The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
A publication of the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center X-Press, Edwards, California
Through the Innovative Partnerships Program, NASA
fosters partnerships among researchers, academia
and industry to validate ideas and improve
technology readiness so it is available when needed.
Cover Story Structural
Innovative Dynamic IPP Partnering effort could result
in method for monitoring
composite aircraft structures
to enhance future aviation
Program provides a number safety.
of resources for developing
cutting-edge technology. 18
Dryden researchers earn
patents for fiber optic
Looking to wing shape sensor work
that could be applied
the future to monitor the health of
structures. In California,
Roller-coaster technology could
that could have implica-
lead to future rockets that don’t
tions for determining the
require brute force in the first
safety of key infrastruc-
stage to get off the ground.
ture after an earthquake.
DASP Toolbox Fighting fire
Elements validated through Systems technology helps
IPP funding may require the NASA and the U.S. Forest
scrutiny of flight research. Service determine whether
This project is being readied large aircraft can be used
for flight. in the firefighting mission,
and under what conditions.
Cover design by Jay Levine and Sarah McAllister
New technology reporting be-
Welcome to Aerovations
Valuable, interesting and that will lead to
gins early in the process. Infor- potentially groundbreaking Contact new approaches
mation from those reports can technology, enabled through and methods
be valuable to other researchers the many facets of the Information through creating
and the rewards for following Innovative Partnerships partnerships such as
Program, is profiled on these Ronald Young, those that will give
the procedures can be great. pages. Dryden IPP Office small businesses the
23 The IPP seeks to add value to 661-276-3741 ability to compete
NASA’s mission directorates for inclusion
and their programs and Dryden IPP Web site: in technology-
projects through technology http://www.nasa. development efforts
development and infusion. gov/centers/dryden/ expected to lead to
Winning To better facilitate technology
breakthroughs, the IPP
partnerships fosters partnerships that
leverage funding to address NASA IPP Web site:
to those who fund
these projects, the
technology barriers via cost-
Dryden is recognized as part of shared, jointly developed offices/ipp/home/index. taxpayers.
a partnership that helped put an partnerships. Serving as a html In partnerships
eye in the sky and deliver critical facilitator for partners inside with small businesses and research institutions, the IPP is
and outside the agency, pulling into the marketplace from colleges and universities
information to forest fire com-
the IPP is bringing new sources of innovation together the innovations that will help inspire a new generation of
manders. to address NASA’s technology needs that will not only researchers. Some of the research is focused on perceived
26 resolve the agency’s technical challenges but also benefit future challenges that may be a decade away. Thanks to the
the nation and the general public through technology IPP, the technology will be ready when it is needed.
transfer for new commercial applications. The cover story for this issue of Aerovations details
Some of these technologies may increase safety while opportunities for meeting technology challenges as well as the
Also Inside reducing operational costs for military, commercial
and civilian use. One technology may have diverse
projects supported through the IPP. The article also profiles
the avenue for reporting new technologies and maturing
applications ranging from determining the structural them for commercial products that benefit everyone.
Technology may catch up to concept health of buildings and bridges to assisting surgeons in Enjoy the variety of projects described on these pages,
medical procedures. Another may lead to new, proven which are as diverse and innovative as the IPP itself.
11 technologies and combinations of concepts that will power
future space vehicles more efficiently and economically. Ronald Young
Student assists with Reliable Reusable Launch System The IPP acts as a pathfinder and an agent of change Dryden Innovative Partnerships Program Office
Nuts and Bolts: New IPP awards aim to validate concepts
and advance the readiness level of technologies
Academic provides another viewpoint
Rolling Hills uses IPP funding to advance technology and
Micro unmanned aerial vehicle demonstrates new capability
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
By Jay Levine improving U.S. competitiveness. The program has the additional
X-Press Editor goals of stimulating technological innovation and increasing its
technology question emerges, but an individual commercial application, and encouraging a wider infusion of ideas.
NASA center does not have the resources to examine SBIR contracts are negotiated by representatives of a NASA center
it in greater detail. and the winning proposal teams. A NASA center repreentative
A researcher has an idea to solve a fundamental oversees the work during the contract.
challenge, but not the expertise to take the concept to the next In addition, the STTR initiative was started in 1994 and follows
level. many of the same guidelines as the SBIR program. However, STTR
University, small business or industry partners have a concept agreements include a university or college partner. The idea was to
that could lead to a new technology, but not the technical create cooperative research and development opportunities with
knowhow, or the expensive and extensive diagnostic tools a college or university nonprofit research institute and develop
available at a NASA center. intellectual property, including patents and copyrights. The small
What these three scenarios have in common is that NASA has business then works to move the technology from the laboratory to
a way of connecting the resources with the technical challenges. the marketplace through new commercial products.
The Innovative Partnerships Program offers a number of
initiatives to bridge the gaps between problem and resources to Approving the work in phases
resolve it, or mature a technology so that it will be available when SBIR and STTR each have as many as three phases. The first phase
it is needed. begins after the award is announced and the funding is provided
The IPP, which supports all four of NASA’s mission directorates to demonstrate the feasibility of the technology. Funding up to
and includes an office at each of the agency’s 10 field centers, uses $100,000 is awarded for an SBIR contract for a six-month period
a combination of investments and partnerships with industry, and up to $100,000 and one year for a STTR.
academia, government agencies and national labs to mature Phase I work usually results in a working model of the concept,
or investigate technologies. The three program elements are or a software or hardware package that makes the benefits of the
Technology Infusion, Innovation Incubator and Partnership concept obvious.
Development. A Phase II award, which is granted to less than half of the Phase
I proposals, can include funding up to $600,000 for two years to
Technology Infusion Element further develop the innovation. These efforts usually culminate in
Technology Infusion is the IPP element familiar to small a prototype that demonstrates benefits beyond those shown in the
businesses that seek to participate in government-funded research Phase I work. In addition to the technical advances, a business is
and development in key technology areas. expected to provide the case for the proposed product, including
The Small Business Innovative Research – SBIR – program market analysis, financial planning and business expertise.
and the Small Business Technology Transfer, or STTR, program A Phase III agreement is when the technology is mature and is
invite companies of fewer than 500 employees to submit used and paid for by someone who needs the technology or wants to
proposals describing how the company’s unique capabilities further refine it. When an SBIR/STTR project reaches that point, it
and novel approaches offer research and development that can is considered a success story. A Phase II contract is not a requirement
help NASA reach its goals. The IPP Seed Fund offers a similar for a company to receive a Phase III contract.
opportunity for NASA research staff to submit proposals that An additional benefit of a company participating in an SBIR/
leverage external partners to assist in government research. STTR project is that government agencies and their prime
The three programs are engines for starting up new technologies contractors may select to do Phase III contract work without having
and industries, while providing NASA, university and college further competition to use that company, eliminating the need
and small business researchers tools for exploring the unknown for competition in selecting the company for a contracted service
and defining research paths. associated with the original Phase I work.
Researchers and companies can respond to the annual SBIR
and STTR solicitation for proposals, which are reviewed and IPP Seed Fund
ranked with the top concepts selected for contract awards. Partnerships to eliminate technology barriers and assist in meeting
The idea is to investigate new ideas and, in later phases, mission and technology readiness goals sometimes involve a different
The Innovative Partnerships Program offers a variety of commercialize the technology into products and services for other approach.
NASA programs, government agencies and for wider public use. For these needs, the Innovative Partnerships Program Seed Fund
resources for collaborations that will advance technology Often times, NASA seeks to “spin in” technology, where it finds was developed as part of the NASA IPP. It is used to meet technology
someone doing the work that will lead to the readiness level that goals by providing resources for initiating cost-shared joint
and result in commercialization and technology transfer could meet NASA’s needs and might also lead to a commercially technology development. The idea is to encourage the leveraging of
available product or process. NASA mission directorates help to staff, resources and equipment from NASA, its field centers and non-
define the areas of technology that are needed, which vary from NASA partners.
year to year. Douglas A. Comstock, NASA Innovative Partnerships Program
Congress created the SBIR program in 1982 to provide ways director, said during the past two years that IPP investments of
for small businesses to participate in government research and
development as a means of increasing national employment and See IPP, page 8
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
IPP ... from page 7 IPP ... from page 8
$15.9 million in the Seed Fund facilitated the generation of 67 options of ‘shared rides’ on sounding rockets protection of intellectual property.
partnerships and was leveraged by the various partners for goods,
services and funding of $62.2 million for the advancement of Why fund challenges? or orbital vehicles, and space-environment
training facilities may also be pursued. The Contact New Technology Reports – required by
contractors and government employees
critical technologies and capabilities for the agency. The reason why NASA funds Centennial Challenges is
goal is to eventually extend the commercial
space service procurement model to a standard
Information developing new government-funded
technology – form the basis for communicating
The IPP Office at NASA Headquarters asks NASA field simple – it makes sense.
centers for proposals. NASA’s mission directorates then business practice within NASA. Ronald Young, the new ideas to a broad audience thorugh
That was one of the conclusions in a broader study of
determine critical technology areas identified in the proposals. The IPP works closely with mission Dryden IPP Office a NASA technology tracking system. The
government-funded research initiatives in the Federally
Proposed projects should have a one-year duration and must directorates to identify technology development 661-276-3741 IPP administers the processing of NTRs and
Funded Innovation Inducement Prizes report (CRS R40677)
include one or more non-NASA partners who are willing to and users for micro-gravity flight services. provides commercial assessments, which are
issued June 29. The report was authored by Deborah D. Stine,
provide cost sharing equal to or greater than the IPP funding Dryden IPP Web site: critical to patenting decisions for inventions
a Congressional Research Service science and technology policy
provided to the project. Seed Fund projects are structured to Innovation Transfusion http://www.nasa. reported in NTRs.
provide up to $250,000 of research funding. Acceptable cost Through the Innovation Transfusion activity, gov/centers/dryden/ Management of intellectual property includes
Centennial Challenges are intended to drive progress in
sharing from the partner includes funds and project and in-kind the IPP hopes to create connections between about/Organizations/ gathering those NTR reports and recording
aerospace technology of value to NASA’s missions; encourage
considerations such as workforce labor and the use of facilities innovative organizations outside NASA Technology/ that information in a searchable database to
the participation of independent teams, individual inventors,
and test beds. for increased agency benefit from external track inventions and inventors. The NASA
student groups and private companies of all sizes in aerospace
creativity. NASA IPP Web site: Technology Tracking System database tools aid
research and development; and find the most innovative
Innovation Incubator Element Innovation Transfusion is intended to identify http://www.nasa.gov/ in connecting specific technology needs with
solutions to technical challenges through competition and
This IPP element includes the Centennial Challenge, areas of innovation with potential benefit offices/ipp/home/index. subject matter experts who have reported their
Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology to NASA, recognize and learn from current html research results.
To those ends, NASA officials’ expectations have been
Development and Training, or FAST, and the Innovation innovations occurring outside the agency, With limited resources for technology
exceeded in the Centennial Challenge competitions. The
Transfusion. broadly disseminate outside innovations to development within NASA, it also has become
competitions have spurred the creation of new businesses and
The Centennial Challenges presents prizes to winning NASA, foster future partnerships and provide increasingly important for the agency to bring
products, including innovations in pressure suit gloves and
challenge contests with novel technological solutions in areas innovation focus to career development. in, or infuse, technology developed jointly in partnerships with
reusable rocket engines, according to the report.
chosen by NASA. NASA provides the purse for the winners Innovation Transfusion contains two major components. The industry, academia, other federal agencies and other external
Individual challenges are either “first-to-demonstrate”
of the challenges and the competitions are coordinated and first is the Innovation Ambassadors program, which places NASA entities.
competitions, or “repeatable contests” with prizes that range
funded by external allied organizations and corporate sponsors. technical employees at external organizations for approximately
from $300,000 to $2 million. Each challenge is a public
Innovations are sought from non-traditional sources in three to 12 months to work on achieving the goals and objectives Technology Transfer
and private partnership with co-sponsor organizations that
academia, industry and the public. in their individual development plans. Another facet of intellectual property management is the licensing
contribute cash toward the prize purse and allied organizations
The second component is the Innovation Scouts program, of NASA inventions. The IPP is responsible for originating and
that provide in-kind services to enhance the competition.
...NASA has a way of connecting the
“ As the amount of the prize increases, the degree of
in which IPP staff and technology experts will visit innovative negotiating licenses and related partnerships with the private sector
resources with the technical challenges. organizations for focused one- or two-day workshops to exchange to facilitate the transfer of NASA-developed technologies for
participation and level of technical maturity and ingenuity also
information on specific innovations and to gather information commercial application and other public benefits. Successful efforts
The Innovative Partnerships Program offers increase, the report detailed. In past competitions where the
on the host organization’s latest technology developments. in technology commercialization are referred to as “Spinoffs” and
a number of initiatives to bridge the gaps prizes were $300,000 each, it is estimated that the 10 to 15
are showcased in an annual publication of the same name.
between problem and resources to resolve participating teams represented an investment of $50,000 to
Intellectual Property Management Licensing terms are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, although
it, or mature a technology so that it will be See Why, page 33 Accordingly, partnership development efforts facilitate and technology fields of use are defined as narrowly as is practical in
available when it is needed.” provide for leveraging of partner expertise and funds to develop every case, and exclusive licenses are rare. The IPP facilitates the
as those needed for a lunar lander, lunar regolith excavation and technologies critical to NASA’s mission research and development protection of NASA’s rights in its inventions identified in NTRs
A Power Beaming Challenge at Dryden is intended to improvements to astronaut gloves. goals. Sources of technology in the IPP portfolio include SBIR/ and enables NASA to license its technologies.
demonstrate wireless transmission of power to a robot designed STTR, Centennial Challenges, the IPP Seed Fund and dual- IPP benefits have permeated the U.S. and international economies,
to climb up a cable. In this case, NASA provided the prize FAST use technology development partnerships in addition to those as the resulting commercial products – more than 1,600 of which
money and the Spaceward Foundation coordinated the games. The FAST initiative is an initiative to foster development of technologies recorded in the NTTS database. are documented in NASA’s Spinoff publication – contributed to
Previous competitions used cranes to suspend the cable, commercial services for NASA’s need for microgravity environments. By surveying the available technology solutions and development of services and technologies in health and medicine,
but this event used a helicopter for the suspension of the one- NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, and Vienna, Va.-based technology-needs landscapes inside and outside NASA, the IPP transportation, public safety, consumer goods, agriculture,
kilometer long cable. The events for a particular challenge Zero Gravity Corp. provided commercial parabolic aircraft flight identifies potential matches. environmental resources, computer technology, manufacturing and
become increasingly larger, as does the prize money for the services to simulate multiple gravity environments. To identify NASA’s technology needs, the IPP works closely other key industrial sectors.
winning team. If there is no winner for a particular event, the The effort has the dual objectives of demonstrating the purchase with NASA’s mission directorates. The primary partnership Companies big and small bring different skills and ideas to the
prize money is rolled into the next competition – up to an award of commercial services from the emerging commercial space sector, agreement mechanism is the Space Act Agreement, although table and serve as a valuable asset to NASA. In turn, the agency
of $2 million for the power beaming competition. and advancing technology maturity through use of those services. other agreement types are possible. NASA determines the has a number of tools through the IPP to help advance the most
The Power Beaming Challenge matures one of the two As commercial suborbital flights become available, the FAST appropriate agreement instrument. worthy ideas.
technologies sought through the space elevator games. A Tether project will seek to use those services as well – initially for technology Special thanks to Technology Innovation magazine, a publication of
Challenge scheduled for late this year in Seattle seeks advances development and eventually to support potential training needs. The Partnership Development Element the NASA IPP Office, and Douglas A. Comstock, director of NASA’s
in carbon nanotube material development. Other challenge The final program element includes traditional technology IPP program, and Yvonne Kellogg and Greg Poteat of the Dryden IPP
competitions inspire advancement in the technologies such See IPP, page 9 commercialization activities that lead to patenting, licensing and Office for contributions to this article.
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
By Jay Levine
ome of the same
technology found in
amusement park rides may catch up
might one day help
boost spacecraft during the first
stage to radically reduce the costs By Jay Levine
of a launch. X-Press Editor
If that happens, future Building a first stage of a
spacecraft might use a version of future launch vehicle with
a linear induction motor launch
an electromagnetic catapult
system, which essentially is an is an idea that has merit and
electromagnetic catapult that combines technologies that
would move a spacecraft along a are already proven, said Leo
rail system with an air-breathing Holland, director of the Special
engine second stage and a rocket- Projects office in the Advanced
powered third stage completing Technologies group for General
the job of propelling the vehicle Atomics of San Diego.
into space, Dryden researcher General Atomics is a key
Kurt Kloesel explained. partner with Dryden in the
Kloesel is working to develop a development of a Highly Reliable
system that is named the Highly Reusable Launch System, which
Reliable Reusable Launch System. is currently being studied as
The goal is to validate and test part of NASA’s Innovative
elements of this launch system and Partnerships Program.
research increasingly complex parts The concept of an
of the overall concept using Small electromagnetic launcher is one
Business Innovative Research and that he has been interested in
Innovative Partnerships Program and working toward for more
funds. than 25 years, said Holland,
Looking to overcome the who has a doctorate in electrical
challenges of nurturing a small, engineering. The development
new technology program, Kloesel of magnetic levitation systems
has partnered in the current effort ED07 0243-18 NASA Photo by Tom Tschida in the 1990s was used to power
with Michael Wright of Goddard a train by essentially pulling
Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, From left, Leo Holland, Rick Hutsell, Kurt Kloesel and Don Ketchen look at it along with magnetic waves
Md.; Darin Marriot, formerly of the linear induction motor that creates magnetic waves. generated from a track that
Embry-Riddle University; Leo suspended the vehicle several
Holland of General Atomics of [the concept]. The IPP program inches in the air.
San Diego; and Dryden operations
“This is real; this
could happen. This says, ‘here’s half the money; if it’s The technology is continuing
engineer Jonathon Pickrel. a good idea, you put up half ’ and to mature. In fact, General
It is through SBIR contracts is not just a paper
that adds credibility.” Atomics is under contract
and leveraging IPP resources that study.” The NASA IPP matched funds to the U.S. Navy to install
NASA Illustration by David Faust these technologies can be matured of $100,000 from General Atomics electromagnetic aircraft
from a concept to a capability Kurt Kloesel and $40,000 from Embry-Riddle. launchers on the next new
that will take spacecraft on new Dryden researcher The project will look at the motors aircraft carrier, he added.
Highly Reliable Reusable missions, at lower costs and with
greater reliability, Kloesel said. General Atomics to help move the
being developed in San Diego to
go 300 mph.
“We are building experience
and a technology base to move
Launch System could offer
It might sound too good to be fledgling idea along. The four motors are specialized forward. The Navy program is
true, but it could be mature in a “There is money to leverage and for high speed and are not made giving us, in the lower-speed
decade or two when ideas will be interest from industry because of
alternative to brute force of
of commercial off-the-shelf range, a very advanced system
sought to make frequent resupply the IPP program. It has greatly components. General Atomics and everything you would need
missions to the moon and beyond helped to move the project along. took delivery of the components to build a launch-assist system.
solid rockets in first phase possible.
That’s when the concept will
really take off, he said. Until then,
IPP has taken it up a few levels,”
“This is real; this could happen.
in summer 2008.
Kloesel is quick to add that
Answering the remaining
technical questions will lead
he didn’t originate all of the to higher speeds,” Holland
he is relying on a current IPP This is not just a paper study. When elements of the linear induction explained.
agreement with Embry-Riddle General Atomics throws $100,000
University and industry partner on the table that adds weight to it See Technology, page 12 See Concept, page 13
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
Technology ... from page 11 Concept ... from page 11
motor launch system and that acceleration of the vehicle, which the combination is anticipated to Riddle Aeronautical University The unique design problem The technology used to build “When we hook this up to an metal plate and those opposing
he continually seeks help from commands the largest portion of be reliable, he said. It also would in Prescott, Ariz. Marriot and required Sayles to examine data electromagnetic launchers also inverter, which basically creates currents will cause the plate
people he thinks can help evolve system costs. be more environmentally friendly his students put together an and model a ramjet to calibrate is transferable to more everyday three-phase voltage and current to be pulled along. In a similar
these concepts. Kloesel’s key Technical hurdles include than current booster rocket educational partnership that it with what goes on in the uses in items such as inverters for that is variable, I can change manner, the inverter produces
contribution is combining the characterizing the system, engines, he said. resulted in the machine going catapult, he explained. trucks and wind turbines. Each the frequency and the voltage a magnetic field that is moving
electromagnetic launch concept validating coupling propulsion A small investment from Dryden 150 miles per hour in February While it will take time experience moves the technology level and therefore the current and the opposing currents will
with a hybrid air-breathing and superconducting magnet was required in an earlier phase. 2008.” to mature the ideas Kloesel a step closer, he added. that’s going into it. By driving a pull the aluminum plate along.
system. suspension, he said. “We obtained an off-the-shelf Kloesel is always on the lookout is advancing through the In its partnership with Dryden, fairly high current through these In a launch system, the plate is
The origins of some of the The Highly Reliable Reusable high-power inverter that is used for ways to advance his concepts. partnerships and technology General Atomics staff provides windings [wiring], I can create a connected to a vehicle, much as
concepts on which Kloesel based Launch System would use the linear in the HVAC [heating, ventilating By arranging for student help in and small business grants, he instrumentation for engine magnetic field that goes through the technology is currently used
this project go back to research induction motor launch system and air conditioning] industry,” summer 2008, he was able to sees the value of the possibilities hardware provided by the center that aluminum plate and moves in roller coasters.
efforts made at Marshall Space for its first stage and to a speed Kloesel said. “The induction take another step. created through those funding and runs tests prior to hooking it,” he said. “IPP is a good way to highlight
Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., in of about Mach 1.5. After that, a machine is off the shelf from Emily Sayles, who was a student mechanisms. it up to the company’s inverter. The principles of this concept technologies and get them in front
the late 1990s, he said. The Highly second-stage ramjet engine would the roller coaster industry and in a minority undergraduate “IPP, SBIR contracts and other The next step will be to run one can be demonstrated by moving of people to see if you can get a
Reliable Reusable Launch System propel the spacecraft to Mach 4, goes 60 miles per hour. In the science and technology program seed funding boosts morale and motor with the inverter to test its a common rare-earth magnet program going,” he said.
project capitalizes on lessons where a rocket would complete first phase of this project, we put researched ramjets that could make [NASA and Dryden] power and then look for funding near a quarter-inch conducting Time – and development
learned from the previous research the trip to orbit, Kloesel said. together the induction machine work for a launch-assist vehicle even better places to work,” he to add more of the four motors aluminum or copper metal plate. dollars – will determine how the
and focuses solely on the linear Aside from the weight reduction, with Dr. Darin Marriot at Embry (see related story). concluded. available for experimentation, The movement of the magnet will idea fits in with launch vehicles
Holland said. create opposing currents in the of the future.
Student ... from page 12
Learning simulation software and data
gathered from past ramjets
like the D-21, a French ramjet
and some missiles that have
UCI school of engineering. The
e-mail listed an opportunity to
work at NASA – her dream job.
Sayles decided to write the required
want to have that same experience
where I’m motivated to go to work
everyday to contribute.”
Sayles’ work at Dryden also
She also participated in a
simulated space journey to a
“It was very influential in my
on the job
ramjets on them, and took essays and profile, ask for a letter of presented frequent reminders decision to pursue aerospace
that data and input it into the recommendation from a research about the importance of her college engineering. I came back wanting
engine performance software.” professor and send her transcripts coursework. to be an astronaut.”
The D-21 was a drone and resume. “I had the most motivation and Since then, she has worked
launched from a Blackbird She learned she was chosen in encouragement from seeing the toward her goal of becoming an
aircraft variant in a 1960s-era another e-mail. correlation between [the job and] astronaut by launching model
joint project by the U.S. Air “I had to read it over several what I’m learning, and applying rockets, solidifying her grasp of
Student contributes to Force and the CIA.
Once the data obtained
times to make sure that I was
reading it correctly. I wanted to
it to engineering work,” she said.
“Lecture halls and theory have real
math and science, earning the
MUST internship and, of course,
design of launch system from actual engines and
from software simulation are
make sure I did indeed get [the
MUST position] before I called
work applications. I used all my
textbooks and course notes, and
there were those early rides in the
cardboard space shuttle.
compared, that software can my parents,” she said. that is a huge motivation to do Sayles was valedictorian of the
be used in the preliminary The excitement only intensified well in my classes.” 2005 Bakersfield High School
ED07 0243-18 NASA Photo by Tom Tschida design of a ramjet for the once she began her work at A U.S. Space Camp based at Class of 2005. That year, she was
By Jay Levine Sayles was a senior at the influential academic experience Kurt Kloesel with validation of launch-assist system. The Dryden. Ames Research Center, Moffett a member of the school’s award-
X-Press Editor University of California, Irvine, I’ve had so far,” Sayles said. “Before software that will be used for software can provide engine “I’ve really enjoyed working Field Calif., first ignited Sayles’ winning academic decathlon
As a girl, Emily Sayles and has since graduated with an that internship, my plans after preliminary design of a second- dimensions, an idea of what with Kurt. He’s a great mentor,” interest in aerospace. As her entry team. She was selected for
pretended to be an astronaut aerospace engineering degree and college were not well defined and stage ramjet for use in a NASA the ramjet engine might look she said. “He allowed for a lot of in a competition for a scholarship to California All-State Honor band
in a refrigerator box she begun her studies in aeronautics I didn’t have a very good idea of ground-based launch-assist like, its size and its thrust freedom in my work, but he also the camp she wrote an essay, which each year during high school and
made into a space shuttle. As and astronautics at Stanford what I would want to study in system. This work is associated capabilities, she said. gave me very clear direction as to was influenced by Neil Armstrong’s received the John Philip Sousa
a summer intern at Dryden University graduate school. The graduate school, if that opportunity with one of the agency’s An air-breathing engine uses where he’s going and where the moonwalk, about getting to go Band Award in 2005.
in the NASA’s Motivating MUST program is open to U.S. presented itself to me. I finally had Innovative Partnerships oxygen from the atmosphere project is going. I’ve also enjoyed space camp. Her essay was chosen While she knows it’s a long
Undergraduates in Science citizens pursuing undergraduate a chance to see what engineers do Program Seed Fund initiatives. as an oxidizer and as a result, watching how he spreads his and she won the scholarship. At shot to becoming an astronaut,
and Technology, or MUST degrees in science, technology, on a day-to-day basis and how “The ramjet will provide a oxidizer does not have to be excitement about his work and the camp, Sayles tried her hand at she said her summer experience
program, the Bakersfield, engineering or mathematics. The NASA contributes to cutting-edge lot of savings in fuel because carried on board the way it must his project to other people, getting several activities, including a moon at Dryden helps keeps her goals
Calif., woman assisted with summer research job also came aeronautics and space research. A it is air-breathing,” Sayles be to fuel a rocket engine. them involved and fired up about gravity simulator and playing the on track and keeps her dream
work that might one day lead with a paycheck. career at NASA is still definitely explained. “I used engine Sayles applied for the what he’s doing. role of a mission specialist on a alive.
to a new launch-assist system “Spending last summer at something I want to pursue.” MUST program through an “It’s exciting to see how much space shuttle mission that involved Beth Hagenauer contributed to
that takes astronauts to space. Dryden was one of the most She assisted Dryden engineer See Student, page 13 e-mail she received from the he enjoys his work. Someday I “lots on buttons to push.” this article.
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
Progress is be-
ing made in the
and Processing, or
DASP, toolbox proj-
ect. The Aeroelastic
Test Wing 2 test fix-
ture that will take
the project into the
on an F-15B is seen
early in the process
in this photo that
includes some of
the team members.
From left are David
Voracek, Siva M.
dia Herrera, Marty
Brenner and Arun
by Tony Landis
By Jay Levine Research Mission Directorate is cost sharing in the effort.
X-Press Editor Marty Brenner, a Dryden principal investigator for the project,
afer airplanes capable of avoiding conditions that lead encapsulated the DASP toolbox this way: “It is a combination
to accidents and the ability to monitor the structure of hardware-sensing devices with software to analyze the critical
of buildings and bridges before trouble arises are aerodynamic parameters and, hopefully, to eventually be used
possibilities if flight experiments on an emerging for different applications – eventually, distributed sensing and
technology are successful. processing for distributed controls.”
Once the integration of hardware is complete on the Aeroelastic The multi-faceted system is capable of obtaining structural
Test Wing 2, flight experiments on the F-15B flight test fixture and aerodynamic data concurrently. The system is comprised of
are scheduled to be flown later this year. The flights will mark circuit boards that are fed with information by the sensors and
the culmination of work on a system that includes new sensors, accelerometers that can process information that can be used
a system that will be the first of its kind to measure unsteady to determine skin friction/sheer stress, which ultimately gives
aerodynamic loads, or forcing function, in real time and correlate variations in the instantaneous (unsteady) lift generated by a wing
NASA Photo by Jim Ross
that data with how the structure responds to those loads. The section in the presence of gusts as well as structural oscillations.
system, called the distributed aerodynamic sensing and processing, Absolute values of the lift coefficient in unsteady flow are obtained
or DASP, toolbox project, was accelerated in a 2007 Innovative as a function of the instantaneous locations of the leading-
Partnerships Program seed fund project. edge stagnation point and the flow-separation point, Brenner
The merits of this new system may be validated when the explained.
aircraft flies a five-flight series to characterize structural dynamic In the experiment, flying directly on the ATW2 is one element
and aerodynamic behavior across a range of flight conditions, of the DASP toolbox called a hot-film sensor. These sensors
from low to high angles of attack, low to high Mach numbers,
Technology has proven itself in the
are mounted on flexible or bending areas of the ATW2 lifting
and in steady and unsteady maneuvers. surfaces.
Strain gages and accelerometers will be used to measure “There are also piezoceramic patches that, when you put power
laboratory, and now it’s time for the structural response, while hot-film gages will be used to
characterize the aerodynamic-flow features and to determine the
through them, vibrate the wing at pre-programmed frequencies.
These are also strain gages that measure strain in the structure.
the crucible of flight research – to aerodynamic forcing function. The flight experiment is expected
to pave the way for development of advanced computational
The hot-film sensors will measure flow angularity through the
stagnation point as measured by angle of attack or sideslip. A
separate the real from the imagined modeling, flutter prediction techniques, and adaptive closed-loop
control technology required for the design and development of
stagnation point is a point in the flow field where the local velocity
See DASP Toolbox, page 16
flight vehicles with active aeroelastic wings. NASA’s Aeronautics
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
DASP Toolbox ... from page 15
of the fluid is zero. Static
DWT may remove the guesswork
pressure is at its maximum By Jay Levine might pinpoint the exact location Starr Ginn. Ginn is a Dryden to determine there are no
X-Press Editor flutter will occur. contracting officer technical aeroelastic instabilities due to
value at stagnation points
Rather than calculate a best guess Knowing where flutter – representative and Dryden structural non-linear effects,
(stagnation pressure), and the
about where flutter of an aircraft uncontrolled vibration of an aerostructures deputy branch which are not modeled. This
streamline at the stagnation
will occur in flight, a new tool called aircraft’s structure – is occurring chief. new tool will demonstrate
point is perpendicular to the
the Dry Wind Tunnel developed could result in a tool that saves “Today’s flutter prediction the flight condition in which
surface of the body,” Brenner
through a recently awarded Small time and money, increases safety methods have come a long way,” an aeroelastic instability will
Business Technology Transfer, or and makes aerospace vehicle Ginn explained. “But our main
The measurement tool
STTR, Program Phase II agreement design work easier to validate, said focus of flight-test validation is See DWT, page 21
would benefit research into
topics such as alleviating the
aerodynamic pressures on
an aircraft by gusts, flutter
suppression, improvement of
aerodynamic efficiency and
supersonic wave reduction, he
said. The information from the
sensors also could be used for
distributed control of lifting hypersonic
surfaces, or controlling a wing
that could change its shape vehicles
in flight to take advantage
of aerodynamic efficiencies, By Jay Levine
Brenner added. X-Press Editor
In addition, the DASP A recently awarded Small
toolbox offers a less obtrusive ED09 0135-05 NASA Photo by Tony Landis Business Technology Transfer
way of gaining the data without Gary Williams, center, works on the ATW2 test structure that will take elements of the DASP toolbox into Program contract will be used to
having to add tubing or other the flight research environment. Also pictured are Christine Jutte and Marty Brenner. continue work on a design tool
structures to the aircraft. It for aero-thermo-elastic-propulsion
conforms to the aircraft’s structure and has tolerances that can be partners Tao Systems to further develop the program. simulation of air-breathing
adapted to within a millimeter, he said. “We have been working on this with Dryden for a long time. hypersonic flight vehicles.
“It is a real-time aerodynamic measurement tool to identify Some of the basic ideas were already there and this was a culmination
flow-verification points on an elliptic surface. It enables us to of the ideas,” Mangalam said.
In addition, the award will permit
the team that includes Dryden, New IPP awards aim to validate the
determine the forces on that surface based on a few critical points. A series of increasingly complex Small Business Innovative
That can be used by NASA to determine what the wing is doing Research projects are at the heart of the DASP toolbox and qualified
Advanced Engineering Solutions,
Inc. of Ormond Beach, Fla.,
basics in ideas that could mean a lot
in real time and do what is necessary to control it to get the best it as an IPP project. It evolved from sensing and instrumentation
performance,” said Siva M. Mangalam, president of Tao Systems, to diagnostics and ultimately it is intended to lead to controls that
and Oklahoma State University,
Stillwater, to further extend
to the readiness level of technology
Dryden’s partner on the project. modeling from a previous Phase
Tool could mean revolution
offer better performance and safety, Mangalam explained.
David Voracek, who is serving as the project manager, said DASP toolbox components also are expected to be incorporated I STTR to include acoustics, said
the concept evolved through collaboration with the Air Force onto the F-18 Intelligent Flight Control System aircraft when it is Kajal Gupta, Dryden’s contracting
Research Laboratories. The AFRL sponsored the sensors that ready to fly, Brenner said. The aircraft is a good choice for the DASP
are the focus of this flight experiment in the Langley Research toolbox because F-18 no. 853 was used for Active Aeroelastic Wing
Center, Hampton, Va., transonic wind tunnel. The excellent research, through which a wing was controlled with twisting.
officer and technical representative
on the project.
“The resulting code can be used
in radio communications
for simulation of novel Dryden flight By Jay Levine data communications, said data onto the signal to be
results in the wind tunnel provided the foundation for the IPP “Using this technology, we are able to look at the structure of the X-Press Editor project lead Larry Freudinger. transmitted prior to sending
agreement, Voracek said. airplane wing and use the sensors and integration with the adaptive vehicles. We can use this simulation
Radio communications These advances could it to the signal amplifier.
“Part of my role is to look at what we are going to be doing control to re-distribute the control surfaces to obtain a more aero- to ensure flight safety for any new
could be revolutionized if a benefit all aircraft and If the antenna is a phased
in the future with that technology in terms of integrating that efficient shape for the flight condition. Using stagnation point project that comes to Dryden,” he
new Innovative Partnerships spacecraft seeking to improve array, a separate set of phase
with several with other, different technologies. We are building a control will be one technology we will look at after the sensors are explained.
Program Innovation Fund communication system shifter electronics is used to
partnership with the Air Force Research Labs in hopes of getting it proven through the IPP,” Voracek said. Using an STTR agreement to
project succeeds. performance or implement steer the modulated signal
[the technology] off a test article and onto an airplane. Developing Dryden project co-chief engineers Claudia Herrera, Christine complete the work has a number of
The new concept, called solutions that are constrained in the desired direction,
the technology through the IPP was a great opportunity for us Jutte and Brenner said Voracek has worked with Robert Medina, advantages, Gupta said.
Direct Spatial Antenna by volume and available Freudinger explained.
to get funding we could not get anywhere else and get it to a Dryden small business procurement officer, and Greg Poteat of the “The agreement is unique in
Modulation, may offer an power, he said. The Direct Spatial
technology readiness level that allows us to integrate it into a Dryden IPP office to streamline the IPP processes that resulted in the sense it partners Dryden with
approach for reducing the size, The conventional approach Antenna Modulation, or
larger flight vehicle,” Voracek said. industry and academia. We are
weight, power and complexity for sending data is to
The IPP created an opportunity for Brenner, Voracek and See DASP Toolbox, page 34
See Design Tool, page 35 of radio subsystems that enable modulate, or encode the See DSAM, page 35
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
By Jay Levine
In an era of rapidly changing technologies to build and
operate aircraft, it is becoming more and more important to
understand the limits of those technologies to ensure safety and
reduce maintenance costs and aircraft downtime. Academia and NASA benefit from cooperative work
Dryden researcher Sunil Kukreja, who holds a doctorate in research efforts such as those fostered by the Innovative
in nonlinear system identification, is leading an Innovative Partnerships Program.
Partnerships Program Seed Fund project to do exactly that with Dennis Bernstein of the University of Michigan aerospace
aircraft made of composite materials: create a way to monitor engineering department and editor-in-chief of the Institute
the aircraft’s health. of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, Control
“If we can develop the criteria for health monitoring of Systems magazine provided insight into some of the benefits
composite aircraft in flight, we can help the aerospace industry of these research agreements to X-Press editor Jay Levine.
improve safety. Also, airlines want their airplanes flying as much Bernstein, who has a doctorate degree in control engineering,
as possible because when they are on the ground for maintenance, is partnering with Dryden researcher Sunil Kukreja on the
airlines are losing money. This could greatly reduce downtime 2008 IPP Seed Fund proposal to develop a way to monitor
and refine maintenance schedules,” he explained. the health of composite-material airframes. It is an effort that
Metallic structures that have defined most of modern aviation could lead to safer flight and, perhaps in the future, slightly
are well understood in what they require in maintenance and cheaper fares.
when they will need attention. However, not as much is known
about composite material that was first used in the construction Levine: What are the mutual benefits of the cooperative
of military aircraft to reduce weight and radar signature while work on this project between NASA and the university?
increasing the structure’s strength, Kukreja said.
As an increasing number of commercial airliners are moving Bernstein: For this IPP Seed Fund project, my research group
in the same direction to reduce weight and add durability, the benefits from the guidance of NASA personnel on which
need is becoming greater to understand composite materials, technology issues are the most important. My NASA partners
he said. To those ends Kukreja formed a partnership with have direct knowledge from a scientific and engineering
long-time colleague Dennis Bernstein of the University of perspective about which research challenges are the most
Michigan in Ann Arbor. Bernstein has a doctorate in control critical and will likely have the highest relevance and payoff.
engineering. From the NASA perspective, universities can investigate
Additional Dryden partners include co-principal investigator basic research issues that may have a long lead time and low
Marty Brenner and aerospace engineer Shaun McWherter. probability of success but, if successful, will have huge payoff.
Kukreja’s team developed a plan that included facilities, people For example, my group is working with NASA Dryden
and in-kind services of about $975,000 and a strong proposal researcher Sunil Kukreja to develop a new technique for
that earned $250,000 in IPP funds through an agreement, he passive health monitoring, where the word “passive” refers
said. to the fact that we don’t attempt to excite the structure but
“It is not well understood how composite materials age, or rather just use sensors to monitor its behavior.
how those materials behave,” he said. “What we are trying to The idea is to extract information about the health of a
determine is if we can use system identification – mathematical structure (such as a composite aircraft wing) by observing its
modeling techniques – for determining the health of composite response to ambient disturbances. By collecting and processing
aircraft.” information, our goal is to analyze the health of the structure
Researchers are approaching the challenge by developing a by detecting how it changes over time. If this approach is
sensor-only, fault-detection approach using pseudo-transfer successful, then it will facilitate practical, low-cost, online
function identification, Kukreja said. His team’s goal is to health monitoring for a wide range of applications.
identify a pseudo-transfer function – a type of mathematical To do this, we follow a development process involving
representation – between two sensors in the presence of mathematical analysis, algorithm development, numerical
variations from the baseline operation and external factors. simulation and, finally, demonstration and validation on data
If the fault-detection architecture is validated, it could sets. It takes time and patience to carry out this process, but
Research focuses on monitoring the eliminate the need for ground testing or building onboard the payoff in the end is hopefully of real value to NASA and
industry in general. It’s virtually impossible to follow through
equipment to monitor aircraft health, he said.
health of composite airframes, which “Using this fault detection architecture, we hypothesize that
the pseudo-transfer function for the nominal system or aircraft,
on this process without a NASA collaborator.
could improve safety and maintenace for which can be determined at time of manufacture, should be
significantly different when compared to a potentially faulty
Levine: What do these agreements mean for students
interested in these kinds of investigations?
commercial, military and business aircraft system,” Kukreja said.
If his hypothesis is proven, then the next step is to determine Bernstein: Students have a chance to work on technology that
what parameters to monitor for estimating its health, he has the potential to be used on real applications. In addition,
See Monitoring, page 20 See Interview, page 20
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
Monitoring ... from page 19 Interview ... from page 19 DWT ... from page 17
said. That information could be used to develop criteria for students are motivated by the opportunity to interact or will not occur, on the ground
monitoring composite structures, Kukreja explained. with NASA researchers. We always want to do our best to and, as a result, increase safety
Once the mathematical analysis and algorithmic developments deliver high-quality work, and having an ongoing, two-way and reduce the time it takes to
are complete, the algorithm will be validated through simulation interaction with NASA personnel such as [Kukreja] provides validate the flight envelope. For
of aircraft models such as the F/A-18 or F-15B and eventually tremendous motivation. Through ongoing communication, example, only a few flights might
compared with flight-test data from different flight conditions we also have the chance to discuss technical issues, seek be necessary to prove the absence
to judge how well it monitors the health of the composite advice and benefit from readily available guidance. of flutter, rather than having to
elements of the aircraft, he said. build up the flight series over a
An analysis of flight-test data offers verification of the Levine: What benefit do you see for the University of number of tests.”
algorithm or points the way to a revision of the theory and Michigan? The work completed on Phase
assumption behind them. With further developments, Kukreja I of the Dry Wind Tunnel STTR
said the theoretical work could lead to breakthroughs in safety Bernstein: The College of Engineering at the University of developed a ground-flutter
– and possibly economy – for future air travelers. Michigan encourages the faculty to link new research ideas to testing system that verified it is
One key benefit to developing a method for monitoring a real-world applications. Basic research remains essential, but possible to physically simulate
composite structure’s health could lead to a technician on the our “charge” is to develop new ideas and techniques that can flutter of very simple structures
ground downloading computer data that will signal if something make a real impact on real-world problems, such as economic, on the ground. This DWT
requires attention, as opposed to requiring a scheduled societal, environmental, etc. Having this collaboration with could one day augment wind
maintenance regime, Kukreja said. NASA gives us the motivation and means to develop and tunnels as a means for flutter
A possibility as the project progresses is to demonstrate and transition the research that we work on. and aeroservoelastic instability
verify the theoretical and simulation studies, as well as analysis of testing, she said.
flight-test data, by applying this algorithm on the Aeroelastic Test Levine: What other insights do you have on this project? Developed through an
Wing 2, a scale version of a composite aircraft wing, he said. agreement among Dryden,
The ATW2 is attached to a test fixture under the Dryden Bernstein: There are three essential ingredients for doing Zona Technology Inc. of
ED06 0054-128 NASA Photo by Tony Landis
F-15B flight research test bed and can be flown to conditions that good research; namely, one, having a good problem for Scottsdale, Ariz., and Arizona
induce stress and fatigue for the ATW2, yet retain operational motivating the research, two, having innovative and State University, Tempe, the A Dryden F-15 is configured with the Starr Soft Support system that will be used in the Dry Wind Tunnel for
conditions for the F-15B, allowing for in-flight demonstration promising ideas for solving the problem, and, three, having DWT system consists of a ground-flutter testing anticipated as part of a Small Business Technology Transfer, or STTR, Program Phase
of this advanced health-monitoring approach, he explained. the means to carry out the ideas. This collaboration with ground-vibration test hardware II agreement. The Phase II study might pinpoint the exact location at which flutter will occur, which could
“While one flight test demonstration does not make the [Kukreja] has already impacted all of these ingredients. As system and a real-time unsteady- streamline expansion of the flight test envelope at earlier stages of a flight project.
experiment globally valid, it would be a solid step toward the project progresses, guidance from NASA personnel will aerodynamic-force-generation
establishing the applicability of this approach for in-flight be increasingly valuable. software system, Ginn said. Zona representatives. Dryden If the research works as stiffness characteristics vary, are
health-monitoring systems,” he added. The DWT tests simulate in real uses Zona’s Zaero code for flutter expected on a couple of small- difficult to model in linearized
time the unsteady aerodynamic analysis. scale test articles, within two analyses but would be present
forces through ground-vibration Zona representatives decided to years it will be applied to an in the DWT testing on the
NASA and the Uni- pursue the idea, but needed ASU F-15 or F-18 research aircraft, actual structure.
test hardware, namely shakers
versity of Michigan to join them. ASU had testing Ginn added. DWT testing also could
aerospace engineer- hardware required to incorporate Merits of a DWT could be used for a post-flight
“What will make the DWT
ing department are vital information to tell the be many, Ginn said. It can testing procedure to resolve
even more successful is to
partners in an Inno- shakers how to interpret and react accommodate full-size aircraft discrepancies between the
conduct the test on Dryden’s soft
vative Partnerships to information fed into them, or wing structures, including analysis and flight-test results.
support system, which makes the
Program Seed Fund which was validated in Phase I inherent structural nonlinearity The DWT test concept is
analyst’s life easier and allows and
project to create a work. and flight-controller-in-the loop, applicable to a broad range of
way of monitoring Phase I proved that the or in essence tell the computer test structures, from components
composite aircraft feedback controller was fast to configure itself a certain way to wing to full aircraft.
Ginn previously developed the
health. Project par- enough to communicate between then tell researchers how it Commercial applications
Starr Soft Support system, which
ticipants include, the shakers and accelerometers to would react to those changes, for the Dry Wind Tunnel
is an aircraft jacking system that
seated left to right, induce flutter, Ginn said. she said. system include flutter-envelope
integrated an existing isolation
Bojana Drincic, The flutter predictions were Potential NASA applications expansion and flying-quality
Matthew Holzel, close, but Phase II will raise the for the Dry Wind Tunnel programs for military, civil
Dryden aerospace engineer
Marty Brenner and stakes with more complex test include use as a pre-flight testing transport and general aviation
Leonard Voelker resurrected
Dennis Bernstein. structures. A small wing used effort to identify any aeroelastic aircraft.
the idea of a ground flutter test
Standing are Sunil extensively at Langley Research or aeroservoelastic instability Potential customers include
and brainstormed the idea with
Kukreja, left, and Center, Hampton, Va., for wind- that is not predicted by analysis. the Air Force, Navy, Defense
Dryden Structural Dynamics
Anthony D’Amato. tunnel tests will be compared to For example, inherent structural Advanced Research Projects
group lead Chan-gi Pak. The
concept came up again during tests with the Dry Wind Tunnel to nonlinearities such as friction Agency, and the aerospace
Dennis Bernstein a meeting between Dryden and see how the numbers match up. and freeplay, or areas where industry.
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
By Jay Levine
eporting the results of NTR has
research is almost as
important as the work
itself. New Technology Reporting
For that reason, NASA requires is required from the start
investigators to file new technology of any new development
reports to explain the results effort. Just because it is
of their research and make the required, however, does
findings available to others seeking not mean there are not
to do related work. Reporting rewards. Here’s what’s in
new technology developments it for researchers:
also protects NASA’s intellectual • Publication in NASA
property, or technology advanced Tech Briefs magazine for
from its research, said Lance selected new technology
Richards, a Dryden research reports is worth $350 per
In a modern era where the • Release of new software
demands are many, it can be nets $500 for each
a challenge for investigators contributor in a team
to complete their reporting effort, or $1,000 for a
requirements, but it must be part single contributor
of the NASA culture, he said. • Patent applications
“It comes down to stewardship. are valued at $500 each
We are entrusted with the for members of a team,
responsibility to taxpayers to or $1,000 for a single
ED07 0287-08 NASA Photo by Tony Landis
conduct flight research. We contributor
work to accomplish the mission, • Based on the value of Although the fiber optic wing shape sensors, which are located on fibers that are the diameter of a human hair, aren’t
but we still have to answer the the contribution to NASA visible, the sealant used to apply them can be seen in this view from above the Ikhana wing containing them.
mail on our reporting of our and the public, Space Act
findings. A second benefit is the Awards of up to $100,000 about types of data they want to
personal satisfaction of flying a
one-of-a-kind aircraft to advance
see in published format. They
should be thinking about where
First steps to filing an NTR
technology and the tangible result Questions? Call Yvonne are the gaps in knowledge and If a researcher is stumped on how to get started with new
of providing something to the Kellogg, Dryden’s award use the research to hit the right technology reporting, here are a few steps to build momentum:
technical community that solves liaison officer, at 661- target by filling that gap,” Richards • Get an eNTRe account set up at http://entre.nasa.gov
a need or makes life better,” said 276-3720 for more explained. • Go to the eNTRe login at http://invention.nasa.gov/
ED08 0109-08 NASA Photo by Tom Tschida Richards, who has a doctorate in information. The reporting also can have • Complete online NASA Form 1679 “Disclosure of Invention
A fiber optic cable is the thickness of a human hair and can’t be seen in mechanical engineering. unintended benefits.
the center of this wing, but the tiny fiber could have ramifications for every and New Technology, including Software”
New technology reports are private sector for people to reap “In the midst of a flight • Submit the form
future aircraft and spacecraft. Team members include, from left, Anthony incorporated into the searchable the benefits of NASA’s research, experiment you might see
“Nino” Piazza, Allen Parker, William Ko and Lance Richards.
NASA Technology Tracking but the patents also allow NASA something you didn’t see before. Questions? Call Greg Poteat, Dryden’s New Technology
System database that includes new to use the technology it has I thought of an idea for real-time Reporting officer, at 661-276-3872 for more information.
or improved techniques, products, developed without having to loads measurement when I was
devices, materials, processes, pay a private company to use it, looking at data. I thought, ‘that’s
compositions, systems, machines, Richards said. interesting,’” he said. together for a paper. In the case Ikhana unmanned aircraft system
apparatuses, articles, fixtures, tools, “In the midst of day-to-day flight of the Fiber Optic Wing Shape in 2008.
methods, basic scientific data and New Technology Reporting research is when you can have an Sensing Technology we had already William Ko, who has a
software. The database includes Good research culminates ‘ah-ha’ moment. This could be released it publicly, but there is a doctorate in aeronautics, and
inventors’ contact information with a publication that explains very beneficial, this is patentable, window you have to operate in for Richards collaborated to obtain a
and provides opportunities for what was accomplished, provides it is something the scientific the patent process,” he said. patent on the Method for Real-
New Technology Reporting connecting a technology need analysis of the data and synthesizes community can benefit from.” Time Structure Shape Sensing.
begins practically with a with the innovator.
Although it is not a primary
the results so others can read and
benefit from the work, he said.
Sometimes it takes longer to
determine the real value of the
Richards and a team of
The system uses fiber optic strain
sensors to measure surface strains
researcher’s first thought. reason for the reporting, there also
is the potential for some research
However, reporting of the new
technology begins even sooner.
research, something that can be
cleared up by writing about it.
researchers proved the merits of
their technology developments
and the Ko Displacement Theory
to determine the wing shape
Data gathered can be vital, projects to result in patents, he “Reporting should begin when “Sometimes you don’t realize of the FOWSS, which was using those strains as inputs.
added. NASA is tasked with the experiment is being designed what you have until you put it in a demonstrated in flight on the
and the rewards great. transferring its technology to the and the researchers should think presentation or put the rough draft wings of the remotely piloted See NTR, page 36
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
Lightweight NASA technology can monitor a
wing’s shape in flight. It could be used for
building and bridge health to determine if it’s
safe to travel, even after an earthquake
Gray Creech tested, the sensors can also be used to look at the stress of other
Dryden Public Affairs structures, like bridges and dams, and possibilities extend to
magine wind turbine blades whose shape can automatically biomedical uses as well. The applications of this technology are
adjust, in real time, to produce more energy. Or imagine mind-boggling,” Richards said.
aircraft wings that can stiffen when an aircraft experiences It’s an incredible amount of data, and it doesn’t get lost
turbulence to save fuel and improve the ride for passengers. in electronic noise; it all gets displayed in colorful computer
At present, the shape of these structures can’t be measured in graphics fed back to a control system. NASA engineers can
real time and therefore can’t adapt to these types of changes in measure strain, temperature and displacement changes with
their environment. it.
Or, imagine civil engineers being able to immediately see The patented technology can be used on wings as well
and record precise bridge movements along a bridge’s braces as other complex structures such as re-entry vehicles. For
and spans. Future incidents like the 2007 eight-lane bridge example, NASA is looking at using this technology behind
collapse in Minneapolis, Minn., might be avoided. the Constellation program’s Orion capsule heat shield in
These and other such advances are now possible because of a order to see exactly where strain, temperature and structural
new technology patented by Dryden engineers. deformations are occurring even as the capsules re-enter Earth’s
Recently patented fiber optic-based sensor technology atmosphere.
provides a way to easily determine the shape of real world “Generations of aircraft and spacecraft could benefit from
structures in real time. work with the new sensors since the sensors have performed
“It’s gratifying to see this patent awarded, which means we well, both in the laboratory and now in flight,” said Richards.
can take the next step toward licensing and commercialization The weight reduction that fiber optic sensors would make
so that the technology can be used in the marketplace,” says possible could reduce operating costs and improve aircraft fuel
Dryden research engineer Lance Richards, who co-authored the efficiency.
patent application with Dryden’s William Ko. “We just want to The development also opens up new opportunities and
see this technology used and people benefiting from it.” applications that would not be achievable with conventional
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to have a patent with technology. The new sensors, for example, could enable
such a broad range of potential benefits for the public,” said adaptive wing-shape control.
Greg Poteat, Dryden’s new technology officer. “The sensors on Ikhana are imperceptibly small because
“This technology is unique for us in that it can be used they’re located on fibers approximately the diameter of a human
commercially, such as in structural safety applications, in a way hair,” Richards explained. “You can get the information you
that Dryden’s flight research-specific technology traditionally need from the thousands of sensors on a few fibers without the
hasn’t been,” Poteat said. “Our Technology Transfer office weight and complexity of conventional sensors. Strain gages,
will also be initiating a marketing activity to look for for example, require three copper lead wires for every sensor
commercial companies that may be interested in licensing the and are significantly heavier than optical fiber.”
technology.” When using the fiber optic sensors, researchers do not
The shape-sensing technology moved from years of require analytical models for determining strain and other
laboratory development and testing to large-scale, dynamic measurements because data derived with the sensors include
field testing in 2008 when it was flown on Dryden’s Ikhana the actual measurements being sought.
remotely piloted aircraft to measure the change in the aircraft’s Intelligent flight control software technology now being
wing shape in real time, in flight. The effort represented one of developed can incorporate structural monitoring data from the
the first comprehensive flight validations of fiber optic sensor fiber optic sensors to compensate for stresses on the airframe,
technology. helping prevent situations that might otherwise result in a loss
In application, a long, hair-thin fiber optic strand is attached of flight control.
to a structure, such as the Ikhana’s wings. Every quarter-inch By extension, the application of the technology to wind
if it’s safe
along the fiber, a sensor instantaneously feeds data on the strain turbines could improve their performance by making their
and shape of the structure back to a computer. The result is a blades more efficient. “An improvement of only a few percent
complete, as-it-happens look at every twist and turn of the equals a huge economic benefit,” Richards said.
structure from literally hundreds of sensors along a single NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate funded
strand of optical fiber attached to it. algorithm and systems development, instrument and ground
“In addition to aerospace applications like some we’ve test validation of the new sensor system.
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
recognized for effort
that resulted in an ‘eye
in the sky’ that delivered ED09 0166-6 NASA Photo by Tom Tschida
Dryden Ikhana team members recently met to celebrate their roles in an joint effort with Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and the U.S. Depart-
critical information to ment of Agriculture Forest Service, the National Interagency Fire Center and the Federal Aviation Administration. Front row, from left, are Randy Button,
Joseph Kinn, Beth Hagenauer, Mark Pestana, Teresa Kline, Tom Rigney, Ryan Lefkofsky, Mary Odom, Randal Albertson and David McBride. Back row,
fire commanders from left, are James Smith, Michael Young, John Del Frate, Kelly Snapp, Russ James, Jeremy Knittel, Gregory Buoni, Jesus Vazquez, Joseph Innis, Kathleen
Howell, Gregory Poteat,Terry Bishop and Shawn Albertson. At left, the Ikhana flies a fire mission. (NASA Photo ED 07 0243-35 by Jim Ross)
By Jay Levine What we have done in demonstrating the fire sensors for the Forest
X-Press Editor Service is show that you can fly over the fires and feed that data to fire
he Ikhana team recently received the prestigious Federal captains in the field. That really makes the difference in protecting
Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Interagency somebody’s house, or livestock, or just public property.
Partnership Award for its efforts in developing and using “It also shows that things we do don’t just stay in the lab. At Dryden,
technologies that assisted in the successful 2008 California we try to make sure that everything, technology-wise, eventually makes
wildfire missions. it to the market and helps taxpayers.”
The Dryden-based, remotely piloted Ikhana flew with a cutting- At the core of this effort is the sophisticated Autonomous Modular
edge-technology sensor, developed at Ames Research Center, Moffett Sensor, which can detect temperature up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. The
Field, Calif., in a pod under a wing of the aircraft during the fire sensor is a scanning spectrometer that acquires high spatial-resolution
missions. Images were sent from the aircraft to fire commanders on imagery of Earth’s features from its vantage point on board low- and
the ground, said Thomas Rigney, Dryden’s Ikhana project manager. medium-altitude research aircraft.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the National Previous technologies were unable to penetrate dense smoke to seek
Interagency Fire Center and the Federal Aviation Administration also the underlying fires, but lives were saved during the fire missions because
were key partners. The team shared the distinction of the technology the scanner can see through the smoke and to the hot spots, Rigney
and partnership award at a ceremony in North Carolina May 7. said. Because the Ikhana identified an unknown fire, lives of firefighters
“The award is an affirmation that we are working well with other potentially were saved, he added. Also as a result of the Ikhana imagery,
agencies within the federal government,” Rigney said. “We are working 10,000 people in Paradise, Calif., were evacuated after fire commanders
together for a common goal, which is to help the firefighter identify reviewed the data showing the fire’s progress.
fire boundaries and hot spots.” In 2007, Ikhana missions were focused on validating sensor capability
Dryden Acting Center Director David McBride said the team’s work and the ability to be deployed in areas across the western United States,
and the honor shows the value NASA and Dryden bring to customers while the 2008 fire missions were within the borders of California, where
and stakeholders. more than 500 fires burned in June 2008, he said. Most of those fires
“It’s validation of what we’re doing here,” McBride said. “What were started by lightning striking dry brush and trees and flames moving
this is all about is the ability to look at technology developed in the
government sector that actually makes a difference in peoples’ lives. See Award, page 33
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
By Jay Levine
hen the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest
Service asked Dryden to evaluate the operational
uses of two aircraft as very large aerial tankers, a
Small Business Innovative Research agreement
helped answer the question.
Mark Dickerson, Very Large Aerial Tanker – or VLAT –
project manager, and Dryden researcher Tim Cox began to
consider options to answer the key questions in determining if
two large aircraft could be used as tankers for the Forest Service
and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Cox, a Dryden aerospace engineer, had recently overseen
System Technology’s work as the contracting officer on the
company’s recently completed SBIR phase II on flying qualities
and topics relevant and applicable to the tanker questions. The
company agreed to take on the work as a phase III SBIR. Phase
I SBIRs flesh out a concept, which is validated by a phase II
Photo courtesy Systems Technology
agreement if it is judged worthy. A phase III agreement shows
the concept is ready for use, Cox explained. David Klyde, Systems Technology technical director and principal re-
“The Forest Service does not assess handling qualities – search engineer, is seen here as an evaluation pilot for the Calpsan
that’s not what they do, so they approached Dryden. Under Learjet II In-Flight Simulator. The purpose of the flight was to gener-
a cooperative agreement they had in place, they could ask ate a flying-qualities database that has since been used to develop and
Dryden to look into it and Dryden asked for our help,” Klyde assess new system of identification techniques. The work was sponsored
by the Air Force Flight Test Center under a Phase II SBIR.
Cox explained what Systems Technology was asked to do.
“They were brought in to help plan and analyze data from The aircraft were determined to be airworthy because they would
simulation sessions using a [Boeing] 747 simulator at Ames and be operating well under their maximum weight limitations, could
a DC-10 simulator in Florida. A future project might compare carry a full load of water or retardant, have excess engine capability
flight data to the simulations,” Cox said. to get them out of difficult situations and their handling qualities
“Systems Technology assisted in the analysis of the are good depending on terrain, Klyde said. Steep turns in the
simulations that we did, using their expertise in handling simulation were harder for the larger aircraft than for the smaller
quality issues such as pilot-induced oscillation. Their significant aircraft currently used by the Forest Service, he said.
experience benefited our investigation on whether these big The final report did not recommend using the aircraft in very
Photo courtesy 10 Tanker Air Carrier airplanes have sufficient handling qualities to maneuver in close steep or rugged terrain unless deliveries of water or slurry can
proximity to terrain, set up approaches to a targeted drop line, be made with minimal maneuvering, with a lead plane available
and successfully perform the drop,” Cox added. and with adequate terrain clearance at the wingtips as well as on
Using small businesses can make a difference in NASA centerline, he added.
Getting the drop
research, said Dickerson. The initial chapter is complete for this research, but the forest
“The value of small business is that they do a good job of service has expressed interested in this work. Not just the airplanes
complementing our indigenous capabilities. Dryden is only in this study, but also others. This study did not include flight
so big, so having access to small and big business brings great test evaluation, another recommendation Systems Technology
expertise. Small business also tends to be an excellent value,” he suggested to validate the simulations for a follow-on research effort,
on a challenge
said. Klyde said.
For more than 20 years, Systems Technology has worked Concerning working with NASA, he said the company
with Dryden, especially with the controls and dynamics branch. experienced unexpected but welcome results from their work.
This [Systems Technology and Dryden] agreement contracted “There was a lot more visibility [for the company] than
the company to work on aircraft simulations at Ames Research we expected. Usually we do research and present results and
Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and a separate simulation in researchers on the other end are interested in the technical data.
Florida to determine if the handling qualities of the two aircraft However, this received a lot more play in the media than we
Small business has a role in determining under study would fit the firefighting missions for which the
Forest Service was considering them.
expected. The reaction to our work is good and the work is getting
so much notice,” Klyde said.
whether very large aerial tankers are the The company took data from the piloted simulation and did
analysis and reported those results back to Dryden, said David
This work is characteristic of the kinds of things that can happen
for a company once it has proven that its ideas work, he said. Once
answer to U.S. Forest Service needs Klyde, Systems Technology technical director and principal
research engineer. Klyde also went to the DC-10 facility in
people work with the company on one idea, other ideas are easier
because often times “there are people at the centers to bounce ideas
Victorville for an assessment, then helped with the final report
writing and assisted with the briefing to the Forest Service. See Tanker, page 33
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
By Jay Levine
olling Hills Research Corp. is a small business that has
earned success through its work and its use of Innovative
Partnerships Program funding, such as the Small Business
Innovative Research and Small Business Technology
Transfer programs, to more closely examine its ideas.
Rolling Hills President and CEO Brian Kramer said at the core
of the company’s success is, “we are very interested in the ideas we
propose and we have a lean operation.”
In addition, the company has become focused on using
aerodynamics to improve vehicles and their safety and promoting
creativity and freedom in applying innovative ideas to problems.
Two categories summarize many of Rolling Hill’s successes: its
water tunnel and application of evolutionary flow-visualization
and measurement techniques, and using the water tunnel to do
“pretty much anything you can do in a wind tunnel,” Kramer said.
In addition, the company also is known for its research into flow
control and drag reduction techniques.
The water tunnel and SBIR
The water tunnel and the expansion of its capabilities are SBIR
success stories showcasing what technology development agreements
are intended to lead to – a commercially viable product that can
resolve technology challenges, Kramer said. Photo courtesy Rolling Hills Research Corp.
A wide range of challenges can be met through the use of the water
tunnel and at an economical cost. Small models used in the water Rolling Hills Research Corp. President Brian Kramer, left, and Mi-
tunnel are less expensive and can be developed early in the program, chael Kerho, the company’s chief aerodynamicist, are pictured at an
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics event promoting
when changes can prevent errors leading to big-dollar investments,
the company’s water tunnels and research capabilities.
The water tunnel was first designed and built for flow visualization,
or how flow moves over aerodynamic surfaces. Over the years stability derivatives can be calculated, Kerho said.
Rolling Hills researchers took the tool to the next level by using The new capabilities for the water tunnel have made it even
SBIR agreements to develop instruments for use in the water tunnel, more attractive to universities that continue to purchase them in
such as the five-component submersible balance to measure forces the United States and in a number of countries around the world,
Photo courtesy Rolling Hills Research Corp. and moments in the water tunnel. including Mexico, France and England.
Rolling Hills researchers measure airfoil surface pressures on this model at very low Reynolds numbers in the water tunnel. During the past year Rolling Hills researchers were studying surface
pressures on a fully instrumented airfoil model in the water tunnel Stereo lithography
for an SBIR-funded investigation. It simulated a wing in flight, A rapid-prototyping technology, which Rolling Hills contracts
which is common in a wind tunnel but not in a water tunnel. out for its customers to gain even greater use of the water tunnel,
Very low Reynolds number airfoil development with pressure is stereo lithography, Kerho explained.
measurements did not exist before, and the new tool allowed the While metal and fiber glass models are required for a wind-
company to take a qualitative tool and make it more quantitative, tunnel environment they are typically costly and time-consuming
said Mike Kerho, Rolling Hills chief aerodynamicist and a principal to manufacture. A system similar to three-dimensional computer-
investigator on many of the company’s projects. assisted drawing programs now can use lasers to sculpt plastic,
“Through an SBIR with Dryden, we were able to develop the resulting in an accurate prototype that is strong enough to endure
technology to accurately measure model surface pressures at very low water-tunnel testing, he said.
Reynolds numbers. If you’re going to do airfoil models and you want Because the water tunnel applies less pressure to a test object
to learn something about what the flow field is doing, pressures are compared to a wind tunnel, the stereo lithography models hold
a good diagnostic tool to obtain a quantitative understanding of the up, Kerho said. Model accuracy is essential in wind and water
Small businesses can maximize IPP funds state of the flow field,” Kerho said.
In addition to using the water tunnel for two-dimensional airfoil
tunnel testing and this process for model manufacturing coupled
with the water tunnel can provide both a time- and cost-effective
to develop technology NASA needs and studies, three-dimensional aircraft models can be studied using a
unique computer-controlled dynamic model support system, which
alternative to traditional wind-tunnel testing. Rolling Hills worked
with several rapid prototyping shops to develop a methodology
that leads to commercial products
provides the ability to rotate the model in the water tunnel about the that provides high-quality models quickly and economically.
three axes – pitch, yaw and roll – to permit researchers to take data
as the test article is rotated in the water tunnel and for which the See Rolling Hills, page 32
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
These images show a new
Rolling Hills ... from page 32
Rolling Hills Research Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, in which there is a large to a bell-shaped nozzle that does not) as the rocket propels a
flow-visualization tech- opening in the side of the aircraft where the telescope “peers” out vehicle. The problem with aerospike nozzles is they often become
nique developed for study- from its host NASA 747SP. NASA may need to investigate and too hot and need to be cooled, Kramer said. The oxidizer-cooled
ing the effect of the com- modify configurations like the SOFIA to ensure flow-separation aerospike concept does what its name implies – it turns fuel into
pany’s patented method problems do not exist, Kramer said. vapor and uses that phase change to cool the engine.
of controlling boundary- The commercialization prospects are high if the detector Another new development for Rolling Hills researchers is an
layer transition from performs as predicted, Kramer said. The sensors can record STTR agreement with the University of Illinois for a real-time
laminar to turbulent on information on a flash drive and require no external power source. flight-envelope monitoring capability that would give pilot
a low-Reynolds-number The application of the idea goes beyond flight research. It could be alerts in situations such as icing, heavy rain, battle damage, bird
propeller. The flow-visu- used in automobiles, ducting and other scenarios in which sensors strikes, and other safety-related dangers. If the systems prove
alization technique shows are required and where there is no visual access available. robust, they would be good candidates for commercialization,
the separation pattern on he said.
the low-Reynolds-number STTR projects Indications are that IPP funding mechanisms will continue
propeller as a function Rolling Hills researchers are looking forward with an ongoing to be a primary way for small businesses to find ways to work
of full revolutions per STTR agreement with partner California Polytechnic State on innovative research ideas. Kramer offered this advice for
minute. University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. That work is focused on a companies looking to succeed in obtaining grants for their
thrust-vectoring aerospike nozzle and evolved into a current project research: “It is best not to chase the ‘hot technology’ and jump
Graphic courtesy with an oxidizer-cooled aerospike. on the bandwagon. Stick to what you have knowledge and
Rolling Hills Aerospike nozzles are considered to be efficient because they interest in. Stick with your strengths. That’s not to say don’t look
Research Corp. adjust to changes in atmospheric pressure due to altitude (compared to branch out or be creative, but be smart about it.”
Rolling Hills ... from page 31 Award ... from page 27 Why ... from page 27
fast through areas suffering after $100,000 each. In the competition with a $2
Using SBIR for innovative research turbulent on low-Reynolds-number aircraft as a result of some of
years of drought conditions. million prize, teams invested on the order of
The SBIR grants have been invaluable to Rolling Hills for its SBIR work. Micro UAVs and high-altitude, long-endurance
NASA is anticipated to again $250,000 to $500,000 each.
examining its new concepts, Kramer said. aircraft have challenges caused by very low Reynolds numbers,
participate in California fire The return on investment with prizes is
“It’s like peeling back the skin of an onion. When you peel such as laminar separation bubbles. This technology has proven to
missions this fire season, Rigney high, as NASA expends no funds unless the
away a layer, you can learn about a limiting factor somewhere reduce drag by 35 to 40 percent, Kramer said.
said. The Ikhana’s ability to fly accomplishment is demonstrated. NASA
else,” he said. “Once we identify a problem, sometimes we have Through the same SBIR used to develop the low-Reynolds-
for long durations and send provides only the prize money and the
to solve five others before we get there.” number airfoil drag-reduction technologies, Rolling Hills also
imagery overlaid with maps to fire administration of the competitions is done at no
The funding provided by the SBIR awards is key for the developed a flow-visualization methodology to study the flow field
commanders on the ground has cost to NASA by allied nonprofit organizations.
company. of small, low-Reynolds-number propellers. Similar to the main
been a valuable tool that possibly Prizes also focus public attention on NASA
“SBIRs help us to pursue new ideas that we want to research airfoils on micro UAVs and high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft,
can save lives and property this fire programs and generate interest in science and
and is our primary source for funding them,” Kerho said. “We the propellers on these aircraft that generate propulsion also suffer
season by identifying where the ED07 0139-19 NASA Photo by Lori Losey engineering.
couldn’t do it without SBIR. We do not have the extra capital from the same low-Reynolds-number-based degradation. Rolling
best uses of resources are, he said. NASA is considering future challenges
to do research and development. We use the SBIR agreements Hills developed a flow-visualization technique to apply its SBIR-
In addition to fire missions, the The Ikhana makes a research flight over the high focused on revolutionary energy storage systems,
to take our ideas and flesh them out to see if they can work. In developed technology to provide a detailed picture of the propeller
U.S. Army is using the Ikhana desert. A government team that collaborated on solar and other renewable energy technologies,
addition, the technical reviews often give us other ideas on how surface flow field that can be used to help improve propeller
and Dryden’s unmanned aircraft getting the technology available was recently rec- laser communications, demonstration of near-
to best make it work out.” performance.
systems expertise to demonstrate ognized. Earth object survey and deflection strategies,
Dryden is a frequent partner with Rolling Hills on SBIR
some of the Army’s sensors aboard the aircraft, he added. innovative approaches to improving the safety
proposals, but the company also has worked with Langley IPP concept
Regardless of how the Ikhana is used in fire missions or research, the aim is to and efficiency of aviation systems, closed-
Research Center, Hampton Va., and Ames Research Center, A current Innovative Partnership Program seed fund proposal
benefit the public and partner when it makes sense to maximize the investment in loop life support and other resource recycling
Moffett Field, Calif. that Rolling Hills has on the table is for a separation detector.
developing the aircraft. The current award supports the view that using the aircraft techniques, and low-cost access to space.
The IPP is the big umbrella that includes a number of funding
for the maximum use of partners and the public is paying dividends.
Micro UAVs mechanisms, such as SBIR, STTR, and the IPP seed fund, to assist
The Rolling Hills water tunnel work does have a downside: the
Reynolds number produced by the water tunnel cannot be scaled
companies with their fledgling technology projects.
Called “electronic yarn,” the detector is essentially an array
Tanker ... from page 29
for larger vehicles because of the boundary layer differences, or consisting of 100 or more self-powered and self-contained sensors. off of,” he said. know what to do and we have learned to germinate partnerships
airflow that moves directly above aerodynamic surfaces, he said. The idea is to replace tufts and cameras for detecting separated SBIR is the primary way small businesses can tap government with universities and other businesses. We had The Boeing
However, smaller unmanned air vehicles, or micro UAVs, are airflow in flight with a simple and robust system that does not dollars to fund new ideas and concepts, Klyde said. Prior to the Company as a sub contractor on one project and we also work
one class of aircraft that does not have that challenge, he said. require calibration or cameras and gives a simple yes-or-no answer introduction of those funds in the 1980s, it was more of a competitive with other small businesses like us.”
Those vehicles can be tested at full-size and full-flight Reynolds to the question of whether there is an aerodynamic separation. process among all companies regardless of size, said Klyde, a 22- His advice to companies just starting off in SBIR projects: “Start
numbers, so the water tunnel can produce accurate results. This could be useful in programs like that of the Stratospheric year veteran of the SBIR process with Systems Technology. early. If you wait until the last minute you can get overwhelmed
In addition, the company has applied for a patent for a method SBIR agreements also present opportunities to build relationships if you have never done it before,” he said.
for controlling the boundary layer transition from laminar to See Rolling Hills, page 33 among companies, he said. The Boy Scouts of America would appreciate his other
“It is easier to work with people than against them,” he said. “We recommendation, “Do your homework, and be prepared.”
October 2009 Aerovations Aerovations October 2009
Micro UAV validates new ability Design Tool ... from page 17
exposed to what is going on Directorate Fundamental and planetary entry vehicles to companies and academia to use
The challenges of meeting size, weight and in this field and this is a good Aeronautics program highlighted enable manned and unmanned the MDA code for analysis in
power constraints for data systems supporting research program that will train MDA as a need, Gupta explorations, he said. individual disciplines and, more
airborne science payloads become greater students for the types of work explained. Proposed Highly Reliable important, in the design of
as the aircraft get smaller. But a July 9 flight NASA will need when they An earlier STTR Phase I Reusable Launch Systems of the complete aerospace vehicles as
experiment with a micro unmanned air vehicle graduate,” he said. permitted the team to evaluate future will be conceived, designed well as other classes of vehicles
demonstrated that those challenges could be The team will complete simulation capabilities, develop and developed to fulfill the nation’s in a coupled mode.
met. development of the an aero-thermo-elastic- space exploration aspirations and Aeroelastic, aero-thermo-
Researchers sponsored by Dryden’s Small Multidisciplinary Design and propulsion simulation of air- NASA’s mission, and maintain the elastic, aero-propulsion, and
Business Innovation Research program Analysis, or MDA, tool, primarily breathing hypersonic flight country’s aerospace edge, Gupta aero-acoustic analyses can
introduced airborne science networking using its respective numerical, vehicles and other flight vehicles, said. Airbreathing hypersonic be performed routinely for
capabilities, such as telepresence and over- finite element codes integrating and generate recommendations flight vehicles present a promising accurate and reliable design
the-horizon, on an aircraft bearing a payload disciplines such as structures, for multidisciplinary simulation alternative for affordable and of complex, advanced flight
of instrumentation with a combined gross aerodynamics, thermal, acoustics, capability. reliable access to space. vehicles, using standard
weight of less than three pounds. controls and propulsion. NASA could potentially use For that reason, development personal computers, Gupta
The battery-powered NightHawk micro air The resulting MDA code, the MDA for research aimed at of predictive capabilities and said. The optimization
vehicle, built by Applied Research Associates designed in modular form, could enabling advanced future flight simulation tools for design capability will help in achieving
Inc. of Randolph, Vt., communicated with be effortlessly used with existing vehicle design and analysis of a future advanced class of an economical configuration.
ground systems via the Iridium Satellite commercial or user-provided capabilities. One thrust of flight vehicles is necessary. Also, Potential use of MDA code
constellation. Simultaneously, a mission codes. Once completed, the code this research is hypersonics, additional capabilities in the area of for aerospace is vast. As NASA
monitor delivered situational-awareness infrastructure that enables communication Above, situational-awareness displays show is expected to have extensive including air-breathing vehicles aero-acoustics will have imminent looks for in its technology
information from the satellites as computer between researchers and instruments on flight track and local storm data for the applications in the design and that will enable safe, affordable applications in a number of development efforts, the MDA
displays that ground personnel could then airborne platforms. The vision within airborne micro unmanned air vehicle containing analysis of flight vehicles. In and routine travel to low-Earth ongoing NASA projects. code could also have applications
access. the Miniature Suborbital Telepresence sys- its request for proposals, the orbit in support of space science, Commercially, the technology to fields such as mechanical,
science is to continue expanding such sensor- tem on its inaugural test fight in Vermont.
In recent years, NASA researchers have Aeronautics Research Mission exploration and commerce could enable industrial marine and civil engineering.
(Weather imagery provided by NASA
successfully prototyped and deployed See KnightHawk, page 35 Marshall Space Flight Center)
KnightHawk ... from page 34
DASP Toolbox ... from page 16 web capabilities for use in all
missions such as volcanic plume
studies or situational awareness
and from aircraft.
“The Miniature Suborbital
LLC of Enfield, N.H. “We were
able to demonstrate feasibility
an agreement that meant IPP funding of $238,000, with in- readiness up a level so that the innovation can be ready for when Existing REVEAL – Research for rapidly deployed disaster relief. Telepresence System uses NASA’s and a path toward introducing
kind services, work force and use of facilities totaling about it is needed. Environment for Vehicle- A REVEAL system is an “aircraft REVEAL software and the same whole new families of small,
$250,000. For small business, IPP partnership projects like this one offer Embedded Analysis on Linux – in a box” for sensor-web research, DataTurbine software used on reconfigurable data systems for
Fiber optic wing shape sensors, adaptive controls and vast opportunities. systems are too big for unmanned and a programmable gateway the dominant airborne science communities that include but
distributed sensing controls could benefit from the DASP “This helps us in many ways. When we do SBIR we generally vehicles being considered as between onboard instruments and platforms,” said Matt Miller, are not limited to environmental
toolbox technology and potential partnerships are forming for a work on our own. Because of this partnership, we get to work with candidates for certain types of wireless communication paths to project lead at Erigo Technologies science.”
larger program, Voracek said. people who know the problem and who are looking for a solution
The DASP toolbox also offers the potential to prevent and we can more effectively support that type activity. This IPP DSAM ... from page 17
accidents. program, from that point of view, is extremely useful for getting DSAM, approach implements vehicles that can’t support the for test applications. The ability approach will work as promoted.
“With this technology we should be able to identify the the players together. We are able to work with all the people at the modulation as a function size, weight and power of existing to use less-expensive nonlinear The Dryden team will evaluate
load in real time so it does not exceed its [design] limits. The NASA – that’s a big plus for us. Because of that opportunity, we of the antenna in a manner that approaches.” power amplifiers in a manner the results of the test and
other type of accident that could be avoided is the computer know what needs to be done to this instrumentation if you want simplifies directional control The project is a collaborative that improves power efficiency recommend a technology-
mistakenly acting as if the aircraft were in a dive because pitot to put it into an aircraft,” Arun Mangalam said. of the antenna’s sensitivity, he effort between Dryden and the by orders of magnitude is just the maturation strategy if one is
tube measurements were wrong and the flight controls reacted And the equipment to do the “baking-and-shaking” tests to added. Invertix Corporation of McClean, tip of the iceberg,” said Brecken warranted.
to that information instead of the actual flight conditions of the validate it for flight is not usually found at a small business. That’s “DSAM might offer a path Va. Invertix is a communications Uhl, technical lead for the project If successful, this research
aircraft climbing following a takeoff,” Voracek explained. another benefit of the partnership: the resources of a NASA to closing capability gaps we company focused on the needs at Invertix and developer of the may enable for the first time
Mangalam’s son, Arun, said the DASP toolbox could maximize center can be used for the flight validation process, he added. see in the evolution of network- of federal agencies. Dryden DSAM concept. small, low-complexity, low-
wind turbine efficiency and productivity, minimize structural Brenner agrees that IPP partnerships help move technology enhanced telemetry,” Freudinger team members include the The recent IPP award made cost steerable antennas that
oscillations and fatigue and maximize energy transfer. Formula along. said. “For multiple vehicles and Research Instrumentation, to the company will fund can reduce system cost. In
One and yacht racing could be made more efficient using the “It’s a good outlet for bringing in outside ideas and more ground systems to communicate Range Operations and Range development of a prototype array addition, the technology
technology as well, he added. In addition, health monitoring of efficient ones,” Brenner said. “It’s also a way for engineers to get with each other as they move Engineering branches. element suitable for laboratory could replace omni-directional
building or bridges could be possible. small, invaluable ideas out, put together a plan and use that in around, we need an affordable “Power efficiency, spectral demonstration within a few antennas used not only in
The IPP creates a partnership with NASA, where NASA’s the technology development. It is a way to develop big plans by approach for focusing antennas efficiency, resistance to jamming, months, Freudinger said. The aircraft but also in products
platforms and ideas can be tapped, Arun Mangalam said. showing the potential of critical applications. It is a block approach in multiple directions at the same and joint modulation-beam demonstration is expected to such as cell phones and Wi-Fi
This partnership permits a small business to move technology to technology that would not be advanced any other way.” time. We will have to do this on steering are the key advantages confirm whether the technical access points.
NTR ... from page 23 SBIR, STTR
Yvonne Kellogg, Dryden’s awards
liaison officer, nominated the team’s
“NASA is not in the develop systems for profit do what
they do best. Our goal is, once
fiber optic work for a NASA Space
business to make Sixteen small business
we have our intellectual property
Act Award. NASA’s Inventions money; we are not here projects have been selected
protected we want to license those
and Contributions Board, which is to build systems and patents and allow companies to by NASA to receive agency
chaired by NASA’s chief engineer, provide those to our build those systems and provide support for important research
is composed of representatives customers. We want to them to customers. and technology needs. The
from across 40 fields of science spin this technology “We want to solve problems awards are part of NASA’s Small
and technology across the agency. off and let those who so they can do their business. We Business Innovation Research,
Based on the value of the work’s develop systems for don’t want to compete with private or SBIR, and Small Business
contribution to NASA and to the profit do what they industry, we want to complement Technology Transfer – STTR –
public, as determined by the board, programs.
do best. Our goal is, private industry.”
Space Act awards of up to $100,000 Reporting has a lot of value, Twelve proposals were
once we have our selected in the SBIR program
are available. Richards said.
intellectual property for negotiation of phase II
In addition, Allen Parker’s work on “Take the process to publish
algorithms for high-speed acquisition
protected we want to contracts, with a total value of
seriously. A lot of times we just
processing of data was also put in for license those patents approximately $7.2 million.
want to get our publications out.
a patent. Other potential patents, and allow companies But there’s a form and you have The awards went to small high-
which include the work of partner to build those systems to disclose what technology is technology firms in nine states.
Anthony “Nino” Piazza, are for and provide them to potentially worth protecting,” he Four proposals were selected
operational flight loads on complex customers.” said. in the STTR program for
structures using fiber optic strain Form 1676, Scientific and negotiation of phase II contract
sensors, real-time loads measurement Technical Information Document awards, with a total value of
using the fiber optic strain sensors, Availability Authorization process, approximately $2.4 million. The
and several others, Richards said (see and Dryden Form 156, Technology awards went to four small high-
related story). Transfer Assessment, allow release of technology firms in four states
A researcher has a year to file for [Electronic New Technology the findings. The forms are available partnered with three research
a patent after releasing information Reporting System] Web site and on the forms link on the Dryden institutions in three states.
about it, such as a research paper. talking to Kellogg, who also Xnet page. New STI manager These selections are
The idea to patent the concept is not serves as Dryden’s Intellectual Greg Poteat is available to assist in supplementary to the 142 phase
always immediately obvious. Property manager. To begin the developing STI documentation. II SBIR awards announced Oct.
“I have given presentations and patent process, Homer works with “It’s helpful to talk to people who 28, 2008, and the 16 STTR
then figured out that it is something researchers to convert the summary have done it before. Having gone phase II awards announced
we should protect. We think about language from technical to legal through it now I would be willing April 15.
publishing results, not about wording then completes a search to to talk to anyone who has questions The SBIR and STTR programs
applying for patents,“ Richards said. ensure that similar patents do not about how to work through it,” are part of the Innovative
Applying for a patent can be a already exist. Richards said. Partnerships Program Office at
daunting process, but there are “I know there are quite a NASA Headquarters. The office
resources to help. Additional NTR results few steps and it takes a lot to partners with U.S. industry to
“It is a formidable task that can New technology reporting – overcome your own daily work infuse innovative technologies
be hard to get your arms around. NTR – helps move technology load to complete New Technology into NASA missions and help
Mark Homer, a JPL patent attorney along and gives future researchers a Reporting – the pressures to deal them to be transitioned into
who also assists Dryden, made it as starting point for their research. with the day-to-day of flight commercially available products
painless as possible,” Richards said. “NASA is not in the business experiments or projects. However, and services for use by the
Reporting begins with a one- to to make money; we are not here the biggest hurdle and bottleneck agency and in other markets.
two-page summary of the invention to build systems and provide is usually the researcher. We need For a list of selected proposals,
or description of the intellectual those to our customers,” Richards to get out of the trenches and, with visit http://www.nasa.gov/offices/
process in an email to Homer. A emphasized. “We want to spin this due diligence, get that paperwork ipp/technology_infusion/sbir/
second step is going to the eNTRe technology off and let those who filed,” he concluded. index.html.
Aerovations is published for civil Address: P.O. Box 273, Editor: Jay Levine, TYBRIN, ext. 3459
servants, contractors and retirees of Building 4839
the Dryden Flight Research Center Edwards, Calif. 93523-0273 Assistant Editor: Sarah Merlin, TYBRIN, ext. 2128
and the center’s partners and civil Phone: 661-276-3449
customers. FAX: 661-276-3566 Managing Editor: Steve Lighthill, NASA
www.nasa.gov Chief, Strategic Communications: John O’Shea