NASA Research Areas of Interest
NASA Research Areas of Interest for 2017 & 2018 Solicitation
NASA EPSCoR research priorities are defined by the Mission Directorates (Aeronautics Research, Human Exploration & Operations, Science, and Space Technology), and NASA’s ten Centers. Each Mission Directorate and Center covers a major area of the Agency’s research and technology development efforts.
Research priorities for each of the Mission Directorates (includes Centers) are summarized below; please note the NASA Point of Contact (POC) for each Mission Directorate and Center.
Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD),POC: Tony Springer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Researchers responding to the ARMD should propose research that is aligned with one or more of the ARMD programs. Proposers are directed to the following:
· ARMD Programs: http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/programs.htm
· The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Headquarters, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) Current Year version of the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) entitled, "Research Opportunities in Aeronautics (ROA)” has been posted on the NSPIRES web site at http://nspires.nasaprs.com (select “Solicitations” and then “Open Solicitations”).
Detailed requirements, including proposal due dates are stated in appendices that address individual thrust areas. These appendices will be posted as amendments to the ROA NRA and will be published as requirements materialize throughout the year.
Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD),POC: Bradley Carpenter, email@example.com
Human Research Program
The Human Research Program (HRP) is focused on investigating and mitigating the highest risks to human health and performance in order to enable safe, reliable, and productive human space exploration. The HRP budget enables NASA to resolve health risks in order for humans to safely live and work on missions in the inner solar system. HRP conducts research, develops countermeasures, and undertakes technology development to address human health risks in space and ensure compliance with NASA's health, medical, human performance, and environmental standards.
Space Life Sciences
The Space Life Sciences, Space Biology Program has three primary goals:
- To effectively use microgravity and the other characteristics of the space environment to enhance our understanding of fundamental biological processes;
- To develop the scientific and technological foundations for a safe, productive human presence in space for extended periods and in preparation for exploration;
- To apply this knowledge and technology to improve our nation's competitiveness, education, and the quality of life on Earth.
These goals will be achieved by soliciting research using its three program elements:
- Cell and Molecular Biology and Microbial Biology - studies of the effect of gravity and the space environment on cellular, microbial and molecular processes;
- Organismal & Comparative Biology - studies and comparisons of responses of whole organisms and their systems; and
- Developmental Biology – studies of how spaceflight affects reproduction, development, maturation and aging of multi-cellular organisms, as described in NASA's
Further details about ongoing activities specific to Space Biology are available at:
Space Biosciences website
Physical Science Research
The Physical Science Research Program, along with its predecessors, has conducted significant fundamental and applied research, both which have led to improved space systems and produced new products offering benefits on Earth. NASA's experiments in various disciplines of physical science reveal how physical systems respond to the near absence of gravity. They also reveal how other forces that on Earth are small compared to gravity, can dominate system behavior in space.
The Physical Science Research Program also benefits from collaborations with several of the International Space Station international partners—Europe, Russia, Japan, and Canada—and foreign governments with space programs, such as France, Germany and Italy. The scale of this research enterprise promises new possibilities in the physical sciences, some of which are already being realized both in the form of innovations for space exploration and in new ways to improve the quality of life on Earth.
Research in physical sciences spans from basic and applied research in the areas of:
- Fluid physics: two-phase flow, phase change, boiling, condensation and capillary and interfacial phenomena;
- Combustion science: spacecraft fire safety, solids, liquids and gasses, supercritical reacting fluids, and soot formation;
- Materials science: solidification in metal and alloys, crystal growth, electronic materials, glasses and ceramics;
- Complex Fluids: colloidal systems, liquid crystals, polymer flows, foams and granular flows;
- Fundamental Physics: critical point phenomena, atom interferometry and atomic clocks in space
Implementing Centers: NASA's Physical Sciences Research Program is carried out at the Glenn Research Center (GRC), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Further information on physical sciences research is available at http://issresearchproject.nasa.gov/
· Spacecraft: Guidance, navigation and control; thermal; electrical; structures; software; avionics; displays; high speed re-entry; modeling; power systems; interoperability/commonality; advanced spacecraft materials; crew/vehicle health monitoring; life support.
· Propulsion: Propulsion methods that will utilize materials found on the moon or Mars, “green” propellants, on-orbit propellant storage, motors, testing, fuels, manufacturing, soft landing, throttle-able propellants, high performance, and descent.
· Robotic Systems for Precursor Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) Missions: Navigation and proximity operations systems; hazard detection; techniques for interacting and anchoring with Near Earth Asteroids; methods of remote and interactive characterization of Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) environments, composition and structural properties; robotics (specifically environmental scouting prior to human arrival and later to assist astronauts with NEA exploration); environmental analysis; radiation protection; spacecraft autonomy, enhanced methods of NEA characterization from earth-based observation.
· Robotic Systems for Lunar Precursor Missions: Precision landing and hazard avoidance hardware and software; high-bandwidth communication; in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and prospecting; navigation systems; robotics (specifically environmental scouting prior to human arrival, and to assist astronaut with surface exploration); environmental analysis, radiation protection.
· Data and Visualization Systems for Exploration: Area focus on turning precursor mission data into meaningful engineering knowledge for system design and mission planning of lunar surface and NEAs. Visualization and data display; interactive data manipulation and sharing; mapping and data layering including coordinate transformations for irregular shaped NEAs; modeling of lighting and thermal environments; simulation of environmental interactions including proximity operations in irregular micro-G gravity fields and physical stability of weakly bound NEAs.
· Research and technology development areas in HEOMD support launch vehicles, space communications, and the International Space Station. Examples of research and technology development areas (and the associated lead NASA Center) with great potential include:
Processing and Operations
- Crew Health and Safety Including Medical Operations (Johnson Space Center (JSC))
- In-helmet Speech Audio Systems and Technologies (Glenn Research Center (GRC))
- Vehicle Integration and Ground Processing (Kennedy Space Center (KSC))
- Mission Operations (Ames Research Center (ARC))
- Portable Life Support Systems (JSC)
- Pressure Garments and Gloves (JSC)
- Air Revitalization Technologies (ARC)
- In-Space Waste Processing Technologies (JSC)
- Cryogenic Fluids Management Systems (GRC)
Space Communications and Navigation
§ Coding, Modulation, and Compression (Goddard Spaceflight Center (GSFC))
§ Precision Spacecraft and Lunar/Planetary Surface Navigation and Tracking (GSFC)
§ Communication for Space-Based Range (GSFC)
§ Antenna Technology (Glenn Research Center (GRC))
§ Reconfigurable/Reprogrammable Communication Systems (GRC)
§ Miniaturized Digital EVA Radio (Johnson Space Center (JSC))
§ Transformational Communications Technology (GRC)
§ Long Range Optical Telecommunications (Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL))
§ Long Range Space RF Telecommunications (JPL)
§ Surface Networks and Orbit Access Links (GRC)
§ Software for Space Communications Infrastructure Operations (JPL)
§ TDRS transponders for launch vehicle applications that support space communication and launch services (GRC)
- Optical Tracking and Image Analysis (KSC)
- Space Transportation Propulsion System and Test Facility Requirements and Instrumentation (Stennis Space Center (SSC)
- Automated Collection and Transfer of Launch Range Surveillance/Intrusion Data (KSC)
- Technology tools to assess secondary payload capability with launch vehicles (KSC)
- Spacecraft Charging/Plasma Interactions (Environment definition & arcing mitigation) (Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC))
Science Mission Directorate (SMD),POC: Kristen Erickson firstname.lastname@example.org
The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has developed science objectives and programs to answer fundamental questions in Earth and space sciences in the context of our national science agenda. The knowledge gained by researchers supporting NASA’s Earth and space science program helps to unravel mysteries that intrigue us all.
· What drives variations in the Sun, and how do these changes impact the solar system and drive space weather?
· How and why are Earth’s climate and environment changing?
· How did our solar system originate and change over time?
· How did the universe begin and evolve, and what will be its destiny?
· How did life originate, and are we alone?
Each of the SMD’s four science divisions – Heliophysics, Earth Science, Planetary Science, and Astrophysics – makes important contributions to address national and Agency goals. The NASA 2014 Science Plan (http://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2015/06/29/2014_Science_Plan_PDF_Update_508_TAGGED.pdf) reflects the direction NASA has received from our government’s executive branch and Congress, advice received from the nation’s scientific community, the principles and strategies guiding the conduct of our activities, and the challenges SMD faces. Specifically,
Heliophysics encompasses science that improves our understanding of fundamental physical processes throughout the solar system, and enables us to understand how the Sun, as the major driver of the energy throughout the solar system, impacts our technological society. The scope of heliophysics is vast, spanning from the Sum’s interior to Earth’s upper atmosphere, throughout interplanetary space, to the edges of the heliosphere, where the solar wind interacts with the local interstellar medium. Heliophysics incorporates studies of the interconnected elements in a single system that produces dynamic space weather and that evolves in response to solar, planetary, and interstellar conditions.
The Agency’s strategic objective for heliophysics is to understand the Sun and its interactions with Earth and the solar system, including space weather. The heliophysics decadal survey conducted by the National Research Council (NRC), Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13060/solar-and-space-physics-a-science-for-a-technological-society), articulates the scientific challenges for this field of study and recommends a slate of design reference missions to meet them, to culminate in the achievement of a predictive capability to aid human endeavors on Earth and in space. The fundamental science questions are:
· What causes the Sun to vary?
· How do the geospace, planetary space environments and the heliosphere respond?
· What are the impacts on humanity?
To answer these questions, the Heliophysics Division implements a program to achieve three overarching goals:
· Explore the physical processes in the space environment from the Sun to the Earth and throughout the solar system
· Advance our understanding of the connections that link the Sun, the Earth, planetary space environment, and the outer reaches of our solar system
· Develop the knowledge and capability to detect and predict extreme conditions in space to protect life and society and to safeguard human and robotic explorers beyond Earth
See Section 4.1 of the NASA 2014 Science Plan for specifics, including missions currently in operation, in formulation or development, and planned for the future.
Earth Science Division
Our planet is changing on all spatial and temporal scales and studying the Earth as a complex system is essential to understanding the causes and consequences of climate change and other global environmental concerns. The purpose of NASA’s Earth science program is to advance our scientific understanding of Earth as a system and its response to natural and human-induced changes and to improve our ability to predict climate, weather, and natural hazards.
NASA’s ability to observe global change on regional scales and conduct research on the causes and consequences of change position it to address the Agency strategic objective for Earth science, which is to advance knowledge of Earth as a system to meet the challenges of environmental change, and to improve life on our planet. NASA addresses the issues and opportunities of climate change and environmental sensitivity by answering the following key science questions through our Earth science program:
· How is the global Earth system changing?
· What causes these changes in the Earth system?
· How will the Earth system change in the future?
· How can Earth system science provide societal benefit?
These science questions translate into seven overarching science goals to guide the Earth Science Division’s selection of investigations and other programmatic decisions:
· Advance the understanding of changes in the Earth’s radiation balance, air quality, and the ozone layer that result from changes in atmospheric composition (Atmospheric Composition)
· Improve the capability to predict weather and extreme weather events (Weather)
· Detect and predict changes in Earth’s ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles, including land cover, biodiversity, and the global carbon cycle (Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems)
· Enable better assessment and management of water quality and quantity to accurately predict how the global water cycle evolves in response to climate change (Water and Energy Cycle)
· Improve the ability to predict climate changes by better understanding the roles and interactions of the ocean, atmosphere, land and ice in the climate system (Climate Variability and Change)
· Characterize the dynamics of Earth’s surface and interior, improving the capability to assess and respond to natural hazards and extreme events (Earth Surface and Interior)
· Further the use of Earth system science research to inform decisions and provide benefits to society
Two foundational documents guide the overall approach to the Earth science program: the NRC 2007 Earth science decadal survey (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11820/earth-science-and-applications-from-space-national-imperatives-for-the) and NASA’s 2010 climate-centric architecture plan (http://science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2010/07/01/Climate_Architecture_Final.pdf). The former articulates the following vision for Earth science research and applications in support of society:
Understanding the complex, changing planet on which we live, how it supports life and how human activities affect its ability to do so in the future is one of the greatest intellectual challenges facing humanity. It is also one of the most challenges for society as it seeks to achieve prosperity, health, and sustainability.
The latter addresses the need for continuity of a comprehensive set of key climate monitoring measurements, which are critical to informing policy and action, and which other agencies and international partners had not planned to continue. NASA’s ability to view the Earth from a global perspective enables it to provide a broad, integrated set of uniformly high-quality data covering all parts of the planet. NASA shares this unique knowledge with the global community, including members of the science, government, industry, education, and policy-maker communities.
See Section 4.2 of the NASA 2014 Science Plan for specifics, including missions currently in operation, in formulation or development, and planned for the future.
Planetary Science Division
Planetary science is a grand human enterprise that seeks to understand the history of our solar system and the distribution of life within it. The scientific foundation for this enterprise is described in the NRC planetary science decadal survey, Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022 (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13117/vision-and-voyages-for-planetary-science-in-the-decade-2013-2022). Planetary science missions inform us about our neighborhood and our own origin and evolution; they are necessary precursors to the expansion of humanity beyond Earth. Through five decades of planetary exploration, NASA has developed the capacity to explore all of the objects in our solar system. Future missions will bring back samples from some of these destinations, allowing iterative detailed study and analysis back on Earth. In the future, humans will return to the Moon, go to asteroids, Mars, and ultimately other solar system bodies to explore them, but only after they have been explored and understood using robotic missions.
NASA’s strategic objective in planetary science is to ascertain the content, origin, and evolution of the solar system and the potential for life elsewhere. We pursue this goal by seeking answers to fundamental science questions that guide NASA’s exploration of the solar system:
· How did our solar system form and evolve?
· Is there life beyond Earth?
· What are the hazards to life on Earth?
The Planetary Science Division has translated these important questions into science goals that guide the focus of the division’s science and research activities:
· Explore and observe the objects in the solar system to understand how they formed and evolve
· Advance the understanding of how the chemical and physical processes in our solar system operate, interact and evolve
· Explore and find locations where life could have existed or could exist today.
· Improve our understanding of the origin and evolution of life on Earth to guide our search for life elsewhere
· Identify and characterize objects in the solar system that pose threats to Earth, or offer resources for human exploration
In selecting new missions for development, NASA’s Planetary Science Division strives for balance across mission destinations, using different mission types and sizes. Achievement of steady scientific progress requires a steady cadence of missions to multiple locations, coupled with a program that allows for a consistent progression of mission types and capabilities, from small and focused, to large and complex, as our investigations progress. The division also pursues partnerships with international partners to increase mission capabilities and cadence and to accomplish like-minded objectives.
See Section 4.3 of the NASA 2014 Science Plan for specifics, including missions currently in operation, in formulation or development, and planned for the future.
Astrophysics is the study of phenomena occurring in the universe and of the physical principles that govern them. Astrophysics research encompasses a broad range of topics, from the birth of the universe and its evolution and composition, to the processes leading to the development of planets and stars and galaxies, to the physical conditions of matter in extreme gravitational fields, and to the search for life on planets orbiting other stars. In seeking to understand these phenomena, astrophysics science embodies some of the most enduring quests of humankind.
Through its Astrophysics Division, NASA leads the nation on a continuing journey of transformation. From the development of innovative technologies, which benefit other areas of research (e.g., medical, navigation, homeland security, etc.), to inspiring the public worldwide to pursue STEM careers through its stunning images of the cosmos taken with its Great Observatories, NASA’s astrophysics programs are vital to the nation.
NASA’s strategic objective in astrophysics is to discover how the universe works, explore how it began and evolved, and search for life on planets around other stars. Three broad scientific questions flow from this objective:
· How does the universe work?
· How did we get here?
· Are we alone?
Each of these questions is accompanied by a science goal that shapes the Astrophysics Division’s efforts towards fulfilling NASA’s strategic objective:
· Probe the origin and destiny of our universe, including the nature of black holes, dark energy, dark matter and gravity
· Explore the origin and evolution of the galaxies, stars and planets that make up our universe
· Discover and study planets around other stars, and explore whether they could harbor life
The scientific priorities for astrophysics are outlined in the NRC decadal survey New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12951/new-worlds-new-horizons-in-astronomy-and-astrophysics). These priorities include understanding the scientific principles that govern how the universe works; probing cosmic dawn by searching for the first stars, galaxies, and black holes; and seeking and studying nearby habitable planets around other stars.
The multidisciplinary nature of astrophysics makes it imperative to strive for a balanced science and technology portfolio, both in terms of science goals addressed and in missions to address these goals. All the facets of astronomy and astrophysics—from cosmology to planets—are intertwined, and progress in one area hinges on progress in others. However, in times of fiscal constraints, priorities for investments must be made to optimize the use of available funding. NASA uses the prioritized recommendations and decision rules of the decadal survey to set the priorities for its investments.
NASA’s Astrophysics Division has developed several strategies to advance these scientific objectives and respond to the recommendations outlined in the decadal survey on a time horizon of 5-10 years. The successful development of JWST is an Agency priority. Since its re-baseline in 2011, the project has remained on schedule and within budget for an October 2018launch. JWST and the science it will produce are foundational for many of the astronomical community’s goals outlined in the 2010 decadal survey. NASA’s highest priority for a new strategic astrophysics mission is the Wide
Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), the number one priority for large-scale missions of the decadal survey. NASA plans to be prepared to start a new strategic astrophysics mission when funding becomes available. NASA also plans to identify opportunities for international partnerships, to reduce the Agency’s cost of the mission concepts identified, and to advance the science objectives of the decadal survey. NASA will also augment the Astrophysics Explorer Program to the extent that the budget allows. Furthermore, NASA will continue to invest in the Astrophysics Research Program to develop the science cases and technologies for new missions and to maximize the scientific return from operating missions.
See Section 4.4 of the NASA 2014 Science Plan for specifics, including missions currently in operation, in formulation or development, and planned for the future.
Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD),POC: Joseph Grant email@example.com
Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) expands the boundaries of the aerospace enterprise by rapidly developing, demonstrating, and infusing revolutionary, high-payoff technologies through collaborative partnerships. STMD employs a merit-based competition model with a portfolio approach, spanning a wide range of space technology discipline areas and technology readiness levels. Research and technology development takes place at NASA Centers, academia, and industry, and leverages partnerships with other government agencies and international partners.
STMD executes its mission according to the following tenets:
· Advancing transformative and crosscutting technologies that can be directly infused into future missions;
· Investing in a comprehensive portfolio covering low to high technology readiness levels;
· Competitively selecting research by academia, industry, and NASA Centers based on technical merit;
· Executing with lean structured projects with clear start and end dates, defined budgets and schedules, established milestones, and project level authority and accountability;
· Operating with a sense of urgency and informed risk tolerance to infuse quickly or terminate judiciously;
· Partnering with other NASA Mission Directorates, other government agencies, and the private sector to leverage resources, establish customer advocacy, and support US commercial aerospace interests;
· Delivering new inventions, enabling new capabilities and creating a pipeline of NASA and national innovators
Current space technology topics of particular interest include:
· Advanced manufacturing methods for space and in space
· Autonomous in-space assembly of structures and spacecraft
· Ultra-lightweight materials for space applications
· Extreme environment electronics for planetary exploration
· Advanced robotics for extreme environment mobility and manipulation
· High data rate (particularly optical) communication
· Advanced power generation, storage, and transfer for deep space missions
· Advanced entry, decent, and landing systems for planetary exploration
· Efficient in situ resource utilization
· Radiation mitigation for deep space crewed missions
· Biological approaches to environmental control and life support systems
· Autonomous systems for deep space missions
· Advanced telescope technologies for exoplanet imaging
· Low size, weight, and power components and instruments for small spacecraft
· Enabling technologies for low-cost small spacecraft launch vehicles
· Advancements in engineering tools and models supporting Space Technology focus areas
Applicants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the roadmap document most closely aligned with their space technology interests. The individual roadmap documents may be downloaded at the following link: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/home/roadmaps/index.html
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) current year version of the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) entitled, "Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion” has been posted on the NSPIRES web site at http://nspires.nasaprs.com (select “Solicitations” and then “Open Solicitations”). The NRA provides detailed information on specific proposals being sought across STMD programs.
Examples of Center research interest areas include these specific areas from the following Centers.
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), POC: Mablelene SBurrell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate: POC: Danielle Margiotta, Danielle.V.Margiotta@nasa.gov
· Advanced Manufacturing - facilitates the development, evaluation, and deployment of efficient and flexible additive manufacturing technologies. (ref: NAMII.org)
· Advanced Multi-functional Systems and Structures - novel approaches to increase spacecraft systems resource utilization
· Micro - and Nanotechnology - Based Detector Systems - research and application of these technologies to increase the efficiency of detector and optical systems
· Ultra-miniature Spaceflight Systems and Instruments - miniaturization approaches from multiple disciplines - materials, mechanical, electrical, software, and optical - to achieve substantial resource reductions
· Systems Robust to Extreme Environments - materials and design approaches that will preserve designed system properties and operational parameters (e.g. mechanical, electrical, thermal), and enable reliable systems operations in hostile space environments.
· Spacecraft Navigation Technologies
Spacecraft GNSS receivers, ranging crosslink transceivers, and relative navigation sensors
Optical navigation and satellite laser ranging
Deep-space autonomous navigation techniques
Software tools for spacecraft navigation ground operations and navigation analysis
· Automated Rendezvous and Docking (AR&D) techniques
Pose estimation for satellite servicing missions
Sensors (e.g., LiDARs, natural feature recognition)
Actuation (e.g., micro propulsion, electromagnetic formation flying)
· Mission and Trajectory Design Technologies
Mission design tools that will enable new mission classes (e.g., low thrust planetary missions, precision formation flying missions)
Mission design tools that reduce the costs and risks of current mission design methodologies
Trajectory design techniques that enable integrated optimal designs across multiple orbital dynamic regimes (i.e. earth orbiting, earth-moon libration point, sun-earth libration point, interplanetary)
· Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control Technologies
Modeling, simulation, and advanced estimation algorithms
Advanced spacecraft attitude sensor technologies (e.g., MEMS IMU’s, precision optical trackers)
Advanced spacecraft actuator technologies (e.g. modular and scalable momentum control devices, ‘green’ propulsion, micropropulsion, low power electric propulsion)
· CubeSats - Participating institutions will develop CubeSat/Smallsat components, technologies and systems to support NASA technology demonstration and risk reduction efforts. Student teams will develop miniature CubeSat/Smallsat systems for: power generation and distribution, navigation, communication, on-board computing, structures (fixed and deployable), orbital stabilization, pointing, and de-orbiting. These components, technologies and systems shall be made available for use by NASA for integration into NASA Cubesat/Smallsats. They may be integrated into complete off-the-shelf “CubeSat/Smallsat bus” systems, with a goal of minimizing “bus” weight/power/volume/cost and maximizing available “payload” weight/power/volume. NASA technologists will then use these components/systems to develop payloads that demonstrate key technologies to prove concepts and/or reduce risks for future Earth Science, Space Science and Exploration/Robotic Servicing missions. POC: Thomas P. Flatley (Thomas.P.Flatley@nasa.gov).
· On-Orbit Multicore Computing - High performance multicore processing for advanced automation and science data processing on spacecraft. There are multiple multicore processing platforms in development that are being targeted for the next generation of science and exploration missions, but there is little work in the area of software frameworks and architectures to utilize these platforms. It is proposed that research in the areas of efficient inter-core communications, software partitioning, fault detection, isolation & recovery, memory management, core power management, scheduling algorithms, and software frameworks be done to enable a transition to these newer platforms. Participating institutions can select areas to research and work with NASA technologists to develop and prototype the resulting concepts. POC: Alan Cudmore (Alan.email@example.com)
· Integrated Photonic components and systems - Integrated photonic components and systems for Sensors, Spectrometers, Chemical/biological sensors, Microwave, Sub-millimeter and Long-Wave Infra-Red photonics, Telecom- inter and intra satellite communications.
· Radiation Effects and Analysis
Flight validation of advanced event rate prediction techniques
New approaches for testing and evaluating 3-D integrated microcircuits and other advanced microelectronic devices
End-to-end system (e.g., integrated component level or higher) modeling of radiation effects
Statistical approaches to tackle radiation hardness assurance (i.e., total dose, displacement damage, and/or single-event effects) for high-risk, low-cost missions.
Sciences and Exploration Directorate POC: Blanche Meeson, (Blanche.W.Meeson@nasa.gov)
The Sciences and Exploration Directorate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (http://science.gsfc.nasa.gov) is the largest Earth and space science research organization in the world. Its scientists advance understanding of the Earth and its life-sustaining environment, the Sun, the solar system, and the wider universe beyond. All are engaged in the full life cycle of satellite missions and instruments from concept development to implementation, analysis and application of the scientific information, and community access and services.
- The Earth Sciences Division plans, organizes, evaluates, and implements a broad program of research on our planet's natural systems and processes. Major focus areas include climate change, severe weather, the atmosphere, the oceans, sea ice and glaciers, and the land surface. To study the planet from the unique perspective of space, the Earth Science Division develops and operates remote-sensing satellites and instruments. We analyze observational data from these spacecraft and make it available to the world's scientists and policy makers. The Division conducts extensive field campaigns to gather data from the surface and airborne platforms. The Division also develops, uses, and assimilates observations into models that simulate planetary processes involving the water, energy, and carbon cycles at multiple scales up to global. POC: Eric Brown de Colstoun (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
- The Astrophysics Science Division conducts a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and fundamental physics. Individual investigations address issues such as the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which planets outside our solar system may harbor life, and the nature of space, time, and matter at the edges of black holes. Observing photons, particles, and gravitational waves enables researchers to probe astrophysical objects and processes. Researchers develop theoretical models, design experiments and hardware to test theories, and interpret and evaluate observational data. POC: Amber Straughn (Amber.n.Straughn@nasa.gov)
- The Heliophysics Science Division conducts research on the Sun, its extended solar-system environment (the heliosphere), and interactions of Earth, other planets, small bodies, and interstellar gas with the heliosphere. Division research also encompasses Geospace, Earth's magnetosphere and its outer atmosphere, and Space Weather—the important effects that heliospheric disturbances have on spacecraft and terrestrial systems. Division scientists develop spacecraft missions and instruments, systems to manage and disseminate heliophysical data, and theoretical and computational models to interpret the data. Possible heliophysics-related research include: advanced software environments and data-mining strategies to collect, collate and analyze data relevant to the Sun and its effects on the solar system and the Earth (“space weather”); and advanced computational techniques, including but not limited to parallel architectures and the effective use of graphics processing units, for the simulation of magnetized and highly dynamic plasmas and neutral gases in the heliosphere. POC: Doug Rabin (Douglas.Rabin@nasa.gov).
- The Solar System Exploration Division builds science instruments and conducts theoretical and experimental research to explore the solar system and understand the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Laboratories within the division investigate areas as diverse as astrochemistry, planetary atmospheres, extrasolar planetary systems, earth science, planetary geodynamics, space geodesy, and comparative planetary studies. To study how planetary systems form and evolve, division scientists develop theoretical models as well as the investigations and space instruments to test them. The researchers participate in planetary and Earth science missions, and collect, interpret, and evaluate measurements. POC: Lora Bleacher (Lora.V.Bleacher@nasa.gov).
Scientists in all four divisions publish research results in the peer-reviewed literature, participate in the archiving and pubic dissemination of scientific data, and provide expert user support.
Education efforts in all science divisions seek to develop interest in and understanding of the science at GSFC by K-12 educators and students and the development of future scientist and computer scientists at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Outreach efforts in all four science divisions raise public awareness of the projects and missions in which we are involved, the research we conduct, and the associated benefits to society.
Ames Research Center (ARC), POC: Danielle Carmichael (email@example.com)
Ames research Center enables exploration through selected development, innovative technologies, and interdisciplinary scientific discovery. Ames provides leadership in the following areas: astrobiology; small satellites; entry decent and landing systems; supercomputing; robotics and autonomous systems; life Sciences and environmental controls; and air traffic management.
- Entry systems: Safely delivering spacecraft to Earth & other celestial bodies
- Supercomputing: Enabling NASA's advanced modeling and simulation
- NextGen air transportation: Transforming the way we fly
- Airborne science: Examining our own world & beyond from the sky
- Low-cost missions: Enabling high value science to low Earth orbit, the moon and the solar system
- Biology & astrobiology: Understanding life on Earth and in space
- Exoplanets: Finding worlds beyond our own
- Autonomy & robotics: Complementing humans in space
- Lunar science: Rediscovering our moon
- Human factors: Advancing human-technology interaction for NASA missions
- Wind tunnels: Testing on the ground before you take to the sky
Additional Center core competencies include:
· Space Sciences
· Applied Aerospace and Information Technology
· Synthetic biology.
· Biological Sciences
· Earth Sciences
· High Performance Computing,
· Intelligent Systems
· Quantum Computing
· Nanotechnology-electronics and sensors.
· Small Spacecraft and Cubesats
· Airspace Systems
· Augmented Reality
· Digital materials
Glenn Research Center (GRC),POC: Mark David Kankam, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org
Research and technology, and engineering engagements comprise including:
- Advanced Energy (Renewable Wind and Solar, Coal Energy and Alternative Energy)
- Advanced Microwave Communications
- Aeronautical and Space Systems Analysis
- Computer Systems and Networks
- Electric (Ion) Propulsion
- Icing and Cryogenic Systems
- Instrumentation, Controls and Electronics
- Fluids, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Turbomachinery
- Materials and Structures, including Mechanical Components and Lubrication
- Microgravity Fluid Physics, Combustion Phenomena and Bioengineering
- Photovoltaics, Electrochemistry-Physics, and Thermal Energy Conversion
- Propulsion System Aerodynamics
- Space Power Generation, Storage, Distribution and Management
- Systems Engineering
The above engagement areas relate to the following key GRC competencies:
· Air-Breathing Propulsion
· Communications Technology and Development
· In-Space Propulsion & Cryogenic Fluids Management
· Power, Energy Storage and Conversion
· Materials and Structures for Extreme Environment
· Physical Sciences and Biomedical Technologies in Space
Armstrong Flight Research Center, (AFRC) POC:Dave Berger, email@example.com
· Autonomy (Collision Avoidance, Separation assurance, formation flight, peak seeking control)
(POC: Jack Ryan, AFRC-RC)
· Adaptive Control
(POC: Curt Hanson, AFRC-RC)
· Hybrid Electric Propulsion
(POC: Starr Ginn, AFRC-R)
· Control of Flexible Structures using distributed sensor feedback
(POC: Marty Brenner, AFRC-RS; Peter Suh, AFRC-RC)
· Supersonic Research (Boom mitigation and measurement)
(POC: Ed Haering, AFRC-RA)
· Supersonic Research (Laminar Flow)
(POC: Dan Banks, AFRC-RA)
· Environmental Responsive Aviation
(POC: Mark Mangelsdorf, AFRC-RS)
· Hypersonic Structures & Sensors
(POC: Larry Hudson, AFRC-RS)
· Large Scale Technology Flight Demonstrations (Towed Glider)
(POC: Steve Jacobson, AFRC-RC)
· Aerodynamics and Lift Distribution Optimization to Reduce Induced Drag
(POC: Al Bowers, AFRC-R)
Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC),POC: Frank Six, firstname.lastname@example.org
· Launch Propulsion Systems
· In-Space Propulsion (Cryogenics, Green Propellants, High Pulse Power, Electric, Nuclear - Thermal, Solar Thermal, Solar Sails, Tethers
· Propulsion Test beds and Demonstrators
· Cryogenic Fluid Management
· Rapid Affordable Manufacturing of Propulsion Components
· Composite Structures
· Materials Research
· Fission Surface Power
· In-Space Habitation with Emphasis on Life Support Systems and Nodes/Elements
· Mechanical Design & Fabrication
· Small Affordable ISS Payloads
· In-Space Asset Management (Automated Rendezvous & Capture, De-Orbit, Orbital Debris Mitigation)
· Thermal Protection
· Advanced Manufacturing with Emphasis on In-Space Fabrication & Repair
· Space Environmental Effects and Space Weather
· Lander Systems and Technologies
· Small Spacecraft and Enabling Technologies (Nanolaunch Systems)
· 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing
· Meteoroid Environment
· Friction Stir Welding
· Advanced Manufacturing with Emphasis on In-Space Fabrication & Repair
· Space Environmental Effects and Space Weather
· Lander Systems and Technologies
· Small Spacecraft and Enabling Technologies (Nanolaunch Systems)
· 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing
· Meteoroid Environment
· Replicated Optics
· High Energy Astrophysics (X-ray, gamma ray, cosmic ray)
· Interstellar & Planetary Dust
· Radiation Mitigation
· Next Generation Observatories
· Earth / Atmospheric Science
· Severe Storms Research
· Climate Dynamics
· Lightning Research
· Remote Sensing
· Planetary Geophysics/Atmospheres
Kennedy Space Center (KSC),POC Michael Lester, email@example.com
· TA 4.0 Robotics and Autonomous Systems,
• 4.1 Sensing and Perception
• 4.1.4 Natural, Man-Made Object, and Event Recognition
• 4.3 Manipulation
• 4.3.6 Sample Acquisition and Handling
• 4.5 System-Level Autonomy
• 4.5.3 Autonomous Guidance and Control
· TA 6.0 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems,
• 6.1 Environmental Control and Life Support Systems and Habitation Systems
• 6.1.1 Air Revitalization
• 6.1.2 Water Recovery and Management
• 6.1.3 Waste Management
· TA 7.0 Human Exploration Destination Systems,
• 7.1 In-Situ Resource Utilization
• 7.1.1 Destination Reconnaissance, Prospecting, and Mapping
• 7.1.2 Resource Acquisition
• 7.1.3 Processing and Production
• 7.1.4 Manufacturing Products and Infrastructure Emplacement
• 7.2 Sustainability and Supportability
• 7.2.4 Food Production, Processing, and Preservation
· TA 13.0 Ground and Launch Systems
• 13.2 Environmental Protection and Green Technologies
• 13.2.5 Curatorial Facilities, Planetary Protection, and Clean Rooms
• 13.3 Reliability and Maintainability
• 13.3.3 On-Site Inspection and Anomaly Detection and Identification
• 13.3.6 Repair, Mitigation, and Recovery Technologies
· KSC SBIR, Mr.
Mike Vinje,firstname.lastname@example.org, Ph: 321-861-3874
• Standardized Interfaces (a USB port for space)
• A substantial portion of pre-launch processing involves the integration of spacecraft assemblies to each other or to the ground systems that supply the commodities, power or data. Each stage or payload requires an interface that connects it to the adjacent hardware which includes flight critical seals or connectors and other components. Development and adoption of simplified, standardized interfaces holds the potential of reducing the cost and complexity of future space systems, which increases the funding available for flight hardware and drives down the cost of access to space for everyone.
· Kennedy Space Center (KSC) researchers develop many new technologies and make many scientific breakthroughs on a regular basis. While all are developed for NASA’s space exploration mission, some also have the potential to provide benefit here on Earth in commercial applications. As a result, the KSC Technology Transfer Office (TTO) patents these technologies and makes them available to the private sector for commercialization.
However, several KSC patented technologies are still in the early stages of development, e.g. Technology Readiness Levels 2- 3. As such, they require a significant amount of further development before they can be used in any application, whether it is a NASA space application or a commercial application. In some cases, KSC researchers are not able to continue developing some of these early-stage technologies due to a lack of NASA funding. Likewise, private sector companies often cannot fund the development due to the risk associated with developing early-stage technologies regardless of their commercial potential.
As a result, KSC has early-stage patented technologies whose development has stopped despite their possible commercial benefit here on Earth and use to NASA.
In response, the KSC TTO has partnered with the EPSCoR program to include two of its early-stage patented technologies in this year’s EPSCoR RFP as topic areas. We are seeking proposals to further develop these technologies in a way that demonstrates their use in commercial applications; and NASA applications as well if the technology has dual use potential.
The RFP contains all publically available information and references to available patent information for these technologies. Additional information will only be provided under a Non-Disclosure Agreement with KSC.
Required KSC Agreements:
Universities awarded funding for these topic areas must obtain an Evaluation License Agreement from KSC TTO. The license is required before a university can perform awarded work with a KSC patented or patent-pending technology. An Evaluation License Agreement Application must be submitted to the KSC TTO by the university performing funded work before a License can be issued. Evaluation Licenses can be put in place in about 3 weeks after receipt of the application and there are no fees for these licenses. Universities performing work with KSC patented or patent-pending technologies must also sign a KSC Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). These documents are not required until after award, but all must be provided and signed before work can begin. KSC will provide applications and license templates to awarded universities upon award.
Please contact Mr. G. Michael Lester, KSC R&T Partnership Manager, KSC Technology Transfer Office at email: email@example.com if you have any questions.
· NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is seeking to further develop its patented Self-Healing Wire Insulation technology for commercial and NASA applications. Wire insulation failure is considered a major problem on spacecraft and proposals should support concepts to develop self-healing technologies that have the ability to repair damaged wire insulation based on NASA KSC patented technologies. Of particular importance will be enhancing chemistries including microencapsulation needed to decrease the time to self-repair the wire insulation when damaged. It is important to consider the manufacturing process used to produce the insulated wire in the chemistries used to enhance the time to self-repair the insulation. These methods must produce a flexible hermetic seal over the damaged area. The physical and chemical properties of the final repair material should not notably decrease the insulating properties of the original insulating materials which can include Teflon, Kapton or other insulation materials.
There are multiple commercial applications that can benefit from high performance, thin-film, self-healing/sealing systems. Aircraft and many industrial applications (such as manufacturing facilities and server farms) can contain miles of wire, much of which is buried inside structures making it very difficult to access for inspection and repair. However, in order to be used for these types of commercial applications, the Self-Healing Wire Insulation would have to be enhanced so that the self-healing properties of the film can take effect in a few minutes or less. Modifications or enhancements to the chemistry of the technology would likely be necessary to achieve this increased speed of repair.
The patent numbers for KSC’s Self-Healing Wire Insulation are:
U.S. Patent #7,285,306
U.S. Patent #8,119,238
· NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is seeking to further develop its patent pending DC-DC Transformer technology for commercial and NASA applications. The DC-DC Transformer operates by combining features of a homopolar motor and a homopolar generator, both DC devices, such that the output voltage of a DC power supply can be stepped up (or down) with a corresponding step down (or up) in current. This Transformer should be scalable to low megawatt levels, but it is more suited to high current than high voltage applications. This technology is a DC counterpart to the well-known AC transformer.
While the initial tests were promising, the DC-DC Transformer would need additional work to improve its commercial viability, including optimization and scale-up for specific commercial applications. Currently, this DC-DC Transformer cannot compete with off-the-shelf, switching based, DC-DC converters in low power systems, but it may be a preferable alternative for use in high power applications. Significant additional development would be required to develop a Megawatt capable device, but for applications such as up-converting the voltage from a solar energy farm, it may outperform semi-conductor based devices in both cost and efficiency. However, analysis has shown that this DC-DC Transformer is better suited as a high current device. As a result, applications such as a high current interface for motors or magnets may be easier to meet than trying to reach the high voltages needed for power transmission.
Patent pending. Patent application can be provided upon request but will require a Non-Discloser Agreement.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), POC: Linda Rodgers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Planetary Atmospheres and Geology; Solar System characteristics and origin of life; Primitive solar systems bodies; Lunar science; Preparing for returned sample investigations
- Earth Science
Atmospheric composition and dynamics; Land and solid earth processes; Water and carbon cycles; Ocean and ice; Earth analogs to planets; Climate Science
- Astronomy and Fundamental Physics
Origin, evolution, and structure of the universe; Gravitational astrophysics and fundamental physics; Extra-solar planets and star and planetary formation; Solar and Space Physics; Formation and evolution of galaxies
- In-Space Propulsion Technologies
Chemical propulsion; Non-chemical propulsion; Advanced propulsion technologies; Supporting technologies
- Space Power and Energy Storage
Power generation; Energy storage; Power management & distribution; Cross-cutting technologies
- Robotics, Tele-Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Sensing; Mobility; Manipulation technology; Human-systems interfaces; Autonomy; Autonomous rendezvous & docking; Systems engineering
- Communication and Navigation
Optical communications & navigation technology; Radio frequency communications; Internetworking; Position, navigation and timing; Integrated technologies; Revolutionary concepts
- Human Exploration Destination Systems
In-situ resource utilization and Cross-cutting systems
- Science Instruments, Observatories and Sensor Systems
Science Mission Directorate Technology Needs; Remote Sensing instruments/sensors; Observatory technology; In-situ instruments/sensor technologies
- Entry, Descent and Landing Systems
Aerobraking, aerocapture and entry systems; Descent; Landing; Vehicle system technology
Engineered materials; Energy generation and storage; Propulsion; Electronics, devices and sensors
- Modeling, Simulation, Information Technology and Processing
Flight and ground computing; Modeling; Simulation; Information processing
- Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems and Manufacturing
Materials; Structures; Mechanical systems; Cross cutting
- Thermal Management Systems
Cryogenic systems; Thermal control systems (near room temperature); Thermal protection systems
Johnson Space Center (JSC),POC: Kamlesh Lulla, email@example.com
1. In-space propulsion technologies
2. Energy Storage technologies-Batteries, Regenerative Fuel cells
3. Robotics and TeleRobotics
4. Crew decision support systems
5. Immersive Visualization
a. Virtual windows leading to immersive environments and telepresence systems
6. Human Robotic interface
7. Flight and Ground communication systems
i. Array Microphone Systems and processing
ii. Large bandwidth (audio to ultra-sonic) MEMs Microphones
iii. Front end audio noise cancellation algorithms implementable in FPGAs-example Independent Component Analysis
iv. Audio Compression algorithms implementable in FPGAs.
v. COMSOL Acoustic modeling
vi. Sonification Algorithms implementable in DSPs/FPGAs
i. Ultra High Video Compressions
ii. H265 Video Compression
iii. Rad-Tolerant Imagers
iv. Lightweight/low power/radiation tolerant displays
8. Advanced habitat systems
9. GN&C for descent systems
10. Large body GN&C
11. Human system performance modeling
12. Imaging and information processing
a. Lightweight/Low power Display Technology
b. Scalable software-implementable graphics processing unit
13. Simulation and modeling
14. Materials and structures
15. Lightweight structure
16. Human Spaceflight Challenges
17. Human System Interfaces
a. OLED Technology Evaluation for Space Applications
b. Far-Field Speech Recognition in Noisy Environments
c. Radiation Hardened Graphics Processing
d. Human Computer Interaction design methods (Multi-modal and Intelligent Interaction) and apparatuses
e. Human Systems Integration, Human Factors Engineering: state of the art in Usability and performance assessment methods and apparatus.
f. Humans Systems Integration Inclusion in Systems Engineering
a. Air Revitalization
i. Advanced water, O2 and CO2 monitoring and sensors
ii. Advance thermally regenerated ionic fluids for CO2 and Humidity Control
b. Water Recovery and Management
i. Brine water recovery systems and wastewater treatment chemical recover for reuse or repurpose
c. Waste Management
i. Advance wastewater treatment systems (lower toxicity, recoverable)
d. Advanced trace contaminant monitoring and control technology
e. Quiet fan technologies
19. Active Thermal Control
a. Lightweight heat exchangers and cold plates
b. Condensing heat exchanger coatings with robust hydrophilic, antimicrobial properties
c. Development and demonstration of wax and water-based phase change material heat exchangers
a. Pressure Garment
b. Portable Life Support System
c. Power, Avionics and Software
21. Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking
22. Crew Exercise
a. Small form Equipment
23. EDL (thermal)
24. Wireless and Comm Systems
a. Wireless Energy Harvesting Sensor Technologies
b. Robust, Dynamic Ad hoc Wireless Mesh Communication Networks
c. Radiation Hardened EPCglobal Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Readers
d. Computational Electromagnetics (CEM) Fast and Multi-Scale Methods/Algorithms
e. EPCglobal-type RFID ICs at frequencies above 2 G
25. Radiation and EEE Parts
b. Mitigation and Biological countermeasures
c. Protection systems
d. Space weather prediction
e. Risk assessment modeling
26. Wearable Tech
a. Wearable Sensors and Controls
b. Wearable Audio Communicator
c. Wearable sensing and hands-free control
d. Tattooed Electronic Sensors
Stennis Space Center,POC: Nathan Sovik, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Active and Passive Nonintrusive Remote Sensing of Propulsion Test Parameters
- Intelligent Integrated System Health Management (ISHM) in Rocket Test-Stands
- Advanced Non-Destructive Evaluation Technologies
- Advanced Propulsion Systems Testing
- Cryogenic Instrumentation and Cryogenic, High Pressure, and Ultrahigh Pressure Fluid Systems
- Ground Test Facilities Technology
- Propulsion System Exhaust Plume Flow Field Definition and Associated Plume Induced Acoustic & Thermal Environments
- Vehicle Health Management/Rocket Exhaust Plume Diagnostics
Active and Passive Nonintrusive Remote Sensing of Propulsion Test Parameters
The vast amount of propulsion system test data is collected via single channel, contact, intrusive sensors and instrumentation. Future propulsion system test techniques could employ passive nonintrusive remote sensors and active nonintrusive remote sensing test measurements over wide areas instead of at a few discrete points. Opportunities exist in temperature, pressure, stress, strain, position, vibration, shock, impact, and many other measured test parameters. The use of thermal infrared, ultraviolet, and multispectral sensors, imagers, and instruments is possible through the SSC sensor laboratory.
Intelligent Integrated System Health Management (ISHM) in Rocket Test-Stands
SHM is a capability to determine the condition of every element of a system continuously. ISHM includes detection of anomalies, diagnosis of causes, and prognosis of future anomalies; as well as making available (to elements of the system and the operator) data, information, and knowledge (DIaK) to achieve optimum operation. In this context, we are interested in methodologies to embed intelligence into the various elements of rocket engine test-stands, e.g., sensors, valves, pumps, tanks, etc. Of particular interest is the extraction of qualitative interpretations from sensor data in order to develop a qualitative assessment of the operation of the various components and processes in the system. The desired outcomes of the research are:
1. To develop intelligent sensor models that are self-calibrating, self- configuring, self- diagnosing, and self- evolving
2. To develop intelligent components such as valves, tanks, etc.
3. To implement intelligent sensor fusion schemes that allow assessment, at the qualitative level, of the condition of the components and processes,
4. To develop a monitoring and diagnostic system that uses the intelligent sensor models and fusion schemes to predict future events, to document the operation of the system, and to diagnose any malfunction quickly,
5. To develop architectures/taxonomies/ontologies for integrated system health management using distributed intelligent elements, and
6. To develop visualization and operator interfaces to effectively use the ISHM capability.
Advanced Non-Destructive Technologies
Advances in non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technologies are needed for fitness-for-service evaluation of pressure vessels used in rocket propulsion systems and test facilities. NDE of ultra- high pressure vessels with wall thicknesses exceeding 10 inches require advanced techniques for the detection of flaws that may affect the safe use of the vessels.
Advanced Propulsion Systems Testing
Innovative techniques will be required to test propulsion systems such as advanced chemical engines, single- stage-to-orbit rocket plane components, nuclear thermal, nuclear electric, and hybrids rockets. New and more cost- effective approaches must be developed to test future propulsion systems. The solution may be some combination of computational- analytical technique, advanced sensors and instrumentation, predictive methodologies, and possibly subscale tests of aspects of the proposed technology.
Cryogenic Instrumentation and Cryogenic, High Pressure, and Ultrahigh Pressure Fluid Systems
Over 40 tons of liquefied gases are used annually in the conduct of propulsion system testing at the Center. Instrumentation is needed to precisely measure mass flow of cryogens starting with very low flow rates and ranging to very high flow rates under pressures up to 15,000 psi. Research, technology, and development opportunities exist in developing instruments to measure fluid properties at cryogenic conditions during ground testing of space propulsion systems. Both intrusive and nonintrusive sensors, but especially nonintrusive sensors, are desired.
Ground Test Facilities Technology
SSC is interested in new, innovative ground-test techniques to conduct a variety of required developmental and certification tests for space systems, stages/vehicles, subsystems, and components. Examples include better coupling and integration of computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer modeling tools focused on cryogenic fluids for extreme conditions of pressure and flow; advanced control strategies for non- linear multi-variable systems; structural modeling tools for ground-test programs; low-cost, variable altitude simulation techniques; and uncertainty analysis modeling of test systems.
Propulsion System Exhaust Plume Flow Field Definition and Associated Plume Induced Acoustic & Thermal Environments
Background: An accurate definition of a propulsion system exhaust plume flow field and its associated plume induced environments (PIE) are required to support the design efforts necessary to safely and optimally accomplish many phases of any space flight mission from sea level or simulated altitude testing of a propulsion system to landing on and returning from the Moon or Mars. Accurately defined PIE result in increased safety, optimized design and minimized costs associated with:
1. Propulsion system and/or component testing of both the test article and test facility;
2. Any launch vehicle and associated launch facility during liftoff from the Earth, Moon or Mars;
3. Any launch vehicle during the ascent portion of flight including staging, effects of separation motors and associated pitch maneuvers;
4. Effects of orbital maneuverings systems (including contamination) on associated vehicles and/or payloads and their contribution to space environments;
5. Any vehicle intended to land on and return from the surface of the Moon or Mars; and finally
6. The effects of a vehicle propulsion system on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars including the contaminations of those surfaces by plume constituents and associated propulsion system constituents.
Current technology status and requirements to optimally accomplish NASA s mission: In general, the current plume technology used to define a propulsion system exhaust plume flow field and its associated plume induced environments is far superior to that used in support of the original Space Shuttle design. However, further improvements of this technology are required:
1. In an effort to reduce conservatism in the current technology allowing greater optimization of any vehicle and/or payload design keeping in mind crew safety through all mission phases; and
2. To support the efforts to fill current critical technology gaps discussed below. P
IE areas of particular interest include: single engine and multi-engine plume flow field definition for all phases of any space flight mission, plume induced acoustic environments, plume induced radiative and convective ascent vehicle base heating, plume contamination, and direct and/or indirect plume impingement effects. Current critical technology gaps in needed PIE capabilities include:
1. An accurate analytical prediction tool to define convective ascent vehicle base heating for both single engine and multi- engine vehicle configurations.
2. An accurate analytical prediction tool to define plume induced environments associated with advanced chemical, electrical and nuclear propulsion systems.
3. A validated, user friendly free molecular flow model for defining plumes and plume induced environments for low density external environments that exist on orbit, as well as interplanetary and other planets.
Vehicle Health Management/Rocket Exhaust Plume Diagnostics
A large body of UV-Visible emission spectrometry experimentation is being performed during the 30 or more tests conducted each year on the Space Shuttle Main Engine at SSC. Research opportunities are available to quantify failure and wear mechanisms, and related plume code validation. Related topics include combustion stability, mixture ratio, and thrust/power level. Exploratory studies have been done with emission/absorption spectroscopy, absorption resonance spectroscopy, and laser induced fluorescence. Only a relatively small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum has been investigated for use in propulsion system testing and exhaust plume diagnostics/vehicle health management.
Langley Research Center (LaRC), POC: Gamaliel (Dan) Cherry, Gamaliel.R.Cherry@nasa.gov
· Intelligent Flight Systems – Revolutionary Air Vehicles (POC: Guy Kemmerly 757-864-5070)
- Atmospheric Characterization – Active Remote Sensing (POC: Malcolm Ko 757-864-8892)
- Systems Analysis and Concepts - Air Transportation System Architectures & Vehicle Concepts (POC: Michael Marcolini 757-864-3629)
- Advanced Materials & Structural System – Advanced Manufacturing (POC: David Dress 757-864-5126)
- Aerosciences - Trusted Autonomy (POC: Sharon Graves 757-864-5018)
- Entry, Decent & Landing - Robotic Mission Entry Vehicles (POC: Keith Woodman 757-864-7692)
- Measurement Systems - Advanced Sensors and Optical Measurement (POC: Tom Jones 757-864-4903)