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Albuquerque, NM, United States

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.98K | Year: 2007

The objective of this study is to develop low cost, modular, multi-functional, primary spacecraft structures using a “plywood and two-by-four” approach for rapid assembly. These structures are comprised of aluminum facesheet/honeycomb-core sandwich panels (plywood) bonded to aluminum extrusions (two-by-four). The structures require simple hand tools to assemble and leverage nomograph based design guides for the required structural/thermal sizing for rapid response missions. The flat sandwich panels are integrated into hexagonal (box) structures by using basic extruded shapes which are structural connections between panels. This approach allows open architecture structural designs with scalable sizing. The bonded assemblies include fastening hard points for attachment of flight sensor payloads (200kg class) and supporting subsystems. Since these structures are aluminum the basic assembly provides inherent damage robustness; EMI and radiation hardened capability; and allows for multiple levels of thermal management. These thermal management levels are: - The basic thermal continuity of the bonded aluminum panels and extrusions - Easily added custom heat straps to augment thermal paths within the bonded the assembly or at attached components - Direct interfacing to heat pipes at the mechanical hard points of the attached components. This study targets Air Force warfighter missions with satellite build processing within 8 hours.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 779.40K | Year: 2007

Smart materials have shown promise for fluid power generation within electrohydrostatic actuators (EHAs). The smart material pumps have been successfully built to operate at high frequencies, but valve limitations have consistently reduced overall performance. Both passive and active valve concepts have been designed and tested, but these approaches have resulted in bandwidth limitations and added weight, respectively. A new unified pressurization and valving approach makes use of existing architecture in the pressurization systems, employing piezoelectric, magnetostrictive, or similar smart materials, and couples compact valve sets to the assembly. A current design, which links the valve motion to that of the reciprocating prime mover, has been developed and tested with promising results, including an increase in the optimal drive frequency. Additional design, testing, and analysis are proposed for a Phase 2 effort to further increase the functional bandwidth of the valves and the power density of the actuators. The valves will be incorporated into multiple EHAs that will be built and laboratory tested. The EHAs will then be integrated into the Insitu A-20 unmanned air vehicle (UAV) for flight test and separately into a laboratory morphing wing demonstration to validate the flightworthiness and applicability of the technology.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.96K | Year: 2007

The optical communication links between various orbiting satellites can serve as the cornerstone of an accurate attitude and geo-referencing scheme when 2 or more vehicles are engaged in laser communication. To date, most research studies into determining relative attitudes and positions between vehicles have involved using the global positioning system (GPS) which restricts the spacecraft formation to near-Earth applications. An application of GPS-like technology to a deep space mission has been proposed but this requires extensive hardware development and is subject to the generic GPS performance-limiting effects. The objective of this work is to provide a novel, reliable, and autonomous relative attitude and position estimation system that is independent of any external systems. The proposed work presents an extended Kalman filter (EKF) formulation to estimate the relative attitude and position of 2 or more platforms engaged in communication using Line of Sight (LOS) observations to determine absolute yaw, pitch and roll vehicle information. Platform absolute position will be determined using time of flight techniques embedded in the transmitted LOS. In addition, terminal to terminal same platform attitude will be determined via metrology and algorithm development.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2008

CSA Engineering proposes the design of an adaptive aeroelastic mode suppression for advanced fly-by-wire aircraft, which will partition the modal suppression function from the rigid-body Flight Control System (FCS). CSA is recognized as having world-class expertise in the areas structural dynamics, vibration control, and control-structure interaction. Phase 1 will leverage expertise in structural dynamics and system-identification to develop adaptive filtering algorithms which operate in both the spatial and time domains to identify/estimate key aeroelastic generalized (modal) DOF and suppress aeroservoelastic interactions while minimizing the degradation of phase margin with respect to the FCS. During Phase 1, CSA will develop an end-to-end aeroelastic aircraft dynamic model of appropriate complexity as well as related sensors and measurement systems which will support the adaptive mode suppression effort. Sensors and measurement systems will be evaluated concurrently with adaptive filtering algorithms with regard to convergence, stability, and robustness. Filter architecture parameterization and constraints will be investigated. The goal of this development is to partition the suppression of aeroservoelastic interactions separate from the rigid body FCS, enabling FCS design and configuration/adaptation to be independent of aeroservoelastic considerations.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 768.37K | Year: 2008

CSA offers a GVT test system that can dramatically reduce down time for AFFTC aircraft. Phase I demonstrated function of critical components that enable a configuration to reduce aircraft downtime by one-half or possibly even more. This proposal offers new techniques that preserve full control of data acquisition for the existing software used by AFFTC, retains identical data quality, and enables acquisition to begin merely minutes after committing the aircraft. Similarly, aircraft may be pulled from test even more quickly. A novel sensor design was demonstrated in Phase I that enables the system without detriment to data quality. Phase II will fabricate and deliver a fully functional system, and train AFFTC personnel in its operation and maintenance.

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