Human (CPH) teams with either some independence under the general human direction or complete independence. This capability will help to address the need for integrated data uncertainty management and a robust representation of “trustworthy and trusted” autonomy in space.
      • The control and coordination of swarms such as planetary rovers, flyers, and in-space vehicles in dynamic environments is emerging as a critical technological need for future space missions.
      • Gateway is seeking capabilities using autonomy and artificial intelligence for operations and health management individually and/or jointly under crewed and un-crewed conditions.

      Please refer to the description and references of each subtopic for further detail to guide the development of proposals within this technically diverse focus area.

       

      • T10.03Coordination and Control of Swarms of Space Vehicles

          Lead Center: JPL

          Participating Center(s): ARC, LaRC

          Solicitation Year: 2022

          Scope Title Enabling Technologies for Swarm of Space Vehicles Scope Description: This subtopic is focused on developing and demonstrating technologies that enable cooperative operation of swarms of space vehicles in a realistic dynamic environment with limited and realistic communications. Primary… Read more>>

          Scope Title

          Enabling Technologies for Swarm of Space Vehicles

          Scope Description:

          This subtopic is focused on developing and demonstrating technologies that enable cooperative operation of swarms of space vehicles in a realistic dynamic environment with limited and realistic communications. Primary interest is in technologies appropriate for low-cardinality (4- to 15-vehicle) swarms of small spacecraft, planetary rovers, and flyers (e.g., Mars helicopter), and underwater vehicles (e.g., Ocean Worlds explorers of the future). Large swarms and other platforms are of interest if well motivated in connection to NASA’s Strategic Plan and needs identified in decadal surveys.

          The proposed technology must be motivated by a well-defined design reference mission (DRM) presented in the proposal with clear connection to the needs identified in decadal surveys. The proposed DRM is used to derive the high-level requirements for the technology development effort. Examples of such DRMs can be found in the NASA Science Mission Directorate Autonomy workshop.

           

          Areas of high interest are:

          • Distributed estimation for exploration and inspection of a target object or phenomena by various assets with heterogeneous sensors and from various vantage points.
          • High-precision relative localization and time synchronization in orbit and on the planet's surface.
          • Operations concepts and tools that provide situational awareness and commanding capability for a team of spacecraft or swarm of robots on another planet.
          • Coordinated task recognition and planning, operation, and execution with realistic communication limitations.

           

          The proposed technology (hardware and software) should be modular with well-defined interfaces that can be integrated in a variety of missions. Simulation software and general control architectures and technology outside of the areas of interest, identified above, are out of scope for this call.

          NASA has plans to purchase services for delivery of payloads to the Moon through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. Under this subtopic, proposals may include efforts to develop payloads for flight demonstration of relevant technologies in the lunar environment. The CLPS payload accommodations will vary depending on the particular service provider and mission characteristics. Additional information on the CLPS program and providers can be found at this link: https://www.nasa.gov/content/commercial-lunar-payload-services. CLPS missions will typically carry multiple payloads for multiple customers. Smaller, simpler, and more self-sufficient payloads are more easily accommodated and would be more likely to be considered for a NASA-sponsored flight opportunity. Commercial payload delivery services may begin soon, and flight opportunities are expected to continue well into the future. In future years, it is expected that larger and more complex payloads will be accommodated. Selection for an award under this solicitation will not guarantee selection for a lunar flight opportunity.

          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 4 to 6

          Primary Technology Taxonomy:
          Level 1: TX 10 Autonomous Systems
          Level 2: TX 10.3 Collaboration and Interaction

          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

          • Research
          • Software
          • Prototype

          Desired Deliverables Description:

          Phase I awards will be expected to develop theoretical frameworks, algorithms, and software simulation and to demonstrate feasibility (TRL 3). Phase II awards will be expected to demonstrate capability on a hardware or hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testbed (TRL 4 to 6).

          • Phase I and Phase II: Algorithms and research results clearly depicting metrics and performance of the developed technology in comparison to state of the art (SOA). Software implementation of the developed solution along with simulation platform must be included as a deliverable.
          • Phase II only: Prototype of the sensor or similar if the proposal is to develop such subsystem as a Phase II deliverable.

           

          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

          Technologies developed under this subtopic enable and are critical for multi-robot missions for collaborative planetary exploration. Distributed task recognition, allocation, and execution, collaborative motion planning for larger science return, and distributed estimation and shared common operational picture are examples of technology needs in this area. We are interested in technologies that are robust under realistic space environment communication limitations, frequency, and dropouts.

          These technologies also enable successful formation flying spacecraft missions, robust distributed guidance, navigation, and control (GNC), precision relative navigation, distributed tasking and execution, and distributed estimation of the swarm state as well as the science target are examples of the technology gaps in this area.

          Relevance / Science Traceability:

          Subtopic technology directly supports NASA Space Technology Roadmap TA4 (4.5.4 Multi-Agent Coordination, 4.2.7 Collaborative Mobility, and 4.3.5 Collaborative Manipulation) and Strategic Space Technology Investment Plan (Robotic and Autonomous Systems: Relative GNC and Supervisory control of an S/C team). SMD's 2018 Workshop on Autonomy for Future NASA Science Missions [17] has identified a number of DRMs with science enabling multi-spacecraft systems.

          In addition, the technology developed is also relevant to the following concepts:

          • Cooperative Autonomous Distributed Robotic Explorers (CADRE) is a STMD-funded lunar multi-agent autonomy technology demonstration where a group of robots collaboratively explore the lunar surface. This promises a low-cost swarm of networked robots that can collaboratively explore lava tubes and other hard-to-reach areas on planet surfaces.
          • Distributed Spacecraft Autonomy is a technology demonstration mission to show multiple spacecraft can be autonomously tasked and execute decentralized measurement of scientific data.
          • Multi-robot follow-on to the Mars 2020 and Mars helicopter programs are likely to necessitate close collaboration among flying robots as advanced scouts and rovers.
          • A convoy of spacecraft is being considered in which the lead spacecraft triggers detailed measurement of a very dynamic event by the following spacecraft.
          • Multiple concepts for distributed space telescopes and distributed synthetic apertures are proposed that rely heavily on coordination and control technologies developed under this subtopic.

           

          References:

          1. D. P. Scharf, F. Y. Hadaegh and S. R. Ploen, "A survey of spacecraft formation flying guidance and control (part 1): guidance," Proceedings of the 2003 American Control Conference, Denver, CO, USA, 2003, pp. 1733-1739.
          2. D. P. Scharf, F. Y. Hadaegh and S. R. Ploen, "A survey of spacecraft formation flying guidance and control (part II): control," Proceedings of the 2004 American Control Conference, Boston, MA, USA, vol. 4, 2004, pp. 2976-2985.
          3. Evan Ackerman, "PUFFER: JPL's Pop-Up Exploring Robot; This little robot can go where other robots fear to roll," https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/space-robots/puffer-jpl-popup-exploring-robot (link is external).
          4. "Precision Formation Flying,” https://scienceandtechnology.jpl.nasa.gov/precision-formation-flying
          5. "Mars Helicopter to Fly on NASA’s Next Red Planet Rover Mission," https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/mars-helicopter-to-fly-on-nasa-s-next-red-planet-rover-mission/
          6. Duncan Miller, Alvar Saenz-Otero, J. Wertz, Alan Chen, George Berkowski, Charles F. Brodel, S. Carlson, Dana Carpenter, S. Chen, Shiliang Cheng, David Feller, Spence Jackson, B. Pitts, Francisco Pérez, J. Szuminski and S. Sell, "SPHERES: A Testbed for Long Duration Satellite Formation Flying In MicroGravity Conditions." Proceedings of the AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, AAS 00-110, Clearwater, FL, Jan. 2000.
          7. S. Bandyopadhyay, R. Foust, G. P. Subramanian, S.-J. Chung and F. Y. Hadaegh, "Review of Formation Flying and Constellation Missions Using Nanosatellites," Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, vol. 53, no. 3, 2016, pp. 567-578.
          8. S. Kidder, J. Kankiewicz and T. Vonder Haar, "The A-Train: How Formation Flying is Transforming Remote Sensing," https://atrain.nasa.gov/publications.php
          9. T. Huntsberger, A. Trebi-Ollennu, H. Aghazarian, P. Schenker, P. Pirjanian and H. Nayar, "Distributed Control of Multi-Robot Systems Engaged in Tightly Coupled Tasks," Autonomous Robots 17, 79–92, 2004.
          10. Space Studies Board, "Achieving Science with CubeSats: Thinking Inside the Box," National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2016, http://sites.nationalacademies.org/SSB/CompletedProjects/SSB_160539
          11. Planetary Science Decadal Survey 2013-2022, https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/science-goals/about/
          12. Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, https://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/special-events/astro2010-astronomy-and-astrophysics-decadal-survey
          13. Astro2020: Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020, https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/decadal-survey-on-astronomy-and-astrophysics-2020-astro2020
          14. Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space 2018, https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work-decadal-survey-for-earth-science-and-applications-from-space
          15. R. Levinson, R. Burton, S. Gridnev, C. Adams, D. Celluci, N. Cramer and J. Frank, "Autonomous Consistency Planning for Distributed Space Systems," Proceedings of 35th Annual Small Satellite Symposium, 2021.
          16. H. Sanchez, D. McIntosh, H. Cannon, C. Pires, J. Sullivan, S. D’Amico and B. O’Connor,  “Starling1: Swarm Technology Demonstration,” 2018.
          17. F. Tan and M. Seablom, 2018 Workshop on Autonomy for Future NASA Science Missions: Output and Results. https://science.nasa.gov/technology/2018-autonomy-workshop/output-results


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        • T10.04Autonomous Systems and Operations for the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway

            Lead Center: ARC

            Participating Center(s): JSC, KSC, SSC

            Solicitation Year: 2022

            Scope Title Artificial Intelligence for the Gateway Lunar Orbital Platform Scope Description: Gateway is a planned lunar-orbit spacecraft that will have a power and propulsion system, a small habitat for the crew, a docking capability, an airlock, and logistics modules. Gateway is expected to serve… Read more>>

            Scope Title

            Artificial Intelligence for the Gateway Lunar Orbital Platform

            Scope Description:

            Gateway is a planned lunar-orbit spacecraft that will have a power and propulsion system, a small habitat for the crew, a docking capability, an airlock, and logistics modules. Gateway is expected to serve as an intermediate way station between the Orion crew capsule and lunar landers as well as a platform for both crewed and un-crewed experiments. Gateway is also intended to test technologies and operational procedures for suitability on long-duration space missions such as a mission to Mars. As such, it will require new technologies such as autonomous systems to run scientific experiments onboard, including biological experiments; perform system health management, including caution and warning; autonomous data management; and other functions. In contrast to the International Space Station, Gateway is much more representative of lunar and deep space missions—e.g., the radiation environment.

            This subtopic solicits autonomy, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies to manage and operate engineered systems to facilitate long-duration space missions, with the goal of testing proposed technologies on Gateway. The current concept of operations for Gateway anticipates un-crewed (dormant) periods of up to 9 months. For this reason, technologies developed under this subtopic must be capable of or enable long-term, mostly unsupervised autonomous operation. While crews are present, technologies need to augment the crews' abilities, allow more autonomy from Earth-based Mission Control, and learn how to perform or improve their performance of autonomous operations by observing the crews. Additionally, the technologies may need to allow for coordination with the Orion crew capsule, lunar landers, Earth, and their various systems and subsystems.

            Examples of needs include but are not limited to:

            1. Autonomous operations and tending of science payloads, including environmental monitoring and support for live biological samples, and in situ automated analysis of science experiments.
            2. Prioritizing data for transmission from Gateway—Given communications limitations, it may be necessary to determine what data can be stored for transmission when greater bandwidth is available, and what data can be eliminated as it will turn out to be useless, based on criteria relevant to the conduct of science and/or maintenance of the physical assets. Alternatively, it may be useful to adaptively compress data for transmission from the Gateway, which could include scientific experiment data and status, voice communications, scientific experiment data and status, and/or systems health management data.
            3. Autonomous operations and health management of Gateway—When Gateway is unoccupied, unexpected events or faults may require immediate autonomous detection and response, demonstrating this capability in the absence of support from Mission Control (which is enabling for future Mars missions and time-critical responses in the lunar environment as well). Efforts to develop smart habitats that will allow long-term human presence on the Moon and Mars such as the Space Technology Research Institutes (https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-two-new-space-tech-research-institutes-for-smart-habitats) are relevant.

             

            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 6

            Primary Technology Taxonomy:
            Level 1: TX 10 Autonomous Systems
            Level 2: TX 10.3 Collaboration and Interaction

            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

            • Research
            • Analysis
            • Prototype
            • Software
            • Hardware

            Desired Deliverables Description:

            The deliverables range from research results to prototypes demonstrating various ways that autonomy and artificial intelligence (e.g., automated reasoning, machine learning, and discrete control) can be applied to aspects of Gateway operations and health management individually and/or jointly. The deliverables also must demonstrate variable levels of autonomy allowing work during long periods of un-crewed operation and in concert with crews as appropriate. As one example, for autonomous biological science experiments, the prototype could include hardware to host live samples for a minimum of 30 days that provide monitoring and environmental maintenance, as well as software to autonomously remedy issues with live science experiments. As another example, software that monitors the Gateway habitat while un-crewed, automatically notifies of any off-nominal conditions, and when the crew arrives, transitions Gateway from quiescent status to a status capable of providing the crew with life support. As another example, machine learning from the data stream of Gateway sensors to determine anomalous versus nominal conditions and prioritize and compress data communications to Earth.

            Phase I deliverables minimally include a detailed concept for autonomy technology to support Gateway operations such as experiments. Prototypes of software and/or hardware are strongly encouraged.

            Phase II deliverables will be full technology prototypes that could be subsequently matured for deployment on Gateway.

            State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

            The current state of the art in human spaceflight allows for autonomous operations of systems of relatively limited scope, involving only a fixed level of autonomy (e.g., amount of human involvement needed), and learning at most one type of function (e.g., navigation). Gateway will require all operations and health management to be autonomous at different levels (almost fully autonomous when no astronauts are on board versus limited autonomy when astronauts are present), the autonomy to learn from human operations, and the autonomy across all functions. The autonomy will also need to adapt to new missions and new technologies. Proposers should be aware of and consider potential interfaces and interactions such as those between Gateway and smart habitats. Proposers may want to be aware of pertinent related efforts such as those being conducted by the Space Technology Research Institutes.

            As NASA continues to expand with the eventual goal of Mars missions, the need for autonomous tending of science payloads will grow substantially. To address the primary health concerns for the crews on these missions, it is necessary to conduct science in the most relevant environment. Acquisition of this type of data will be challenging while the Gateway and Artemis missions are being performed due to limited crewed missions and limited crew time.

            Relevance / Science Traceability:

            Gateway and other space-station-like assets in the future will need the ability to execute an increasingly large number of autonomous operations over longer durations with higher degrees of complexity and less ability to have human intervention due to increasing duration space missions such as missions to Mars.

            References:

            1. Basic Moon to Mars Background: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/moon-to-mars/lunar-outpost
            2. Basic Gateway Background: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/moon-to-mars/lunar-gateway
            3. Crusan, J. C.; Smith, R. M.; Craig, D. A.; Caram, J. M.; Guidi, J.; Gates, M.; Krezel, J. M.; and Herrmann, N., 2018. Deep Space Gateway concept: extending human presence into cislunar space. In Proceedings of the IEEE Aerospace Conference. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=8396541
            4. Autonomous Biological Systems (ABS) Experiments: https://aip.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1063/1.54854 (link is external).
            5. Deep Space Gateway Science Opportunities: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20180001581.pdf
            6. Conducting Autonomous Experiments in Space: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20180004314.pdf
            7. Space Technology Research Institutes: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-two-new-space-tech-research-institutes-for-smart-habitats
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          • T10.05Integrated Data Uncertainty Management and Representation for Trustworthy and Trusted Autonomy in Space

              Lead Center: LaRC

              Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JPL

              Solicitation Year: 2022

              Scope Title Integrated Data Uncertainty Management and Representation for Trustworthy and Trusted Autonomy in Space Scope Description Multi-agent Cyber-Physical-Human (CPH) teams in future space missions must include machine agents with a high degree of autonomy. In the context of this subtopic,… Read more>>

              Scope Title

              Integrated Data Uncertainty Management and Representation for Trustworthy and Trusted Autonomy in Space

              Scope Description

              Multi-agent Cyber-Physical-Human (CPH) teams in future space missions must include machine agents with a high degree of autonomy. In the context of this subtopic, by “autonomy” we mean the capacity and authority of an agent (human or machine) for independent decision making and execution in a specified context. We refer to machine agents with these attributes as autonomous systems (AS). In multi-agent CPH teams, humans may serve as remote mission supervisors or as immediate mission teammates, along with AS. AS may function as teammates with specified independence, but under the ultimate human direction. Alternatively, AS may exercise complete independence in decision making and operations in pursuit of given mission goals; for instance, for control of uncrewed missions for planetary infrastructure development in preparation for human presence, or maintenance and operation of crew habitats during the crew’s absence.

              In all cases, trustworthiness and trust are essential in CPH teams. The term “trustworthiness” denotes the degree to which the system performs as intended and does not perform prohibited actions in a specified context. “Trust” denotes the degree of readiness by an agent (human or machine) to accept direction or advice from another agent (human or machine), also in a specified context. In common sense terms, trust is a confidence in a system’s trustworthiness, which in turn, is the ability to perform actions with desired outcomes.   

              Because behind every action lies a decision-making problem, trustworthiness of a system can be viewed in terms of the soundness of decision making by the system participants. Accurate and relevant information forms the basis of sound decision making. In this subtopic, we focus on data that inform CPH team decision making, both in human-machine and machine-machine interactions, from two perspectives: the quality of the data and the representation of the data in support of trusted human-machine and machine-machine interactions.

              We consider data exchanges in multi-agent CPH teams that include AS. Data exchanges in multi-agent teams must be subject to the following conditions:

              • Known data accuracy, noise characteristics, and resolution as a function of the physical sensors in relevant environments.
              • Known data accuracy, noise characteristics, and resolution as a function of data interpretation if the contributing sensors have a perception component or if data are delivered to an agent via another perception engine (e.g., visual recognition based on deep learning).
              • Known data provenance and integrity.
              • Dynamic anomaly detection in data streams during operations.
              • Comprehensive uncertainty quantification (UQ) of data from a single source.
              • Data fusion and combined UQ if multiple sources of data are used for decision making.
              • If data from either a single source or fused data from multiple sources are used for decision making by an agent (human or machine), the data and the attendant UQ must be transformed into a representation conducive to and productive for decision making. This may include data filtering, compression, or expansion, among other approaches.
              • UQ must be accompanied by a sensitivity analysis of the mission/operation/action goals with respect to uncertainties in various data, to enable appropriate risk estimation and risk-based decision making by relevant agents, human or machine.
              • Tools for real-time, a priori, and a posteriori data analysis, with explanations relevant to participating agents. For instance, if machine learning is used for visual data perception in decision making by humans, methods of interpretable or explainable AI (XAI) may be in order.

              We note that deep learning and machine learning, in general, are not the chief focus of this subtopic. The techniques are mentioned as an example of tools that may participate in data processing. If such tools are used, the representation of the results to decision makers (human or machine) must be suitably interpretable and equipped with UQ.

              Addressing the entire set of the conditions listed above would likely be impractical in a single proposal. Therefore, proposers may offer methods and tools for addressing a subset of conditions.

              Proposers should offer both a general approach to achieving a chosen subset of the listed conditions and a specific application of the general approach to appropriate data types. The future orbiting or surface stations are potential example platforms, because the environment would include a variety of AS used for habitat maintenance when the station is uninhabited, continual system health management, crew health, robotic assembly, and cyber security, among other functions. However, the proposers may choose any relevant design reference mission for demonstration of proposed approaches to integrated data uncertainty management and representation, subject to a convincing substantiation of the generalizability and scalability of the approach to relevant practical systems, missions, and environments.

              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

              2 to 4

              Primary Technology Taxonomy

              Level 1

              TX 10 Autonomous Systems

              Level 2

              TX 10.1 Situational and Self Awareness

              Secondary Technology Taxonomy

              Level 1

              TX 10 Autonomous Systems

              Level 2

              TX 10.2 Reasoning and Acting

              Tertiary Technology Taxonomy

              Level 1

              TX 10 Autonomous Systems

              Level 2

              TX 10.3 Collaboration and Interaction

              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

              •  Research 
              •  Analysis 
              •  Software

              Desired Deliverables Description

              Since UQ and management in data is an overarching theme in this subtopic, an analysis of uncertainties in the processes and data must be present in all final deliverables, both in Phases I and II.

              Phase I: For the areas selected in the proposal, the following deliverables would be in order:

              1. Thorough but succinct analysis of the state of the art in the proposed area under investigation.
              2. Detailed description of the problem used as the context for algorithm development, including substantiation for why this is a representative problem for a set of applications relevant to NASA missions.
              3. Detailed description of the approach, including pseudocode, and the attendant design of experiments for testing and evaluation.
              4. Hypotheses about the scalability and generalizability of the proposed approach to realistic problems relevant to NASA missions.
              5. Preliminary software and process implementation.
              6. Preliminary demonstration of the software.
              7. Thorough analysis of performance and gaps.
              8. Detailed plan for Phase II, including the design reference mission and the attendant technical problem.
              9. Items 1 to 8 documented in a final report for Phase I.

              Phase II:

              1. Detailed description and analysis of the design reference mission and the technical problem selected in Phase I, in collaboration with NASA Contracting Officer Representative (COR)/Technical Monitor (TM).
              2. Detailed description of the approach/algorithms developed further for application to the Phase II design reference mission and problem, including pseudocode and the design of experiments for testing and evaluation.
              3. Demonstration of the algorithms, software, methods, and processes.
              4. Thorough analysis of performance and gaps, including scalability and applicability to NASA missions.  
              5. Resulting code.
              6. Detailed plan for potential Phase III.
              7. Items 1 to 5 documented in a final report for Phase II.

              State of the Art and Critical Gaps

              Despite progress in real-time data analytics, serious gaps remain that will present an obstacle to the operation of systems in NASA missions that require heavy participation of AS, both in human-machine teams and in uncrewed environments, whether temporary or permanent. The gaps come under two main categories:

              1. Quality of the information based on various data sources—Trustworthiness of the data is essential in making decisions with desired outcomes. This gap can be summarized as the lack of reliable and actionable UQ associated with data, as well as the difficulty of detecting anomalies in data and combining data from disparate sources, ensuring appropriate quality of the result.
              2. Representation of the data to decision makers (human or machine) that is conducive to trustworthy decision making—We distinguish raw data from useful information of appropriate complexity and form. Transforming data, single-source or fused, into information productive for decision making, especially by humans, is a challenge.

              Specific gaps are listed under the Scope Description as conditions the subsets of which must be addressed by proposers.

              Relevance / Science Traceability

              The technologies developed as a result of this subtopic would be directly applicable to the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), Science Mission Directorate (SMD), Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), and  Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), as all of these mission directorates are heavy users of data and growing users of AS. For instance, the Gateway mission will need a significant presence of AS, as well as human-machine team operations that rely on AS for habitat maintenance when the station is uninhabited, continual system health management, crew health, robotic assembly, among other functions. Human presence on the Moon surface will require similar functions, as well as future missions to Mars. All trustworthy decision making relies on trustworthy data. This topic addresses gaps in data trustworthiness, as well as productive data representation to human-machine teams for sound decision making.

              The subtopic is also directly applicable to ARMD missions and goals because future airspace will heavily rely on AS. Thus, the subtopic is applicable to such projects as Airspace Operations and Safety Program (AOSP)/Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and Air Traffic Management—eXploration (ATM-X). The technologies developed as a result of this subtopic would be applicable to the National Airspace System (NAS) in the near future as well, because of the need to process data related to vehicle and system performance.

              References

              1. Frontiers on Massive Data Analysis, NRC, 2013.
              2. NASA OCT Technology Roadmap, NASA, 2015.
              3. NASA AIST Big Data Study, NASA/JPL, 2016.
              4. IEEE Big Data Conference, Data and Computational Science Big Data Challenges for Earth and Planetary Science Research, IEEE, 2016.
              5. Planetary Science Informatics and Data Analytics Conference, April 2018.
              6. David L. Hall, Alan Steinberg: Dirty Secrets in Multisensor Data Fusion, The Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a392879.pdf
              7. Martin Keenan: The Challenge and the Opportunity of Sensor Fusion, a Real Gamechanger, 5G Technology World, February 20, 2019. https://www.5gtechnologyworld.com/the-challenge-and-the-opportunity-of-sensor-fusion-a-real-gamechanger/
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          • This focus area includes the development of robotic systems technologies (hardware and software) that will enable and enhance future space exploration missions. In the coming decades, robotic systems will continue to change the way space is explored. Robots will be used in all mission phases: as independent explorers operating in environments too distant or hostile for humans, as precursor systems operating before crewed missions, as crew helpers working alongside and supporting humans, and as caretakers of assets left behind. As humans continue to work and live in space, they will increasingly rely on intelligent and versatile robots to perform mundane activities, freeing human, and ground control teams to tend to more challenging tasks that call for human cognition and judgment. Technologies are needed for robotic systems to improve the transport of crew, instruments, and payloads on planetary surfaces, on and around small bodies, and in-space. This includes hazard detection, sensing/perception, active suspension, grappling/anchoring, legged locomotion, robot navigation, end-effectors, propulsion, and user interfaces.

            Innovative robot technologies provide a critical capability for space exploration. Multiple forms of mobility, manipulation and human-robot interaction offer great promise in exploring planetary bodies for science investigations and to support human missions. Enhancements and potentially new forms of robotic systems can be realized through advances in component technologies, such as actuation and structures (e.g. 3D printing). Mobility provides a critical capability for space exploration. Multiple forms of mobility offer great promise in exploring planetary bodies for science investigations and to support human missions. Manipulation provides a critical capability for positioning crew members and instruments in space and on planetary bodies. Robotic manipulation allows for the handling of tools, interfaces, and materials not specifically designed for robots, and it provides a capability for drilling, extracting, handling, and processing samples of multiple forms and scales. This increases the range of beneficial tasks robots can perform and allows for improved efficiency of operations across mission scenarios. Furthermore, manipulation is important for human missions, human precursor missions, and unmanned science missions.  Moreover, sampling, sample handling, transport, and distribution to instruments, or instrument placement directly on in-place rock or regolith, is important for robotic missions to locales too distant or dangerous for human exploration.

            Future space missions may rely on co-located and distributed teams of humans and robots that have complementary capabilities. Tasks that are considered "dull, dirty, or dangerous" can be transferred to robots, thus relieving human crew members to perform more complex tasks or those requiring real-time modifications due to contingencies. Additionally, due to the limited number of astronauts anticipated to crew planetary exploration missions, as well as their constrained schedules, ground control will need to remotely supervise and assist robots using time-delayed and limited bandwidth communications.  Advanced methods of human-robot interaction over time delay will enable more productive robotic exploration of the more distant reaches of the solar system.  This includes improved visualization of alternative future states of the robot and the terrain, as well as intuitive means of communicating the intent of the human to the robotic system.

             

            • T4.01Information Technologies for Intelligent and Adaptive Space Robotics

                Lead Center: ARC

                Participating Center(s): GSFC, JSC

                Solicitation Year: 2022

                Scope Title Develop Information Technologies to Improve Space Robots Scope Description: Extensive and pervasive use of robots can significantly enhance space exploration and space science, particularly for missions that are progressively longer, complex, and distant. The performance of these robots… Read more>>

                Scope Title

                Develop Information Technologies to Improve Space Robots

                Scope Description:

                Extensive and pervasive use of robots can significantly enhance space exploration and space science, particularly for missions that are progressively longer, complex, and distant. The performance of these robots is directly linked to the quality and capability of the information technologies used to build and operate them. With few exceptions, however, current information technology used for state-of-the-art robotics is designed only to meet the needs of terrestrial applications and environments.

                The objective of this subtopic, therefore, is to encourage the adaptation, maturation, and retargeting of terrestrial information technologies for space robotics. Proposals should address at least one of the following research areas:

                1. Perception systems for autonomous robot operations in man-made environments (inside spacecraft or habitats) and unstructured, natural environments (Earth, Moon, Mars). The primary objective is to significantly increase the performance and robustness of perception capabilities such as object/hazard identification, localization, mapping, etc., through new avionics (including commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) processors for use in space), sensors, and/or software. Proposals for small size, weight, and power (SWAP) systems or technology that can operate on existing radiation hardened and tolerant processors are particularly encouraged.
                2. Robot user interfaces that facilitate distributed human-robot teams, summarization and notification, and explanation. The primary objective is to enable more effective and efficient interaction with autonomous and remotely operated robots via discrete commands or supervisory control. User interface technology that helps optimize operator workload or improve human understanding of autonomous robot actions are particularly encouraged. Note: proposals to develop user interfaces for direct teleoperation (manual control), augmented/virtual reality, or telepresence are not solicited and will be considered nonresponsive.
                3. Robot Operating System v2 (ROS 2) for space robots. The primary objective is to reduce the risk of deploying, integrating, and verifying and validating the open-source ROS 2 for future space missions. Proposals that develop software technology that can facilitate integration of ROS 2 with common flight software (Core Flight Software, Integrated Test and Operations System (ITOS), etc.), methods to improve the suitability of ROS 2 for use with current flight computing (i.e., radiation hardened and tolerant processors), or tools/process to make ROS 2 (or a subset) ready for near-term flight missions are particularly encouraged. Note: proposals should consider compatibility with the Space ROS project (STMD Game Changing Development program, ACO award).

                 

                Proposals are particularly encouraged to develop technologies applicable to robots of similar archetypes and capabilities to current NASA robots, such as Astrobee, Perseverance (Mars 2020), VIPER, etc.

                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project:

                4 to 6

                Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                Level 1: TX 04 Robotics Systems
                Level 2: TX 04.6 Robotics Integration

                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                • Research
                • Analysis
                • Prototype
                • Hardware
                • Software

                Desired Deliverables Description:

                Desired Deliverables (Phase I)

                Proposers should develop technologies that can be demonstrated with or integrated into existing NASA research robots or projects to maximize relevance and infusion potential.

                1. Identify scenarios, use cases, and requirements.
                2. Define specifications.
                3. Develop preliminary design.

                 

                Desired Deliverables (Phase II)

                1. Develop prototypes (hardware and/or software).
                2. Demonstrate and evaluate prototypes in real-world settings.
                3. Deliver prototypes to NASA.

                 

                State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                Future exploration and science missions will require robots to operate in more difficult environments, carry out more complex tasks, and handle more dynamic and varying operational constraints than the current state of the art, which relies on low-performance, rad-hard computing and execution of preplanned command sequences. To achieve these capabilities, numerous new information technologies need to be developed, including high-performance space computing, autonomy algorithms, and advanced robot software systems (onboard and offboard).

                For example, in contrast to the International Space Station, which is continuously manned, the Gateway is expected to only be intermittently occupied—perhaps as little as 8% of the time. Consequently, there is a significant need for the facility to be robotically tended, to maintain and repair systems in the absence of a human crew. These robots will perform a wide range of caretaking work including inspection, monitoring, routine maintenance, and contingency handling. To do this, significant advances will need to be made in autonomous perception and robot user interfaces, particularly to handle mission-critical and safety-critical operations.

                As another example, a mission to explore and map interior oceans beneath the ice on Europa will require a robot to penetrate an unknown thickness of ice, autonomously carry out a complex set of activities, and navigate back to the surface in order to transmit data back to Earth. The robot will need to perform these tasks with minimal human involvement and while operating in an extremely harsh and dynamic environment. To do this, significant advances will need to be made in autonomous perception and onboard software, particularly to compensate for poor (bandwidth-limited, high-latency, intermittent) communications and the need for high-performance autonomy.

                Relevance / Science Traceability:

                The development of information technology for intelligent and adaptive space robotics is well aligned with NASA goals for robotics. This development directly addresses multiple areas (TA4, TA7, TA11) of the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap and multiple areas (TX4, TX10, TX11) of the 2020 NASA Technology Taxonomy. Additionally, this development is directly aligned with multiple portions of the NASA Autonomous Systems SCLT (Systems Capability Leadership Team) technology taxonomy. Moreover, this development directly addresses a core capability "Autonomous Systems and Robotics" of the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) technology development. Finally, the technology is directly aligned with the needs of numerous projects and programs in the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), Science Mission Directorate (SMD), and STMD.

                • ARMD: The technology can be applied to a broad range of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including both small-scale drones and Predator/Global Hawk type systems. The technology can also be potentially infused into other flight systems that include autonomous capabilities, such as Urban Air Mobility vehicles.
                • HEOMD: The technology is directly relevant to "caretaker" robots, which are needed to monitor and maintain human spacecraft (such as the Gateway) during dormant/uncrewed periods. The technology can also be used by precursor lunar robots to perform required exploration work prior to the arrival of humans on the Moon.
                • SMD: The technology is required for future missions in Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science (including the Moon, icy moons, and ocean worlds) that require higher performance and autonomy than currently possible. In particular, missions that must operate in dynamic environments, or measure varying phenomena, will require the technology developed by this subtopic.
                • STMD: The technology is directly applicable to numerous current mid-TRL (Game Changing Development program) and high-TRL (Technology Demonstration Mission program) Research and Development (R&D) activity.

                 

                References:

                1. https://www.nasa.gov/astrobee
                2. M. Bualat, et al., "Astrobee: A new tool for ISS operations." In Proceedings of AIAA SpaceOps, Marseille, France, 2018.
                3. https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020
                4. https://www.nasa.gov/viper
                5. T. M. Lovelly, "Comparative Analysis of Space-Grade Processors."  University of Florida dissertation, 2017.
                6. G. Lentaris, et al., "High-Performance Embedded Computing in Space: Evaluation of Platforms for Vision-Based Navigation." In Journal of Aerospace Information Systems, Vol. 15, No. 4, April 2018.
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              • T7.04Lunar Surface Site Preparation

                  Lead Center: KSC

                  Participating Center(s): LaRC

                  Solicitation Year: 2022

                  Scope Title Bulk Regolith Infrastructure Scope Description It is envisioned that some of the first possible lunar infrastructure will be structures composed of bulk regolith and rocks. The intent of this subtopic is to develop lunar civil engineering technologies (designs, processes, etc.) that… Read more>>

                  Scope Title

                  Bulk Regolith Infrastructure

                  Scope Description

                  It is envisioned that some of the first possible lunar infrastructure will be structures composed of bulk regolith and rocks. The intent of this subtopic is to develop lunar civil engineering technologies (designs, processes, etc.) that produce such structures, and to develop concepts of operations (ConOps) for their construction in the south polar region of the Moon. This is the lunar equivalent of terrestrial “Earth Works.” Earth-based civil engineering processes and related technologies are not directly applicable to the lunar environment, therefore new lunar civil engineering technologies must be developed.

                  The desired outcome of this effort is “Regolith Works,” which are engineered surface features and structures that function as Artemis Program risks mitigation infrastructure. Regolith Works are sought for scaled lunar construction demonstrations and to guide the development of robotic equipment that will build the infrastructure. The following lunar civil engineered structures are of interest to NASA. Proposers are welcome to suggest other regolith-based infrastructure concepts. Construction materials and processes that go beyond manipulation of bulk regolith and rocks are not in scope for this subtopic.

                  • Bulk regolith-based launch/landing zones designed to minimize risks associated with landing/launching on unprepared surfaces for (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) CLPS and (Human Landing System) HLS vehicles.
                  • Rocket Plume Surface Interaction (PSI) ejecta and blast protection structures.
                  • Regolith base and subgrade for supporting hardened launch/landing pads, towers, habitats and other in situ constructed structures.
                  • Pathways for improved trafficability.
                  • Solar Particle Event (SPE) and Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) shielding structures.
                  • Structures for access to subgrade (e.g., trenches, pits).
                  • Emplaced regolith overburden on structures and equipment.
                  • Meteoroid impact protection structures.
                  • Topographical features for terrain relative guidance for flight and surface vehicles.
                  • Flat and level operational surfaces for equipment positioning, regularly accessed locations, and dust mitigation applications.
                  • Sloped regolith ramps for access to challenging locations.
                  • Utility corridors (e.g., electrical, comm, fluids).
                  • Shade structures.
                  • Elevated operational surfaces.

                  Exact requirements for the full-scale bulk regolith structures are not yet known. Assumptions should be made with supporting rationale to enable initial designs. Specification of lunar civil engineering design criteria should be provided including geotechnical properties.

                  Tests and validated models/simulations should be developed to characterize the regolith infrastructure performance in its intended applications in lunar environments. For example, effects of ejecta impingement upon proposed PSI ejecta protection structures should be characterized including phenomenon such as erosion or secondary ejecta trajectories. 

                  Development of PSI modeling capabilities is not in scope for this subtopic, but collaboration with ongoing PSI modeling efforts is welcome. Information on PSI characteristics can be obtained in the peer-reviewed literature and public NASA reports in the reference section.

                  ConOps should be developed to define the sequence of steps to complete construction tasks. The ConOps should begin with the natural lunar surface including hills, valleys, and surface and subsurface rocks, and end with the completed bulk regolith infrastructure verified to meet design criteria. A sequence of all required functions of robotic systems and implements should be defined to achieve the task. References to recommended existing spaceflight or protype hardware should be provided for each function. In cases where hardware does not exist, conceptual implement designs should be proposed, and critical functions demonstrated in laboratory environments. Concepts should be appropriate for a CLPS scale demonstration mission on the lunar surface (e.g., 25 kg overall mass, 8 kg budget for implements). Assume that the implements would attach to an existing modular mobility platform with interfaces at the forward and aft position. A depiction of the integrated construction system concept should be provided.

                  Proposers may select one or more structures of interest to develop. Infrastructure designs that maximize risk reduction for the Artemis Program will be prioritized. ConOps that show promise for implementation by a single, compact, robotic construction system will rank high. Additionally, concepts that employ the high TRL implements will be prioritized. NASA is seeking bulk regolith infrastructure that can be demonstrated in the near term. 

                  Research institute partnering is anticipated to provide analytical, research, and engineering support to the proposers. Examples may include applying civil engineering principles and planning methods, identification and development of needed standards or specifications for lunar structures and operations, regolith interaction modeling, development of analytical models and simulations for verification of system performance, and methods for the design and prototyping of hardware and associated software.

                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                  2 to 5

                  Primary Technology Taxonomy

                  Level 1

                  TX 07 Exploration Destination Systems

                  Level 2

                  TX 07.2 Mission Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Supportability

                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                  •  Research 
                  •  Analysis 
                  •  Prototype 
                  •  Hardware 
                  •  Software

                  Desired Deliverables Description

                  Phase I must include the civil engineered design of bulk regolith infrastructure including associated testing, modeling, and simulations. Phase I must also include a concept of operations for constructing the infrastructure and verifying the as-built characteristics meet design criteria. An overall construction system concept must be provided. Phase I proposals should target a TRL of 3 for structures and implements.

                  Phase II deliverables must include prototype demonstration of construction and characterization of bulk regolith infrastructure. This infrastructure construction must be achievable using civil engineering technologies adaptable to robotic systems and implements. Proof of critical functions of the infrastructure and systems must be demonstrated. Structures and systems must be developed to a minimum of TRL 5. Phase II must also include updates to the bulk regolith infrastructure designs, tests, modeling, and simulation based on Artemis Program needs refinement and new information that will be provided by NASA to the selected awardees.

                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                  While civil engineering and construction are well established practices on Earth, lunar applications remain at low TRLs. The design requirements and functional capabilities of bulk regolith-based lunar infrastructure are not well defined. To date, very few studies have performed civil engineering designs of bulk regolith infrastructure for lunar surface applications. Tests have been performed on Earth but only for short periods of time and with limited environmental and operational fidelity.

                  Relevance / Science Traceability

                  Construction of bulk regolith infrastructure directly addresses the STMD Strategic Thrust “Land: Increase Access to Planetary Surfaces.” It also addresses the strategic thrust of “Explore: Expand Capabilities Through Robotic Exploration and Discovery.” 

                  References

                  Plume Surface Interaction (PSI)

                  https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/game_changing_development/projects/PSI

                  Rocket Plume Interactions for NASA Landing Systems

                  https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20200000979/downloads/20200000979.pdf

                  Gas-Particle Flow Simulations for Martian and Lunar Lander Plume-Surface Interaction Prediction

                  https://doi.org/10.1061/9780784483374.009

                  Understanding and Mitigating Plume Effects During Powered Descents on the Moon and Mars

                  https://baas.aas.org/pub/2021n4i089?readingCollection=7272e5bb

                   

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              • NASA seeks proposals to produce innovative technologies in the communications and navigation discipline to support Exploration, Operations, Science, and Space Technology missions, including the eventual return of humans to the Lunar surface. Missions are generating ever-increasing data volumes that require increased performance from communications systems while minimizing spacecraft impact. This requires higher peak throughput from the communications systems with lower flight communication system cost, mass, and power per bit transmitted. Missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond will require reliable, autonomous, and secure communications systems operating in the radio frequency bands and optical wavelengths to reduce mission operations burden and support data-intensive operations. These missions will rely on enhanced autonomous navigation techniques to support rendezvous and docking; on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing; and precision landing. This focus area supports the development of novel communications and navigation technologies spanning from radio frequency to optical to quantum communications systems, applications of autonomy and cognition to navigation and networking, data routing and security, and positioning, timing, guidance, navigation, and control techniques that will provide a significant improvement over the current state of the art.

                 

                • T5.04Quantum Communications

                    Lead Center: GRC

                    Participating Center(s): GSFC

                    Solicitation Year: 2022

                    Scope Title Quantum Communications Scope Description NASA seeks to develop quantum networks to support the transmission of quantum information for aerospace applications. This distribution of quantum information could potentially be utilized in secure communication, sensor arrays, and quantum… Read more>>

                    Scope Title

                    Quantum Communications

                    Scope Description

                    NASA seeks to develop quantum networks to support the transmission of quantum information for aerospace applications. This distribution of quantum information could potentially be utilized in secure communication, sensor arrays, and quantum computer networks. Quantum communications may provide new ways to improve sensing the entangling of distributed sensor networks to provide extreme sensitivity for applications such as astrophysics, planetary science, and Earth science. Also of interest are ideas or concepts to support the communication of quantum information between quantum computers over significant free-space distances (greater than 10 km up to geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO)) for space applications or supporting linkages between terrestrial fiber-optic quantum networks. Technologies that are needed include quantum memory, quantum entanglement distribution systems, quantum repeaters, high-efficiency detectors, and quantum processors for distributed arrays and integrated systems that bring several of these aspects together using Integrated Quantum Photonics. A key need for all of these are technologies with low size, weight, and power that can be utilized in aerospace applications. Some examples (not all inclusive) of requested innovation include:

                    • Photonic waveguide integrated circuits for quantum information processing and manipulation of entangled quantum states; requires phase stability, low propagation loss, i.e., <0.1 dB/cm, and efficient fiber coupling, i.e., coupling loss <1.5 dB.
                    • Waveguide-integrated single-photon detectors for >100 MHz incidence rate, 1-sigma time resolution of <25 ps, dark count rate <100 Hz, and single-photon detection efficiency >50% at highest incidence rate.
                    • Quantum metrology systems for free space quantum communication sources (state tomography, joint spectrum, coherence, etc.).
                    • Quantum memory with high buffering efficiency (>50%), storage time (>10 ms), and high fidelity (>0.9), including heralding capability as well as scalability.
                    • Nondestructive Bell-state measurements.
                    • Quantum communications via optical orbital angular momentum states.
                    • High-speed and high-data-rate electronics for recording photon events.

                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                    2 to 4

                    Primary Technology Taxonomy

                    Level 1

                    TX 05 Communications, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization Systems

                    Level 2

                    TX 05.5 Revolutionary Communications Technologies

                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                    •  Hardware 
                    •  Analysis 
                    •  Research 
                    •  Prototype

                    Desired Deliverables Description

                    Phase I research should (highly encouraged) be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility with preliminary hardware (i.e., beyond architecture approach/theory; a proof-of-concept) being delivered for NASA testing, as well as show a plan toward Phase II integration.

                    Phase II new technology development efforts shall deliver components at the TRL 4 to 6 level with mature hardware and preliminary integration and testing in an operational environment. Deliverables are desired that substantiate the quantum communication technology utility for positively impacting the NASA mission. The quantum communication technology should impact one of three key areas: information security, sensor networks, and networks of quantum computers. Deliverables that substantiate technology efficacy include reports of key experimental demonstrations that show significant capabilities, but in general, it is desired that the deliverable include some hardware that shows the demonstrated capability.

                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                    There is a critical gap between the United States and other countries, such as Japan, Singapore, Austria, and China, in quantum communications in space. Quantum communications is called for in the 2018 National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act, which directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Energy (DOE) to pursue research, development, and education activities related to Quantum Information Science. Applications in quantum communications, networking, and sensing, all proposed in this subtopic, are the contributions being pursued by NASA to integrate the advancements being made through the NQI.

                    Relevance / Science Traceability

                    This technology would benefit NASA communications infrastructure as well as enable new capabilities that support its core missions. For instance, advances in quantum communications would provide capabilities for added information security for spacecraft assets as well as provide a capability for linking quantum computers on the ground and in orbit. In terms of quantum sensing arrays, there are a number of sensing applications that could be supported through the use of quantum sensing arrays for dramatically improved sensitivity.

                    References

                    1. Evan Katz, Benjamin Child, Ian Nemitz, Brian Vyhnalek, Tony Roberts, Andrew Hohne, Bertram Floyd, Jonathan Dietz, and John Lekki: “Studies on a Time-Energy Entangled Photon Pair Source and Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detectors for Increased Quantum System Efficiency,” SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, CA (Feb. 6, 2019). 
                    2. M. Kitagawa and M. Ueda: “Squeezed Spin States," Phys. Rev. A 47, 5138–5143 (1993).
                    3. Daniel Gottesman, Thomas Jennewein, and Sarah Croke: “Longer-Baseline Telescopes Using Quantum Repeaters,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 109 (Aug. 16, 2012).
                    4. Nicolas Gisin and Rob Thew: “Quantum Communication,” Nature Photonics, 1, 165–171 (2007).
                    5. H. J. Kimble: “The Quantum Internet,” Nature, 453, 1023–1030 (June 19, 2008).
                    6. C. L. Degen, F. Reinhard, and P. Cappellaro: “Quantum Sensing,” Rev. Mod. Phys., 89 (July 25, 2017).
                    7. Ian, Nemitz, Jonathan Dietz, Evan Katz, Brian Vyhnalek, and Benjamin Child: “Bell Inequality Experiment for a High Brightness Time-Energy Entangled Source,” SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, CA (March 1, 2019).
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                  • T5.05Advanced Solar Sailing Technologies

                      Lead Center: MSFC

                      Participating Center(s): GRC

                      Solicitation Year: 2022

                      Scope Title Embedded Sail Antenna Technology for Enhanced Sailing and Beyond Scope Description: The Mars Cube One (MarCO) mission demonstrated the potential of SmallSat spacecraft to perform interplanetary missions. NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) and Science Mission Directorate… Read more>>

                      Scope Title

                      Embedded Sail Antenna Technology for Enhanced Sailing and Beyond

                      Scope Description:

                      The Mars Cube One (MarCO) mission demonstrated the potential of SmallSat spacecraft to perform interplanetary missions. NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) and Science Mission Directorate (SMD) are continuing to invest in technologies and interplanetary missions due to the high science value enabled by SmallSat spacecraft; several of those being solar-sail-based missions. However, MarCO was extremely limited in communication rates. Also, future interplanetary missions will be carrying science instrumentation with higher data requirements. This solicitation is seeking deployable embedded technology solutions for large aperture and higher gain, enabling higher data rate communications for interplanetary small spacecraft with an emphasis on applicability to solar sail missions (very low SWaP-C (size, weight, power, and cost)). In particular, gossamer technlogies are of interest—both printed and touch labor designs as well as both fixed and electronically steerable. The Near-Earth Asteroid Scout (NEAScout) solar sail architecture can be used as a sample gossamer design reference for the proposed technologies. However, the proposed technologies should be extensible to solar sails in general (i.e., not be tied to NEAScout-specific requirements) as well as to stand-alone devices (i.e., to be applicable to nonsolar sail missions).

                      Requirements:

                        • Frequency band: X, Ka, K
                        • Gain: scalable from ~30 to >50 dBi
                        • Specific mass: >185 dBi/kg
                        • Deployable, highly stowable (specific volume dBi/m3 is to be determined as mission applications progress)

                       

                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project:

                      2 to 5

                      Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                      Level 1: TX 05 Communications, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization Systems
                      Level 2: TX 05.5 Revolutionary Communications Technologies

                       

                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                        • Research
                        • Analysis
                        • Prototype
                        • Hardware

                       

                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                      The anticipated Phase I product would be a proof-of-concept demonstration of the technology with determination of the Key Performance Parameters by test and/or analyses leading to a higher fidelity prototype(s) and relevant environmental demonstrations in Phase II.

                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                      The current state of the art for SmallSat/CubeSat missions is led by ISARA (Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray Antenna) flown on MarCO. Using a combination reflectarray and patch array, it demonstrated an 8-kbps X-band downlink from Mars orbit with a 28-dB-gain design in a small form factor of <1 kg and 272 cm3 at 5 W. For reference, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is a large spacecraft communicating from approximately the same distance as MarCO with a 46.7-dB 3-m dish that varies from 500- to 4,000-kbps X-band downlink at 100 W.

                      Outside of ISARA, various arrays of 16 patch antennas or fewer are available from places like Endurosat and Clyde Space with gains from 11.5 to 16 dB. Thin-film solutions such as the Lightweight Integrated Solar Array and anTenna (LISA-T) are in development. However, the ultimate scalability (mechanically, mass, stowage volume, etc.) is limited. Thus, a critical technology gap exists in higher data rate communication solutions for SmallSats outside Earth orbit. The current NASA Small Spacecraft Strategic Technology Plan states this need in several ways including large deployable apertures. This gap is especially critical for deployable solar sail missions such as interstellar probe and potentially for second- and third-generation space weather monitoring platforms. In short, low SWaP-C, high-gain communication techniques that will push small spacecraft data rates towards their larger spacecraft brothers and sisters are needed. To enhance future solar sail missions, these concepts should be amenable if not directly embedded onto the solar sail itself.

                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                      The Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) solicitation opportunities would benefit significantly from higher data rate communication solutions for SmallSat missions. Further specific solar sail missions such as the High-Inclination Solar Polar Image mission and second- and third-generation space weather monitoring missions would be enhanced by this technology, and specific solar sail missions such as the interstellar probe would be enabled by this technology.

                      References:

                      1. Review of CubeSat Antenna for Deep Space: https://pureadmin.qub.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/174234474/IEEE_Magazine.pdf
                      2. LISA-T: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxqb2huYW50aG9ueWNhcnJ8Z3g6YzcxMGZjY2Y4MDYwMmJl

                      Scope Title

                      Scalable, Low-Mass Sail Attitude Control Technology for Enhanced Sailing

                      Scope Description

                      As solar sails continue to grow in size, so is the need for direct, propellantless, sail-embedded methods attitude control of the sail craft. A primary example of this capability is the so-called reflectivity control devices (RCD), which alter their reflectivity in response to an applied voltage. When embedded in a solar sail system (e.g., near the distal end of a boom), useful momentum transfer and more importantly differentials in momentum that transfer between the on and off states can be captured. RCDs were originally demonstrated for solar sailing by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on the IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun) mission and are currently being further developed by NASA in the Solar Cruiser program. As sails are scaled beyond the Solar Cruiser class and taken into more and more extreme environments, stronger and more robust sail-embedded attitude control devices will be needed. More specifically, devices that can provide greater "on-to-off ratios" (greater attitude control) while utilizing less power and surviving a broader, more extreme temperature range are needed.

                      Key Performance Parameters:

                      1. Consider two sail point designs, consisting of two areas and two masses (0.12 mm/sec2, 0.24 mm/sec2):
                        • Area1 = 1650 m2, Mass1 = 115 kg
                        • Area1 = 7000 m2, Mass2 = 240 kg
                      1. Mass of the solution should not exceed 3% of sail mass (3.45 kg, 7.2 kg).
                      2. Torque as a function of SIA meeting or exceeding the following:

                      Case

                      Out-of-Plane (Roll) Torque [N-m]

                      In-Plane (Pitch/Yaw) Torque [N-m]

                      Solar Cruiser (1650 m2) 0° SIA

                      4.7x10-6

                      5.5x10-4

                      Solar Cruiser (1650 m2) 35° SIA

                      4.9x10-5

                      2.4x10-3

                      SPI (7000 m2) 0° SIA

                      7.7x10-5

                      4.6x10-3

                      SPI (7000 m2) 17° SIA

                      6.4x10-4

                      4.7x10-2

                      1. Power requirements (if any) should also be defined as a part of the proposed solution.
                      2. Assessment of space environmental survivability—especially for expected temperature survivability (large range of hot-cold survivability is needed).

                       

                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project: 2 to 5

                      Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                      Level 1: TX 01 Propulsion Systems
                      Level 2: TX 01.4 Advanced Propulsion

                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                      • Research
                      • Analysis
                      • Prototype
                      • Hardware

                      Desired Deliverables Description:

                      The anticipated Phase I product of this solicitation would be a proof-of-concept demonstration of the technology with determination of the Key Performance Parameters by test and/or analyses leading to a higher fidelity prototype(s) and relevant environmental demonstrations in Phase II.

                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                      The current state of the art for embedded attitude control devices are defined by RCDs developed by JAXA (see references) as well as Dakang Ma et al. (in partnership with NASA). These "first-generation" devices are being advanced to second generation by both NASA and industry; however, results have not been published. These devices are appropriate for medium-class solar sail missions (e.g., <1600 m2). Advanced devices would be enhancing for this class and potentially enabling for scaling to large class sails (e.g., >7000 m2) as well as for sails that will travel into more extremes environments (e.g., hot or cold cases).

                      Relevance / Science Traceability:

                      Large-class solar sails (e.g., >7000 m2) are important in achieving not currently possible heliophysics missions such as the High Inclination Solar Imaging missions as well as significantly enhancing for fast transit to deeper space, which is needed for the Interstellar Probe mission.

                      References:

                      1. Dakang Ma: Measurement of Radiation Pressure and Tailored Momentum Transfer Through Switchable Photonic Device, https://drum.lib.umd.edu/handle/1903/19291
                      2. Hirokazu Ishida, et al.: Optimal Design of Advanced Reflectivity Control Device for Solar Sails Considering Polarization Properties of Liquid Crystal, https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Optimal-Design-of-Advanced-Reflectivity-Control-for-Hirokazu-Sh%C3%ADd%C3%A0/cfbc675862ca232e0d52b5cfd0173fcc969d7c7c
                      3. Ryu Funase, et al.: On-Orbit Verification of Fuel-Free Attitude Control System for Spinning Solar Sail Utilizing Solar Radiation Pressure, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273117711001657?via%3Dihub

                      Scope Title

                      Next-Generation Solar Sail System Technologies for Enhanced and Enabling Sailing

                      Scope Description

                      Aside from the two targeted scope technologies within this subtopic, NASA also recognizes there are several new and budding ideas that may prove to be significantly enhancing or enabling for next-generation (post Solar Cruiser) sailing. In this scope, ideas for advanced technologies in the core categories of advanced sail materials (especially diffractive and metamaterials), advanced sail deployment booms, and sail-embedded power-generation concepts (especially ultraviolet (UV) stable thin-film protective coatings) are solicited. Direct requirements nor key performance parameters in these categories are not being solicited; however, offerors must quantitatively compare their concepts to state-of-the-art sailing technologies and clearly show how the offered technology is expected to be significantly enhancing or enabling to the next generation of solar sails.  

                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                      2 to 5

                      Primary Technology Taxonomy

                      Level 1

                      TX 01 Propulsion Systems

                      Level 2

                      TX 01.4 Advanced Propulsion

                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                      •  Research 
                      •  Analysis 
                      •  Prototype

                      Desired Deliverables Description

                      The anticipated Phase I product of this solicitation would be a proof-of-concept demonstration of the technology with determination of the Key Performance Parameters by test and/or analyses leading to a higher fidelity prototype(s) and relevant environmental demonstrations in Phase II. 

                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                      Gaps within advanced sail material, advanced boom and deployers, as well as embedded power generation exist for larger (larger than solar cruiser) class sails—such as those proposed for the HISM (High Inclination Solar Mission) and SPI (Solar Polar Imager) missions. State-of-the-art sail materials used on NEAScout and Solar Cruiser are CP1 (colorless polyimide 1). Lighter materials with higher photon momentum transfer are highly enhancing. State-of-the-art booms are composite based and typically are a "TRAC" (Triangular Rollable and Collapsable). Improved mass and strength properties are both enhancing and enabling. State-of-the-art embedded power generation is based on LISA (Lightweight Integrated Solar Array) and LISA-T (Lightweight Integrated Solar Array and anTenna) concepts. UV robust coatings provided greater radiation protection without sacrificing mass and thickness, and flexibility would be both enhancing and enabling. 

                      Relevance / Science Traceability

                      Next-generation solar sailing will enable several priority sciences missions such as out of the ecliptic plane imaging of the Sun as well as fast transit to deep space for the interstellar probe. 

                      References

                      1. Johnson, L., Young, R., Montgomery, E., and Alhorn, D. "Status of Solar Sail Technology Within NASA," Advances in Space Research, Vol. 48, No. 11, 2011, pp. 1687-1694.

                      2. Johnson, L., Castillo-Rogez, J., and Dervan, J. "Near Earth Asteroid Scout: NASA's Solar Sail Mission to a NEA," 2017.

                      3. Johnson, C., Heaton, A., Curran, F., and Rich, D. "The Solar Cruiser Mission: Demonstrating Large Solar Sails for Deep Space Missions," Presentation at the 70th International Astronautical Congress, Washington, DC, 2019.

                      4. Johnson, L., McKenzie, D., and Newmark, J. "The Solar Cruiser Mission Concept—Enabling New Vistas for Heliophysics," American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts, Vol. 236, 2020, pp. 106-108.

                       

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                  • The Life Support and Habitation Systems Focus Area seeks key capabilities and technology needs encompassing a diverse set of engineering and scientific disciplines, all of which provide technology solutions that enable extended human presence in deep space and on planetary surfaces such as Moon and Mars, including Orion, ISS, Gateway, Artemis and Human Landing Systems. The focus is on systems and elements that directly support human missions and astronaut crews, such as Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS), Extravehicular Activity (EVA) systems, Human Accommodations, including crew and cabin provisioning, hygiene and clothing systems, and Bioregenerative Life Support, including plant growth for food production.

                    For future crewed missions beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO) and into the solar system, regular resupply of consumables and emergency or quick-return options will not be feasible. New technologies must be compatible with attributes of the environments expected, including microgravity or partial gravity, varying atmospheric pressure and composition (both internal to the cabin and external to the vehicle), space radiation, and the presence of planetary dust. Technologies of interest are those that enable long-duration, safe, economical, and sustainable deep-space human exploration. Special emphasis is placed on developing technologies that will fill existing gaps as described in this solicitation, that 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. Spacecraft may be untended by crew for long periods, therefore systems must be operable after these intervals of dormancy.

                    ECLSS encompass process technologies and monitoring functions necessary to provide and maintain a livable environment within the pressurized cabin of crewed spacecraft, including environmental monitoring, water recycling, waste management and atmosphere revitalization including particulate removal.  There are two specific technical areas of interest for ECLSS submissions. Advancements in heaters and thermal swing components are needed for thermally desorbed carbon dioxide removal and compression beds, including considerations for structured monolithic sorbents created by additive manufacturing or slip casting of the sorbent itself. Secondly, proposals are sought to address challenges in carbon dioxide reduction systems, including separation, collection, removal and storage of carbon particulates, methods to recharge or recycle catalysts and solutions to prevent clogging of frits and filters in recycle gas streams. Also, of interest to ECLSS but included elsewhere in this solicitation, is lunar dust filtration and monitoring for spacecraft cabins.

                    For Human Accommodations, the focus in this solicitation includes advanced heating and refrigeration systems for stored food, personal hygiene including handwash, combination clothes washer and dryer systems and volumetrically efficient concepts for equipment, flexible work surfaces and stowage. In addition, textiles are sought for extreme surface environments and high oxygen atmospheres, applicable to crew clothing. Lastly, of interest to the focus area but included elsewhere, is the subtopic Plant Research Capabilities in Space, which is applicable to Bioregenerative Life Support.

                    Unique needs also exist for the Exploration Extra-vehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), commonly called spacesuits. Textiles used for the xEMU Environmental Protection Garment (EPG), the outermost component of the xEMU, must resist extreme surface environments including planetary dust and also be suitable for oxygen-rich atmospheres. Applicable to the xEMU’s Portable Life Support System (PLSS), sorbent technologies are sought for a low volume, low power and low mass carbon dioxide and humidity control system. In addition, miniaturized gas sensor technologies are needed for measurement of oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapor within the suit.

                    Please refer to the description and references of each subtopic for further detail to guide development of proposals within this technically diverse focus area.

                     

                    • T6.08Textiles for Extreme Surface Environments and High Oxygen Atmospheres

                        Lead Center: JSC

                        Solicitation Year: 2022

                        Scope Title Textiles for Extreme Surface Environments and High Oxygen Atmospheres Scope Description A spacesuit is essentially a one-person fully equipped spacecraft.  It is complex and consists of more than 100 components.  One of the primary purposes of the spacesuit is to protect the astronaut… Read more>>

                        Scope Title

                        Textiles for Extreme Surface Environments and High Oxygen Atmospheres

                        Scope Description

                        A spacesuit is essentially a one-person fully equipped spacecraft.  It is complex and consists of more than 100 components.  One of the primary purposes of the spacesuit is to protect the astronaut from the dangers in space outside the spacecraft.  Therefore, it is more than a set of clothes.  The current spacesuit used for the International Space Station (ISS) is known as the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU).  The EMU was designed for spacewalks on the Space Shuttle and was enhanced for use on the ISS.  Extravehicular mobility means the astronaut can move around in space outside the space vehicle.

                        The astronauts use the spacesuit only when they are performing a spacewalk.  When astronauts are inside the space vehicle, they wear regular clothes.  When the astronauts prepare to perform a spacewalk, they remove their regular clothes and put on two-piece thermal underwear known as the "thermal comfort undergarment (TCU).  The TCU is only used by the astronauts while they are in the spacesuit.  After a spacewalk, the astronaut gets out of the spacesuit and takes off the TCU.  The TCU is not part of this solicitation.

                        NASA has been working on a new spacesuit called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU).  The objective of the xEMU is to protect the astronauts from the harsh environment of space.  This xEMU is designed for lunar surface exploration and operations in extreme environments.  It incorporates more advanced technologies than the current EMU.  The xEMU is designed to be the next-generation spacesuit to benefit several space programs, namely the International Space Station, Human Landing System (HLS), Artemis, Gateway, and Orion.

                        This STTR subtopic covers two different applications of textile technology.  First, it addresses the primary need to develop new textiles for the xEMU Environmental Protection Garment (EPG).  Second, it addresses the need for crew clothing when the astronauts are not inside their spacesuits. 

                        The EPG is the outer component of the xEMU.  The EPG is considered the first line of defense when an astronaut is performing a spacewalk.  The function of the EPG is to protect the astronaut from extreme surface environments and flammability in oxygen-rich atmosphere.  NASA is looking for innovative materials for the entire EPG. Likewise, NASA is looking for innovative textiles for crew clothing.  Crew clothing is not part of the EPG and is never worn inside the spacesuit.  Crew clothing includes t-shirts, pants, and sleepwear.

                        Both the EPG and the crew clothing shall be addressed in the proposal.  Also, due to the complexity of the EPG and the urgency for its development for the Artemis program, priority shall be given to the development of the EPG.  Additionally, the Technical Readiness Level (TRL) for the EPG is expected to be the highest level possible at the end of Phase II.

                        Part A: Development of the EPG

                        The requirements of the EPG are given below and followed by a description of the extreme surface environments and oxygen-rich atmosphere:

                        Requirements

                        The EPG is a multilayered component consisting of fabrics and thin films.  Each layer of this component contributes to the protection of the xEMU from the extreme lunar environment while enabling xEMU functionality of its three subsystems: the Pressure Garment System (PGS), the Portable Life Support System (PLSS), and the informatics system.  The EPG is the spacesuit’s first line of defense.  It must be designed to have properties to perform in the harsh surface environment of the south pole of the Moon.

                        The desired properties and requirements of the EPG for the extreme environment of the lunar surface are:

                        1. Thermal:

                        The EPG shall have an average:

                        • Ratio of solar absorptivity to infrared emissivity (α/ε) of 0.21
                        • Solar absorption of 0.18

                         

                        1. Physical:

                        The EPG solution may consist of many layers.  Although the offeror shall address the entire EPG, the offeror shall place a priority on the outermost layer.  The outermost layer shall be designed in a manner to limit dust accumulation and penetration.  It shall have properties such that the regolith particles of microns and submicrons sizes cannot penetrate the EPG.  In addition, the external surface of the outermost layer shall have low energy and a nanotexture that prevents entrapment of most regolith particles. The outermost layer may be a composite structure.

                         

                        Opportunities for mass reduction for the entire EPG shall be investigated.  The reference for mass reduction is the International Space Station (ISS) EMU.  Using the current fabric layers, the entire ISS EMU EPG weighs approximately 16 lb.  The ISS EMU has a total density of approximately 31 oz/yd2.

                         

                        The composition of the EMU EPG includes:

                            • Orthofabric with density 14.25 + 0.75 oz/yd2
                            • Aluminized Mylar with density 1.12 oz/yd2 maximum per layer with a total of 7 layers
                            • Neoprene-coated nylon with density 9.0 oz/yd2 maximum

                         

                        1. Mechanical with respect to mobility:
                          The EPG shall not significantly affect mobility of the suit.  The EPG fabrics must be flexible with both low bending and low torsional stiffness to withstand exposure to the extreme temperatures of 260 °F (127 °C) to -292 °F (-180 °C).  The outermost layer is directly exposed to these temperatures.  The other layers of the xEMU are not subject to these extreme temperatures.  The combination of the EPG layers shall not hinder the joint mobility of the xEMU.  The EPG fabrics shall not outgas at vacuum.

                         

                        Extreme Surface Environments

                        The description of the extreme environments is as follows:

                        1. Thermal

                        The environment temperatures will be the temperature on the outside of the suit.  The internal layers of the EPG are higher because of the suit heat leak provided by the astronaut, which warms the surrounding area.

                        • Extreme heat (260 °F, 127 °C)
                        • Extreme cold (-292 °F, -180 °C)

                         

                        1. Regolith Terrain

                        The lunar regolith is a blanket of abrasive dust and unconsolidated, loose, heterogeneous, superficial deposits covering solid rock.  The EPG fabrics must have sufficient resistance to abrasion and tear to last for multiple uses.

                        In the south pole region of the Moon, the regolith is:

                        • Highly abrasive

                        The EPG durability in the dust environment is a key requirement.  The spacesuit must operate during prolonged exposure and operation in the dusty regolith environment.  Because of bending, kneeling, and falling on the lunar surface, the EPG will be in constant contact with the abrasive regolith.

                        • Electrostatic and Triboelectrostatic Charging

                        The electrostatic and triboelectrostatic properties of the lunar dust particles are so averse to the outer layer of the EPG that they promote abrasion and wear necessitating the development of new EPG outer fabrics.  The electrostatic charges are produced by the photoemission of electrons due to vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) sunlight irradiation.  The regolith becomes slightly positively charged.  In the shadow, these charges reverse.  In addition, the triboelectrostatic charges are created by the friction of fabrics on the regolith.  In both cases, there is a risk that these charged particles can be carried inside and contaminate the lunar lander.

                         

                        1. Radiation and Plasma

                        The Moon does not have anatmosphere.  Therefore, it receives unattenuated galactic and solar radiation.  This solar radiation does not cause radioactivity.  The annual Galactic Cosmic Rays dose in milli-Sieverts (mSv) on the Moon is 380 mSv (solar minimum) and 110 mSv (solar maximum).  The annual cosmic ionizing cosmic radiation on Earth is 2.4 mSv.  The EPG layers and particularly the outer layer fabric must be durable over hundreds of hours of VUV radiation exposure without a reduction in functionality.

                        Plasma is a concern due to the charged environment that may be in contact with the spacesuit.  The plasma is explained in a PowerPoint document from Timothy J. Stubbs et al., “Characterizing the Near-Lunar Plasma Environment,” Workshop on Science Associated with the Lunar Exploration Architecture, Tempe, AZ, February 26-March 2, 2007 (https://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/LEA/whitepapers/Stubbs_charging_NAC_whitepaper_v01.pdf).

                         

                        Oxygen-Rich Atmosphere

                        The EPG must satisfy flammability requirements.  The EPG outer layer shall not support combustion in the lunar lander’s atmosphere.  It is currently determined that atmosphere of the lunar lander in HLS will contain 34% ±2% oxygen at a pressure of 8.2 psia (56.5 kPa).  This oxygen concentration may even be higher.  Hence, all materials directly exposed to the lunar lander atmosphere are required to be flame retardant.

                        Past program technologies do not meet the requirements for the HLS and Artemis programs and their sustaining missions. Beta fabric, the glass fiber fabric used in the Apollo spacesuit, addressed only the high flammability risk in the Apollo Lunar Module (LM) atmosphere of 100% oxygen at 4.8 psi (33 kPa). The three extravehicular activities (EVAs) in the last Apollo mission, with an average combined duration of 22 hours, resulted in damage to the outer layer of the Apollo spacesuits, and the suits could not have endured more EVAs.  The glass fiber developed for NASA was the first-ever textile microfiber (3.8 µm fiber diameter) that would not burn in a 100% oxygen atmosphere, but it did not have the mechanical properties to withstand abrasion from the lunar regolith.

                        Part B: Development of Crew Clothing Fabrics

                        The criteria for the development of new crew clothing fabrics are based on the HLS program requirement of flame retardance in 36% oxygen at 8.2 psia and the need to have clothes to wear when the astronauts are not exploring the surface of the Moon.  The new fabric items must be flame retardant inside the lunar lander.

                        Requirements

                        1. Flame Retardance

                        Options for developing flame-retardant clothing include inherently flame-retardant textile fibers and durable flame-retardant treatments. These options are described below:

                        • Inherently flame-retardant textile fibers:

                        The 1.5 denier polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber is the only inherently flame-retardant fiber commercially available to make yarns for apparel fabrics. 

                         

                        While there are several polymers that meet the flame retardant threshold of 36% oxygen at 14.7 psia, few have been used to produce textile fibers.  Among those that are currently spun into fibers like polyimide, the fibers are mostly used to make yarns and fabrics for industrial applications.

                         

                        Most existing textile fibers that do not support combustion in 36% oxygen-rich atmosphere have linear densities too high to produce yarns and fabrics that are comfortable for next-to-the-skin apparel fabrics.  In other words, the diameter of these fibers is usually too large, and consequently, the fibers bending and torsional properties are not adequate to produce yarns suitable for knitted garments.

                        • Durable flame-retardant treatments:

                        A durable flame-retardant treatment is a treatment that can withstand wear abrasion and 50 laundry cycles.  A durable flame-retardant treatment may be applied to fibers, yarns, or fabric considered for crew clothing.

                         

                        1. Comfort

                        Comfort is a function of yarn hairiness, which promotes softness and warmth.  Greater hairiness promotes flammability.  Flame-retardant treatments reduce hairiness and the accompanying comfort.  This competition between comfort from hairiness and the reduction of hairiness due to flame-retardant treatment would seem to favor the use of an inherently flame-retardant fiber over a flame-retardant treatment.

                        A potential solution is a fabric with a flame-retardance outward-facing side, while the inward-facing side next to the skin may be more comfortable with the consequence of reduced flame retardance.  This solution may be achieved by methods of fabric construction including woven, knitted, laminated, and nonwoven fabrics.

                         

                        1. Volatile Emissions

                        The fabrics shall be free of volatile materials that can be toxic to humans. Also, the fabrics shall not adversely affect the Environmental Control and Life Support System of the lunar lander.

                        1. Lint Reduction

                        The fabrics shall produce a minimal amount of lint.

                        1. Odor Control

                        The fabrics shall not produce malodor.

                        1. Resistance to the lunar Regolith

                        The crew clothing fabrics shall be resistant to wear from the abrasive lunar regolith particles to last for the length of the Artemis mission.

                         

                        While mentioned previously as not part of this solicitation, the TCU can be a source of regolith contamination. The astronaut takes the TCU off after getting out of the spacesuit.  If contaminated with regolith particles, the TCU can contribute to the contamination of materials inside the lunar lander.  In addition, regolith dust can enter the lander from an airlock or directly from outside depending on the design of the lander. Because of this exposure, textiles for the crew clothing must be either inherently flame retardant or have “regolith-proof” flame-retardant finishes. These textiles must not be at risk of losing their flame retardance due to the abrasive nature of the regolith. 

                         

                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project:

                        2 to 6

                        Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                        Level 1: TX 06 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems
                        Level 2: TX 06.2 Extravehicular Activity Systems

                         

                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                        • Research
                        • Analysis
                        • Prototype

                        Desired Deliverables Description:

                        Phase I: Phase I offerors are expected to deliver written reports (Interim and Final) containing a plan or strategy that explains in detail their approach for solving the problems of the EPG and the crew clothing.  Reports shall include rationale for approach, research, proof of concept, analysis, and any strategy leading to one or more prototypes.

                        Phase II:Phase II deliverables shall include prototypes or finished goods. The prototypes or finished goods shall be delivered to NASA Johnson Space Center with a “Material Inspection and Receiving Report” (Form DD250) OMB No. 0704-0248. Photographs of the delivered prototypes or finished goods shall accompany the DD250 form.  Deliverables shall also include complete documentation such as technical data sheets with detailed description and composition of the material or product, with testing methods and testing data, design sketches or drawings, and full information on material and/or chemical sourcing.  The Phase II deliverables shall also include a final report documenting all work accomplished for the Phase II effort and shall not duplicate the Phase II proposal.

                        Examples of the deliverables for the EPG and crew clothing may include:

                          • EPG: prototype textiles with coating, lamination, thin film, other new technology, composite structure, or fabrics integrated in a spacesuit.
                          • Crew clothing: novel fibers, yarns, and fabrics for everyday garment prototypes (e.g. T-shirt, pants, and sleepwear).

                         

                        The proposers shall clearly state the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) levels at which they start their research and at which they expect to be at the end of Phase I and Phase II.  For the EPG, the TRL level is expected to be the highest level possible at the end of Phase II.  Reference for the TRL definitions are at the following link: (https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/458490main_TRL_Definitions.pdf).

                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                        The gap is the lack of available commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) textiles that satisfy spacesuit and crew clothing mitigation requirements for extreme surface environments and fire safety in a 36% oxygen atmosphere.

                        The second gap is the lack of knowledge of the effects of lunar dust on textile products with respect to their useful life in EVA applications.  Extent of wear and tear and levels of contamination and retention of the dust in the textile structure are not known.

                        Relevance / Science Traceability:

                        This scope is included under the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). The xEMU project is under the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD). 

                        This work will benefit several space programs, namely the ISS, Human Landing System (HLS), Artemis, Gateway, and Orion.  Near term, the work on the EPG will directly benefit the xEMU project.

                        The textiles developed could be useful for other soft goods applications.

                        References

                        1. “NASA’s Plan for Sustained Lunar Exploration and Development” (a_sustained_lunar_presence_nspc_report4220final.pdf (nasa.gov))
                        2. Chris Hansen, “Space Suit Developments for future Exploration,” ASE 2019 Technical Session 7, Planetary Congress Session Replays, Houston, TX, 17 October 2019 (https://ase2019.org/session-replays).
                        3. Technology Readiness Level Definitions: (https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/458490main_TRL_Definitions.pdf).
                        4. J. J. Dillon, E. S. Cobb, “Research, Development and Application of Noncombustible Beta Fiber Structures,” Final Report, 17 April 1967–31 December 1974. 24 pp, NASA-CR-144365 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/19750021113/downloads/19750021113.pdf).
                        5. Mark J. Hyatt, Sharon Straka, “The Dust Management Report,” December 2011, 85 pp, NASA-TM 2011-217037 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20120000061/downloads/20120000061.pdf).
                        6. Roy Christoffersen, et al., “Lunar Dust Effects on Spacesuit Systems, Insights from the Apollo Spacesuits,” 1 January 2008, 47 pp, NASA-JSC-17651 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20090015239/downloads/20090015239.pdf).
                        7. William Lewis Miller, “Mass Loss of Shuttle Space Suit Orthofabric Under Simulated Ionospheric Atomic Oxygen Bombardment,” November 1985, 14 pp, NASA-TM-87149 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/19860004430/downloads/19860004430.pdf).
                        8. Andrew E. Potter, Jr., Benny R. Baker, “Static Electricity In The Apollo Spacecraft,” December 1969. 23 pp, NASA-TN-D-5579 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/19700004167/downloads/19700004167.pdf).
                        9. Timothy J. Stubbs, et al., “Characterizing the Near-Lunar Plasma Environment,” Workshop on Science Associated with the Lunar Exploration Architecture, Tempe, AZ, February 26–March 2, 2007 (https://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/LEA/whitepapers/Stubbs_charging_NAC_whitepaper_v01.pdf).
                        10. Guenther Reitz, Thomas Berger, Daniel Matthiae, “Radiation Exposure in the Moon Environment”, Planetary and Space Science, Volume 74, Issue 1, p. 78-83, December 2012. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2012.07.014)
                        11. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC :: QuickMap (asu.edu)).
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                    • In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) involves any hardware or operation that harnesses and utilizes ‘in-situ’ resources (natural and discarded) to create products and services for robotic and human exploration. Local resources include ‘natural’ resources found on extraterrestrial bodies such as water, solar wind implanted volatiles (hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen, etc.), vast quantities of metals in mineral rocks and soils, and atmospheric constituents, as well as human-made resources such as trash and waste from the human crew, and discarded hardware that has completed its primary purpose.  The most useful products from ISRU are propellants, fuel cell reactants, life support commodities (such as water, oxygen, and buffer gases), and feedstock for manufacturing and construction.  ISRU products and services can be used to i) reduce Earth launch mass or lander mass by not bringing everything from Earth, ii) reduce risks to the crew and/or mission by reducing logistics, increasing shielding, and providing increased self-sufficiency, and/or iii) reducing costs by either needing less launch vehicles to complete the mission or through the reuse of hardware and lander/space transportation vehicles.  Since ISRU systems must operate wherever the resource of interest exists, technologies and hardware will need to be designed to operate in harsh environments, reduced gravity, and potential non-homogeneous resource physical, mineral, and ice/volatile characteristics. This year’s solicitation will focus on critical technologies needed in the areas of Resource Acquisition and Consumable Production for the Moon and Mars. The ISRU focus area is seeking innovative technology for:

                      • Novel Silicate Reduction Methods
                      • Noncontact High-Temperature Measurement
                      • Regolith Feed/Removal Systems and Mineral Measurement for Oxygen Removal
                      • Non-Water Volatile Capture
                      • Regolith/Ice Crushing
                      • Size-Sorting
                      • Beneficiation of Water Ice
                      • Mineral Beneficiation
                      • Metal Production

                      As appropriate, the specific needs and metrics of each of these specific technologies are described in the subtopic descriptions.

                       

                      • T7.05Climate Enhancing Resource Utilization

                          Lead Center: GRC

                          Participating Center(s): ARC, KSC, MSFC

                          Solicitation Year: 2022

                          Scope Title Sustainable Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Extraction and Transformation Scope Description Component and subsystem technologies are sought to demonstrate sustainable, energy-efficient extraction of carbon dioxide (CO2) from a defined planetary or habitable atmosphere fully integrated with… Read more>>

                          Scope Title

                          Sustainable Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Extraction and Transformation

                          Scope Description

                          Component and subsystem technologies are sought to demonstrate sustainable, energy-efficient extraction of carbon dioxide (CO2) from a defined planetary or habitable atmosphere fully integrated with CO2 transformation into one or more stable products such as manufacturing feed stock polymers or readily storable, noncryogenic propellants or fuels. This scope is intended to incentivize revolutionary, dual-use technologies that may lead to reduced dependence of sustainable space exploration activity on terrestrial supplies of carbon-containing resources and lead to products with commercial promise for repurposing terrestrial atmospheric CO2. At the core of this scope is a requirement for integrated technology solutions that dramatically reduce mass, volume, and end-to-end energy consumption of highly integrated CO2 collection and transformation.

                          Proposals must specifically and clearly describe: (1) physical and/or chemical processes to be implemented for CO2 collection and transformation, including reference to the current state of the art; (2) specific engineering approaches to be used in dramatically reducing mass, volume, and end-to-end energy consumption per mass of product carbon content mass; (3) validated performance estimates of high-cycle utilization of any sorption, catalytic, or other unconsumed materials used in the CO2 collection or transformation processes; (4) suitability or adaptability of the proposed CO2 capture approach for operation in various ambient CO2 mixture and partial pressure environments (i.e., ambient Mars atmosphere to ambient Earth atmosphere conditions); (5) substantiated estimates of the mass conversion efficiency of ingested carbon to product carbon; and (6) estimated total end-to-end energy consumption per unit mass of product carbon.

                          The scope specifically excludes: (1) evolutionary improvements in mature CO2 collection technologies that do not provide large reductions in mass, volume, and end-to-end energy consumption; (2) CO2 collection approaches that employ CO2 absorbing materials that require frequent replenishment or replacement (e.g., greater than 50% reduction in absorption efficiency after 500 cycles); (3) technologies considered as life support systems including air revitalization, water processing, or waste processing; (4) biological or biology-based components or subsystems of any kind; and (5) CO2 transformation products that are not readily stored at approximately Earth-ambient conditions such as cryogenic propellants.

                          Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project:

                          3 to 5

                          Primary Technology Taxonomy:
                          Level 1: TX 07 Exploration Destination Systems
                          Level 2: TX 07.1 In-Situ Resource Utilization

                          Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II:

                            • Prototype
                            • Research
                            • Analysis

                          Desired Deliverables Description:

                          Phase I deliverable is defined as a detailed feasibility study that clearly defines the specific technical innovation and estimated performance of CO2 collection and transformation into products, identifying critical development risks anticipated in a Phase II effort. Technology feasibility evaluation should address the scope proposal elements including: (1) process descriptions; (2) results of engineered mass, volume, and energy consumption efficiency designs; (3) cyclic performance of participating unconsumed process materials; (4) adaptability to different atmospheric CO2 mixtures and partial pressures; (5) ingested atmosphere throughput and carbon conversion efficiency to product carbon, and (6) estimated total end-to-end energy consumption per unit mass of product carbon. Phase I feasibility deliverables should include laboratory test results that demonstrate the performance of unit processes, components, or subsystems against these metrics.

                          Phase II deliverables are to include matured feasibility analysis provided in Phase I, and matured laboratory prototype components or subsystems integrated into an end-to-end CO2 collection and transformation prototype system, including design drawings. Component, subsystem, and integrated system performance test data is a specific deliverable and must include: (1) cyclic performance; (2) ingested atmosphere throughput and carbon conversion efficiency to product carbon; (3) evaluated properties of products; and (4) the results of engineered mass, volume, and energy consumption efficiency designs including measured end-to-end energy consumption per unit mass of product carbon. Analysis deliverables for Phase II should address a credible path toward maturation of the technology and approaches to scaling the technologies to larger processing capacities.

                          State of the Art and Critical Gaps:

                          This topic is intended to solicit innovative technologies with clear dual use: (1) adoption by NASA for infusion into long-term mission capabilities enabling mission scale in situ resource utilization (ISRU) use of the Martian atmosphere and (2) commercialization and the potential formation of a terrestrial industry to meet potentially significant future demand for terrestrial atmospheric CO2 extraction and repurposing. Additionally, if or as a viable industry associated with terrestrial applications of these technologies emerges, commercial competition may continue to drive innovation and contribute over the long term to improved NASA mission capability. Early-stage innovations in this topic are anticipated from teams of small businesses and research institutions, which can demonstrate feasibility and readiness for accelerated maturation.

                          Well-developed and mature technologies for atmospheric CO2 capture have been flown and operated on NASA spacecraft, based on phase change (freezing) of ambient gas; accepting the power requirements and efficiency levels of both the refrigeration and heating devices in a freeze/thaw-based collection cycle. NASA operational collection of CO2 from habitable atmospheres is performed using flow-through beds of sorption materials driven to saturation followed by either desorption processes or discarding of the sorption material and the collected CO2. Similarly, CO2 processing based on electrochemical reduction of CO2 into carbon monoxide (CO) has been flown demonstrating production of oxygen from atmospheric sources. However, the collected carbon is a disposable byproduct. Significantly, these systems are not developed nor optimized for recovery and repurposing of considerable process heat drawn from spacecraft power sources, nor for repurposing of the collected carbon. Recent literature suggests emerging laboratory research of both efficient CO2 capture and repurposing processes is occurring and may be well positioned for development into components and subsystems suitable for longer-term infusion by NASA into ISRU systems and an emerging terrestrial industry.

                          Relevance / Science Traceability:

                          The quantification of resources on Mars suitable for the local production of a variety of mission consumables, manufactured products, and other mission support materials has become much better understood through recent in situ measurements and introductory technology demonstrations. Evolving mission scenarios for expanded robotic and human exploration of Mars uniformly depend on the utilization of these resources to dramatically reduce the cost and risks associated with these exploration goals. In order to reduce the broad goal of utilizing the CO2 of the Martian atmosphere as a source of both carbon and oxygen to practical, full-scale reality, substantial improvements in system mass, volume, and power requirements are needed. This solicitation is intended to incentivize these innovations in the service of future NASA missions.

                          Additionally, there is a growing recognition of the planetwide consequences of accumulating CO2 in the terrestrial atmosphere. Technologies that advance NASA's Mars ISRU aspirations may be created with the necessary energy efficiencies to support scaling up to terrestrial industrial capacity large enough to begin to reduce or reverse atmospheric CO2 accumulation.

                          References:

                          1. I. Ghiat and T. Al-Ansari, "A review of carbon capture and utilisation as a CO2 abatement opportunity within the EWF nexus," J. CO2 Util., vol. 45, December 2020, p. 101432, 2021.
                          2. J. Sekera and A. Lichtenberger, "Assessing carbon capture: Public policy, science, and societal need," Biophys. Econ. Sustain., vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 1–28, 2020.
                          3. F. Nocito and A. Dibenedetto, "Atmospheric CO2 mitigation technologies: carbon capture utilization and storage," Curr. Opin. Green Sustain. Chem., vol. 21, pp. 34–43, 2020.
                          4. H. Sun et al., "Understanding the interaction between active sites and sorbents during the integrated carbon capture and utilization process," Fuel, vol. 286, no. P1, p. 119308, 2021.
                          5. J. Godin, W. Liu, S. Ren, and C. C. Xu, "Advances in recovery and utilization of carbon dioxide: A brief review," J. Environ. Chem. Eng., vol. 9, no. 4, p. 105644, 2021.
                          6. J. Hyun Park, J. Yang, D. Kim, H. Gim, W. Yeong Choi, and J. W. Lee, "Review of recent technologies for transforming carbon dioxide to carbon materials," Chem. Eng. J., vol. 427, April 2021, p. 130980, 2021.
                          7. M. A. Abdelkareem et al., "Fuel cells for carbon capture applications," Sci. Total Environ., vol. 769, p. 144243, 2021.
                          8. Jussara Lopes de Miranda, "CO2 Conversion to Organic Compounds and Polymeric Precursors," in Frank Zhu, ed., CO2 Summit: Technology and Opportunity, ECI Symposium Series, 2010. https://dc.engconfintl.org/co2_summit/14
                          9. Y. Qin and X. Wang, "Conversion of CO2 into Polymers," in B. Han and T. Wu, eds., Green Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology Series, Springer, New York, NY, pp. 323-347, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-9060-3_1013
                          10. Q. Liu, L. Wu, R. Jackstell, et al., Using carbon dioxide as a building block in organic synthesis. Nat. Commun., vol. 6, no. 5933, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6933
                          11. Kuan Huang, Jia-Yin Zhang, Fujian Liu, and Sheng Dai, "Synthesis of porous polymeric catalysts for the conversion of carbon dioxide,"ACS Catalysis, vol. 8, no. 10, pp. 9079-9102, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1021/acscatal.8b02151
                          12. Vignesh Kumaravel, John Bartlett, and Suresh C. Pillai, "Photoelectrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into fuels and value-added products," ACS Energy Letters, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 486-519, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsenergylett.9b02585
                          13. Erdogan Alper and Ozge Yuksel Orhan, "CO2 utilization: Developments in conversion processes, "Petroleum, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 109-126, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petlm.2016.11.003
                          14. Erivaldo J.C. Lopes, Ana P.C. Ribeiro, and Luísa M.D.R.S. Martins, "New trends in the conversion of CO2 to cyclic carbonates, "Catalysts, 2020, 10, 479, 2020. https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10050479

                           

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                        • T14.01Advanced Concepts for Lunar and Martian Propellant Production, Storage, Transfer, and Usage

                            Lead Center: GRC

                            Participating Center(s): JSC

                            Solicitation Year: 2022

                            Scope Title Advanced Concepts for Lunar and Martian Propellant Production, Storage, Transfer, and Usage Scope Description This subtopic seeks technologies related to cryogenic propellant (e.g., hydrogen, oxygen, and methane) production, storage, transfer, and usage to support NASA's in situ resource… Read more>>

                            Scope Title

                            Advanced Concepts for Lunar and Martian Propellant Production, Storage, Transfer, and Usage

                            Scope Description

                            This subtopic seeks technologies related to cryogenic propellant (e.g., hydrogen, oxygen, and methane) production, storage, transfer, and usage to support NASA's in situ resource utilization (ISRU) goals. This includes a wide range of applications, scales, and environments consistent with future NASA missions to the Moon and Mars. Anticipated outcomes of Phase I proposals are expected to deliver proof of the proposed concept with some sort of basic testing or physical demonstration. Proposals shall include plans for a prototype and demonstration in a defined relevant environment (with relevant fluids) at the conclusion of Phase II. Solicited topics are as follows:

                            • Develop an in situ hydrogen safety sensor to detect concentrations of hydrogen gas within high-pressure oxygen systems. Regenerative fuel cells (RFCs) and ISRU systems use water electrolysis to generate hydrogen and oxygen for either propellants or energy storage. For safety reasons, there is a need to monitor the quantity of hydrogen within saturated (noncondensing) oxygen process streams flowing up to 50 SLPM to ensure product gas purity. This is especially true for high-pressure systems that range from 250 to 2500 psia. Current technologies require the use of a slipstream to condition the sample gases for analysis. This slipstream represents a loss of reactants and imposes both power and mass penalties on systems deployed on the lunar surface. Existing sensor calibration intervals currently do not support the identified NASA maintenance intervals defined by lunar surface access by crewed missions (>30,000 hr, targeting >50,000 hr). As this application is critically limited by available power and mass, preference is given to solutions with lower parasitic power and mass as well as systems without a slipstream to lose reactants.
                            • Develop and implement computational methodology to enhance the evaluation of temperature and species gradients at the liquid/vapor interface in unsettled conditions. Techniques could include arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) interface tracking methods with adaptive mesh morphing, interface reconstruction methods, immersed boundary approaches, or enhanced-capability level set and volume of fluid (VOF) scheme that decrease numerically generated spurious velocities and increase gradient evaluation accuracy. The uncertainty of such techniques in determining the interfacial gradients should be <5% and on par with accuracies of a sharp interface method applied to a nonmoving, rigid interface. Applications include cryogenic tank self-pressurization, pressure control via jet mixing, and filling and liquid transfer operations. It is highly desirable if the methodology can be implemented via user-defined functions/subroutines into commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes. The final deliverable should be the documentation showing the detailed formulation, implementation, and validation, and any stand-alone code or customized user-defined functions that have been developed for implementation into commercial codes.

                            Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                            2 to 4

                            Primary Technology Taxonomy

                            Level 1

                            TX 14 Thermal Management Systems

                            Level 2

                            TX 14.1 Cryogenic Systems

                            Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                            •  Hardware 
                            •  Software 
                            •  Prototype

                            Desired Deliverables Description

                            Phase I proposals should at a minimum deliver proof of the concept, including some sort of testing or physical demonstration, not just a paper study. Phase II proposals should provide component validation in a laboratory environment preferably with hardware (or model subroutines) deliverable to NASA.

                            Deliverables for the hydrogen sensing technologies for oxygen streams would be at least two operational sensor package test articles demonstrating the capability of the sensor to be tested at a NASA center in either a RFC system or an ISRU. These sensors must have a detection range of at least 0% to 4% hydrogen in oxygen with a minimum detection limit of 20 ppm. The process fluid temperatures will range from -40 to 110 °C due to environmental temperatures on the lunar surface. The Phase I prototypes must demonstrate operation at pressures greater than or equal to 250 psia while Phase II prototypes must demonstrate operation at pressures greater than or equal to 2,500 psia.

                            Deliverables for the modeling: Phase I should demonstrate the accuracy of the method for simulating self-pressurization under unsettled, low-gravity conditions. Phase II should demonstrate the accuracy of the method for simulating jet mixing and filling and transfer operations. The final deliverable should be the documentation showing the detailed formulation, implementation, and validation, and any stand-alone code or customized user-defined functions that have been developed for implementation into commercial codes.

                            State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                            Cryogenic Fluid Management (CFM) is a cross-cutting technology suite that supports multiple forms of propulsion systems (nuclear and chemical), including storage, transfer, and gauging, as well as liquefaction of ISRU-produced propellants. The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has identified that CFM technologies are vital to NASA's exploration plans for multiple architectures, whether it is hydrogen/oxygen or methane/oxygen systems including chemical propulsion and nuclear thermal propulsion. 

                            Current hydrogen sensing technologies have three key features inhibiting their use in NASA applications: low pressure capability, unacceptably low calibration stability, and a required slipstream to condition the sample gases for analysis. The low pressure prevents monitoring hydrogen in ISRU propellant streams or RFC energy storage systems. This slipstream represents a loss of reactants and imposes both power and mass penalties on systems deployed on the lunar surface. Based on the performance of hydrogen sensors used in the low-pressure International Space Station (ISS) Oxygen Generator Assembly (OGA) and in terrestrial hydrogen depots, existing sensor calibration intervals currently do not support the identified NASA maintenance intervals defined by lunar surface access by crewed missions.

                            Relevance / Science Traceability

                            STMD strives to provide the technologies that are needed to enable exploration of the solar system, both manned and unmanned systems, and CFM is a key technology to enable exploration. Whether liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen or liquid oxygen/liquid methane is chosen by Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) as the main in-space propulsion element to transport humans, CFM will be required to store propellant for up to 5 years in various orbital environments. Transfer will also be required, whether to engines or other tanks (e.g., depot/aggregation), to enable the use of cryogenic propellants that have been stored. In conjunction with ISRU, cryogens will have to be produced, liquefied, and stored, the latter two of which are CFM functions for the surface of the Moon or Mars. ISRU and CFM liquefaction drastically reduces the amount of mass that has to be landed on the Moon or Mars.

                            Generating hydrogen from water electrolysis includes an extremely small but nonzero potential for hydrogen to contaminate the oxygen stream. Monitoring this process for medium pressure systems (e.g., ISRU) or high pressure systems (e.g., energy storage) adds another layer of protection for sustained operation on the surface of the Moon or Mars. 

                            References

                            1. Kartuzova, O., and Kassemi, M., "Modeling K-Site LH2 Tank Chilldown and no Vent Fill in Normal Gravity," AIAA-2017-4662.

                            2. Regenerative Fuel Cell Power Systems for Lunar and Martian Surface Exploration, https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2017-5368 (link is external).

                            3. NASA Technology Roadmap, https://gameon.nasa.gov/about/space-technology-roadmap/, §TA03.2.2.1.2. Chemical Power Generation and §TA03.2.2.2.3. Regenerative Fuel Cell Energy Storage (NOTE: This may be a dated link as this Roadmap still references ETDP/ETDD.).

                            4. Commercial Lunar Propellant Architecture: A Collaborative Study of Lunar Propellant Production, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.reach.2019.100026 (link is external).

                             

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                        • NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD), https://science.nasa.gov/ encompasses research in the areas of Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science. The National Academies of Science has provided NASA with recently updated Decadal surveys that are useful to identify technologies that are of interest to the above science divisions. Those documents are available at https://www.nationalacademies.org/

                          A major objective of SMD instrument development programs is to implement science measurement capabilities with smaller or more affordable aerospace platforms 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 capable of making measurements across the electromagnetic spectrum is essential to achieving this objective. For Earth Science needs, in particular, the subtopics reflect a focus on remote sensing (active and passive) and in situ instrument development for space-based, airborne, and uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms.  A strong focus is placed on reducing the size, weight, power, and cost of remote and in situ instruments to allow for deployment on more affordable and wider range of platforms. Astrophysics has a critical need for sensitive detector arrays with imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetric capabilities, which can be demonstrated on ground, airborne, balloon, or suborbital rocket instruments. Heliophysics, which focuses on measurements of the sun and its interaction with the Earth and the other planets in the solar system, needs a significant reduction in the size, mass, power, and cost for instruments to fly on smaller spacecraft. Planetary Science has a critical need for miniaturized instruments with in-situ sensors that can be deployed on surface landers, rovers, and airborne platforms. For the 2022 program year, we are continuing to update the included subtopics. Please read each subtopic of interest carefully. We continue to emphasize Ocean Worlds and solicit development of in-situ instrument technologies and components to advance the maturity of science instruments focused on the detection of evidence of life, especially extant of life, in the Ocean Worlds. The microwave technologies continue as two subtopics, one focused on active microwave remote sensing and the second on passive systems such as radiometers and microwave spectrometers. NASA has an additional interest in advancing quantum sensing technologies to enable wholly new quantum sensing and measurement techniques focused on the development and maturation towards space application and qualification of atomic systems that leverage their quantum properties.  Furthermore, photonic integrated circuit technology is sought to enable size, weight, power, and cost reductions, as well as improved performance of science instruments, subsystems, and components which is particularly critical for enabling the use of affordable small spacecraft platforms.

                          A key objective of this STTR Focus Area 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 the development of components, subsystems, and systems 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.

                          • T8.06Quantum Sensing and Measurement

                              Lead Center: GSFC

                              Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL, LaRC

                              Solicitation Year: 2022

                              Scope Title Quantum Sensing and Measurement Scope Description This Quantum Sensing and Measurement subtopic calls for proposals using quantum systems to achieve unprecedented measurement sensitivity and performance, including quantum-enhanced methodologies that outperform their classical… Read more>>

                              Scope Title

                              Quantum Sensing and Measurement

                              Scope Description

                              This Quantum Sensing and Measurement subtopic calls for proposals using quantum systems to achieve unprecedented measurement sensitivity and performance, including quantum-enhanced methodologies that outperform their classical counterparts. Shepherded by advancements in our ability to detect and manipulate single quantum objects, the so-called Second Quantum Revolution is upon us. The emerging quantum sensing technologies promise unrivaled sensitivities and are potentially game changing in precision measurement fields. Significant gains include technology important for a range of NASA missions such as efficient photon detection, optical clocks, gravitational wave sensing, ranging, and interferometry. Proposals focused on atomic quantum sensor and clocks, and quantum communication should apply to those specific subtopics and are not covered in this Quantum Sensing and Measurement subtopic.

                              Specifically identified applications of interest include quantum sensing methodologies achieving the optimal collection light for photon-starved astronomical observations, quantum-enhanced ground-penetrating radar, and quantum-enhanced telescope interferometry.

                              • Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) systems for enhanced multiplexing factor reading out of arrays of cryogenic energy-resolving single-photon detectors, including the supporting resonator circuits, amplifiers, and room temperature readout electronics.
                              • Quantum light sources capable of efficiently and reliably producing prescribed quantum states including entangled photons, squeezed states, photon number states, and broadband correlated light pulses. Such entangled sources are sought for the visible infrared (vis-IR) and in the microwave entangled photons sources for quantum ranging and ground-penetrating radar.
                              • On-demand single-photon sources with narrow spectral linewidth are needed for system calibration of single-photon counting detectors and energy-resolving single-photon detector arrays in the midwave infrared (MIR), near infrared (NIR), and visible. Such sources are sought for operation at cryogenic temperatures for calibration on the ground and aboard space instruments. This includes low size, weight, and power (SWaP) quantum radiometry systems capable of calibrating detectors' spectroscopic resolution and efficiency over the MIR, NIR, and/or visible.

                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                              2 to 4

                              Primary Technology Taxonomy

                              Level 1

                              TX 08 Sensors and Instruments

                              Level 2

                              TX 08.X Other Sensors and Instruments

                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                              •  Research 
                              •  Analysis 
                              •  Prototype

                              Desired Deliverables Description

                              NASA is seeking innovative ideas and creative concepts for science sensor technologies using quantum sensing techniques. The proposals should include results from designs and models, proof-of-concept demonstrations, and prototypes showing the performance of the novel quantum sensor.

                              Phase I does not need to include a physical deliverable to the government but it is best if it includes a demonstration of feasibility through measurements. This can include extensive modeling, but a stronger proposal will have measured validation of models or designs that support the viability of the planned Phase II deliverable. 

                              Phase II should include prototype delivery to the government. (It is understood that this is a research effort, and the prototype is a best effort delivery where there is no penalty for missing performance goals.) The Phase II effort should be targeting a commercial product that could be sold to the government and/or industry.

                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                              Quantum Entangled Photon Sources:

                              Sources for generation of quantum photon number states. Such sources would utilize high detection efficiency photon energy-resolving single-photon detectors (where the energy resolution is used to detect the photon number) developed at NASA for detection. Sources that fall in the wavelength range from 20 μm to 200 nm are of high interest. Photon number state generation anywhere within this spectral range is also highly desired including emerging photon-number quantum state methods providing advantages over existing techniques. (Stobińska, et al., Sci. Adv. 5 (2019)).

                              Quantum dot source produced entangled photons with a fidelity of 0.90, a pair generation rate of 0.59, a pair extraction efficiency of 0.62, and a photon indistinguishability of 0.90, simultaneously (881 nm light) at 10 MHz. (Wang, Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 113602 (2019)). Further advances are sought.

                              Spectral brightness of 0.41 MHz/mW/nm for multimode and 0.025 MHz/mW/nm for single-mode coupling. (Jabir: Scientific Reports. 7, 12613 (2017)).

                              Higher brightness and multiple entanglement and heralded multiphoton entanglement and boson sampling sources. Sources that produce photon number states or Fock states are also sought for various applications including energy-resolving single-photon detector applications.

                              For energy-resolving single-photon detectors, current state-of-the-art multiplexing can achieve kilopixel detector arrays, which with advances in microwave SQUID multiplexing can be increased to megapixel arrays. (Morgan, Physics Today. 71, 8, 28 (2018)).

                              Energy-resolving detectors achieving 99% detection efficiency have been demonstrated in the NIR. Even higher quantum efficiency absorber structures are sought (either over narrow bands or broadband) compatible with transition-edge sensor (TES) detectors. Such ultra-high- (near-unity-) efficiency absorbing structures are sought in the ultraviolet, vis-IR, NIR, mid-infrared, far-infrared, and microwave.

                              Absolute detection efficiency measurements (without reference to calibration standards) using quantum light sources have achieved detection efficiency relative uncertainties of 0.1% level. Further reduction in detection efficiency uncertainty is sought to characterize ultra-high-efficiency absorber structures. Combining calibration method with the ability to tune over a range of different wavelengths is sought to characterize cryogenic single-photon detector's energy resolution and detection efficiency across the detection band of interest. For such applications, the natural linewidth of the source lines must be much less than the detector resolution (for NIR and higher photon energies, resolving powers R=E/ΔEFWHM=λ/ΔλFWHM much greater than 100 are required). Quantum sources operating at cryogenic temperatures are most suitable for cryogenic detector characterization and photon number resolving detection for wavelengths of order 1.6 μm and longer.

                              For quantum sensing applications that would involve a squeezed light source on an aerospace platform, investigation of low SWaP sources of squeezed light would be beneficial. From the literature, larger footprint sources of squeezed light have demonstrated 15 dB of squeezing (Vahlbruch, et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 11, 110801 (2016)). For a source smaller in footprint, there has been a recent demonstration of parametric downconversion in an optical parametric oscillator (OPO) resulting in 9.3 dB of squeezing (Arnbak, et al., Optics Express. 27, 26, 37877–37885 (2019)). Further improvement of the state-of-the-art light squeezing capability (i.e., >10 dB), while maintaining low SWaP parameters, is desired. 

                              Relevance / Science Traceability

                              Quantum technologies enable a new generation in sensitivities and performance and include low baseline interferometry and ultraprecise sensors with applications ranging from natural resource exploration and biomedical diagnostic to navigation.

                              Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)—Astronaut health monitoring.

                              Science Mission Directorate (SMD)—Earth, planetary, and astrophysics including imaging spectrometers on a chip across the electromagnetic spectrum from x-ray through the infrared.

                              Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD)—Game-changing technology for small spacecraft communication and navigation (optical communication, laser ranging, and gyroscopes).

                              Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)—Rapid increased interest.

                              Space Technology Roadmap 6.2.2, 13.1.3, 13.3.7, all sensors 6.4.1, 7.1.3, 10.4.1, 13.1.3, 13.4.3, 14.3.3.

                              References

                               

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                            • Lead Center: GSFC

                              Participating Center(s): GRC, LaRC

                              Solicitation Year: 2022

                              Scope Title Photonic Integrated Circuits Scope Description Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) generally integrate multiple lithographically defined photonic and electronic components and devices (e.g., lasers, detectors, waveguides/passive structures, modulators, electronic control, and optical… Read more>>

                              Scope Title

                              Photonic Integrated Circuits

                              Scope Description

                              Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) generally integrate multiple lithographically defined photonic and electronic components and devices (e.g., lasers, detectors, waveguides/passive structures, modulators, electronic control, and optical interconnects) on a single platform with nanometer-scale feature sizes. PICs can enable size, weight, power, and cost reductions and improve the performance of science instruments, subsystems, and components. PIC technologies are particularly critical for enabling small spacecraft platforms. Proposals are sought to develop PIC technologies including the design and fabrication of PICs that use nanometer-scale structures and optical metamaterials. On-chip generation, manipulation, and detection of light in a single-material system may not be practical or offer the best performance, so hybrid packaging of different material systems are also of interest. Often the full benefits of photonic integration are only realized when combined with integrated electronics. This subtopic solicits methods, technology, and systems for development and incorporation of active and passive circuit elements for PICs for:

                              • PICs for in situ and remote sensors—NASA application examples include but are not limited to lab-on-a-chip systems for landers, 3D mapping and spectroscopic lidar systems and components, and optical spectrometers. We are also interested in the integration of active and passive components on chip allowing for optical processing and manipulation of laser spectra (such as optical phase lock loops) with detector bandwidths >30 GHz. Monolithic integration is preferred when plausible, but it is understood that hybrid and heterogeneous integration is also useful.
                              • PICs for analog radiofrequency (RF) photonics applicationsNASA applications require new methods to reduce the size, weight, and power of passive and active RF, microwave, submillimeter, and terahertz signal processing. Example applications include terahertz spectroscopy, microwave radiometry, and hyperspectral microwave sounding needing integrated high-speed electro-optic modulators, optical filters with tens of GHz free-spectral-range and few GHz resolution. Ka-band operation of RF photonic up/down frequency converters and filters need wideband tunability (>10 GHz) and <1 GHz instantaneous bandwidth.

                              Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                              2 to 4

                              Primary Technology Taxonomy

                              Level 1

                              TX 08 Sensors and Instruments

                              Level 2

                              TX 08.1 Remote Sensing Instruments/Sensors

                               

                              Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                              •  Research 
                              •  Analysis 
                              •  Prototype 
                              •  Hardware

                               

                              Desired Deliverables Description

                              Phase I does not need to include a physical deliverable to the government but it is best if it includes a demonstration of feasibility through measurements. This can include extensive modeling, but a stronger proposal will have measured validation of models or designs.

                              Phase II should include prototype delivery to the government. (It is understood that this is a research effort and the prototype is a best-effort delivery where there is no penalty for missing performance goals.) The Phase II effort should be targeting a commercial product that could be sold to the government and/or industry.

                              State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                              There is a critical gap between discrete and bulk photonic components and waveguide multifunction PICs. The development of PICs permits size, weight, power, and cost reductions for spacecraft microprocessors, communication buses, processor buses, advanced data processing, and integrated optic science instrument optical systems, subsystems, and components. This is particularly critical for small spacecraft platforms.

                              Relevance / Science Traceability

                              Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)—Astronaut health monitoring.

                              Science Mission Directorate (SMD)—Earth, planetary, and astrophysics compact science instrument (e.g., optical and terahertz spectrometers and magnetometers on a chip, lidar systems and subsystems)

                              (See Earth Science and Planetary Science Decadal Surveys)

                              Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD)—Game-changing technology for small spacecraft navigation (e.g., laser ranging and gyroscopes).

                              Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)—Exponentially increasing interest in programs at universities and startups in integrated photonics.

                              Space Technology Roadmap 6.2.2, 13.1.3, 13.3.7, all sensors, 6.4.1, 7.1.3, 10.4.1, 13.1.3, 13.4.3, 14.3.3.

                              References

                              1. AIM integrated photonics: http://www.aimphotonics.com

                              2. Kish, Fred; Lal, Vikrant; Evans, Peter; et al.: System-on-Chip Photonic Integrated Circuits. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, vol. 24, issue 1, Article Number 6100120, Jan.-Feb. 2018.

                              3. Thylen, Lars; Wosinski, Lech: Integrated Photonics in the 21st Century. Photonics Research, vol. 2, issue 2, pp. 75-81, April 2014.

                              4. Chovan, Jozef; Uherek, Frantisek: Photonic Integrated Circuits for Communication Systems. Radioengineering, vol. 27, issue 2, pp. 357-363, June 2018.

                              5. Lin, Hongtao; Luo, Zhengqian; Gu, Tian; et al.: Mid-infrared Integrated Photonics on Silicon: A Perspective. Nanophotonics, vol. 7, issue 2, pp. 393-420, Feb. 2018.

                              6. de Valicourt, Guilhem; Chang, Chia-Ming; Eggleston, Michael S.; et al.: Photonic Integrated Circuit Based on Hybrid III-V/Silicon Integration. Journal of Lightwave Technology, vol. 36, issue 2, Special Issue, pp. 265-273, Jan. 15, 2018.

                              7. Munoz, Pascual; Mico, Gloria; Bru, Luis A.; et al.: Silicon Nitride Photonic Integration Platforms for Visible, Near-Infrared and Mid-Infrared Applications. Sensors, vol. 17, issue 9, Article Number 2088, Sept. 2017.

                              8. Fridlander, et al.: “Photonic Integrated Circuits for Precision Spectroscopy,” 2020 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, paper SF3O.3 (CLEO 2020).

                              9. Turner, et al.: “Ultra-Wideband Photonic Radiometer for Submillimeter Wavelength Remote Sensing,” International Topical Meeting on Microwave Photonics 2020.

                               

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                          • As NASA embarks on its mission for human exploration of the Moon as a step towards the human mission to Mars, taking full advantage of the potential offered by new and existing technologies will be critical to enabling sustainable Lunar and Mars presence. The Materials Research, Advanced Manufacturing, Structures and Assembly focus area seeks to address challenges such as lowering the cost of exploration, enabling efficient, reliable operations in extreme environments, and accelerating the integration of advanced tools and technologies into next generation structural designs.   

                            Improvement in all these areas is critical to future missions. Since this focus area covers a broad area of interests, specific topics and subtopics are chosen to enhance and/or fill gaps in the space and exploration technology development programs, as well as to complement other mission directorate materials, manufacturing, structures, and in-space assembly needs.

                            • T12.07Design Tools for Advanced Tailorable Composites

                                Lead Center: LaRC

                                Participating Center(s): MSFC

                                Solicitation Year: 2022

                                Scope Title Design Tools for Advanced Tailorable Composites Scope Description Affordable space exploration beyond the lower Earth orbit will require innovative lightweight structural concepts. Use of advanced tailorable composites or hybrid material systems can be one of the means of lightweighting… Read more>>

                                Scope Title

                                Design Tools for Advanced Tailorable Composites

                                Scope Description

                                Affordable space exploration beyond the lower Earth orbit will require innovative lightweight structural concepts. Use of advanced tailorable composites or hybrid material systems can be one of the means of lightweighting exploration vehicles, space habitats, and other space hardware or to enable challenging performance characteristics such as near-zero thermal dimensional sensitivity of telescope structures while retaining required strength and stiffness. Lightweighting and/or reducing thermal sensitivity stemming from application of novel material systems oftentimes fails to be fully exploited due to the lack of engineering tools enabling structural and thermal-structural tailoring to yield optimal designs. Consequently, highly tailorable material systems are commonly used to produce quasi-isotropic (“black aluminum”) or otherwise off-optimal designs.

                                By recognizing that achieving certain performance requirements might entail using not just layups of similar reinforcing and matrix materials but also the option of integrating dissimilar reinforcement and/or matrix materials resulting in a hybrid material system. This solicitation seeks to advance the design capabilities not only for layered composites but also for hybrid systems. To exploit the full potential of novel structural concepts, applicable composite and hybrid material systems can leverage a broad variety of materials, including but not limited to metallic alloys, short and/or continuous fiber reinforcements, and a variety of matrices (thermoset, thermoplastic, ceramics, and others).

                                A design tool development for composite and/or a hybrid material system and its demonstration on a relevant structure is sought. The design tool shall be developed leveraging the broadly adopted and accessible engineering codes, including but not limited to MSC.Patran/Nastran, Abaqus, Hypersizer, Hyperworks, LSOPT, etc. Development in a form of “wrapper” or “plug-in” codes is strongly preferred over re-developing functionalities that readily exist and can be incorporated within the design tool. Intuitive user-friendly code interfaces for the design definition setup are also highly desirable.

                                The ability to predict performance based on tailorable composite or a hybrid material system integrated in the most optimal way shall be demonstrated on a study case representative of a space exploration hardware, including but not limited to:

                                • Pressurized structures, e.g.,
                                  • Crew modules and habitats (including features such as hatches, access, and windows cutouts).
                                  • Cryogenic tanks.
                                • Dry and unpressurized structures, e.g.,
                                  • Thermally stable telescope arrays.
                                  • Truss structures, such as lander cages or landing gear struts.
                                  • Other smaller/discrete structural components or portions thereof, such as joints and mechanisms (e.g., brackets, hinges, clevises).

                                Examples of relevant applications and specific metrics sought include current vehicle architectures being considered for the return to the Moon missions. They are targeted to fit within a 15-ft-diameter shroud, thus tank and habitat maximum dimensions are likely on the order of this 15-ft-diameter constraint. For tanks, nominal operating pressures in the range of 40 to 65 psi are considered common. The internal pressures for habitats can be guided by the International Space Station's internal pressure of 14.7 psi. For thermally stable telescope array and similar applications, passive dimensional thermal stability is sought rather than a solution assisted by an active thermal control. A design based on the minimum 40 Msi elastic modulus in the principal direction and the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of order of 0.01x10-6 in./(in. ⁰F) over a range of 10 ⁰F is likely required. Tailored/optimized designs shall be manufacturable considering presently available fabrication techniques.

                                Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                                5 to 6

                                Primary Technology Taxonomy

                                Level 1

                                TX 12 Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems, and Manufacturing

                                Level 2

                                TX 12.2 Structures

                                Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                                  •  Analysis 
                                  •  Software 
                                  •  Research

                                Desired Deliverables Description

                                Phase I of the award shall deliver a proposed implementation of the design tool with a functioning code, however its capabilities can be truncated relative to the overall proposed development. The truncated code shall include enough capabilities to be able to produce a simplified demonstration case that would also constitute a part of the Phase I deliverable. Phase II deliverable shall include a releasable version of the design tool with the complete proposed functionality and a refined demonstration study case. For both Phase I and II developments, an open code architecture is of value such that the end users can gain insight into the implementation and possibly alter or add functionalities. From a practical standpoint, use of Python in conjunction with Abaqus implementation or PCL in conjunction with MSC.Patran/Nastran implementation might be considered examples of “open architectures.” Use of an existing design optimization tools, e.g., LSOPT, is also allowed and encouraged.

                                State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                                Present composite designs are typically limited to straight fiber arrangements and lamination stacking sequences resulting in quasi-isotropic material properties. No commercially available design tools exist to produce advanced highly tailorable designs with optimized load paths or minimized effective coefficient of thermal expansion.

                                Relevance / Science Traceability

                                Examples of potential uses include Space Technology Mission Directorate, Artemis/HLS programs, developers of air-launched systems (e.g., Generation Orbit Launch Services; Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and projects concerned with telescope structure development; Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate) next-generation airframe technology beyond "tube and wing" configurations (e.g., hybrid/blended wing body).

                                References

                                1. Guimaraes, T., Castro, S., Cesnik, C., Rade, D., Supersonic Flutter and Buckling Optimization of Tow-Steered Composite Plates, AIAA Journal, Vol. 57(1), 2019.

                                2. Singh, K., Kapania, R. K., Optimal Design of Tow-Steered Composite Laminates with Curvilinear Stiffeners, AIAA-2018-2243, AIAA SciTech Forum, Kissimmee, FL, 2018.

                                3. Antunes, N., Dardis, J., Grandine, T., Farmer, B., Hahn, G., Design Optimization of Short Fiber Composite Parts, AIAA-2020-0163, AIAA SciTech Forum, Orlando, FL, 2020.

                                4. Coyle, L., Knight, J., Pueyo, L., Arenberg, J., Bluth, M., et al., Large ultra-stable telescope system study, Proceedings of SPIE 11115, UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts IX, 111150R, September 2019; doi: 10.1117/12.2525396.

                                5. The LUVOIR (Large UV/Optical/Infrared Surveyor) Final Report, Section 11.2.2, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, August 2019. https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/luvoir/reports/

                                 

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                            • Ground processing technology development prepares the agency to test, process, launch, and recover the next generation of rockets and spacecraft in support of NASA's exploration objectives by developing the necessary ground systems, infrastructure, and operational approaches for terrestrial and off-planet surface systems.

                              This topic seeks innovative concepts and solutions for both addressing long-term ground processing and test complex operational challenges and driving down the cost of government and commercial access to space. Technology infusion and optimization of existing and future operational programs, while concurrently maintaining continued operations, are paramount for cost-effectiveness, safety assurance, and supportability.

                              A key aspect of NASA's approach to long-term sustainability and affordability is to make test, processing, and launch infrastructure available to commercial and other government entities, thereby distributing the fixed cost burden among multiple users and reducing the cost of access to space for the United States.

                              Unlike previous work focusing on a single kind of launch vehicles such as the Saturn V rocket or the Space Shuttle, NASA is preparing common infrastructure to support several different kinds of spacecraft and rockets that are in development. Products and systems devised at a NASA center could be used at other launch sites on earth and eventually on other planets or moons.

                              Specific emphasis to substantially reduce the costs and improve safety/reliability of NASA's test and launch operations includes the development of ground test and launch environment technology components, system-level ground test systems for advanced propulsion, autonomous control technologies for fault detection, isolation, and recovery, including autonomous propellant management, and advanced instrumentation technologies including Intelligent wireless sensor systems.

                              • T13.01Intelligent Sensor Systems

                                  Lead Center: SSC

                                  Solicitation Year: 2022

                                  Scope Title Advanced Instrumentation for Rocket Propulsion Testing Scope Description Rocket propulsion system development is enabled by rigorous ground testing to mitigate the propulsion system risks inherent in spaceflight. Test articles and facilities are highly instrumented to enable a… Read more>>

                                  Scope Title

                                  Advanced Instrumentation for Rocket Propulsion Testing

                                  Scope Description

                                  Rocket propulsion system development is enabled by rigorous ground testing to mitigate the propulsion system risks inherent in spaceflight. Test articles and facilities are highly instrumented to enable a comprehensive analysis of propulsion system performance. Advanced instrumentation has the potential for substantial reduction in time and cost of propulsion systems development, with substantially reduced operational costs and evolutionary improvements in ground, launch, and flight system operational robustness.

                                  Advanced instrumentation would provide a wireless, highly flexible instrumentation solution capable of measurement of heat flux, temperature, pressure, strain, and/or near-field acoustics. Temperature and pressure measurements must be acquired from within the facility mechanical systems or the rocket engine itself. These advanced instruments should function as a modular node in a sensor network, capable of performing some processing, gathering sensory information, and communicating with other connected nodes in the network. The collected sensor network must be capable of integration with data from conventional data acquisition systems adhering to strict calibration and timing standards to support static propulsion system testing standards. Synchronization with Inter-Range Instrumentation Group—Time Code Format B (IRIG-B) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceability is critical to propulsion test data analysis.

                                  Rocket propulsion test facilities also provide excellent testbeds for testing and using the innovative technologies for possible application beyond the static propulsion testing environment. These sensors would be capable of addressing multiple mission requirements for remote monitoring such as vehicle health monitoring in flight systems, autonomous vehicle operation, or instrumenting inaccessible measurement locations, all while eliminating cabling and auxiliary power. It is envisioned this advanced instrumentation would support sensing and control applications beyond those of propulsion testing. For example, inclusion of expert system or artificial intelligence technologies might provide great benefits for autonomous operations, health monitoring, or self-maintaining systems.

                                  This subtopic seeks to develop advanced wireless instrumentation capable of performing some processing, gathering sensory information and communicating with other connected nodes in the network. Sensor systems must  provide the following functionality:

                                  • Wireless acquisition and conversion to engineering units for quantifying heat flux, temperature, pressure, strain, and/or near-field acoustics such that it contributes to rocket engine system performance analysis within established standards for error and uncertainty.
                                  • Self-contained to collect information and relay measurements through various means by a sensor-web approach to provide a self-healing, autoconfiguring method of collecting data from multiple sensors, and relaying for integration with other acquired datasets.
                                  • Function reliably in extreme environments, including rapidly changing ranges of environmental conditions, such as those experienced in space. These ranges may be from extremely cold temperatures, such as cryogenic temperatures, to extremely high temperatures, such as those experienced near a rocket engine plume.
                                  • Capable of in-place calibrations with NIST traceability.
                                  • Collected data must be time-stamped to facilitate analysis with other collected datasets.
                                  • Transfer data in real time to other systems for monitoring and analysis.
                                  • Interface to flight-qualified sensor systems, which could be used for multivehicle use.
                                  • Determine the quality of the measurement and instrument state of health.

                                  This subtopic is specifically not interested in structural health monitoring applications; specifically, Fiber-Bragg-related sensors, which have been under development for a few decades. Those type of proposals will be considered outside of the scope for this subtopic.

                                  Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                                  3 to 6

                                  Primary Technology Taxonomy

                                  Level 1

                                  TX 13 Ground, Test, and Surface Systems

                                  Level 2

                                  TX 13.1 Infrastructure Optimization

                                  Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                                  •  Prototype 
                                  •  Hardware 
                                  •  Software

                                  Desired Deliverables Description

                                  For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility with a final report at 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.

                                  State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                                  Highly modular, remote sensors are of interest to many NASA tests and missions. Real-time data from sensor networks reduces risk and provides data for future design improvements. Wireless sensors offer a highly flexible solution for scientists and engineers to collect data remotely. They can be used for thermal, structural, and acoustic measurement of systems and subsystems and also provide emergency system halt instructions in the case of leaks, fire, or structural failure. Other examples of potential NASA applications include (1) measuring temperature, strain, voltage, and current from power storage and generation systems, (2) measuring pressure, strain, and temperature in pumps and pressure vessels, and (3) measuring strain in test structures and ground support equipment and vehicles, including high-risk deployables.

                                  There are many other applications that would benefit from increased real-time sensing in remote hard-to-test locations. For example, sensor networks on a vehicle body can give measurement of temperature, pressure, strain, and acoustics. This data is used in real time to determine safety margins and test anomalies. The data is also used post-test to correlate analytical models and optimize vehicle and test design. Because these sensors are small and low mass, they can be used for ground test and for flight. Sensor module miniaturization will further reduce size, mass, and cost.

                                  No existing wireless sensor network option meets NASA’s current needs for flexibility, size, mass, and resilience to extreme environments.

                                  Relevance / Science Traceability

                                  This subtopic is relevant to the development of liquid propulsion systems development and verification testing in support of the Human Exploration and Mission Operations Directorate. It supports all test programs at Stennis Space Center (SSC) and other propulsion system development centers, and potential advocates are the Rocket Propulsion Test (RPT) Program Office and all rocket propulsion test programs at SSC.

                                  References:

                                  1. Fernando Figueroa, Randy Holland, David Coote, "NASA Stennis Space Center integrated system health management test bed and development capabilities," Proc. SPIE 6222, Sensors for Propulsion Measurement Applications, 62220K (10 May 2006).
                                  2. J. Schmalzel; F. Figueroa; J. Morris; S. Mandayam; R. Polikar, "An architecture for intelligent systems based on smart sensors," IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement (Volume: 54, Issue: 4, Aug. 2005).
                                  3. S. Rahman, R. Gilbrech, R. Lightfoot, M. Dawson, "Overview of Rocket Propulsion Testing at NASA Stennis Space Center," NASA Technical Report SE-1999-11-00024-SSC.
                                  4. David J. Coote, Kevin P. Power, Harold P. Gerrish, Glen Doughty, "Review of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Ground Test Options," 51st AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum (AIAA 2015-3773).
                                  5. H. Ryan, W. Solano, R. Holland, W. Saint Cyr, S. Rahman, "A future vision of data acquisition: distributed sensing, processing, and health monitoring," IMTC 2001. Proceedings of the 18th IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference. Rediscovering Measurement in the Age of Informatics (Cat. No.01CH 37188).
                                  6. Propulsion Testing: Testing Affordably and Accurately at Any Life-cycle Phase, https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/propulsion_testing.pdf
                                  7. Overview of Rocket Propulsion Testing at NASA Stennis Space Center, https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20040053475.pdf
                                  8. The E-3 Test Facility at Stennis Space Center: Research and Development Testing for Cryogenic and Storable Propellant Combustion Systems,https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090026441.pdf
                                  9. Propulsion Test Data Acquisition and Control Systems (DACS),https://www.nasa.gov/centers/wstf/pdf/397001main_Prop_test_data_acq_cntl_sys_DACS_doc.pdf

                                   

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                              • This focus area includes tools and technologies that contribute to both the Advanced Air Vehicles Program (AAVP) and the Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP) encompassing technologies in all six Strategic Thrusts within the NASA Aeronautics Mission Directorate (ARMD). AAVP develops knowledge, technologies, tools, and innovative concepts to enable safe new aircraft that will fly faster, cleaner, and quieter and use fuel far more efficiently than in the past.   AAVP advanced, integrated technologies and capabilities improve vehicle performance and intrinsic safety by reducing fuel usage, noise, and emissions. Fuel efficiency and environmental factors will play an increasingly significant role as the aviation market grows in capacity. Partnering with industry, academia, and other government agencies, AAVP pursues mutually beneficial collaborations to leverage opportunities for effective technology transition. TACP encourages revolutionary concepts, creates the environment for researchers to experiment with new ideas, performs ground and small-scale flight tests, and drives rapid turnover into potential future concepts to enable aviation transformation. Research is organized to aggressively engage both the traditional aeronautics community and non-traditional partners. Although TACP focuses on sharply focused studies, the program provides flexibility for innovators to assess new-technology feasibility and provide the knowledge base for radical aeronautics advances.

                                • T15.04Full-Scale (2+ Passenger) Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) Scaling, Performance, Aerodynamics, and Acoustics Investigations

                                    Lead Center: AFRC

                                    Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, LaRC

                                    Solicitation Year: 2022

                                    Scope Title Full-Scale (2+ Passenger) Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) Scaling, Performance, Aerodynamics, and Acoustics Investigations Scope Description NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) laid out a Strategic Implementation Plan for aeronautical research aimed at… Read more>>

                                    Scope Title

                                    Full-Scale (2+ Passenger) Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) Scaling, Performance, Aerodynamics, and Acoustics Investigations

                                    Scope Description

                                    NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) laid out a Strategic Implementation Plan for aeronautical research aimed at the next 25 years and beyond. The documentation includes a set of Strategic Thrusts—research areas that NASA will invest in and guide. It encompasses a broad range of technologies to meet future needs of the aviation community, the nation, and the world for safe, efficient, flexible, and environmentally sustainable air transportation. Furthermore, the convergence of various technologies will also enable highly integrated electric air vehicles to be operated in domestic or international airspace. This subtopic supports ARMD’s Strategic Thrusts #1 (Safe, Efficient Growth in Global Operations), #3 (Ultra-Efficient Commercial Vehicles), and #4 (Safe, Quiet, and Affordable Vertical Lift Air Vehicles).

                                    Proposals are sought in the following areas: (1) design and execution of experiments to gather research-quality data to validate aerodynamic and acoustic modeling of full-scale, multirotor eVTOL aircraft, with an emphasis on rotor-rotor interactions and (2) development and validation of scaling methods for extending and applying the results of instrumented subscale model testing to full-scale applications. This solicitation does not seek proposals for designs or experiments that do not address full-scale eVTOL applications. Full-scale is defined as a payload capacity equivalent to two or more passengers, including any combination of pilots, passengers, or ballast.

                                    Proposals should address the following if applicable:

                                    (1) Clearly define the data that will be provided and how it will help NASA and the community accelerate the design cycle of full-scale eVTOL aircraft. Also define what data will be collected and data that will be considered proprietary. Data includes vehicle specifications, models, results, flight test data, and any other information relative to the work proposed.

                                    (2) If the proposal cannot address the full topic, please state a reasoning/justification.

                                    (3) Clearly propose a path to commercialization and include detail with regards to the expected products, data, stakeholders, and potential customers.

                                    Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                                    2 to 6

                                    Primary Technology Taxonomy

                                    Level 1

                                    TX 15 Flight Vehicle Systems

                                    Level 2

                                    TX 15.1 Aerosciences

                                    Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                                    •  Software 
                                    •  Hardware 
                                    •  Analysis 
                                    •  Research 
                                    •  Prototype

                                    Desired Deliverables Description

                                    Expected deliverables of Phase I awards may include but are not limited to:

                                    • Initial experiment test plans for gathering experimental results related to the aerodynamic and/or acoustic characteristics of a multirotor eVTOL aircraft, with an emphasis on interactions between rotors and between the rotors and the vehicle structure for either:
                                      • A full-scale flight vehicle.
                                      • A subscale vehicle with fully developed methods for scaling the results to full scale.
                                    • Expected results for the flight experiment using appropriate design and analysis tools.
                                    • Design (CAD, OpenVSP, etc.) and performance models for the vehicle used to generate the expected results.
                                    • Preliminary design of the instrumentation and data recording systems to be used for the experiment.

                                    It is recommended that awardee participate in kickoff, midterm, and final briefings as well as provide a final report.

                                    Expected deliverables of Phase II awards may include but are not limited to:

                                    • Experimental results that capture aerodynamic and/or acoustic characteristics of a multirotor eVTOL aircraft, with an emphasis on interactions between rotors and between the rotors and the vehicle structure for either:
                                      • A full-scale flight vehicle.
                                      • A subscale vehicle with results extrapolated to full scale.
                                    • Design (e.g., CAD, OpenVSP, etc.) and performance models for the experimental vehicle.
                                    • Experimental data along with associated as-run test plans and procedures.
                                    • Details on the instrumentation and data logging systems used to gather experimental data.
                                    • Comparisons between predicted and measured results.

                                    It is recommended that awardee participate in kickoff, midterm, and final briefings as well as provide a final report.

                                    State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                                    Integration of Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) (4+ rotors) systems into Advanced Air Mobility eVTOL aircraft involves multidisciplinary design, analysis, and optimization (MDAO) of several disciplines in aircraft technologies. These disciplines include aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, acoustics, and/or control in traditional aeronautics-related subjects. Addressing ARMD’s Strategic Thrust #1 (Safe, Efficient Growth in Global Operations), #3 (Ultra-Efficient Commercial Vehicles), and #4 (Safe, Quiet, and Affordable Vertical Lift Air Vehicles) innovative approaches in designing and analyzing highly integrated DEP eVTOL aircraft are needed to reduce the energy use, noise, emissions, and safety concerns. Due to the rapid advances in DEP-enabling technologies, current state-of-the-art design and analysis tools lack sufficient validation against full-scale eVTOL flight vehicles. This is especially true in the areas of aerodynamics and acoustics. 

                                    Relevance / Science Traceability

                                    This subtopic supports ARMD’s Strategic Thrusts #1 (Safe, Efficient Growth in Global Operations), #3 (Ultra-Efficient Commercial Vehicles), and #4 (Safe, Quiet, and Affordable Vertical Lift Air Vehicles). Specifically, the following ARMD program and projects are highly relevant.

                                    NASA/ARMD/Advanced Air Vehicles Program (AAVP):

                                    • Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology (RVLT) Project
                                    • Advanced Air Transport Technology (AATT) Project 
                                    • Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) Project 
                                    • Transformational Tools and Technologies (TTT) Project 
                                    • University Innovation (UI) Project 
                                    • Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign

                                    References

                                     

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                                • Digital Transformation is the strategic transformation of an organization's products, processes, and capabilities, driven and enabled by rapidly advancing and converging digital technologies, to dramatically enhance the organization's performance and efficiency. These advancing digital technologies include software, cloud computing, data management and analytics, artificial intelligence, mobile access, Internet of Things (IoT), and others. Their convergence is producing major transformations across industries - media and entertainment, retail, advertising, publishing, health care, travel, transportation, etc. Through digital transformation, organizations seek to gain or retain their competitive edge by becoming more aware of and responsive to both customer and employee interests, more agile in testing and implementing new approaches, and more innovative and prescient in pioneering the next wave of products and services.

                                  Central to the success of digital transformation is the pervasive (and often automated) collection and use of data about everything that impacts success--the organization's infrastructure, processes, activities, competencies, products and services, customers, partners, industry, and so on. Organizations can mine this massive, complex, and often unstructured data to develop accurate insights into how to improve organizational performance and efficiency. An organization may also use this data to build models of systems to refine operations, or to train machine learning algorithms to automate processes, provide recommendations, or enhance customer experiences. The digital technologies listed above are essential to generate, collect, transform, mine, analyze, and utilize this data across the enterprise. NASA is undertaking a digital transformation journey to enhance mission success and impact. NASA is engaging digital transformation to:

                                    • Accelerate innovation and knowledge growth
                                    • Support data-informed decisions
                                    • Achieve more complex missions
                                    • Enable pervasive collaboration
                                    • Enhance cost-effectiveness
                                    • Build a digital-savvy workforce

                                  Through this focus area, NASA is seeking to explore and develop technologies that are essential for the Agency's successful digital transformation. Specific innovations being sought in this solicitation are:

                                    • Model-based enterprise, which seeks to create digital models or twins of NASA’s enterprise, to enable decision-making with increased insight and velocity primarily for supporting agency operations and evolving infrastructure needs.
                                    • Hyper-realistic Extended Reality (XR) real time visualization technologies for Lunar and subsequent Mars Extravehicular Activity (EVA) surface operations and training with extensibility to similar agency needs.

                                  Details about these applications of digital transformation technologies are in the respective subtopic descriptions.

                                  • T11.05Model-Based Enterprise

                                      Lead Center: ARC

                                      Participating Center(s): HQ, LaRC, MSFC, SSC

                                      Solicitation Year: 2022

                                      Scope Title Model-Based Enterprise, Digitally Interacting Comprehensive Frameworks and Models, and Automated Decision Making for Agency Operations Scope Description Model-based enterprise targets the use of models in any function, from engineering to safety to finance to facilities and more (i.e.,… Read more>>

                                      Scope Title

                                      Model-Based Enterprise, Digitally Interacting Comprehensive Frameworks and Models, and Automated Decision Making for Agency Operations

                                      Scope Description

                                      Model-based enterprise targets the use of models in any function, from engineering to safety to finance to facilities and more (i.e., Model-Based "Anything" or MBx), to enable high-complexity decision making embodying agile processes to achieve efficiency, accuracy, confidence, and adaptability in support of NASA’s mission, programmatic development, and institutional activities.    

                                      Consider an example of how Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is increasing in importance to future projects and programs as demonstrated by the strategic thrust towards "Model-Based Anything" of the Digital Transformation Initiative. At the same time, the nature of work at NASA is increasingly distributed with a workforce that may continue partial telework even after pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed.  

                                      As previously indicated, the Agency will need to focus on efforts associated with the new changes in the "Future of Work" at NASA (reference provided in the section below). NASA will likely have fewer people working in buildings post-pandemic, and such buildings may be used differently than at present because many people will be working offsite and less frequently working in NASA facilities—except for special activities and needs. We will need to restructure our present older facilities for this type of change and/or plan to design differently for any new facilities, and we will need models for that.

                                      NASA is seeking specific innovative, transformational, model-based solutions in the area of “Digital Twin” Institutional Management of Health/Automated Decision Support of Agency Facilities, which represents an opportunity to make revolutionary changes in how our Agency conducts business by investing in nascent technologies. The Agency’s newly minted Digital Transformation Office is interested in how to help reposition and accelerate the modernization of digital systems that support modern approaches to managing the Agency's aging infrastructure. Recent initiatives in smart city technologies focus on condition-based/preventive maintenance, smart buildings, and smart lighting, which will address pressing Agency facility needs.

                                      The STTR vehicle offers the small business community an opportunity to have a hand in this process towards repositioning and accelerating the modernization of digital systems supporting the Agency's aging infrastructure to:

                                        • Save energy costs due to water and electricity usage that is poorly measured and managed.
                                        • Enable the deployment of nascent technological trends in data-driven decision making and support tools based upon statistical methods to help streamline and improve the efficiency of facility operations and maintenance activities.
                                        • Determine how well technologies using techniques from the previous bullet can be broadly deployed across NASA. 
                                        • Enabling new agency-centric insight and management capabilities (building upon center models) to meet evolving future-of-work and other  challenges in a more proactive and seamless manner.

                                      At the conclusion of a Phase II effort, we anticipate that offerors should deliver a means to develop a model that is capable of context switching among various categorical factors established according to various levels of granularity including but not limited to the following: independent facility needs, facility inventory lifecycle balancing needs, workforce needs, etc.

                                      For example, such a model should use past years' data to predict the condition of certain facility systems, and which ones should be invested in first for repairs to improve the return on investment or improve the overall condition and reliability of the facility. A deferred maintenance assessment is conducted at NASA every year or on a 2 to 3 year cycle, where the inventory of buildings at every center is considered, for 27 systems total. A comparison of the current condition of those systems to previous years for each of those building systems is conducted. At the moment, there is a (sometimes categorical, sometimes numerical) mission dependency index (MDI) that comprises six factors (ref. 7), which is used to decide the highest priority for investments.

                                      By the end of Phase II, offerors should have developed a model capable of identifying which of these 27 systems to invest in to increase the overall MDI. For example, given a specific building and the relative condition of its 27 systems, the model should make a recommendation on which systems to focus on for the highest return on investment (ROI) and fastest payback, as not all systems will feasibly be invested in for concurrent improvements.

                                      The model should also be capable of the following:

                                      1. Identifying an optimal sequence of investments for which systems and which projects should be undertaken first.
                                      2. Be scalable and be capable of prioritizing project(s) by looking at 27 systems to identify the best investments based on a large number of buildings (e.g., 100 or more). 
                                      3. Capable of identifying macro-level systemic issues throughout the entire facility inventory from independent predictions made at the local level.

                                      Several years worth of data (potentially up to 10 years) can be supplied to support the development of these enhanced features of such a model as well.  

                                      However, it should be noted that it is easier to provide data for specific facility-level improvements rather than for facility inventory optimization due to the diverse and nontraditional set of facility functions that NASA as an Agency is challenged with due to unique mission needs and requirements. Data to support this type of macro-level analysis is not readily available, e.g., on the quality of the spaces.

                                      However, at the local level, there are a limited number of high-performance modern facilities in the Agency that may offer very granular levels of detail to inform the development of a model that could effectively be used to address post-pandemic facility layout optimization needs, e.g., due to social distancing requirements, etc.

                                      Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                                      4 to 6

                                      Primary Technology Taxonomy

                                      Level 1

                                      TX 11 Software, Modeling, Simulation, and Information Processing

                                      Level 2

                                      TX 11.X Other Software, Modeling, Simulation, and Information Processing

                                      Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                                        •  Research 
                                        •  Analysis 
                                        •  Prototype 
                                        •  Hardware 
                                        •  Software

                                      Desired Deliverables Description

                                      Phase I Deliverables—Reports identifying use cases, proposed tool views/capabilities, identification of NASA or industry leveraging and/or integration opportunities, test data from proof-of-concept studies, and designs for Phase II.

                                      Phase II Deliverables—Delivery of models/tools/platform prototypes that demonstrate capabilities or performance over the range of NASA target areas identified in use cases. Working integrated software framework capable of direct compatibility with existing programmatic tools.

                                      State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                                      Outside of NASA, industry is rapidly advancing Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) tools and scaling them to larger, more complex development activities. Industry sees scaling as a natural extension of their ongoing digitization efforts. These scaling and extension efforts will result in reusable, validated libraries containing models, model fragments, patterns, contextualized data, etc. They will enable the ability to build upon, transform, and synthesize new concepts and missions, which has great attraction to both industry and government alike. Real-time collaboration and refinement of these validated libraries into either “single source” or “authoritative sources” of truth provide further appeal as usable knowledge can be pulled together much more quickly from a far wider breadth of available knowledge than was ever available before.

                                      One example of industry applying MB/MBe/MBSE is through Digital Thread™, a communication framework that helps facilitate an integrated view and connected data flow of the product's data throughout its lifecycle. In other words, it helps deliver the right information at the right time and at the right place. Creating an “identical” copy (sometimes referred to as a "digital twin") is another use, a digital replica of potential and actual physical assets, processes, people, places, systems, and devices that can be used for various purposes. These twins are used to conduct virtual cost/technical trade studies, virtual testing, virtual qualification, etc., that are made possible through an integrated model-based network. Given the rise of MBSE in industry, NASA will need to keep pace in order to continue to communicate with industry, manage and monitor supply chain activities, and continue to provide leadership in spaceflight development.

                                      Within NASA, our organization is faced with increasingly complex problems that require better and timelier integration and synthesis of both models and larger sets of data, not only in the systems engineering or MBSE realm, but in the broader MB Institution, MB Mission Management, and MB Enterprise Architecture. NASA is challenged to sift through and pull out the particular pieces of information needed for specific functions, as well as to ensure requirements are traced into designs, tested, and delivered; thus, confirming that the Agency gets what it has paid for. On a broader cross-agency scale, we need to ensure that needed information is available to support critical decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner. All of these challenges are addressed through the benefits of model-based approaches. Practices such as reusability, common sources of data, and validated libraries of authoritative information become the norm, not the exception, using an integrated, model-based environment. This model-based environment will contribute to a diverse, distributed business model encompassing multicenter and government-industry partnerships as the normal way of doing business.

                                      Relevance / Science Traceability

                                      MBx solutions can benefit all NASA Mission Directorates and functional organizations. NASA activities could be a dramatically more efficient and lower risk through MBx support of more automated creation, execution, and completion verification of important agreements, such as international, supply chain, or data use.

                                      1. References:

                                        1. Quality Systems - Aerospace - Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing:https://www.sae.org/standards/content/as9100/
                                        2. Facilities and Real Estate Division (FRED):https://www.nasa.gov/offices/FRED
                                        3. Object Management Group (OMG):https://www.omg.org/
                                        4. Open Model-Based Engineering Environment (OpenMBEE): https://www.openmbee.org/
                                        5. Formal Methods in Resilient Systems Design using a Flexible Contract Approach:https://sercuarc.org/project/?id=64&project=Formal+Methods+in+Resilient+Systems+Design+using+a+Flexible+Contract+Approach
                                        6. The Future of Work: https://blogs.nasa.gov/futureofwork/
                                        7. The NASA Mission Dependency Index (MDI) User Guide: Identifying the Relative Importance of Facilities: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiV6Yyd-t7yAhW4KVkFHYFhBd4QFnoECAcQAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nasa.gov%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fatoms%2Ffiles%2Fnasa_mdi_user_guide-rev_november_2010.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2vLJ6_LZSqsakQoLjpoemd
                                        8. Future of Work Trends and Insights Report, Talent Strategy and Engagement Division, Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer, DRAFT 23 AUGUST 2018.
                                        9. Keady, R.A.: Equipment Inventories for Owners and Facility Managers: Standards, Strategies, and Best Practices. Wiley Press, 2013.
                                        10. GSA's Emerging Building Technologies Program: https://www.gsa.gov/governmentwide-initiatives/sustainability/emerging-building-technologies
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                                    • T11.06Extended Reality (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, and Hybrid Reality)

                                        Lead Center: JSC

                                        Participating Center(s): GSFC, KSC

                                        Solicitation Year: 2022

                                        Scope Title Extended Reality (XR) Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Surface Operations and Training Technologies Scope Description Future NASA lunar missions will last much longer, be more complex, and face more challenges and hazards than were faced during the Apollo missions. These new missions will… Read more>>

                                        Scope Title

                                        Extended Reality (XR) Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Surface Operations and Training Technologies

                                        Scope Description

                                        Future NASA lunar missions will last much longer, be more complex, and face more challenges and hazards than were faced during the Apollo missions. These new missions will require that astronauts have the very best training and real-time operations support tools possible because a single error during task execution can have dire consequences in the hazardous lunar environment. 

                                        Training for lunar surface EVA during the Apollo era required the use of physical models in labs, large hangars, or outdoor facilities. These support modalities had inherent detractors such as the background environments that included observers, trainers, cameras, and other objects. These detractors reduced the immersiveness and overall efficacy of the system. Studies show that the more “real” a training environment is, the better the training is received. This is because realism improves “muscle memory,” which is critically important, especially in hazardous environments. XR systems can be made that mitigate the distractors posed by observers, trainers, background visuals, etc., which was not possible in Apollo-era environments. The virtual environments that can be created are so “lifelike” that it can be extremely difficult to determine when someone is looking at a photograph of a real environment or a screen captured from a digitally created scene. XR systems also allow for training to take place that is typically too dangerous (e.g., evacuation scenarios that include fire, smoke, or other dangerous chemicals), too costly (buildup of an entire habitat environment with all their subsystems), not physically possible (e.g., incorporation of large-scale environments in a simulated lunar/Mars environment), and a system that is easily and much more cost effective to reconfigure for different mission scenarios (i.e., it is easier, quicker, and less expensive to modify digital content than to create or modify physical mockups or other physical components). 

                                        The objective of this subtopic is to develop and mature XR technologies related to EVA activities being used for lunar and subsequent Mars surface operations. NASA’s current plans are to have boots on the surface of the Moon in late 2024. The initial lunar missions will be short in duration and provide limited objectives related to science and exploration and instead focus on the checkout of core vehicle systems. Current XR capabilities will provide support for these missions, but the scope of this subtopic will focus on the technologies that can support subsequent missions where the mission duration is longer and where science, exploration, and lunar infrastructure development are higher in priority. 

                                        The three key technology areas of interest for this subtopic include:

                                        • A comprehensive hyperrealistic XR real-time visualization system that includes multiresolution terrain, where any location astronauts carry out activities would have highly detailed resolution terrain (centimeter or lower resolution), and areas where astronauts will not carry out activities, will have adequate resolution to provide the appropriate contextual situational awareness. Also, the system should have photorealistic and interactive representative geological features (e.g., rocks, soil, cliff faces, lava tubes, etc.) incorporated, photorealistic avatars of astronauts wearing representative space suits that are properly rigged for motion capture/animation, and the assets needed to carry out the missions in the environment (e.g., habitats, landers, rovers, instruments, tools, etc.). Furthermore, the system should allow observers to join the digital environment virtually from a remote location and be able to "tie" their viewpoint to the astronaut's viewpoint or to any location in the scene. The appropriate physics should be adhered to by all the content in the environment.
                                        • High-precision, reliable tracking—This includes multiple-room-based tracking that can provide the geolocation (and object registration) of the physical objects being used. The system must be able to track physical objects that may be part of a larger system (e.g., instruments on a rack) and thus have the ability to overcome limited line-of-sight issues with the external space. Also, tracking of the hands/fingers accurately and reliably is important. 
                                        • The system should allow for a real-time two-person redirected walking capability that allows two individuals to walk around in a very large virtual reality (VR) digitally created terrain environment, while physically present in a small conference-room-sized environment. The system should also allow the astronauts to walk around the environment without colliding.

                                        Although the context of the technologies listed are focused on their use for lunar and subsequent Mars surface EVA activities, these technologies are crosscutting in nature and have applications in many other areas across NASA.

                                        Expected TRL or TRL Range at completion of the Project

                                        3 to 6

                                        Primary Technology Taxonomy

                                        Level 1

                                        TX 11 Software, Modeling, Simulation, and Information Processing

                                        Level 2

                                        TX 11.3 Simulation

                                        Desired Deliverables of Phase I and Phase II

                                        •  Research 
                                        •  Analysis 
                                        •  Prototype 
                                        •  Hardware 
                                        •  Software

                                        Desired Deliverables Description

                                        Phase I awards will be expected to develop theoretical frameworks, algorithms, and demonstrate feasibility (TRL 3) of the overall system (both software and hardware). Phase II awards will be expected to demonstrate the capabilities with the development of a prototype system that includes all the necessary hardware and software elements (TRL 6).

                                        As appropriate for the phase of the award, Phases I and II should include all the algorithms and research results clearly depicting metrics and performance of the developed technology in comparison to state of the art (SOA). Software implementation of the developed solution along with the simulation platform must be included as a deliverable.

                                        State of the Art and Critical Gaps

                                        Video game programmers and computer modeling artists are currently leading the industry in SOA for hyperrealistics, real-time VR environment development. Applying these concepts, along with human-computer interface methods to areas outside of the video game industry is known as “gamification.” New gamification concepts are increasing the realism, immersion, and ways that users can interact with the XR systems. Companies like NVIDIA, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and others are developing XR capabilities that are pushing the boundaries on what is possible in XR across the spectrum, but small companies are also making significant contributions to many areas and finding innovative solutions for XR needs and gaps. Although work has been expended in industry to address several XR challenges, there is quite a bit of work left to develop consistent, reliable, and robust solutions that address specific gaps related to the XR high-interest areas for this subtopic that include: 

                                        • Redirected walking (RW)—RW has been implemented successfully for large physical environments for one individual in the scene. Research papers and concepts have been published that show how one could approach the development of a redirectly walking system for smaller spaces. Furthermore, there is published research related for the development of a system that can have two individuals in the scene while wearing a VR head-mounted display (HMD) and adjusting the visuals so that the individuals do not run into each other. Successfully implementation of the research and concepts is required. 
                                        • Real-time hyperrealistic rendering of large virtual environments that includes a high level of detail terrains (appropriate details for surface operations) and object models (instruments, tools, facilities, etc.). 
                                        • Highly accurate torso, finger, hand, and object tracking for multiple rooms, which includes tracking of objects that may have limited visibility with the exterior environment.
                                        • Novel human-computer interface methods.

                                        Relevance / Science Traceability

                                        XR technologies can facilitate many missions, including those related to human space exploration. The technology can be used during the planning, training, and operations support phase. The Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), and Science Mission Directorate (SMD), Artemis, and Gateway programs could benefit from this technology for various missions. Furthermore, the crosscutting nature of XR technologies allows it to support all of NASA’s Directorates.

                                        https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/index.html

                                        https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/home/index.html

                                        https://science.nasa.gov/

                                        https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/

                                        https://www.nasa.gov/gateway

                                        References:

                                        1. Before Going to the Moon, Apollo 11 Astronauts Trained at These Five Sites: From Arizona to Hawaii, these landscapes—similar in ways to the surface of the moon—were critical training grounds for the crew:  https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/going-moon-apollo-11-astronauts-trained-these-five-sites-180972452/
                                        2. NASA Tests Mixed Reality, Scientific Know-How, and Mission Operations for Exploration:  https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/analog-missions-mixed-reality
                                        3. The Past, Present and Future of XR for Space Exploration:  http://www.modsimworld.org/papers/2019/MODSIM_2019_paper_43.pdf
                                        4. See Photos of How Astronauts Trained for the Apollo Moon Missions:  https://www.history.com/news/moon-landing-apollo-11-training-photos
                                        5. How To Effectively Use XR Training In High-Risk Industries: 4 Examples:  https://roundtablelearning.com/how-to-effectively-use-xr-training-in-high-risk-industries/
                                        6. Training for space: Astronaut training and mission preparation:  https://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/160410main_space_training_fact_sheet.pdf
                                        7. Towards Virtual Reality Infinite Walking: Dynamic Saccadic Redirection:  https://research.nvidia.com/publication/2018-08_Towards-Virtual-Reality
                                        8. Virtual and Augmented Reality: 15 Years of Research on Redirected Walking in Immersive Virtual Environments:  https://www.cs.purdue.edu/cgvlab/courses/490590VR/notes/VRLocomotion/15YearsOfRedirectedWalking.pdf
                                        9. An Immersive Multi-User Virtual Reality for Emergency Simulation Training: Usability Study:https://www.immersivelearning.news/tag/multi-user/

                                         

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