- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T09:03:03.000Z
This proposal addresses the need for miniature, narrow-linewidth, deep UV optical sources that operate at very low ambient temperatures for use in advanced in situ planetary science instruments for non-contact detection and classification of trace amounts of organic, inorganic, and biogenic materials using Raman and native fluorescence spectroscopic methods. The sources include aluminum gallium nitride semiconductor lasers and ultra-narrow-linewidth transverse excited hollow cathode lasers emitting between 210 nm to 250 nm, a spectral range with demonstrated higher detection sensitivity and specificity than sources emitting at longer wavelengths. Applications include non-contact robot-arm or body mounted chemical imaging instruments and detectors for direct analysis of trace levels of chemical species containing C, N, H, O, S, Cl, on surfaces or as extractions from soil, rock, or ice. We have achieved the highest recorded deep UV semiconductor internal quantum efficiencies at wavelengths below 250 nm. But continuing difficulties of attaining laser emission and prospects for narrow line-width compatible with Raman applications has caused us to redirect a significant portion of the Phase II effort to another class of deep UV laser with a more proven UV Raman track record and the potential for miniaturization for robot-arm-mounted applications.
Wideband Autocorrelation Radiometer Receiver Development and Demonstration for Direct Measurement of Terrestrial Snow and Ice Accumulationdata.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-07T17:43:06.000Z
The seasonal terrestrial snow pack is an important source of water for many parts of the globe. Snow's high albedo, relative to the terrain in the absence of snow, is an important driver of Earth's energy balance, and long term changes to the statistics of the snow pack's properties are both a consequence and a cause of climate change. The global quantification of the amount of water in the snow pack reservoir is a long term objective of NASA's Earth Science Division. Thus far, the primary means of quantifying the amount of snow on the ground has been via the differential scatter-darkening mechanism, such as the 19 and 37 GHz brightness difference. While a 35+ year time series of passive microwave satellite data has been made, progress in understanding the scatter-darkened brightness signature of snow continues, especially for forested areas where vegetation scattering confounds the signature. This proposal looks to advance an alternative approach to using passive microwave to measure the snow accumulation. Wideband autocorrelation radiometry (WiBAR) is a technique wherein the electromagnetic propagation time across a layered media, such as snow pack or lake ice, can be remotely sensed. Thermal emission from the ground under the snow pack propagates up through the snow pack to the receiver. When the upper and lower surfaces of the snow pack are locally smooth, which is true at sufficiently long wavelengths, additional paths result from the reflection of the upward traveling wave from first the upper and then the lower surface of the snow pack. Arriving at the antenna, these waves are identical except for their amplitude and the time lag associated with the extra transit of the snow pack. This time lag is the observable. For sufficiently long wavelengths, the snow snow grains that cause the scattering are sufficiently deep in the Rayleigh region so as to be of minor importance. Unlike scatter darkening, where the microscopic properties of snow dominate the signal and the desired macroscopic properties are secondary, for WiBAR, the macroscopic properties of the snow depth is the most important parameter determining the signal, modified by the density (and thus it measures SWE), and the microscopic properties, responsible for the scattering, reduce the signal strength but do not alter the quantification of the accumulation. The bandwidth of the radiometer determines the minimum vertical extent that is observable. A wide bandwidth (several gigahertz) is desired for the relatively shallow snow covers encountered on Earth. We have demonstrated that this signal exists and can be observed both for a snow pack and for a fresh-water lake ice pack with ground-based observations. We have done this with a spectrum analyzer functioning as the radiometer receiver back-end: in the frequency domain, the delayed ray interferes with the direct ray to produce constructive maxima and destructive minima in the brightness spectra. But this technique is inherently slow, as the number of samples required is high and the instantaneous bandwidth is low. This frequency-domain approach is much too slow for spaceborne or even airborne observation. These observations also confirm the robustness of the approach to radio-frequency interference (RFI): since the observable is a time-delay and not a brightness magnitude, the narrow-band RFI does not mask the broadband WiBAR signature. We propose to develop a radiometer back-end that observes the entire spectrum of interest simultaneously, which will greatly reduce the observation time, possibly down to the order of milliseconds, which would make observations from a moving platform possible. We will then demonstrate the technological advancement in a direct comparison to the spectrum analyzer-based receiver measurement in a laboratory setting.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T13:08:25.000Z
Access to space for Small Satellites is enabled by the use of excess launch capacity on existing launch vehicles. A range of sizes, form factors and masses of small sats need to be accommodated. An integration process that minimizes programmatic/technical risk to the primary, allows "late flow" integration and predictable cost/schedule for the secondary enables regular and cost-effective access. The integration process proceeds smoothly when the right adapter accommodates the secondary in a seamless way. Design_Net, with our commercialization partner SpaceAvailable Inc. has designed a family of adapters that meet these criteria and one has been selected by NASA to complete development for targeted NASA rideshare opportunities. We are also currently working with United Launch Alliance (ULA) for a broader class of rideshare accommodations, and development of interfaces that allow late access on Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV)s. Design_Net will continue, via this SBIR Phase 2, to develop the selected adapter to a structurally tested engineering model. This adapter can accommodate everything from 6u and 12u carriers to full up "ORS class" (800lb) small satellites and is applicable to Minotaur IV, Falcon 9 and Taurus 2.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T10:53:04.000Z
<p>The project will develop a system of 3D-printed connectors that can be used as a kit of parts to connect inflatable air beams to form a variety of spacecraft interior outfitting components. Examples of inflatable IVA structures that can be assembled include crew quarters, waste & hygiene compartment, crew medical restraint system, splints, science payload racks, stowage and other equipment racks, science glove box, recreational devices, other portable devices, work surfaces and other workstations, support braces, other secondary structures, etc. This inflatable technology can enable such hardware to be packaged in much smaller volumes for delivery in logistics flights or potentially to be integrated within inflatable spacecraft, increasing trade space options. Crew can also reconfigure spacecraft in-flight, using the ability to 3D-print custom connectors to redesign living spaces or create entirely new interior architectures to respond to mission developments or psychosocial needs.</p> <p>The Habitabiltiy Design Center has already prototyped scale models of inflatable crew stations and initial prototypes of a standard interface connector. These connectors have demonstrated basic capability, but are too large relative to the airbeams for pracitcal use. We have a notional reduced size connector and will use this concept as a starting point, to fabricate and test under operational inflation pressures. Pending initial success, we will fabricate various connectors to provide several linear and angled connections. This will form the basic building block for assembly of a variety of crew stations and support hardware.</p><p> </p><p>This research addresses HAT Needs Numbers 12.1.a and 12.1.b and provides steps towards several HAT-specified performance targets: Bladder Material Selection: The potentially frequent cycles of inflation and deflation experienced by IVA inflatable structures will require bladder material and seal interfaces capable of resisting puncture, tear, flex cracking, or other damage due to folding, handling, or stowage temperatures. Predictive Modeling of Deployment Dynamics: Inflation or deflation may involve imparted torques and loads that require IVA inflatable structures to be anchored to the spacecraft secondary structure prior to the initiation of inflation or deflation. Lightweight Structures and Materials Optimization to Realize Structural System Dry Mass Savings (Minimum of 20-25%) and Operational Cost Savings: The inflatable air beam and connector technology offers significant dry mass savings over traditional IVA structural materials. Structural mass savings for an individual crew quarters is expected to be in excess of 75% over ISS crew quarters.</p><p> </p><p>The intended product deliverable of this activity includes three airbeams of at least 12-inch length and no less than one each of the following: 90-degree connector, 45-degree connector, 180-degree connector, 90-degree five-airbeam connector, 60-degree three-airbeam connector. Additionally, a test report and CAD models for each connector will constitute deliverables of this activity.</p><p> </p><p>Upon completion of this initial ICA effort, we will be able to demonstrate use of the airbeams in conjunction with existing Logistics to Living Modified Cargo Transfer Bags (MCTBs) to demonstrate deployable partitions as an initial example case. This demonistration will be helpful in explaining the potential for continued investment to reduce both mass and habitability risks. We will continue to pursue research funding for further development and will also pursue options to directly engage exploration programs to generate solutions for their specific mission architectures.</p>
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T10:45:44.000Z
Decomposing monopropellant hydrazine across a spontaneous catalyst bed is the gold standard for small propulsion systems responsible for attitude control on satellites and spacecraft. Such a propulsion system is both simple and reliable, and offers reasonable performance. However, the simplicity and reliability enjoyed today is the result of a nearly two-decade effort designed to identify and perfect a spontaneous catalyst. Modern hydrazine replacements generally do not work well with hydrazine catalysts, so the enormous costs associated with a new catalyst development effort have stalled the widespread acceptance of potential hydrazine replacements. Our proposed effort will explore the use of an alternative ignition source that eliminates the need for a catalyst bed entirely. It achieves the same simplicity enjoyed by traditional monopropellant propulsion systems, but dramatically increases thruster response time on both startup and especially shutdown. It requires low power because it exploits a unique property of most of the propellants often cited as the future replacement for hydrazine. It is also low cost because it requires a very low part count and development issues will be trivial.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T14:21:42.000Z
To achieve the capability to affordably produce scores of nano-spacecraft for envisioned constellation missions, a new manufacturing process is needed to reduce the time and cost of fabricating and testing the nanosats. However, to achieve substantial savings, a fundamental paradigm shift in how spacecraft are built must be made. Current spacecraft are built with the same processes and procedures used in the 1960?s, whereas electronics technology has gone far beyond that of the early days. So while the size of satellites has steadily decreased, the manufacturing time has not experienced similar reductions. Given that labor to build a satellite remains the single largest element of cost, the opportunity remains to dramatically shorten program schedules and lower cost through the infusion of new techniques and innovative processes in the construction of structures, electronics, harnessing and most importantly the testing process. AeroAstro proposes to set aside the conventional rule book and explore a broad range of Design for Manufacture material and process innovations that could lead to a dramatic shortening of the micro/nano-satellite manufacturing timeline with concomitant savings in unit manufacturing cost.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T07:05:53.000Z
Plants exhibit a robust transcriptional response to gamma radiation which includes the induction of transcripts required for homologous recombination and the suppression of transcripts that promote cell cycle progression. Various DNA damaging agents induce different spectra of DNA damage as well as collateral damage to other cellular components and therefore are not expected to provoke identical responses by the cell. Here we study the effects of two different types of ionizing radiation (IR) treatment HZE (1 GeV Fe26+ high mass high charge and high energy relativistic particles) and gamma photons on the transcriptome of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. Both types of IR induce small clusters of radicals that can result in the formation of double strand breaks (DSBs) but HZE also produces linear arrays of extremely clustered damage. We performed these experiments across a range of time points (1.5-24 h after irradiation) in both wild-type plants and in mutants defective in the DSB-sensing protein kinase ATM. The two types of IR exhibit a shared double strand break-repair-related damage response although they differ slightly in the timing degree and ATM-dependence of the response. The ATM-dependent DNA metabolism-related transcripts of the xd2DSB response xd3 were also induced by other DNA damaging agents but were not induced by conventional stresses. Both Gamma and HZE irradiation induced at 24 h post-irradiation ATM-dependent transcripts associated with a variety of conventional stresses; these were overrepresented for pathogen response rather than DNA metabolism. In contrast only HZE-irradiated plants at 1.5 h after irradiation exhibited an additional and very extensive transcriptional response shared with plants experiencing extended night. This response was not apparent in gamma-irradiated plants. We treated 5-day-old WT and atm-1 seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana with 100 Gy of Gamma radiation (over a span of 15 minutes) or 30 Gy of HZE (over a span of approximately 12 minutes). Gamma irradiations were completed at 8:40 am while HZE irradiations were conducted in two runs (due to space limitations) which were completed at 1:09 and 1:28pm respectively. Gamma treated seedlings were sampled at 10:10 am 11:40 am 2:55 pm 8:40 pm and 8:40 am. HZE treated seedlings were sampled at 2:39 pm 4:09 pm 7:24 pm 1:09 am and 1:09 pm. Un-irradiated WT and atm-1 control seedlings were sampled at 10:45 am on Day #1 and 9:15 am on Day #2. There are a total of 22 experimental or control conditions with two replicates per condition yielding 44 samples overall.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-09-07T17:47:13.000Z
Future robotic missions to Venus require actuators for powering robotic arms, sampling systems, and gimbals for the positioning of cameras and antennas. There are many types of actuators (e.g. pneumatic, hydraulic); however electric actuators offer the greatest versatility for space missions. An electric actuator consists of an electric motor and a position sensor. The electric motor converts electrical energy (electricity) into mechanical output (shaft rotation). The position sensor, on the other hand, determines the angular position of the motor shaft, which then is processed by drive electronics to commutate and control the motor. Because of the extreme conditions on the Venus surface (92 bar pressure, 462 °C temperature, and supercritical CO2 atmosphere), conventional actuators will not be able to function properly, or at all. The main challenges pertain to changes in electrical properties like an increase in wire resistance (leading to greater losses), changes in magnetic properties like permeability and retentivity (leading to demagnetization of magnets), and changes in physical properties such as linear expansion, decrease in strength, increase in friction, and accelerated oxidation. Since 2007, Honeybee and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have been developing Venus actuator technologies. We developed a 48V Brushless DC motor (BLDC) and custom position sensor called the Pulsed Injection Position Sensor (PIPS) for motor commutation and feedback control. The motor and PIPS are at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5. The main objective of the proposed work is to mature the Venus actuator technology through an iterative process of Venus chamber testing of a TRL5 actuator, followed by re-design and fabrication of a TRL6 actuator and subsequent Venus chamber qualification testing of that actuator. The critical objectives to be met are as follows: 1. Design of a motor with 28V windings (28 V is a conventional spacecraft power bus), 2. Increase PIPS resolution from 12 to 48 counts/rev (this will make motor more efficient and allow actuator to be used for precision positioning systems – robotic arms and gimbals), 3. Establish reproducible procedures, standards, and guidelines for fabricating, assembly, test, and inspection of Venus actuators (currently actuators are hand crafted by selected engineers – this knowledge needs to be captured so that any skilled person will be able to fabricate Venus actuator whenever needed). Technical approach: This effort will be achieved in one year period to enable technology infusion into the New Frontiers (NF) Venus In Situ Explorer (VISE) mission. Specific tasks are: Step 1 (Months 1-3): we will characterize performance of the TRL5 actuator under Venus conditions in JPL’s Venus Materials Test Facility (VMTF) chamber. We will connect two existing TRL5 BLDC actuators: one will act as a brake to enable characterization of the second actuator. The actuator will be run until failure in order to assess failure condition. Step 2 (Months 4-9): we will incorporate lessons from Step 1 to design and fabricate three 28V actuators. We will develop procedures and standards for fabrication, inspection and testing. Step 3 (Months 10-12): we will perform the same tests as in Step 1 to characterize performance of the 28V actuators. At this point, it is assumed that we will be able to fabricate identical TRL 6 actuators by following manufacturing process developed in Step 2. Significance of the work to the solicitation: HOTTech supports development of electrical technologies (such as our proposed electric actuator) for the robotic exploration of Venus surfaces. Our electrical actuator will enable Venus missions in the Discovery, New Frontiers (Venus In Situ Explorer), and Flagship (Venus Mobile Explorer) class. Per HOTTech, our actuator also has terrestrial applications in the Geothermal, Oil and Gas, and Aeronautical industries.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T13:05:40.000Z
Triton Systems, Inc. (Triton) proposes to develop a cost-effective manufacturing approach to fabricate combustion chambers for a rocket technology demonstrator engine. The proposed manufacturing process combines Triton's success in fabricating high strength, ductile, discontinuous fiber reinforced aluminum (FRA) composites and rapid prototyping techniques used in the aluminum casting industry. The ability to insert Triton's FRA technology into boost and orbit transfer components supports critical propulsion goals by improving the thrust-to-weight ratio and reducing hardware costs. Significant weight savings will be achieved with Triton's lightweight FRA technology compared to the current nickel superalloy. Hardware costs savings are anticipated with the use of a proven, affordable and high quality casting process to fabricate FRA materials. An added benefit is the ability to incorporate design changes for improved efficiency and/or research and development efforts.
- API data.nasa.gov | Last Updated 2018-07-19T07:46:35.000Z
Structural health monitoring is critical capability for NASA, and it is required for launch vehicles, space vehicles, re-entry vehicles, vehicle pressure systems, Space Station, as well as in flight research. Health monitoring systems need to have fast and robust data acquisition and management, low volume, minimal intrusion, and high accuracy and reliability. Armstrong Flight Research Center has developed a revolutionary 4-fiber interrogation system for Fiber Optic Smart Structures (FOSS) sensor networks interrogation. This system meets the required specifications on the sensing side, however, its size, weight, power consumption, fragility and cost make it prohibitive for the massive deployment into air vehicles. In this program, we are proposing to develop and integrate all optical functions needed to enable next generation of miniaturized, low-cost NASA's FOSS interrogator systems. Through innovative photonic integration of key functions, and hybrid packaging using interposer technology, we anticipate that the size of the existing system will be reduced by two and cost by one order of magnitude. This, in turn, will fulfill one of the key requirements of the solicitation, yielding a miniaturized fiber optic measurement system with low power suitable for migration into platforms spanning from launch vehicles, reentry vehicles, to UAS platforms or aviation.