Pismo Beach, CA, United States
Pismo Beach, CA, United States

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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 744.50K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:The advancements to NASA's Vehicle Sketch Pad (OpenVSP 3.0) completed in 2014 evolved the software into a useful parametric graphics tool for serious aerospace design and analysis. ESAero's Phase I effort built off of the momentum gained from these advancements by providing a selection of features that complemented the newly available capabilities, such as additional visualization tools, component models, parameter links, and a parasite drag tool. The goal of this Phase II proposal is to build on the successes of the Phase I effort and take large steps to increase OpenVSP's utility as a conceptual and preliminary design tool. Phase II will tackle several large tasks that will elevate OpenVSP to an entirely new level. These tasks address long-held desires from industry, such as conformal components, and further promote OpenVSP's integration into the aircraft design workflow by fostering more analysis tools and exportability to third-party programs? such work includes the exciting tasks of building a new aerodynamics package and allowing OpenVSP models to be opened in drawing tools like AutoCAD. By keeping the software open source, OpenVSP 3.0 and the proposed upgrades will serve as an industry-wide standard parametric geometry tool.BENEFIT:OpenVSP is offered as open source software that can be downloaded by anybody, free of charge, from the OpenVSP website (www.openvsp.org). As such, the software can be used throughout the aerospace community, including academia, commercial and military industry, and government, while bypassing restrictive and/or cumbersome policies regarding software purchases. As the program becomes more capable and user friendly, it will establish itself as the industry standard for rapid conceptual design configuration software. The recent NRA-funded developments, which were released as OpenVSP 3.0 in 2014, support a smooth transition from early conceptual design to late preliminary design by enabling (among many other features ) CAD exportability and multi-fidelity analysis capability. The proposed effort will introduce or upgrade features that support the tool's evolution towards an intuitive, semi-automatic 3-D parametric graphics and MDAO program. The addition of analysis tools for induced drag, transonic drag rise, and wave drag will introduce a great deal of insight into one's conceptual or preliminary model without needing to rely on complex analyses in other tools that often require high-fidelity meshes and more computation time. Similar benefits will be yielded from the addition of a basic static stability analysis capability, allowing the user to predict trim drag and obtain basic stability derivatives, all within the simplicity of OpenVSP. Compatibility with more third-party software tools will permit such tasks as easily working with OpenVSP models in 2D drawing programs and even predicting radar cross sections. Developing the capability to save groups of parameters will save users time by allowing them to quickly choose between multiple configurations for the same model (e.g., gear down, stretched fuselage, folded wing, etc.) rather than reset each parameter one at a time. Additional support for structural modeling will be granted, while a blended wing capability will be added to allow for even more exotic concepts in OpenVSP. The long-held industry desire for conformal parts in OpenVSP will be answered, allowing users to easily build fuel tank models that conform to wings or fuselage space, for example. A file converter for *.vsp to *.vsp3 will at last allow users to open their older OpenVSP models in the significantly-upgraded OpenVSP 3.0, saving the hours of time it would take to rebuild the models. Lastly, incredible usefulness will be gleaned from the continuation of the Phase I component and advanced link libraries, which will expand the already invaluable libraries of fighter components and parameter links to all types of aircraft.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 123.20K | Year: 2014

During this Phase I effort ESAero will draw upon its knowledge of hybrid-electric propulsion system design and analysis for fixed wing aircraft to investigate the potential benefits of incorporating such systems into rotorcraft designs. Past rotorcraft studies have been conducted in conjunction with Electricore, Inc. and an industry prime, to develop hybrid propulsion system trade studies and develop databases for hybrid propulsion system worthy components. This knowledge will be leveraged to investigate potential areas of improvement including energy consumption, weight, overall efficiency, and safety. Implementing hybrid-electric systems could potentially remove redundant systems, reduce turbine size and allow for electrically powered emergency decent. In addition, decoupled energy management has shown potential benefits for fixed wing aircraft, allowing propulsors to be placed virtually anywhere around the aircraft. The potential benefit specific to rotorcraft may mean a broadening of configuration possibilities.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 122.92K | Year: 2014

As HEDP systems have proven worthy of further consideration by approaching NASA's goals for N+2 and N+3 energy consumption, noise, emission and field length, conceptual design tools to expedite the design cycle are desired. During this Phase I effort ESAero will progress the development of the hybrid-electric distributed propulsion (HEDP) TOGW tool developed in the previous Phase I SBIR (NNX13CC24P) by producing a physics-based wing structure analysis and weight estimation module. The layout of the structural members will be estimated using heuristic trends and top-level design assumptions, and the members will be sized according to classical beam theory. The interaction between HEDP configuration and aircraft weight is important to understand, as one primary advantage of the configuration is the ability to place smaller propulsors at virtually any location on the aircraft, leveraging pre-existing airframe supports. By delving into the structural analysis of HEDP designs, progress can be made toward determining how sensitive aircraft structural weight is to propulsion configuration. This new module will replace the modified, empirically based equations used in the current TOGW framework. By incorporating this capability, the novel architectures and configurations of HEDP systems, as well as other advanced aircraft concepts, could be analyzed and sized with greater fidelity. Furthermore, this effort may start to unravel concerns over other structural members paving the way for further investigation in a Phase II. Other potential Phase II tasks may include integrating this structural analysis and weight estimation into other conceptual design tools, such as OpenVSP.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.76K | Year: 2014

Hybrid electric distributed propulsion (HEDP) systems have proven worthy for further consideration by approaching NASA's goals for N+2 and N+3 energy consumption, noise, emission and field length. The thermal management associated with these systems has been recognized as a major challenge to be overcome. ESAero's recent 2012 Phase I SBIR (NNX13CC24P) identified the radiator as a driving component within the thermal management system (TMS). Its design has profound first order effects on the weight, performance, and aerodynamic drag of the TMS, and second order effects on the weight and performance of the overall propulsion system. During the proposed Phase I SBIR, ESAero will upgrade the existing physics-based radiator design, analysis, and weight estimation conceptual design tool by improving the flexibility and fidelity of thermodynamic analysis and predicting the effects of integrating the radiator core within a well-designed duct. ESAero will call upon existing techniques to design a robust tool that more accurately predicts the "as-built" behavior of the component. These modifications are expected to dramatically improve the predicted weight and performance of the radiator and negate nearly all of the radiator drag by employing the Meredith Effect, as seen on the P-51 Mustang.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 746.53K | Year: 2016

ESAero's vast TeDP and HEDP-specific experience, Helden Aerospace's distributed propulsion airframe integration effects & CFD analysis experience, and Rolls-Royce's propulsion and power, thermal management, and fault tolerant microgrid systems design experience will be leveraged to develop the ECO-150 and ECO-80 concepts as Vision Vehicles which can become research platforms to investigate the potential merits of novel technologies and stand as well-defined and reputable reference vehicle benchmarks. The ECO concepts will represent rational approaches to incorporating multiple NASA technologies in a synergistic manner for the 2030-2040 timeframe, including distributed energy management, embedded fan split-wing configuration for powered lift and improved aerodynamic efficiency and structural rigidity, ducted radiator cooling systems, hybrid power supplementation, and tail reduction via propulsive aircraft control. Complete design iterations of the ECO-150 and ECO-80 concepts will incorporate lessons learned relating to the following objectives and cross-check them with the existing vehicle design, competing discipline requirements, and detailed component integration: (1) Advance the TeDP system design through non-superconducting, high power microgrid design and detailed motor/generator sensitivity analyses; (2) Advance the TMS design with a new TMS architecture for redundancy and by applying thermal capacitance to achieve transient performance targets; (3) Take credit for the propulsion system?s utility as an aircraft control mechanism and address any new design requirements this imposes on the aircraft; (4) Investigate hybrid power supplementation and establish a roadmap for the sizing and synthesis of HEDP architectures; (5) Continue the high-fidelity aero-propulsion CFD study to improve the high lift and cruise efficiency of the split-wing design, and use the CFD results to validate and calibrate ESAero?s analytical propulsion duct models.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 121.41K | Year: 2016

NASA?s OpenVSP tool suite provides a common parametrically driven geometry model formany different analyses for aircraft and is primarily used in the conceptual design phase. The current 3.5.1 release currently contains significant gaps when assessing handling qualities for a particular configuration forcing the engineer to rely on historical methods with limited applicability to advanced technology design concepts with unconventional configurations. In the proposed effort, ESAero will develop an integrated workflow within the OpenVSP suite for quantitative assessment of handling qualities enabling the engineer to explore new design spaces with unconventional configurations. Along with this workflow a set of pre-requisite tasks to improve the system modeling capabilities will be completed as well. These efforts include: improving flight control surface modeling, improved mass properties representation for generic components, a new aerodynamic trim solver, a new vehicle dynamics model calculation, and a new parameter sweep capability to tie geometry to quantitative physics base handling qualities. These efforts will also lay the ground work for follow on studies of high lift aerodynamics and closed loop flight control. The proposed efforts are designed to complement the existing and active OpenVSP and VSPAERO development efforts.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 745.03K | Year: 2014

Hybrid-Electric distributed propulsion (HEDP) is becoming widely accepted and new tools will be required for future development with validation and demonstrations during ground and eventually flight testing. Intelligent health management will be paramount to any future ground and flight testing activities planned by the industry on HEDP systems. To support this, an intelligent prognostics and health management (ePHM) system will be designed and executed for the HEDP system on the NASA Dryden Hybrid Electric Integrated System Teststand (HEIST) (AirVolt optional), which will be developed as part of a parallel Phase III SBIR by ESAero, the proposer here. Most developments in PHM surround air vehicle subsystems and avionics, specifically on the electronic board level, and many of these are integrated after the systems are designed. These developments have or are establishing the ability to monitor the degradation of a subsystem in real-time, making it conceivable that actionable information can be fed to a Integrated Autonomous Controller for self-repair decisions, leveraging the Propulsion Airframe Integration benefits. Reliability can be calculated and maintenance can be planned ahead of time rather than at the point of failure, significantly increasing safety. General Atomics, Electromagnetic Systems Group (GA) will continue to play a vital role.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 122.03K | Year: 2015

A design iteration of ESAero's ECO-150 split wing turboelectric distributed propulsion (TeDP) concept is proposed to incorporate recent lessons learned in synergistic configuration opportunities, propulsion and thermal management system research and tool development, and aeropropulsive benefits reported by Lockheed Martin. Non-cryogenic and cryogenic/superconducting components will be included in three separate propulsion system architectures: one cooled via conventional "warm" coolant, one cryogenically cooled with a cryocooler system, and one cryogenically cooled with a liquid hydrogen blow-down system. The effort will begin with an interagency collaborative "Brainernet" brainstorming session to identify and assess technology and concept drivers and opportunities. Detailed configuration, aerodynamics, performance, and mission analysis will complement the effort, culminating in three flagship TeDP or hybrid electric distributed propulsion (HEDP) concepts which embody the propulsion-airframe-thermal integration (PATI) paradigm. A 2D and 3D CFD evaluation of the integrated propulsor will validate the physics-based aerodynamics and propulsor analysis tools. The lessons learned from the effort will establish a conceptual design roadmap for HEDP aircraft that are sensitive to PATI factors while also identifying path-critical technologies and design driving parameters for the propulsion and thermal management systems.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.89K | Year: 2015

Hybrid-electric propulsion is becoming widely accepted as a potential disruptive technology for aircraft that can provide significant reduction in fuel consumption as well as many other benefits. The majority of the analysis tools that exist today, however, do not harness the capability to analyze these unique systems, especially in the rotorcraft realm. The Phase I effort focused mainly on the development of the PANTHER tool in preparing it for modeling hybrid and all-electric rotorcraft. The tool was then exercised by modeling a handful of propulsion architectures. The goal of the proposed Phase II effort is to further improve upon the strengths of the PANTHER code that was developed, and then utilize this tool to further explore the hybrid-electric rotorcraft design space. Given the goals of the Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology Project (RVLT), the PANTHER tool must be further expanded to enable the sizing and performance analysis of unique rotorcraft configurations with propulsion system designs unseen in the vertical lift realm. The tool will be expanded with modules for fuel cells and flywheels along with improved engine modules, physics-based motor and drive models, and a new capability to model complete missions. The thermal management aspect will also be addressed with modules for radiators, cooling ducts, fluids, and pumps. With the capability of PANTHER vastly enhanced, numerous trade studies will then be conducted that attempt to explore a large portion of the rotorcraft trade space made possible by hybrid-electric propulsion systems. These trades will aim to answer many of the questions that have arisen in the community about hybrid-electric rotorcraft. Using the results and lessons learned from these studies, and accommodating the goals of NASA and the RVLT project, a detailed conceptual design will be performed on a notional hybrid-electric rotorcraft demonstrator.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.99K | Year: 2014

Recent advancements to NASA's Vehicle Sketch Pad (OpenVSP 3.0) have evolved the software into a useful parametric graphics tool for serious aerospace design and analysis. The proposed effort will build off of the momentum gained from these advancements by providing a selection of features that complement the newly available capabilities. Primarily, the work will improve OpenVSP's ability to rapidly create well defined configurations. New visualization options will be added to support the creation of inboard profiles. Meanwhile, a library of pre-defined components will be established for quick selection of common aircraft parts, subsystems and payloads. The capability to link the parameters that define each component will be enhanced to enable nonlinear, multivariate functions, and a pre-defined library of common relationships will be established. Finally, a moderate fidelity parasite drag build-up tool that utilizes the new degenerate geometry feature will be created and integrated into OpenVSP for seamless trade studies. This collection of features represents a small list of low-cost, high-reward tasks that can greatly improve the tool's utility in the conceptual and preliminary design phases. By keeping the software open source, OpenVSP 3.0 and the proposed upgrades will serve as an industry-wide standard parametric geometry tool.

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