Status Report

NASA Advance Engine Control Challenge RFI

By SpaceRef Editor
May 6, 2015
Filed under , , ,



Synopsis – May 06, 2015


General Information


    Solicitation Number: NNM15ZZP005L

    Posted Date: May 06, 2015

    FedBizOpps Posted Date: May 06, 2015

    Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No

    Original Response Date: Jun 15, 2015

    Current Response Date: Jun 15, 2015

    Classification Code: A — Research and Development

    NAICS Code: 541712


Contracting Office Address


NASA/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812




Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP) – Prizes and Challenges, NNM15ZZP005L AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). ACTION: Request for Information by June 15, 2015. Responses must be submitted in electronic form no later than May 30, 2015 to Mr. Michael Hetle, Program Executive, ARMD Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP), NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Washington DC 20546-0001. E-mail address: . For general information on NASA Challenges Programs, see: . SUMMARY: This notice is issued in accordance with 51 U.S.C. 20144 and The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (42 U.S.C. 2451, et seq.) amended;


PRIZE AUTHORITY Section. 314. NASA ARMD’s Prizes and Challenges Program seeks to stimulate innovation in technologies that have value to NASA and the nation through open prize competitions that directly engage the public, academia, and industry. NASA is seeking non-traditional approaches through expanded outreach opportunities, which appeal to broad and diverse interests, and may enable a viable technology demonstration and solution to difficult challenge problem sets. The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is fourfold: (1) determine an Advanced Engine Control community of interest in competing for a potential challenge, (2) gather realistic feedback on the statement of challenge that are contained in the text body of this RFI, (3) identify a realistic timeline to demonstrate an Advanced Engine Control leap in technological ability, and (4) identify potential partners interested in (a) validating the value in Technology Readiness Level (TRL) demonstration in the arena of Advanced Engine Control, (b) assisting NASA in managing and executing this prize challenge, which may include the qualification of potential competitors. A draft set of competition rules and terms for this prize challenge, to give potential competitors and partners more insight into the scope, performance and technical sophistication of the contest. This RFI is for informational purposes only and the Government will not pay for the information received.


This RFI is NOT to be construed as a commitment by the U.S. Government to enter into any agreement or obligation or to conduct an Advanced Engine Control prize challenge. This document is for informational and planning purposes and to gauge interest from the community in participation. The Government welcomes all segments of industry, academia, and government, including associations and trade groups, innovators, individuals and enthusiasts to reply.


Responses should be submitted in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word format and are limited to five (5) pages in length inclusive of any graphics or attachments. Responses should include (as applicable): name, address, email address, and phone number of the respondent, business, or organization, with point of contact for business or organization. Submissions should include a realistic timeline for achievement and demonstration of Advanced Engine Control goals. All responses are to be for general access by U.S. Government evaluators and comments are submitted with the understanding that NASA may provide summary solicitation results to the public. Responses must be submitted in electronic form not later than June 15, 2015 to Mr. Michael Hetle, Program Executive, ARMD Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP), NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Washington DC 20546-0001. E-mail address: . DATES: Due date for responses to this RFI is June 15, 2015.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Statement of difficult problem set related to aeronautical research and development of Advanced Engine Control. The purpose of aero-engine controls is to safely maintain efficiency of highly optimized propulsion machinery at all operating points through its design life. This is a very complex problem that must be accomplished reliably in a hostile environment with severe constraints and limited system access. Achievement of optimum engine system performance depends on improving data quality (sensing), inferring additional information about the system (processing), and acting upon available system information (control). This cross-cutting technology impacts four areas of the ARMD strategic thrusts (i.e., Ultra-efficient Commercial Vehicles, Assured Autonomy for Aviation Transformation, Transition to Low-Carbon Propulsion, and Innovation in Commercial Supersonic Aircraft) and also supports the development of launch vehicles and planetary entry systems. Electronics are the core materials of the control system. However, they are only able to function reliably when protected from the temperature and environmental extremes present on the engine. These hardware constraints have restricted the ability of controls to adapt commensurate with other engine technologies to the point that they can limit the full potential of new engine system designs. Opportunities to alleviate this bottleneck exist if the control architecture can be distributed. This requires using high-temperature embedded electronics co-located with sensors and actuators on the engine, and digital networking to connect with the complex control laws running on state-of-the-art microprocessors in a more hospitable environment.


These advances will enable control technology to reduce the need to maintain engine mechanical design margin. A potential prize challenge would require that embedded electronics remaining on the engine system will be reliable and capable of operating at an extended temperature range while enduring thousands of temperature cycles over its lifetime. However, reliability is only one factor that will enable industry to successfully adopt such a technology; other factors include both function and cost. Ultimately, the desire is to replicate the capability of common microcontroller systems. Existing research and development (R&D) efforts have been underway to accomplish this task, however, a gain in Technology Readiness Level (TRL) with a potential prize incentive; is focused on the most challenging elements. This specific request for information is focused on determining a challenge that seeks to realize a marketable non-volatile, in-circuit programmable memory component that can be integrated into a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) or Multi-Chip-Module (MCM). Reliability: The component shall operate continuously at 225 C while a mean time to failure greater than 1 million hours must be demonstrated for a repetitive temperature profile of -55 C to +210 C. Functionality: The component shall have a density of 512kb or greater, organized by a multiple of 8 bits, with fully asynchronous read access less than 120 nanoseconds. The component shall have an endurance of at least 10,000 write cycles, with write cycle time for any byte less than 20 microseconds and less than 1 second for 64k bytes. The device shall operate off a single power supply, nominally 3.3 to 5 volts, and exhibit unpowered data retention of at least 10 years, without compromising accuracy or data retrieval.


I. Prize Amounts: The purse for achieving the minimum challenge (LEVEL I) as stated above is planned be two hundred fifty thousand US dollars. If the device can demonstrate achievement to both a read and write access time of less than 60 nanoseconds with indefinite writes (LEVEL II) an additional two hundred fifty thousand US dollars may be awarded. After successfully completing LEVEL I or II, if the wholesale price per part can be shown to be less than USD $50 at a volume of 1 million units; an additional consideration, of two hundred fifty thousand US dollars may be awarded. Up to 20 percent of the prize purse may be used to reward competitors for successful completion of the LEVEL I, or, II of any potential challenge.


II. Eligibility: To be eligible to win a prize, the competitor must (1) register and comply with all requirements in the rules and enter into a team agreement; (2) in the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, where participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States; and (3) shall not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The point of contact is Mr. Michael Hetle, Program Executive, ARMD Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP), NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Washington DC 20546-0001. E-mail address: .


Point of Contact


    Name:Melinda E. Swenson

    Title:Contracting Officer



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