NASA Tech Needs

Long-Term Data Acquisition, Command, and Control of Spaceflight-Quality Laser Systems

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is a leader in developing satellite-based laser technology for remote sensing measurements of the Earth and other planetary bodies. Laser performance for such missions must be highly efficient and stable over long periods of time in order to successfully accomplish the desired science goals of these missions. It is therefore critical to be able to measure and control multiple laser input and output parameters simultaneously and accurately over a period of time that significantly reduces risk.

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Manufacturing Methods to Deposit Inorganic Material Layers on Metal Substrates

A company seeks alternative ways of preparing crucibles for the vapor deposition process. Currently, up to a kilogram of an alkalihalide salt is melted electrically in a tantalum crucible within a vacuum chamber, and the vapor is deposited on a metal substrate. The resistance, conductivity, and heating patterns of each crucible — and the vapor cloud it produces — vary from crucible to crucible. The pattern of the cloud changes over time as crucibles age. A thick layer of an inorganic salt — between 400 and 500 micrometers — must be deposited on a metal substrate with microscopic evenness and regularity.

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At-Home Medical Diagnostic and Monitoring Technologies

New home-use and point-of-care diagnostic medical technologies are needed. The diagnostics kits should monitor diseases not easily measured. Testing may be done within the device, or the device may be a tethered testing head that reports to a central diagnostics facility. The product can be tethered via phone, cell phone, or Internet, for example. A sample may also be prepared by the device and physically delivered to a central testing service. Areas of interest include cardiac, cholesterol, digestive health, lung function, osteoporosis, and progressive neuropathy.

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Friction Reduction of Steel Surfaces

A global organization needs innovative technologies that will decrease the surface friction between steel surfaces. Thin, 0.2-mm steel components must come into shear contact with each other, resulting in slip, wear, and heat. The components are lubricated to reduce friction. Any proposed solution must have some degree of flexibility, by a radius between 50 and 100 mm. The non-rigid technology should be unaffected by a shear force of 50 N, or operating temperatures of -20 to +180 °C.

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Improved Efficiency of Jet Engines

By minimizing the distance between the rotating vanes of a turbine and the static case structure housing the rotating blades, a client seeks to improve the efficiency of jet engines. Eliminating system leakage is essential to providing the most amount of energy for the lowest cost. The compressor fans of a turbine engine must maintain extremely tight tolerances to reduce leakage around the vanes. Minimizing leakage, a critical task given the smaller features of the vane and rotor geometry, is a particular challenge because of the jet engine’s high pressures and temperatures.

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Aeronautics Test Program

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) is one of four NASA centers that supports NASA’s Aeronautics Test Program (ATP). The ATP ensures the long-term availability and health of NASA’s major wind tunnels, ground test facilities, flight operations, and test infrastructure that support NASA, Department of Defense, and U.S. industry research and development (R&D), and test and evaluation (T&E) requirements.

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Pathogen Inactivation Technologies

Although there are highly sensitive methods for pathogen detection in donor blood, the risk of infection via transfusion remains. A customer seeks methods to inactivate all known and unknown blood-borne pathogens in blood products, especially where those technologies can be used for whole blood or red blood cells. A pathogen agent should be able to inactivate multiple infection-agent forms, and a proposed solution must work on all three blood components: red blood cells, plasma, and platelets.

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