Status Report

NASA Office of Exploration Systems Intramural Call For Proposals (ICP) – Human & Robotic Technology 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
May 21, 2004
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Development Programs Division

Office of Exploration Systems

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Washington, DC 20546

MEMORANDUM

RE: Intramural Call For Proposals (ICP) Human & Robotic Technology 2004

FROM: Deputy Director for Human & Robotic Technology

TO: NASA Center Personnel

RELEASE DATE: May 21, 2004

NOTICES OF INTENT DUE: June 14, 2004

PROPOSAL DUE: June 14, 2004

Amendment 1 : May 17, 2004

John C, Mankins

Deputy Director for Human & Robotic Technology.

Development Programs Division, Office of Exploration Systems

A. Introduction and Overview

1. Introduction

On January 14, 2004, the President of the United States established a new policy and
strategic direction for the U.S. civil space program – establishing human and robotic space
exploration as its primary goal, and setting clear and challenging goals and objectives. In
response to this charge, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) created a
new Office of Exploration Systems (OExS) at the Agency’s headquarters and created or
realigned several major programmatic budget themes. The Development Programs Division of
OExS is responsible for the formulation and management of the new NASA exploration budget
themes: Project Constellation (i.e., the transportation systems theme) and the Human and
Robotic Technology (H&RT) Theme. Please refer to H&RT Formulation Plan Version 2.0 for
more information on NASA’s ‘vision for space exploration,’ including specific goals and
objectives, OExS’s overview of spiral development, etc. A copy of the Formulation Plan may be
obtained by contacting the appropriate Element Program Lead listed in the Section B of this call.

2. Overview

This Intramural Call for Proposals (ICP) solicits research and technology development
proposals from NASA investigators in support of the following H&RT Programs:

  • Advanced Space Technology Program (ASTP) (formerly the Mission and Science Measurement Technology (MSMT) program). This program provides the broad, low- TRL foundation for much of NASA space technology. Element Programs within ASTP are described in Section B of this document, along with details of the ASTP proposal topics invited through this ICP. The typical objective of projects funded in ASTP will be to reach a TRL of 4 to 5 by project completion in 2008. Within the ASCT Element Program (described in Section B.1.1), this guideline only applies to Tools; Studies and Advanced Concepts funded through the ASCT Element Program will typically reach lower TRLs by project completion in 2008.
  • Technology Maturation Program (TMP). This is a new program to develop and validate novel systems concepts and high-leverage technologies to enable safe, affordable, effective and sustainable human and robotic exploration, while filling critical gaps in near-term capabilities. Element Programs within TMP are described in Section B, along with details of the TMP proposal topics invited through this ICP. The typical objective of projects funded in TMP will be to reach a TRL of 6 by project completion in 2008. This guideline does not apply to the InSTEP Element Program (described in Section B.2.5).
  • Innovative Technology Transfer Partnerships (ITTP) Program. A collection of programs that includes NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program; it seeks to enable the creative use of intellectual assets both inside and outside NASA to meet Agency needs and to benefit the Nation. Element Programs within ASTP are described in Section B of this document. While ITTP proposal submission will be conducted as described in Section F of this call, evaluation of these proposals will be independent of the process described in Section G. For information regarding ITTP Proposals, please contact Mr. Benjamin Neumann (benjamin.j.neumann@nasa.gov; 202-358-2320).

Please contact Mr. John C. Mankins, Deputy Director of the OExS Development Programs
Division for H&RT, (john.c.mankins@nasa.gov; 202-358-4659) with general questions
concerning the H&RT Theme and/or this ICP. A list of frequently asked questions and answers
will be maintained at http://research.hq.nasa.gov/code_t/icp/index.html.

3. Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation criteria will include: (1) relevance to NASA’s H&RT objectives, (2) technical
merit, (3) cost, (4) management plan (including incorporation of appropriate teaming among
NASA Centers and with other organizations), and (5) special factors (such as readiness to begin
a focused technology project). A point of particular importance will be the development of
appropriate partnerships among NASA Centers in proposed participation in the H&RT projects;
these should include both collaborations among research organizations, as well as collaborations
involving research organizations and development organizations (to promote the adoption of
novel concepts and new technologies). Center-to-center collaborations will be considered both
on a case-by-case basis for each project, and in developing an overall H&RT portfolio that is
well balanced.

Proposals must also be appropriate to the overall scope of the H&RT program to receive
consideration. The following technical goals and objectives will provide the principal basis for
determining relevant to NASA H&RT objectives.

3.1 Technical Goals and Objectives

3.1.1 Spiral Development of Exploration Systems

R&D project proposals offered in response to this ICP must be in support with the goals,
objectives and approach to human and robotic technology detailed in the H&RT Formulation
Plan. This includes a requirement that the timeliness of projected accomplishments must
consistent with The National Vision for Space Exploration, the published details of the OExS
approach to ‘spiral development’ to realize the National Vision, including:

(1) A 2014 first crewed flight of a new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV),

(2) A human lunar return (HLR) by no later than 2020; and,

(3) Projected possible later ‘spirals’ as documented in the Formulation Plan.
No formal set of future human/robotic exploration ‘design reference architectures’
(DRAs) has been established. However, for general information concerning typical concepts or
the trade space of system options, offerors may refer to recent studies sponsored by the OExS Requirements Division, as well as novel concepts examine by the Office of the NASA Space
Architect, NASA Exploration Team (NEXT)-sponsored studies, and others.

Selections will be made consistent with the objective of appropriately supporting these
future exploration events, as detailed in the Formulation Plan (and its key references).

3.1.2 Strategic Technical Challenges

Proposals must be in response to the strategic challenges that must be surmounted to
enable sustainable future exploration—including the goals of affordability, reliability/safety and
effectiveness. The H&RT strategic technical challenges (STCs) are intended to frame both
‘systems-of-systems’ level goals and objectives, and ‘subsystem-level’ goals and objectives for
the program. These challenges are presented in more detail in the H&RT Formulation Plan
(Section 6).

Selections will be made consistent with the objective of appropriately supporting these
STCs, as detailed in the Formulation Plan (and its key references).

3.1.3 Technology Investment Portfolio Balance

The human and robotic technology investment portfolio resulting from this—and
subsequent—solicitations will be consistent with the overall ‘portfolio balance’ presented in
Section 6 of the Formulation Plan. Selections will be made consistent with the targeted portfolio
balance. (Note that a portion of future Technology Maturation Program resources will be
reserved to support a later competitive process during Winter 2004/2005 that will address critical
‘technology gaps’ that may be identified through OExS in-house and contractor team studies
during coming months.)

Selections will be made consistent with the objective of appropriately supporting these
future exploration events, as detailed in the Formulation Plan (and its key references).

The following are the specific guidelines associated with the several programs of the
ASTP, TMP and ITTP as they are being formulated through this ICP.1

Note that there may be substantial changes in the details of the invited topics provided here in any future
competitive solicitation associated with H&RT, including both intramural calls for proposals (such as this
one), or extramural calls (e.g., through a NASA Research Announcement (NRA), Broad Agency
Announcement (BAA), or other means). The validity of the details provided in this ICP is limited to the
NASA-led proposals that will result from this call for proposals.

B. Research and Development Area Descriptions

1. Advanced Space Technology Program

Program Director, Dr. Terry Allard at Terry.Allard-1@NASA.gov

The following paragraphs provide descriptions of the specific technology topics of
interest for the ASTP within this ICP. All FY06 projects within ASTP are subject to this
competitive review process including proposed work that emerges from ongoing activities
derived from existing FY05 projects. We expect the great majority of intramural proposals will
be based on current FY05 in-guide projects. After project proposal review and selection, funding
for all intramural pilot projects will be drawn from existing FY05 projects in a manner that
creates a smooth transition to the FY06 portfolio balance while harvesting the benefits of the
current investment plan. Any changes in the existing FY05 execution plan will be established
and approved by the Element Program managers with the concurrence of ASTP management in
direct consultation with the performing organizations.

1.1 Advanced Studies, Concepts, and Tools (ASCT)

OExS Element Program Lead: Yuri Gawdiak at yuri.o.gawdiak@nasa.gov

This Element Program explores revolutionary exploration technology/systems concepts
and architectures; performs technology assessments to identify and prioritize mission enabling
technologies; develops advanced engineering tools for systems analysis and reducing mission
risk; and conducts exploratory research and development of emerging technologies and novel
systems concepts with high potential payoff. This Element Program will provide cross-cutting
support in these areas to the several H&RT programs, as well as to the goals of overall H&RT
program integration.

Proposals are sought in the technical themes listed below. A proposal may address
project topics related to one or more of these themes.

  • Advanced Concepts
  • Technology-Systems Analysis
  • Technology Databases
  • System Design and Engineering Analysis Tools

ASCT faces several key challenges in being able to implement a systematic, reliable, and
efficient analysis capability for H&RT (and OExS in general). For example, there is ongoing
difficulty in acquiring and generating quantitative requirements involving highly complex “tradespace”
considerations, visualization of new concepts, and evaluation methods. In addition, rigor
in analysis depends upon access to domain data, management of data pedigrees, and consistently
dealing with heterogeneous engineering data across diverse systems/missions/architectures. The
overall ‘portfolio’ of investments within ASCT will be managed so as to best address both longer-term opportunities and nearer-term needs to best inform and support the overall needs of
H&RT.

The following challenges are of particular importance.

Advanced Concepts. It is important to maintain a steady flow of innovation into the a
long-term campaign of sustainable space exploration, and the H&RT investment portfolio in
particular. This area will provide an ongoing source of high-leverage, higher-risk concepts and
technology opportunities with long-term ‘systems-of-systems’ level impact. In addition, these
‘advanced concepts’ efforts could involve not only ‘paper studies’ but also lower TRL (e.g.,
TRL 2-3) exploratory research and development involving emerging technologies with high
potential payoff through experimental and/or analytical validation; etc. Such low TRL research
and technology may address (at low levels of funding, shorter duration, etc.) topics found in any
of the H&RT Element Programs.

Technology-Systems Analysis. In addition, it is important that the ongoing technology
investment and validation process be guided by focused technology assessments and analyses.
These studies are needed in areas involving all of the various other Element Programs within
H&RT (including both ASTP and TMP). This Element Program will include advanced studies,
technology assessments and forecasts; the development of high-level technology analysis tools,
integrated analyses of the potential system and/or architecture impact of new technologies, etc.
This area should also encompass support for technology road map definition. Specific proposed
efforts could address any of the separate Element Programs, or appropriate cross-cutting
combinations of them.

Technology Databases. A strong, integrated approach to the management of technology
related information is important to a well-formulated investment portfolio. This Element
program will support funding for various types of technology databases, for both internal use in
analyses and planning, as well as for external communications. This may involve the
identification and management of data related to requirements for technology testing, verification
and validation based on architectures, concepts of operations, PRA assessments, etc., and will
complement existing capabilities.

System Design and Engineering Analysis Tools. This Element Program also addresses
simulation modeling environment, databases, system models, discipline-oriented analysis tools,
parametric-based risk analysis and tools, probabilistic risk analysis (PRA), etc. In order to
maximize the credibility of the systems analysis efforts within ASCT particular early emphasis
related to this area will be placed on data management, baselining, and verification and
validation techniques. This effort will be closely coordinated within the larger, Code T CIO
efforts, in establishing the enterprise’s information architecture, standards, and processes.
Additionally another near term priority is to help support the implementation in the agency’s
planned simulation based acquisition process. Identifying state-of-art gaps and near term
solutions to implementing this capability will be aggressively pursued.
Specific guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in
Section D.

1.2 Advanced Materials and Structural Concepts (AMSC)

OExS Element Program Lead: Christopher Moore, Ph.D. at christopher.moore@nasa.gov

This Element Program develops high-performance materials for vehicle structures,
propulsion systems, and spacesuits; structural concepts for modular assembly of space
infrastructure and large apertures; lightweight deployable and inflatable structures for large space
systems and crew habitats; and highly integrated structural systems and advanced thermal
management technologies for reducing launch mass and volume. Proposals are sought in the
technical themes listed below. A proposal may address one or more of these themes.

  • Advanced Materials
  • Structural Concepts, Dynamics and Controls
  • Mechanisms and Interconnects
  • Flexible Fiber Systems
  • ‘Smart’ Materials and Structures
  • Space Environments and Effects

The following challenges, representative systems and needed technologies, are of
particular importance.

Materials. Aerocapture and atmospheric entry systems will need advanced ablative and
reusable thermal protection system (TPS) materials. Crew entry vehicles will need concepts for
in-space repair of TPS. Advanced spacesuits will need flexible fabrics with high thermal
conductivity, and aerogel thermal insulation. Launch vehicle and aeroshell structures will need
high strength-to-weight and high temperature composite materials. Habitats, spacesuits, and
crew vehicles will need self-healing seals, wire insulation, and structural materials. Habitats,
vehicles, and surface systems will need multifunctional materials with integral electronics,
sensors, and actuators to monitor system health and adapt to damage and changing mission
conditions.

Structures. Large solar power systems, space transportation systems, and large apertures
will need structural concepts for in-space assembly from modular elements. Propellant depots
and space transportation systems will need lightweight composite and deployable cryotanks with
integral thermal management. Habitats and surface systems will need deployable and inflatable
structures with integral radiation shielding, thermal management, and health monitoring.
Mechanisms and Interconnects. Modular assembly of large space systems and surface
systems will need technologies for in-space welding, bonding, joining, and repair of structural
components. Such operations could also benefit significantly intelligent and reconfigurable
structural, electrical, and fluid interfaces. A related requirement will exist for a range of future
robotic systems which must operate in extreme environments; these systems will require
advances in both mechanisms, interconnects and actuators to improve significantly their
capabilities and reliability.

Space Environments and Effects. A wide range of topics related to space
environmental effects (SEE) must be pursued during the coming years. For example, exploration
systems operating in the inner solar system will need integrated space environment models
(radiation, meteoroids, charging, etc). Similarly, exploration systems operating on the moon and
Mars will need models of surface environments. In addition, exploration systems operating on
the moon and Mars will need technologies for mitigating dust and electrostatic charge
accumulation.

Specific guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in
Section D.

1.3 Communications, Computing, Electronics and Imaging (CCEI)

OExS Element Program Lead: Barbara Wilson, Ph.D. at bawilson@mail.jpl.nasa.gov

This Element Program develops advanced space communications and networking
technology; high-performance computers and computing architectures for space systems and
data analysis; low-power electronics to enable robotic operations in extreme environments; and
imaging sensors for machine vision systems and the characterization of planetary resources. The
special focus is on new devices and components for use in future space systems. Proposals are
sought in the technical themes listed below. A proposal may address one or more of these
themes.

  • General Purpose Computing and Data Storage
  • Switches, Networks and Internal Communications
  • Photonics-Based Computing and Sensing
  • Advanced Electronics
  • Advanced Sensor Concepts
  • MEMS Applications
  • Advanced Space Communications

The following challenges are of particular importance.

Modular Fault-Tolerant Spacecraft Computing and Avionics Architecture. Future
spacecraft systems will require a new modular approach to integrating the sensor and actuator
control, telecommunications, command and data handling, and on-board processing into a
scalable architecture that can be adapted for small autonomous robotic surface vehicles as well as
large autonomous and human piloted transport vehicles. The architecture should minimize the
wiring needed to connect sensors to processing to telecom, support real-time control and
complex autonomy processing, and be fault tolerant and “self healing” to some number of single
point failures. Components that comprise this architecture should have intelligent and robust
interfaces that enable them to “plug and play” with other components in the system. Some
specific technology potential interest could include:

  • High-speed, fault-tolerant, self-organizing networks and protocols
  • Plug and play interfaces suitable for spacecraft systems
  • Fault-tolerant distributed operating system layers for heterogeneous network processing and sensing components, with guaranteed quality of service for real-time critical tasks
  • Innovative approaches to reducing wiring complexity (both power and data) while maintaining high-bandwidth and low-latency data transfer among components

Radiation and Fault-Tolerant Processing Components. Develop new radiationtolerant
and fault tolerant components for reliable in-space processing with performance
comparable to ground-based commercial processors. Processing components should be
complete modular elements that communicate with other parts of the spacecraft via a high-speed
bus or network, and are self configuring. All components must have a design lifetime radiation
TID of at least 100 Krads. Areas anticipated for development include:

  • Reconfigurable processor components with power efficiency comparable to commercial devices
  • Network-enabled general purpose computing components with power performance and throughput comparable to commercial embedded systems
  • Volatile and non-volatile memories and mass storage
  • Network and I/O technologies including switches, phase-lock loops and serializers/deserializers to support bandwidths beyond 10 GB/s
  • Microcontroller components for interfacing with and controlling sensors and actuators

Ground-Based Computational Efficiency. Design, prototype at sub-scale, and model at
full-scale an advanced computing architecture that achieves a 100X improvement in
computational efficiency (sustained GFlops/$) over a benchmark execution of a large-scale,
multi-physics ExE application on a conventional supercomputer. The scope of this work includes
novel computing hardware architecture design, lightweight runtime kernels to logically integrate
the envisioned wide array of highly replicated functional elements, optimal exploitation of the
advanced hardware architecture to improve application sustained performance, accurate
assessment of the system architecture for key ExE applications, and reliable predictions of
application performance on large-scale instances of such architectures. Technologies of interest
include supercomputing based on: Microcontroller components for interfacing with and
controlling sensors and actuators; Processor-in-memory (PIM); Streaming; Field-programmable
gate arrays (FPGAs); Graphics processing units (GPUs); and, Other highly-parallel, high
memory-bandwidth emerging architectures

Space Communications Backbone and Wide Area Networks. Reliable space
communications and networking technologies are needed to support emerging spectrum
allocations in the microwave and optical regimes for Lunar/Mars human and robotic mission
applications. The bi-directional high capacity space backbone can extend from Earth and or
Earth orbit to planetary surfaces and orbits. High rate technologies are needed from planetary
assets to orbiters, inter-communications between orbiters, crew transit vehicles, and relays. The
goal is to achieve sustainable, scalable, fully accessible and fully reliable communications and
navigation infrastructure within the solar system for multiple robotic and human assets wherever
they are deployed. In addition the infrastructure will support navigation and multiple
communications applications requiring multiplexed two way links of varying data rates that
incorporate intelligence, and request service when necessary between deployed multiple surface
mission entities and space-based assets. Technologies of interest include:

  • High power, high efficiency transmitter technologies and components
  • Ultra sensitive receiver/receive arrays
  • Technologies to increase data rates by orders of magnitude with reduced overall cost
  • Network and protocol innovations to address high-delay links
  • Reconfigurable, modular high-rate radio/arrays
  • Networks, protocols, and software radio based technologies for flexible, energy efficient, multi access applications.

Surface Wireless Local Area Networks. Dynamic-bandwidth communications and
integrated navigation solutions for challenging human and robotic missions and operations on
planetary surfaces based on both commercially available wireless technologies and where
needed, custom developed components are required. The goals are to support navigation and
multiple communications applications requiring multiplexed two-way links of varying data rate
for deployed surface mission entities including but not limited to robots, rovers, landers, habitats
and personnel. Technologies of potential interest could include: modular, high-capacity, energyefficient,
miniature integrated components for physical, data and network link layer applications;
and, power-saving, ad-hoc, and link protocol technologies which are reliable in the space
environment

Extreme Environment Imaging Sensors. The extreme thermal environments of the
Moon and Mars preclude the use of most terrestrial sensors, their control electronics, actuators,
and packaging. A project to develop megapixel imaging systems with high-resolution digital
output streams serves as a testbed to overcome these challenges. Technologies of interest
include: Visible and IR arrays capable of operating in the Moon environment (generally -180-
+120 C, and –230 C in shadowed craters) without thermal control; Low-temperature
multiplexors and integrated analog and mixed signal pre-processing elements; Modular
electronics packages including power, command and control, and processing functions; Motors
and actuators capable of operating over wide temperature ranges; and, High-density packaging
approaches tolerant to extreme temperatures and frequent thermal cycling.

In-Space Inspection Sensor Suite. The capability to perform a wide variety of local
inspection operations will be important to the long-term, robust operation of diverse systems in
deep space and planetary venues. To enable this capability, an integrated suite of imaging
sensors for in-space system inspection (to include sensing technologies) are needed, involving
diverse novel technological approaches, including: High-density packaging approaches tolerant
to extreme temperatures and frequent thermal cycling; Morphology and shape of the system
under study, with sufficient resolution to compare to nominal models of the systems for detection
of faults; Temperature profile across the surface, and any thermal indications of the condition
below the surface of the structure; Spectroscopic identification of the material being imaged, and in particular note the presence of anomalous substances (e.g. cooling fluid, lubricants, etc.);
Penetrating imaging to determine the condition of subsurface material conditions, interfaces,
laminations, and seals (e.g. check for delaminations of ceramic heat shields from underlying
structures); and capabilities to Interact with simple markers embedded or applied to structural
elements to gather information that requires material interaction (e.g. a colormetric material that
changes color according to strain, interrogated by the imaging system)

Laser Sources and Active Sensors. Exploration systems will need capabilities to map
planetary terrain, to avoid surface hazards, to profile planetary atmosphere for controlled
aeroentry systems, and to perform ranging, 3D imaging and motion sensing for automated
rendezvous and docking and for robot-assisted assembly and surface operations. These
capabilities can be provided by improving the efficiency, tunability, and reliability of lasers, and
by developing radiation-tolerant imaging lidar systems that operate across a wide range of
temperatures. Related advances will also benefit high-bandwidth optical communication links.
Technologies of interest include: High-efficiency, high-reliability high-power solid state lasers
and diode laser arrays; Tunable lasers at wavelengths in the visible and IR; Sensitive detector
arrays with pixel-level ranging; 3D imaging lidar systems; Optical converters; High-efficiency
optical receiver, scanner and detector systems

Specific guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in
Section D.

1.4 Software, Intelligent Systems, and Modeling (SISM)

Element Program Lead: Butler Hine, Ph.D. (OExS) (at Butler.P.Hine@nasa.gov).

This Element Program develops reliable software and revolutionary computing
algorithms; intelligent systems to enable human-robotic collaboration; intelligent and
autonomous systems for robotic exploration and to support human exploration; and advanced
modeling and simulation methods for engineering design and data analysis. This Element will
also be the focal point for H&RT utilization of NASA or other national supercomputing assets.
Proposals are sought in the technical themes listed below. A proposal may address one or more
of these themes.

  • Autonomy and Intelligence
  • Human-Automation Interaction
  • Multi-Agent Teaming
  • Software Engineering for Reliability
  • Health Management Technologies
  • Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization

The following challenges are of particular importance.

Autonomy and Intelligence. SISM seeks projects which will demonstrate an
autonomous control system capable of operating either: (i) a planetary surface vehicle
performing scouting or construction activities, (ii) a complex life support or ISRU plant, or (iii) a
robotic astronaut assistant working in close proximity with a suited or unsuited astronaut.

Crew-Autonomy Interface Technologies. SISM seeks projects which will demonstrate
the applicability of rich multi-modal human interface systems (visual, haptic, speech, etc.) to
problems such as: (i) human-robotic on-orbit assembly of structures, (ii) distributed anomaly
response systems for advanced life support or vehicle emergencies, or (iii) robotic planetary
surface exploration assistants for EVA astronauts.

Multi-Agent Teaming. SISM seeks projects which will demonstrate the applicability of
multi-agent technologies to problems such as: (i) crew resource self-scheduling systems, (ii)
distributed decision-support systems for advanced life support or vehicle emergencies, (iii)
multi-robotic teams constructing planetary or orbital facilities, or (iv) related science activityfocused
multi-agent applications.

Software Engineering. SISM seeks projects which will demonstrate the applicability of
advanced software engineering technologies to problems such as: (i) increased software
reliability for critical flight control software, (ii) modular and reusable flight software, or (iii)
software verification and validation techniques for autonomous systems.
Health Management Technologies. SISM seeks projects which will demonstrate the
applicability of health management technologies (fault detection, diagnosis, prognostics,
information fusion, degradation management, etc.) to problems such as: (i) crew emergency
response advisory systems, (ii) on-demand vehicle maintenance scheduling, or (iii) automated
spacecraft health self-assessment.

Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization. SISM seeks projects which will demonstrate
the applicability of modeling, simulation, and visualization to problems such as: (i) end-to-end
mission simulation in moderate fidelity, (ii) highly dynamic mission phases in high-fidelity, or
(iii) automated model generation and updating design life-cycle tool frameworks.
Specific guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in
Section D.

1.5 Power, Propulsion, and Chemical Systems (PPCS)

Element Program Lead: Christopher Moore, Ph.D. (OExS) at christopher.moore@nasa.gov

The Element Program develops high-efficiency power generation, energy storage, and
power management and distribution systems to provide abundant power for space and surface
operations; advanced chemical, and electrical space propulsion systems for exploration missions;
chemical systems for the storage and handling of cryogens and other propellants; chemical
systems for identifying, processing, and utilizing planetary resources; and chemical detectors and
sensors. Proposals are sought consistent with the technical themes listed below. A proposal may
address one or more of these themes.

  • Energy Conversion
  • Power Management and Distribution
  • Energy Storage
  • Thermal Management
  • Thermal-. Electrical and Chemistry-based Processing of Materials
  • Advanced Chemical Propulsion
  • Advanced Electric/Electromagnetic Propulsion
  • Launch Assist and Other Novel Propulsion Concepts
  • Novel Power and Transmission Technologies

The following challenges, including representative systems and needed technologies are
of particular importance.

Power. Power systems with the capability for growth will need modular solar arrays that
can be assembled into larger systems. Large solar power generation systems will need modular,
intelligent power management and distribution systems that can be reconfigured to accommodate
faults and changing loads. Spacesuits and mobile systems will need high energy density power
sources such as advanced batteries and fuel cells. Space utilities that supply power to multiple
users will need wireless power transmission systems.

Propulsion. Landers and ascent vehicles will need small variable thrust chemical rocket
engines. Microspacecraft scouts and inspectors will need micro-chemical propulsion systems
with thrust-to-weight greater than 1000. Propellant depots and space vehicles on long-duration
missions will need high energy, storable propellants. Large solar electric propulsion systems for
transporting cargo and crew will need electric thrusters with output power greater than 500 kW.
Small launch vehicles will need electromagnetic launch assist systems with 50 metric ton
capability to reduce propellant mass and increase payload to orbit. Reducing the trip time for
human exploration missions beyond Mars will need revolutionary propulsion system concepts.

Chemical Systems. In Situ Resource Utilization systems will need automated systems to
collect lunar regolith for use in the production of consumables; Surface power systems, and
vehicle refueling stations will need new processes to produce oxygen and hydrogen from lunar
regolith, and new processes to produce propellants and other consumables from the Mars
atmosphere; The in situ characterization of planetary resources will need miniature, highly
integrated chemical analysis systems.

Thermal Management. Lunar surface systems operating at mid-day will need heat
pumps capable of rejecting heat to hot environments (300K) with 50 oC temperature differential.
Large space power and propulsion systems will need advanced spacecraft radiators with heat
rejection capability greater than 1000 W/kg. Spacesuits, habitats, and mobile systems will need
multi-zone, reconfigurable thermal control systems. Propellant depots and transport vehicles will
need thermal management systems for ultra-low boil-off cryotanks.
Specific guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in
Section D.

2. Technology Maturation Program

Program Director (acting), John C. Mankins at john.c.mankins@nasa.gov

TMP projects established through this ICP will develop and demonstrate new
technologies and concepts at the systems level with the intention of validating (or invalidating)
them for transition to future systems development projects within Project Constellation or other
(in the case of technologies of broad, cross-cutting value) NASA development programs.

During the initial H&RT ‘cycle of innovation’ (i.e. during FY 2005-2008), TMP projects
should focus on establishing the viability (or non-viability) by 2011 of new, space-based system-
of-systems level approaches to Earth-Moon operations to support decisions regarding how to
return humans to the Moon by 2020. Technologies that address longer-term challenges,
including advanced lunar surface operations and inner Solar System (e.g. Mars) exploration
missions are also of interest, but may be expected to be of lower overall emphasis in the resulting
investment portfolio. TMP projects that establish a foundation of test beds and test articles that
enable the later infusion and validation of various technologies at lower stages of technology
validation (e.g. lower TRL products from ASTP) will also be emphasized.

In addition to the projects created through this ICP and the planned NASA Broad Agency
Announcement (BAA) for extramural projects, an additional call for TMP projects is planned for
Winter 2004/2005, following completion of various studies and requirements development
efforts, to be performed by NASA (e.g. Office of Exploration Systems, Requirements Division)
and external organizations.

For this ICP, the following are the specific guidelines for project proposals within each of
the TMP Element Programs.

2.1 High Energy Space Systems (HESS) Technology

Element Program Lead: Nantel Suzuki (OExS); at nantel.h.suzuki@nasa.gov.

This Element Program examines a range of key technology options associated with future
space exploration systems and architectures that are ‘energy rich’—including high power space
systems, highly efficient and reliable space propulsion systems, and the storage, management
and transfer of energy/propellants in space. It may also address (as appropriate) high-energy
maneuvering; including aero-entry, aero-braking, and other aero-assist related R&D. Key
objectives will derive from the goals of safe/reliable, affordable and effective future human and
robotic space exploration in support of the U.S. Vision for Space Exploration. Proposals are
sought in the technical themes listed below. A proposal may address one or more of these
themes.

  • High-Efficiency, Low-Mass Solar Power Generation Systems
  • Highly-Reliable/Autonomous Deep-Space Cryogenic Propellant Refueling Systems
  • High- Efficiency/Power and Low-Mass Electromagnetic (EM) Propulsion Systems
  • Deep-Throttling Multi-Use In-Space Cryogenic Engines
  • Large, low-mass aeroassist systems
  • Novel, high-energy space systems demonstrations

HESS projects established through this ICP should abide by the general TMP guidance
provided above, and should focus on modular, high-energy concepts for use in long-lived inspace
infrastructures, transportation systems, and surface systems. One of the central strategic
technical challenges for HESS is to validate (or invalidate) by 2011 the system-of-systems level
concept of reusability as it applies to a variety of high energy systems. The challenge is to use
vehicles and systems during multiple phases of a single mission, and/or over multiple missions
instead of ‘throwing away’ crew transportation, service modules, propulsion stages, and/or
excursion systems after only a single mission. Furthermore, projects should lead to the
development and demonstration (up to TRL 6) of novel approaches that enable ‘energy rich’
solutions to future space exploration challenges.

HESS projects should address one or more of the following strategic technical challenges
(as defined in the H&RT Formulation Plan): (1) Reusability, (2) Energy-Rich Systems and
Missions, (3) Modularity, (4) Reconfigurability, (5) Margins and Redundancy, (6) ASARA (as
safe as reasonably achievable), and (7) Affordable Logistics Pre-Positioning. In particular,
project proposals to the HESS element program are requested in the following areas (arranged by
technical theme).

High-Energy, High-Efficiency, Low-Mass Solar Powered Systems. The affordable
deployment of systems and logistics beyond low Earth orbit will depend on high-power, space
transportation. In addition, a broad range of future systems and technologies will be constrained
or enabled by the availability of (or lack of) significant power at an affordable cost. This area
includes development of novel, high-power space systems; solar power generation and power
management; and related thermal management systems that enable new class of space systems
with power levels in the 100s of kWe or greater, with specific masses no more than 200 W/kg
(i.e. a fraction of that of the International Space Station power systems).

Highly-Reliable/Autonomous Deep-Space Cryogenic Propellant Refueling Systems.
The capability to pre-deploy propellants and other logistics will determine the feasibility of
future reusable space exploration approaches. Technologies for the long-term in-space or
planetary storage (e.g. zero boil-off), low-loss transfer, and effective management of cryogenic
and other fuels.

High-Efficiency/Power and Low-Mass Electromagnetic (EM) Propulsion Systems.
Enhanced ground test capability that accommodates the use of various propellants, lifetime
testing of high-power EM propulsion systems, the examination of issues (e.g. stability)
associated with multiple interacting thrusters, and end-to-end validation of integrated
power/propulsion/thermal system stability.

Deep-Throttling Multi-Use In-Space Cryogenic Engines. Multi-use space
transportation systems will be enabled only if high-energy, cryogenic propulsion can be
developed (including LOx-Methane options as well as LOx-LH2). This area addresses small, deep-throttling cryogenic engines capable of many restarts and space-basing, with exceptionally
high reliability.

Large, Low-Mass Aeroassist Systems. This area includes integrated low-mass, rigid
aeroassist systems based on robust, high-temperature structures and adhesives, applicable to
Moon/Mars Earth return and Mars deceleration scenarios. In addition, the areas of modular or
deployable/inflatable aeroshells that enable scalable and reliable in-space assembly or
deployment of large-diameter aeroassist systems.

Novel High-Energy Space Systems Demonstrations. This includes efficient end-to-end
laser and/or microwave wireless power transmission systems, including power management and
distribution, transmitters, and receivers.

Proposals concerning any of the above areas may involve the definition in preparation for
later development of technology flight experiments, where such TFEs can be shown to be
necessary to accomplish the technical goals and/or objectives of the proposed project. Specific
guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in Section D.

2.2 Advanced Space Platforms and Systems (ASPS) Technology

Element Program Lead: Robert Wegeng (OExS) at robert.wegeng-1@nasa.gov

The Advanced Space Platforms and Systems (ASPS) Element Program examines a range
of key technology options associated with future space exploration systems and architectures that
are resilient, reliable and reconfigurable through the use of miniaturization, modularization of
key functions in novel systems approaches. Platforms technologies that support self-assembly
and in-space assembly, as well as in-space maintenance and servicing will be included. These
efforts are coordinated with in-space assembly and related R&D within the Space Operations
Technology Program (e.g., involving extra-vehicular activity (EVA) systems, robotics, etc.).
Proposals are sought in the technical themes listed below. A proposal may address one or more
of these themes.

  • Intelligent Modular Systems
  • Robust & Reconfigurable Habitation Systems
  • Integrated System Health Management
  • Communications Networks and Systems.
  • Novel Platform Systems Concept Demonstrations

In response to this Intramural Call for Proposals, ASPS Projects are invited that will lead
to the development and demonstration (up to TRL 6, including potential technology flight
experiments) of novel technologies that enable future space exploration systems and
architectures that are resilient, reliable and reconfigurable through the use of miniaturization and
modularization of key functions in novel systems approaches. ASPS projects should address one
of more of the following strategic technical challenges: (1) Modularity, (2) Autonomy, (3) “ASARA”, (4) Reconfigurability, (5) Reusability, and (6) In-Space Assembly (with the greatest
focus on self-assembly).

One of the central challenges for ASPS is to validate (or invalidate) by 2011 the systems-
of-systems level concept of autonomous, self-assembly of modular systems/structures, which
may only be realized through flight experiments/demonstrations.

The following challenges are of particular importance.

Intelligent Modular Systems. Technologies of interest include: autonomous rendezvous
and docking technologies; reconfigurable, multi-functional robotic hardware and software; and,
integrated, reconfigurable structural modules incorporating multiple elements such as solar
collection arrays, radiators, power, data, utility lines, science instruments, etc.

Robust and Reconfigurable Habitation Systems. Including multi-mission habitat
structures based on common core structural habitat modules incorporating, for example,
advanced composites or metallics, as well as flexible fabrics; multifunctional habitat structural
materials, for example, including embedded sensors, power, radiation shielding, etc.; airlock
systems that incorporate novel methods of dust control for lunar and/or Martian environments;
and, reconfigurable, reusable habitat life support technologies, including regeneration of oxygen.
Integrated System Health Management (ISHM). Technologies and integrated systems
approaches of interest will include Integrated systems including sensors, software and computing
to enable monitoring and management of diverse subsystems/systems.

Communications and Navigation Systems. Topics of interest will include open, nonproprietary
communications architectures based on the internet, incorporating standard network
IP protocols; and, Integrated high-rate communications, navigation and avionics technology, that
can support accurate “dead-reckoning” between navigation fixes from single satellite contacts
and celestial observations, based on local area network architectures.
Developments should focus on establishing the validity of new, space-based approaches
to Earth-Moon operations, with a view toward longer-term applications for inner Solar System
(e.g., the Mars) exploration missions. Technologies that address longer-term challenges are also
of interest, but may be expected to be of lower overall emphasis in the resulting investment
portfolio.

Proposals concerning any of the above areas may involve the definition in preparation for
later development of technology flight experiments, where such TFEs can be shown to be
necessary to accomplish the technical goals and/or objectives of the proposed project. Specific
guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in Section D.

2.3 Advanced Space Operations (ASO)Technology

H&RT Element Program Lead: Nantel Suzuki at nantel.h.suzuki@nasa.gov

This Program Element examines a range of key technology options associated with future
space exploration systems and architectures that are involve a variety of combinations of
advanced robotic and human capabilities, ranging from remotely telesupervised robotic systems,
through locally-teleoperated systems, to focused human presence (with robotic agent assistance).
Technologies that enable in-space assembly, maintenance and servicing will be included. Key
objectives will derive from the goals of safe/reliable, affordable and effective future human and
robotic space exploration in support of the U.S. Vision for Space Exploration. These efforts will
be closely coordinated with spacecraft subsystem, system, and related R&D within the Space
Platforms and Systems Technology Program. Proposals are sought in the technical themes listed
below. A proposal may address one or more of these themes.

  • Space Assembly, Maintenance and Servicing Systems
  • Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Systems
  • Intelligent and Affordable On-Board Operations Systems
  • Reliable and Responsive Ground Operations Systems
  • Novel Space Operations Demonstrations

One of the central strategic technical challenges for ASO is to validate (or invalidate) by
2011 the system-of-systems level concept of in-space assembly as it applies to a variety of
advanced space operations systems. A key aspect of the challenge is to dock vehicles and
systems together on orbit instead of launching pre-integrated exploration missions from Earth
using very heavy launch vehicles, and enabling in-space maintenance, servicing, reconfiguration,
evolution, etc., for exceptionally long-duration deep space operations.

ASO projects should address one or more of the following strategic technical challenges
(as defined in the H&RT Formulation Plan): (1) In-Space Assembly (including ‘self-assembling
systems, in coordination with related developments in the Advanced Space Platforms and
Systems Element Program), (2) Autonomy, (3) Reusability, (4) Modularity, (5)
Reconfigurability, (5) Margins and Redundancy, and (6) Data-Rich Virtual Presence. In
particular, project proposals to the ASO element program are requested in the following areas
(arranged by technical theme). A proposal may address one or more of these areas.

Space Assembly, Maintenance and Servicing Systems. Areas of interest include fast,
efficient, and precise in-space assembly systems at a large-scale (e.g. cranes), mid-scale (e.g.
anthropomorphic robots), or small-scale (dexterous and/or micro manipulators), reliable in-space
self deploying systems, and self-assembling systems for applications in Earth-orbit, the Moon,
and beyond, including intelligent and robust docking mechanisms, as well as robust, autonomous
rendezvous and docking technologies and test beds.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Systems. This area will be pursued in close
coordination with related activities within NASA’s Office of Biological and Physical Research
(OBPR). Within H&RT, topics of interest could include advanced EVA translation and mobility
aids, and EVA power and hand tools.

Intelligent and Affordable On-Board Operations Systems. Technology areas of
interest include reliable and timely automated space operations nominal/off-nominal procedure
management systems, integrated and adaptable user interfaces, including intuitive displays,
reliable speech interfaces, and consistent design approaches, and reliable, cost-effective in-flight
mission training systems and environments

Reliable and Responsive Ground Operations Systems. Topics of potential interest
include standardized ground and launch operations systems to limit life-cycle costs, novel
mission operations systems approaches, and integrated ground test bed environments.
Proposals concerning any of the above areas may involve the definition in preparation for
later development of technology flight experiments, where such TFEs can be shown to be
necessary to accomplish the technical goals and/or objectives of the proposed project. Specific
guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in Section D.

2.4 Lunar and Planetary Surface Operations (LPSO) Technology

Element Program Lead: Robert Wegeng (OExS) robert.wegeng-1@nasa.gov.

This Element Program examines a range of key technology options associated with future
lunar and planetary surface exploration and operations for a range of increasingly-ambitious
human and robotic mission options through the development of in situ resource utilization
technologies, highly-capable surface mobility systems, and various supporting infrastructures.
Key objectives are derived from the goals of safe/reliable, affordable and effective future human
and robotic lunar and planetary surface exploration in support of the U.S. Vision for Space
Exploration. Proposals are sought in the technical themes listed below. A proposal may address
one or more of these themes.

  • Intelligent & Agile Surface Mobility Systems
  • In Situ Resource Utilization Systems
  • Surface Manufacturing and Construction Systems
  • Surface Environmental Management Systems

In response to this Intramural Call for Proposals, LPSO Projects are invited that will lead
to the development and demonstration (up to TRL 6, including potential technology flight
experiments) of novel technologies associated with future lunar and planetary surface
exploration and operations for a range of increasingly-ambitious human and robotic mission
options through the development of in situ utilization technologies, highly-capable surface
mobility systems, and various supporting infrastructures. LPSO projects should address one of
more of the following strategic technical challenges: (1) Reusability, (2) Modularity, (3)
Autonomy, (4) “ASARA”, (5) Reconfigurability, (6) Robotic Networks, (7) Affordable Logistics
Pre-positioning, (8) Space Resources Utilization, (9) Data-Rich Virtual Presence, and (10)
Access to Surface Targets.

One of the central challenges for LPSO is to validate (or invalidate) by 2011 the systems-
of-systems level concept of in situ resource utilization, especially for the production of oxygen
and propellants from lunar resources.

The following challenges are of particular importance.

Intelligent & Agile Surface Mobility Systems. Topics of interest could include both Piloted and unpiloted rover technologies.

In Situ Resource Utilization Systems. Technology areas of potential interest include
excavation, extraction, collection beneficiation technologies for lunar and/or Martian resources.
Includes solids and/or gases; reconfigurable, modular chemical process technologies for in situ
oxygen and/or propellant production from lunar or mars resources; and technologies for in situ
production of structural feedstock materials from lunar and/or Martian resources.

Surface Manufacturing and Construction Systems. Technologies of interest include
those for the production of structural components using available lunar and/or Martian resources;
autonomous or tele-operated robotic technologies for surface facility assembly and maintenance;
and, technologies for the in situ manufacture of solar photovoltaic systems.

Surface Environmental Management Systems. Technologies of interest include
natural, mechanical, electromechanical and/or electrical dust removal/mitigation technologies,
including multifunctional systems or dust-control elements that are embedded within other
systems.

Developments should focus on establishing the validity of new, space-based approaches
to Earth-Moon operations, with a view toward longer-term applications for inner Solar System
(e.g., the Mars) exploration missions. Technologies that address longer-term challenges are also
of interest, but may be expected to be of lower overall emphasis in the resulting investment
portfolio.

Proposals concerning any of the above areas may involve the definition in preparation for
later development of technology flight experiments, where such TFEs can be shown to be
necessary to accomplish the technical goals and/or objectives of the proposed project. Specific
guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in Section D.

2.5 In-Space Technology Experiments Program (In-STEP)

Element Program Lead: Carlos Campos (OExS) at carlos.s.campos@nasa.gov

The In-Space Technology Experiments Element Program (In-STEP) will pursue both low
to mid- TRL flights of novel technologies, where appropriate, in addition to supporting the
development and deployment (where required) of key infrastructures and carriers for such
technology flight experiments (TFEs). The In-STEP effort will engage not only the other element
programs within the H&RT Technology Maturation Program, but also possible TFEs emerging from the Advanced Space Technology Program and a range of other key technology options
associated with future human and robotic space exploration and operations. Key objectives are
derived from the goal of technology validation in support of safe/reliable, affordable and
effective systems and missions in support of the U.S. Vision for Space Exploration. Proposals
are sought in the technical themes listed below. A proposal may address one or more of these
themes.

  • Technology Flight Experiment (TFE) Definition
  • Technology Flight Experiment Accommodations
  • Technology Flight Experiment Development
  • Technology Flight Experiment Integration, Launch and Operations

The InSTEP program will enable the timely identification, development and flight of
important experiments (at TRL 5 or lower) in space to validate novel technology applications, as
well as occasional larger-scale and/or higher fidelity demonstrations incorporating multiple
technologies in new, interdisciplinary systems concepts. In general, InSTEP will work in close
concert with other H&RT programs, providing flight opportunities for lower TRL technologies
emerging from the ASTP, as well as defining and flying TFEs related to technology maturation
efforts that are cross-cutting in character. Major InSTEP technical activities invited through this
ICP include the following topics.

Technology Flight Experiment (TFE) Definition and Development. This theme will
address the array of technology disciplines incorporated within the H&RT family of programs
ASTP, TMP and ITTP). Technology flight experiment definition studies should relate clearly to
ASTP or to ITTP—as well as cross-cutting TFEs related to developments within the TMP. (Any
proposed activities not clearly derived from one of these sources should provide detailed
information supporting a clear linkage to priority goals and objectives of H&RT and space
exploration technology needs.

Technology Flight Experiment Accommodations, Launch and Operations. This
technical theme will include assessments of carriers, launch opportunities, and preliminary
planning for in-space accommodation of TFEs. It will also include activities related to the
integration, launch and operation of future H&RT technology flight experiments. This topic may
include TFEs derived from ASTP, TMP or ITTP. Specific activities invited under this ICP
should relate to preliminary studies to determine requirements and options for technology flight
experiment accommodations and flight.

Specific guidance concerning scope, duration of projects, etc., is provided below in
Section D.

3. Innovative Technology Transfer Partnerships (ITTP) Program

Program Director, Benjamin Neumann (OExS), at benjamin.j.neumann@nasa.gov

3.1 Technology Transfer (TT)

Program Manager, Jack Yadvish (OExS) at John.R.Yadvish@nasa.gov
This Element Program supports the timely transfer of technology into and out of the full
suite of NASA’s applied research, technology and development programs. Major TT technical
themes include the following:

  • NASA Field Center Technology Transf

SpaceRef staff editor.