Zephyr proposes to create Pelican, a radiation-tolerant computational storage device. This storage device provides high-capacity solid state storage through the use of 3D-NAND technology and a custom flash-controller implementation. Pelican is designed from the ground up to mitigate the adverse effects of radiation. In addition, Pelican will provide onboard compute resources attached to the flash memory to greatly accelerate IO intensive workloads by co-locating them with the storage. This allows for the generation of data products on the storage device itself, reducing processing time and effectively increasing the bandwidth between Pelican and a host device. The complete storage device will also simplify integration by using a modern specification from the Enterprise & Datacenter SSD Form Factor Working Group (ESDFF); E1.S. This specification uses the computation industry standard Non-volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol over a Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) Interface. Storage capacity in the first version will be at least 2 TB of usable space. This is not raw capacity, but instead accounts for the redundancy and overprovisioning required to meet reliability requirements. Future versions of the product will increase the capacity to 6 TB and beyond.
With the advent of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications growing in the last decade, many aspects of NLP and AI are ready to be applied to new problems in new domains. This SBIR effort specifically merges NLP and AI technologies in a system that is designed to ensure aviation systems safety. A combination of speech analytics, voice-to-text conversion, intent inference, and anomaly detection are implemented to form a real-time monitoring of system safety.
This effort addresses In-Time System-Wide Safety Assurance (ISSA) objectives of NASA’s Airspace Operations and Safety Program (AOSP) System Wide Safety (SWS) Project:
Airline dispatcher positions will benefit from this technology by providing real-time monitoring of pilot-controller dialog and conformance to the controller directives. Non-conformance can be immediately notified to airline dispatchers as a safety net.
The Interdisciplinary Consulting Corporation (IC2) proposes to develop an ultra-low-profile, ultra-smooth-surface, robust, real-time wall shear stress sensing system using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology that can provide quantitative skin friction measurements during flight tests. The goal of this research is to advance IC2’s current capacitive wall shear stress sensor technology that is capable of making quantifiable mean and fluctuating skin friction measurements in controlled wind tunnels, and allow them to be used in harsh, subsonic flight-test environments. Such a transducer would be the first of its kind and will provide information that characterizes complex flow fields, leading to a better understanding of the fluidic phenomena in real-world applications as well as providing a way of validating computational fluid dynamics simulations. The newly designed sensor will feature more robust geometries, sensor bump stops to minimize debris-impact damage, and a protective film coating that prevents moisture, debris collection, and structural damage. Improved electronics will digitize the device signal in the sensor head, replacing the bulky and expensive multi-conductor analog cabling currently used with inexpensive micro-digital cabling - this eliminates the remote signal-conditioning electronics, which will decrease the effort and cost of sensor installation on a flight-test aircraft. The new electronics will also measure and compensate for changes in temperature and vibrations encountered during flight and will provide its calibration data to the user digitally through a TEDS (Transducer Electronic Data Sheet) interface.
The proposed instrumentation technology has the potential to be usable in multiple NASA flight-test facilities, as well as implemented across government-owned, industry, and academic institution test facilities. The target market is real-time shear stress measurement instrumentation for flight test within test facilities, including the Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Edwards Flight Test Range Complex.
Real-time quantitative measurement of mean and fluctuating wall shear stress is not currently possible with existing technologies. Government agencies (DoD, DARPA) and industry manufacturers (e.g., Boeing, Lockheed, GE) have similar needs to NASA and are limited by the lack of accurate wall shear stress measurement capabilities in flight-test environments.
Lunar Resources, America’s leading space industrial company and the corporate spin-out of NASA’s Wake Shield Facility (WSF) program propose to NASA a novel 3D printing system optimized for the lunar environment. The system is an innovative combination of unique mass control in an ultra-energy-efficient pulsed power printing head to perform direct additive manufacturing of lunar regolith without any reagents. Together this new technology enables additive manufacture of lunar structures from lunar regolith and in-situ derivative materials by printing from any direction to make structures with geometries and complexity not before possible on the Moon.
The innovation the team proposes to develop as part of this NASA SBIR Phase I effort includes bulk manufacturing of lunar regolith at low power input levels while expanding lunar manufacturing design options to complex geometries. Specific NASA applications including manufacturing large-scale complex structures from lunar regolith and derived materials bsuch as landing pads, habitats, roads, walls, shields, berms, and beams but
The proposed innovation can be utilized to produce commercial infrastructure on the Moon such as landing pads, bridges, buildings and other complex lunar surface structures. As well be modified for in-space additive manufacturing applications.
For this Phase I SBIR, OffWorld will deliver a conceptual design and tech demo that leverages our proven, rugged terrestrial robotic mining capabilities to develop a viable solution to extract icy regolith from beneath the dry overburden on the lunar surface. Our proposed innovation is distinguished by its heritage as an evolution of our existing, durable modular mining platform and associated machine learning framework.
The proposed Phase I project will:
OffWorld's lunar surface excavation approach (the proposed innovation) has several NASA applications. All applications are a result of the proposed innovation being a point solution, directly addressing a critical NASA need. These NASA applications include: ISRU, lunar surface overburden penetration, propellant production, propellant depot construction, lunar surface habitat development, landing pad development, and all other lunar surface related activities that require lunar regolith movement and excavation.
The management team of OffWorld has been in discussions with commercial entities that have complementary missions to NASA's. These commercial companies, like Astrobotic and Masten, have funded lunar programs which will require: lunar propellant, landing pads, propellant depots, and other surface infrastructure requiring robust lunar surface excavation capability.
In this Phase I program, Kyma Technologies will advance the state of the art in kV-class Schottky barrier diode devices utilizing GaN materials and domestically produced, chemically pure halide vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE)-derived epilayers and study radiation effects in these exciting new devices which are poised to offer improvements in size, weight, and efficiency over devices prepared from other wide-bandgap semiconductor materials.
Applications for NASA include kilowatt-class power distribution systems for space vehicles and future lunar or Martian habitats. Additionally, power systems with reduced energy losses for remote sensing instruments or sensors for use in Saturn missions, Jovian moon missions, Venus missions, and deep space exploration are potential applications.
Applications outside of NASA include industrial motor drives, PV inverters, hybrid and electric vehicles, and inverters for wind turbines.
Nuclear electric propulsion systems provide a variety of benefits including increased science payload, reduced flight times and longer mission lifetimes. These advantages enable a wide range of missions such as manned missions to Mars, unmanned missions to the outer planets and deep-space. The thermal management system linking the reactor to the hot end of the power conversion system must be efficient, lightweight and reliable. These requirements become more challenging as the total power scales to the megawatt level.
In this SBIR program, Advanced Cooling Technologies and USNC-Tech will develop a highly reliable, efficient and lightweight thermal management system for the hot end of the power generation system for nuclear electric propulsion. A high-power two-phase heat transfer system will be used to transport thermal energy, at the megawatt scale, to the hot end of the power conversion unit. The proposed system is passive and highly reliable with built-in redundancy.
The thermal management technology proposed here is relevant to several areas of NASA’s Technology Roadmap, including “Power for In-Space Propulsion”, “Fission Space Power and Energy Storage” and “Heat Transport for Thermal Control Systems”. The system will benefit many space-based fission power systems such as nuclear electric propulsion and power generation on the lunar and Martian surface.
The proposed system is capable of transporting a significant amount of thermal energy from a nuclear reactor to a power conversion system. In addition to space-based applications, the thermal management system is relevant to small modular and micro nuclear reactors. Small reactors have several advantages including reduced capital investment, reduced construction time and scalability.
Recording spatial and spectral content has been the traditional domain of hyperspectral cameras. They produce very large datasets that require significant storage, transmission and processing capabilities. Despite the great usefulness of this information, they are captured in a very inefficient way; in many important problems, only a tiny subspace of the signal is necessary to produce the corresponding results. That is the case of classification or target detection problems. Using hyperspectral data with state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms (such as deep neural networks) has been a considerable challenge due to the sheer data sizes, immense hardware requirements and long training cycles.
Our company has developed a technology that overcomes these hurdles. Our system captures spatio-spectral content in a compact, information-rich, monochrome image, termed diffractogram. They can be used directly for inferencing, i.e., target detection and classification. This is achieved via optimally designed nanofabricated, diffractive-filter arrays (DFA) integrated into an existing sensors (FPAs).
Compared to traditional approaches, we have identified strengths that can be exploited for a class of applications:
Detecting lighthing optically from space typically focuses on the single spectral signature at 777.3nm. It came to our attention from conversations with NASA experts Dr. Patrick Gatlin and Dr. Mason Quick that our technology had great potential to improve on the current approach since it can observe other spectral bands simultaneously and efficiently, resulting in an improved detection rate. Moreover, the system can be used for other applications that use space hyperspectral data such as vegetation monitoring, detection of algal blooms, etc.
Despite their usefulness and applicability in virtually every sector, hyperspectral sensors have not attained a wider adoption primarily due to two obstacles: 1) a very high price tag and 2) onerous data requirements. We offer significant reductions (at least 10x) in both, besides other advantages. We are developing a product that aims to satisfy the needs of that untapped market.
It is a strategic thrust of the NASA ARMD to “realize revolutionary improvements in economics and environmental performance for subsonic transports with opportunities to transition to alternative propulsion and energy.” To this end, JetZero Inc. has introduced the Ascent 2600, a novel zero emission blended wing body (BWB) commercial transport concept, to address this need. A key technology for this vehicle is an innovative landing gear concept, the pivot piston, that facilitates takeoff and landings without the need for high lift devices and enables entry into the single aisle transport market. In NASA SBIR Topic A1.01 a critical gap has been identified wherein “the use of lightweight flexible structures, the development of new airframes (truss-braced wings, blended-wing bodies, etc.), and the intentional exploitation of aeroelastic response phenomena require a comprehensive understanding of the aeroelasticity involved if they are to succeed.” This is certainly a recognized truth for the Ascent 2600 BWB, which will require innovative aeroelastic suppression methods to ensure desired ride qualities and safe operations for passengers that are no longer distributed along a relatively narrow tube. To this end a group of JetZero collaborators led by Systems Technology, Inc. (STI) propose the Active Control for Environmental disturbances and Structural interactions (ACES) system that will introduce novel active control techniques and will a feature a unique blend of the available wing, kink, and body control surfaces to mitigate undesirable aeroelastic interactions. Feasibility of ACES in Phase I will be demonstrated for the challenging gust load alleviation problem using the Ascent 2600 configuration, while in Phase II a broader range of aeroelastic problems including flutter suppression will be addressed with the effectiveness of ACES ultimately demonstrated in flight using the 13.5% dynamically scaled Pathfinder vehicle.
This proposal directly addresses NASA ARMD Strategic Thrust 3 – Ultra Efficient Subsonic Transport. The Ascent 2600 zero emission BWB meets the 2025-2035 stated goal that “Aircraft meet economic demands of airlines and the public with revolutionary improvements in community noise and energy efficiency to achieve fleet-level carbon neutral growth relative to 2005.” The ACES system will utilize active control technology to mitigate the aeroelastic challenges associated with the BWB design including gust load alleviation and flutter suppression.
The target commercial market for the ACES system is the single aisle commercial transport market for which JetZero’s Ascent 2600 provides a natural market entry point. The single-aisle segment flies about 50% of all passenger-miles and consumes more than 50% of aviation fuel. The introduction of a new, highly efficient transport in this category provides the greatest environmental benefit.
In preparation for future Lunar and Martian surface operations, NASA is seeking viable methods of storing energy captured by solar panels for use in times of limited solar energy availability. Currently used Li-ion batteries, while sufficient for short-term energy discharge cycles, are not optimal for the Moon’s 29.5 day diurnal period as their energy storage capacity scales linearly with system mass.
Regenerative Fuel Cells (RFCs) offer an alternative method for storing electrical energy with more favorable scaling metrics, combining electrolyzers (split water into H2 and O2 gas in times of energy surplus) with fuel cells (generate energy during energy deficits by recombining gases into water). RFCs have a mass advantage over batteries for Lunar operations, with energy densities of 400 to 550 Wh/kg.
PEM electrolyzers produce saturated gases which, if the temperature drops below dew point, may result in condensation that can freeze and damage fluidic connections in the system. Thus, any solution that incorporates RFCs requires a dedicated dehumidification subsystem.
To meet this challenge, Lynntech proposes a two-stage water removal/reclamation system that involves traditional compression and phase separation, as well as cascading Metal Organic Framework (MOF) based desiccant beds with vacuum heated water reclamation/regeneration. Lynntech intends to design a system with 2 independent canisters with multiple in-series MOFs each for simultaneous absorption and regeneration. One MOF canister will dehydrate water while the other regenerates captured water to the H2O tank. These canisters then switch, resulting in continual gas dehydration and water regeneration throughout the operating cycle.
Lynntech will team up with Framergy, experts in MOF development and optimization, to design this hybrid MOF-based approach to RFC dehumidification that exceeds NASA’s desired mass recovery rate to decrease overall system mass.
Lynntech’s development effort will enhance and expand the capabilities of RFCs in NASA application by optimizing system energy density while avoiding proportionally increasing system mass. Such advancements greatly increase the viability of long-term missions to asteroids, planets, moons, or any other operation that experiences cyclic exposure to sunlight. Additionally, improved RFCs may be used for life support during In Situ Resource Utilization operations, providing H2O or O2 for human consumption.
Long-term solar-powered flight may greatly benefit from lightweight solutions to increase efficiency in RFC systems. The addition of a MOF-based regeneration system increases the mass recovered throughout each cycle, decreasing the initial on-board water mass required and optimizing system energy density.
To effectively monitor plant nutrient uptake and cycling, optimize fertilizing and watering routines, and reproducibly grow healthy plants for consumption, researchers on board the space station must know the concentration of key elements, nutrients, and other constituents present in plant growth systems to a high degree of specificity and regularity. High frequency, accurate, in-situ data is currently not available however, as state-of-the-art elemental monitoring involves taking samples from these systems, returning them to Earth, and performing high sensitivity analysis in the laboratory. As these procedures are costly in terms of time and money, new technologies must be developed to enable in-situ, on-demand elemental analysis of liquids to support the rapid development of plant research in space.
Our innovation, Focused LIBS for Elements in Water Identification (FLEW.ID), enables in-situ, near-real-time elemental analysis of liquid samples in plant research systems. FLEW.ID performs qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis without the need for sampling nor any consumables. FLEW.ID utilizes miniaturized optoelectronic architectures, resulting in a drastic SWaP reduction that makes the instrument easily deployable on board the space station or other research or planetary environments. FLEW.ID meets the analytical needs of the plant research community to accurately monitor plant health, nutrient cycling, and other metrics to accelerate plant research in support of planned and future manned missions.
FLEW.ID enables on-demand, in-situ, real-time elemental analysis of fluid samples in plant growth systems for qualitative and quantitative analysis of nutrient cycling. When integrated into a plant research system like NASA's PONDS, FLEW.ID can provide online analysis without any sampling nor consumables. FLEW.ID is application agnostic and can be readily adapted to measuring other fluid systems, such as the closed-loop water recycling system on board the ISS, or solid samples, such as geological samples during planetary exploration.
FLEW.ID can perform in-situ analysis of heavy metals and other contaminants in aquatic ecosystems for pollution detection and monitoring. In industrial settings, FLEW.ID can perform in-line analysis of wastewater streams and process stream recycling. In medicine, FLEW.ID can detect trace elements and nutrients in liquid samples such as urine to assess and monitor patient health.
Autonomous rendezvous and docking is a key technology for many important space missions such as space debris management, supply to the International Space Station, on-orbit satellite maintenance, and large-scale structure assembly and satellite networking. This proposal accounts for an active spacecraft, namely deputy, approaching a chief spacecraft in close-range rendezvous and in proximity autonomously, and simultaneously. A key enabling technology in these missions is autonomous rendezvous and capturing that requires precise position and attitude control. Two main innovations relative to the current state of the art are proposed: robust adaptive unscented Kalman filters using multiple sensors, and fault-tolerant finite-time pose control algorithms deployed via on-orbit flight software.
SCOUT is building fault-tolerant and robust 6-degree-of-freedom finite-time controllers to conduct proximity operations with faster, more accurate tracking performance and more efficient control energy consumption than the conventional controllers in the presence of actuator faults, parametric uncertainties of the system, and unknown external disturbances. Developing autonomous relative navigation systems for rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking will yield persistent, robust and precise pose (position and attitude) state estimations remotely. For close-range rendezvous, absolute and relative GPS navigations using GPS C/A code measurements will be developed while star-trackers and Inertia-Measurement Units (IMUs) are used for relative attitude estimations between the chief and the deputy spacecraft. SCOUT shall build real-time orbit determination systems for absolute GPS navigation using onboard GPS C/A code measurements, which can be used for supporting autonomous navigation.
This effort will yield advancements in autonomous, resilient space system operations across a wide range of NASA applications necessitating distributed, persistent multi-satellite operations. Navigation does not commonly implement dynamic control for changing conditions, momentum, and maneuvers. RPO and science mission planning is time-consuming and scheduling-intensive with lacking real-time data; proximity operations are highly prone to abort maneuvers due to state measurement deviation or false-positive conjunction data messages.
Persistent, proactive tracking and state estimation, including during maneuvers, will facilitate rendezvous and proximity maneuvers. Orbital servicing and logistics end-users lack closed-loop, persistent, robust control for rendezvous and proximity operations: this has led to SCOUT’s on-board navigation capabilities being adopted by Orbit Fab, Momentus, and potential commercial and Defense users.
The substopic described the need for a multi-gas sensor that is power efficient, consistent with a wearable form factor, and can reliably operate under a wide range of temperature, humidity, and pressure conditions. We propose a CO2 gas sensor that maintains the required dynamic range, accuracy, and sensitivity even under significant environmental variations. We employ distributed feedback quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) to perform intrapulse spectroscopy in the mid-infrared, which allows us to reach targeted sensitivities with ultra-low duty cycle measurements to dramatically reduces power consumption and system complexity. Pendar’s expertise in monolithic quantum cascade laser integration will enable integration of multiple quantum cascade lasers to incorporate detection of up to 5 gases, including H2O and O2, all within an anticipated system footprint of 5 cm x 5 cm x 3 cm. Phase I will focus on building a breadboard prototype to experimentally verify that 1) the system draws <100 mW, and 2) CO2 detection accuracy is unaffected by varying pressure and temperature. A conceptual design of the Phase II miniaturized and integrated prototype will also be proposed at the end of Phase I.
The proposed system is directly relevant to the design of the new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU). The intended goal of the proposed gas measurements is to ensure that the spacesuit maintains a safe environment without drawing significant power.
The proposed CO2 sensor can be adopted for capnography (CO2 detection in breath, and for indoor/outdoor air quality control by measuring CO2 in ambient air. The miniaturized sensing platform can also be easily adapted to target chemical threats for Department of Homeland Security, and natural gas leaks for Department of Energy and the oil and gas industry.
Sigma-Netics intends on developing a hybrid microchip version of the MEDLI SSE that will meet the requirement of MIL-PRF-38534.
NASA wishes to equip all future planetary missions with a MEDLI like EDL system. Many planetary missions do not have the funding or project timeline to fly an EDL sensor suite similar to the MEDLI and MEDLI2. Sigma-Netics will develop a low cost Data Acquisition System that can survive the rigors of space flight and be cost effective to fly on all planetary missions. A fully qualified target cost of less than 1 million dollars is achievable by the innovative approach we are outlining. By using hybrid technology to make a custom EDL “system on a chip” massive size and weight saving will be had. In addition by utilizing MIL-PRF-38534 will maintain the ruggedness and reliability of the MEDLI & MEDLI2 SSE.
Cabling makes up considerable mass in all data acquisition spacecraft systems. By going wireless the entire system size and mass is greatly reduced. This will allow for the agency’s desire to deliver larger payloads to planets.
The SBIR has requested a module size of less than 10 cm3 with a max number of four modules. Sigma-Netics believes this achievable by integrating all of the signal conditioning and multiplexing into hybrid microcircuits specifically designed for EDL type applications. With our experience with MEDLI & MEDLI2 SSE the fundamental circuity would remain similar.
The electrical system design and brass board prototypes will demonstrate that this new design meets and performs similar to MEDLI2 SSE with its measurement uncertainty. This will be fully demonstrated during phase one. Then we will begin the integration of that base design into hybrid microcircuit design. This way we keep the performance, but create our system on chip structure and the smallest EDL sensor support electronics ever built.
This technology would be especially relevant to upcoming Science Mission Directorate (SMD) planetary missions,
such as DAVINCI and VERITAS, but low-cost data acquisition systems with these capabilities would also be
relevant to the other science lines of business, especially for future cost and volume-constrained and distributed systems
Aerojet Rocketdyne, Astrobotic, Astranis, Masten Space Systems, Collins Space Systems, AVS-UK, Busek, Curtis Wright Nuclear, and CERN provide Sigma-Netics real time market intel to availability and opportunity for a product solution like the one proposed here. Success here will translate to higher volume opportunities with private and public companies, not just relevant space agencies.
Under this effort, Niobium Microsystems, Inc. is proposing a low power computing architecture accelerator for neuromorphic processing which can enable real-time sensor data processing and autonomous decision making that is cost-effective and scalable to the growing data ingestion and processing needs of future autonomous systems. The proposed architecture will be highly scalable and compatible with modern processor systems (such as RISC-V or ARM), so that it can be easily adopted in a variety of new systems, and also easily integrated into existing systems. Additionally, Niobium proposes to integrate the proposed accelerator into a larger SoC that will serve as a proving ground and reference design for the accelerator concept. The SoC will be capable of acting as a primary processor in systems or as a co-processor to existing systems. Ultimately Niobium intended to utilize this accelerator as a standard block in its family of heterogeneous processor architectures.
Niobium proposes the following four technical objectives for Phase I:
(1) Study prior efforts and capture the performance and efficiency metrics as well as the limitations of existing platforms;
(2) Propose a novel architecture for a neuromorphic accelerator compatible with heterogeneous processor platforms (RISC-V- or ARM-based);
(3) Explore available MRAM technology (GlobalFoundries 22FDX), characterize its PPA and propose ways for incorporating into the architecture; and
(4) Estimate performance, power and efficiency metrics for comparison to existing solutions.
Space platform which require on-board energy efficient inference capabilities and possibly decision making and action will benefit from the low-power energy efficient inference capability of Neuromorphic processors. Long range missions that will require long-term unsupervised learning and adaptation based on constantly evolving unpredictable conditions can also benefit by the learning modalities that Neuromorphic architectures uniquely support.
Niobium is pursuing a fabless semiconductor model & planning to incorporate this accelerator into future energy-efficient SoCs along with existing accelerators for DNNs, cryptography & other computationally intensive functions. These energy-efficient processor SoCs will target energy-constrained application markets (unsupervised sensors & sensor networks, lightweight robotics, drones, wearables).
Reactive Routing is an innovation in space networking by which unplanned changes in link performance
are detected and analyzed, enabling automatic and immediate adjustments to the “contact plans” on which
route computation in delay-tolerant networking (DTN) is based. These changes in contact planning will
result in route revisions that will accurately reallocate traffic load to the revised transmission opportunities,
improving network performance while reducing operations costs. Reactive Routing is only the first step
toward the deployment of instrumented networks that monitor and examine their own operational experience
and use the resulting insights to configure themselves for optimality. A key element of that future architecture
will be software-defined radios that will support multiple wave form options, error correcting code options,
and security features, and will interact with their networks to optimize spectrum use; antenna evolution will
add beam steering, nulling, and frequency reconfiguration capabilities. These advanced software modems
(ASMs) will incorporate control systems that manage the range of their capabilities to support network
communication and science. Reactive Routing is the beginning of our initiative to bring the power of ASMs
to networks built on the DTN Bundle Protocol (RFC 9171), culminating in autonomous cognitive networks
that require little or no routine human management.
Reactive Routing will enable a DTN BPv7 node to recompute routes and revise its bundle forwarding decisions automatically in responses to changes in the properties of communication links. It will improve link utilization, minimize throughput loss and management workload in all DTN-based networks supporting NASA missions. The immediate beneficiary will be LunaNet, but the benefit will be even greater for interplanetary missions where route revision in response to a link change would be delayed by at least one round-trip communication to Earth.
The same performance improvements that will accrue to NASA space flight missions from adopting Reactive Routing will likewise benefit space flight operations mounted by all commercial space businesses and other national space agencies that use DTN for mission communications.
The proposed innovation is an adaptable aircraft propulsion platform broadband acoustic emulator for rapidly testing and characterizing revolutionary aircraft noise reduction treatments. The proposed platform is capable of emulating the acoustic environment within an aircraft propulsion platform by generating a target noise signature using acoustic actuators. Revolutionary noise control treatments can then be introduced into the generated acoustic environment to rapidly characterize and tune their behavior. The platform is capable of emulating many aircraft propulsion platforms at different engine operating conditions as well as generating diagnostic noise signatures which can aid in the characterization and calibration of aircraft noise treatments. The proposed emulator is flexible in that it allows characterization of a treatment over a wide variety of propulsion platforms and operating conditions. It is also inexpensive to build and maintain as compared to the infrastructure required to utilize a full propulsion platform test bench.
This emulator is relevant to the Advanced Air Transport Technology (AATT) project by allowing the characterization and testing of propulsion noise reduction technologies. The Transformational Tools and Technologies (TTT) Project would also benefit by providing a testing platform on which advanced material systems such as acoustic liner concepts and adaptive materials that reduce propulsion noise can be tested.
The commercial aviation industry has a strong interest in reducing aircraft noise as it is a primary limiter in the growth of the nation's aviation transportation fleet. The aviation industry would benefit from a flexible and low cost acoustic test bench which has the potential to significantly increase acoustic testing throughput compared to traditional testing methods.
All NASA modeling and simulation activities are mandated to provide uncertainty characterization and quantification of the underlying physics submodels and their propagation towards the simulation output metrics. Recently developed simulation tools to predict Plume-Surface Interaction (PSI) effects such as dust lofting, obscuration, debris transport, and surface cratering lack practical uncertainty assessment capability. The multi-physics, multi-phase, gas-granular media interaction modeling relies on complex algorithms and numerous physics submodels derived from experimental datasets with limited fidelity and considerable uncertainties. Model and algorithmic complexity and the frequent immaturity and sparsity of the fundamental physics submodels elevates the urgency of sensitivity analysis capability for PSI simulations. This project proposes development of an efficient Forward Automatic Differentiation (FAD) based sensitivity derivatives in conjunction with non-intrusive UQ methodologies for gas-granular flow solver Loci/GGFS. The FAD will enable run-time sensitivity analysis and propagation of underlying sub-model uncertainties through the overall PSI simulation model towards uncertainty quantification of simulation output metrics. The approach is efficient, especially for large parameter spaces and requires a limited number of simulations compared to sampling methods. Sensitivities analysis allows identification of dominant sub-model contributors of uncertainty, guide improvements, and provide a rapid propagation of critical uncertainties to the simulation output metrics. The resulting tools will be delivered to NASA for ready application for Lunar and Martian landers, including the Human Lander System, to aid in quantifying and identifying uncertainties and deficiencies in current simulations.
Immediate NASA applications include the support of a broad range of numerical simulations, especially in determining uncertainties present in models used therein. Identification and understanding of model uncertainties will have a direct impact on missions requiring propulsive landing and take-off, such as the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) landers, for the Human Lander System (HLS), and future Martian robotic and human landers.
Potential non-NASA applications include a wide range of sand and dust related military and civilian applications such as rotorcraft sand/dust brownout and engine dust ingestion. In addition, multiphase flows occur in many applications in chemical, and fossil-energy conversion industries where accurate physics modeling plays a huge role in the flow behavior of real particulate systems.
To address the NASA need for enabling communication and navigation technologies for distributed small spacecraft beyond low Earth orbit, Intellisense Systems Inc. (Intellisense) proposes to develop a new Multi-Beam Autonomous Multi-Aperture Transceiver (M-BEAMAR) for optical navigation of distributed CubeSats. The proposed free-space-optical (FSO) navigation transceiver for inter-CubeSat and/or lunar surface communication is based on multi-aperture tiling of wide field-of-view (FOV) multi-beam transceiver modules with no moving parts. The innovations in the use of wide FOV optics and digital micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) switching with IR focal plane array (FPA) tracking and avalanche photodiode array detection will enable a modular compact integration of the proposed system capable of scanning multiple, simultaneous laser beams for providing robust connectivity between CubeSats and/or from CubeSats to the lunar surface. In Phase I, Intellisense will develop a viable conceptual design of M-BEAMAR that satisfies NASA’s communication and navigation requirements, including SWaP-C, relative and absolute position, timing, FOV, pointing and tracking, and link power budget, demonstrate the design’s feasibility by prototyping and testing key enabling technologies, and develop a Phase II plan. In Phase II, Intellisense will develop a prototype of the M-BEAMAR system that will be integrated with a commercial off-the-shelf or government off-the-shelf FSO modem to support laboratory testing and field demonstration towards development into space-qualifiable and commercially available CubeSat communication payloads.
With its low SWaP-C design, M-BEAMAR will be applicable to many NASA applications including lunar and deep space distributed science missions, distributed aperture virtual telescope, small spacecraft swarm for gravimetry and transient phenomena observation, and proximity operations for inspection of space assets. Additional applications include high-altitude, balloon-to-balloon relay, UAV-to-UAV, UAV-to-manned platform, and satellite-to-satellite and ground-to-satellite optical communications.
Government and commercial (dual-use) applications of M-BEAMAR include high data rate FSO communication in near-all-weather operation, FSO nodes on UAV platforms, deconfliction of RF spectrum allocations, and low-cost, on-demand communication. The multi-beam spatial diversity of M-BEAMAR could also enable the scientific community to exchange large amounts of data without having to run fiber.
Lunar dust is the fine powder of the moon's surface regolith. The dust particles can be highly charged due to solar irradiation, and the dry lunar environment helps these particles hold their static charge and adhere to surfaces. Lunar dust degrades both spacesuits and equipment. TDA proposes to develop a nanocomposite coating offering excellent passive dust mitigation (more than 90% efficacy). The nanocomposite coating will perform at cryogenic temperatures; be abrasion resistant; adhere to the underlying metal, plastic, and fabric surfaces; has low surface energy; and match the lunar dust's work function. The combination of these properties will minimize dust adhesion in a challenging cryogenic lunar environment. Also, the coating properties are compatible with existing active dust mitigation technologies. In the Phase I project we will demonstrate the lunar dust mitigation of the coating in experimental testing under ambient and vacuum conditions. In Phase II we will optimize the properties of the coat to reject dust adhesion, and perform the qualification steps for the flight infusion demonstration. There are no similar cryogenic coating technologies that are commercial or have been reported in the open sources.
The proposed technology will be applicable to all lunar and planetary applications (e.g., Mars) where there is a surface that attracts the dust. This includes structural elements such as buildings, doors, vehicles (especially the heat exchangers), and generally any equipment where a coating of dust degrades the performance.
Our technology can be used for coating heat exchanger fins and honeycombs. It is easy to apply in a thin layer, without degrading the heat exchanger properties. Since it is thin and we have a continuous pathway of high thermal conductivity metals (versus the polymer) it will not degrade heat transfer. It will reject dust adhesion on the fins or honeycombs, preserving heat exchanger efficiency.
We plan to develop a monolithic Q-switched Waveguide Laser, using ultrafast laser inscription (ULI) technology. The proposed prototype is enabled by a Q-switched operation of waveguide realized by ULI inside diffusion-bonded laser media. Owing to its flexibility, ease for integration, and three-dimension nature, ULI of waveguides in laser materials and dielectric media enables transformative lidar system architectures.
The proposed device integrates three components through direct ULI of waveguide inside two diffusion-bonded crystals as active laser media and as saturable absorber for Q-switching. The laser cavity is ended by a dichroic dielectric coating at the input and the output sides. This architecture will result in a monolithic nanosecond pulsed laser at 1064 nm leading to a low-cost, compact, and durable solution.
The waveguide structure leads to better confinement and excellent overlap between pump and laser modes over the entire length of the media. This will lead to small lasing thresholds, high slope efficiency, and high output power.
The proposed device addresses NASA’s wavelength of interest for aerosol detection. The prototype and its technological translation and implementation are interesting for alignment-free, low-cost, weight, and power requirement of small platforms and applications, overcoming the drawbacks of current microchip laser systems for lidars. In the future, this will lead to more robust integrated ULI-based lidar systems at other wavelengths from near-surface, airborne, and spaceborne platforms.
The offeror, Aktiwave LLC, is exceptionally well aligned for the technological development and commercialization of ultrafast-laser-based fabrications. Recently, the offeror demonstrated the lowest threshold and high slope efficiency ULI waveguide-based Nd:YAG continuous-wave laser at 1064 nm.
• Monitoring aerosols: climate modeling, air quality measurements, and understanding the health impacts of atmospheric pollution.
• Trace Gas Sensing: global and regional quantification of methane fluxes by potential integration with IPDA lidar.
• Spectroscopy: laser mass spectrometry to identify and characterize trace amounts of astrobiological content.
• Advanced data processing: high-performance computing based on high-speed waveguide circuitry for galactic evolution study.
The proposed device offers the solution for lidar altimetry in urban photogrammetry, ecological measurements. Other applications include bathymetric lidar, sensors for self-driving cars, optical communications, signal processing, Raman spectroscopy, Lab-On-Chip, and imaging.
NASA is requesting technologies for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing for In-Space Operations. Blueshift, LLC doing business as Outward Technologies proposes to develop an in-space welding process and robotic system for on-orbit service, assembly, and manufacturing (OSAM) of habitats, space telescopes, antennas, solar array reflectors, and a wide range of potential in-space structures. The proposed process and method utilizes concentrated solar energy (CSE) as the primary power source for the welding and joining of metallic and thermoplastic components in space. Benefits of the proposed innovation include a reduction in electrical power requirements compared to current electron beam and arc welding systems designed for OSAM and further power reduction compared to laser welding systems; a lightweight deployable design that minimizes launch costs; precision spot size and energy flux control enabling precision welds on a wide range of materials, material thicknesses, and joint configurations; and a radiation based welding process that enables welding non-conductive materials including thermoplastics and ceramics while reducing the risk of damaging sensitive electronics that may be close to the weld. The Phase I effort will focus on defining a full-scale SO-WARM system, concept of operations for the full-scale system, and associated subsystem requirements including a well-characterized welding testbed; evaluating different solar concentrator configurations based on mass, launch volume, lifetime/durability, and complexity; quantifying full-scale production rate and functional specifications; and demonstration of the solar welding process in an inert atmosphere through a closed-feedback-loop testbed with three aerospace materials including metals and non-metals.
The primary application within NASA’s technology roadmap for SO-WARM is TX12.4: Manufacturing for which the SO-WARM accommodates the desired capabilities outlined in technology candidates TX12.4.1 for in-space fabrication, assembly, and repair. Secondarily, SO-WARM fits into TX13.2: Test and Qualification. SO-WARM can be incorporated into several NASA in-space construction efforts such as OSAM-1, OSAM-2, the lunar Gateway, and the ISS. It can also be used as a free-flying module, servicing satellites and structures as needed on-orbit.
There are several applications of the proposed solar welding technology that will benefit the DoD, NSF, and other federal agencies interested in advanced manufacturing techniques. These include a solar welder for use in remote locations on Earth and by underserved communities who may not have access to established infrastructure.
The detection and mitigation of electric motor faults is vital to the safety and reliability of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles using electric propulsion. The proposed research aims to advance the state of the art of motor fault resilience research relevant to the NASA Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology (RVLT) Project in two aspects: (1) develop fault resilience measures appropriate to the motor drive systems used in RVLT, and (2) study the tradeoffs between fault resilience and other motor drive system performance metrics such as weight and efficiency. Phase I research will explore fault resilience measures using analytical methods such as modeling and simulation. The Phase II research will expand the scope of fault resilience measures considered and will validate the research findings with hardware experiments.
The direct NASA application for the proposed research is the Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology (RVLT) Project. The research will also contribute to other programs in the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) where electric propulsion is used. Other potential NASA applications include spacecraft and lunar bases, where fault resilience will increase system reliability due to the time and cost involved in motor replacements in these settings.
The findings of the proposed research can potentially be applied to any system where motor fault resilience provides safety, reliability, or other benefit. Some examples of such applications include hybrid and electrical vehicles, and industrial electrical drive systems.
While medications can be replaced or provided with relative ease to those on low Earth orbit missions, long-duration lunar or planetary exploration missions will require an expanded pharmacy. In addition to the need to supply a larger collection of medications, the pharmaceuticals within the medical kits will need to maintain appropriate stability. Current practices involve repackaging medications outside of manufacturer’s packaging to conserve mass and volume on the spacecraft. Although operationally necessary, it is not known how the repackaging affects the shelf-life of the drugs. Improved packaging systems are needed, as it has been shown that medications are susceptible to the unique conditions experienced during spaceflight, including radiation, microgravity, and vibration.
To address this critical need, Luna Labs proposes the development of DoseShield™. This protective packaging system will include both primary and secondary packaging components in a comprehensive solution to maintain pharmaceutical stability while reducing stowage. For primary packaging, high-efficiency blister packages will provide protection to susceptible solid pharmaceutical doses against environmental exposures (e.g. moisture, oxygen) without the typical costs to mass and volume. This solution will maintain additional advantages of blister cards, including protection from vibration, and the packs will be developed to be compatible with a range of medications through broad protection against failure mechanisms. Secondary packaging will be explored to address the concerns of radiation exposure during spaceflight. The secondary packaging will be reinforced with radiation resistant additives to reduce penetration of galactic cosmic rays.
The proposed packaging solution will be designed for easy integration into current NASA processes for medical kit packaging for spaceflight. Specifically, it will be engineered to provide stability to pharmaceuticals by protecting them from environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and radiation.
Additional non-NASA applications may include military and civilian operations that require a smaller pharmaceutical footprint than what is provided by original manufacturer packaging. This packaging solution has the potential to decrease the burden of large and bulky medical kits during long-term deployment or travel.
CETACEAN is Starfish Space’s onboard relative navigation software for satellite proximity operations and docking that will reliably determine the relative state between two spacecraft. There are two areas of development needed to advance relative navigation towards onboard autonomous viability: 1) Improvement in machine vision image processing and 2) Development of navigation filter structure to blend machine vision measurements with a combination of sensor types to enable flight software and hardware modularity. CETACEAN embodies these development areas, and will offer accurate relative position, velocity, attitude, and pose. CETACEAN generates relative estimates using rapid image processing and several, new, and Commercial-Off-The-Shelf onboard sensors—including various cameras, LiDAR, RADAR, GPS, star trackers, and Inertial Measurement Units. CETACEAN is designed as a plug-and-play solution that can run on multiple software stacks and has been successfully integrated with existing software platforms, including NASA’s core flight system (cFS). CETACEAN further advances rapid image processing capabilities and machine vision to autonomously conduct optical relative navigation and Rendezvous, Proximity Operations, and Docking (RPOD) in low and variable lighting conditions and without the need for target spacecraft fiducials or human decision-making. CETACEAN’s autonomy and modularity will help realize a low Size, Weight, Power, and Cost (SWaP-C) spacecraft. The ability to easily swap out different sensors and update sensor processing filters, will allow organizations to more rapidly design spacecraft to meet mission needs. For spacecraft RPOD to be done in a safe and reliable manner, a robust relative navigation software like CETACEAN is required, for without it, autonomous on-orbit approach and docking would not be possible.
CETACEAN enables a variety of NASA missions: 1) Proximity operations and docking in Earth orbit, cislunar space, lunar orbit, and Mars orbit (including Mars Sample Return), which require increased autonomy and reduced human involvement, 2) Servicing, upgrading, and extending the life of multibillion-dollar NASA science satellites, and 3) Removal of defunct satellites and orbital debris that endanger NASA spacecraft and critical space infrastructure such as the International Space Station.
Starfish recently raised $7.25M from top VC’s, won a $1.7M Space Force contract, and is building relationships with major satellite operators, who are interested in CETACEAN to enable commercial missions such as satellite life extension and defunct satellite removal. Customers have also indicated interest in on-orbit: satellite relocation, assembly, materials transport, and inspection.
Our proposed innovation harmonizes diverse data through spatiotemporal co-alignment in a POSIX-compliant data store to enable scalable, performant parallel processing required by in-depth event-based analysis for supporting risk-informed decision making in wildfire and water management.
Both the spatiotemporal co-alignment and event-based analysis innovations build upon the same technological foundation, i.e., the SpatioTemporal Adaptive-Resolution Encoding, STARE, a geo-spatiotemporal encoding methodology developed to support combining diverse datasets in their native states for integrative analysis. STARE encodes spatiotemporal coordinate locations, along with neighborhoods (or intervals, or resolutions), of the data elements using two (2) 64-bit integers in a hierarchical manner.
The spatial scheme of STARE encodes geolocation and spatial neighborhood hierarchically in 8 branches of quadtrees, whereas its temporal scheme encodes International Atomic Time and temporal intervals hierarchically also in a tree but with branching following calendrical units, such as day, week, month, etc. Mapping space-time intervals onto tree hierarchies then encoded into integers not only 1) provides an outstanding way to uniformly index and thus organize geo-data of different, irregular layouts with spatiotemporal co-alignment for scalable processing but also 2) establishes a solid foundation to facilitate efficient event-based analysis.
We plan to use the POSIX-compliant flexFS of Paradigm4 to implement a directory (folder) hierarchy mirroring that of STARE for Cloud web objects. Such a POSIX-compliant data store not only realizes the spatiotemporal co-alignment of diverse, unaltered data for easy, performant retrieval and utilization but also present the Cloud web object store in a “view” compatible with the all-familiar filesystem, to which most users are accustomed, e.g., in on-premises high-performance computing (HPC) environments and on individuals’ desktops or laptops.
Our technology possesses the unique capability of harmonizing geo-spatiotemporal data varieties for fusional analysis in their native resolutions and layout, including the vast barely-tapped resource of NASA Level 1 and 2 data currently in HDF files in Distributed Active Archive Centers. This data-variety harmonization facilitates spatiotemporal data placement alignment first in storage for effortless search-and-filter and second in memory for performant and scalable distributed parallel processing, including Cloud and minimizing duplication.
Our technology will enhance analysis productivity while reducing resource demand and cost for all geospatial analytics practitioners in academics, government agencies, and industrial-commercial organizations. The industries relying on geospatial analytics include, but are not limited to, transportation (air, sea, and land), logistics, tourism and travel, risk management, insurance, etc.
There is a lot of expected return on investment for Commercializing Stratospheric Operations for military, scientific, and private industry markets. The development of aircraft, payloads, subsystems and propulsion for this type of effort has been in work for a while. These technologies are finally being integrated so that commercializing the stratosphere is real and will be done within the next 3-5 years.
Swift believes both are required, and even with collaboration from balloons and satellites, but as a steppingstone, the focus should be on the cheaper, efficient, smaller, but still capable solar craft. This should meet a SWaP target of the payload being ~22 lbs, about a shoebox or two in size, and have an operational requirement of <250watt continuous. Multiple aircraft carrying that size SWaP target 1) allows for technologies now and in development to be commercialized and tested while 2) keeping the overall development of the aircraft/payloads, mission operations, and MRO costs down.
This trade study should result in a HALE UAS capable of achieving a payload SWaP during operations (both day and night) of at least 22 lbs, 250 watts operational (based on market research), and fit within 1 or 2 shoebox size configuration. This vehicle will be designed to have modular payload capabilities, some of which are photogrammetry, gas-particle collection, ISR, maritime, observation overtime periods, disaster relief, communication relay, and other scientific research requirements. Swift developed 50+ mission sets with NASA representatives in the design of the current configuration UAS that will be expanded under this SOW. This paper describes Swift’s HALE UAS technology as it currently stands and what is to be achieved to meet the mission outlined in this NASA topic.
ROSES, scientific research, Urban Air Mobility (UAM), air traffic management, disaster relief, communication relay, internet services, stratospheric gaseous observation, understanding the atmosphere, extreme hazardous storm and weather condition observation, long-term persistent area observation and analysis (erosion), satellite payload testing, operational services, air quality monitoring, agricultural monitoring, polar observation, coastal zone monitoring, vegetation incubation, surface topography, and many more.
US DOD HAPS, port security, search and rescue, fire-fighting observation, persistent ISR, maritime observation, telecommunications, 5G-internet, disaster relief, payload testing, hypersonic observation, air traffic management, dropping sensors, and more. We have spoken to private customers, USAF, SOCOM, Army, Navy, and other Gov agencies interested in this technology.
Dust mitigation is a critical issue in space missions, especially lunar exploration missions. UV light present on the bright side of the moon causes the dust particles to have a net positive charge, increasing their likelihood of adhering to surfaces. To make the matters worse, moon dust particles are irregularly shaped with sharp edges due to its formation over millions of years of meteorite impacts that melted silicates, creating shards of glass and fragmented minerals. This aspect of lunar dust makes many terrestrial anti-dust and self-cleaning coatings unacceptable for space applications because soft materials are easily damaged.
The proposed Novel Durable Silica-based Transparent (NoDuST) coating minimizes (potentially eliminates) lunar dust adherence to hatches and covers used for protection of delicate components from harmful effects of lunar dust. NoDuST is a silica-titania based coating that can be used to prevent regolith from adhering to these as well as other mechanical components such as actuators, wheels, hinges that need to operate in dusty lunar conditions. The NoDuST coating passively minimizes dust adhesion based on reducing adhesion forces between the coating and lunar regolith particles. This coating has increased hardness to be able to withstand operation in lunar conditions with sharp particles constituting lunar regolith, it is clear to visible light and suitable for applications requiring visibility of the surface under the coating (camera lenses and filters, visors, etc.), absorbs UV and will protect surfaces covered with these from fading and degradation, can potentially have increased resistance to space radiation and will not degrade due to space radiation. For NoDuST coatings, Pioneer Astronautics proposes to combine silica and titania nanoparticles with a wide particle size distribution to minimize dust adhesion while maintaining a high film hardness to withstand abrasion in harsh lunar conditions.
Dust is the biggest challenge for human operation on the lunar surface, NoDuST coating has direct application for NASA Artemis program: this coating will minimize lunar dust adherence to mechanisms and moving parts (actuators, pistons, wheels, hinges etc.) as well as to enclosures and hatches protecting delicate components from harmful effects of lunar dust.
This technology will also be useful for future space exploration and other dusty planetary destinations.
Commercial space exploration is quickly developing and this technology will be useful for all commercial lunar investigation efforts.
This technology has terrestrial applications and can be beneficial for all industries where mineral dust is common: construction business, mining and even agriculture.
We propose to design and fabricate passive and active SiC UV linear sensor arrays, to build upon and scale up our technology for the eventual fabrication of 128x2 SiC active UV sensor arrays with <40 um pitch, with the first stage of the readout circuit integrated on the same chip, next to the sensors themselves, to minimize parasitic effects. The circuit design will use external signals to reset the photodiodes, buffer the output signal, and let diode selection for read-out by multiplexing. Building upon our background, we will demonstrate 128x2 arrays in an aspect ratio suitable for future spectroscopic use, and incorporate deep trenches for electrical isolation between neighboring pixels. We will also demonstrate 8x2 active arrays in a similar aspect ratio, integrating the first readout circuit stage (a 3T pixel circuit) next to the sensors themselves. We will layout and fabricate pn-junction and Schottky diodes with a range of designs for sensitivity in the target spectral range. We will also optimize each 3T circuit transistor at the semiconductor device level, tailoring their electrical characteristics to their role in the circuit, with the trade-offs between size, threshold voltage, current drive and leakage. The diodes, transistors, and the circuit architecture all will be co-optimized self-consistently. Looking forward, we will design for a 40-μm pitch pixel with the 3T readout circuit integrated within the pixel itself. This work enjoins the unique advantages of SiC, such as its low dark current at high temperatures, its inherent visible-blindness, and its capability to grow a native oxide, to the advantages of active pixel sensor technology such as higher sensitivity and low power consumption, to revolutionize UV sensing in the 120 to 350 nm range. This opens up a way to the development of advanced, flexible instrumentation with lower design complexity for applications in spectroscopy, remote sensing and characterization, and imaging.
SIC UV sensors for spectroscopy and imaging: Planetary Science missions for water signature detection, surface/atmosphere/plume characterization, mineralogy; future versions of the Lunar Trailblazer and other SIMPLEx program missions, or of LUVOIR Concept Study, Cosmic Origins, Living with a Star, CubeSat/SmallSat missions; solar/terrestrial probes (DYNAMIC, MEDICI); future instruments like CUVIS (the DAVINCI+ probe); instrumentation development (PICASSO, MATISSE, DALI). SiC sensors can be in handheld units (no cooling/visible filter needed).
Applications for UV sensing, spectroscopy and imaging include: sanitation (e.g. water/air filtration monitoring), fire and rocket plume detection, bio-detection, instrumentation, industrial monitoring, high-resolution fault inspection, and oil/gas logging systems. The high-temperature capability and inherent visible blindness of SiC allow applications in extreme conditions and simpler designs.
This proposal is highly relevant to NASA’s SBIR Topic A3.01, “Advanced Air Traffic Management System Concepts,” within Focus Area 20, “Airspace Operations and Safety.”
In the NAS, approximately 70 percent of flight delays are caused by weather, according to FAA statistics. By providing a planning tool to explore alternate routes in a timely manner using the most up-to-date Traffic Management Initiative (TMI) and weather information, flight delays can be mitigated or reduced. The Alternate Route Availability Tool (ARAT) will apply TMI information consumed from NASA’s Digital Information Platform (DIP) with current and forecasted weather to assess alternate routes between city pairs. Flight routes impacted by these conditions will be recommended to be avoided based on the severity of the restriction or weather phenomena.
ARAT applies to this specific topic because it allows flight operators to better understand weather implications on proposed alternate routes and efficiently choose the best route amendment to file.
ARAT will accelerate the implementation of NASA technologies in the current and future National Airspace System (NAS) by leveraging the DIP platform and providing a means to demonstrate the benefits of DIP.
Under the Digital Information Platform (DIP) project, NASA is demonstrating collaborative rerouting capabilities from the Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 project using the Collaborative Digital Departure Re-routing tool, with a focus in the D10 TRACON area. By developing the Alternate Route Availability Tool (ARAT), we extend this concept of optimal alternate routes between city pairs within a lightweight capability that will apply NAS-wide. ARAT will connect to DIP and demonstrate its potential to improve air traffic decision making.
The Alternate Route Availability Tool (ARAT) has a market in the aviation community, specifically for airlines as well as Air Traffic Control. Prospective customers in the airline industry include all major commercial (Part 121) airline and air taxi services (Part 135). Other potential customers include companies that market route generation tools.
In order to revisit Venus and explore its climate, atmosphere, and surface for the first time since the 1985 VeGa mission, NASA is interested in developing aerial vehicles capable of in situ investigation. Four potential aerial platforms: fixed altitude super-pressure balloons, variable altitude balloons, solar airplanes, and hybrid airships were evaluated by JPL for their mission suitability according to scientific merit, size and complexity, and technological maturity. This downselection is critical as the aerial platform must float and fly between 52 and 62 km in the atmosphere while experiencing temperatures ranging from -30°C to 62°C, pressures from 80 kPA to 18 kPA, solar fluxes as high as 2,300 W/m2, and IR heat flux up to 830 W/m2. Balancing these three selection criteria, JPL identified variable altitude controlled robotic balloons, or aerobots, as an optimized and achievable solution for near-term Venusian in situ atmospheric exploration.
To fill this critical gap and enable aerobot exploration on Venus, Air Squared proposes the Helium Transfer Scroll Pump System (HTSPS); a semi-hermetic, orbiting scroll, oil-free helium transfer pump proof-of-concept experiment coupled to a venting method for altitude control to be pursued in Phase I.
Circle Optics has developed and patented novel parallax-free, wide field of view (WFOV) multi-camera capture system technology that provides real time, stitch free, panoramic imaging. For this NASA Phase I SBIR project, Circle Optics proposes to develop new optical and mechanical designs for the purpose of satisfying NASA interests in improving air traffic safety. Under Focus Area 19, Integrated Flight Systems, Topic A2.02, Enabling Aircraft Autonomy, NASA and the FAA are seeking technologies to enable intelligent vehicle systems, including new software and hardware sensing and perception technologies. With the goal of enabling piloted vehicles augmented with autonomous capabilities to increase air safety, as well as autonomous unmanned air vehicles, NASA needs a next generation optical imaging and sensing system to address the gaps in situational awareness. In response, Circle Optics proposes to develop an EO/IR visor type sensing system that provides improved detect and avoid sensing in accord with the FAA DO-365B Detect and Avoid MOPS and thus help support NASA’s goals for intelligent vehicle systems. Towards meeting these goals, Circle Optics would engage with both eVTOL and UAV companies, and companies developing detect and avoid hardware and software, to better understand the operational environment and the SWaP-C limitations that may impact such systems. Circle Optics mechanical design efforts will then include lens and system mounting, mechanical and thermal stability, electronic support, and the anticipated assembly fixtures and tools. Circle Optics would also advance the optical design, while focusing on SWaP-C requirements, manufacturability, and mechanical compatibility, to develop a nearly fabrication ready design. As a result, Circle Optics imaging devices can move NASA closer to having the optical sensing capabilities to enable situational awareness and safety for future air vehicles, their drivers or passengers, and their airspace environments.
NASA is collaborating with the FAA to anticipate the future world of urban air mobility by developing standards, and encouraging technical innovation, so eVTOLs and UAVs will be able to travel safely within the national airspace. Once developed, Circle Optics EO/IR sensors may be useful to NASA on vehicles that are used for space, lunar, or extra-planetary navigation and collision avoidance. Similar Circle Optics camera systems may also be useful to NASA in capturing panoramic scenes or photogrammetry during space exploration missions.
The Circle Optics visor system for detect and avoidance EO/IR sensing can be optimized for use on DOD / USAF aircraft to image the airspace to provide situational awareness and search and track functions of potential hostile aircraft. Small commercial drones or UAVs will likely need similar optical detection, avoidance, and navigation imaging, but with a smaller SWaP-C than needed for eVTOLs.
Fibertek proposes to develop technology for power scaling a frequency doubled Er:YAG single frequency laser source to meet the needs for a planned water vapor DIAL space-based instrument. Our approach will focus on quantifying the system level benefits of reduced-temperature operation of a power-scaled Er:YAG oscillator and power amplifier. A primary challenge to the Er:YAG laser system is inherently low gain and quasi-three-level lasing transitions of the erbium activator ions. It is well-established that reducing the laser gain medium to sub-ambient temperatures improves achievable laser efficiency. However, models based on cross-section data from the current literature that simply use Boltzman statistics for scaling cannot account for the observed improvements, inhibiting system trades of performance versus temperature. Fibertek proposes to address the lack of data in the current literature by collecting spectroscopic data over the temperature range 77K-300K to determine the optimum gain medium temperature for Er:YAG. This data will be integrated into an advanced energetics model to accurately predict improvements in laser efficiency. The model predictions will be validated through laser demonstrations as well as to guide a study to assess the improvements relative to potential SWaP penalties associated with operating at a reduced temperature. Energy scaling of Er:YAG could potentially provide NASA with a compact laser transmitter that could revolutionize weather and climate research by providing three dimensional distributions of water vapor profiles, estimates of perceptible water vapor, high resolution methane column measurements, distributions of planetary boundary layer heights, and attenuated profiles of aerosols and clouds.
The key NASA application include the following all of which have been identified as mission and technology development area in the 2018 Earth Science Decadal Survey. An Er:YAG MOPA could provide a higher energy, more efficient, more robust and lighter weight approach for
In this project, Advent Diamond is developing diamond-based particle detectors, utilizing doped and undoped diamond structures to enable new space-based particle detection instrumentation. This line of detectors will be enabled by chemical vapor deposition growth of diamond with controlled incorporation of dopants into the diamond lattice. Diamond brings a number of advantages for space-based particle detectors, and is anticipated to enable a new generation of instrumentation. Specifically, the bandgap of diamond is 5.5eV, an energy greater than the photon energy of the majority of the solar spectrum. This is in contrast to silicon, which is the most commonly used semiconductor for solid state detectors, and has a bandgap of 1.1eV. By using diamond, our proposed detectors are naturally solar-blind without the use of metalized foils needed by silicon or other solid-state detectors. In turn, this means the detectors can be used to detect lower energy particles. The detectors will target sensitivity to 50keV-10sMeV particles, with solar blind response for direct solar viewing.
Suppressing response from solar UV/visible light emission has long been a challenge for solid-state particle detectors on NASA instrumentation. This project will benefit the NASA Living With a Star Program missions, including HERMES and the Geospace Dynamics Constellation. Understanding energetic particle composition, sources, and properties can aid in understanding the complex processes in the solar system environment and solar sysem evolution.
Diamond-based detectors can be used in a range of industry, scientific and medical applications. Our market research study revealed that the short-term market for niche and custom diamond detectors will be 3-5M/year for niche applications, and is expected to grow to 15-20M/year in 10 years by achieving commercialization and cost targets to expand into mass market applications.
We are proposing Kerr-soliton On-chip Microcombs with Optimized Dispersion for Octave-spanning Output (KOMODO). The KOMODO platform will be a chip-scale optical frequency comb compatible with compact, deployable, next-generation optical atomic clocks and quantum sensors. Our proposed solution brings together engineered nano-scale waveguides, precision laser stabilization techniques, and advanced photonic packaging to realize true chip-integrated comb sources for demanding terrestrial and space-based applications in timing, spectroscopy, and quantum sensing. The project will translate directly into a commercial device that will provide a stabilized broadband frequency-comb output with low size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements.
Frequency combs are extremely stable multi-wavelength laser systems that provide a coherent link between the optical and microwave domains. Octave-spanning combs are essential for modern atomic timekeeping, where the comb is required to read out an optical atomic clock laser. The current state-of-the-art in compact frequency combs are fiber-based mode-locked lasers. While such systems have been instrumental in starting the transition of frequency combs outside of the laboratory, the SWaP requirements are still incompatible with many uses, especially space-based applications.
In contrast, microcombs offer a path towards reducing the SWaP of these systems by an order of magnitude, opening possibilities for the integration of combs into hand-held devices and low-power spacecraft. The proposed KOMODO platform represents a new paradigm for fully stabilized microresonator frequency combs with low SWaP. We will achieve this by improving the TRL of four key technologies in this program: 1) turn-key comb generation with hybrid-integrated pump lasers, 2) advanced dispersion control through engineered photonic-crystal ring resonators, 3) self-referenced microcomb stabilization, and 4) environmentally robust photonic packaging.
The development of octave-spanning microcombs addresses needs for stable and broadband frequency references with low size, weight, and power in NASA focus areas including precision timing, navigation, geodesy, LiDAR, atmospheric spectroscopy, and precision-radial-velocity measurements. Our Phase 2 demonstration of a fully stabilized packaged microcomb in an optical clock system will directly address the critical technology gap with low-SWaP components for atomic sensors and clocks suitable for space-based operation.
Compact chip-scale frequency combs have broad applications outside NASA interests including low-noise microwave generation, optical frequency synthesis, optical coherence tomography, single photon and entangled state generation, and optical communications. KOMODO will provide a general-purpose solution for these uses by offering broadband and stabilized combs in a robust turn-key package.
NASA has previously developed its 3D-TPS concept which offers superior mass efficiency relative to legacy carbon-phenolic TPS. Multiple 3D-TPS recipes developed to date include a spun carbon:phenolic yarn constituent. Future recipes may require alternate yarn constructions (denier, blend ratios, fiber chemistries, etc.) in order to tailor TPS properties to specific mission requirements. Stretch-breaking and subsequent processing of carbon based yarn blends is technically challenging and domestic based sources for such expertise are extremely limited. T.E.A.M., Inc. proposes to address these issues by using our newly minted yarn fabrication facility to develop and characterize a carbon-phenolic yarn solution. Baseline machine settings for current carbon yarn blend recipes being developed for the Army will be used as a starting point. A significant portion of Phase I focus will be on quantitative characterization of yarn properties at each step of the process (tensile strength, blend quality, denier, twist level.) This will establish baseline properties and characterization techniques to be used for further iterations anticipated in Phase II. In addition to quantitative characterization, TEAM’s knowledge of 3D-TPS weaving with the legacy carbon:Kynol solution will be leveraged to evaluate overall “quality” and “weaveability” of the yarn that is developed.
The proposed carbon-phenolic spun yarn solution will provide NASA a domestic source for the yarn solution used in multiple NASA 3D-TPS recipes. Examples include dual layer 3D-TPS (i.e. NASA HEEET) and the single piece heat shield solution for Earth Entry Vehicle (EEV) on the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. The yarn development process and related characterization methods proposed by TEAM will also establish a model to be followed for development of new carbon-polymer yarn recipes of potential value in future TPS designs.
The DoD and their sub-contractors have a vital need for spun carbon yarn variants to support carbon-carbon (C-C) materials on various hypersonic vehicle programs. Additionally, spun carbon-polymer yarn solutions such as carbon-PEEK and carbon-PA6 are of interest for use in thermoplastic composites for defense, aerospace and commercial applications.
Analytically computed value of Probability of Collision for long term engagements between two space objects using traditional schemes, which only consider some time span around the time of closet approach, can sometimes be incorrect by orders of magnitude. Sampling based methods are presented as a robust alternative to analytical schemes. To decrease the computational burden of simulating a large number of particles, a novel subset simulation based MCMC scheme is introduced to compute in-orbit space-object collision probability. The collision probability is expressed as a product of larger conditional failure probabilities by introducing intermediate failure events. Well-chosen large (relative to collision probability) values of nested conditional failure probabilities can be estimated by means of simulating only a limited number of samples. The resulting efficiency and accuracy of the suggested scheme are demonstrated against independent benchmarks that use other techniques for calculating the probability of collision.
NASA CARA has a great interest in improving the conjunction assessment processes that are used to protect the scientific and defense satellites. With the addition of many smaller objects (<10cm) to the catalog of tracked objects that are only visible by Space Fence, NASA satellite operators will face more irregular conjunction events that do not follow 2-D PC assumptions. Our solution will reliability and accurately identify such events and help the operators save hours of analysis time or unnecessary avoidance maneuvers.
With the dramatic increase in the number of ridesharing activities, more and more spacecraft are released by the launch vehicle into orbit along with tens of other spacecraft, resulting in many long-period encounters that cannot be assessed accurately with conventional methods. Our proposed method can accurately and efficiently quantify the risk associated with long-period conjunctions.
A major step in fulfilling NASA’s technology needs to increase system autonomy and resilience is to connect fault management (FM)/System Health Management (SHM) to systems engineering (SE) and operations. There are recent trends to improve SE through the use of models to create model-based SE (MBSE) and connect FM to SE and operations. One such approach for performing a rigorous SE is the Goal-Function Tree (GFT) representation using Systems Modeling Language (SysML) that was developed at NASA JPL and MSFC.
Despite their inherently close relationship to SE in practice, SHM/FM practices have remained disjoint and not tightly integrated with SE. Historically, SHM has been designed into the system only after the nominal system is designed, which essentially makes it a band-aid of the problems without consideration of how these might have been prevented or mitigated. Between SE and SHM/FM, separate sets of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), knowledge repositories, modeling methodologies and analyses processes with non-relatable results are typical. This lends itself to a large technology and knowledge gap between the two sets of practices that result in significant inefficiencies throughout the life cycle, from design through verification and validation (V&V) through operations.
Qualtech Systems, Inc. (QSI) plans to integrate TEAMS® analytic capabilities with GFT to provide a multidisciplinary solution that connects an important SE approach with a tool that provides analytic capabilities for FM design and operations. It intends to integrate SHM/FM directly within SE from the beginning of a project, thereby suitable for FM of future spacecraft. This effort: (1) performs FM design analysis of a system design modeled in GFT, (2) enables FM design to be evaluated in an operational context by performing SHM functions, (3) supports Trade Studies to evaluate merits of FM architecture; and (4) enables “System” level assessment and visualization of FM qualities modeled in GFT.
QSI's technology will enable NASA to better plan and execute future Space Missions. It's applications include verification testing of NASA’s next generation launch vehicle such as the SLS, cis-lunar infrastructure including the Gateway and deep space human exploration such as the Habitat. Exploration Upper Stage is also a target. TheGateway spacecraft has vehicle models, which can be integrated in the MBSE environment and evaluated against FM robustness. Europa is a candidate for demonstrating FM capabilities within GFT driven MBSE practices.
The technology can be applied to DoD’s Mission planning and Rapid design of space missions / satellites including Geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO), Medium earth orbit (MEO), and Low earth orbit (LEO), commercial space launch vehicles (e.g., SpaceX), NORAD, Space Command ground segments, JSF, Navy shipboard platforms, submarines, BMD systems, UAVs, UGVs and unmanned submersible vehicle markets.
Successful completion of our Phase I effort results in development and delivery of an enhanced version of HeldenMesh demonstrated for accurate, efficient, and automated CFD mesh generation for WMLES applications. HeldenMesh is an existing commercial CFD mesh generator already in widespread use in industry and NASA for generating meshes for Navier-Stokes CFD flow solvers like FUN3D and USM3D. It was originally developed under Helden internal research and recently enhanced under several NASA and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) funded SBIR efforts. Our proposed effort builds upon these past efforts by incorporating two enhancements to enable more accurate and robust WMLES simulations. First, HeldenMesh is modified to generate a quad-dominated surface mesh and a hex-dominated near-wall layer mesh for a more efficient and accurate cell type which is more suited to WMLES analysis. Second, HeldenMesh is modified to generate wedge elements in the viscous layers at sharp trailing edges to improve the overall grid quality and grid normal alignment. Any further development required to improve HeldenMesh’s WMLES mesh generation capability is identified under Phase I and plans made for completion under a follow-on Phase II. With these enhancements in place, we then demonstrate the accuracy and efficiency of HeldenMesh for WMLES applications using the FUN3D flow solver on two test cases coordinated with NASA. As part of these demonstrations, WMLES meshing best practices are developed in terms of grid quality, impact of anisotropic stretching near and far from the wall vs. isotropic meshing, number of viscous layers, layer growth rate/profiles, as well as spanwise/chordwise spacing requirements in the critical near-wall regions. A grid convergence study is also performed with impact of cell count in critical regions vs. accuracy. Our effort culminates with delivery of an enhanced HeldenMesh executable with a direct FUN3D interface for independent testing.
The successful completion of this Phase I effort supports all NASA programs and projects that use CFD. HeldenMesh is already used extensively by NASA for generation of unstructured meshes and is already a key component of their CFD process. The technology developed under this project will enable design decisions by Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) and Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD).
Helden Aerospace has already successfully transitioned its existing HeldenMesh commercial grid generator to industry. Grid quality improvements made under Phase I benefits users running WMLES and also the majority of users performing RANS simulations. This effort results in an improved product ready for widespread use by our growing base of industry users.
The 50 kW-Class Retractable – Rollable Mast Array (R-ROMA) vertically deployed and retractable solar array in addition to its critical enabling components: the Trussed Collapsible Tubular Mast (TCTM), Recirculating Belt Deployer (RCB), Composite Blanket Elements (CBE), Double Parallelogram Arms (DPA), and the R-ROMA Pedestal directly address and enable NASA’s Moon to Mars program objectives.
The Moon to Mars campaign requires numerous 50 kW-class solar arrays for powering the Foundation Surface Habitat, ISRU equipment, lunar bases, rovers, landers, science equipment. These solar power systems ideally are also reusable for solar electric propulsion (SEP) in route to Mars. NASA requires sustainable power on the lunar surface to support a proliferated human presence on the lunar surface. This will be accomplished by working closely with small business and commercial entities who will provide the sustainable power infrastructure required by NASA.
In the proposed effort Opterus will work closely with current NASA Lunar Vertical Solar Array Technology (VSAT) program participants to scale prior art 10 kW-class solar arrays and related critical components to field a second generation 50 kW-class deployable and retractable solar array solution. Opterus has engaged multiple VSAT participants including Lockheed Martin, Astrobotic, Honeybee Robotics, and Space Systems Loral (Maxar). Formal statements of support have been submitted by Lockheed Martin to drive Opterus’ design towards a second-generation LM solar array.
Over the course of the Phase I structural requirements will be defined for a 60 kW R-ROMA, existing component designs will be scaled and critically analyzed to evaluate theoretical performance. Key components will be prototyped and experimentally demonstrated to validate a TRL 3, 50 kW-class R-ROMA design.
NASA’s Moon to Mars campaign requires many 50 kW-class solar arrays for powering the Foundation Surface Habitat, ISRU equipment, lunar bases, rovers, landers, science equipment. These solar power systems ideally are also reusable for solar electric propulsion (SEP) in route to Mars. NASA requires sustainable power on the lunar surface to support a proliferated human presence on the lunar surface. This will be accomplished by working closely with commercial entities such as the current Lunar Vertical Solar Array Technology program participants.
Opterus’ Trussed Collapsible Tubular Mast and Recirculating Belt Deployer are highly scalable deployable structures technologies ideally suited for extremely large aperture spacecraft structures. Current Non-NASA efforts include space solar power beaming architecture, spacecraft deployed solar arrays for solar electric propulsion, high power radar, deep space power systems.
Future human deep space missions will place crews at increasing distances from Earth and present several challenges to overcome. Currently, ground teams entirely manage the spacecraft, helping astronauts with scheduling, procedure execution, estimation and interpretation of current state, and other tasks. As the distance from ground support increases, so does time lag in communications, increasingly requiring astronauts to independently work through problems such as diagnosis of critical faults in spacecraft systems and their corresponding cascade effects. This places a much higher cognitive burden on astronauts who must use multiple pieces of information from many different sources to identify and prioritize underlying issues. To meet these deep space support needs, SoarTech proposes the Virtual Explanation Reasoning Agent (VERA), a cognitive agent built on the Soar cognitive architecture and capable of helping humans solve problems in deep space missions through diagnostic reasoning, explanation, and learning. VERA will provide advanced state estimation and explanations for astronauts to help them more quickly, easily, and accurately identify and correct problems with spacecraft system, and will learn from its experience and interactions with astronauts and other information sources to improve its capabilities and resilience to novel, surprising, and evolving circumstances when updates from ground are unavailable.
AI diagnostic assistants for system operation, maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting in spacecraft and orbital systems.
AI diagnostic assistants for system operation, maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting in general aviation and any complex systems environment, including manufacturing, power generation, and medical systems.
The risk of wildfires has increased significantly in recent years and touched communities not previously at high risk. Effective mitigation of wildfire risk is essential to reduce the potential for catastrophic losses. Accurate assessment of the risk of wildfire on a parcel-by-parcel basis will enable fire departments and homeowners to effectively triage and plan to reduce the risk. We will develop a Wildfire Integrated Modeling, Prediction, and Learning Environment (WIMPLE), a hybrid AI tool for wildfire risk assessment. WIMPLE is based on our Scruff AI framework, which provides integration of different kinds of AI models, sharing and composition of models, with spatiotemporal flexibility in model composition. We will demonstrate WIMPLE by developing a new wildfire risk assessment method that integrates multiple model components such as fire propagation and climate models at different spatial and temporal scales, as well as learning from historical data. We provide a decision-support UI using explainable AI techniques to ensure that predictions and recommendations of WIMPLE can be understood and trusted by users.
WIMPLE will link work being done at NASA with the end-user community to support decision making about wildfire risk triage and mitigation. Using sources such as NASA Earth Observatory and NASA Visible Earth, and climate models such as the GISS GCM, WIMPLE will provide an avenue for these sources to directly support critical environmental decisions.
WIMPLE will support wildfire risk assessment at low cost for homeowners working with fire departments, for example through programs such as Marin County’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). WIMPLE will enable more rapid and proactive triage and mitigation of wildfire risk than current approaches.
To meet the NASA need for power efficient algorithms that improve onboard autonomy, Exploration Institute proposes to develop NERVES, an approach for power efficient, verifiable generic calculation and signals processing onboard resource constrained systems using the latest neuromorphic hardware.
Through our substantial experience in applying and developing neuromorphic algorithms for spacecraft systems, we have determined that the performance of our algorithms can be substantially improved if the lowest level substrate, the building blocks, were designed to use the most power efficient traits of neuromorphic hardware. More efficient performance of key mathematical operations in neuromorphic hardware would provide high value to spacecraft developers as they can translate their existing work directly into a vastly more power efficient and faster processing system. NERVES is driven by a practical need and the pipeline to commercialization is already established through Exploration Institute’s track record and current work.
NERVES directly maps conventional algorithms to any neuromorphic processor, combining the benefits of more capable, well known algorithms with the power savings of a neuromorphic architecture. A neuromorphic chip like Intel’s Loihi has a computational power density of more than 1000x that of a CPU or GPU for some tasks. Based on our initial analysis, Exploration Institute predicts that NERVES will enable these kinds of power savings (or conversely, computational capacity increase for the same power) which will greatly improve NASA's capacity for onboard autonomy.
As an added bonus, NERVES provides a more verifiabile approach to neuromorphic computing in space, by allowing the use of verified computing approaches (non-neuromorphic, conventional) on neuromorphic hardware with all the power savings that can entail. This enables more likely adoption and infusion into NASA programs.
For a given power budget, using NERVES in concert with neuromorphic hardware, NASA could run significantly more complex processing onboard that will enable more onboard autonomy. With such a general, infrastructure-level additional capability, the potential applications are numerous, including: safer human habitation modules, faster onboard autonomy for navigation and other applications, more automated onboard Fault Management, and a foundation to build onboard cognitive computing to support general operations.
NERVES is specifically designed for spacecraft systems such as Gateway, planetary robotics, and government and commercial satellites in general, but also applies to any autonomous system, particularly autonomous vehicles, and is especially useful for applications that are power constrained and mobile (for example: agricultural and automated platforms).
Printing electronics is a new and quickly growing alternative to traditionally manufactured electronics wherein an additive method is used to produce electronic circuits, passive circuitry, displays, sensors, utilizing conductive and sometimes dielectric materials. Advances have been made in electronic printing technology in recent years bringing it closer to scalable manufacturing. Flexible PCBs (FPCB) provide the same processing capability as a standard PCB, with added flexibility, and are better suited for space applications. FPCB’s are more reliable, can bend without breaking / sustaining damage, can withstand greater stress and harsher conditions, and can be adapted to smaller spaces due to thin copper and insulating layers.
ChemCubed (C3) provides additively manufactured (AM) printing solutions for electronics. One of the key advances in recent years in AM electronics has been in the conductive inks for inkjet printing. This advance is a main reason why scalable printed manufacture PCBs is now within reach. C3 leads the way in particle-free reactive silver inks, providing the highest conductive performance, sintering efficiency and printing reliability available in the market. C3 has developed the best conducting ink available, and a system of products to use inkjet technology to print F/PCBs.
A nanocomposite dielectric material to serve as (a) insulating layers between the circuits, (b) masking material for soldering, and (c) support at connection points. This material will be develioed to have the following properties: a) high tear and strain resistance, b) compatible with silver ink, c) dielectric constant between 3 to 4, d) good printing performance through a prize inket head, and e) electrical insulating properties. This work is in the development stages already, and will be fully addressed in the proposed project phases I & II. The goal for this Phase I is to develop and produce an ink-jettable metal ink.
The proposed innovation will enable wearable electronics, RFID antennas, satellite communications, navigation and passive detection systems, radio communications, LED lighting systems, temperature sensors, power converters, control tower systems, IOT devices, and other in space applications for NASA. In-space manufacturing market value is expected to reach $7.5 billion by 2030. From 2020- 2030 the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.26%.
B include defense, national security, & supply chain improvements. Lack of a secure domestic supply chain for PCBs poses a national security risk. Additionally, the proposed innovation would enable novel warfighting capabilities and reduce sustainment costs of military weapon systems. Finally, the solution enables.
Ice accretion on aircraft can trigger flow separation and degrade aerodynamic performance by reducing lift and stall angle-of-attack, increasing drag, and in severe cases causing complete loss of aircraft control. Modeling and quantification of icing effects on aircraft performance therefore plays a critical role in aircraft design and certification. High-fidelity CFD analyses of aircraft with imposed ice shapes are impeded by time-consuming manual pre-processing and mesh generation that are difficult to automate. Given the desire to adapt the mesh to optimize a given output functional (e.g. aircraft CLmax), these challenges are particularly important as the mesh quality in the vicinity of complex ice shapes directly impacts the accuracy of CFD solution error estimates. The objective of this project is to develop, demonstrate, and deliver a high-resolution automated unstructured mesh refinement framework for aircraft icing predictions. The capability will interface with existing NASA CFD solvers and provide access to high-resolution icing data in a manner consistent with established procedures for accessing CAD geometry, while locally disambiguating between CAD and ice shape. Grid quality improvements will be made near the complex ice geometry to improve error estimates. In Phase I, the capability will be developed in FUN3D using metric-based anisotropic mesh refinement to achieve optimal CLmax prediction for an iced aircraft configuration. Mesh refinement at the ice surface will be augmented to leverage the new API to query the true ice shape to improve the resolution of the surface discretization. Accuracy and efficiency of the developed capability will be demonstrated for a canonical wing geometry as proof of concept. Phase II efforts will further develop and mature the capability, and demonstrate on more complex topologies including high lift geometries and perform uncertainty quantification to understand and improve solution sensitivity and accuracy.
This technology has applicability not only for fixed wing aircraft icing predictions, but also for rotor blade icing predictions for rotorcraft and eVTOL configurations. Direct applications reside in several of NASA’s programs such as the prediction of performance degradation for fans, ducts, propellers, and airframes, due to the presence of ice accretion. Impacted NASA programs and projects include Advanced Air Transport Technology, Commercial Supersonic Technology, Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology, and others.
NOAA deploys aircraft during inclement weather. Commercial transports and business jets fly at conditions where in-flight ice accretions occur frequently. Aircraft fly to service oil rigs in the North Sea, Alaskan coast, etc. Commercial and military UAVs are more susceptible to icing due to their size, flight regime, and speeds. These examples show enormous market for improved icing predictions.
Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes to develop passive and active enhancements to existing heritage electrodynamic tether smallsat deorbit systems. Passive coatings based on flexible materials with negative electron affinity-enhanced TP electron emitters will enable deorbit of smallsats and other payloads at end-of-life at altitudes up to at least 1200 km by increasing the passively generated current through electrodynamic tethers. The active component of PSI’s system, embodied by a robust, self-powered and self-regulated cold cathode electron gun, will further increase deorbit rate and altitude while also giving a host satellite control over deorbit parameters. This active deorbit system is entirely electric and requires no propellant, dramatically reducing their size, weight and power requirements versus traditional active deorbit systems and services.
Both the active and passive deorbit components leverage past work PSI has performed for the US Space Force and for NASA. PSI is also partnering with Tethers Unlimited Inc. (TUI) to adapt the passive and active electrodynamic tether enhancement to their existing, heritage terminator tape (TT) deorbit systems. In Phase I, PSI will demonstrate proof of concept for the new tether enhancement technologies. In Phase II, PSI will apply the new technologies to TUI’s TT system, producing flight-ready prototypes available to NASA for deployment on demonstration missions following the Phase II program.
The innovation is applicable to smallsats, and possibly larger objects such as spent rocket stages having terminal altitudes up to at least 1100-1200 km. The application is controlled, rapid, propellantless deorbit of payloads in order to minimize further pollution of low Earth orbit (LEO) and mitigate the risk of spacecraft collisions. Further development may allow propellantless station keeping in LEO, as well as propellantless maneuver of spacecraft around other planets with natural magnetic fields such as Jupiter and Saturn.
The innovation is applicable to all smallsats, and possibly larger payloads such as spent rocket stages. The application is controlled, rapid, propellantless deorbit of payloads, minimizing further pollution of low Earth orbit and mitigate risk of spacecraft collisions. This innovation will also enable cost-effective compliance with regulations designed to mitigate space pollution.
Extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the lunar day and night combined with the economic and environmental challenges of cislunar launch, transit, and deployment have impeded America’s ability to create the critical infrastructure needed to support in-situ construction and a sustained human and robotic presence on our nearest neighbor. The establishment of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) and Artemis programs are channeling growth and investment into the nascent lunar economy, which is building demand for lunar activities. Critical infrastructure pieces must be established to support this growing demand, however, such as power, communication, and construction technologies. Consequently, Astrobotic proposes its Brick Ubiquitous and Itinerant Lunar Deposition (BUILD) system to produce, retrieve, and place building block elements for small to medium sized construction activities on the lunar surface.
The BUILD system is complementary to NASA’s Moon-to-Mars Planetary Autonomous Construction Technology (MMPACT) project. Whereas MMPACT is focused on harvesting materials from the lunar surface and using them to produce structures such as landing pads in the near term, Astrobotic can utilize the waste slag produced as a byproduct of molten regolith electrolysis used from oxygen production to create CAST (ceramic aggregate structural and thermal) elements. These CAST elements can then be used to construct structures such as small berms for blast shielding and thermal and radiation protection. The target requirements of the CAST elements produced in this project are as follows:
The BUILD system is an ideal technology for enabling in-space construction as a service, which would allow domestic and international government agencies, as well as lunar infrastructure companies to construct lunar surface structures. Astrobotic’s BUILD system has utility for NASA programs that require blast protection near launchpads or thermal and radiation shelters for robotic assets or human habitation.
Commercial lunar mining would benefit from simple walled structures that provide thermal and radiation shielding to enable long duration missions. International space agencies could commission the resulting construction services for blast protection near planetary bases. Astrobotic will also look to offer the resulting retrieval and placement system as a product for other robotic applications.
Chascii is proposing the development of an inter-spacecraft omnidirectional optical communicator (ISOC) that will provide fast connectivity and navigation information to small spacecraft forming a swarm or a constellation in cislunar space. The ISOC proposed for cislunar applications operates at 1550nm, employs a dodecahedron body holding 6 optical telescopes and 20 external arrays of detectors for angle-of-arrival determination. The proposed ISOC will provide full sky (4π steradian) coverage and gigabit connectivity among smallsats forming a swarm or constellation. It will also provide continuous positional information among these spacecraft including bearing, elevation, and range. We also expect the ISOC to provide fast low-latency connectivity to assets on the surface of the moon such as landers, rovers, instruments, and astronauts. During Phase I we propose to conduct a thorough study of the cislunar ISOC including key factors that affect angular accuracy and available ranging techniques suitable for ISOC accurate range calculation. We will also perform a conceptual design of the ISOC that will lead to successful prototype construction and testing during Phase II. We believe the ISOC, once fully developed, will provide commercial, high data rate connectivity to future scientific, military, and commercial missions around cislunar space and beyond.
The proposed ISOC will allow ultrafast wireless data transfer for many space applications. Among the NASA applications include short range inter satellite communications such as formation flying and constellations of spacecraft. A key application of the ISOC is to enable constellations of spacecraft in cislunar space such as the proposed Lunanet. It should also allow connectivity around planetary bodies and on the surface of those bodies as well. It should also enable new larger instruments via synthetic aperture formation as well.
Commercial development of space is imminent. A key opportunity is to use space to provide internet services across the globe. There are 7.9B people on Earth from which 3.7B (47%) have no internet access. We believe that, once fully developed, the ISOC should be able to provide a viable solution to the global connectivity market.
The proposed work covers an initial feasibility analysis of high temperature tolerant memory cells. Additionally, the proposed work covers an exploratory set of small-scale experiments and a proof-of-concept demonstration. The project targets a well-rounded approach of “design for manufacturing” and “design for reliability” for temperature hardened memory electronics.
A high temperature tolerant memory technology is needed for sensing and logging operations in harsh environments. To this end, silicon carbide offers a mature semiconductor technology that is akin to silicon in many aspects of its processing.
A dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) is a crucial part of many silicon electronics. It provides a fast high-capacity storage solution in many applications due to its relatively small cell structure. The most compact DRAM array is based on one capacitor one transistor (1C1T) memory cell.
Even though the 1C1T memory cell is volatile in silicon due to the relatively high leakage currents at its p-n junctions, it is speculated that such a cell would be “practically” non-volatile and static if fabricated in silicon carbide. This is due to the fact that the reverse biased leakage currents in SiC p-n junctions is minimal, drastically cutting the loss rate of the stored charge, or increasing the time constant of the charge storage system.
The longest possible time that DRAM holds onto its data before losing it to leakage is called the charge retention time. Charge retention times in silicon are small, requiring constant refresh cycles, which are not very power-aware. The initial experiments in silicon carbide indicate such times are very long in SiC, making its 1C1T cell “practically” a non-volatile and static memory unit.
In this project, we plan to design and fabricate SiC DRAM and SRAM memory cells, and investigate their potential for use in harsh environments, to pave the way for advanced logging and metrology in extreme environments.
Exploration of inner planets such as Venus and Mercury require electronics that can operate at high temperatures. The peak temperature on Mercury is as high as 430 C, while the lowest temperature is as low as -180 C. Additionally, even though Venus is further away from the Sun, it is significantly warmer than Mercury. Lastly, gas giants (for example Jupiter) and some solar probes also require electronics that can operate at temperatures above the reach of silicon electronics. The proposed work provides a high temperature electronics solution.
High temperature electronics include components ranging from the drill logging and sensing devices needed for the commercial oil, gas, and geothermal exploration activities to the active components, controls, and sensors needed for jets and hypersonics. Temperature hardened electronics are a gamechanger for energy exploration, energy conversion, and propulsion to name a few technical areas.
Future deep space missions will require artificial cognitive agents are able to interface with onboard systems and take over time-consuming routine tasks, thus reducing crew cognitive and work load. In addition, they should continuously monitor critical onboard systems and alert crew about any off-nominal operation, quickly responding to them according to predetermined procedures in cases where the crew is overloaded or would be endangered. We propose our fully implemented Thinking Robots Autonomous Cognitive System (TRACS) architecture at TRL5 as the basis for a cognitive agent for future NASA deep space missions. TRACS is open, modular, makes decisions under uncertainty, and learns in a manner that the performance of the system is assured and improves over time. It deeply integrates natural language capabilities and one-shot learning from instructions, observations, and demonstrations. TRACS allows for easy integration with commercial off-the-shelf components and third-party modules, components, and software libraries, and has extensive integrated fault detection, fault exploration, and recovery methods. TRACS has also been successfully used in several projects with NASA collaborators at NASA Langley and NASA Ames. In this project, (1) the fully implemented and operational interactive cognitive TRACS architecture, extended by episodic memory for long-term interactions and additional annotation mechanisms for facilitating assurance, together (2) with the results from a feasibility study in NASA-funded simulation environment demonstrating the full operation of the architecture in interactive human-subject experiments, and (3) a detailed plan for the application domains, system integration, and evaluations in Phase II based on NASA objectives to be developed in collaboration with NASA.
The TRACS cognitive architecture will have broad application in NASA contexts, from cognitive advisors in cockpits, to control architectures for autonomous robots working remotely on the Mars habitat. Because TRACS can be easily integrated with existing systems, it can also be used just as an intelligence user interfaces on top of existing software which enables natural task-based interactions with humans.
The TRACS cognitive architecture will also be widely applicable in social and assistive robotic domains (e.g., office assistants that are given new tasks on the fly), but also in collaborative manufacturing or any other areas where humans need to interact with systems in natural language and be able to configure, adapt, and task such systems online.
NASA has outlined several goals and objectives regarding cost-effective long-duration access to the stratosphere for environmental observation and scientific research. The High-Altitude, Long-Endurance (HALE) mission is to fly a payload weighing 22 or more pounds for at least 30 days at or above 60,000 ft altitude, while maintaining position within 100 nautical miles of a target point on the ground. In order to balance these mission objectives with important operational factors such as cost of deployment, end to end logistics, and global reach, Moonprint Solutions and Gossamer Aerospace propose the use of a solar powered, super-pressure airship, building on recent advances in materials and commercial components, to create the S-HALE system (Stratospheric-HALE). S-HALE will employ novel lightweight structural concepts in conjunction with proven stratospheric airship technologies to meet NASA needs. Advanced methods of vehicle handling and launch will also be employed to minimize risk.
S-HALE will cost-effective long-duration access to the stratosphere for environmental observation and scientific research. This includes climate impact studies, crop performance, communications relays, and weather monitoring.
S-HALE has numerous military applications including ground moving target identification, persistent surveillance, and targeted reconnaissance. Numerous commercial applications exist including disaster relief, internet access, and crop performance tracking.
TGV proposes to build a modular testbed that can scale ultrasonic additive manufacturing and test multiple material combinations in vacuum conditions. A lighter smaller sonotrode will be developed which will be tracable to testing on ISS or future space platforms but can serve to mature solid state welding designs and concepts in the current era
This is an enabling technology for large structure, deep space missions or lunar bases.
This is enabling technology for large civilian commercial space stations
Space missions require high-performance, reliable computing platforms and can function in challenging environments. The von Neumann bottleneck constrains performance due to the time and energy consumed during the required data exchange between main memory chip sets and the processor. Neuromorphic computing could emerge as a game changer for space applications where mission success relies on fast and autonomous analysis of a vast array of incoming information from multiple sources.
The future space applications will drive the need for
Neuromorphic processors aligns with the above capabilities. Neuromorphic architectures are inherently fault tolerant, and several hardware implementations have high-radiation tolerance. In addition, neuromorphic algorithms are well-suited to classes of problems of interest to the space community.
Present Neuromorphic solutions for Space applications require FLASH memory for boot and weight storage in case of power loss or intermittent power failures. The FLASH memory has limitations on speed and life-time is limited by about 1M cycles of memory operations due to its endurance. For Deep Space Missions where continuous learning is required with updates on the non-volatile memory, a robust radiation tolerant memory with SRAM like performance but still with non volatility and high endurance is required. MRAM which offers 2.5X to 3.5X density advantage over SRAM, 1000X better endurance over FLASH, high radiation tolerance above 100Krad to 1Mrad and ultra-low power standby leakage which is critical for long battery life between solar recharge is a big advantage for these critical SPACE missions. Numem proposes in Phase-I to create a interface system with MRAM which can connect with AKIDA Neuromorphic Processor from Brainchip to either limit or replace FLASH operations with MRAM.
Object Identification and Change Detection - Neuromorphic Computing could enable more efficient on-orbit data processing and storage
Autonomous Control - As activities in space become more remote and automated, without a human in the loop, this advantage could improve the satellite’s ability to analyze onboard sensor data with better autonomous decisions.
Cybersecurity - Neuromorphic Computing onboard a spacecraft would provide a trusted protection mechanism
It can resolve a fundamental time-energy problem with fast low cost results.
Artificial Intellligence applied at Edge for ultra low power IOT applications,Large Scale Operations & Product Customization with vast amount of data-sets,Medicine and Drug discovery for faster analysis and iterations,Imaging & Vision Sensors for classification and detection, Autonomous Operations in Drones and Cars, Robotics Technologies,Defense - Hypersonic and Ballistic Missile Technologies
To meet the NASA need, Optical Engines (OEI) proposes to develop a new HE-ULMA, that will deliver high energy pulses with near diffraction limited beam quality from a single gain fiber. It is based on the technological concept of OEI commercial products and will also employ our understanding of advanced glass processing to create fiber lasers and amplifiers with distributed signal mode filtering with efficient pump power passing.
The proposed development of HE-ULMA will leverage of OEI’s experience in world class fiber glass processing to create novel fiber laser structures to enable single mode near diffraction limited operation of Ultra Large Mode Area (ULMA) fiber lasers with multi mj pulse pulse storage and pulse output capabilities, Achieving this high energy performance will allow NASA to create remote sensing systems with more efficient Non Linear conversions to address more essential remote sensing wavelength bands and to sense a much larger distances and sensitivities.
In Phase 1 OEI will perform critical modelling, simulations and experiments to determine the fiber device requirements and amplifier design architectures for making a typically multimode, commercially 100/400um Yb doped gain fiber operate in a single mode diffraction limited operation. In addition OEI, will develop double fiber mode filters (DFMF) that will allow only the fundamental LP01 mode to propagate while allowing the pump light to pass effiently through the DFMF.
At the end of Phase II, a TRL 4 level pulsed fiber laser will be demonstrated with 7-10m of single mode 100/400um gain fiber (over 300mj of energy storage) in a high average power counter pumped configuration. This laser will be operated both in high extraction energy (pulse widths of ~100ns) and in high peak power (pulse width of less than 2ns) regimes. This laser will be delivered to the indicated NASA facility for additional testing.
The proposed innovation will apply directly to current NASA missions and instruments (Doppler wind lidar, IPDA, LAS) and accelerate commercial development and availability of practical ground-based and airborne systems (e.g., compact airborne CO2 concentration-measuring instruments) at BP and elsewhere.
Verification of CO2 sequestration and reduction of CH4 leakage, for example, CO2 sensing for mission-critical sites such as aircraft cockpits, detecting CH4 leakage in oil refineries, and locating natural gas leaks. It is far more sensitive and accurate than any commercial system that measures either CH4 or CO2, is not significantly heavier than any competing system.
Regenerable sorbents have been gaining increased attention for direct carbon capture to sequester atmospheric CO2 for terrestrial applications. Since the development of SA9T for the Rapid Cycle Amine (RCA) system in the 2000s, studies have continued to investigate a multitude of new sorbents with enhanced performance specifications. These new sorbent candidates in many cases have direct application to closed environment CO2 removal (space-based vehicle and submarines). New regenerable sorbent formulations have the potential to benefit current space-based applications that rely upon the current state of the art (SOA) candidate. Sorbents with improved CO2 and H2O capacity can also result in potential reductions in mass, volume, and pressure loss in new systems. Paragon, through internally funded research activities, has developed the sorbent manufacturing expertise to develop new candidates that meet and exceed the key performance metrics laid out in this SBIR solicitation. These new sorbents will be chemically tuned and experimentally investigated with the goal of achieving higher working capacities for CO2 and H2O. In addition, the test facility and required hardware to accurately evaluate sorbents in a simulated atmospheric environment for space-based applications has also been developed and operated by Paragon.
As clearly defined in the SBIR Topic H4.07 description, NASA has a need for new technology alternatives to the RCA in order to establish a robust suit program. The sorbent development proposed herein is in direct response to this application. Paragon is positioned well to leverage its current sorbet development and meet the requirements laid out in the SBIR solicitation.
The technology developed through this SBIR effort will be well-suited for systems that rely on vacuum desorption during extravehicular activity operations. Promising sorbents will also be potential candidates for thermally regenerated systems in spacecraft cabins. Enhanced regenerable sorbents for CO2 and H2O control will enable reductions in overall system specifications, which will be a significant advantage as NASA begins to explore beyond Low Earth Orbit.
Commercial space efforts will benefit from the use of new sorbents for CO2 and H2O control, particularly as they begin to support larger crew sizes over longer durations. Another area of particular interest is in the development of atmospheric revitalization for the Navy, and such a sorbent will be a promising solution for CO2 and H2O control onboard submersibles.