- Solicitation Details
NASA SBIR 2012 SBIR 1
NOTE: The Solicitations and topics listed on this site are copies from the various SBIR agency solicitations and are not necessarily the latest and most up-to-date. For this reason, you should use the agency link listed below which will take you directly to the appropriate agency server where you can read the official version of this solicitation and download the appropriate forms and rules.
The official link for this solicitation is: http://sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/SBIR/sbirsttr2012/solicitation/index.html
Application Due Date:
Available Funding Topics
- A1: Aviation Safety
- A2: Air Traffic Management Research and Development (ATM R&D)
A3: Air Vehicle Technologies
- A3.01: Structural Efficiency - Airframe
- A3.02: Quiet Performance
- A3.03: Low Emissions/Clean Power
- A3.04: Aerodynamic Efficiency - Drag Reduction Technology
- A3.05: Controls/Dynamics - Propulsion Systems
- A3.06: Physics-Based Conceptual Design Tools
- A3.07: Rotorcraft
- A3.08: Propulsion Efficiency - Turbomachinery Technology
- A3.09: Ground and Flight Test Techniques and Measurement Technologies
- H1: In-Situ Resource Utilization
- H10: Ground Processing and ISS Utilization
- H11: Radiation Protection
H12: Human Research and Health Maintenance
- H12.01: Countermeasure Capability - Portable Activity Monitoring System
- H12.02: Exploration Medical Capability - Medical Suction Capability
- H12.03: Behavioral Health and Performance - Innovative Technologies for A Virtual Social Support System for Autonomous Exploration Missions
- H12.04: Advanced Food Systems Technology
- H12.05: In-Flight Biological Sample Analysis
- H2: Space Transportation
- H3: Life Support and Habitation Systems
- H4: Extra-Vehicular Activity Technology
- H5: Lightweight Spacecraft Materials and Structures
- H6: Autonomous and Robotic Systems
- H7: Entry, Descent and Landing Technology
- H8: High Efficiency Space Power Systems
- H9: Space Communications and Navigation
S1: Sensors, Detectors and Instruments
- S1.01: Lidar Remote Sensing Technologies
- S1.02: Microwave Technologies for Remote Sensing
- S1.03: Sensor and Detector Technology for Visible, IR, Far IR and Submillimeter
- S1.04: Detector Technologies for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments
- S1.05: Particles and Field Sensors and Instrument Enabling Technologies
- S1.06: Cryogenic Systems for Sensors and Detectors
- S1.07: In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Lunar and Planetary Science
- S1.08: Airborne Measurement Systems
- S1.09: Surface & Sub-surface Measurement Systems
- S2: Advanced Telescope Systems
- S3: Spacecraft and Platform Subsystems
- S4: Robotic Exploration Technologies
S5: Information Technologies
- S5.01: Technologies for Large-Scale Numerical Simulation
- S5.02: Earth Science Applied Research and Decision Support
- S5.03: Algorithms and Tools for Science Data Processing, Discovery and Analysis, in State-of-the-Art Data Environments
- S5.04: Integrated Science Mission Modeling
- S5.05: Fault Management Technologies
The Aviation Safety Program conducts fundamental research and technology development of known and predicted safety concerns as the nation transitions to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Future challenges to maintaining aviation safety arise from expected significant increases in air traffic, continued operation of legacy vehicles, introduction of new vehicle concepts, increased reliance on automation, and increased operating complexity. Further design challenges also exist where safety barriers may prevent the technical innovations necessary to achieve NextGen capacity and efficiency goals. The program seeks capabilities furthering the practice of proactive safety management and design methodologies and solutions to predict and prevent safety issues, to monitor for them in-flight and mitigate against them should they occur, to analyze and design them out of complex system behaviors, and to constantly analyze designs and operational data for potential hazards. AvSP's top ten technical challenges are: • Assurance of Flight Critical Systems. • Discovery of Precursors to Safety Incidents. • Assuring Safe Human-Systems Integration. • Prognostic Algorithm Design for Safety Assurance. • Vehicle Health Assurance. • Crew-System Interactions and Decisions. • Loss of Control Prevention, Mitigation, and Recovery. • Engine Icing. • Airframe Icing. • Atmospheric Hazard Sensing & Mitigation. AvSP includes three research projects: • The System-wide Safety Assurance Technologies Project provides knowledge. • Concepts and methods to proactively manage increasing complexity in the design and operation of vehicles. • Air transportation systems, including advanced approaches to enable improved and cost-effective verification and validation of flight-critical systems. The Vehicle Systems Safety Technologies Project identifies risks and provides knowledge to avoid, detect, mitigate, and recover from hazardous flight conditions, and to maintain vehicle airworthiness and health. The Atmospheric Environment Safety Technologies Project investigates sources of risk and provides technology needed to help ensure safe flight in and around atmospheric hazards. NASA seeks highly innovative proposals that will complement its work in science and technologies that build upon and advance the Agency's unique safety-related research capabilities vital to aviation safety. Additional information is available at (http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/programs_avsafe.htm).
Aviation External Hazard Sensor Technologies
Lead Center: LaRC Participating Center(s): DFRC, GRC NASA is concerned with the prevention of encounters with hazardous in-flight conditions and the mitigation of their effects when they do occur. Hazardous flight conditions of particular interest are: wake vortices, clear-air turbulence, in-flight icing, lightning, and low visibility. NASA is interested in new and innovative methods for detection, identification, evaluation, and monitoring of in-flight hazards to aviation. In the case of lightning, interest is centered on the mitigation and in-flight measurement of lightning damage, particularly to composite aircraft. NASA seeks to foster research and development that leads to innovative new technologies and methods, or significant improvements in existing technologies, for in-flight hazard avoidance and mitigation. Technologies may take the form of tools, models, techniques, procedures, substantiated guidelines, prototypes, and devices. Proposed products may be for retrofit into current aircraft or for installation in future aircraft. Both manned and unmanned aircraft are of interest. A key objective of the NASA Aviation Safety Program is to support the research of technology, systems, and methods that will facilitate transformation of the National Airspace System to Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) (information available at www.jpdo.gov). The general approach to the development of airborne sensors for NextGen is to encourage the development of multi-use, adaptable, and effective sensors that will have a strong benefit to safety. The greatest impact will result from improved sensing capability in the terminal area, where higher density and more reliable operations are required for NextGen. Under this subtopic, proposals are invited that explore new and improved sensors and sensor systems for the detection and monitoring of hazards to aircraft before they are encountered. With regard to hazardous lightning conditions, the emphasis is not on remote detection, but rather on developing systems that make aircraft more robust in a lightning environment or provide in-flight damage assessment or other hazard mitigating benefits. The scope of this subtopic does not include human factors and focused development of human interfaces, including displays and alerts. Primary emphasis is on airborne applications, but in some cases the development of ground-based sensor technology may be supported. Approaches that use multiple sensors in combination to improve hazard detection and quantification of hazard levels are also of interest. Areas of particular interest to NASA at this time are described in more detail below. The list and details are provided as encouragement but are not intended to exclude other proposals that fit the scope of this subtopic. Turbulence and Wake Vortex • Remote detection of kinetic air hazards - The class of hazards including wake vortices, turbulence, and other hazards associated with air motion is referred to as kinetic air hazards. Within this class, wakes and turbulence are the highest priorities; however, NASA is particularly interested in sensor systems that can detect multiple hazards and thus provide greater utility. For example, air data systems are at times disabled by icing, and a multi-function, multi-hazard sensor that includes a robust alternative air data source would be a great asset in such conditions. • Airborne detection of wake vortices -Airborne detection of wake vortices is considered challenging due to the fact that detection must be possible in nearly all weather conditions, in order to be practical, and because of the size and nature of the phenomena. In particular, NASA is interested in the ability to detect and measure wake vortex hazards for arbitrary viewing angles. • Airborne detection of turbulence -NASA has made a major investment in the development of new and enhanced technologies to enable detection of turbulence to improve aviation safety. Progress has been made in efforts to quantify hazard levels from convectively induced turbulence events and to make these quantitative assessments available to civil and commercial aviation. NASA is interested in expanding these prior efforts to take advantage of the newly developing turbulence monitoring technologies, particularly those focused on clear air turbulence (CAT). NASA welcomes proposals that explore the methods, algorithms and quantitative assessment of turbulence for the purpose of increasing aviation safety and augmenting currently available data in support of NextGen operations. Lightning • Lightning Strike Protection - NASA is investigating means for mitigating damage to aircraft, with a particular interest in protecting composite aircraft. Currently, an electrically-conductive screen protects composite aircraft by functioning as a Faraday shield and is intended to confine lightning and electromagnetic effects to the outside or outermost skin of the aircraft. The lightning strike protection system, hereafter referred to as the LSP, is incorporated in the coatings, layers, and structure that comprise the skin of the aircraft. NASA is most interested in LSP solutions that will be cost effective and light-weight. • Mitigation of lightning strike damage - NASA is seeking solutions that will provide better protection from lightning damage by directing attachment points or lightning currents to safe or less hazardous areas and by reducing the susceptibility of the aircraft to thermal or other damage due to strikes. • In-flight lightning damage measurement and assessment - A typical commercial aircraft is struck by lightning about once per year. At this time, composite aircraft that are struck in-flight are inspected upon landing for a damage assessment. Such assessments may be time-consuming and difficult. Innovations that will provide a measurement or damage detection system in the LSP are solicited. The objective would be to achieve a capability to have damage detection and assessment capability in the aircraft that will provide immediate information to the flight crew after a lightning attachment.
Inflight Icing Hazard Mitigation Technology
Lead Center: GRC NASA is concerned with the prevention of encounters with hazardous in-flight conditions and the mitigation of their effects when they do occur. Under this subtopic, proposals are invited that explore new and dramatically improved technologies related to inflight airframe and engine icing hazards for manned and unmanned vehicles. Technologies of interest should address the detection, measurement, and/or the mitigation of the hazards of flight into supercooled liquid water clouds and flight into regions of high ice crystal density. With these emphases in mind, products and technologies that can be made affordable and capable of retrofit into the current aviation system and aircraft, as well as for use in the future are sought. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to: • Non-destructive 3-D ice density measurements of ice accretions on wind tunnel wing models. NASA has a need for non-optical methods to digitize ice shapes with rough external surfaces and internal voids as can occur with accretions on highly swept wings for comparison to computational simulations. Current methods based upon scanning with line-of-sight, visible-spectrum digitization methods have been found inadequate for many of these very complex ice shapes. • Remote and in-situ technologies that can accurately quantify the super-cooled liquid water environment in the volume surrounding an airport. Of primary interest are remote sensing technologies that can, by themselves or with other instruments, quantify the temperature, liquid water content, and cloud droplet size spectrum to allow the production of a 3-D icing hazard map of the terminal airspace. Low-cost, expendable in-situ instruments are also of interest for validating and calibrating these remotely sensed measurements.
Flight Deck Interface Technologies for NextGen
Lead Center: LaRC Public benefits derived from continued growth in the transport of passengers and cargo are dependent on the improvement of the intrinsic safety attributes of current and future air vehicles that will operate in NextGen. The Aviation Safety Program (AvSP) is addressing this challenge by conducting cutting-edge fundamental and applied research that will yield innovative algorithms, tools, concepts and technologies from the discipline level up to the subsystem and system level. As a part of the AvSP, the Vehicle System Safety Technology (VSST) Project has initiated a Technical Challenge (TC) toward the improvement of Crew Decision-Making and response in complex situations (CDM), in current-day and NextGen operations. To address this TC, NASA seeks innovative flight deck interface research and technology that address the following major topic areas: • The flight crew’s needs for situation awareness/information in current-day and emerging NextGen operations. Research and technology development focused on novel display technologies and display methods that allow for new means of NextGen information portrayal and creating visual and aural interface methods to provide hazard and aircraft state awareness and protection during terminal maneuvering area operations. • The development of flight deck interface technologies that assure pilot awareness and appropriate engagement (balancing awareness and workload) in current-day and emerging NextGen operations. Research and technology development to proactively address the potential impact of changing roles and responsibilities between the Air Navigation Services Providers (ANSP) and pilots as well as between the human and automation, and the robustness of these interfaces when responding to unexpected events. • Integrated information management systems that assure the information needed by flight crews to make critical decisions is complete and not misleading. Research and technology development to better manage flight deck information during NextGen “Net-Centric” operations without overloading or underwhelming the operators/users. • Understanding demographics and proficiency that impact human (pilot) decision-making. Research and technology development which addresses emerging pilot demographics and pilot proficiency standards to improve pilot decision-making and interactions with other human and automation
Vehicle Level Diagnostics
Lead Center: LaRC Participating Center(s):ARC, DFRC, GRC This SBIR subtopic augments on-going activities in the Vehicle Systems Safety Technology (VSST) project within NASA's Aviation Safety Program. Specifically, this subtopic addresses the "Maintain Vehicle Safety between Major Inspections" (MVS) technical challenge. The MVS technical challenge concentrates on capabilities to maintain vehicle safety between major inspection intervals with an emphasis on the subsystems of airframe, avionics, and propulsion. NASA is seeking proposals to combine information from, and within, the various subsystems to perform overall vehicle level diagnostics. The objective of this work is to provide an infrastructure to assess the health state of aircraft though the integration of full vehicle sensors and diagnostic information. Partnering with organizations that can provide relevant data is encouraged.
Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery
Lead Center: ARC The fulfillment of the SSAT project's goal requires the ability to transform vast amounts of data produced by aircraft and associated systems and people into actionable knowledge that will aid in detection, causal analysis, and prediction at levels ranging from the aircraft-level, to the fleet-level, and ultimately to the level of the national airspace. For this topic, we are especially interested in automated discovery of previously unknown precursors to aviation safety incidents involving human – automation interaction. We expect to gain knowledge on latent deficiencies in crew training, communication, and operations that is of paramount importance to future SSAT project goals and objectives. The incorporation of human performance will be invaluable to the success of this effort, and as such it will be important to use heterogeneous data from varied sources that are matched on a per-flight basis with flight-recorded data, such as radar track data, airport information, weather data, flight crew schedule information, maintenance information, and Air Safety Reports. This topic will develop revolutionary and first-of-a-kind methods and tools that incorporate the limitations of human performance throughout the design lifecycle of human-automation systems to increase safety and reduce validation costs in NextGen. The focus of this effort will be on the fleet level or above. As such, the successful proposal will develop validated data mining and machine learning based methods to uncover systemic human-automation interaction issues that manifest at a much broader level than those incidents that occur within a single flight or for a single aircraft. Simulated data that is representative of the interactions between humans and automation found on flight systems and on data from real world aircraft and supporting ground-based systems should be used. The total of the data set under study should be at least 10 TB in size, and exhibit appropriate statistical and operational complexities found in real world human automation interactions. Furthermore, a deep knowledge of human-automation interaction from the human-factors perspective as well as the ability to create novel machine learning and data mining algorithms should be clearly demonstrated.
Assurance of Flight-Critical Systems
Lead Center: ARC Participating Center(s): LaRC The purpose of this subtopic is to invest in mid- and long-term research to establish rigorous, systematic, scalable, and repeatable verification and validation methods for flight-critical systems, with a deliberate focus on safety for NextGen (http://www.jpdo.gov). This subtopic targets NextGen safety activities and interests encompassing vehicles, vehicle systems, airspace, airspace concept of operations, and air traffic technologies, such as communication or guidance and navigation. Methods for assessing issues with technology, human performance and human-systems integration are all included in this sub-topic, nothing that multi-disciplinary research is required that does not focus on one type of component or phenomenon to the exclusion of other important drivers of safety. Proposals are sought for the development of: • Safety-case methods and supporting technologies capable of analyzing the system-wide safety properties suitable for civil aviation vehicles and for complex concepts of operation involving airborne systems, ground systems, human operators and controllers. • Technologies and mathematical models that enable rigorous, comprehensive analysis of novel integrated, and distributed, systems interacting through various mechanisms such as communication networks and human-automation and human-human interaction. • Techniques, tools and policies to enable efficient and accurate analysis of safety aspects of software-intensive systems, ultimately reducing the cost of software V&V to the point where it no longer inhibits many safety innovations and NextGen developments. • Tools and techniques that can facilitate the use of formal methods in V&V throughout the lifecycle such as graphical-based development environments (e.g., eclipse plug-ins for static analyzers, model checkers, or theorem provers) or tools facilitating translation from design formats used in industry to formal languages supporting automated reasoning. This subtopic is intended to address those flight-critical systems that directly conduct flight operations by controlling the aircraft, such as on-board avionics and flight deck systems, and safety-critical ground-based functions such as air traffic control and systems for communication, navigation and surveillance. It is not intended to cover V&V of computational models of physical systems (e.g., CFD codes or finite element analysis). In Phase II, a functional system shall be delivered to NASA for its retention and ownership.
Air Traffic Management Research and Development (ATM R&D)
Air Traffic Management Research and Development (ATM R&D) NASA has two Programs conducting ATM R&D. The Airspace Systems Program (ASP) is investing in the development, validation and transfer of advanced innovative concepts, technologies and procedures to support the development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The Integrated Systems Research Program (ISRP) is conducting research at an integrated system-level on promising concepts and technologies and exploring, assessing or demonstrating their benefits in a relevant environment. All the investments include coordination with other NASA Programs and partnerships with other government agencies and joint activities with the U.S. aeronautics industry and academia. ASP develops and demonstrates future concepts, capabilities, and technologies that will enable major increases in air traffic management effectiveness, flexibility, and efficiency, while maintaining safety, to meet capacity and mobility requirements of NextGen. ISRP explores and assesses new vehicle concepts and enabling technologies through system-level experimentation and focuses specifically on maturing and integrating technologies in major vehicle systems/subsystems for accelerated transition to practical application. One of ISRP’s projects is the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS). The project's primary goal is to address technology development in five areas to reduce the technical barriers related to the safety and operational challenges of routine UAS operations in the NAS. These areas include seamless integration of separation assurance/sense and avoid interoperability, evaluating the workload impact to human UAS operators, demonstration of secure UAS command and control datalink, document requirements for and to create an appropriate test environment for evaluating UAS concepts. The A2 topic area solicits concepts that can reduce the technical barriers related to the safety and operational challenges of routine UAS operations in the NAS. Proposers interested in developing and validating innovative ATM concepts, technologies, and procedures to support the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) should refer to Select Topic E2.01, Air Traffic Management Research and Development.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration into the National Airspace System Research
Lead Center: DFRC Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, LaRC The following subtopic is in support of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project under the Integrated Systems Research Program (ISRP). There is an increasing need to fly UAS in the NAS to perform missions of vital importance to National Security and Defense, Emergency Management, Science, and to enable commercial applications. The UAS Integration in the NAS Project is structured under the following technical challenges: • Airspace Integration - validate technologies and procedures for UAS to remain an appropriate distance from other aircraft, and to safely and routinely interoperate with NAS and NextGen Air Traffic Services (ATS). • Standards/Regulations - validate minimum system and operational performance standards and certification requirements and procedures for UAS to safely operate in the NAS. • Relevant Test Environment - develop an adaptable, scalable, and schedulable relevant test environment for validating concepts and technologies for UAS to safely operate in the NAS. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations are built upon the condition of a pilot being in an aircraft. There exist few, if any, regulations specifically addressing UAS today. The primary user of UAS to date has been the military. The technologies and procedures to enable seamless operation and integration of UAS in the NAS need to be developed, validated, and employed by the FAA through rule making and policy development. The Project goal is to capitalize on NASA’s unique capabilities and competencies by utilizing integrated system level tests in a relevant environment to eliminate or reduce critical technical barriers of integrating UAS into the NAS. The project is further broken down into five subprojects: Separation Assurance/Sense and Avoid Interoperability (SSI); Communications; Human Systems Integration; Certification; and Integrated Test and Evaluation. The fifth sub-project, Integrated Test and Evaluation, is responsible for developing a live, virtual, and constructive test environment for the other four subprojects. The first phase of the project includes the following: • Conduct initial modeling, simulation, and flight testing. • Complete early subproject-focused deliverables (spectrum requirements, comparative analysis of certification methodologies, etc.). • Validate the key technical elements identified by this project. The second phase includes the following: • Conduct systems-level, integrated testing of concepts and/or capabilities that address barriers to routine access to the NAS. • Provide methodologies for development of airworthiness requirements and data to support development of certification standards and regulatory guidance. • Develop a body of evidence (including validated data, algorithms, analysis, and recommendations) to support key decision makers in establishing policy, procedures, standards and regulations, enabling routine UAS access in the NAS. This solicitation seeks proposals, but is not limited, to develop: • Certified control and non-payload communications (CNPC) system - Current civil UAS operations are significantly constrained by the lack of a standardized, certified control and non-payload communications (CNPC) system. The UAS CNPC system is to provide communications functions between the Unmanned Aircraft (UA) and the UA ground control station for such applications as: telecommands; non-payload telemetry; navigation aid data; air traffic control (ATC) voice relay; air traffic services (ATS) data relay; sense and avoid data relay; airborne weather radar data; and non-payload situational awareness video. New and innovative approaches to providing terrestrial and space-based high-bandwidth CNPC systems that are inexpensive, small, low latency, reliable, and secure offer opportunities for quantum jumps in UAS utility and capabilities. Of particular interest are: o Technologies for High power C-band amplifiers and highly linear C-band power amplifiers/linearization of high power C-band amplifiers. o Miniaturization of C-band radio components/systems. • A “Synthetic Vision System” for a ground control station (GCS) - Integration of display technology that presents the visual environment external to the unmanned aircraft using computer-generated imagery in a manner analogous to how it would appear to the pilot in a manned aircraft. A “synthetic vision system” displays critical features of the environment external to the aircraft through a computer-generated image of the external scene topography using terrain and obstacle databases. Several research and technological developments have made synthetic vision systems possible. Fundamentally, these systems require only precise ownship location, a database, available graphics and computing capability and display media. In terms of safety benefits, synthetic vision may help to reduce many accident precursors including: Loss of awareness of vertical/ lateral path, terrain traffic, etc. Operational benefits may include transition from instruments to visual flight, non-normal and emergency situations, virtual visual self-spacing and station keeping capability, etc. SVS have been extensively studied and there is a vast body of knowledge on their application to manned aviation. Special interest is in the integration of a SVS into a UA ground control station to support operator in the loop, sense and avoid (SAA) functions for UAS operations in the NAS. Guidelines for sense and avoid requirements and functions are currently being developed by standards organizations (e.g., RTCA SC-203) and the FAA. • Weather information systems for GCS - On-board, real-time graphic aviation weather information products have been developed and successfully implemented for manned cockpits. Their use is now widespread and their safety impact widely recognized. The applicability of such products for operators and ground control pilots to enhance situation awareness and improve mission planning and execution is of interest to NASA. Systems such as the NASA developed Aviation Weather Information (AWIN) system that included software, data and data-link applications, color weather graphics such as composite-radar mosaic, lightning-strike data, wind data, satellite images and forecasts could be integrated into a ground control station to provide pilots with weather awareness before and during mission execution. Improved weather awareness should allow aircrews to avoid most weather-related problems through both pre-flight and en-route planning. While the use of these systems has been explored for military UAS operations, their applicability to civil and public operations has not yet been explored. • Operator Displays for Sense and Avoid Systems - While guidelines for the integration of UAS operations in the NAS are being developed new SAA systems are being designed to provide the ground control pilot with situation awareness and the ability to execute required ATC procedures. SAA systems provide UAS with the capability to avoid collisions and remain well clear of other aircraft by means of sensor systems and equipment specifically designed for this purpose. SAA systems consist of surveillance sensors, data communications, threat detection and/or resolution logic and the display of traffic information and/or resolution guidance/advice. Of interest is the development of display technologies to enable ground control pilots to participate in any phase of the SAA process as indicated by operator procedures. These new technologies should utilize the vast experience and body of knowledge developed over the years for airborne/ground separation assurance systems, TCAS displays, and cockpit displays of traffic information. In addition, these new displays will exhibit unique and very challenging new problems associated with the nature of unmanned systems as well as the communication latencies and potential safety risks of failure conditions. Human factors considerations should be applied in the design of these systems. • Lost Communication Link Procedures and Operations - The procedures followed by unmanned aircraft and their pilots when the command and control link is lost with the ground station are not standardized and frequently do not take into account ATC regulations. Each UAS appears to have custom-designed procedures for “lost link” despite the existence of well-established rules for pilots to follow when communication capability is lost. Research should establish a desired set of procedures to be followed that parallel the existing requirements, but departing from those where necessary to meet critical safety considerations. These procedures may be codified in technologies used by the unmanned aircraft or the pilot in the ground control station to maximize the predictability of the UAS’ actions from an ATC perspective. • Safety Analysis and Methodologies - UAS operations are untried in the civil NAS. Unlike other aircraft, there is not an extensive record of civil operations upon which to forecast the safety of UAS operations in the NAS. The introduction of UAS into the NAS raises many safety issues and concerns. Typically, anytime a new capability is added into the NAS, an Operational Safety Assessment (OSA) is performed by the FAA, to determine whether that introduction of new capability will enhance or detract from the safety of the NAS. As these UAS represent a wholly new operational system, traditional approaches cannot suffice. Research is needed to identify and develop new safety analysis approaches, as well as prognostic indicators and potential new safety metrics.
Air Vehicle Technologies
The Vehicle Systems Technology topic solicits cutting-edge research in aeronautics to overcome technology barriers and challenges in developing highly efficient aircraft systems of the future, with limited impact to the environment. The primary objective is the development of innovative design tools, capabilities and technologies that provide design and system solutions and capabilities to meet the national goals in cleaner environment, reduced noise and highly energy efficient and revolutionary aircraft for the next generation (NextGen) air transportation system. This topic solicits physics-based, multidisciplinary design, analysis and optimization tools and capabilities to facilitate assessment of new vehicle designs and their potential performance characteristics. These tools and capabilities will enable the best design solutions to meet the performance and environmental requirements and challenges, and technology innovations of future air vehicles. It also solicits research in revolutionary aircraft concepts; lightweight high strength structures and materials; more efficient propulsion systems; advanced concepts for high lift and low drag aircraft that meet the performance, efficiency and environmental requirements of future aircraft, and the goals of NextGen. Beginning in FY12, this topic covers aircraft technologies formerly covered by the Fundamental Aeronautics topic as well as ground and flight test technologies formerly covered by the Aeronautics Test topic. The re-structuring will emphasize development of tools, technologies, test techniques, and knowledge to meet metrics derived from a definitive set of Technical Challenges responsive to the goals of the National Aeronautics Research and Development Plan (2010) and the NASA Strategic Plan (2011). • Fixed Wing Vehicles - Technologies and concepts for subsonic transport aircraft, propulsion system energy efficiency and environmental compatibility supported by enabling tools and methods. Targeted challenges include drag and weight reduction for fuselages and high aspect ratio wings, quiet high performance high-lift and propulsion systems, high performance clean, alternative-fuel burning gas generators, paradigm-changing hybrid-electric propulsion systems, innovative propulsion-airframe integration concepts. • Rotary Wing Vehicles - Advanced Efficient Propulsion (multi-speed lightweight rotorcraft drive trains and variable speed efficient engines), Advanced Concepts and Configurations (aerodynamically efficient rotorcraft, NextGen configurations, and multi-fidelity design and analysis tools), and Community and Passenger Acceptance (NextGen operations and standards, and comfort and safety). • High Speed - Focused on supersonic research, design, and boom mitigation techniques to achieve low boom strength and other elements that will help enable a low-boom experimental aircraft; System Integration Assessment; Supersonic Cruise Efficiency – Propulsion; Supersonic Cruise Efficiency–Airframe; Sonic Boom Modeling; and Jet Noise Research. • Aeronautical Sciences - Broad, cross-cutting discipline research (e.g., some CFD and structures & materials research) that is pervasive across flight regimes, helps develop some low-level concepts and ideas, and provides program-level systems analysis capability to assess balance and impact of program-wide investments. • Aeronautics Test Technologies - Focused on instrumentation, test measurement technology, test techniques, and facility development that apply to NASA aeronautics facilities to help in sustaining and improving our test capabilities at four NASA Centers: Ames Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, Glenn Research Center, and Langley Research Center. Classes of facilities include low speed, transonic, and supersonic wind tunnels, air-breathing engine test facilities, the Western Aeronautical Test Range (WATR), support and test bed aircraft, and simulation and loads laboratories.
Structural Efficiency - Airframe
Lead Center: LaRC Materials and Structural Concepts for Aeroelastically-Tailored Aircraft Wings The Fixed Wing and High Speed projects are focused on development of enabling technologies and advanced concepts for subsonic and supersonic cruise transport category aircraft, respectively, demonstrated to TRL 4-6 in the 2025 time frame. Both projects require simultaneous reduction of weight and drag to achieve their respective performance objectives. For subsonic transport aircraft, lift-induced drag is approximately 40% of the total drag at cruise and can be directly addressed via increased wing aspect ratio. For supersonic flight, speed requirements dictate highly swept wings with a very thin airfoil section. Both of these wing geometries, with higher aspect ratio or thinner airfoil section, result in more flexible structure that can exhibit aeroelastic instability and thus require more complicated aeroelastic design, analysis and control. The traditional solution to these aeroelastic issues has been primarily to stiffen the wing by adding additional structure, thus creating a weight penalty. Solutions that favorably modify the aeroelastic response of thin or high aspect ratio wings with no or little weight increase are needed. Furthermore, maneuverability of the vehicle is dependent upon the control authority achievable by wing-located control surfaces in traditional aircraft designs, and possibly actively tailorable portions of wings in more integrated aircraft designs. Designing the wing to have desired aeroelastic characteristics makes the wing amenable to minimal-input active control solutions to further modify the aeroelastic response. Using a building block approach in this research topic, the current solicitation focuses on materials and structural concepts for aeroelastically-tailored aircraft wings, while the more complex aeroservoelastic solution will be the subject of a future solicitation. This solicitation topic seeks innovative materials and/or structural concepts and technologies for lightweight wings with aeroelastic tailoring, such as tailored bending and torsional stiffness as an example. Proposals should involve novel materials, processes and structural concepts with significant potential to improve the structural efficiency and reduce specific weight. Laboratory scale approaches may be proposed for proof of concept, but must be scalable to application across a broad range of fixed wing aircraft sizes and speeds. Tailored stiffness may include spatial or temporal variations in stiffness achieved by a combination of passive stiffness tailoring of anisotropic or functionally graded materials, novel structural topologies, or active integrated elements to change structural and/or material properties. The use of existing design and analysis tools and techniques to the greatest extent possible is encouraged, as it is not the intent of this solicitation to develop new computational tools. Specifically, the following concepts and technologies are sought: • Materials and processing routes to fabricate engineered materials with tailored material properties along all three axes. • Aeroelastically-tailored structural concepts by which desired static or dynamic aeroelastic responses can be achieved. Phase I: Identify candidate material systems and structural concepts that enable aeroelastic tailoring of wing structure for reduced weight, for example, variable bending and torsional stiffness. Assess the feasibility and benefits of the proposed concept, including scale-up, necessary material property quantification, and design trade studies. The studies must include quantification of expected structural weight benefits. Identify limiting factors and recommendations for further technology development to address the shortfalls. For novel material systems and structural concepts requiring development, conduct initial proof of concept computational studies and/or element tests. Phase II: Perform scale-up of materials and processes as necessary, and produce a detailed structural design and hardware build of a subscale wing suitable for laboratory testing to assess structural performance of the concept. Structural testing of the subscale wing will be performed subsequently by NASA and is beyond the scope of the Phase II effort.
Lead Center: LaRC Innovative technologies and methods are necessary for the design and development of efficient, environmentally acceptable aircraft. In support of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program, improvements in noise prediction, measurement methods and control are needed for subsonic, transonic and supersonic vehicles targeted specifically at airframe noise sources and the interaction of airframe and engine noise. Innovations in the following specific areas are solicited: • Fundamental and applied computational fluid dynamics techniques for aeroacoustic analysis, which can be adapted for design codes. • Prediction of aerodynamic noise sources including those from airframe and sources which arise from significant interactions between airframe and propulsion systems. • Prediction of sound propagation from the aircraft through a complex atmosphere to the ground. This should include interaction between noise sources and the airframe and its flow field. • Innovative source identification techniques for airframe (e.g., landing gear, high lift systems) noise sources, including turbulence details related to flow-induced noise typical of separated flow regions, vortices, shear layers, etc. • Concepts for active and passive control of aeroacoustic noise sources for conventional and advanced aircraft configurations, including adaptive flow control technologies, and noise control technology and methods that are enabled by advanced aircraft configurations, including integrated airframe-propulsion control methodologies. • Development of synthesis and auditory display technologies for subjective assessments of aircraft community and interior noise, including sonic boom.
Low Emissions/Clean Power
Lead Center: GRC Proposals are sought which support electric propulsion of transport aircraft, which includes various hybrid electric concepts, such as gas turbine engine-battery combinations and turboelectric propulsion (turbine prime mover with electric distribution of power to propulsors). Turboelectric propulsion for aircraft applications will require high specific power (hp/lb or kW/kg) and high efficiency components. Cryogenic and superconducting components will be required to achieve high specific power and high efficiency. The cryogenic components include fully superconducting generators and motors (i.e., superconducting stators as well as rotors), cryogenic inverters and active rectifiers, and cryocoolers. Proposals related to the superconducting machines may include aspects of the machines themselves as well as low AC loss superconducting materials for the stator windings. Generators with at least 10 MW capacity and motors of 2 to 3 MW capacity are of interest. Technology is sought that can contribute to superconducting machines with specific power more than 10 hp/lb. Superconducting wires with filaments less than 10 micrometers in diameter are of interest. Ideas are also sought for achieving 2-3X increase in specific power for non-cryogenic motors through a multidisciplinary approach utilizing advanced motor designs, better materials, and new structural concepts. Ideas are also sought to address challenges related to high voltage power transmission in future hybrid electric aircraft. New modeling and simulation tools for hybrid electric aircraft propulsion systems are also of interest.
Aerodynamic Efficiency - Drag Reduction Technology
Lead Center: LaRC
The challenge of energy-efficient flight has at its foundation aerodynamic efficiency, and at the foundation of aerodynamic efficiency is low drag. Drag can be broadly decomposed into four components: viscous or skin friction drag, lift-induced drag, wave or compressibility drag, and excrescence drag due to various protruding items such as antennae, wipers, lights, etc. The relative impact of these four forces depends upon the targeted flight regime and vehicle-specific design requirements. The first force, however, viscous skin friction, stands out as particularly significant across most classes of flight vehicles and effective measures for its control would have a major impact on flight efficiency. In particular, supersonic, low-boom flight and new generations of energy-efficient subsonic transport airplanes including high L/D strut-braced designs, the blended wing body (BWB), the so called “double-bubble” designs and other concepts with large expanses of surface area would benefit from effective viscous drag control.
Viscous skin friction can be classified as either laminar or turbulent. While the laminar case and its attendant laminar flow control (LFC) techniques remain important scientific and technological disciplines, the goal of high Reynolds number flight efficiency requires that the turbulent case receive renewed attention. In place of the first-principles-derived theoretical framework of the laminar flow stability problem, in the turbulence case we have a wide collection of experimental observations, data correlations, various CFD approaches requiring turbulence closure models and, at low Reynolds numbers, full direct numerical simulation of the Navier-Stokes equations (DNS). While such experimental and CFD-derived knowledge, has greatly increased our understanding of turbulent boundary layer physics over the past decades, key relationships between wall layer and outer layer dynamics essential to a full understanding remain to be identified and verified.
Inadequacies in our understanding of boundary layer turbulence increase reliance upon a more qualitative, physics-guided approach to discovery. For example, the experimental observation of reduced skin friction in the corners of triangular cross-section pipes led to the discovery of drag-reducing V-groove riblets (subsequently also associated with the skin of certain shark species). The quasi-periodic, low-speed streak structures observed in the near-wall layer of turbulent boundary layers led to the implementation of mechanically controlled spanwise waves or lateral oscillations of the wall to disrupt the processes associated with low speed streak bursting. Similar observations have either been made or suggested with respect to the stabilizing influence of convex and in-plane curvature; long length-to-diameter ratio particulates; passive, active and reactive wall motion; manipulation of the wall layer by various geometrical devices (e.g., vortex generators (VG) and large eddy breakup devices (LEBU)), and various weakly ionized gas (WIG) and magnetohydrodynamic/electrohydrodynamic (MHD/EHD) concepts. This solicitation is offered in this spirit of innovation based on experimental or computational observations guided by a basic, though not necessarily complete, physical understanding of the turbulent processes.
In order to stimulate innovation in the area of turbulent viscous drag reduction, proposals are sought subject to the following guidelines:
• Proposals shall address passive, active, or reactive concepts for external, attached, fully developed, turbulent boundary layer viscous drag reduction in air.
• Experimental, hardware–based proposals and theoretical/computational proposals based on realizable hardware are preferred.
• All practical physical concepts are acceptable including but not limited to: mechanical/electro-mechanical actuators, weakly-ionized-gas (WIG) concepts, laser/microwave energy deposition, MHD/EHD devices, surface microstructure/geometry, embedded mechanical devices (VG’s, LEBU’s), wall mass transpiration, heat transfer, wall motion, wall curvature effects and pressure gradient (vehicle shaping).
• Significant enhancements or refinements of existing concepts and technologies are acceptable.
• First order assessment or technically plausible discussion of any net system energy saving claims shall be provided.
• Proof-of-concept experimental demonstrations are encouraged for Phase I where applicable but are not required.
• Target conditions are flight-relevant Reynolds numbers at either high subsonic (0.7
Controls/Dynamics - Propulsion Systems
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): DFRC Propulsion controls and dynamics research is being done under various projects in the Fundamental Aeronautics Program (FAP). For turbine engines, work on Distributed Engine Control (DEC) and Model-Based Engine Control (MBEC)is currently being done under the Subsonic Fixed Wing (SFW) project, and Active Combustion Control research is currently being done under the Supersonics (SUP) project. These 3 efforts are expected to transition to the new Aeronautics Sciences (AS) project in FY13. Aero-Propulso-Servo-Elasticity (APSE) research will continue under the SUP project. Research activity on Controls/Dynamics for electric propulsion systems is expected to be initiated in FY13 under the reformulated Fixed Wing (FW) project. Propulsion control and dynamics technologies that help achieve the goals of FAP, in terms of: reducing emissions; increasing fuel efficiency; tool and technology development and validation to address challenges in High Speed flight; and enabling fast, efficient design and analysis of advanced aviation systems, are of interest. Proposed activities that are compatible with current propulsion controls and dynamics activities supported by the FAP will be given preference. Following technologies are of specific interest: • High Efficiency Robust Engine Control - Typical current operating engine control logic is designed using SISO (Single Input Single Output) PI (Proportional+Integral) control. The control logic is designed to provide minimum guaranteed performance while maintaining adequate safety margins throughout the engine operating life. Additionally, the control logic provides control of variables of interest such as Thrust, Stall Margin etc. indirectly since these variables cannot be measured or are not measured in flight because of restrictions on sensor cost/placement/reliability etc. All this results in highly conservative control design with resulting loss in efficiency. NASA is currently conducting research in Model-Based Engine Control (MBEC) where-in an on-board real-time engine model, tuned to reflect current engine condition, is used to generate estimate of quantities of interest that are to be regulated or limited and these estimates are used to provide direct control of Thrust etc. Alternate methods such as Model Predictive Control, Adaptive Control, direct non-linear control, etc. which will achieve the same objectives as the current MBEC approach while providing practical application of the control logic in terms of operation with sensor noise, operation across varying atmospheric conditions, operation across varying engine health condition over the operating life, and real-time operation within engine control hardware limits, are of interest. The emphasis is on practical application of existing control methods rather than theoretical derivation of totally new concepts. Control design approaches that can accommodate small to medium engine component faults and can still provide desired performance with safe operation are of special interest. The pre-requisite for proposals for engine control design methods is that the NASA C-MAPSS40k (Commercial Modular Aero-Propulsion System Simulation for 40,000 lb class thrust engine) be used for control design and evaluation. This simulation can only be used by U.S. citizens since it is subject to export control laws. Methods for real-time engine parameter identification using flight data are also of interest by themselves. • Distributed Engine Control - Current engine control architectures impose limitations on the insertion of new control capabilities primarily due to weight penalties and reliability issues related to complex wiring harnesses. Obsolescence management is also a primary concern in these systems because of the unscheduled cost impact and recertification issues over the engine life cycle. NASA in collaboration with AFRL (Air Force Research Lab) has been conducting research in developing technologies to enable Distributed Engine Control (DEC) architectures. The current need is to develop a DEC test-bed which can be used to investigate a wide range of issues such as system robustness, stability and performance of various DEC architectures, the development of network communications requirements, network performance evaluation, robustness of DEC architectures to data transmission faults and impact on system performance. The tools just described must be compatible with the NASA C-MAPSS40k simulation software and easily integrated into the Hardware-in-the-Loop research facility currently being developed under a separate contract. Restrictions on access to these technologies require that any proposed effort will be limited to work being done by U.S. citizens. • Active Combustion Control - The overall objective is to develop all aspects of control systems to enable safe operation of low emissions combustors throughout the engine operating envelope. Low emission combustors are prone to thermo-acoustic instabilities. So far NASA research in this area has focused on modulating the main or pilot fuel flow to suppress such instability. Advanced, ultra-low emissions combustors utilize multi-point (multi-location) injection to achieve a homogeneous, lean fuel/air mixture. There is new interest in using precise control of fuel flow in such a manner as to suppress or avoid thermo-acoustic instabilities. Miniature fuel metering devices (and possibly also fuel flow measurement devices) are needed that can be physically distributed to be close to the multi-point fuel injector in order to enable the control system to accurately place a given proportion of the overall fuel flow to each of the fuel injection locations. • Aero-Propulso-Servo-Elasticity (APSE) - The objective of NASA research effort in APSE is to develop a comprehensive dynamic propulsion system model that can be utilized for thrust dynamics and integrated APSE vehicle controls and performance studies, like vehicle ride quality and vehicle stability under typical vehicle maneuvering and atmospheric disturbances, for supersonic vehicles. Innovative approaches to dynamic modeling of supersonic external compression inlets; parallel flow path modeling of the compression and whole propulsion system to accurately model the distortion effects of flexible modes, maneuvering and atmospheric disturbances; and integration of dynamic propulsion models with aircraft simulations incorporating flexible modes, are of interest. • Electric Propulsion Systems -The objective is to achieve the required increase in the specific power of high efficiency electric components to make a 10 mega-watt onboard power generation and/or utilization feasible for propulsion. Specific areas of interest are: advanced electric power control systems for energy management of battery and fuel cell systems including potentiostatic sensor array to determine battery state-of-charge (SOC) and battery cycle affected state lifetimes; advanced phase angle control systems for electric motors; and advanced power control systems for effective management of large multi-motor arrays designated for use in newer turbo-electric aircraft and embedded boundary layer electric propulsion systems.
Physics-Based Conceptual Design Tools
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): LaRC Conceptual design and analysis of unconventional vehicle concepts and technologies is needed for technology portfolio investment planning, development of advanced concepts to provide technology pull and independent technical assessment of new concepts. The aerospace flight vehicle conceptual design phase is the most important step in the product development sequence, because of its predefining function. However, the conceptual design phase is the least well understood part of the entire flight vehicle design process, owing to its high level of abstraction and associated risk, its multidisciplinary design complexity, its permanent shortage of available design information and its chronic time pressure to find solutions. Often, the important primary aerospace vehicle design decisions at the conceptual design level (e.g., overall configuration selection) are still made using simple analyses and heuristics. Progress has been made recently in incorporating more physic-based analysis tools in the conceptual design process, especially in the aerodynamics area, and NASA has developed a capability that integrates several analysis tools and models in engineering architectures, such as ModelCenter and OpenMDAO. However, gaps still remain in many disciplines. Developing higher order, high fidelity tools suitable for conceptual design is a difficult challenge. The first issue is analysis turnaround time. To perform the configuration trades and optimization typical of conceptual design, runtimes measured in seconds or minutes, instead of hours or days, are required. However, rapid analysis turn around time alone is insufficient. To be suitable for conceptual design, tools and methods are needed which accurately predict the “as-built” characteristics. Because it is not possible to model every detail of the design and account for all the underlying physics in the problem formulation, it is difficult to predict the “as-built” characteristics with physics-based methods alone. What is usually required is a combination of these methods with some semi-empirical corrections. Ignoring this aspect can lead to higher order tools which are lower fidelity (less accurate) than the lower order tools they are intended to replace. Another challenge in conceptual design is a lack of detailed design information. Lower order, empirical-based methods typically used in the past for conceptual design often require only gross design parameters as inputs. It is, therefore, not necessary to know design details to obtain a reasonable estimate of the design’s performance. High-order, physics-based methods currently require detailed design knowledge to be useful. For example, whereas semi-empirical drag prediction tools provide estimates for wing drag without needing full 3-D geometry including an airfoil design, such detail is necessary to successfully utilize CFD tools. This gap in the analysis capability and the maturity of the design being analyzed limits the usefulness of the high order analysis in conceptual design. Physics-based tools for conceptual design must be developed which are consistent with the amount of design knowledge that is available at the conceptual design stage. NASA continues to investigate the potential of advanced, innovative propulsion and aircraft to improve fuel efficiency (i.e, reduce CO2 emissions) and to reduce the environmental footprint (noise and NOx) of future generations of commercial transports across the flight speed regime. As such, the agency’s systems analysts need to have the best design/analysis tools possible. The intention of this sub-topic is to solicit proposals for robust, physics-based tools enabling unconventional configurations to be addressed in the conceptual design process. Specifically for 2012, the solicitation will center on new tools and methods that pertain to the propulsion system. Modeling areas where enhanced capabilities are desired include the following: • Electric/Turbo-electric performance & weight estimation methodologies. Some examples: o Electric component performance/weight estimation. o Electric grid performance and analysis. o Thermal management analysis. • Enhanced propulsion system performance & weight methodologies. Some examples: o Turbomachinery loss modeling. o “Rapid” boundary layer ingestion performance. o Physics-based component weight estimation. o Engine controls & accessories weight/volume. • High order environmental tools. Some examples: o Sonic boom modeling. o Combustion emission indices generation. o Advanced (beyond ANOPP) acoustics models. o Reduced order atmospheric chemistry/global mixing.
Lead Center: ARC Participating Center(s): GRC, LaRC The challenge of the Rotary Wing thrust of the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program is to develop and validate tools, technologies and concepts to overcome key barriers for rotary wing vehicles. Technologies of particular interest are as follows: • Modeling and Analysis for Conceptual Design and Sizing -Tools are sought that enable rotorcraft conceptual design and sizing for a wide range of missions. Such tools should also enable systems studies to assess technology benefits. These tools typically model the various rotorcraft components using lower fidelity, approximate and/or empirically based models, and improvements in these tools can be made through developing more accurate rotorcraft component models that are appropriate for conceptual design. The development of methodologies, tools and techniques that include rotorcraft handling qualities during conceptual design is of particular interest with topics including: flight control architecture and handling qualities measures; rotorcraft configuration and data requirements; and methods for integration into conceptual design and sizing codes and analyses. Additional topics of interest include, but are not limited to: engine and drive system models over large rotor speed ranges; auto generation of airfoil tables and analysis and optimization of airfoil sections; noise estimation methods for rotor, engine and drive systems; and airspace performance analysis tools for rotorcraft. • Advanced Turboshaft Engines with Variable-Speed Power-Turbine Capability -Research (modeling, computational work, experiments) that addresses variable-speed power turbine (VSPT) and gas-generator aerothermodynamic, mechanical, and materials challenges is sought. The Rotary Wing Project of the Fundamental Aeronautics Program performs research and development of engine/driveline technologies to enable large civil tilt-rotor vehicles with variable-speed-rotor capability. Options for achieving main-rotor speed variability include a variable-speed transmission and/or a variable-speed power turbine. Key challenges for turboshaft engines of future rotary wing vehicles include high-efficiency power-turbine performance over a wide variable-speed range (50% < NPT < 100%), and high overall-pressure-ratio gas generators needed for fuel-efficient engines. Key VSPT aerodynamic challenges include attainment of high efficiency at high turbine work factors associated with operation at lower shaft speeds, management of loss levels over large (e.g., 50 to 60 deg.) incidence-angle swings associated with 50% speed change, and operation at low unit Reynolds numbers at cruise. VSPT mechanical challenges are associated with potential response of shaft and blade modes to critical speeds within the 50% VSPT speed range. Technologies for advanced gas generators—low- and high-pressure compressor and turbine turbomachinery are required as well. In addition to aerodynamic challenges associated with the relative impact of boundary-layers, clearances, leakages, and blade tolerances at low-corrected flow size shared with the high-pressure compressor stages, the high- and low-pressure turbines impose challenges associated with cooling, and incorporation of advance materials (e.g., ceramic matrix composites) in the small turbine sizes. Proposals on other rotorcraft technologies will also be considered as resources and priorities allow, but the primary emphasis of the solicitation will be on the above two identified technical areas.
Propulsion Efficiency - Turbomachinery Technology
Lead Center: GRC There is a critical need for advanced turbomachinery and heat transfer concepts, methods and tools to enable NASA to reach its goals under the Fundamental Aeronautics Program. These goals include dramatic reductions in aircraft fuel burn, noise, and emissions, as well as an ability to achieve mission requirements for, Subsonic, Rotary Wing, and High Speed Project flight regimes and fundamental research under the Aeronautical Sciences Project. Turbomachinery includes rotating machinery in the high and low pressure spools, transition ducts, purge and bleed flows, casing and hub. In the compression system, advanced concepts and technologies are required to enable higher overall pressure ratio, high stage loading and wider operating range while maintaining or improving aerodynamic efficiency. Such improvements will enable reduced weight and part count, and will enable advanced variable cycle engines for various missions. In the turbine, the very high cycle temperatures demanded by advanced engine cycles place a premium on the cooling technologies required to ensure adequate life of the turbine component. Reduced cooling flow rates and/or increased cycle temperatures enabled by these technologies have a dramatic impact on the engine performance. Proposals are sought in the turbomachinery and heat transfer area to provide the following specific items: • Advanced instrumentation to enable time-accurate, detailed measurement of unsteady velocities, pressures and temperatures in three-dimensional flowfields such as found in turbomachinery components and transition ducts. This may include instrumentation and measurement systems capable of operating in conditions up to 900 °F and in the presence of shock-blade row interactions, as well as in high speed, transonic cascades. The instrumentation methods may include measurement probes, non-intrusive optical methods and post-processing techniques that advance the state-of-the-art in turbomachinery unsteady flowfield measurement for purposes of accurately resolving these complex flowfield. Instrumentation enabling measurements and characterization of unsteady turbulent flows at combustor exit temperatures that can be implemented in warm test rigs and actual engines is also included. Instrumentation specific to turbomachinery and heat transfer should be proposed under this subtopic. • Advanced turbomachinery active and passive flow control concepts to enable increased high stage loading in single and multi-stage axial compressors while maintaining or improving aerodynamic efficiency and operability. Technologies are sought that would reduce dependence on traditional range extending techniques (such as variable inlet guide vane and variable stator geometry) in compression systems. These may include flow control techniques near the compressor end walls and on the rotor and stator blade surfaces. Technologies are sought to reduce turbomachinery sensitivity to tip clearance leakage effects where clearance to chord ratios may be on the order of 5% or above. Technologies are sought to eliminate flow separation in low pressure turbines and transition ducts, improve off-design operation and enable variable cycle operation. • Novel turbine cooling concepts are sought to enable very high turbine cooling effectiveness especially considering the manufacturability of such concepts. These concepts may include film cooling concepts, internal cooling concepts, and innovative methods to couple the film and internal cooling designs. Concepts proposed should have the potential to be produced with current or forthcoming manufacturing techniques. The availability of advanced manufacturing techniques may actually enable improved cooling designs beyond the current state-of-the-art. Concepts are also sought for the cooling of ceramic-based turbine materials such as ceramic matrix composite (CMC) vanes and blades. • Computational technologies allowing accurate predictions of turbomachinery flows and heat transfer including active and passive flow control features. Advanced turbulence and LES models that can account for complex three-dimensional flows common in turbomachinery. Models of flow control devices that enable incorporating them in RANS based CFD codes. Particular interest is in CFD method based on overset moving grids that will enable flexibility in studies of small features as cooling holes and active and passive flow control devices.
Ground and Flight Test Techniques and Measurement Technologies
Lead Center: DFRC NASA is committed to effective support and execution of flight research. This includes developing test techniques that improve the control of in-flight test conditions, expanding measurement and analysis methodologies, and improving test data acquisition and management with sensors and systems that have fast response, low volume, minimal intrusion, and high accuracy and reliability. By using state-of-the-art flight test techniques along with novel measurement and data acquisition technologies, NASA will be able to conduct flight research more effectively and also meet the challenges presented by NASA's cutting edge research and development programs. NASA’s Aeronautical Test Program (ATP) supports a variety of flight regimes and vehicle types ranging from civil transports, low-speed, to high-altitude long-endurance to supersonic and access-to-space. Therefore, this solicitation can cover a wide range of flight conditions and craft. NASA also requires improved measurement and analysis techniques for acquisition of real-time, in-flight data used to determine aerodynamic, structural, flight control, and propulsion system performance characteristics. These data will also be used to provide test conductors the information to safely expand the flight and test envelopes of aerospace vehicles and components. This requirement includes the development of sensors to enhance the monitoring of test aircraft safety and atmospheric conditions during flight testing. Flight research and test capability proposals should be relevant to the following NASA aeronautical test facilities: Western Aeronautical Test Range, Aero-Structures Flight Loads Laboratory, Flight Research Simulation Laboratory, and Research Test Bed Aircraft. Proposals should address innovative methods and technologies to extend the health, maintainability and test capabilities of these flight research support facilities. Areas of interest include: • Multi-disciplinary nonlinear dynamic systems prediction, modeling, identification, simulation, and control of aerospace vehicles. • Test techniques for conducting in-flight boundary layer flow visualization, shock wave propagation, Schlieren photography, near and far-field sonic boom determination, atmospheric modeling. • Active flow control techniques for performance and acoustic noise reduction. • Intelligent health monitoring for hybrid or all electric distributed propulsion systems. • Methods for significantly extending the life of electric aircraft propulsion energy sources (e.g., batteries). • Innovative acoustic noise reduction technology for structural and propulsion systems. • Techniques for manufacturing lighter, thinner, and tougher engine fan blades than current state-of-the-art. • Measurement technologies for steady & unsteady aerodynamic, aero-thermal dynamics, structural dynamics, stability & control, and propulsion system performance. • Verification & Validation (V&V) of complex highly integrated flight systems including hardware-in-the-loop testing. • Innovative techniques that enable safer operations of aircraft (e.g., non-destructive examination of composites through ultrasonic techniques).
In-Situ Resource Utilization
The purpose of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is to harness and utilize resources (both natural and discarded material) at the site of exploration to create products and services which can enable and significantly reduce the mass, cost, and risk of near-term and long-term space exploration. The ability to make propellants, life support consumables, fuel cell reagents, and radiation shielding from in-situ resources can significantly reduce the cost, mass, and risk of sustained human activities beyond Earth. Since ISRU may be performed wherever resources exist, ISRU systems need to operate in a variety of environments and gravities. Also, because ISRU systems and operations have never been demonstrated before in missions, it is important that ISRU concepts and technologies be evaluated under relevant conditions (gravity, environment, and vacuum) as well as anchored through modeling to regolith/soil, atmosphere, and environmental conditions. While the discipline of ISRU can encompass a large variety of different concept areas, resources, and products, the ISRU Topic will focus on technologies and capabilities associated with atmospheric and trash/waste resource collection, transfer, and processing.
In-Situ Resource Utilization
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, KSC OCT Technology Area: TA07 Converting in-situ resources into propellants, energy storage reactants, or other useful products at the site of exploration, known as in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), versus transporting from Earth can significantly reduce the cost and risk of human exploration while at the same time enabling new mission concepts and long term exploration sustainability. Potential in-situ resources of interest include extraterrestrial atmospheres, soils/regolith, and discarded mission materials such as trash (food, wipes, paper, etc.), packaging materials, and crew waste. Technologies and innovative approaches are sought related to the collection, transfer, and processing of these in-situ resources into intermediate (carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide, water, hydrogen, and hydrocarbons) and final products (methane and oxygen) for propulsion and energy generation applications. The subtopic seeks proposals for the design and subsequent building of synergistic hardware that can support Mars atmosphere capture and processing and mission trash/waste conversion. Technologies of interest include: • Trash feed into high temperature reactors with tight cabin leakage specs. • Trash gasification reactors (steam and/or partial oxidation) with minimum tar and ash generation and subsequent tar/liquid hydrocarbon reduction. • Highly efficient reactors for carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide (CO/CO2) conversion into methane (CH4). • Highly efficient gas/gas and gas/liquid-vapor separation devices. • Fine particle/gas separation (regenerative or continuous) technologies for Mars dust and gasification ash particles. The proposed technology should address benefits in system mass, conversion and power efficiency, and intermediate/final product generation compared to current approaches. Proposed technologies need be able to operate in microgravity. Mars ISRU technologies need to involve separation and processing of 0.5 to 2 kg/hr of carbon dioxide. Trash processing technologies need to be capable of feeding and processing 12 kg of waste material per day. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 2 to 5 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Office of Chief Technologist/ISRU Program. • Advanced Exploration Systems Logistics. • Advanced Exploration Systems Mars Program. • Advanced Exploration Systems & Office of Chief Technologist Life Support Programs.
Ground Processing and ISS Utilization
The Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) provides mission critical space exploration services to both NASA customers and to other partners within the U.S. and throughout the world: assembling and operating the International Space Station; ensuring safe and reliable access to space; maintaining secure and dependable communications between platforms across the solar system; and ensuring the health and safety of our Nation's astronauts. Activities include ground-based and in-flight processing and operations tasks, along with support that ensures these tasks are accomplished efficiently and accurately, enables successful missions and healthy crews. This topic area, while largely focused on operational space flight activities, is broad in scope. NASA is seeking technologies that address how to improve and lower costs related to ground and flight assets, and maximize the utilization of the International Space Station. A typical flight focused approach would include: • Phase I - Research to identify and evaluate candidate technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a hardware/software demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable. • Phase II - Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated flight conditions. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into space-worthy systems. For ground processing and operations tasks, the proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into ground or flight systems. The contract shall deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract and, if possible, demonstrate earth based uses or benefits.
Ground Processing Optimization and Technology Infusion
Lead Center: KSC Participating Center(s): ARC, SSC OCT Technology Area: TA13 This subtopic seeks innovative concepts and solutions for both addressing long-term ground processing and test complex operational challenges and driving down the cost of government and commercial access to space. Technology infusion and optimization of existing and future operational programs, while concurrently maintaining continued operations, are paramount for cost effectiveness, safety assurance, and supportability. Strategies to optimize and support changes in operations concepts should consider: • The needs of geographically distributed and mobile teams. • Efficient configuration changes to support operations of different customers. • Protection of information for the different customers. • Infrastructure availability. • Increased situational awareness for operators. Technology areas of Interest include: • Strategies, technology innovations, and technology maturation of control room services to provide cost effective data handling and storage and standardized interfaces for data generated by dissimilar systems. Methods for rapid prototype of control and data systems software from engineering data, ensuring scalability of data presentation and streamlined communication, and methods to address and inform consumers of time delays in data transmission: o Cost effective solutions to connect control and data system software to facility models that provide for ease of use and maximize the return on investment for concurrent test and launch complex environments. o Approaches, such as a single console to perform command and control for a set of test resources or provisions for model-based diagnostic methods to provide rapid feedback on the test and launch complex environment state, can be explored. • Methodologies for benchmarking, migrating, upgrading, and/or enhancing tools and control and data system architectures to lower the cost of technology infusion concurrently with the operational environment while reducing sustaining costs: o Focus should also be on system maintenance concepts for a highly COTS intensive environment to ensure configuration management and control, verification and validation approaches, technology refresh and security updates. o Innovative capabilities in information technology are required to provide robust and highly efficient information security for maintaining customer-specific intellectual property while providing a collaborative environment for launch and testing services. • Optimization of ground controller and test conductor staffing and roles requirements through robust, innovative, and operator-infused simulation/training capabilities to efficiently train ground and test controllers in a collaborative environment. Objectives should focus on skills proficiency and maintenance for troubleshooting, decision making, and time management in critical situations. • Migration of models used in the design and development of infrastructure to the operations/training phase (e.g., Model-Based System Engineering (MBSE) process). • Cost effective solutions for operations automation including peer-to-peer planning, mixed initiatives, elicitation of constraints and preferences, and system software integration. Focus should be on the use of standards and open source software enabling staff reduction, fault isolation and recovery methods, and decrease of software integration costs. Additionally, on understanding the interfaces of planning/mixed initiative systems with diagnostic systems, as diagnostic systems will inform the planning system of the available resources. • Prognositic technologies to optimize component maintenance, support, mission and test planning, evaluation of system component redundancy, monitoring of performance and safety margins, and critical decision making. Proposed concepts would benefit from clean, well-defined, unambiguous interfaces that account for configuration changes over the ground processing and test complex timeline; such proposals will receive higher consideration. All concepts must place an emphasis on how the interfaces in the system behave. Approaches to model, verify, and validate interfaces will be of interest. For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward Phase II demonstration, and delivering a demonstration package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. Phase I Deliverables - Research to identify and evaluate candidate technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a demonstration. Concept methodology, infusion strategies (including risk trades), and business model. Identify improvements over the current state of the art and the feasibility of the approach in a multi-customer environment. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable. The technology concept at the end of Phase I should be at a TRL of 4. Phase II Deliverables - Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated mission conditions, including the mission of engine testing. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into mission-worthy systems. The contract should deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. The technology concept at the end of Phase II should be at a TRL of 7
ISS Demonstration & Development of Improved Exploration Technologies
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): ARC OCT Technology Area: TA07 The focus of this subtopic is on technologies and techniques which may advance the state of the art of spacecraft systems by utilizing the International Space Station as a technology test bed. Successful proposals will address using the long duration environment of the ISS to demonstrate component or system characteristics that extend beyond the current state of the art by: • Increasing capability/operating time including overall operational availability. • Reducing logistics and maintenance efforts. • Reducing operational efforts, minimizing crew interaction with both systems and the ground. • Reducing known spacecraft/spaceflight technical risks and needs. • Providing information on the long term space environment needed in the development of future spacecraft technologies through model development, simulations or ground testing verified by on orbit operational data. These demonstrations should focus on increasing the TRL in the following fields: • Power generation and energy storage (e.g., regenerative fuel cells and battery). • Robotics Tele-robotics and Autonomous (RTA) Systems. • Communication and Navigation (e.g., autonomous rendezvous and docking advancements). • Human health, Life Support and Habitation Systems (e.g. closed loop aspects of environmental control and life support systems). • Science Instruments, Observatories and Sensor Systems. • Nanotechnology. • Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems and Manufacturing. • Thermal Management Systems (e.g., cryogenic propellant storage and transfer). • Environmental control systems, including improved carbon dioxide removal. • On-orbit trash processing/recycling. • Radiation. • Providing Engingeering Motion Imagery “smart” imaging systems that reduce bandwidth but maintain high quality imaging in areas of interest; maintenance of window clarity on optical systems without creating a debris source; data storage and retrieval for instances when bandwidth is constrained or the rocket or spacecraft will not be retrieved; compression and/or modulation techniques to maximize efficiency of constrained telemetry downlinks; and imaging system components that are radiation and electromagnetic interference tolerant. For the above technology subject areas, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward hardware and/or material development as appropriate which occurs during Phase II and culminates in a proof-of-concept system. Phase I Deliverables - Phase I Deliverables: Research to identify and evaluate candidate technologies applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a hardware/software demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable. The technology concept at the end of Phase I should be at a TRL of 3-6. Phase II Deliverables - Phase II Deliverables: Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated flight conditions. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into space-worthy systems. The contract should deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. The technology at the end of Phase II should be at a TRL of 6-7.
The SBIR topic area of Radiation Protection focuses on the development and testing of mitigation concepts to protect astronaut crews and exploration vehicles from the harmful effects of space radiation, both in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and while conducting long-duration missions beyond LEO. Advances are needed in mitigation schema for the next generation of exploration vehicles inclusive of radiation shielding materials and structures technologies to protect humans from the hazards of space radiation during NASA missions. As NASA continues to form plans for long duration exploration, it has also become increasingly clear that the ability to mitigate the risks posed to both crews and vehicle systems by the space weather environment are also of central importance. This Radiation Protection Topic will concentrate on the Alert and Warning Systems. This area of interest is ways in which SBIR-developed technologies can contribute to NASA's overall mission requirements are advances in the understanding and predictability of space weather science. Current operational space weather support utilizes both inter- and extra-agency assets to maintain situational awareness and mitigate radiation risks associated with agency missions. Operational space weather support consists in the most basic terms of maintaining situational awareness of both the state of the Sun as a physical system and the radiation environment and its dynamics within the Heliosphere, and altering in real-time, a mission in order to minimize their effects. Therefore, advances are needed in the development of scientific research products for real-time operational forecasting tools to mitigate mission risk. Research under this topic should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path forward to Phase II hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a full-scale demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.
Radiation Prediction (Integrated Advanced Alert/Warning Systems for Solar Proton Events)
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): LaRC OCT Technology Area: TA06 Advances are needed in alerts/warnings and risk assessment models that give mission planners, flight control teams and crews sufficient advanced warning of impending Solar Proton Event (SPE) impact. Research and development should be targeted which leverages modeling techniques used throughout terrestrial weather for extreme event assessment. There is particular interest in development of models capable of delivering the probability of no SPE occurrence in a 24-hour time period, i.e., an “All-Clear” forecast. Forecast techniques should utilize the historical record of archived SPEs to characterize model forecast validity in terms accepted metrics, i.e., skill score, false alarm rates, etc. Specific areas in which SBIR-developed technologies can contribute to NASA’s overall mission requirements include the following: • Innovative forecasting solutions that leverage model development in other areas such as ensemble forecasting of hurricane tracks, flooding, financial market behavior, and earthquake prediction. • Innovative methods that integrate historical trending, real-time data, and fundamental physics-based models into advance warning and detection systems. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 2 to 4 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. • International Space Station Program. • Science Mission Directorate.
Human Research and Health Maintenance
NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to astronaut health and performance in exploration missions. The goal of the HRP is to provide human health and performance countermeasures, knowledge, technologies, and tools to enable safe, reliable, and productive human space exploration, and to ensure safe and productive human spaceflight. The scope of these goals includes both the successful completion of exploration missions and the preservation of astronaut health over the life of the astronaut. HRP developed an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to describe the requirements and notional approach to understanding and reducing the human health and performance risks. The IRP describes the Program’s research activities that are intended to address the needs of human space exploration and serve HRP customers. The IRP illustrates the program’s research plan through the timescale of early lunar missions of extended duration. The Human Research Roadmap (http://humanresearchroadmap.nasa.gov) is a web-based version of the IRP that allows users to search HRP risks, gaps, and tasks. The HRP is organized into Program Elements: • Human Health Countermeasures. • Behavioral Health & Performance. • Exploration Medical Capability. • Space Human Factors and Habitability. • Space Radiation and ISS Medical Projects. Each of the HRP Elements address a subset of the risks, with ISS Medical Projects responsible for the implementation of the research on various space and ground analog platforms. The overview and responsibilities of each of the Elements is described within the Human Research Roadmap (referenced above). With the exception of Space Radiation, the SBIR subtopics in this solicitation align with the HRP Program Elements: • H12.01 Exploration Countermeasure Capability - Portable Activity Monitoring System helps address Human Health Countermeasures musculoskeletal risks. • H12.02 Exploration Medical Capability - Medical Suction Capability addresses a specific Exploration Medical Capability technology gap. • H12.03 Behavioral Health and Performance - Innovative Technologies for A Virtual Social Support System for Autonomous Exploration Missions helps address Behavioral Health and Space Human Factors and Habitability risks. • H12.04 Advanced Food Systems Technology helps address the Space Human Factors and Habitability food system risks. • H12.05 In-Flight Biological Sample Analysis helps address an ISS Medical Project technology need to allow on-orbit biological sample analysis, limiting the need for biological sample return.
Countermeasure Capability - Portable Activity Monitoring System
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): GRC OCT Technology Area: TA06 Human space flight is associated with losses in muscle strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. Crewmembers returning from the International Space Station (ISS) can lose as much as 10-20% of their strength in weight bearing and postural muscles. Likewise, bone mineral density is decreased at a rate of ~1% per month. During future exploration missions such physiologic decrements represent the potential for a significant loss of human performance which could lead to mission failure and/or a threat to crewmember health and safety. NASA is conducting research to enhance and optimize exercise countermeasure hardware and protocols for these missions. In this solicitation, we are seeking portable technologies to collect foot ground reaction force data from current exercise hardware deployed on the International Space Station to be analyzed by research teams on the ground. NASA seeks a portable, force/load measurement system capable of being integrated into existing ISS exercise systems and suitable for use in future transfer and exploration vehicles. During long duration spaceflight, exercise is prescribed to mitigate bone and muscle loss. Advancement of these exercise prescriptions may require biomechanical analysis of exercise on orbit. Output parameters from the proposed device must be valid in the bandwidth from 0-100Hz and be able to be synchronized with existing analog data systems. 3-D force, torque, acceleration, and turn rates are required. Must include a portable data logging system or wireless interface compatible with the Windows platform or Apple iPad. On-board data processing, activity recognition and display is desirable. The portable system should be low-maintenance, durable, easy to set-up and calibrate, non-disruptive to exercise form or gait, accurate (<1% error for static and dynamic loads), low mass, and require minimal power. Regenerative power feature is desirable. NASA Deliverables - Fully developed concept complete with feasibility and top-level drawings as well as computational methodology as applicable. A breadboard or prototype system is highly desired. HRP IRP Risks - Risk of Impaired Performance Due to Reduced Muscle Mass, Strength, and Endurance; Risk Of Early Onset Osteoporosis Due To Spaceflight Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 6 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Human Health Countermeasures Element in Human Research Program: o (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/humanresearch/elements/research_info_element-hhc.html)
Exploration Medical Capability - Medical Suction Capability
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): GRC OCT Technology Area: TA06 The existing in-space medical suction system (used on ISS) provides insufficient medical suction capability. Medical suction clears the airway, empties the stomach, decompresses the chest, and keeps the operative field clear. The existing design provides limited operational flexibility in providing airway management support, oropharyngeal suction, and chest tube drainage during an exploration mission due to limitations in suction performance, usability, patient interfaces, and reusability. It is restricted for use by a trained medical doctor and has several design limitations including: • It can only be used to clear the airway. It would be insufficient/incapable to perform other types of medical suction. • Device consists of several pieces that are only held together by a friction fit/seal and may come apart unless handled carefully. • Device does not meet flow rate requirement since it is limited by operator speed. • Device can only collect about 1 liter total volume. This volume includes volume of air since there is no gas separator. The Phase I technology developed under this SBIR should demonstrate proof of concept medical suction capability in a space operational environment and should focus on the following aspects: • Phase separation. • Range of flow rates. • Range of applied vacuum pressure. • Continuous and intermittent operation. • Variety of operational conditions including micro, partial and normal gravity; and in-space and post-landing usage. • Minimize mass, volume, and power usage. Minimum specifications that should be in the design: • Airway Management and Oropharyngeal Suction: o Suction pressure - at least 500 mmHg o Flow rate - at least 25 liters per minute o Duration - at least 30 minutes • Chest tube drainage: o Suction pressure - between 150-180 mmHg o Duration - at least 24 hours • Biological waste cleanup: o Suction pressure - at least 500 mmHg o Flow rate - at least 35 liters per minute o Duration - at least 30 minutes NASA Deliverable - Prototype functional system in a proof of concept demonstration HRP IRP Risk - Inability to Adequately Recognize or Treat an Ill or Injured Crew Member Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 3 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Exploration Medical Capability Element in Human Research Program: o (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/humanresearch/elements/research_info_element-exmc.html)
Behavioral Health and Performance - Innovative Technologies for A Virtual Social Support System for Autonomous Exploration Missions
Lead Center: JSC OCT Technology Area: TA06 NASA wants to identify how virtual worlds (i.e., interactive games, avatars, social networks) could be used for long-duration space exploration missions. This subtopic is aimed at developing a virtual social support system for crews of such missions. During these missions, the crews, by virtue of their distance from Earth, are separated from their significant others and will no longer have access to social support currently provided to the ISS crews. They are living in a confined and isolated environment devoid of normal Earth settings as they venture to distant destinations. Long communication delays between Earth and vehicle are also anticipated. Expanding the crew’s social connectivity to friends, family, and colleagues back home through a variety of virtual platforms will help mitigate the stressors inherent to living and working in such an isolated, confined, and extreme environment. During the actual mission, the tool could provide a more homelike “virtual world” to augment the constrained physical habitat the crew lives and works. It could also help the crews maintain connections and provide the needed social support. As a design tool, the insight gained into the crew members’ interaction with the outside world would be valuable for developing new mission training regimens and design concepts for future long-duration missions. The proposal shall describe: • The virtual environment to be developed. • Plans to provide adaptive systems to deal with communication latencies. • How the tool could enhance and measure behavioral health and performance, including perceived closeness to home. • Ways to assess habitability issues. NASA Deliverables - Phase I deliverable shall yield a proof of concept that includes both an evidence review that encompasses an assessment of current knowledge of virtual reality technologies and their use in supporting this topic. In addition, the following deliverables shall be required: • A requirements document for such a support system that fits the needs of a NASA exploration mission. • A plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the tool as a behavioral health countermeasure, training, and habitability assessment. The subsequent Phase II deliverable shall provide a prototype of specific modules that can demonstrate improved communication and perceived social support by utilizing these technologies. HRP IRP Risks - Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders; Risk of Performance Decrements Due to Inadequate Cooperation, Coordination, Communication, and Psychosocial Adaptation within a Team; Risk of an Incompatible Vehicle/Habitat Design Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Behavior and Performance Element in Human Research Program: o (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/humanresearch/elements/research_info_element-bhp.html)
Advanced Food Systems Technology
Lead Center: JSC OCT Technology Area: TA06 The purpose of the NASA Advanced Food Technology Project is to develop, evaluate and deliver food technologies for human centered spacecraft that will support crews on long duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. Safe, nutritious, acceptable, and varied shelf-stable foods with a shelf life of 5 years will be required to support the crew during these exploration missions. Concurrently, the food system must efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, water, air, waste, power, and crew time. Refrigeration and freezing require significant vehicle resource utilization, so NASA provisions consist solely of shelf stable foods. Stability is achieved by thermal or irradiative processing to kill the microorganisms in the food, or drying to prevent viability of the microorganisms. These methods do impact the micronutrients within the food substrate. Environmental factors (such as moisture ingress and oxidation) are also capable of compromising the nutrient content over the shelf life of the food. Since the food system is the sole source of nutrition to the crew, a significant loss in nutrient availability could significantly jeopardize the health and performance of the crew. Optimal nutritional content of the food for five years will ensure that the food can support crew performance and help protect their bodies from deficiencies that cause disease. Vitamin content in NASA foods, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin, and folic acid, is degraded during processing and as the product ages in storage. The goal is to develop a system that either increases the bioavailability of the nutrients or protects the vitamins from this biological or chemical degradation at ambient temperatures over a five year duration. Possible technologies that could be investigated include novel food ingredients, protective or stabilizing technologies (e.g., encapsulation), biosensors, and controlled-release systems. Phase I Requirements - Phase I should concentrate on the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation resulting in a feasibility report and concept, complete with analyses. NASA Deliverables - A system which will result in higher nutrient content in shelf stable foods. HRP IRP risk - Risk of Inadequate Food System Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4 to 5 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Space Human Factors and Habitability Element in Human Research Program: o (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/humanresearch/elements/research_info_element-shfh.html)
In-Flight Biological Sample Analysis
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): ARC OCT Technology Area: TA06 Although crewmembers undergo intensive medical screening, the possibility of crew injury or illness can never be completely eliminated. A mission could be jeopardized or compromised by reduction of able crewmembers, both directly and indirectly if an incapacitated crewmember requires nursing or care. Mission architecture limits the amount of equipment, consumables, and procedures that will be available to treat medical problems. Mission allocation and technology development must be performed to ensure that the limited mass, volume, power, and crew training time are used efficiently to provide the broadest possible treatment capability. There is also a gap in knowledge in how the spaceflight environment affects the effectiveness of drug therapies. This subtopic aims to mitigate those space mission constraints by means of innovative approaches for addressing the knowledge gap in the area of drug stability during long duration spaceflight. This subtopic seeks proposals for novel approaches to develop an in-flight tool capable of monitoring stability of pharmaceuticals (ideally, solids, liquids and creams) under low gravity conditions. Such a device must be able to determine percentage of active ingredients with a preference to also characterize degradation of products while minimizing the amount of pharmaceutical sample consumed in the test. The technology will need to address approaches and methodologies for handling the different forms of pharmaceuticals (pills, liquids, creams) through the use of a flexible sample preparation front-end amenable to the space environment. The proposed technology should be low-resource, low-footprint, and should involve a low volume of supplies/consumables, which do not require refrigeration or freezing for storage. Also, the technological innovation should be user-friendly, requiring minimal training and operating via uncomplicated protocols. The Phase I technology developed under this SBIR should investigate one or more one or more of the following drugs: • Acetaminophen. • Azithromycin. • Injectable epinephrine. • Lidocaine topical gel. In the Phase I effort, the proof of concept analysis should be demonstrated by the innovative technology and provide comparable results to drug stability laboratory USP standards (i.e., high performance liquid chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, UV/FTIR spectroscopy). Phase II will seek to optimize these results for additional drugs as well as sensitivity, compound identification, drug degradation products, analysis time and facilitated end-user protocols. NASA Deliverables: Prototype functional system in a proof of concept analysis demonstrated by the innovative technology producing drug stability characterization including integrity and percentage of active ingredients and characterization/degradation of products (in Phase I). Drugs to be demonstrated in Phase I include: Acetaminophen, Azithromycin, Injectable epinephrine and Lidocaine topical gel. HRP IRP Risks - Inability to Adequately Recognize or Treat an Ill or Injured Crew Member; Risk of Therapeutic Failure Due to Ineffectiveness of Medication Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 5 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • ISS Medical Project Element in Human Research Program: o (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/humanresearch/elements/research_info_element-issmp.html)
Achieving space flight remains a challenging enterprise. It is an undertaking of great complexity, requiring numerous technological and engineering disciplines and a high level of organizational skill. Human Exploration requires advances in operations, testing, and propulsion for transport to the earth orbit, the moon, Mars, and beyond. NASA is interested in making space transportation systems more capable and less expensive. NASA is interested in technologies for advanced in-space propulsion systems to support exploration, reduce travel time, reduce acquisition costs, and reduce operational costs. The goal is a breakthrough in cost and reliability for a wide range of payload sizes and types (including passenger transportation) supporting future orbital flight vehicles. Lower cost and reliable space access will provide significant benefits to civil space (human and robotic exploration beyond Earth as well as Earth science), to commercial industry, to educational institutions, for support to the International Space Station National Laboratory, and to national security. While other strategies can support frequent, low-cost and reliable space access, this topic focuses on the technologies that dramatically alter acquisition, reusability, reliability, and operability of space transportation systems.
Cryogenic Fluid Management Technologies
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JSC, KSC OCT Technology Area: TA02 This subtopic solicits technologies related to cryogenic propellant storage, transfer, and instrumentation to support NASA's exploration goals. Proposed technologies should feature enhanced safety, reliability, long-term space use, economic efficiency over current state-of-the-art, or enabling technologies to allow NASA to meet future space exploration goals. This includes a wide range of applications, scales, and environments consistent with future NASA missions. Specifically: • Innovative concepts for cryogenic fluid instrumentation are solicited to enable accurate measurement of propellant mass in low-gravity storage tanks, sensors to detect in-space and on-pad leaks from the storage system, and minimally invasive cryogenic liquid mass flow measurement sensors, including cryogenic two-phase flow. • Passive thermal control for Zero Boil-Off (ZBO) storage of cryogens for both long term (>200 days) and short term (~14 days) in all mission environments. Insulation systems that can also serve as Micrometeoroid/orbital debris (MMOD) protection and are self-healing are also desired. • Cryogenic storage technologies for alternate propellants such as xenon. • Active thermal control for long term ZBO storage for space applications. Technologies include 20K cryocoolers and integration techniques, heat exchangers, distributed cooling, and circulators. • Zero gravity cryogenic control devices including thermodynamic vent systems, spray bars, mixers, and liquid acquisition devices. • Advanced spacecraft valve actuators using piezoelectric ceramics. Actuator should reduce the size and power while minimizing heat leak and increasing reliability. • Propellant conditioning and densification technologies for propellant storage and transfer. Specific component technologies include compact, efficient and economical cryogenic compressors, pumps, Joule-Thompson orifices and heat exchangers. Also, subcooling of propellants for ground processing and long-term in-space cryogen storage and transfer. • Liquefaction of oxygen for in space applications. This includes passive cooling with radiators, cryocooler liquefaction, or open cycle systems that work with high-pressure electrolysis. • Efficient small to medium scale hydrogen liquefaction technologies (1-10k gal/day) including domestically produced wet cryogenic turboexpanders. For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward Phase II demonstration, and delivering a demonstration package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. Phase I Deliverables -Research to identify and evaluate candidate technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable. The technology concept at the end of Phase I should be at a TRL range of 3-4. Phase II Deliverables - Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated mission conditions. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into mission-worthy systems. The contract should deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. The technology concept at the end of Phase II should be at a TRL range of 4-5. Potential NASA Customers include: • Cryogenic Propulsion Storage and Transfer Technology Demonstration Mission. • Office of Chief Technologist - Game Changing Development Cryogenic Propulsion Stage Program.
In-Space Propulsion Systems
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): JSC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA02 This solicitation intends to examine a range of key technology options associated with cryogenic, non-toxic storable, and solid core nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) systems for use in future exploration missions. Non-toxic engine technology, including new mono and bipropellants, is desired for use in lieu of the currently operational NTO/MMH engine technology. Handling and safety concerns with toxic chemical propellants can lead to more costly propulsion systems. NTP systems using nuclear fission reactors may enable future short round trip missions to Mars, by helping to reduce launch mass to reasonable values and thereby increasing the payload delivered for Mars exploration missions. Non-toxic and cryogenic engine technologies could range from pump fed or pressure fed reaction control engines of 25-1000 lbf up to 60,000 lbf primary propulsion engines. Pump fed NTP engines in the 15,000-25,000 lbf class, used individually or in clusters, would be used for primary propulsion. Specific technologies of interest to meet proposed engine requirements include: • Non-toxic bipropellant or monopropellants that meet performance targets (as indicated by high specific impulse and high specific impulse density) while improving safety and reducing handling operations as compared to current state-of-the-art storable propellants. • Manufacturing techniques that lower the cost of manufacturing complex components such as injectors and coolant channels. Examples include, but are not limited to, development and demonstration of rapid prototype techniques for metallic parts, powder metallurgy techniques, and application of nano-technology for near net shape manufacturing. • High temperature materials, coatings and/or ablatives or injectors, combustion chambers, nozzles, and nozzle extensions. • Long life, lightweight, reliable turbo-pump designs and technologies include seals, bearing and fluid system components. Hydrogen technologies are of particular interest. • Highly-reliable, long-life, fast-acting propellant valves that tolerate long duration space mission environments with reduced volume, mass, and power requirements is also desirable. • High temperature, low burn-up carbide- and ceramic-metallic (cermet) based nuclear fuels with improved coatings and/or claddings to maximize hydrogen propellant heating and to reduce fission product gas release into the engine’s hydrogen exhaust stream. • High temperature and cryogenic radiation tolerant instrumentation and avionics for engine health monitoring. Non-invasive designs for measuring neutron flux (outside of reactor), chamber temperature, operating pressure, and liquid hydrogen propellant flow rates over wide range of temperatures are desired. Sensors need to operate for months/years instead of hours. Note to Proposer: Subtopic S3.03 under the Science Mission Directorate also addresses in-space propulsion. Proposals more aligned with science mission requirements should be proposed in S3.03. For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward Phase II demonstration, and delivering a demonstration package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. Phase I Deliverables - Research to identify and evaluate candidate technology applications to demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path towards a demonstration. Bench or lab-level demonstrations are desirable. The technology concept at the end of Phase I should be at a TRL range of 3-4. Phase II Deliverables - Emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under simulated mission conditions. The proposal shall outline a path showing how the technology could be developed into mission-worthy systems. The contract should deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. The technology concept at the end of Phase II should be at a TRL range of 4-6. Potential NASA Customers include: • Office of Chief Technologist/Game Changing Development Program - In-Space Propulsion Project. • Office of Chief Technologist/Game Changing Development Program - Manufacturing Innovation (MIP). • Cryogenic Propulsion Stage/Advanced Upper Stage Engine Program. • Human Exploration and Operations Directorate/Advanced Exploration Systems - Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage.
Advanced Technologies for Propulsion Testing
Lead Center: SSC OCT Technology Area: TA13 Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), Rocket Based Combined Cycle (RBCC) and Turbine Based Combined Cycle (TBCC) propulsion systems have been identified as high priority NASA technology areas by the United States National Research Council. The goal of this subtopic is to foster development of advanced technologies with commercialization potential that will be needed for component and system level ground testing of these systems during the development and certification phases of their life-cycle. NTP could be an enabling technology to reduce transit time and mission risk to Near-Earth Objects, Mars, and other deep space destinations. Nuclear power and propulsion technologies are key enabling technologies for future NASA exploration missions. Technology development to facilitate ground testing of NTP is required in the following areas: • Advanced high-temperature and hydrogen resistant materials for use in a hot hydrogen environment (3000 ºF). • Efficient non-nuclear generation of high flow rate (100 lb/sec), high temperature hydrogen. • High temperature fluid and thermal management systems. • High temperature flow control and relief systems. • High temperature power conversion systems. • High temperature process piping systems and associated components. • High temperature instrumentation. RBCC and TBCC could be enabling technologies to reduce cost for and increase frequency of access to space and allow for rapid transit within the Earth’s atmosphere, far exceeding our nation’s current capabilities. Technology development to facilitate ground testing of RBCC and TBCC is required in the following areas: • Thrust take-out and thrust measurement systems that address the unique challenges of a RBCC / TBCC test facility design. • Non-intrusive velocity / temperature / pressure profile measurement of inlet and exhaust flows. For the above technology subject areas, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward hardware and/or material development as appropriate which occurs during Phase II and culminates in a proof-of-concept system. Phase I Deliverables - Phase I deliverables shall include a final report describing design studies and analyses, system, sensor, or instrumentation concepts, prospective material formulations, testing, etc. Prototype systems, components, sensors, instruments or materials can be developed in Phase I as well. The designs or concepts should have commercialization potential. For Phase II consideration, the final report should include a detailed path towards Phase II hardware proof-of-concept system or component or material manufacturing and testing as applicable. The technology concept at the end of Phase I should be at a TRL of 3-4. Phase II Deliverables - Phase II deliverables shall consist of working proof-of-concept systems, tested material formulations with samples, tested component, sensor, or instrumentation hardware, etc. which have been successfully demonstrated in a relevant environment and delivered to NASA for testing and verification. The technology at the end of Phase II should be at a TRL of 6-7. Potential NASA Customers include: • Rocket Propulsion Test Program. • Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Program.
Life Support and Habitation Systems
Life support and habitation encompasses the process technologies and equipment necessary to provide and maintain a livable environment within the pressurized cabin of crewed spacecraft. Functional areas of interest to this solicitation include atmosphere revitalization and particulate control, environmental monitoring and fire protection systems, crew accommodations, water recovery systems, solid waste management and thermal control. Technologies must be directed at long duration missions in microgravity, including Earth orbit and planetary transit. Requirements include operation in microgravity and compatibility with cabin atmospheres of up to 34% oxygen by volume and pressures ranging from 1 atmosphere to as low as 7.6 psi (52.4 kPa). Special emphasis is placed on developing technologies that will fill existing gaps, reduce requirements for consumables and other resources including mass, power, volume and crew time, and which will increase safety and reliability with respect to the state-of-the-art. Non-venting processes may be of interest for technologies that have future applicability to planetary protection. Results of a Phase I contract should demonstrate proof of concept and feasibility of the technical approach. A resulting Phase II contract should lead to development, evaluation and delivery of prototype hardware. Specific technologies of interest to this solicitation are addressed in each subtopic.
Advanced Technologies for Atmosphere Revitalization
Lead Center: MSFC Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, JSC, KSC OCT Technology Area: TA06 Advancing process technologies for key atmosphere revitalization (AR) functions will be essential for enabling future efforts to extend crewed space exploration beyond low Earth orbit. Specific process technology advancements are sought in the technical areas of regenerative CO2 removal, process gas drying, regenerable particulate matter filtration and separation techniques, and photocatalytic processes for removing trace volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cabin atmospheric gases. Specifics pertaining to each technical area are the following: • Advanced Sorbents for CO2 Removal - Development of robust, high capacity, regenerable CO2 adsorbents that substantially reduce the energy required for regeneration, are resistant to material degradation (i.e., dusting, spalling) and are highly selective to CO2 over moisture. Candidate sorbents must be capable of operating in either CO2 venting (open loop) or CO2 processing (closed loop) modes. • Passive Moisture Removal - Development of advanced water vapor removal techniques from air streams that operate at near-ambient pressure and temperatures and with little to no energy costs. This may include the development of water-selective materials (e.g., membranes, adsorbents) that exhibit significantly higher efficiencies than current commercial products. Very dry air (-65 °C dew point) can be assumed to be available to aid in drying process stream (1:1 ratio). Candidate process technologies must be capable of either venting moisture to space or returning moisture to the cabin for subsequent recovery for crew use. • Particulate Management - Long-life and self-cleaning particulate pre-filters are required to reduce crew maintenance time and eliminate the need for consumable filter elements. These units should be able to handle large surges of particles and operate over very long periods. They should also be self-cleaning in-place or off-line (in-place is preferable, and provide viable methods for disposing of collected particulate matter while minimizing or eliminating direct contact by the crew. Complete (100%) capture of particles 20 microns and larger is required. Targeted technologies should be compact and lightweight, and easily integrated with the spacecraft Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS). • Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) for Trace Contaminant Control - Technologies are of interest for photocatalytic oxidation of Volatile Organic Carbon (VOCs) completely to CO2 and H2O (i.e., complete “mineralization”) without producing partial oxidation products such as aldehydes and/or organic acids. Catalysts that are activated not only by UV, but also the visible region of the solar spectrum to capitalize on the highly efficient blue LEDs or solar energy are desired. Concepts should minimize PCO reactor volume via improved catalysts and catalyst activity, improved UV illumination scheme and/or improved illuminated catalyst surface area-to-volume ratio. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 2 to 3 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Mission elements and vehicles: Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle, Deep Space Habitat, Pressurized Rovers and Planetary Surface Systems, International Space Station. • Human exploration missions include: Low-Earth orbit, Earth’s neighborhood (Earth-moon libration points, lunar orbit and surface, geosynchronous orbits, etc), Near-Earth Asteroids, Mars Missions (transit, orbit, moons and surface). (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/home/index.html)
Monitoring and Fire Protection for Spacecraft Autonomy
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, JSC, KSC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA06 Environmental Monitoring Technologies are desired to ensure that the chemical content of the air and water environment of the crew habitat falls within acceptable limits and the life support system is functioning properly and efficiently. Required technology characteristics include: 2 year shelf-life; functionality in microgravity and low pressure environments (~8 psi). The technologies require significant improvements in miniaturization, reliability, life-time, self-calibration, and reduction of expendables. Examples of desired analytes are: • Trace silver (0.05-15 mg/L) and trace organics in water (acetone: 0.05-5 mg/L; aldehydes: . 4-60 mg/L; alcohols: 1-100 mg/L). Technologies for quantification and identification of microbial species are requested within an alternative subtopic, ISS Utilization. Spacecraft Fire Protection A first response crew mask capable of protecting the crew from ammonia, hydrazine, and combustion products is desired. A suitable first response mask should be quick to don, protect the wearer from environmental contaminants and elevated temperature hazards, and provide breathable air during prolonged emergency response activities. This mask would be one-size fits all and be effective for a minimum of 1 hour. While wearing the mask, the crew should have excellent freedom of motion and positive indication of effectiveness. A portable, self-contained fire and toxic atmosphere cleanup system is desired that can rapidly remove contaminants from a spacecraft volume. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 3 to 4 or higher are sought.
Crew Accommodations and Water Recovery for Long Duration Missions
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): ARC, KSC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA06 Spacecraft crew accommodations requires volumetrically reconfigurable and hygienic crew interiors that maintain crew productivity. Advancements are required to reduce logistical packaging mass residual, repurpose logistical items for outfitting, provide extended wear clothing, clothes laundering, and metabolic waste collection/processing. Advancements in technology for water recovery are required to exceed existing 85% recovery from urine and humidity condensate. It is expected that both the variety of wastewater sources and the total volume of wastewater will increase with increasing mission duration. Technologies that increase closure of the water system and reduce expendables will enable future missions. Specific focus areas include: Human Fecal & Waste Management: • Technology is needed to collect, dry, process, and recover useful materials, and to safely store human feces, trash, and processed residuals. Technologies for micro-gravity collection of urine and feces should have modes that allow for operation even if active components fail, by relying on or being aided by passive processes for function, such as capillary forces. Minimal crew interaction, low energy, contamination tolerant waste processing systems that recover water, methane, or other useful materials are desired. Logistical Repurposing: • Novel alternatives to existing launch foam packaging materials that are light weight, have low frangibility, and can be compressed or heated to achieve low residual volume after launch. • Launch packaging systems (bags, nets, hard structures) that can be repurposed or reconfigured on orbit to provide interior crew accommodations (sleep areas, exercise, hygiene, thermal/sound control) with minimal mass penalty. • Logistical materials that can be readily processed or reformulated on orbit to provide atmospheric gases, water, or material for in-space fabrication processes with minimal power requirements. Mixed Brine Water Recovery: • Recovery of water from mixed waste stream brines with 12% or higher dissolved solids are desired. Low energy, microgravity, low expendable systems should be tolerant of urine stabilization chemicals such as oxone, sulfuric acid and hexavalent chromium. Biocide Delivery Systems: • Technologies to replace the use of iodine for potable water disinfection. This may include techniques to replenish silver ions to a concentration of 0.4 mg/l in potable water or techniques to minimize the loss of silver ions in a potable water system. In addition, alternative disinfection technologies to inhibit biofilm formation on surfaces and provide residual disinfectant to maintain potable water quality would be considered. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 3 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Mission elements and vehicles: o Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. o Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle. o Deep Space Habitat. o Pressurized Rovers and Planetary Surface Systems. o International Space Station. Human exploration missions include: • Low-Earth orbit, Earth’s neighborhood (Earth-moon libration points, lunar orbit and surface, geosynchronous orbits, etc). • Near-Earth Asteroids. • Mars Missions (transit, orbit, moons and surface). (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/home/index.html)
Thermal Control Systems
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC, JPL, KSC, LaRC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA14 Future human spacecraft will venture far beyond the relatively benign environment of low Earth orbit. They will transit through the deep space, but they may encounter warm transient environments such as low lunar orbit. Some spacecraft elements may be launched untended and would operate at relatively low power levels as they transit to their final destination. The combination of extreme environments and high turndown capability will be a major challenge for spacecraft Active Thermal Control Systems (ATCSs). Sophisticated thermal control systems will be required that can dissipate a wide range of heat loads in widely varying environments while using fewer of the limited spacecraft mass, volume and power resources. Advances are sought for microgravity room temperature thermal control in the areas of: • Innovative thermal components and system architectures that are capable of operating over a wide range of heat loads in varying environments (for example, a 5:1 heat load range in environments ranging from 0 to 275 K). • Two-phase heat transfer components and system architectures will allow the efficient acquisition, transport, and rejection of waste heat. • Heat rejection strategies and hardware for transient, cyclical applications – e. g., phase change material heat exchangers, heat pumps, or efficient evaporative heat sinks. • Smaller, lighter, high performance heat exchangers and coldplates. • Low temperature external working fluids (a temperature limit approaching 150K) with favorable thermophysical properties – e. g., high specific heat, high thermal conductivity, and viscosity that does not dramatically increase at lower temperatures. • Internal working fluids that are non-toxic, have favorable thermophysical properties, and are compatible with aluminum tubing (i.e., no corrosion for up to 10 years). Low temperature limits (~150 K) and favorable thermophysical properties would allow their use externally in a single loop ATCS. • Low mass, high conductance ratio thermal switches. • Long-life, light-weight, efficient single-phase pumps capable of producing relatively high pressure heads (~4 atm). • Variable area radiators (e.g., variable conductance heat pipe radiators or drainable radiators). • New thermal design tools to reduce the time and costs required for analysis, design, integration, and testing of the spacecraft. In particular, an innovative thermal design tool capable of fast and accurate spacecraft thermal modeling with significantly reduced effort and cost is needed. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 2 to 4 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/orion/index.html) Future Human Space Missions - (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/home/index.html)
Extra-Vehicular Activity Technology
Advanced Extra -Vehicular Activity (EVA) systems are necessary for the successful support of the International Space Station (ISS) beyond 2020 and future human space exploration missions for in-space microgravity EVA and for planetary surface exploration. Advanced EVA systems include the space suit pressure garment, airlocks, the Portable Life Support System (PLSS), Avionics and Displays, and EVA Integrated Systems. Future human space exploration missions will require innovative approaches for maximizing human productivity. Advanced EVA system must also provide the capability to perform useful tasks safely, such as assembling and servicing large in-space systems and exploring surfaces of the Moon, Mars, and small bodies. Top-level requirements for advanced EVA systems include reduction of system weight and volume, minimization of consumables usage, increased hardware reliability, durability, operating life, increased human comfort, and less restrictive work performance in the space environment. All proposed Phase I research must lead to specific Phase II experimental development that could be integrated into a functional EVA system.
Space Suit Pressure Garment and Airlock Technologies
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): GRC OCT Technology Area: TA06 Advanced space suit pressure garment and airlock technologies are necessary for the successful support of the International space Station (ISS) and future human space exploration missions for in-space microgravity EVA and planetary surface operations. The space suit pressure garment requires innovative technologies focused on performance, environmental protection, and mass reduction. Two of the critical performance characteristics of a suit are mobility and durability. Improved mobility typically competes against durability and suit component life. Materials that enable both highly mobile and durable designs would negate the need for compromise in one of these areas. Other key suit performance enhancements include materials that enable improved fit and sizing, such as shape change materials that increase the ease of suit don/doff or facilitate adaptable fit for specific functional tasks. Space suit environmental protection includes protection from thermal extremes, vacuum, cuts, abrasion and micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD). Additional environmental protection is desired for plasma, radiation, electrical shock, antimicrobials and dust. It is desirable to provide protection in as few material layers as possible; therefore, multi-functional materials are desired. Self-healing materials and materials that alert the inspector to wear/maintenance needs are also of interest. Mass reduction of the space suit system is highly desirable for many reasons, with arguably the biggest drivers being launch mass and on-back mass during EVA. New materials that can lead to reductions in suit component mass, for example, lightweight materials for bearings and hard structures, are therefore desirable. Due to the expected large number of space walks that will be performed on the ISS beyond 2020 and during future human space exploration missions, innovative technologies and designs for both microgravity and surface airlocks will be needed. Technology development is needed to decrease the time associated with egressing and ingressing the vehicle or habitat, reducing the gas loss during depressurization, and decreasing the potential of contaminating the cabin due to bringing in dust or CO2. These enhancements could be achieved with a suitport, suitlock or some type of advanced airlock. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4 to 6 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • EVA Project Office. • International Space Station. • Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate. • Office of Chief Technologist.
Space Suit Life Support and Avionics Systems
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): GRC OCT Technology Area: TA06 Space Suit Life Support Systems Advanced space suit life support systems are necessary for the successful support of the International Space Station (ISS) and future human space exploration missions for in-space microgravity EVA and planetary surface operations. Exploration missions will require a robust, lightweight, and maintainable Primary Life Support System (PLSS). The PLSS attaches to the space suit pressure garment and provides approximately an 8 hour supply of oxygen for breathing, suit pressurization, ventilation and CO2 removal, and a thermal control system for crew member metabolic heat rejection. Innovative technologies are needed for high-pressure O2 delivery, crewmember cooling, heat rejection, and removal of expired CO2 and water vapor. Space Suit Avionics Systems Future generations of advanced space suit avionics will be far superior to those on the current generation of space suits. They will be more capable, configurable, lightweight, and low power with a footprint that will rival current consumer electronic devices, but survive the harsh space environment. They must be self-contained, so that maintenance on the devices can be performed on-orbit or they can be easily swapped for functioning or upgraded devices. Those considered will be radio, displays, and cameras. Future advanced radios will be configurable and, potentially, software-defined and/or re-configurable to support future communications network-based architectures in addition to the point-to-point communications links that are prevalent today. The next-generation EVA radios will need to support voice, telemetry, and standard/high definition video data flows (up to 20 Mbps) and the radio architecture will need to be lightweight and power efficient while managing data in a seamless and lossless manner between multiple interfaces. Radios should support space-based or terrestrial-based protocols to enable communications between multiple entities across a communications link and have an open and modular architecture. The current generation of Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) and Near-to-Eye (NTE) Displays are not viable, since it is desirable for the display to be decoupled from the user's head for improved safety, comfort, and alignment. The decoupling makes the specifications for the eyebox (tolerance to misalignment before image goes out of focus), field of view (angle of the image created by the optics), and eye relief (working distance from the eye to the last optical element) difficult. Key performance targets include: • Graphical Data Presentation: SXGA @ 40 °FOV (possibly biocular). • Decoupled from User's Head - Large Eyebox: 100 mm x 100mm x 50mm (D). • Sunlight Readability: 500 fL inside visor, 1800 fL outside visor (>10 to 1 contrast). Display technologies must ensure that suit displays can operate outside the suit environment in thermal, radiation, and vacuum as well as internally without imposing ignition hazards due to 100% oxygen environment. Cameras will not only provide the crewmember the ability for still and motion image, but also situational awareness, which enhances safety for the crewmember. The cameras should be capable of recording high definition motion and high-resolution imagery with the ability to compress the data for transmission over a variety of RF transmissions and/or IP networks with varying bandwidths. Hemispherical and dynamic cameras are desired. Dynamic cameras can take still images and motion video in variable bandwidths, capture images based on link quality, and change frame rates. Hemispherical cameras record 360 ° video views of a crewmember, distort views through optics and then undistort the views via software on the ground to pan/zoom for total situational awareness. Cameras should be low-power and lightweight with a number of mounting options for optimal placement on the suit. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4 to 6 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • EVA Project Office. • International Space Station. • Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate. • Office of Chief Technologist.
Lightweight Spacecraft Materials and Structures
The SBIR topic area of Lightweight Spacecraft Materials and Structures centers on developing lightweight inflatable structures, solar array structures, and advanced manufacturing technologies for metallic materials. Applications are expected to include space exploration vehicles including launch vehicles, crewed vehicles, and surface and habitat systems, and solar electric propulsion tugs. The subtopic Expandable/Deployable Structures solicits innovative concepts to support the development of lightweight-structure technologies that would be viable solutions to high packaging efficiency, and of deployment mechanisms. Technologies are needed to minimize launch mass, volume and costs, while maintaining the required structural performance for the loads and environments. Of particular interest for expandable/inflatable systems are high-tenacity fibrous materials for the restraint layer of inflatable structures, and bladder materials with limited air permeation and good flexure properties at low temperatures. Analysis and test methods that verify the performance of highly loaded inflated structures are highly desired. For large solar arrays systems, mass-efficient solar array designs with a scalable path from 20-30 kW up to 300 kW and beyond are needed. Advanced analysis and test techniques to ensure reliable deployment of large solar array structures are of special interest. Novel design and packaging concepts, analysis techniques, and both ground and in-space test methods are sought for large deployable solar arrays as well as for individual components such as lightweight booms, ribs, or frames; flexible substrate materials; and mechanisms. The overall objective of the subtopic on Advanced Manufacturing and Material Development for Lightweight Metallic Structures is to advance technology readiness levels of lightweight metals and manufacturing techniques for launch vehicles and in-space applications resulting in structures having affordable, reliable, predictable performance with reduced costs. Proposals are sought that offer innovative manufacturing processes and/or materials to locally increase the stiffness and strength of structural elements added to NNS components. Manufacturing methods of interest include additive manufacturing methods that employ wire feedstock, fusion and friction stir welding. Of specific interest in materials are advances in aluminum wire and tape feedstock materials, including customized alloy chemistry and metal matrix composites (MMCs) incorporating either discontinuous or continuous reinforcements. Of specific interest in manufacturing and processing are proposals that address issues such as residual stress and distortion control, post-deposition processing to develop service mechanical properties, and energy source/reinforcement interactions. Research under this topic should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a full-scale demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract.
Lead Center: LaRC Participating Center(s): JSC OCT Technology Area: TA12 The SBIR subtopic area of Lightweight Expandable/Deployable Structures solicits innovative concepts to support the development of primary pressurized inflatable modules or large solar array structures for space exploration environments. Concepts should illustrate simple designs, low launch-to-deployed dimension ratios, efficient packaging and deployment techniques. Robustness, damage tolerance, and minor repair capabilities should also be considered in concept submittals. Development of advanced analysis and test methods that verify the performance of highly loaded inflated structures or large solar array systems are highly desired. Of particular interest for expandable/inflatable systems are high-tenacity fibrous materials for the restraint layer of inflatable structures. Proposed materials should have well-characterized long-term creep behavior or a characterization plan for determination thereof. Also of significant interest are bladder materials with an air permeation rate no greater than 1.5 cc/100 in2/day/atm that remain sufficiently flexible at -50 °F to be deployed on orbit without external heating. Permeation rate should show no increase upon fold/flex testing at -50 °F. For large solar arrays systems, mass-efficient solar array designs with a scalable path from 20-30 kW up to 300 kW and beyond are needed. Advanced analysis and test techniques to ensure reliable deployment of large solar array structures are of special interest. Novel design and packaging concepts, analysis techniques, and both ground and in-space test methods are sought for large deployable solar arrays as well as for individual components such as lightweight booms, ribs, or frames; flexible substrate materials; and mechanisms. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 3 to 4 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • International Space Station. • Advanced Exploration Systems - Deep Space Habitat. • Office of Chief Technology - Game Changing Technology Division, and Technology Demonstration Missions.
Advanced Manufacturing and Material Development for Lightweight Metallic Structures
Lead Center: LaRC Participating Center(s): GRC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA12 The overall objective of this subtopic is to advance technology readiness levels of lightweight metals and manufacturing techniques for launch vehicles and in-space applications resulting in structures having affordable, reliable, predictable performance with reduced costs. The current state-of-the-art for fabrication of launch vehicle structure is multi-piece welded and riveted construction to assemble parts that are heavily machined from thick wrought products. Fabrication of single-piece launch vehicle structure using near-net shape (NNS) manufacturing methods can reduce mass and cost while increasing safety and reliability, primarily through elimination of welds and parasitic weld land weight and reduction in the number of manufacturing steps. However, to fully realize the benefits of these NNS manufactured components, methods to add structural elements and/or locally enhance material properties of these structural elements are needed. Structural elements added by welding or deposited by additive manufacturing methods typically have dissimilar microstructures and reduced mechanical properties compared with the NNS fabricated component. Materials of construction are typically aluminum and aluminum lithium (Al-Li) alloys. Some examples where this technology would be applied include adding stiffeners to thin-walled single-piece monocoque shells such as cylinders, bulkheads, domes, and frustums, and for reinforcing cut outs and windows. Proposals are sought that offer innovative manufacturing processes and/or materials to locally increase the stiffness and strength of structural elements added to NNS components. Manufacturing methods of interest include additive manufacturing methods that employ wire feedstock, fusion and friction stir welding. Of specific interest in materials are advances in aluminum wire and tape feedstock materials, including customized alloy chemistry and metal matrix composites (MMCs) incorporating either discontinuous or continuous reinforcements. Of specific interest in manufacturing and processing are proposals that address issues such as residual stress and distortion control, post-deposition processing to develop service mechanical properties, and energy source / reinforcement interactions. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility in Phase I and show a path toward demonstration in Phase II of material fabrication and / or manufacturing process improvement. When possible proposals should include delivery of sample material for test and evaluation by NASA and / or a component demonstration article. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4 to 6 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Office of Chief Technology – Integrated Manufacturing Modeling with Experiment. • Space Launch System. • Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle. • Fundamental Aeronautics – Fixed Wing, High Speed, Aerosciences Projects.
Autonomous and Robotic Systems
NASA invests in the development of autonomous systems, advanced avionics, and robotics technology capabilities for the purpose of enabling complex missions and technology demonstrations supporting the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD). The software, avionics, and robotics elements requested within this topic are critical to enhancing human spaceflight system functionality. These elements increase autonomy and system reliability; reduce system vulnerability to extreme radiation and thermal environments; and support human exploration missions with robotic assistants, precursors and caretaker robots. As key and enabling technology areas, autonomous systems, avionics and robotics are applicable to broad areas of technology use, including heavy lift launch vehicle technologies, robotic precursor platforms, utilization of the International Space Station, and spacecraft technology demonstrations performed to enable long duration space missions. All of these flight applications will require unique advances in software, robotic technologies and avionics. The exploration of space requires the best of the nation's technical community to provide the technologies, engineering, and systems to enable human exploration beyond LEO, to visit asteroids and the Moon, and to extend our reach to Mars.
Spacecraft Autonomy and Space Mission Automation
Lead Center: ARC Participating Center(s): JPL OCT Technology Area: TA04 Future human spaceflight missions will place crews at large distances and light-time delays from Earth, requiring novel capabilities for crews and ground to manage spacecraft consumables such as power, water, propellant and life support systems to prevent Loss of Mission (LOM) or Loss of Crew (LOC). This capability is necessary to handle events such as leaks or failures leading to unexpected expenditure of consumables coupled with lack of communications. If crews in the spacecraft must manage, plan and operate much of the mission themselves, NASA must migrate operations functionality from the flight control room to the vehicle for use by the crew. Migrating flight controller tools and procedures to the crew on-board the spacecraft would, even if technically possible, overburden the crew. Enabling these same monitoring, tracking, and management capabilities on-board the spacecraft for a small crew to use will require significant automation and decision support software. Required capabilities to enable future human spaceflight to distant destinations include: • Enable on-board crew management of vehicle consumables that are currently flight controller responsibilities. • Increase the onboard capability to detect and respond to unexpected consumables-management related events and faults without dependence on ground. • Reduce up-front and recurring software costs to produce flight-critical software. • Provide more efficient and cost effective ground based operations through automation of consumables management processes, and up-front and recurring mission operations software costs. The same capabilities for enabling human spaceflight missions are directly applicable to efforts to automate the operation of unmanned aircraft flying in the National Airspace (NAS) and robotic planetary explorers. Mission Operations Automation: • Peer-to-peer mission operations planning. • Mixed initiative planning systems. • Elicitation of mission planning constraints and preferences. • Planning system software integration. Space Vehicle Automation: • Autonomous rendezvous and docking software. • Integrated discrete and continuous control software. • Long-duration high-reliability autonomous system. • Power aware computing. Spacecraft Systems Automation: • Multi-agent autonomous systems for mapping. • Safe proximity operations (including astronauts). • Uncertainty management for proximity ops, movement, etc. Emphasis of proposed efforts: • Software proposals only, but emphasize hardware and operating systems the proposed software will run on (e.g., processors, sensors). • In-space or Terrestrial applications (e.g., UAV mission management) are acceptable. • Proposals must demonstrate mission operations cost reduction by use of standards, open source software, staff reduction, and/or decrease of software integration costs. • Proposals must demonstrate autonomy software cost reduction by use of standards, demonstration of capability especially on long-duration missions, system integration, and/or use of open source software. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4 to 6 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Autonomous Mission Operations Project (http://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/aes/index.html) • Habitation Systems Project. o (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/analogs/hdu_project.html) • Mission Operations Directorate • Human Exploration Telerobotics Project o (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/telerobotics/telerobotics_overview.html)
Radiation Hardened/Tolerant and Low Temperature Electronics and Processors
Lead Center: MSFC Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL OCT Technology Area: TA11 Exploration flight projects, robotic precursors, and technology demonstrators that are designed to operate beyond low-Earth orbit require avionic systems, components, and controllers that are capable of enduring the extreme temperature and radiation environments of deep space, the lunar surface, and eventually the Martian surface. Spacecraft vehicle electronics will be required to operate across a wide temperature range and must be capable of enduring frequent (and often rapid) thermal-cycling. Packaging for these electronics must be able to accommodate the mechanical stress and fatigue associated with the thermal cycling. Spacecraft vehicle electronics must be radiation hardened for the target environment. They must be capable of operating through a minimum total ionizing dose (TID) of 300 krads (Si), provide fewer Single Event Upsets (SEUs) than 10-10 to 10-11 errors/bit-day, and provide single event latchup (SEL) immunity at linear energy transfer (LET) levels of 100 MeV cm2/mg (Si) or more. All three characteristics for radiation hardened electronics of TID, SEU and SEL are needed. Electronics hardened for thermal cycling and extreme temperature ranges should perform beyond the standard military specification range of -55 °C to 125 °C, running as low as -230 °C or as high as 350 °C. Using the target environment performance parameters for thermal and radiation extremes, proposals are sought in the following specific areas: • Low power, high efficiency, radiation-hardened processor technologies. • Technologies and techniques for environmentally hardened Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). • Innovative radiation-hardened volatile and nonvolatile memory technologies. • Tightly-integrated electronic sensor and actuator modules that include power, command and control, and processing. • Radiation-hardened analog application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for spacecraft power management and other applications. • Radiation-hardened DC-to-DC converters and point-of-load power distribution circuits. • Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools for predicting the electrical performance, reliability, and life cycle for low-temperature and wide-temperature electronic systems and components. • Physics-based device models valid at temperature ranging from -230 °C to +130 °C to enable design, verification and fabrication of custom mixed-signal and analog circuits. • Circuit design and layout methodologies/techniques that facilitate radiation hardness and low-temperature (-230 °C) analog and mixed-signal circuit performance. • Packaging capable of surviving numerous thermal cycles, tolerant of the extreme temperatures, and the ionizing radiation environment on the Moon and Mars. This includes the use of appropriate materials including substrates, die-attach, encapsulants, thermal compounds, etc. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 3 to 5 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Autonomous Landing Systems. • Mars Science Lab Instrumentation. • Tele-robotics. • Surface Mobility. • Nuclear Systems. • Robotic Satellite Servicing. • In-Space propulsion. • Deep Space X-Ray Navigation and Communication. • Deep Space Optical Communications. • Mars Sample Return. • Europa Orbiter. • Near Earth Objects and Primitive Body Missions. • Space Launch System. • Extra-Vehicular Activity Suits
Human-Robotic Systems - Manipulation Subsystem
Lead Center: JSC Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL OCT Technology Area: TA04 This call for technology development is in direct support of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD). The purpose of this research is to develop component and subsystem level technologies to support robotic precursor exploration missions. To that end, it is the intent of this Subtopic to capitalize on advanced technologies that allow humans and robots to interact seamlessly and significantly increase their efficiency and productivity in space. The objective is to produce new technologies that will reduce the total mass-volume-power of equipment and materials required to support both short and long duration planetary missions. The proposals must focus on component and subsystem level technologies in order to maximize the return from current SBIR funding levels and timelines. Doing so increases the likelihood of successfully producing a technology that can be readily infused into existing robotic system designs. This research focuses on technology development for the critical functions that will ultimately enable surface exploration for the advancement of scientific research. Surface exploration begins with short duration missions to establish a foundation, which leads to extensible functional capabilities. Successive buildup missions establish a continuous operational platform from which to conduct scientific research while on the planetary surface. Reducing risk and ensuring mission success depends on the coordinated interaction of many functional surface systems including power, communications infrastructure, mobility, and ground operations. This Subtopic addresses robotic manipulation and related technology needs associated with planetary surface systems infrastructure, interaction of humans and machines, mobility systems, payload and resource handling, and mitigation of environmental contaminations. The objective of this Subtopic is to create human-robotic technologies (hardware and software) to improve the exploration of space. Robots can perform tasks to assist and off-load work from astronauts. Robots may perform this work before, in support of, or after humans. Ground controllers and astronauts will remotely operate robots using a range of control modes (teleoperation to supervised autonomy), over multiple spatial ranges (shared-space, line-of-sight, in orbit, and interplanetary), and with a range of time-delay and communications bandwidth. Proposals are sought that address the following technology needs: • Subsystems that improve handling and maintenance of payloads and assets. • Enable crew and ground controllers to better operate, monitor, and supervise robots. • Improve the transport of crew, instruments, and payloads on planetary surfaces, asteroids, as well as in space. This includes: • Robot user interfaces. • Automated performance monitoring. • Tactical planning software. • Ground data system tools. • Command planning and sequencing. • Real-time visualization/notification. • Software for situational awareness, as well as, subsystems to improve handling and maintenance of payloads and assets. • Tactile sensors. • Human-safe actuation. • Active structure. • Dexterous grasping. • Modular “plug and play” mechanisms for deployment and setup. • Standardized interfaces for structural loads & commodity transfer. • Novel robotic manipulation methods. • Small/lightweight devices to provide subsurface access and sampling. • Small/lightweight regolith excavation, handling & delivery devices. • Regolith anchoring methods for near Earth objects (neo). • Subsystems to improve the transport of crew, instruments, and payloads on planetary surfaces, asteroids, and in-space. • Hazard detection sensors/perception. • Active suspension. • Grappling/anchoring. • Legged locomotion. • Sub-surface locomotion. • Robot navigation. • Infrastructure-free localization. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 2 to 6 are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Software Robotics and Simulation Division (JSC-ER). • International Space Station. • Habitat Development Unit (AES Project). • Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (MMSEV-AES Project). • MPCV Orion Project. • R2 (Robonaut Project).
Entry, Descent and Landing Technology
The Thermal Protection System (TPS) protects a spacecraft from the severe heating encountered during hypersonic flight through a planetary atmosphere. In general, there are two classes of TPS - reusable and ablative. Typically, reusable TPS applications are limited to relatively mild entry environments like that of Space Shuttle. No change in the mass or properties of the TPS material results from entry with a significant amount of energy being re-radiated from the heated surface and the remainder conducted into the TPS material. Typically, a surface coating with high emissivity (to maximize the amount of energy re-radiated) and with low surface catalycity (to minimize convective heating by suppressing surface recombination of dissociated boundary layer species) is employed. The primary insulation has low thermal conductivity to minimize the mass of material required to insulate the primary structure. Ablative TPS materials, in contrast, accommodate high heating rates and heat loads through phase change and mass loss. All NASA planetary entry probes to date have used ablative TPS. Most ablative TPS materials are reinforced composites employing organic resins as binders. When heated, the resin pyrolyzes producing gaseous products that are heated as they percolate toward the surface thus transferring some energy from the solid to the gas. Additionally, the injection of the pyrolysis gases into the boundary layer alters the boundary layer properties resulting in reduced convective heating. However, the gases may undergo chemical reactions with the boundary layer gases that could return heat to the surface. Furthermore, chemical reactions between the surface material and boundary layer species can result in consumption of the surface material leading to surface recession. Those reactions can be endothermic (vaporization, sublimation) or exothermic (oxidation) and will have an important impact on net energy to the surface. Clearly, in comparison to reusable TPS materials, the interaction of ablative TPS materials with the surrounding gas environment is much more complex as there are many more mechanisms to accommodate the entry heating. NASA has successfully tackled the complexity of thermal protection systems for numerous missions to inner and outer planets in our solar system in the past; the knowledge gained has been invaluable but incomplete. Future missions will be more demanding. Better performing ablative TPS than currently available is needed to satisfy requirements of the most severe missions, e.g., Near Earth Object Earth Return with velocities exceeding 11.5 km/s and Heavy Mass Mars Landing with 8 km/s entry. In addition, new low ballistic coefficient deployable systems may require flexible ablative TPS materials that can protect systems experiencing heat fluxes ranging from 30 W/cm2 to 300 W/cm2, depending on their missions. Beyond the improvement needed in ablative TPS materials, more demanding future missions such as large payload missions to Mars will require novel entry system designs that consider different vehicle shapes, deployable or inflatable configurations and integrated approaches of TPS materials with the entry system sub-structure.
Ablative Thermal Protection Systems
Lead Center: ARC Participating Center(s): GRC, JPL, JSC, LaRC OCT Technology Area: TA14 The technologies described below support the goal of developing higher performance ablative TPS materials for higher performance future Exploration missions. Developments are sought for ablative TPS materials and heat shield systems that exhibit maximum robustness, reliability and survivability while maintaining minimum mass requirements, and capable of enduring severe combined convective and radiative heating. In addition, in order to adequately test and design with these materials, advancements in instrumentation, inspection, and modeling of ablative TPS materials is also sought. Areas of interest include improvements in the reinforcement materials as follows: • Advancements in carbon felts including thickness (>1.0-in), density (>0.12 g/cm3), uniformity to use as reinforcement for high strain-to-failure ablative TPS materials. • Advancements in thin (~0.1-in) three dimensional woven carbon materials to act as stress bearing structure for deployable aeroshells. • Advancements in thick (>1.0-in) three dimensional woven carbon materials to use as reinforcement for high heat flux mid-to-high density ablative TPS materials. TPS Materials advancements sought in felts or woven materials impregnated with polymers to improve ablation performance. Areas of interest include: • One class of materials, for planetary aerocapture and entry for a rigid mid L/D (lift to drag ratio) shaped vehicle, will need to survive a dual heating exposure, with the first at heat fluxes of 400-500 W/cm2 (primarily convective) and integrated heat loads of up to 55 kJ/cm2, and the second at heat fluxes of 100-200 W/cm2 and integrated heat loads of up to 25 kJ/cm2. These materials or material systems must improve on the current state-of-the-art recession rates of 0. 25 mm/s at heating rates of 200 W/cm2 and pressures of 0.3 atm and improve on the state-of-the-art areal mass of 1.0 g/cm2 required to maintain a bondline temperature below 250 ºC • The second class of materials, for planetary aerocapture and entry for a deployable aerodynamic decelerator, will need to survive a single or dual heating exposure, with the first (or single pulse) at heat fluxes of 50-150 W/cm2 (primarily convective) and integrated heat loads of 10 kJ/cm2 and the second at heat fluxes of 30-50 W/cm2 and heat loads of 5 kJ/cm2. These materials may be either flexible or deployable. • The third class of materials, for higher velocity (>11.5km/s) Earth return, will need to survive heat fluxes of 1500-2500 W/cm2, with radiation contributing up to 75% of that flux, and integrated heat loads from 75-150 kJ/cm2. These materials, or material systems must improve on the current state-of-the-art recession rates of 1.00 mm/s at heating rates of 2000 W/cm2 and pressures of 0.3 atm and improve on the state-of-the-art areal mass of 4.0 g/cm2, required to maintain a bondline temperature below 250 ºC. Development of in-situ heat flux sensors, surface recession diagnostics, and in-depth or interface thermal response measurement devices for use on rigid and/or flexible ablative materials. In-situ heat flux sensors and surface recession diagnostics tools are needed for flight systems to provide better traceability from the modeling and design tools to actual performance. The resultant data will lead to higher fidelity design tools, risk reduction, decreased heat shield mass and increases in direct payload. The heat flux sensors should be accurate within 20%, surface recession diagnostic sensors should be accurate within 10%, and any temperature sensors should be accurate within 5% of actual values. Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) tools for evaluation of bondline and in-depth integrity for light weight rigid and/or flexible ablative materials. Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) tools are sought to verify design requirements are met during manufacturing and assembly of the heat shield, e.g., verifying that anisotropic materials have been installed in their proper orientation, that the bondline as well as the TPS materials have the proper integrity and are free of voids or defects. Void and/or defect detection requirements will depend upon the materials being inspected. Typical internal void detection requirements are on the order of 6mm, and bondline defect detection requirements are on the order of 25.4mm by 25.4mm by the thickness of the adhesive. Advances are sought in ablation modeling, including radiation, convection, gas surface interactions, pyrolysis, coking, and charring for low and mid-density fiber based (woven or felt) ablative materials. There is a specific need for improved models for low and mid density as well as multi-layered charring ablators (with different chemical composition in each layer). Consideration of the non-equilibrium states of the pyrolysis gases and the surface thermochemistry, as well as the potential to couple the resulting models to a computational fluid dynamics solver, should be included in the modeling efforts Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 2-3 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate . o Multi Purpose Crewed Vehicle (MPCV) heatshield and backshell projects. o Asteroid Sample Return projects. o Future design of low Ballistic Coefficient entry vehicles using Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) or Adaptive Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT) systems. • Science Mission Directorate – Planetary Exploration Entry, Decent and Landing heatshield and backshell projects and Planetary Sample Return projects. • NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) projects.
High Efficiency Space Power Systems
This topic solicits technology development for high-efficiency power systems to be used for the human exploration of space. Power system needs include: • Batteries for extravehicular activity suits. • Electrical power for in-space propulsion systems. • Electric power generation and energy storage for planetary and lunar surface applications. H8.01 Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers: • Ion-exchange membranes for PEM electrolyzers, emphasizing low acid generation to meet a critical ISS need and low permeability to increase the efficiency of high pressure systems for surface systems. • Solid oxide fuel cell technology to spark the next-generation of fuel cell technology that will enable operation with multiple fuels including methane for landers and hydrocarbons generated from ISRU processes. H8.02 Ultra High Specific Energy Batteries: • Cathodes compatible with silicon-composite anodes to address the key obstacle to current lithium ion battery development for extravehicular actitivies. • High-risk battery chemistries offering performance well beyond Li-ion. H8.03 Space Nuclear Power Systems: • 10 kWe-class power conversion devices and 450K radiators to support the Technology Demonstration Unit for surface power and 100kW-class electric vehicles. • 100 kWe-class power conversion devices, > 500K radiators, and high temperature fuels, materials, and heat transport to support fission power systems for MW-class electric vehicles. • 1 kW-class fission power systems concepts to support science missions and small-scale surface power systems. H8.04 Advanced Photovoltaic Systems: • Solar cell, blanket, and interconnect technologies consistent with the needs of solar electric propulsion systems: o Flexible blankets. o High voltage and high power operation. o Low cost, high volume fabrication techniques. • Modular panel concepts that emphasize low mass and cost reduction.
Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC, KSC OCT Technology Area: TA03 Ion-Exchange Membranes for PEM Electrolyzers During high-pressure electrolysis operation, hydrogen permeation through the ion-exchange membrane acts to reduce the current efficiency within the cell. This permeation increases with increasing pressure. Technological approaches are sought that significantly reduce this permeation. Areas of interest include: • Demonstrated hydrogen permeability reduction >50% for Nafion membranes. • Concurrent conductivity reductions <10%. • Additionally, such membranes should have low acid generation rates to avoid degrading other elements within the cell stack, and must maintain good water transfer capability, bubble point, and tensile strength for use with cathode liquid-feed systems. Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Systems Technologies are sought that improve the durability, efficiency, and reliability of SOFC systems fed by oxygen and fuels such as propellant-grade methane and those generated by ISRU systems (e.g., CO, syngas). Primary SOFC components and systems of interest: • Power outputs in the 1 to 3 kW range. • Offer thermodynamic efficiencies of 70% (fuel source-to-DC output) when operating at the current draw corresponding to optimized specific power. • Operate as specified after at least 50 start-up cycles (from cold to operating temperature within 20 minutes) and 50 shut-down cycles. • Operate as specified after at least 2500 hours of steady state operation on propellant-grade methane and oxygen. System should startup dry but after reaching operating conditions an amount of water/H2 consistent with what can be obtained from anode recycle can be used. Amounts must be justified. • Minimal cooling required as obtained by way of conduction through the stack to a radiator exposed to space and/or by anode exhaust flow. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 3 to 4 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • International Space Station. • Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
Ultra High Specific Energy Batteries
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC OCT Technology Area: TA03 Advanced rechargeable batteries are sought for future NASA missions. For near-term missions, advanced lithium-ion (Li-ion) systems are being developed with the goal to achieve 265 Wh/kg and 675 Wh/L on a cell level. Advanced cathodes are sought, which when integrated into a full cell with a silicon-carbon composite anode, can enable a Li-ion cell to achieve the stated goals at practical voltage levels at a C/10 discharge rate when operating at 10 °C. The cathode should retain 80% of its initial capacity after 250 cycles. In addition, because the cathodes must be manufactured practically, cathodes must achieve a tap density of >1.5 g/cc, should possess qualities that can enable loading of at least 15 mg/square cm per side, and should utilize synthesis approaches that are readily scalable and are amenable to large scale electrode processing utilizing standard battery component equipment. The anode will achieve a reversible capacity of 1000 mAh/g and operate between 50 millivolts and 1 volt versus lithium. The cathode should have no detrimental impact on anode electrochemical performance, cycle-ability or cycle life, should possess a high degree of thermal stability, should have low toxicity, and should be stable against typical carbonate-based electrolytes at voltage levels and material loadings that are practical for the proposed system. For far-term missions, proposals are sought for advanced next generation rechargeable chemistries that go beyond Li-ion and have the potential to offer >500 Wh/kg and >700 Wh/L on the cell level. Advanced next generation chemistries will be required for human missions, therefore specific energy and energy density goals must be met while simultaneously delivering a high level of safety. Applications may include Extravehicular Activities (spacesuit) and robotic landers and rovers for missions to outer planets, moons and asteroids. Phase I proposals must include analysis and numerical/quantitative evidence to justify the choice of cathode or advanced chemistry that clearly shows how the proposed component/system has the potential to meet the projected specific energy and energy density goals at the end of a Phase II effort. Additionally, Phase I proposals should describe the technical path that will be followed to achieve the desired specific energy and energy density. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 4 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Technology is cross-cutting – applicable to any mission or application that requires low mass, low volume, safe batteries. Some examples: o Office of Chief Technologist. o Human Exploration and Operations Directorate (EVA suits, landers, rovers, habitats, vehicle power). o Aeronautics Research Directorate (electric aircraft). o Science Directorate (power for payloads).
Space Nuclear Power Systems
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA03 NASA is developing fission power system technology for future space transportation and surface power applications using a stepwise approach. Early systems are envisioned in the 10 to 100 kWe range that utilize a 900 K liquid metal cooled reactor, dynamic power conversion, and water-based heat rejection. The anticipated design life is 8 to 15 years with no maintenance. Candidate mission applications include initial power sources for human outposts on the Moon or Mars, and nuclear electric propulsion systems (NEP) for Mars cargo transport. A non-nuclear system ground test in thermal-vacuum is planned by NASA to validate technologies required to transfer reactor heat, convert the heat into electricity, reject waste heat, process the electrical output, and demonstrate overall system performance. 1-10 kWe systems are also envisioned for power for robotic science missions to fill the gap between radioisotope power systems and higher power systems. The primary goals for the early systems are low cost, high reliability, and long life. Proposals are solicited that could help supplement or augment the planned NASA system test. Specific areas for development include: • 10 kWe-class Stirling and Brayton power conversion devices. • 450 K radiator panels with embedded heat pipes. • Kilowatt-class fission power systems concepts and technologies The NASA non-nuclear system ground test is expected to provide the foundation for later systems in the multi-hundred kilowatt or megawatt range that utilize higher operating temperatures, alternative materials, and advanced components to improve system performance. For the later systems, specific power will be a key performance metric with goals of 30 kg/kWe at 100 kWe and 10 kg/kWe at 1 MWe. Possible mission applications include large NEP cargo vehicles, NEP piloted vehicles, and surface-based resource production plants. In addition to low cost, high reliability, and long life, the later systems should address the low system specific mass goal. Proposals are solicited that identify novel system concepts and methods to reduce mass and increase power output. Specific areas for development include: • 100 kWe-class Brayton and Rankine power conversion devices. • Waste heat rejection technologies for 500 K and above. • High temperature reactor fuels, structural materials and heat transport technologies. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 3 to 5 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • The primary customer is the Office of Chief Technologist (OCT). • Game Changing Development Program. • Nuclear Systems Project. Secondary customers include: • Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) under the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. • Planetary Science Division under the Science Mission Directorate.
Advanced Photovoltaic Systems
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): JPL, JSC OCT Technology Area: TA03 Advanced photovoltaic (PV) power generation and enabling power system technologies are sought for improvements in capability and reliability of PV power generation for space exploration missions. Power levels for PV applications may reach 100s of kWe. System and component technologies are sought that can deliver efficiency, cost, reliability, mass and volume improvements under various operating conditions. Compatibility with solar cells having at least 29% efficiency and flexible blankets is required. PV technologies must enable or enhance the ability to provide low-cost, low mass and higher efficiency for power systems with particular emphasis on high power arrays to support solar electric propulsion spacecraft operating at high voltage in the deep space environment. Technologies can address recurring and non-recurring costs for flight units or development units. Examples include technologies that reduce the solar cell cost, modular panel designs, automated blanket/cell/integration and interconnects, low cost/low mass coverglass/coatings, etc. Areas of particular emphasis for 2012 include: • Advanced PV blanket and component technology/ designs that support very high power and high voltage (> 200 V) applications. • PV module/ component technologies that emphasize low mass and cost reduction (in materials, fabrication and testing). • Improvements to solar cell efficiency that are consistent with low cost, high volume fabrication techniques. • Automated/ modular fabrication methods for PV panels/ modules on flexible blankets (includes cell laydown, interconnects, shielding and high voltage operation mitigation techniques). Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II hardware demonstration, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for functional and environmental testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of 2 to 6 or higher are sought. Potential NASA Customers include: • Solar Electric Propulsion Technology Demonstration Project in the Office of the Chief Technologist. • Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate; Science Mission Directorate.
Space Communications and Navigation
The Space Communication and Navigation Technology Area supports all NASA space missions with the development of new capabilities and services that make our missions possible. Communication links are the lifelines to our spacecraft that provide the command, telemetry, and science data transfers as well as navigation support. Advancement in communication and navigation technology will allow future missions to implement new and more capable science instruments, greatly enhance human missions beyond Earth orbit, and enable entirely new mission concepts. NASA's communication and navigation capability is based on the premise that communications shall enable and not constrain missions. Today our communication and navigation capabilities, using Radio Frequency technology, can support our spacecraft to the fringes of the solar system and beyond. As we move into the future, we are challenged to increase current data rates- 300 Mbps in LEO to about 6 Mbps at Mars- to support the anticipated numerous missions for space science, Earth science and exploration of the universe. Technologies such as optical communications, RF including antennas and ground based Earth stations, surface networks, cognitive networks, access links, reprogrammable communications systems, advanced antenna technology, transmit array concepts, and communications in support of launch services are very important to the future of exploration and science activities of the Agency. Additionally, innovative, relevant research in the areas of positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) are desirable. NASA's Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) Office considers the three elements of PNT to represent distinct, constituent capabilities: • Positioning, by which we mean accurate and precise determination of an asset's location and orientation referenced to a coordinate system. • Navigation, by which we mean determining an asset's current and/or desired absolute or relative position and velocity state, and applying corrections to course, orientation, and velocity to attain achieve the desired state. • Timing, by which we mean an assets acquiring from a standard, maintaining within user-defined parameters, and transferring where required, an accurate and precise representation of time, minimize the impact of latency on overall system performance. This year, the following technology areas are being solicited to meet increasing data throughput and accuracy needs: Optical communications, RF communications, experiments involving reprogrammable communications systems, flight dynamics and breakthrough or high impact communication technologies. Emphasis is placed on size, weight and power improvements. Innovative solutions centered on operational issues are needed in all of the aforementioned areas. All technologies developed under this topic area to be aligned with the Architecture Definition Document and technical direction as established by the NASA SCaN Office. For more details, see (http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/tech/asr/intelligent-robotics/haughton-field/).
Long Range Optical Communications
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): GRC, GSFC OCT Technology Area: TA05 This subtopic seeks innovative technologies for long range Optical Telecommunications supporting the needs of space missions. Proposals are sought in the following areas: Systems and technologies relating to acquisition, tracking and sub-micro-radian pointing of the optical communications beam under typical deep-space ranges (to 40 AU) and spacecraft micro-vibration environments. • Isolation platforms - Compact, lightweight, space-qualifiable vibration isolation platforms for payloads massing between 3 and 50 kg that require less than 15 W of power and mass less than 3 kg that will attenuate an integrated angular disturbance of 150 micro-radians to less than 0.5 micro-radians (1-sigma), from <0.1 Hz to ~500 Hz. • Laser Transmitters - Space-qualifiable, >20% DC-to-optical (wall-plug) efficiency, 0.2 to 16 nanosecond pulse-width 1550-nm laser transmitter for pulse-position modulated data with from 16 to 320 slots per symbol, less than 35 picosecond pulse rise and fall times, near transform limited spectral width, single polarization output with at least 20 dB polarization extinction ratio, amplitude extinction ratio greater than 38 dB, average power of 5 to 20 Watt, massing less than 500 grams per Watt. Also of interest for the laser transmitter are: robust and compact packaging with radiation tolerant electronics inherent in the design, and high speed electrical interface to support output of pulse position modulation encoding of sub nanosecond pulses and inputs such as Spacewire, Firewire or Gigabit Ethernet. Detailed description of approaches to achieve the stated efficiency is a must. • Photon counting near-infrared detectors arrays for ground receivers - Hexagonal close packed kilo-pixel arrays sensitive to 1000 to 1650 nm wavelength range with single photon detection efficiencies greater than 60% and single photon detection jitters less than 40 picoseconds 1-sigma, active diameter greater than 15 microns/pixel, and 1 dB saturation rates of at least 10 mega-photons (detected) per pixel and dark count rates of less than 1 MHz/square-mm. • Photon counting near-infrared detectors arrays for flight receivers - For the 1000 to 1600 nm wavelength range with single photon detection efficiencies greater than 40% and 1dB saturation rates of at least 1 mega-photons/pixel and operational temperatures above 220K and dark count rates of <10 MHz/mm. Radiation doses of at least 20 Krad (unshielded) shall result in less than 10% drop in single photon detection efficiency and less than 2X increase in dark count rate. • Ground-based telescope assembly - Telescope/photon-buckets with primary mirror diameter ~2.5 meter, f–number of ~1.1 and Cassegrain focus to be used as optical communication receiver/transmitter optics at 1000-1600nm. Produce a maximum image spot size of ~20 micro-radian, and field-of-view will be ~50 micro-radian. Telescope shall be positioned with a two-axis gimbal capable of 0.25 milli-radian pointing. Desired manufacturing cost for combined telescope, gimbal and dome in quantity (tens) is ~$3 M each. Research should be conducted to convincingly prove technical feasibility during Phase I – ideally through hardware development, with clear pathways to demonstrating and delivering functional hardware, meeting all objectives and specifications, in Phase II. Phase I Deliverables - Phase I deliverables shall include a final report describing design studies and analyses, system, sensor, or instrumentation concepts, prospective material formulations, testing, etc. Prototype systems, components, sensors, instruments or materials can be developed in Phase I as well. The designs or concepts should have commercialization potential. For Phase II consideration, the final report should include a detailed path towards Phase II hardware proof-of-concept system or component or material manufacturing and testing as applicable. The technology concept at the end of Phase I should be at a TRL of 4. Phase II Deliverables - Phase II deliverables shall consist of working proof-of-concept systems, tested material formulations with samples, tested component, sensor, or instrumentation hardware, etc. which have been successfully demonstrated in a relevant environment and delivered to NASA for testing and verification. The technology at the end of Phase II should be at a TRL of 5-6. Potential NASA Customers include: • Deep Space Planetary Missions. • Deep Space Optical Terminal (DOT) Project. • Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program.
Long Range Space RF Communications
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC OCT Technology Area: TA05 This subtopic seeks to develop innovative long-range RF telecommunications technologies supporting the needs of space missions. In the future, spacecraft with increasingly capable instruments producing large quantities of data will be visiting the Moon and the planets. These spacecraft will also support long term missions, such as to the outer planets, or extended missions with new objectives. They will possess reconfigurable avionics and communication subsystems and will be designed to require less intervention from earth during periods of low activity. The communication needs of these missions motivate higher data rate capabilities on the uplink and downlink as well as more reliable RF and timing subsystems. Innovative long-range telecommunications technologies that maximize power efficiency, reliability, receiver capability, transmitted power and data rate, while minimizing size, mass and DC power consumption are required. The current state-of-the-art in long-range RF space telecommunications is 6 Mbps from Mars using microwave communications systems (X-Band and Ka-Band) with output power levels in the low tens of Watts and DC-to-RF efficiencies in the range of 10-25%. Technologies of interest: This subtopic seeks innovative technologies in the following areas: • Ultra-small, light-weight, low-cost, low-power, modular deep-space transceivers, transponders and components, incorporating MMICs, MEMs and Bi-CMOS circuits. • MMIC modulators with drivers to provide a wide range of linear phase modulation (greater than 2.5 rad), high-data rate (10 - 200 Mbps) BPSK/QPSK modulation at X-band (8.4 GHz), and Ka-band (26 GHz, 32 GHz and 38 GHz). • High DC-to-RF-efficiency (> 60%), low mass Solid-State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs), of both medium output power (10 W-50 W) and high-output power (150 W-1 KW), using power combining and/or wide band-gap semiconductors at X-band (8.4 GHz) and Ka-band (26 GHz, 32 GHz and 38 GHz). • Utilization of nano-materials and/or other novel materials and techniques for improving the power efficiency or reducing the mass and cost of reliable vacuum electronics amplifier components (e.g., TWTAs and Klystrons). • Ultra low-noise amplifiers (MMICs or hybrid, uncooled) for RF front-ends (< 50 K noise temperature). • High dynamic range (> 65 dB), data rate receivers (> 20 Mbps) supporting BPSK/QPSK modulations. • MEMS-based integrated RF subsystems that reduce the size and mass of space transceivers and transponders. Frequencies of interest include UHF, X- and Ka-Band. Of particular interest is Ka-band from 25.5 - 27 GHz and 31.5 - 34 GHz. • Novel approaches to mitigate RF component susceptibility to radiation and EMI effects. For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path towards Phase II hardware/software demonstration with delivery of a demonstration unit or software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. Phase I Deliverables - Feasibility study, including simulations and measurements, proving the proposed approach to develop a given product (TRL 3-4). Verification matrix of measurements to be performed at the end of Phase II, along with specific quantitative pass-fail ranges for each quantity listed. Phase II Deliverables - Working engineering model of proposed product, along with full report of development and measurements, including populated verification matrix from Phase I (TRL 5-6). Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization. Potential NASA Customers include: • Deep Space Planetary Missions such as Mars 2018, Mars Sample Return, Jupiter Outer Planet Missions. • Human Space Exploration Missions such as missions to Asteroids, Mars or various Earth-Moon Libration Waypoints.
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): JPL OCT Technology Area: TA05 NASA has developed an on-orbit, reprogrammable, software defined radio-based (SDR) testbed facility aboard the International Space Station (ISS), to conduct a suite of experiments to advance technologies, reduce risk, and enable future mission capabilities. The Communications, Navigation, and Networking reConfigurable Testbed (CoNNeCT) Project provides SBIR recipients and through other mechanisms NASA, large business, other Government agencies, and academic partners the opportunity to develop and field communications, navigation, and networking technologies in the laboratory and space environment based on reconfigurable, software defined radio platforms. Each SDR is compliant with the Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS) Architecture, NASA's common architecture for SDRs. The Testbed is installed on the truss of ISS and communicates with both NASA's Space Network via Tracking Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) at S-band and Ka-band and direct to/from ground systems at S-band. One SDR is capable of receiving L-band at the GPS frequencies of L1, L2, and L5. NASA seeks innovative software applications and experiments to run aboard the Testbed to demonstrate and enable future mission capability using the reconfigurable features of the software defined radios. Experiment software/firmware can run in the flight SDRs, the flight avionics computer, and on a corresponding ground SDR at the Space Network, White Sands Complex. Unique experimenter ground hardware equipment may also be used. Experimenters will be provided with appropriate documentation (e.g., flight SDR, avionics, ground SDR) to aid their experiment application development, and may be provided access to the ground-based and flight SDRs to prepare and conduct their experiment. Access to the ground and flight system will be provided on a best effort basis and will be based on their relative priority with other approved experiments. Please note that selection for award does not guarantee flight opportunities on the ISS. Desired capabilities include, but are not limited to, the examples below: • Demonstration of mission applicability of SDR. • Aspects of reconfiguration: o Unique/efficient use of processor, FPGA, DSP resources. o Inter-process communications. • Spectrum efficient technologies. • Space internetworking: o Disruption Tolerant Networking. • Position, navigation and timing (PNT) technology. • Technologies/waveforms for formation flying. • High data rate communications. • Uplink antenna arraying technologies. • Multi-access communication. • RF sensing applications (science emulation). • Cognitive applications. Experimenters using ground or flight systems will be required to meet certain pre-conditions for flight including: • Provide software/firmware deliverables (software/firmware source, executables, and models) suitable for flight. • Document development and build environment and tools for waveform/applications. • Provide appropriate documentation (e.g., experimenter requirements, waveform/software user's guide, ICD's) throughout the development and code delivery process. • Software/firmware deliverables compliant to the Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS) Architecture, Release 1.02.1 and submitted to waveform repository for reuse by other users. • Verification of performance on ground based system prior to operation on the flight system. Methods and tools for the development of software/firmware components that is portable across multiple platforms and standards-based approaches are preferred. Documentation for both the CoNNeCT system and STRS Architecture may be found at the following link: (http://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/SpaceOps/CoNNeCT/) These documents will provide an overview of the CoNNeCT flight and ground systems, ground development and test facilities, and experiment flow. Documentation providing additional detail on the flight SDRs, hardware suite, development tools, and interfaces will be made available to successful SBIR award recipients. Note that certain documentation available to SBIR award recipients is restricted by export controls and available to U.S. citizens only. For all above technologies, Phase I will provide experimenters time to develop and advance waveform/application architectures and designs along with detailed experiment plans. The subtopic will seek to leverage more mature waveform developments to reduce development risk in subsequent phases, due to the timeframe of the on-orbit Testbed. The experiment plan will show a path toward Phase II software/firmware completion, ground verification process, and delivering a software/firmware and documentation package for NASA space demonstration aboard the flight SDR. Phase II will allow experimenters to complete the waveform development and demonstrate technical feasibility and basic operation of key algorithms on CoNNeCT ground-based SDR platforms and conduct their flight system experiment. Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization. Phase I Deliverables: • Waveform/application architecture and detailed design document, including plan/approach for STRS compliance. • Experiment Reference Design Mission Concept of Operations. • Experiment Plan (according to provided template). • Demonstrate simulation or model of key waveform/application functions. • Plan and approach for Commercialization of the technology (part of final report). • Feasibility study, including simulations and measurements, proving the proposed approach to develop a given product. Early software/firmware application source and binary code and documentation. Source/binary code will be run on engineering models and/or SDR breadboards (at TRL-3-4). Phase II Deliverables: • Applicable Experiment Documents (e.g., requirements, design, management plans). • Simulation or model of waveform application. • Demonstration of waveform/application in the laboratory on CoNNeCT breadboards and engineering models. • Results of implementing the Commercialization Plan outlined in Phase I. • Software/firmware application source and binary code and documentation (waveform contribution to STRS Repository for reuse by others). Source/binary code will be run on engineering models and/or demonstrated on-orbit in flight system (at TRL-5-7) SDRs. Potential NASA Customers include: • Deep Space Planetary Missions. • Extra Vehicular Activity Office. • Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program.
Flight Dynamics Technologies and Software
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL OCT Technology Area: TA05 NASA’s current Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) state-of-the-art relies on both ground-based and space-based radiometric tracking, laser ranging, and optical navigation techniques. Post-processed GPS position determination performance accuracy is at the cm-level at Near-Earth distances and at meter-level at High-Earth Orbit distances; while autonomous real-time GPS performance, such as provided by GPS-Enhanced Onboard Navigation System (GEONS) can achieve accuracy performance of 20 meters. For missions at Mars, Deep Space Network navigation services provide performance accuracy of 1km, while optical navigation methodologies obtain performance accuracy of 10s of km at this distance. Future NASA missions will require precision landing, rendezvous, formation flying, cooperative robotics, proximity operations, and coordinated platform operations. As such, the need for increased precision in absolute and relative navigation solutions increases. As operations occur further from Earth and more complex navigational maneuvers are performed, it will be necessary to reduce the reliance on Earth-based systems for real-time decisions. Investments in technologies to implement autonomous on-board navigation and maneuvering will permit a reduction in dependence on ground-based tracking, ranging, trajectory/orbit/attitude determination, and maneuver planning and support functions. Therefore, the early focus for NASA will be to improve PNT through increasing real-time PNT accuracy and precision, as well as achieving this performance in autonomously on-board the spacecraft. Technologies and software should support a broad range of spaceflight customers. Technologies and software specifically focused on a particular mission’s or mission set’s needs are the subject of other solicitations by the relevant sponsoring organizations and should not be submitted in response to this solicitation. In the context of this solicitation, flight dynamics technologies and software are algorithms and software that may be used in ground support facilities, or onboard a spacecraft, so as to provide PNT services that reduce the need for ground tracking and ground navigation support. Flight dynamics technologies and software also provide critical support to pre-flight mission design, planning, and analysis activities. This solicitation is primarily focused on NASA’s flight dynamics software and technology needs in the following focused areas: • Next generation of multi-purpose ground-based and on-board autonomous navigation filtering techniques, such as adaptive filtering where measurements are selectively weighted, or filters that monitor state noise and measurement noise processes. • Algorithms for real-time multi-platform relative navigation (relative position, velocity, attitude/pose). • Algorithms which process clock measurements and estimate and/or propagate the timekeeping model (which generates the time and frequency signal output) and timekeeping system architectures in which outputs of an ensemble of clocks are weighed and software filtered to synthesize an optimized time estimate. • Sensor measurement models and processing algorithms for next generation sensors, including (but not limited to): optical navigation sensors (high resolution flash LIDAR, visible cameras, infrared cameras), radar sensors, radiometrics, fine guidance sensors, laser rangefinders, high volume/high speed FPGA-based electronics for LIDAR. • Algorithms for real-time vision processing, path planning and optimization, constraint handling, integrated system health management, fault management (FDIR), event sequencing, optimal resource allocations, collaborative sensor fusion, sensor image motion compensation and processing, pattern recognition/matching, hazard search and detection, feature location and mapping, high performance inertial and celestial sensor models, accurate and fast converging vehicle state estimation filters and adaptive flight control systems. • Applications of advanced dynamical theories to space mission design and analysis for ground-based and on-board autonomous algorithms, especially in the context of unstable orbital trajectories in the vicinity of small bodies, libration points, and Near-Earth objects. • Autonomous navigational planning, detection, and filter optimization, as well as attitude control systems for autonomous platform orientation, using sensor measurement fault detection & management and/or fault-tolerant filtering algorithms. • Addition of novel estimation techniques and/or orbit determination capabilities to existing NASA mission design software that is either freely available via NASA Open Source Agreements, or that is licensed by the proposer. Proposals that leverage state-of-the-art capabilities already developed by NASA are especially encouraged, such as: • GPS-Enhanced Onboard Navigation Software: o (http://techtransfer.gsfc.nasa.gov/ft_tech_gps_navigator.shtm) • AutoNav (NTR 43546 Deep Impact Autonomous Navigation (AutoNav) Flight Software 23-FEB-2006) • General Mission Analysis Tool (http://sourceforge.net/projects/gmat/) • GPS-Inferred Positioning System and Orbit Analysis Simulation Software: o (http://gipsy.jpl.nasa.gov/orms/goa/) • Optimal Trajectories by Implicit Simulation (http://otis.grc.nasa.gov/) Proposers who contemplate licensing NASA technologies are highly encouraged to coordinate with the appropriate NASA technology transfer offices prior to submission of their proposals. Phase I Deliverables - Phase I research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility (to reach TRL 3), with preliminary software being delivered for NASA testing at the end of the Phase I contract, as well as show a plan towards Phase II integration. Phase I Deliverables include: • Midterm Technical Report. • Preliminary Software at end of Phase I contract. • Final Phase I Technical Feasibility Report with a Phase II Integration Path. Phase II Deliverables - Phase II efforts should build on Phase I research towards a Phase II software demonstration and delivering a software package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract (to reach TRL 5). Also, prototype software should be delivered to NASA at the end of the first year of the contract, to be reviewed and iterated upon towards the development of the final software demonstration and delivery. Phase II efforts should also include development of proper documentation, which includes a thorough Algorithm Specification document. Phase II Deliverables include: • Prototype Software at end of first year of Phase II contract. • Final Phase II Technical Report. • Algorithm Specification at end of Phase II contract. • Delivery of software package at end of Phase II contract. • Demonstration of software package at end of Phase II contract. Potential NASA Customers include: • Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program
Game Changing Technologies
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JPL OCT Technology Area: TA05 NASA seeks revolutionary, highly innovative, game changing communications technologies that have the potential to enable order of magnitude performance improvements for space operations, exploration systems, and/or science mission applications. As NASA moves towards an integrated network architecture, infusion of critical, enabling technologies will be key to meeting user needs and offering standardized services. Emphasis for this subtopic is on the mid - (3-8 yrs.), and far-term (>8 yrs.) with focused research in the following areas: Develop novel techniques for size, weight, and power (SWAP) of communications systems by addressing digital processing and logic implementation tradeoffs, dynamic power management, hardware and software partitioning. Address reliability, robustness, and radiation tolerance for missions beyond low Earth orbit. Investigate and demonstrate unique, innovative electronic or optical technologies to alleviate demanding mission requirements (at least 10X improvement over state-of-the-art) in areas such as chip speed, compression, encoding/decoding, etc. Communication systems optimized for energy efficiency (information bits per unit energy) will be increasingly important for low energy communication systems. Small spacecraft, due to their limited surface area, are typically power constrained, limiting small spacecraft communications systems to low bandwidth architectures. Technologies and architectures that can exploit commercial or other terrestrial communication infrastructures to enable novel small satellite (e.g., CubeSat) missions are desired. Identify advanced solutions for higher density integration techniques and packaging. Address how existing communications architectures can be adapted and utilized to provide higher bandwidth communications capabilities with better performance and at lower cost for spacecraft to ground, and spacecraft to spacecraft applications. Novel approaches to addressing extremely high bandwidth, high data rate signaling using RF, mm-wave (Ka- to W- band), and/or optical (1550 nm) links.) Purely optical links are subject to atmospheric interference (clouds, rain, snow, fog, etc.) and can restrict operations for Earth-based optical terminals, so hybrid RF/optical systems are intriguing. Technologies that address flexible, scalable digital/optical core processing topologies to support both RF and optical communications in a single dual-feed terminal, such as: programmable modulation/coding, multi-rate clocking and data recovery, system-on-a-chip integration, memory management, multi-processor architectures, etc. are sought to mitigate risk of such a system. For all above technologies, research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path towards Phase II demonstration with delivery of a demonstration unit or package for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. Opportunities and plans should also be identified and summarized for potential commercialization. Phase I Deliverables - Phase I deliverables shall include a final report describing design studies and analyses, system, sensor, or instrumentation concepts, prospective formulations, testing, etc. Prototype systems, components, sensors, instruments or materials can be developed in Phase I as well. The designs or concepts should have commercialization potential. For Phase II consideration, the final report should include a detailed path towards Phase II proof-of-concept system or component or testing as applicable. The technology concept at the end of Phase I should be at a TRL range of 2-3. Phase II Deliverables - Phase II deliverables shall consist of working proof-of-concept systems, samples, component, sensor, or instrumentation hardware, etc. which have been successfully demonstrated in a relevant environment and delivered to NASA for testing and verification. The technology at the end of Phase II should be at a TRL range of 3-4. Potential NASA Customers include: • Deep Space Planetary Missions. • Extra Vehicular Activity Office. • Space Suit Communications. • Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program
Sensors, Detectors and Instruments
NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/) encompasses research in the areas of Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics and Planetary Science. The National Academy of Science has provided NASA with recently updated Decadal surveys that are useful to identify technologies that are of interest to the above science divisions. Those documents are available at the following locations: • Astrophysics – (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/bpa/BPA_049810). • Planetary – (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/2013decadal/index.cfm). • Earth Science – (http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/decadal-surveys/). • Heliophysics – The 2009 technology roadmap can be downloaded here (http://science.nasa.gov/heliophysics/). A major objective of SMD instrument development programs is to implement science measurement capabilities with smaller or more affordable spacecraft so development programs can meet multiple mission needs and therefore make the best use of limited resources. The rapid development of small, low-cost remote sensing and in situ instruments is essential to achieving this objective. For Earth Science needs, in particular, the subtopics reflect a focus on instrument development for airborne and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms. Astrophysics has a critical need for sensitive detector arrays with imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetric capabilities, which can be demonstrated on ground, airborne, balloon, or suborbital rocket instruments. Heliophysics, which focuses on measurements of the sun and its interaction with the Earth and the other planets in the solar system, needs a significant reduction in the size, mass, power, and cost for instruments to fly on smaller spacecraft. Planetary Science has a critical need for miniaturized instruments with in situ sensors that can be deployed on surface landers, rovers, and airborne platforms. For the 2012 program year, we are restructuring the Sensors, Detectors and Instruments Topic, rotating out, combining and retiring some of the subtopics. Please read each subtopic of interest carefully. One new subtopic, S1.09 Surface and Sub-surface Measurement Systems was added this year. This new subtopic solicits proposals that are for ground-based surface vehicles, and submerged systems. Systems that will provide near-term benefit in a ground-based application but that are ultimately intended for flight or mobile platforms are in scope. A key objective of this SBIR topic is to develop and demonstrate instrument component and subsystem technologies that reduce the risk, cost, size, and development time of SMD observing instruments and to enable new measurements. Proposals are sought for development of components, subsystems and systems that can be used in planned missions or a current technology program. Research should be conducted to demonstrate feasibility during Phase I and show a path towards a Phase II prototype demonstration. The following subtopics are concomitant with these objectives and are organized by technology.
Lidar Remote Sensing Technologies
Lead Center: LaRC Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL OCT Technology Area: TA08 NASA recognizes the potential of lidar technology in meeting many of its science objectives by providing new capabilities or offering enhancements over current measurements of atmospheric and topographic parameters from ground, airborne, and space-based platforms. To meet NASA's requirements, advances are needed in state-of-the-art lidar technology with emphasis on compactness, efficiency, reliability, lifetime, and high performance. Innovative lidar subsystem and component technologies systems that directly address the measurements of the atmosphere and surface topography of the Earth, Mars, the Moon, and other planetary bodies will be considered under this subtopic. Proposals relevant to the development of lidar instruments that can be used in planned missions or current technology programs are highly encouraged. Examples of planned missions and technology programs are: Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), Doppler Wind Lidar (3D-WINDS), Ozone Lidar, Lidar for Surface Topography (LIST), Mars atmospheric sensing, Mars and earth re-entry atmospheric entry and descent, Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS), and Aerosols-Clouds-Ecosystems (ACE). In addition, innovative technologies relevant to the NASA sub-orbital programs, such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Venture-class focusing on the studies of the Earth climate, carbon cycle, weather, and atmospheric composition, are being sought. The proposals should target components and subsystems development for eventual space utilization. Phase I research should demonstrate the technical feasibility and show a path toward a Phase II prototype unit. Phase II prototypes should be capable of laboratory demonstration and preferably suitable for operation in the field from a ground-based station or an aircraft platform. For the PY12 SBIR Program, we are soliciting the component and subsystem technologies described below. Solid state, single frequency, pulsed, laser transmitter operating in the 1.0 µm - 1.7 µm range with wall-plug efficiency of greater than 25% suitable for CO2 measurement, interferometry, and free-space laser communication applications. The laser transmitter must be capable of generating frequency transform-limited pulses with a quality beam M2 of less than 1.5. We are interested in two different regimes of repetition rate and output energy: in one case, repetition rate from 5 KHz to 20 kHz with pulse energy from 1 - 4 mJ, and in the second case, repetition rate 20 Hz to 2 kHz with pulse energy from 30 - 300 mJ. In addition, development of non-traditional optical amplifier architectures that yield optical efficiency of >70% are of interest. Attention to the compact and rugged designs for possible aircraft flight tests is highly desirable. Single-frequency solid-state crystal, planar waveguide or fiber amplifiers/lasers operating at 1.5 and 2.0 micron wavelength regimes suitable for direct detection differential absorption lidar (DIAL) and coherent lidar applications. These lasers must meet one of the two general requirements: • Pulse energy 0.5 mJ to 2 mJ, repetition rate 2 kHz to 10 kHz, and pulse duration of 10 nsec for direct detection lidars. • 5 mJ to 50 mJ, 20 Hz to 2 kHz, 200 nsec for coherent detection lidars. 2-micron single frequency laser system generating at least 30 mW of power with a precision frequency locking mechanism suitable for measurements of atmospheric CO2. The laser must be locked to a CO2 absorption line peak via a fiber gas cell with accuracy better than 200 kHz. The frequency locked laser shall be modulated to generate two preset offset frequencies from the center frequency alternatively, one at 3-4 GHz, and the other at 15-20GHz range. The frequency stability at these off-center frequencies shall be better than 500 KHz. Pulsed, single frequency, solid state laser operating in the 450-500 nm range serving as a transmitter for an oceanography lidar. The laser must be able to produce bandwidth-limited pulses with 10 nsec or shorter duration. The proposed design must be scalable to at least 10 W of average power, preferably generating100 mJ at 100-200 Hz, but will consider lower pulse energies with higher repletion rates. Pulse energies can be less than the above stated goals by a factor of 10 for the Phase II delivered unit.
Microwave Technologies for Remote Sensing
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): GSFC, LaRC OCT Technology Area: TA08 NASA employs active (radar) and passive (radiometer) microwave sensors for a wide range of remote sensing applications (for example, see: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html). These sensors include low frequency (less than 10 MHz) sounders to G-band (160 GHz) radars for measuring precipitation and clouds, for planetary landing, upper atmospheric monitoring, and global snow coverage (SCLP). We are seeking proposals for the development of innovative technologies to support these future radar and radiometer missions and applications. The areas of interest for this call are listed below: • Space qualifiable, High power and efficiency P-band power amplifiers: Center Frequency: 420-450 MHz, Gain: > 40 dB, Efficiency: >80%, Duty Cycle: 10%, Mass < 500g, Size: 16 cm x 9cm x 3.1 cm • Space-qualifiable Single-Board Digital Radar Transceiver in PC-104e form factor. Frequency bands: 400-500, 1200-1300 MHz, with arbitrary waveform generator (100 us pulselength, 30 MHz BW), 2-channel ADC, FPGA, PCIe bus , Size: Approx 9cm x 9.6cm x 3.1cm • Cryogenic LNAs for 180 to 270 GHz with noise temperatures of less than 100K. Earth Science Decadal Survey missions that apply: PATH, GACM and future Earth Venture Class low cost millimeter wave instruments. • Receiver technologies for the PATH mission including: low noise (<4 dB noise figure) I&Q receivers for the band from 118 to 126 GHz and efficient active multiplier chains delivering 16 dBm at 59-63 and 82-92 GHz from a low power 27-32 GHz reference • Local Oscillator technologies for 2nd generation instruments for SOFIA, next generation HIFI, and suborbital instruments (GUSSTO). This can include: GaN based frequency multipliers that can work in the 200-400 GHz range (output frequency) with input powers up to 1 W. Graphene-based (or other suitable technology) devices that can work as frequency multipliers in the frequency range of 1-3 THz. • Compact, light-weight array antennas with 50 – 60% bandwidth using electronic frequency hopping and tuning capabilities, dual-polarization, high cross -polarization isolation (> 25 dB) for airborne and spaceborne radar applications • P-, L-, C-, X band MMIC pulsed radar transceivers with dynamic load matching, wideband ( > 50 MHz) high power efficiency ( > 30%), high T/R isolation (> 90 dB) • Large (~5m) deployable parabolic cylindrical antennas, F=35, 94 GHz • G-Band Microwave Components: For measurement of microphysical properties of clouds and upper atmospheric constituents (particles of less than mm sizes): o G-band Noise Source (ENR> 10dB). o W-band LO (6 dBm, Freq. Stability 5-10 MHz (-20 C- 40 C) DC Power < 4W). o G-band isolator (Isolation > 15 dB, Insertion Loss < 1dB). o G-band switching circulator (Isolation > 15 dB Insertion Loss < 1.2 dB). o Integration and packaging G-band receiver for cubesat and microsat platforms. • Multi-Frequency and/or multi-Beam Focal Plane Arrays (FPA) as a primary feed for reflector antennas. In NASA’s SCLP mission, it is required to collect Earth science data at high spatial and as well as temporal resolutions simultaneously. In addition to high spatial and temporal resolutions, the proposed antenna system must offer ways to suppress RFI and control antenna illumination. NASA is looking for a small (3 x 3) focal plane array system to be used as a feed for its main reflector. Wideband array element covering 19, and 37 GHz must be used as a basic element of the proposed FPA.
Sensor and Detector Technology for Visible, IR, Far IR and Submillimeter
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, KSC, LaRC OCT Technology Area: TA08 NASA is seeking new technologies or improvements to existing technologies to meet the detector needs of future missions, as described in the most recent decadal surveys for Earth science (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html), planetary science (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10432.html), and astronomy and astrophysics (http://www.nap.edu/books/0309070317/html/). The following technologies are of interest for the Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder (http://mls.jpl.nasa.gov/index-cameo.php) on the Global Atmospheric Composition Mission and the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) airborne observatory: • Radiation tolerant digital polyphase filterbank back ends for sideband separating microwave spectrometers. Requirements are >5GHz instantaneous bandwidth per sideband, 2 MHz resolution, low power (<5 W/GHz), and 4 bits or higher digitization. • Improved submillimeter mixers for frequencies >2 THz are needed for heterodyne receivers to fly on SOFIA. Minimum noise temperatures for cyrogenic operation and instantaneous bandwidths >5 GHz are key parameters. • Efficient, flight qualifiable, spur free, local oscillators for SIS mixers operating in low earth orbit. Two bands: o Tunable from 200 to 250 GHz. o Tunable from 610 to 650 GHz, phase-locked to or derived from an ultra-stable 5 MHz reference. • Quantum cascade laser-based local oscillators >2THz for astrophysics applications Thermal imaging, LANDSAT Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS), Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO), BOReal Ecosystem Atmosphere Study (BOREAS), other infrared earth observing missions, Trojan Tour, Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM) such as a descoped Jupiter Europa Orbiter (JEO), Io Observer, or Jupiter Io Callisto Europa (JuICE) missions (see the Jupiter Europa Orbiter Mission Study 2008: Final Report, http://opfm.jpl.nasa.gov/library/) and future planetary missions: • Development of un-cooled or cooled Infrared detectors (hybridized or designed to be hybridized to an appropriate read-out integrated circuit) with NEΔT<20mK, QE>30% and dark currents <1.5x10-6 A/cm2 in the 5-14 µm infrared wavelength region. Array formats may be variable, 640 x 512 typical, with a goal to meet or exceed 2k X 2k pixel arrays. Evolve new technologies such as InAs/GaSb type-II strain layer super-lattices to meet these specifications. • 2-D arrays of thermopile detectors (wavelength range 20-100 µm; Detectivity ≥ 4x109; operating temp 100-200 K). 1kx1k MCT detector arrays with cutoff wavelength extended to ≥12 µm for use in missions to NEOs, comets and the outer planets. New or improved technologies leading to measurement of trace atmospheric species (e.g., CO, CH4, N2O) from geostationary and low-Earth orbital platforms; see Methane Trace Gas Sounder. Of particular interest are new techniques in gas filter correlation spectroscopy, Fabry-Perot spectroscopy, or improved component technologies. Technologies are needed for active and passive wave front and amplitude control, and relevant missions include Extra solar Planetary Imaging Coronagraph (EPIC), and other coronagraphic missions such as Terrestrial Planet Finder (http://exep.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF-C/tpf-C_index.cfm) and Stellar Imager (http://hires.gsfc.nasa.gov/si/): • MEMS based segmented deformable mirrors consisting of arrays of up to 1200 hexagonal packed segments with strokes over the range of 0 to 1.0 microns, quantized with 16-bit electronics with segment level stabilities of 0.015 nm rms (1-bit) over 1 hour intervals. Segments should be flat to 2 nm rms or better and the substrate flat to 125 nm or better and high uniformity of coatings (1% rms). • Technologies for high contrast integral field spectroscopy, in particular for microlens arrays with or without accompanying mask arrays, working in the visible and NIR (0.4 - 1.8 microns), with lenslet separations in the 0.2 -0.5 mm range, with contrast between neighboring spectra of ~10-4. and uniform focal lengths to <0.05 mm with output f/ numbers <10. • Spatial Filter Array (SFA) consisting of a monolithic array of up to 1200 coherent, polarization preserving, single mode fibers, or custom waveguides, that operate with minimal coupling losses over a large fraction of the spectral range from 0.4 - 1.0 microns. The SFA should have input and output lenslet with each pair mapped to a single fiber or waveguide and such that the lenslets maintain path length uniformity to < 100 nm. Uniformity of both output intensity and wave front phase, and high throughput is desired and fiber-to-fiber placement accuracies of < 1.0 microns are required with < 0.5 microns desired. Blazed, holographic optical gratings on convex surfaces: The Offner spectrometer design uses a symmetric optical layout to balance aberrations, producing good imaging performance and spectral images with little or no distortion. Both of these attributes improve the measurement capability of the spectrometer by eliminating the spatial-spectral information mixing that other spectrometer forms typically produce. The key element in an Offner spectrometer is the convex spherical grating that is used to disperse the light spectrally. While such gratings can be made holographically, these gratings suffer from low efficiency due to their lack of signal-enhancing blazed groove structure. Development is needed for production of holographically-generated convex gratings that have a continuously-varying blaze angle to provide high efficiency diffraction into a chosen wavelength range and diffraction order (415 nm to 695 nm in first order and 290 nm to 390 nm in the second order). Such gratings also should have less scattered light than similar mechanically-ruled gratings, improving spectrometer performance.
Detector Technologies for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA08 This subtopic covers detector requirements for a broad range of wavelengths from UV through to gamma ray for applications in Astrophysics, Earth science, Heliophysics, and Planetary science. Requirements across the board are for greater numbers of readout pixels, lower power, faster readout rates, greater quantum efficiency, and enhanced energy resolution. The proposed efforts must be directly linked to a requirement for a NASA mission. These include Explorers, Discovery, Cosmic Origins, Physics of the Cosmos, Vision Missions, and Earth Science Decadal Survey missions. Details of these can be found at the following URLs: • General Information on Future NASA Missions: (http://www.nasa.gov/missions). • Specific mission pages: IXO: (http://htxs.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html), future planetary programs: (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/planetary-science/mission_list), Earth Science Decadal missions: (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820.html). • Helio Probes: (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/heliophysics/mission_list). Specific technology areas are listed below: • Significant improvement in wide band gap semiconductor materials, such as AlGaN, ZnMgO and SiC, individual detectors, and detector arrays for operation at room temperature or higher for missions such as Geo-CAPE, NWO, ATALAST and planetary science composition measurements. • Highly integrated, low noise (< 300 electrons rms with interconnects), low power (< 100 uW/channel) mixed signal ASIC readout electronics as well as charge amplifier ASIC readouts with tunable capacitive inputs to match detector pixel capacitance. See needs of National Research Council's Earth Science Decadal Survey (NRC, 2007): Future Missions include GEOCape, HyspIRI, GACM, future GOES and SOHO programs and planetary science composition measurements. • Large format UV and X-ray focal plane detector arrays: micro-channel plates, CCDs, and active pixel sensors (>50% QE, 100 Megapixels, <0.1 W/Megapixel, 30 Hz). Improved micro-channel plate detectors, including improvements to the plates themselves (smaller pores, greater lifetimes, lower ion feedback alternative fabrication technologies, e.g., silicon), as well as improvements to the associated electronic readout systems (spatial resolution, signal-to-noise capability, and dynamic range), and in sealed tube fabrication yield. Possible future mission applications are the International X-ray Observatory and Advanced Technology Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST). • Advanced Charged Couple Device (CCD) detectors, including improvements in UV quantum efficiency and read noise, to increase the limiting sensitivity in long exposures and improved radiation tolerance. Electron-bombarded CCD and CMOS detectors, including improvements in efficiency, resolution, and global and local count rate capability. In the X-ray, we seek to extend the response to lower energies in some CCDs, and to higher, perhaps up to 50 keV, in others. Possible missions are future GOES missions and International X-ray Observatory. • Wide band gap semiconductor, radiation hard, visible and solar blind large format imagers for next generation hyperspectral Earth remote sensing experiments. Need larger formats (>1Kx1K), much higher resolution (<18µm pixel size), high fill factor and low read noise (<60 electrons). See needs of National Research Council's Earth Science Decadal Survey (NRC, 2007): Future missions include GEOCape, HyspIRI, GACM. • Solar blind, compact, low-noise, radiation hard, EUV and soft X-ray detectors are required. Both single pixels (up to 1cm x 1cm) and large format 1D and 2D arrays are required to span the 0.05nm to 150nm spectral wavelength range. Future missions include GOES post R and T. • Visible-blind SiC Avalanche Photodiodes (APDs) for EUV photon counting are required. The APDs must show a linear mode gain >1E6 at a breakdown reverse voltage between 80 and 100V. The APD's must demonstrate detection capability of better than 6 photons/pixel/s down to 135nm wavelength. See needs of National Research Council's Earth Science Decadal Survey (NRC, 2007): Tropospheric ozone. • Large format 1D (1 x 2k) and 2D (2k x 2k) SiC arrays (operating temp 170-300K; D* ≥ 3x1015) including Schottky diodes, PINs and ADPs for instruments on future outer planets missions. • Imaging from low-Earth orbit of air fluorescence, UV light generated by giant air showers by ultra-high energy (E >10E19 eV) cosmic rays require the development of high sensitivity and efficiency detection of 300-400 nm UV photons to measure signals at the few photon (single photo-electron) level. A secondary goal minimizes the sensitivity to photons with a wavelength greater than 400 nm. High electronic gain (~106), low noise, fast time response (<10 ns), minimal dead time (<5% dead time at 10 ns response time), high segmentation with low dead area (<20% nominal, <5% goal), and the ability to tailor pixel size to match that dictated by the imaging optics. Optical designs under consideration dictate a pixel size ranging from approximately 2 x 2 mm2 to 10 x 10 mm2. Focal plane mass must be minimized (2g/cm2 goal). Individual pixel readout is required. The entire focal plane detector can be formed from smaller, individual sub-arrays. • Large area (3 m2) photon counting near-UV detectors with 3 mm pixels and able to count at 10 MHz. Array with high active area fraction (>85%), 0.5 Megapixels and readout less than 1 mW/channel. Future instruments are JEM-EUSO and OWL. • Large area (m2) X-ray detectors with <1mm pixels and high active area fraction (>85%). Future instrument is a Phased-Fresnel X-ray Imager. • Improve beyond CdZnTe detectors using micro-calorimeter arrays at hard X-ray, low gamma-ray bands (above 10 keV and Below 80 keV). • Technologies to improve spatial resolution for the hard X-ray band to 10 and ultimately to 5 arc-second resolution. • High-density, low-temperature electrical interfaces: In microcalorimeter and cryogenic IR detector assemblies, the large number of electrical connections required on the low-temperature stage (below 4 Kelvin) requires high-density, miniaturized cryogenic connectors. NASA needs suitable nano-miniature connectors that can connect to superconducting wires (Nb or Al) deposited on a high density flex cable. The metal traces will likely be layered into a stripline configuration to minimize cross-talk, leading to pads onto which the connector is attached. This type of flex cable has extremely low thermal conductivity. A modular connector, easily integrated into or removed from the superconducting flex cable, is sought.
Particles and Field Sensors and Instrument Enabling Technologies
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, JSC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA08 Advanced sensors for the detection of elementary particles (atoms, molecules and their ions) and electric and magnetic fields in space and associated instrument technologies are often critical for enabling transformational science from the study of the sun’s outer corona, to the solar wind, to the trapped radiation in Earth’s and other planetary magnetic fields, and to the atmospheric composition of the planets and their moons. Improvements in particles and fields sensors and associated instrument technologies enable further scientific advancement for upcoming NASA missions such as Solar Orbiter, Solar Probe Plus, ONEP, SEPAT, INCA, CISR, DGC, HMag and planetary exploration missions. Technology developments that result in a reduction in size, mass, power, and cost will enable these missions to proceed. Of interest are advanced magnetometers, electric field booms, ion/atom/molecule detectors, and associated support electronics and materials. Specific areas of interest include: • Self-calibrating scalar-vector magnetometer for future Earth and space science missions. Performance goals: dynamic range: ±100,000 nT, accuracy with self-calibration: 1 nT, sensitivity: 5 pT • Hz–1/2 (max), max sensor unit size: 6 x 6 x 12 cm, max sensor mass: 0.6 kg, max electronics unit size: 8 x 13 x 5 cm, max electronics mass: 1 kg, and max power: 5 W operation, 0.5 W standby, including, but not limited to “sensors on a chip”. • High magnetic-field sensor that measures magnetic field magnitudes to 16 Gauss with an accuracy of 1 part in 105. • Strong, lightweight, thin, compactly stowed electric field booms possibly using composite materials that deploy sensors to distances of 10-m or more. • Cooled (-60 ºC) solid-state ion detector capable of operating at a floating potential of -15 kV relative to ground. • Low-noise magnetic materials for advanced magnetometer sensors with performance equal to or better than those in the 6-81.3 Mo-Permalloy family. • Radiation-hardened ASICs including ADCs, DACs, and spectrum analyzer modules that determine mass spectra using fast algorithm deconvolution to produce ion counts for specific ion species. • Low-cost, low-power, fast-stepping (≤; 50-µs), high-voltage power supplies 5-15 kV. • Low-cost, efficient low-power power supplies (5-10 V). • Low-power, charge-sensitive preamplifiers on a chip. • High efficiency (5% or greater) conversion surfaces for low-energy neutral atom conversion to ions possibly based on nanotechnology. • Miniature low-power, high-efficiency, thermionic cathodes, capable of 1-mA electron emission per 100-mW heater power with emission surface area of 1-mm2 and expected lifetime of 20,000 hours. • Long wire boom (≥; 50 m) deployment systems for the deployment of very lightweight tethers or antennae on spinning spacecraft. • Systems to determine the orthogonality of a deployed electric/magnetic field boom system in flight (for use with three-axis rigid 10-m booms) accurate to 0.10° dynamic. • Die-level optical interferometer, micro-sized, for measuring Fabry-Perot plate spacing with 0.1-nm accuracy. • Diffractive optics (photon sieves) of 0.1-m aperture or larger with micron-sized outer Fresnel zones for high-resolution EUV imaging. • Avalanche Photodiode Detectors (APDs), in single pixel and multi-pixel form, to make a breakthrough in particle detection by taking advantage of their inherent gain compared to the unity gain SSDs. The APDs, typically used for photons, should be optimized for particles including thin dead layer, increased energy range, gain stability and radiation hardness, but with much higher energy resolution (<0.5KeV) compared to SSDs. • Developing near real-time data-assimilative models and tools, for both solar quiet and active times, which allow for precise specification and forecasts of the space environment, beginning with solar eruptions and propagation, and including ionospheric electron density specification.
Cryogenic Systems for Sensors and Detectors
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, KSC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA08 Cryogenic cooling systems often serve as enabling technologies for detectors and sensors flown on scientific instruments as well as advanced telescopes and observatories. As such, technological improvements to cryogenic systems (as well as components) further advance the mission goals of NASA through enabling performance (and ultimately science gathering) capabilities of flight detectors and sensors. Presently, there are six potential investment areas that NASA is seeking to expand state of the art capabilities in for possible use on future programs such as GEOID, SPICA, WFirst (http://wfirst.gsfc.nasa.gov/), Spirit, Specs (http://nmdb.gsfc.nasa.gov/geons) and the Europa Science missions (http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/jpl-europa20090218.html). The topic areas are as follows: • Extremely Low Vibration Cooling Systems - Examples of such systems include pulse tube coolers and turbo brayton cycles. Desired cooling capabilities sought are on the order of 20 mW at 4K or 1W at 50K. Present state of the art capabilities display < 100 mN vibration at operational frequencies of 30-70 Hz. Proposed systems should either satisfy or improve upon this benchmark. • Advanced Magnetic Cooler Components - An example of an advanced magnetic cooler might be Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigeration systems. Specific components sought include: o Low current superconducting magnets. o Active/Passive magnetic shielding (3-4 Tesla magnets). o Superconducting leads (10K - 90K) capable of 10 amp operation with 1 mW conduction. o 10 mK scale thermometry. • Continuous Flow Distributed Cooling Systems - Distributed cooling provides increased lifetime of cryogen fluids for applications on both the ground and spaceborne platforms. This has impacts on payload mass and volume for flight systems which translate into costs (either on the ground, during launch or in flight). Cooling systems that provide continuous distributed flow are a cost effective alternative to present techniques/methodologies. Cooling systems that can be used with large loads and/or deployable structures are presently being sought after. • Heat Switches - Current heat switches require detailed procedures for operational repeatability. More robust (performance wise) heat switches are currently needed for ease of operation when used with space flight applications. • Highly Efficient Magnetic and Dilution Cooling Technologies - The desired temperature range for proposed systems is < 1K. Presently, systems with performance capabilities on this scale are limited to continuous ADRs. Alternative systems and/or technologies are desired. • Low Temperature/Input Power Cooling Systems - Cooling systems providing cooling capacities approximately 0.3W at 35K with heat rejection capability to temperature sinks upwards of 150K are of interest. Presently there are no cooling systems operating at this heat rejection temperature. Input powers should be limited to no greater than 20W. Study of passive cooler in tandem with low power, low mass cryocooler satisfying the above mentioned requirements is also of interest.
In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Lunar and Planetary Science
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): ARC, GRC, GSFC, JSC, KSC, LaRC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA08 This subtopic solicits development of advanced instrument technologies and components suitable for deployment on planetary and lunar missions. These technologies must be capable of withstanding operation in space and planetary environments, including the expected pressures, radiation levels, launch and impact stresses, and range of survival and operational temperatures. Technologies that reduce mass, power, volume, and data rates for instruments and instrument components without loss of scientific capability are of particular importance. In addition, technologies that can increase instrument resolution and sensitivity or achieve new & innovative scientific measurements are solicited. For example missions, see (http://science.hq.nasa.gov/missions). For details of the specific requirements see the National Research Council’s, Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/2013decadal/). Technologies that support NASA’s New Frontiers and Discovery missions to various planetary bodies are of top priority. In situ technologies are being sought to achieve much higher resolution and sensitivity with significant improvements over existing technologies. Orbital sensors and technologies that can provide significant improvements over previous orbital missions are also sought. Specifically, this subtopic solicits instrument development that provides significant advances in the following areas, broken out by planetary body: • Mars - Sub-systems relevant to current in situ instrument needs (e.g., lasers and other light sources from UV to microwave, X-ray and ion sources, detectors, mixers, mass analyzers, etc.) or electronics technologies (e.g., FPGA and ASIC implementations, advanced array readouts, miniature high voltage power supplies). Technologies that support high precision in situ measurements of elemental, mineralogical, and organic composition of planetary materials are sought. Conceptually simple, low risk technologies for in situ sample extraction and/or manipulation including fluid and gas storage, pumping, and chemical labeling to support analytical instrumentation. Seismometers, mass analyzers, technologies for heat flow probes, and atmospheric trace gas detectors. Improved robustness and g-force survivability for instrument components, especially for geophysical network sensors, seismometers, and advanced detectors (iCCDs, PMT arrays, etc.). Instruments geared towards rock/sample interrogation prior to sample return are desired. • Europa & Io - Technologies for high radiation environments, e.g., radiation mitigation strategies, radiation tolerant detectors, and readout electronic components, which enable orbiting instruments to be both radiation-hard and undergo the planetary protection requirements of sterilization (or equivalent) for candidate instruments on the Europa-Jupiter System Mission (JEO) and Io Observer are sought. • Titan - Low mass and power sensors, mechanisms and concepts for converting terrestrial instruments such as turbidimeters and echo sounders for lake measurements, weather stations, surface (lake and solid) properties packages, etc. to cryogenic environments (95K). Mechanical and electrical components and subsystems that work in cryogenic (95K) environments; sample extraction from liquid methane/ethane, sampling from organic 'dunes' at 95K and robust sample preparation and handling mechanisms that feed into mass analyzers are sought. Balloon instruments, such as IR spectrometers, imagers, meteorological instruments, radar sounders, air sampling mechanisms for mass analyzers, and aerosol detectors are also solicited. • Venus - Sensors, mechanisms, and environmental chamber technologies for operation in Venus's high temperature, high-pressure environment with its unique atmospheric composition. Approaches that can enable precision measurements of surface mineralogy and elemental composition and precision measurements of trace species, noble gases and isotopes in the atmosphere are particularly desired. • Small Bodies - Technologies that can enable sampling from asteroids and from depth in a comet nucleus, improved in situ analysis of comets. Also, imagers and spectrometers that provide high performance in low light environments. • Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - Technologies are sought for components, sample acquisition and instrument systems that can enhance mission science return and withstand the low-temperatures/high-pressures of the atmospheric probes during entry. • The Moon - This solicitation seeks advancements in the areas of compact, light-weight, low power instruments geared towards in situ lunar surface measurements, geophysical measurements, lunar atmosphere and dust environment measurements & regolith particle analysis, lunar resource identification, and/or quantification of potential lunar resources (e.g., oxygen, nitrogen, and other volatiles, fuels, metals, etc.). Specifically, advancements geared towards instruments that enable elemental or mineralogy analysis (such as high-sensitivity X-ray and UV-fluorescence spectrometers, UV/fluorescence flash lamp/camera systems, scanning electron microscopy with chemical analysis capability, time-of-flight mass spectrometry, gas chromatography and tunable diode laser sensors, calorimetry, laser-Raman spectroscopy, imaging spectroscopy, and LIBS) are sought. These developments should be geared towards sample interrogation, prior to possible sample return. Systems and subsystems for seismometers and heat flow sensors capable of long-term continuous operation over multiple lunar day/night cycles with improved sensitivity at lower mass and reduced power consumption are sought. Also of interest are portable surface ground penetrating radars to characterize the thickness of the lunar regolith, as well as, low mass, thermally stable hollow cubes and retro-reflector array assemblies for lunar surface laser ranging. Of secondary importance are instruments that measure the micrometeoroid and lunar secondary ejecta environment, plasma environment, surface electric field, secondary radiation at the lunar surface, and dust concentrations and its diurnal dynamics are sought. Further, lunar regolith particle analysis techniques are desired (e.g., optical interrogation or software development that would automate integration of suites of multiple back scatter electron images acquired at different operating conditions, as well as permit integration of other data such as cathodoluminescence and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis.) Proposers are strongly encouraged to relate their proposed development to: • NASA's future planetary exploration goals. • Existing flight instrument capability, to provide a comparison metric for assessing proposed improvements. Proposed instrument architectures should be as simple, reliable, and low risk as possible while enabling compelling science. Novel instrument concepts are encouraged particularly if they enable a new class of scientific discovery. Technology developments relevant to multiple environments and platforms are also desired. Proposers should show an understanding of relevant space science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.
Airborne Measurement Systems
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, KSC, LaRC, MSFC, SSC OCT Technology Area: TA08 A focus is on miniaturization and increased sensitivity/performance needed to support for NASA's airborne science missions. Linkage to other subtopics such as S3.05 Unmanned Aircraft and Sounding Rocket Technologies is encouraged. Complete instrument systems are desired, including features such as remote/unattended operation and data acquisition, low power consumption, and minimum size and weight. Relevance to future space missions such as Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS), Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE), etc., is important, yet early adoption for alternative uses by NASA, other agencies, or industry is recognized as a viable path towards full maturity. Additionally, sensor system innovations with significant near-term commercial potential that may be suitable for NASA's research after full development, are of interest: • Precipitation (multiphase). • Surface snow thickness (5 cm resolution is desired), and potentially, snow density. • Aerosols and cloud particles. • Volcanic ash and gases. • Gases: Reactive and tracers of source emissions. Examples include (but are not limited to) carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, water vapor. • High quality three-dimensional wind instruments suitable for gas flux measurements, as well as advanced temperature and pressure systems.
Surface & Sub-surface Measurement Systems
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, KSC, LaRC, MSFC, SSC OCT Technology Area: TA08 For ground-based surface vehicles, and submerged systems. Systems that are ultimately intended for flight or mobile platforms that will provide near-term benefit in a ground-based application are in scope, as this step will aid in maturation of new concepts. Relevance to future space missions such as Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS), Orbiting Carbon Observatory – 2 (OCO-2), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE), etc., is important, yet early adoption for alternative uses by NASA, other agencies, or industry is recognized as a viable path towards full maturity. Additionally, sensor system innovations with significant near-term commercial potential that may be suitable for NASA’s research after full development are of interest: • Precipitation (e.g., stabilized disdrometer). • Particles: mineral, biogenic, nutrients. • Gases – carbon dioxide, methane, etc. • Air and water quality. • Water and ice flow rates. • Seismic monitoring. • Autonomous sample collection and/or analysis systems. • Air-dropped sensors for surface and subsurface measurements such as conductivity, temperature, and depth. Miniature systems suitable for penetration of thin ice are highly desirable. • Multi-wavelength lidar-based atmospheric ozone and aerosol profilers for continuous, simultaneous observations from multiple sites. Examples include three-band ozone measurement systems operating in the UV spectrum (e.g., 280-316 nm, possibly tunable), combined with visible or infrared systems for aerosols. Remote/untended operation, minimum eye-hazards, and portability are desired. • Oceanic, coastal, and fresh water measurements including inherent and apparent optical properties for calibration and validation of satellite ocean color radiometric data, temperature, salinity, currents, in situ biogeochemical and chemical particle composition, sediments, and biological or ecological properties of aquatic environments including but not limited to nutrients, phytoplankton and their functional groups, harmful algal blooms, fish or aquatic plants and animals. • Novel geophysical and diagnostic instruments suitable for ecosystem monitoring. Fielding for NASA’s Applications and Earth Science Research activities is a primary goal. Innovations with future utility for other NASA programs (for example, Planetary Research) that can be matured in a Earth science role are also encouraged.
Advanced Telescope Systems
The NASA Science Missions Directorate seeks technology for cost-effective high-performance advanced space telescopes for astrophysics and Earth science. Astrophysics applications require large aperture light-weight highly reflecting mirrors, deployable large structures and innovative metrology, control of unwanted radiation for high-contrast optics, precision formation flying for synthetic aperture telescopes, and cryogenic optics to enable far infrared telescopes. A few of the new astrophysics telescopes and their subsystems will require operation at cryogenic temperatures as cold a 4-degrees Kelvin. This topic will consider technologies necessary to enable future telescopes and observatories collecting electromagnetic bands, ranging from UV to millimeter waves, and also include gravity waves. The subtopics will consider all technologies associated with the collection and combination of observable signals. Earth science requires modest apertures in the 2 to 4 meter size category that are cost effective. New technologies in innovative mirror materials, such as silicon, silicon carbide and nanolaminates, innovative structures, including nanotechnology, and wavefront sensing and control are needed to build telescopes for Earth science.
Proximity Glare Suppression for Astronomical Coronagraphy
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC OCT Technology Area: TA08 This subtopic addresses the unique problem of imaging and spectroscopic characterization of faint astrophysical objects that are located within the obscuring glare of much brighter stellar sources. Examples include planetary systems beyond our own, the detailed inner structure of galaxies with very bright nuclei, binary star formation, and stellar evolution. Contrast ratios of one million to ten billion over an angular spatial scale of 0.05-1.5 arcsec are typical of these objects. Achieving a very low background requires control of both scattered and diffracted light. The failure to control either amplitude or phase fluctuations in the optical train severely reduces the effectiveness of starlight cancellation schemes. This innovative research focuses on advances in coronagraphic instruments, starlight cancellation instruments, and potential occulting technologies that operate at visible and near infrared wavelengths. The ultimate application of these instruments is to operate in space as part of a future observatory mission. Measurement techniques include imaging, photometry, spectroscopy, and polarimetry. There is interest in component development, and innovative instrument design, as well as in the fabrication of subsystem devices to include, but not limited to, the following areas: Starlight Suppression Technologies • Advanced aperture apodization and aperture shaping techniques. • Advanced apodization mask or occulting spot fabrication technology controlling smooth density gradients to 10-4 with spatial resolutions ~1 µm, low dispersion, and low dependence of phase on optical density, in linear and circular patterns. • Metrology for detailed evaluation of compact, deep density apodizing masks, Lyot stops, and other types of graded and binary mask elements. Development of a system to measure spatial optical density, phase inhomogeneity, scattering, spectral dispersion, thermal variations, and to otherwise estimate the accuracy of masks and stops is needed. • Interferometric starlight cancellation instruments and techniques to include aperture synthesis and single input beam combination strategies. • Pupil remapping technologies to achieve beam apodization. • Techniques to characterize highly aspheric optics. • Methods to distinguish the coherent and incoherent scatter in a broad band speckle field. • Methods of polarization control and polarization apodization. • Components and methods to insure amplitude uniformity in both coronagraphs and interferometers, specifically materials, processes, and metrology to insure coating uniformity. • Coherent fiber bundles consisting of up to 104 fibers with lenslets on both input and output side, such that both spatial and temporal coherence is maintained across the fiber bundle for possible wavefront/amplitude control through the fiber bundle. Wavefront Control Technologies • Development of small stroke, high precision, deformable mirrors and associated driving electronics scalable to 104 or more actuators (both to further the state-of-the-art towards flight-like hardware and to explore novel concepts). Multiple deformable mirror technologies in various phases of development and processes are encouraged to ultimately improve the state-of-the-art in deformable mirror technology. Process improvements are needed to improve repeatability, yield, and performance precision of current devices. • Development of instruments to perform broad-band sensing of wavefronts and distinguish amplitude and phase in the wavefront. • Adaptive optics actuators, integrated mirror/actuator programmable deformable mirror. • Reliability and qualification of actuators and structures in deformable mirrors to eliminate or mitigate single actuator failures. • Multiplexer development for electrical connection to deformable mirrors that has ultra-low power dissipation. • High precision wavefront error sensing and control techniques to improve and advance coronagraphic imaging performance. • Development of techniques to improve the wavefront stability of the telescope beam, and/or to mitigate the residual instability. These include but are not limited to: the development of low order wavefront sensors, improved pointing techniques, as well as model-based software algorithms that predict and subtract the instabilities in post-processing. Optical Coating and Measurement Technologies • Instruments capable of measuring polarization cross-talk and birefringence to parts per million. • Highly reflecting broadband coatings for large (> 1 m diameter) optics. • Polarization-insensitive coatings for large optics. Other • Artificial star and planet, point sources, with 1e10 dynamic range and uniform illumination of an f/25 optical system, working in the visible and near infrared. • Deformable, calibrated, collimating source to simulate the telescope front end of a coronagraphic system undergoing thermal deformations. Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.
Precision Deployable Optical Structures and Metrology
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): GSFC, LaRC OCT Technology Area: TA08 Planned future NASA Missions in astrophysics, such as the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) and the New Worlds Technology Development Program (coronagraph, external occulter and interferometer technologies) will push the state of the art in current optomechanical technologies. Mission concepts for New Worlds science would require 10 - 30 m class, cost-effective telescope observatories that are diffraction limited at wavelengths from the visible to the far IR, and operate at temperatures from 4 - 300 K. In addition, ground based telescopes such as the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope (CCAT) requires similar technology development. The desired areal density is 1 - 10 kg/m2 with a packaging efficiency of 3-10 deployed/stowed diameter. Static and dynamic wavefront error tolerances to thermal and dynamic perturbations may be achieved through passive means (e.g., via a high stiffness system, passive thermal control, jitter isolation or damping) or through active opto-mechanical control. Large deployable multi-layer structures in support of sunshades for passive thermal control and 20m to 50m class planet finding external occulters are also relevant technologies. Potential architecture implementations must package into an existing launch volume, deploy and be self-aligning to the micron level. The target space environment is expected to be the Earth-Sun L2. This subtopic solicits proposals to develop enabling, cost effective component and subsystem technology for deploying large aperture telescopes with low cost. Research areas of interest include: • Precision deployable structures and metrology for optical telescopes (e.g., innovative active or passive deployable primary or secondary support structures). • Architectures, packaging and deployment designs for large sunshields and external occulters. In particular, important subsystem considerations may include: • Innovative concepts for packaging fully integrated subsystems (e.g., power distribution, sensing, and control components). • Mechanical, inflatable, or other precision deployable technologies. • Thermally-stable materials (CTE < 1ppm) for deployable structures. • Innovative systems, which minimize complexity, mass, power and cost. • Innovative testing and verification methodologies. The goal for this effort is to mature technologies that can be used to fabricate 16 m class or greater, lightweight, ambient or cryogenic flight-qualified observatory systems. Proposals to fabricate demonstration components and subsystems with direct scalability to flight systems through validated models will be given preference. The target launch volume and expected disturbances, along with the estimate of system performance, should be included in the discussion. Proposals with system solutions for large sunshields and external occulters will also be accepted. A successful proposal shows a path toward a Phase II delivery of demonstration hardware scalable to 5 meter diameter for ground test characterization. Before embarking on the design and fabrication of complex space-based deployable telescopes, additional risk reduction in operating an actively controlled telescope in orbit is desired. To be cost effective, deployable apertures that conform to a cubesat (up to 3-U) or ESPA format are desired. Consequently, deployment hinge and latching concepts, buildable for these missions and scaleable to larger systems are desired. Such a system should allow <25 micron deployment repeatability and sub-micron stability for both thermal and mechanical on-orbit disturbances. A successful proposal would deliver a full-scale cubesat or ESPA ring compatible deployable aperture with mock optical elements. Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop the relevant subsystem technologies and to transition into future NASA program(s).
Advanced Optical Component Systems
Lead Center: MSFC Participating Center(s): GSFC, JPL OCT Technology Area: TA08 This subtopic solicits solutions in the following areas: • Optical Components, Coatings and Systems for potential X-ray missions. • Optical Components, Coatings and Systems for potential UV/Optical missions. • Large aperture diffusers (up to 1 meter) to calibrate GeoStationary Earth viewing sensors. The 2010 National Academy Astro2010 Decadal Report specifically identifies optical components and coatings as key technologies needed to enable several different future missions, including: • Light-weight X-ray imaging mirrors for future large advanced X-ray observatories. • Large aperture, light-weight mirrors for future UV/Optical telescopes. • Broadband high reflectance coatings for future UV/Optical telescopes. The 2012 National Academy report “NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities” states that one of the top technical challenges in which NASA should invest over the next five years is developing a new generation of larger effective aperture, lower-cost astronomical telescopes that enable discovery of habitable planets, facilitate advances in solar physics, and enable the study of faint structures around bright objects. To enable this capability requires low-cost, ultra-stable, large-aperture, normal and grazing incidence mirrors with low mass-to-collecting area ratios. To enable these new astronomical telescopes, the report identifies three specific optical systems technologies: • Active align/control of grazing-incidence imaging systems to achieve < 1 arc-second angular resolution. • Active align/control of normal-incidence imaging systems to achieve 500 nm diffraction limit (40 nm rms wavefront error, WFE) performance. • Normal incidence 4-meter (or larger) diameter 5 nm rms WFE (300 nm system diffraction limit) mirrors. Finally, effecting potential space telescopes, NASA is developing a heavy lift space launch system (SLS). An SLS with an 8 to 10 meter fairing and 80 to 100 mt capacity to LEO would enable extremely large space telescopes. Potential systems include 12 to 30 meter class segmented primary mirrors for UV/optical or infrared wavelengths and 8 to 16 meter class segmented X-ray telescope mirrors. These potential future space telescopes have very specific mirror technology needs. UV/optical telescopes (such as ATLAST-9 or ATLAST-16) require 1 to 3 meter class mirrors with < 5 nm rms surface figures. IR telescopes (such as SAFIR/CALISTO) require 2 to 3 to 8 meter class mirrors with cryo-deformations < 100 nm rms. X-ray telescopes (such as GenX) require 1 to 2 meter long grazing incidence segments with angular resolution < 0.5 arc-sec and surface micro-roughness < 0.5-nm rms. Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Technical Challenges In all cases, the most important metric for an advanced optical system is affordability or areal cost (cost per square meter of collecting aperture). Currently both X-ray and normal incidence space mirrors cost $4 million to $6 million per square meter of optical surface area. This research effort seeks a cost reduction for precision optical components by 5 to 50 times, to less than $1M to $100K/m2. Successful proposals shall provide a scale-up roadmap (including processing and infrastructure issues) for full scale space qualifiable flight optics systems. Material behavior, process control, active and/or passive optical performance, and mounting/deploying issues should be resolved and demonstrated. Optical Components, Coatings and Systems for potential X-ray missions Potential X-ray missions require: • X-ray imaging telescopes with <1 arc-sec angular resolution and > 1 to 5 m2 collecting area. • Multilayer high-reflectance coatings for hard X-ray mirrors (similar to NuSTAR). • X-ray transmission and/or reflection gratings. Multiple technologies are needed to enable < 1 arc-sec X-ray telescopes. These include, but are not limited to: new mirror materials such as silicon carbide, porous silicon, beryllium; improved techniques to manufacture (such as direct precision machining, rapid optical fabrication, slumping or replication technologies) 0.3 to 2 meter mirror shells or segments; improved testing techniques; active alignment of mirrors in a telescope assembly; and active control of mirror shape. For example, the Wide-Field X-Ray Telescope (WFXT) requires a 6 meter focal length X-ray mirror with 1 arc-sec resolution and 1 m2 of collecting area. One implementation of this mirror has 71 concentric full shell hyperbola/parabola pairs whose diameters range from 0.3 to 1.0 meter and whose length is 150 to 240 mm (this length is split between the H/P pair). Total mass for the integrated mirror system (shells and structure) is < 1000 kg. For individual mirror shells, axial slope errors should be ~ 1 arc-sec rms (~100 nm rms figure error for 20 mm spatial frequencies) and surface finish should be < 0.5 nm rms. Successful proposals will demonstrate an ability to manufacture, test and control a prototype X-ray mirror assembly in the 0.25 to 0.5 meter class; or to coat a 0.25 to 0.5 meter class representative optical component. An ideal Phase I deliverable would deliver a sub-scale component such as a 0.25 meter X-ray precision mirror. An ideal Phase II project would further advance the technology to produce a space-qualifiable 0.5 meter mirror, with a TRL in the 4 to 5 range. Both deliverables would be accompanied by all necessary documentation, including the optical performance assessment and all data on processing and properties of its substrate materials. The Phase II would also include a mechanical and thermal stability analysis. Optical Components, Coatings and Systems for potential UV/Optical missions Potential UV/Optical missions require: • Large aperture, light-weight mirrors. • Broadband high reflectance coatings. Future UVOIR missions require 4 to 8 or 16 meter monolithic or segmented primary mirrors with < 10 nm rms surface figures. Mirror areal density depends upon available launch vehicle capacities to Sun-Earth L2 (i.e., 15 kg/m2 for a 5 m fairing EELV vs. 60 kg/m2 for a 10 m fairing SLS). Additionally, future UVOIR missions require high-reflectance mirror coatings with spectral coverage from 100 to 2500 nm and extremely uniform amplitude and polarization properties. Successful proposals will demonstrate an ability to manufacture, test and control ultra-low-cost precision 0.25 to 0.5 meter optical systems; or to coat a 0.25 to 0.5 meter representative optical component. Potential solutions include, but are not limited to, new mirror materials such as silicon carbide, nanolaminates or carbon-fiber reinforced polymer; new fabrication processes such as direct precision machining, rapid optical fabrication, roller embossing at optical tolerances, slumping or replication technologies to manufacture 1 to 2 meter (or larger) precision quality mirrors or lens segments. Solutions include reflective, transmissive, diffractive or high order diffractive blazed lens optical components for assembly of large (16 to 32 meter) optical quality primary elements. Potential solutions to improve UV reflective coatings include, but are not limited to, investigations of new coating materials with promising UV performance; new deposition processes; and examination of handling processes, contamination control, and safety procedures related to depositing coatings, storing coated optics, and integrating coated optics into flight hardware. An ability to demonstrate optical performance on 2 to 3 meter class optical surfaces is important. An ideal Phase I deliverable would be a precision mirror of at least 0.25 meters; or a coated mirror of at least 0.25 meters. An ideal Phase II project would further advance the technology to produce a space-qualifiable mirror greater than 0.5 meters, with a TRL in the 4 to 5 range. Both deliverables would be accompanied by all necessary documentation, including the optical performance assessment and all data on processing and properties of its substrate materials. The Phase II would also include a mechanical and thermal stability analysis. Large aperture diffusers (up to 1 meter) to calibrate GeoStationary Earth viewing sensors The geosynchronous orbit for GEO-CAPE coastal ecosystem imager requires technology for alternative periodic solar calibration strategies including new materials to reduce weight, and new optical analysis to reduce the size of calibration systems. GEO-CAPE will need a light-weight large aperture (greater than 0.5 m) diffuse solar calibrator, employing multiple diffusers to track on-orbit degradation. Typical materials of interest are PTFE (such as Spectralon® surface diffuser) or development of new Mie scattering materials for use as volume diffusers in transmission or reflection. Material needs to be stable in BTDF/BSDF to 2%/year from 250 to 2500 nm and highly lambertian (no formal specification for deviation from lambertian).
Optics Manufacturing and Metrology for Telescope Optical Surfaces
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA08 This subtopic focuses primarily on manufacturing and metrology of optical surfaces, especially for very small or very large and/or thin optics. Missions of interest include: • WFIRST concepts (http://wfirst.gsfc.nasa.gov/). • NGXO (http://ixo.gsfc.nasa.gov/). • SGO (http://lisa.gsfc.nasa.gov/). • ATLAST (http://www.stsci.edu/institute/atlast/). Optical systems currently being researched for these missions are large area aspheres, requiring accurate figuring and polishing across six orders of magnitude in period. Technologies are sought that will enhance the figure quality of optics in any range as long as the process does not introduce artifacts in other ranges. For example, mm-period polishing should not introduce waviness errors at the 20 mm or 0.05 mm periods in the power spectral density. Also, novel metrological solutions that can measure figure errors over a large fraction of the PSD range are sought, especially techniques and instrumentation that can perform measurements while the optic is mounted to the figuring/polishing machine. Large lightweight monolithic metallic aspheres manufactured using innovative mirror substrate materials that can be assembled and welded together from smaller segments are sought. Also, optical system design and tolerancing requires software analysis tools capable of accurately ray tracing a broader range of materials and effects than are currently treated with conventional optical software. Updated software algorithms code is a technology of interest. By the end of a Phase II program, technologies must be developed to the point where the technique or instrument can dovetail into an existing optics manufacturing facility producing optics at the R&D stage. Metrology instruments should have 10 nm or better surface height resolution and span at least 3 orders of magnitude in lateral spatial frequency. Examples of technologies and instruments of interest include: • Innovative metal mirror substrate materials or manufacturing methods such as welding component segments into one monolith that produce thin mirror substrates that are stiffer and/or lighter than existing materials or methods. • Interferometric nulling optics for very shallow conical optics used in X-ray telescopes. • Segmented systems commonly span 60 ° in azimuth and 200 mm axial length and cone angles vary from 0.1 to 1 °. • Low stress metrology mounts that can hold very thin optics without introducing mounting distortion. • Low normal force figuring/polishing systems operating in the 1 mm to 50 mm period range with minimal impact at significantly smaller and larger period ranges. • In-situ metrology systems that can measure optics and provide feedback to figuring/polishing instruments without removing the part from the spindle. • Innovative mirror substrate materials or manufacturing methods that produce thin mirror substrates that are stiffer and/or lighter than existing materials or methods. • Extreme aspheric and/or anamorphic optics for pupil intensity amplitude apodization. • Metrology systems useful for measuring large optics with high precision. • Innovative method of bonding extremely lightweight (less than 1 kg/m2 areal density) and thin (less than 1 mm) mirrors to a housing structure, preserving both alignment and figure. • Innovative method of improving the figure of extremely lightweight and thin mirrors without polishing, such as using the coating stress. Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.
Spacecraft and Platform Subsystems
The Science Mission Directorate will carry out the scientific exploration of our Earth, the planets, moons, comets, and asteroids of our solar system and the universe beyond. SMD’s future direction will be moving away from exploratory missions (orbiters and flybys) into more detailed/specific exploration missions that are at or near the surface (landers, rovers, and sample returns) or at more optimal observation points in space. These future destinations will require new vantage points, or would need to integrate or distribute capabilities across multiple assets. Future destinations will also be more challenging to get to, have more extreme environmental conditions and challenges once the spacecraft gets there, and may be a challenge to get a spacecraft or data back from. A major objective of the NASA science spacecraft and platform subsystems development efforts are to enable science measurement capabilities using smaller and lower cost spacecraft to meet multiple mission requirements thus making the best use of our limited resources. To accomplish this objective, NASA is seeking innovations to significantly improve spacecraft and platform subsystem capabilities while reducing the mass and cost, which would in turn enable increased scientific return for future NASA missions. A spacecraft bus is made up of many subsystems like: • Propulsion. • Thermal control. • Power and power distribution. • Attitude control. • Telemetry command and control. • Transmitters/antenna. • Computers/on-board processing/software. • Structural elements. Science platforms of interest could include unmanned aerial vehicles, sounding rockets, or balloons that carry scientific instruments/payloads, to planetary ascent vehicles or Earth return vehicles that bring samples back to Earth for analysis. This topic area addresses the future needs in many of these sub-system areas, as well as their application to specific spacecraft and platform needs. For planetary missions, planetary protection requirements vary by planetary destination, and additional backward contamination requirements apply to hardware with the potential to return to Earth (e.g., as part of a sample return mission). Technologies intended for use at/around Mars, Europa (Jupiter), and Enceladus (Saturn) must be developed so as to ensure compliance with relevant planetary protection requirements. Constraints could include surface cleaning with alcohol or water, and/or sterilization treatments such as dry heat (approved specification in NPR 8020.12; exposure of hours at 115 °C or higher, non-functioning); penetrating radiation (requirements not yet established); or vapor-phase hydrogen peroxide (specification pending). Innovations for 2012 are sought in the areas of: • Command and Data Handling, and Instrument Electronics. • Power Generation and Conversion - Propulsion Systems. • Power Electronics and Management, and Energy Storage. • Unmanned Aircraft and Sounding Rocket Technologies. Significant changes to the S3 Topic for 2011 are that the following areas will not be solicited in 2012, but may be solicited again in the 2013: • Thermal Control Systems - Guidance, Navigation and Control. • Terrestrial and Planetary Balloons. The following references discuss some of NASA’s science mission and technology needs: • The Astrophysics Roadmap: (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy). • Astrophysics Decadal Survey - “New Worlds, New Horizons: in Astronomy and Astrophysics”: (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12951). • The Earth Science Decadal Survey: (http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11820). • The Heliophysics roadmap: “The Solar and Space Physics of a New Era: Recommended Roadmap for Science and Technology 20092030”: (http://sec.gsfc.nasa.gov/2009_Roadmap.pdf). • The 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey was released March 2011. This decadal survey is considering technology needs. (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/SSB/currentprojects/SSB_052412).
Command, Data Handling, and Electronics
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): JPL, LaRC OCT Technology Area: TA11 NASA's space-based observatories, fly-by spacecraft, orbiters, landers, and robotic and sample return missions require robust command and control capabilities. Advances in technologies relevant to command and data handling and instrument electronics are sought to support NASA's goals and several missions and projects under development. The subtopic goals are to: • Develop high-performance processors, memory architectures, and reliable electronic systems. • Develop tools and technologies that would enable rapid deployment of high-reliability, high-performance onboard processing applications and would interface to external sensors on flight hardware. The subtopic objective is to elicit novel architectural concepts and component technologies that are realistic and operate effectively and credibly in environments consistent with the future NASA science missions. However, it is also expected that some commercial non-radiation hardened, higher performance capabilities should also be leveraged to meet performance, fault tolerance and recovery, power management, or other unique requirements. Successful proposal concepts should significantly advance the state-of-the-art. Proposals should clearly: • State what the product is. • Identify the needs it addresses. • Identify the improvements over the current state-of-the-art. • Outline the feasibility of the technical and programmatic approach. • Present how it could be infused into a NASA program. Furthermore, proposals should indicate an understanding of the intended operating environment, including temperature and radiation. It should be noted that environmental requirements will vary significantly from mission to mission. For example, some low Earth orbit missions have a total ionizing dose (TID) radiation requirement of less than 10 krad(Si), while some planetary missions can have requirements well in excess of 1 Mrad(Si). For descriptions of radiation effects in electronics, the proposer may visit: (http://radhome.gsfc.nasa.gov/radhome/overview.htm). If a Phase II proposal is awarded, the combined Phase I and Phase II developments should produce a prototype that can be characterized by NASA. The technology priorities sought are listed below: • Novel, ruggedized packaging/Interconnect for high-density packaging (enclosures, printed wiring boards) enabling miniaturization. • Miniaturization of C&DH subsystem components that enable reduced power computing. • Innovative approaches for single event effects mitigation technologies leveraging non-RHBD (Radiation Hardened By Design) devices for performance (speed, power, mass) that is capable of exceeding traditional RHBD devices and/or capabilities that are not yet available with RHBD devices. Area of interest for this year is to focus on processors. Power Conversion and Distribution relevant to Command, Data Handling, and Electronics, will be covered in sub-topic S3.04 Power Electronics and Management, and Energy Storage.
Power Generation and Conversion
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JPL, JSC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA03 Future NASA science missions will employ Earth orbiting spacecraft, planetary spacecraft, balloons, aircraft, surface assets, and marine craft as observation platforms. Proposals are solicited to develop advanced power-generation and conversion technologies to enable or enhance the capabilities of future science missions. Requirements for these missions are varied and include long life, high reliability, significantly lower mass and volume, higher mass specific power, and improved efficiency over the state of practice for components and systems. Other desired capabilities are high radiation tolerance and the ability to operate in extreme environments (high and low temperatures and over wide temperature ranges). While power-generation technology affects a wide range of NASA missions and operational environments, technologies that provide substantial benefits for key mission applications/capabilities are being sought in the following areas: Radioisotope Power Conversion Radioisotope technology enables a wide range of mission opportunities, both near and far from the Sun and hostile planetary environments including high energy radiation, both high and low temperature and diverse atmospheric chemistries. Technology innovations capable of advancing lifetimes, improving efficiency, highly tolerant to hostile environments are desired for all thermal to electric conversion technologies considered here. Specific systems of interest for this solicitation are listed below: Stirling Power Conversion: advances in, but not limited to, the following: • System specific mass greater than 10 We/kg. • Highly reliable autonomous control. Thermoelectric Power Conversion: advances in, but not limited to, the following: • High temperature, high efficiency conversion greater than 10%. • Long life, minimal degradation. Photovoltaic Energy Conversion Photovoltaic cell, blanket, and array technologies that lead to significant improvements in overall solar array performance (i.e., conversion efficiency >33%, array mass specific power >300watts/kilogram, decreased stowed volume, reduced initial and recurring cost, long-term operation in high radiation environments, high power arrays, and a wide range of space environmental operating conditions) are solicited. Technologies specifically addressing the following mission needs are highly sought: • Photovoltaic cell and blanket technologies capable of low intensity, low-temperature operation applicable to outer planetary (low solar intensity) missions. • Photovoltaic cell, blanket and array technologies capable of enhancing solar array operation in a high intensity, high-temperature environment (i.e., inner planetary and solar probe-type missions). • Lightweight solar array technologies applicable to solar electric propulsion missions. Current missions being studied require solar arrays that provide 1 to 20 kilowatts of power at 1 AU, are greater than 300 watts/kilogram specific power, can operate in the range of 0.7 to 3 AU, provide operational array voltages up to 300 volts and have a low stowed volume. Note to Proposer: Topic H8 under the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate also addresses power. Proposals more aligned with very high power or with exploration mission requirements should be proposed in H8.
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): JPL, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA02 The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) needs spacecraft with more demanding propulsive performance and flexibility for more ambitious missions requiring high duty cycles, more challenging environmental conditions, and extended operation. Planetary spacecraft need the ability to rendezvous with, orbit, and conduct in situ exploration of planets, moons, and other small bodies in the solar system (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/download-detail.cfm?DL_ID=742). Future spacecraft and constellations of spacecraft will have high-precision propulsion requirements, usually in volume- and power-limited envelopes. This subtopic seeks innovations to meet SMD propulsion requirements, which are reflected in the goals of NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology program to reduce the travel time, mass, and cost of SMD spacecraft. Advancements in chemical and electric propulsion systems related to sample return missions to Mars, small bodies (like asteroids, comets, and Near-Earth Objects), outer planet moons, and Venus are desired. Additional electric propulsion technology innovations are also sought to enable low cost systems for Discovery class missions, and eventually to enable radioisotope electric propulsion (REP) type missions. Roadmaps for propulsion technologies can be found from the National Research Council (http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13354&page=168) and NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist (http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/501329main_TA02-InSpaceProp-DRAFT-Nov2010-A.pdf). The focus of this solicitation is for next generation propulsion systems and components, including chemical rocket technologies, low cost/low mass electric propulsion technologies, and micro-propulsion. Propulsion technologies related specifically to sample return vehicles will be sought under S5.04 Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions. Propulsion technologies related specifically to Power Processing Units will be sought under S3.04 Power Electronics and Management, and Energy Storage Chemical Propulsion Systems Technology needs include: • Alternative manufacturing processes for low cost production of components of propulsion systems less than 200 lbf class. • Catalytic and non-catalytic ignition technologies that provide reliable long-life ignition of high-performance (Isp > 240 sec), toxic and nontoxic monopropellants. Electric Propulsion Systems This subtopic also seeks proposals that explore uses of technologies that will provide superior performance in for high specific impulse/low mass electric propulsion systems at low cost. These technologies include: • Long-life thrusters and related system components with efficiencies > 55% and up to 1 kW of input power that operate with a specific impulse between 1600 to 3500 seconds. • Any electric propulsion technology under 10 kW/thruster that would either significantly reduce system costs or increase system efficiency over a wide throttling range. Micro-Propulsion Systems This subtopic also seeks proposals that address the propulsion for spacecraft <180 kg. It is desired that the capability of plane-changing or de-orbiting in a timely manner be achieved. These system or component technologies would likely be: • Low mass and low volume fractions. • Wide range of ΔV capability to provide 100-1000s of m/s. • Wide range of specific impulses up to 1000s of seconds. • Precise thrust vectoring and low vibration for precision maneuvering. • Efficient use of onboard resources (i.e., high power efficiency and simplified thermal and propellant management). • Affordability. • Safety for users and primary payloads. Proposals should show an understanding of the state of the art, how their technology is superior, and of one or more relevant science needs. The proposals should provide a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Note to Proposer: Topic H2 under the Human Exploration and Operations Directorate also addresses advanced propulsion. Proposals more aligned with exploration mission requirements should be proposed in H2.
Power Electronics and Management, and Energy Storage
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JPL, JSC OCT Technology Area: TA03 Future NASA science objectives will include missions such as Earth Orbiting, Venus, Europa, Titan/Enceladus Flagship, Lunar Quest and Space Weather. Under this subtopic, proposals are solicited to develop energy storage and power electronics to enable or enhance the capabilities of future science missions. The unique requirements for the power systems for these missions can vary greatly, with advancements in components needed above the current State of the Art (SOA) for high energy density, high power density, long life, high reliability, low mass/volume, radiation tolerance, and wide temperature operation. Other subtopics that could potentially benefit from these technology developments include S4.01 – Planetary Entry, Descent and Landing Technology. Battery development could also be beneficial to H8.02 – Ultra High Specific Energy Batteries, which is investigating some similar technologies in the secondary battery area but with very different operational requirements. This subtopic is also directly tied to S3.03 – Propulsion Systems for the development of advanced Power Processing Units and associated components. Power Electronics and Management The 2009 Heliophysics roadmap (http://sec.gsfc.nasa.gov/2009_Roadmap.pdf), the 2010 SMD Science Plan (http://science.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/), the 2010 Planetary Decadal Survey White Papers & Roadmap Inputs (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/SSB/CurrentProjects/ssb_052412), the 2011 PSD Relevant Technologies document, the 2006 Solar System Exploration (SSE) Roadmap (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy), and the 2003 SSE Decadal Survey describe the need for lighter weight, lower power electronics along with radiation hardened, extreme environment electronics for planetary exploration. Radioisotope power systems (RPS) and Power Processing Units (PPUs) for Electric Propulsion (EP) are two programs of interest that would directly benefit from advancements in this technology area. Advances in electrical power technologies are required for the electrical components and systems for these future platforms to address program size, mass, efficiency, capacity, durability, and reliability requirements. In addition, the Outer Planet Assessment Group has called out high power density/high efficiency power electronics as needs for the Titan/Enceladus Flagship and planetary exploration missions. These types of missions, including Mars Sample Return using Hall thrusters and PPUs, require advancements in radiation hardened power electronics and systems beyond the state-of-the-art. Of importance are expected improvements in energy density, speed, efficiency, or wide-temperature operation (-125 °C to over 450 °C) with a number of thermal cycles. Novel approaches to minimizing the weight of advanced PPUs are also of interest. Advancements are sought for power electronic devices, components and packaging for programs with power ranges of a few watts for minimum missions to up to 20 kilowatts for large missions. In addition to electrical component development, RPS has a need for intelligent, fault-tolerant Power Management And Distribution (PMAD) technologies to efficiently manage the system power for these deep space missions. SMD’s In-space Propulsion Technology and Radioisotope Power Systems programs are direct customers of this subtopic, and the solicitation is coordinated with the 2 programs each year. Overall technologies of interest include: • High voltage, radiation hardened, high temperature components. • High power density/high efficiency power electronics. • High temperature devices and components/power converters (up to 450 °C). • Intelligent, fault-tolerant electrical components and PMAD systems. • Advanced electronic packaging for thermal control and electromagnetic shielding. Energy Storage Future science missions will require advanced primary and secondary battery systems capable of operating at temperature extremes from -100 °C for Titan missions to 400 ° to 500 °C for Venus missions, and a span of -230 °C to +120 °C for Lunar Quest. The Outer Planet Assessment Group and the 2011 PSD Relevant Technologies Document have specifically called out high energy density storage systems as a need for the Titan/Enceladus Flagship and planetary exploration missions. In addition, high energy-density rechargeable electrochemical battery systems that offer greater than 50,000 charge/discharge cycles (10 year operating life) for low-earth-orbiting spacecraft, 20 year life for geosynchronous (GEO) spacecraft, are desired. Advancements to battery energy storage capabilities that address one or more of the above requirements for the stated missions combined with very high specific energy and energy density (>200 Wh/kg for secondary battery systems), along with radiation tolerance are of interest. In addition to batteries, other advanced energy storage/load leveling technologies designed to the above mission requirements, such as flywheels, supercapacitors or magnetic energy storage, are of interest. These technologies have the potential to minimize the size and mass of future power systems. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II, and when possible, deliver a demonstration unit for NASA testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. Phase II emphasis should be placed on developing and demonstrating the technology under relevant test conditions. Additionally, a path should be outlined that shows how the technology could be commercialized or further developed into science-worthy systems. A method for growing arrays of large-area device-size films of step-free (i.e., atomically flat) SiC surfaces for semiconductor electronic device applications is disclosed. This method utilizes a lateral growth process that better overcomes the effect of extended defects in the seed crystal substrate that limited the obtainable step-free area achievable by prior art processes. The step-free SiC surface is particularly suited for the heteroepitaxial growth of 3C (cubic) SiC, AlN, and GaN films used for the fabrication of both surface-sensitive devices (i.e., surface channel field effect transistors such as HEMT's and MOSFET's) as well as high-electric field devices (pn diodes and other solid-state power switching devices) that are sensitive to extended crystal defects.
Unmanned Aircraft and Sounding Rocket Technologies
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): ARC, DFRC, GRC, JPL, KSC, LaRC OCT Technology Area: TA04 All proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) offer significant potential for Suborbital Scientific Earth Exploration Missions over a very large range of payload complexities, mission durations, altitudes, and extreme environmental conditions. To more fully realize the potential improvement in capabilities for atmospheric sampling and remote sensing, new technologies are needed. Scientific observation and documentation of environmental phenomena on both global and localized scales that will advance climate research and monitoring; e.g., U.S. Global Change Research Program as well as Arctic and Antarctic research activities (Ice Bridge, etc.). NASA is increasing scientific participation to understand impacts associated with worldwide environmental changes. Capability for suborbital unmanned flight operations in either the North or South Polar Regions are limited because of technology gaps for remote telemetry capabilities and precision flight path control requirements. It is also highly desirable to have UAS ability to perform atmospheric and surface sampling. Telemetry, Tracking and Control Low cost over-the-horizon global communications and networks are needed. Efficient and cost effective systems that enable unmanned collaborative multi-platform Earth observation missions are desired. Avionics and Flight Control Precise/repeatable flight path control capabilities are needed to enable repeat path observations for Earth monitoring on seasonal and multi-year cycles. In addition, long endurance atmospheric sampling in extreme conditions (hurricanes, volcanic plumes) can provide needed observations that are otherwise not possible at this time: • Precision flight path control solutions in smooth atmospheric conditions. • Attitude and navigation control in highly turbulent atmospheric conditions. • Low cost, high precision inertial navigation systems (< 0.10 ° accuracy, resolution). UA Integrated Vehicle Health Management • Fuel Heat/Anti-freezing. • Unmanned platform icing detection and minimization. Guided Dropsondes NASA Earth Science Research activities can benefit from more capable dropsondes than are currently available. Specifically, dropsondes that can effectively be guided through atmospheric regions of interest such as volcanic plumes could enable unprecedented observations of important phenomena. Capabilities of interest include: • Compatibility with existing dropsonde dispensing systems on NASA/NOAA P-3's, the NASA Global Hawk, and other unmanned aircraft. • Guidance schemes, autonomous or active control. • Cross-range performance and flight path accuracy. • Operational considerations including airspace utilization and de-confliction. Novel Platforms and Systems Innovative fixed wing, rotary wing, or lighter than air platforms and associated systems offering unique capabilities for Earth science research and environmental monitoring are desired. Commercially viable concepts that may have alternative short-term utility for other civil research agencies are in-scope. Systems that are tailored to support new miniaturized instruments for Earth science research, for example those developed under subtopic S1.08 (Airborne Measurement Systems), are encouraged. Sounding Rockets The NASA Sounding Rocket Program (NSRP) provides low-cost, sub-orbital access to space in support of space and Earth sciences research and technology development sponsored by NASA and other users by providing payload development, launch vehicles, and mission support services. NASA utilizes a variety of vehicle systems comprised of military surplus and commercially available rocket motors, capable of lofting scientific payloads, up to 1300lbs, to altitudes from 100km to 1500km. NASA launches sounding rocket vehicles worldwide, from both land-based and water-based ranges, based on the science needs to study phenomenon in specific locations. NASA is seeking innovations to enhance capabilities and operations in the following areas: • Autonomous vehicle environmental diagnostics system capable of monitoring flight loading (thermal, acceleration, stress/strain) for solid rocket vehicle systems. • Location determination systems to provide over-the-horizon position of buoyant payloads to facilitate expedient location and retrieval from the ocean. • Flotation systems, ranging from tethered flotation devices to self-encapsulation systems, for augmenting buoyancy of sealed payload systems launched from water-based launch ranges.
Robotic Exploration Technologies
NASA is pursuing technologies to enable robotic exploration of the Solar System including its planets, their moons, and small bodies. NASA has a development program that includes technologies for the atmospheric entry, descent, and landing, mobility systems, extreme environments technology, sample acquisition and preparation for in situ experiments, and in situ planetary science instruments. Robotic exploration missions that are planned include a Europa Jupiter System mission, Titan Saturn System mission, Venus In Situ Explorer, sample return from Comet or Asteroid and lunar south polar basin and continued Mars exploration missions launching every 26 months including a network lander mission, an Astrobiology Field Laboratory, a Mars Sample Return mission and other rover missions. Numerous new technologies will be required to enable such ambitious missions. The solicitation for in situ planetary instruments can be found in the in situ instruments section of this solicitation. See URL: (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/index.cfm) for mission information. Planetary protection requirements vary by planetary destination, and additional backward contamination requirements apply to hardware with the potential to return to Earth (e.g., as part of a sample return mission). Technologies intended for use at/around Mars, Europa (Jupiter), and Enceladus (Saturn) must be developed so as to ensure compliance with relevant planetary protection requirements. Constraints could include surface cleaning with alcohol or water, and/or sterilization treatments such as dry heat (approved specification in NPR 8020.12; exposure of hours at 115 °C or higher, non-functioning); penetrating radiation (requirements not yet established); or vapor-phase hydrogen peroxide (specification pending).
Planetary Entry, Descent and Landing Technology
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): ARC, JSC, LaRC OCT Technology Area: TA09 NASA seeks innovative sensor technologies to enhance success for entry, descent and landing (EDL) operations on missions to Mars. This call is not for sensor processing algorithms. Sensing technologies are desired that determine the entry point of the spacecraft in the Mars atmosphere; provide inputs to systems that control spacecraft trajectory, speed, and orientation to the surface; locate the spacecraft relative to the Martian surface; evaluate potential hazards at the landing site; and determine when the spacecraft has touched down. Appropriate sensing technologies for this topic should provide measurements of physical forces or properties that support some aspect of EDL operations. NASA also seeks to use measurements made during EDL to better characterize the Martian atmosphere, providing data for improving atmospheric modeling for future landers. Proposals are invited for innovative sensor technologies that improve the reliability of EDL operations. Products or technologies are sought that can be made compatible with the environmental conditions of spaceflight, the rigors of landing on the Martian surface, and planetary protection requirements. Successful candidate sensor technologies can address this call by: • Providing critical measurements during the entry phase (e.g., pressure and/or temperature sensors embedded into the aeroshell). • Improving the accuracy on measurements needed for guidance decisions (e.g., surface relative velocities, altitudes, orientation, localization). • Extending the range over which such measurements are collected (e.g., providing a method of imaging through the aeroshell or terrain-relative navigation that does not require imaging through the aeroshell). • Enhancing situational awareness during landing by identifying hazards (rocks, craters, slopes) and/or providing indications of approach velocities and touchdown. • Substantially reducing the amount of external processing needed to calculate the measurements. • Significantly reducing the impact of incorporating such sensors on the spacecraft in terms of volume, mass, placement, or cost. • For a sample-return mission, monitoring local environmental (weather) conditions on the surface prior to landing of a “fetch” rover or launch of a planetary ascent vehicle, via appropriate low-mass sensors. Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.
Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling
Lead Center: JPL Participating Center(s): ARC, GSFC, JSC OCT Technology Area: TA04 New technologies for robotic mobility, manipulation, and sampling are needed to enable access to sites of interest and acquisition and handling of samples for in-situ analysis or return to Earth from planetary and solar system small bodies including Mars, Venus, comets, asteroids, and planetary moons. Mobility technologies are needed to enable access to crater walls, canyons, gullies, sand dunes, and high rock density regions for planetary bodies where gravity dominates, such as the Moon and Mars. Trafficability challenges include steep terrain, obstacle size, and low soil cohesion. Tethered systems, non-wheeled systems, and marsupial systems are examples of mobility technologies that are of interest. Technologies to enable mobility on small bodies in micro-gravity environments are also of interest. Manipulation technologies are needed to enable deployment of sampling tools and handling of samples. Mars mission sample-handling technologies are needed to enable transfer and storage of a range of rock and regolith cores approximately 1cm long and up to about 10cm long. Small-body mission manipulation technologies are needed to deploy sampling tools to the surface and transfer samples to in-situ instruments and sample storage containers. Sample acquisition tools are needed to acquire samples on planetary and small bodies. For Mars, a coring tool is needed to acquire rock and regolith cores approximately 1cm diameter and up to 10cm long which also supports transfer of the samples to a sample handling system. Abrading bits for the tool are needed to provide rock-surface abrasion capability to better than 0.2mm scale roughness. A deep drill is needed to enable sample acquisition from the subsurface including rock cores to 3m depth and icy samples from deeper locations. Tools for sampling from asteroids and comets are needed which support transfer of the sample for in-situ analysis or sample return. Tools for acquisition and transfer of icy samples on Europa are also of interest. Minimization of mass and ability to work reliably in the harsh mission environment are important characteristics for the tools. Example environmental conditions include microgravity for small-body missions, high pressure and temperature (460 °C, 93bar) on Venus, and at Europa the radiation environment is estimated at 2.9 Mrad total ionizing dose (TID) behind 100 mil thick aluminum. Contamination control and planetary protection are important considerations for sample acquisition and handling technologies. Contamination may include Earth-source contaminants produced by the sampling tool, handling system, or deposited on the sampling location from another source on the rover. Consideration should be given to: • Innovative “cleaning to sterility” technologies that will be compatible with spacecraft materials and processes. • Surface cleaning validation methods that can be used routinely to quantify trace amount (~ng/cm2) of organic contamination and submicron particle (~100nm size) contamination. Priority will be given to the cleaning and sterilization methods that have potential for in-situ applications. Avoiding cross contamination between samples is also a priority. Innovative mechanical or system solutions—e.g., single-use sample "sleeves" or fully integrated sample acquisition and encapsulation systems are also needed to ensure sample integrity. Innovative component technologies for low-mass, low-power, and modular systems tolerant to the in situ environment are of particular interest. Technical feasibility should be demonstrated during Phase I and a full capability unit of at least TRL 4 should be delivered in Phase II. Proposals should show an understanding of relevant science needs and engineering constraints and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program. Specific areas of interest include the following: • Steep terrain adherence for vertical and horizontal mobility. • Tether play-out and retrieval systems including tension and length sensing. • Low-mass tether cables with power and communication. • Sampling system deployment mechanisms. • Low mass/power vision systems and processing capabilities that enable faster surface traverse while maintaining safety over a wide range of surface environments. • Robotics autonomy. • Modular actuators with 1000:1 scale gear ratios. • Coring tool for 1cm X 10cm rock and regolith cores. • Small body sampling tool. • Cleaning to sterility technologies that will be compatible with spacecraft materials and processes. • Surface cleaning validation technology to quantify trace amount (~ng/cm2) of organic contamination and submicron particle (~100nm size) contamination. • Sample handling technologies that minimize cross contamination and preserve mechanical integrity of samples.
Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions
Lead Center: GRC Participating Center(s): ARC, DFRC, GSFC, JPL, LaRC, MSFC OCT Technology Area: TA04 NASA plans to perform sample return missions from a variety of targets including Mars, outer planet moons, and small bodies such as asteroids and comets. In terms of spacecraft technology, these types of targets present a variety challenges. Some targets, such as Mars and some moons, have relatively large gravity wells and will require ascent propulsion. Other targets are small bodies with very complex geography and very little gravity, factors that present difficult navigation and maneuvering challenges. In addition, the spacecraft will be subject to extreme environmental conditions including low temperatures (-270 °C), dust, and ice particles. Technology innovations should either enhance vehicle capabilities (e.g., increase performance, decrease risk, and improve environmental operational margins) or ease mission implementation (e.g., reduce size, mass, power, cost, increase reliability, or increase autonomy). Specific areas of interest are listed below. SMD’s In-space Propulsion technology program is a direct customer of this subtopic, and the solicitation is coordinated with the ISPT program each year. The ISPT program views this subtopic as a fertile area for providing possible Phase III efforts. Many of the Planetary Decadal Survey white papers/studies evaluating technologies needed for various planetary, small body, and sample return missions refer to the need for sample return spacecraft technologies. Small Body Missions: • Autonomous operation. • Terrain based navigation. • Guidance and control technology for landing and touch-and-go. • Anchoring concepts for asteroids. • Propulsion technology for proximity or landed operations. • Low-power, long-life cryogenic sample storage. • Earth Entry Vehicles for Sample Return Missions. Proposals should show an understanding of one or more relevant science needs, and present a feasible plan to fully develop a technology and infuse it into a NASA program.
NASA Missions and Programs create a wealth of science data and information that are essential to understanding our earth, our solar system and the universe. Advancements in information technology will allow many people within and beyond the Agency to more effectively analyze and apply these data and information to create knowledge. For example, modeling and simulation are being used more pervasively throughout NASA, for both engineering and science pursuits, than ever before. These are tools that allow high fidelity simulations of systems in environments that are difficult or impossible to create on Earth, allow removal of humans from experiments in dangerous situations, provide visualizations of datasets that are extremely large and complicated, and aid in the design of systems and missions. In many of these situations, assimilation of real data into a highly sophisticated physics model is needed. Information technology is also being used to allow better access to science data, more effective and robust tools for analyzing and manipulating data, and better methods for collaboration between scientists or other interested parties. The desired end result is to see that NASA data and science information are used to generate the maximum possible impact to the nation: to advance scientific knowledge and technological capabilities, to inspire and motivate the nation's students and teachers, and to engage and educate the public.
Technologies for Large-Scale Numerical Simulation
Lead Center: ARC Participating Center(s): GSFC OCT Technology Area: TA11 NASA scientists and engineers are increasingly turning to large-scale numerical simulation on supercomputers to advance understanding of complex Earth and astrophysical systems, and to conduct high-fidelity aerospace engineering analyses. The goal of this subtopic is to increase the mission impact of NASA’s investments in supercomputing systems and associated operations and services. Specific objectives are to: • Decrease the barriers to entry for prospective supercomputing users. • Minimize the supercomputer user’s total time-to-solution (e.g., time to discover, understand, predict, or design). • Increase the achievable scale and complexity of computational analysis, data ingest, and data communications. • Reduce the cost of providing a given level of supercomputing performance on NASA applications. • Enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of NASA’s supercomputing operations and services. Expected outcomes are to improve the productivity of NASA’s supercomputing users, broaden NASA’s supercomputing user base, accelerate advancement of NASA science and engineering, and benefit the supercomputing community through dissemination of operational best practices. The approach of this subtopic is to seek novel software and hardware technologies that provide notable benefits to NASA’s supercomputing users and facilities, and to infuse these technologies into NASA supercomputing operations. Successful technology development efforts under this subtopic would be considered for follow-on funding by, and infusion into, NASA’s high-end computing (HEC) projects: the High End Computing Capability project at Ames and the Scientific Computing project at Goddard. To assure maximum relevance to NASA, funded SBIR contracts under this subtopic should engage in direct interactions with one or both HEC projects, and with key HEC users where appropriate. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility and NASA relevance during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II prototype demonstration. Offerors should demonstrate awareness of the state-of-the-art of their proposed technology, and should leverage existing commercial capabilities and research efforts where appropriate. Open Source software and open standards are strongly preferred. Note that the NASA supercomputing environment is characterized by: HEC systems operating behind a firewall to meet strict IT security requirements, communication-intensive applications, massive computations requiring high concurrency, complex computational workflows and immense datasets, and the need to support hundreds of complex application codes – many of which are frequently updated by the user/developer. As a result, solutions that involve the following must clearly explain how they would work in the NASA environment: Grid computing, web services, client-server models, embarrassingly parallel computations, and technologies that require significant application re-engineering. Projects need not benefit all NASA HEC users or application codes, but demonstrating applicability to an important NASA discipline, or even a key NASA application code, could provide significant value. Specific technology areas of interest: • Efficient Computing: In spite of the rapidly increasing capability and efficiency of supercomputers, NASA’s HEC facilities cannot purchase, power, and cool sufficient HEC resources to satisfy all user demands. This subtopic element seeks dramatically more efficient and effective supercomputing approaches in terms of their ability to supply increased HEC capability or capacity per dollar and/or per Watt for real NASA applications. Examples include: o Novel computational accelerators and architectures. o Cloud supercomputing with high performance interconnects (e.g., InfiniBand). o Enhanced visualization technologies. o Improved algorithms for key codes. o Power-aware “Green” computing technologies and techniques. • Approaches to effectively manage and utilize many-core processors including algorithmic changes, compiler techniques and runtime systems. • User Productivity Environments: The user interface to a supercomputer is typically a command line in a text window. This subtopic element seeks more intuitive, intelligent, user-customizable, and integrated interfaces to supercomputing resources, enabling users to more completely leverage the power of HEC to increase their productivity. Such an interface could enhance many essential supercomputing tasks: accessing and managing resources, training, getting services, developing and porting codes (e.g., debugging and performance analysis), running computations, managing files and data, analyzing and visualizing results, transmitting data, collaborating, etc. • Ultra-Scale Computing: Over the next decade, the HEC community faces great challenges in enabling its users to effectively exploit next-generation supercomputers featuring massive concurrency to the tune of millions of cores. To overcome these challenges, this subtopic element seeks ultra-scale computing technologies that enable resiliency/fault-tolerance in extreme-scale (unreliable) systems both at job startup and during execution. Also of interest are system and software co-design methodologies, to achieve performance and efficiency synergies. Finally, tools are sought that facilitate verification and validation of ultra-scale applications and systems.
Earth Science Applied Research and Decision Support
Lead Center: SSC Participating Center(s): ARC, DFRC, GSFC, JPL OCT Technology Area: TA11 The NASA Applied Sciences Program (http://nasascience.nasa.gov/earth-science/applied-sciences) seeks innovative and unique approaches to increase the utilization and extend the benefit of Earth Science research data to better meet societal needs. One area of interest is new decision support tools and systems for a variety of ecological applications such as managing coastal environments, natural resources or responding to natural disasters. This subtopic seeks proposals for utilities, plug-ins or enhancements to geobrowsers that improve their utility for Earth science research and decision support. Examples of geobrowsers include Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth, NASA World Wind (http://worldwindcentral.com/wiki/Main_page) and COAST (http://www.coastal.ssc.nasa.gov/coast/COAST.aspx). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: • Visualization of high-resolution imagery in a geobrowser. • Enhanced geobrowser animation capabilities to provide better visual-analytic displays of time-series and change-detection products. • Discovery and integration of content from web-enabled sensors. • Discovery and integration of new datasets based on parameters identified by the user and/or the datasets currently in use. • Innovative mechanisms for collaboration and data layer sharing. • Applications that subset, filter, merge, and reformat spatial data. • Statistical tools and interfaces needed to downscale coarser resolution climate datasets for regional applications • Rapid delivery of satellite data products and alerts concepts and architectures in case of emergency situation This subtopic also seeks proposals for advanced information systems and decision environments that take full advantage of multiple data sources and platforms. Special consideration will be given to proposals that provide enhancements to existing, broadly used decision support tools or platforms. Tailored and timely products delivered to a broad range of users are needed to address air quality, public health and agriculture mapping and food security issues. Additional areas of interest will be to protect vital ecosystems such as coastal marshes, barrier islands and seagrass beds; monitor and manage utilization of critical resources such as water and energy; provide quick and effective response to manmade and natural disasters such as oil spills, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and wildfires; and promote sustainable, resilient communities and urban environments. Proposals shall present a feasible plan to fully develop and apply the subject technology.
Algorithms and Tools for Science Data Processing, Discovery and Analysis, in State-of-the-Art Data Environments
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL, KSC, LaRC, MSFC, SSC OCT Technology Area: TA11 The size of NASA’s observational data sets is growing dramatically as new missions come on line. In addition, NASA scientists continue to generate new models that regularly produce data sets of hundreds of terabytes or more. It is growing ever increasingly difficult to manage all of the data through its full lifecycle, as well as provide effective data analytical methods to analyze the large amount of data. For example, the HyspIRI mission is expected to produce an average science data rate of 800 Million bits per second (Mbps), JPSS-1 will be 300 Mbps and NPP is already producing 300 Mbps, compared to 150 Mbps for the EOS-Terra, Aqua and Aura missions. Other examples are SDO with a rate of 150 Mbps and 16.4 Gigabits for a single image from the HiRise camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This subtopic area seeks innovation and unique approaches to solve issues associated around the use of “Big Data” within NASA. The emphasis of this subtopic is on tools that leverage existing systems, interfaces, and infrastructure, where it exists and where appropriate. Reuse of existing NASA assets is strongly encouraged. Specifically, innovations are being sought in the following areas: • Parallel Processing for Data Analytics – Open source tools like the Hadoop Distributed File Systems (HDFS) have shown promise for use in simple MapReduce operations to analyze model and observation data. In addition to HDFS, there is a rapid emergence and adoption of cloud software packages integrated with object stores, such as OpenStack and Swift. The goal is to accelerate these types of open source tools for use with binary structured data from observations and model output using MapReduce or a similar paradigm. • High Performance File System Abstractions – NASA scientists currently use a large number of existing applications for data analysis, such as GrADS, python scripts, and more, that are not compatible with an object storage environment. If data were stored within an object storage environment, these applications would not be able to access the data. Many of these applications would require a substantial amount of investment to enable them to use object storage file systems. Therefore, a file system abstraction, such as FUSE (file system in user space) is needed to facilitate the use of existing data analysis applications with an object storage environment. The goal is to make a FUSE-like file system abstraction robust, reliable, and highly performing for use with large NASA data sets. • Data Management of Large-Scale Scientific Repositories – With increasing size of scientific repositories comes an increasing demand for using the data in ways that may never have been imagined when the repository was conceived. The goal is to provide capabilities for the flexible repurposing of scientific data, including large-scale data integration, aggregation, representation, and distribution to emerging user communities and applications. • Server Side Data Processing – Large data repositories make it necessary for analytical codes to migrate to where the data are stored. Hadoop does that at the level of a single HDFS. In a densely networked world of geographically distributed repositories, tiered intermediation is needed. The goal is to provide support for migratable codes and analytical outputs as first class objects within a provenance-oriented data management cyberinfrastructure. • Techniques for Data Analysis and Visualization – New methods for data analytics that scale to extremely large data sets are necessary for data mining, searching, fusion, subsetting, discovery, visualization, and more. In addition, new algorithms and methods are needed to look for unknown correlations across large, distributed scientific data sets. The goal is to increase the scientific value of model and observation data by making analysis easier and higher performing. Among others, some of the topics of interest are: o Techniques for automated derivation of analysis products such as machine learning for extraction of features in large image datasets (e.g., volcanic thermal measurement, plume measurement, automated flood mapping, disturbance mapping, change detection, etc.). o Workflows for automated data processing, interpretation, and distribution. • Accelerated Large Scale Data Movement – There are a multitude of large distributed data stores across NASA that includes both observation and model data. The movement of data across the network must be optimized to take full advantage of large-scale data analytics, especially when comparing model to observation data. The goal is to optimize data movement in the following ways: o Accelerate and make it easier to move data over the wide area to facilitate large-scale data management and analysis. o Optimize the movement of data within more local environments, such as the usage of Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) within HDFS. o Virtualization of high-speed network interfaces for use within cloud environments. Research proposed to this subtopic should demonstrate technical feasibility during Phase I, and in partnership with scientists, show a path toward a Phase II prototype demonstration, with significant communication with missions and programs to ensure a successful Phase III infusion. It is highly desirable that the proposed projects lead to software that is infused into NASA programs and projects. Tools and products developed under this subtopic may be used for broad public dissemination or within a narrow scientific community. These tools can be plug-ins or enhancements to existing software, on-line data/computing services, or new stand-alone applications or web services, provided that they promote interoperability and use standard protocols, file formats and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) or prevalent applications.
Integrated Science Mission Modeling
Lead Center: GSFC Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL OCT Technology Area: TA11 NASA seeks innovative systems modeling methods and tools to: • Define, develop and execute future science missions, many of which are likely to feature designs and operational concepts that will pose significant challenges to existing approaches and applications, and • Enable disciplined system analysis for the ongoing management and decision support of the space science technology portfolio, particularly with regard to understanding technology alternatives, relationships, priorities, timing, availability, down-selection, maturation, investment needs, system engineering considerations, and cost-to-benefit ratios; to examine “what-if” scenarios; and to facilitate multidisciplinary assessment, coordination, and integration of the technology roadmaps as a whole. Use of System Modeling Language (SysML) is encouraged but not required. SysML is a general purpose graphical modeling language for analyzing, designing and verifying complex systems that may include hardware, software, information, personnel, procedures and facilities. As a language, SysML represents requirements, structure, behavior, and equations in nine different diagram types, and can represent both hardware and software models. The language can be extended to provide metamodels for different disciplines, and is supported by multiple commercial tools. SysML is finding increased use throughout the agency to support systems engineering and analysis. Specific areas of interest include the following: • Integration of system and mission modeling tools with high-fidelity multidisciplinary design and modeling tools, supporting efficient analysis methods that accommodate uncertainty, multiple objectives, and large-scale systems - This requires the development of robust interfaces between SysML and other tools, including CAD/CAE/PDM/PLM applications, used to support NASA science mission development, implementation and operations. The objective is to produce a unified environment supporting mixed systems-level and detailed analysis during any lifecycle phase, and rapid analysis of widely varying concepts/configurations using mixed-fidelity models, including geometry/mesh-based models when required. The human interface for such a system could be a “dashboard” (web-based is highly desirable) which initially allows for monitoring of the dataflow across a heterogeneous set of tools and finally allows for control of the data flow between the variety of applications. • Modeling and rapid integration of programmatic, operational, and risk elements - Fully integrated system model representations must include non-physics based constructs such as cost, schedule, risk, operations, and organizational model elements. Novel methods and tools to model these system attributes are critical. In addition, approaches to integrate these in a meaningful way with other system model elements are needed. Methods that consider the development of these models as by-products of a collaborative and/or concurrent design process are particularly valuable. • Library of SysML models of NASA related systems - Using a library of SysML models, engineers will be able to design their systems by reusing a set of existing models. Too often, these engineers have to begin from scratch the design of the systems. A library of verified and validated models would provide a way for the engineers to design a new spacecraft by assembling existing models that are domain specific, and therefore easy to adapt to the target system. In order to provide for seamless integration between SysML models each model must identify it level of abstraction both in terms of the modeling of time (progression: no ordering of events, qualitative ordering of events, metric time ordering of events) and the modeling of space (progression: lumped parameters models, distributed parameter models). Such levels of abstraction “certificates” for SysML will help determine integration interface requirements between any two models. • Profiles for spacecraft, space robotics, and scientific instruments - Profiles provide a means of tailoring SysML for particular purposes. Extensions of the language can be inserted. This allows an organization to create domain specific constructs which extend existing SysML modeling elements. By developing profiles for NASA domains such as Spacecraft, Space Robotics and Scientific Instruments, powerful mechanisms will be available to NASA systems engineers for designing future space systems. • Requirements Modeling - SysML offers requirements modeling capabilities, thus providing ways to visualize important requirements relationships. There is a need to combine traditional requirements management, supported by tools including but not limited to DOORS and CRADLE, and SysML requirements modeling in a standardized and sustainable way. • Functional Modeling - The intermediate data products between requirements and specification are detailed functional models that identify all of the functions required to achieve the mission profile(s). There is a critical need to model this layer as it is a key data product to provide traceability between requirements and implementation. • Model and Modeling Process Synthesis - As model-based design broadens and integrates larger and more complex models, methods for how to sequence and operate the design synthesis , evaluation (e.g., V&V) and elaboration process will become more important, as will considerations of how model-based processes are made compatible with existing review and development cycles.
Fault Management Technologies
Lead Center: MSFC Participating Center(s): ARC, JPL OCT Technology Area: TA11 As science missions are given increasingly complex goals and have more pressure to reduce operations costs, system autonomy increases. Fault Management (FM) is one of the key components of system autonomy. FM consists of the operational mitigations of spacecraft failures. It is implemented with spacecraft hardware, on-board autonomous software that controls hardware, software, information redundancy, and ground-based software and operations procedures. Many recent Science Mission Directorate (SMD) missions have encountered major cost overruns and schedule slips during test and verification of FM functions. These overruns are due to a lack of understanding of FM functions early in the mission definition cycles and to FM architectures that do not provide attributes of transparency, verifiability, fault isolation capability, or fault coverage. The NASA FM Handbook is under development to improve the FM design, development, verification & validation and operations processes. FM approaches, architectures, and tools are needed to improve early understanding of needed FM capabilities by project managers and FM engineers and to improve the efficiency of implementing and testing FM. Specific objectives are to: • Improve ability to predict FM system complexity and estimate development and operations costs. • Enable cost-effective FM design architectures and operations. • Determine completeness and appropriateness of FM designs and implementations. • Decrease the labor and time required to develop and test FM models and algorithms. • Improve visualization of the full FM design across hardware, software, and operations procedures. • Determine extent of testing required, completeness of verification planned, and residual risk resulting from incomplete coverage. • Increase data integrity between multi-discipline tools. • Standardize metrics and calculations across FM, SE, S&MA and operations disciplines. • Increase reliability of FM systems. Expected outcomes are better estimation and control of FM complexity and development costs, improved FM designs, and accelerated advancement of FM tools and techniques. The approach of this subtopic is to seek the right balance between sufficient reliability and cost appropriate to the mission type and risk posture. Successful technology development efforts under this subtopic would be considered for follow-on funding by, and infusion into, SMD missions. Research should be conducted to demonstrate technical feasibility and NASA relevance during Phase I and show a path toward a Phase II prototype demonstration. Offerors should demonstrate awareness of the state-of-the-art of their proposed technology, and should leverage existing commercial capabilities and research efforts where appropriate. Specific technology in the forms listed below is needed to increase delivery of high quality FM systems. These approaches, architectures and tools must be consistent with and enable the NASA FM Handbook concepts and processes. • FM design tools - System modeling and analyses significantly contributes to the quality of FM design; however, the time it takes to translate system design information into system models often decreases the value of the modeling and analysis results. Examples of enabling techniques and tools are modeling automation, spacecraft modeling libraries, expedited algorithm development, sensor placement analyses, and system model tool integration. • FM visualization tools - FM systems incorporate hardware, software, and operations mechanisms. The ability to visualize the full FM system and the contribution of each mechanism to protecting mission functions and assets is critical to assessing the completeness and appropriateness of the FM design to the mission attributes (mission type, risk posture, operations concept, etc.). Fault trees and state transition diagrams are examples of visualization tools that could contribute to visualization of the full FM design. • FM verification and validation tools - As complexity of spacecraft and systems increases, the extensiveness of testing required to verify and validate FM implementations can be resource intensive. Automated test case development, false positive/false negative test tools, model verification and validation tools, and test coverage risk assessments are examples of contributing technologies. • FM Design Architectures - FM capabilities may be implemented through numerous system, hardware, and software architecture solutions. The FM architecture trade space includes options such as embedded in the flight control software or independent onboard software; on board versus ground-based capabilities; centralized or distributed FM functions; sensor suite implications; integration of multiple FM techniques; innovative software FM architectures implemented on flight processors or on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs); and execution in real-time or off-line analysis post-operations. Alternative architecture choices could help control FM system complexity and cost and could offer solutions to transparency, verifiability, and completeness challenges. • Multi-discipline FM Interoperation - FM designers, Systems Engineering, Safety and Mission Assurance, and Operations perform analyses and assessments of reliabilities, failure modes and effects, sensor coverage, failure probabilities, anomaly detection and response, contingency operations, etc. The relationships between multi-discipline data and analyses are inconsistent and misinterpreted. Resources are expended either in effort to resolve disconnects in data and analyses or worse, reduced mission success due to failure modes that were overlooked. Solutions that address data integrity, identification of metrics, and standardization of data products, techniques and analyses will reduce cost and failures.