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Kennedy Space Center (KSC)

POC: Michael Lester

  • TA 4.0 Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Robert Mueller, rob.mueller@nasa.gov, Ph: 321-867-2557
    • 4.1 Sensing and Perception
    • 4.1.4 Natural, Man-Made Object, and Event Recognition
    • 4.3 Manipulation
    • 4.3.6 Sample Acquisition and Handling
    • 4.5 System-Level Autonomy
    • 4.5.3 Autonomous Guidance and Control
  • TA 6.0 Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems, Raymond Wheeler, Raymond.m.wheeler@nasa.gov, Ph: 321-861-2950
    • 6.1 Environmental Control and Life Support Systems and Habitation Systems
    • 6.1.1 Air Revitalization
    • 6.1.2 Water Recovery and Management
    • 6.1.3 Waste Management
  • TA 7.0 Human Exploration Destination Systems, Tracy Gill, tracy.r.gill@nasa.gov, Ph: 321-867-5824
    • 7.1 In-Situ Resource Utilization
    • 7.1.1 Destination Reconnaissance, Prospecting, and Mapping
    • 7.1.2 Resource Acquisition
    • 7.1.3 Processing and Production
    • 7.1.4 Manufacturing Products and Infrastructure Emplacement
    • 7.2 Sustainability and Supportability
    • 7.2.4 Food Production, Processing, and Preservation
  • TA 13.0 Ground and Launch Systems, Jack Fox, jack.j.fox@nasa.gov, Ph: 321-867-4413
    • 13.2 Environmental Protection and Green Technologies
    • 13.2.5 Curatorial Facilities, Planetary Protection, and Clean Rooms
    • 13.3 Reliability and Maintainability
    • 13.3.3 On-Site Inspection and Anomaly Detection and Identification
    • 13.3.6 Repair, Mitigation, and Recovery Technologies

  • KSC SBIR, Mr. Mike Vinje, michael.e.vinje@nasa.gov, Ph: 321-861-3874
    • Standardized Interfaces (a USB port for space)
    • A substantial portion of pre-launch processing involves the integration of spacecraft assemblies to each other or to the ground systems that supply the commodities, power or data. Each stage or payload requires an interface that connects it to the adjacent hardware which includes flight critical seals or connectors and other components. Development and adoption of simplified, standardized interfaces holds the potential of reducing the cost and complexity of future space systems, which increases the funding available for flight hardware and drives down the cost of access to space for everyone.

  • Kennedy Space Center (KSC) researchers develop many new technologies and make many scientific breakthroughs on a regular basis. While all are developed for NASA’s space exploration mission, some also have the potential to provide benefit here on Earth in commercial applications. As a result, the KSC Technology Transfer Office (TTO) patents these technologies and makes them available to the private sector for commercialization.

    However, several KSC patented technologies are still in the early stages of development, e.g. Technology Readiness Levels 2- 3. As such, they require a significant amount of further development before they can be used in any application, whether it is a NASA space application or a commercial application. In some cases, KSC researchers are not able to continue developing some of these early-stage technologies due to a lack of NASA funding. Likewise, private sector companies often cannot fund the development due to the risk associated with developing early-stage technologies regardless of their commercial potential.

    As a result, KSC has early-stage patented technologies whose development has stopped despite their possible commercial benefit here on Earth and use to NASA.

    In response, the KSC TTO has partnered with the EPSCoR program to include two of its early-stage patented technologies in this year’s EPSCoR RFP as topic areas. We are seeking proposals to further develop these technologies in a way that demonstrates their use in commercial applications; and NASA applications as well if the technology has dual use potential.

    The RFP contains all publically available information and references to available patent information for these technologies. Additional information will only be provided under a Non-Disclosure Agreement with KSC.
    Required KSC Agreements:

    Universities awarded funding for these topic areas must obtain an Evaluation License Agreement from KSC TTO. The license is required before a university can perform awarded work with a KSC patented or patent-pending technology. An Evaluation License Agreement Application must be submitted to the KSC TTO by the university performing funded work before a License can be issued. Evaluation Licenses can be put in place in about 3 weeks after receipt of the application and there are no fees for these licenses. Universities performing work with KSC patented or patent-pending technologies must also sign a KSC Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). These documents are not required until after award, but all must be provided and signed before work can begin. KSC will provide applications and license templates to awarded universities upon award.

    Please contact Mr. G. Michael Lester, KSC R&T Partnership Manager, KSC Technology Transfer Office at email: gregory.m.lester@nasa.gov if you have any questions.

  • NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is seeking to further develop its patented Self-Healing Wire Insulation technology for commercial and NASA applications. Wire insulation failure is considered a major problem on spacecraft and proposals should support concepts to develop self-healing technologies that have the ability to repair damaged wire insulation based on NASA KSC patented technologies. Of particular importance will be enhancing chemistries including microencapsulation needed to decrease the time to self-repair the wire insulation when damaged. It is important to consider the manufacturing process used to produce the insulated wire in the chemistries used to enhance the time to self-repair the insulation. These methods must produce a flexible hermetic seal over the damaged area. The physical and chemical properties of the final repair material should not notably decrease the insulating properties of the original insulating materials which can include Teflon, Kapton or other insulation materials.

    There are multiple commercial applications that can benefit from high performance, thin-film, self-healing/sealing systems. Aircraft and many industrial applications (such as manufacturing facilities and server farms) can contain miles of wire, much of which is buried inside structures making it very difficult to access for inspection and repair. However, in order to be used for these types of commercial applications, the Self-Healing Wire Insulation would have to be enhanced so that the self-healing properties of the film can take effect in a few minutes or less. Modifications or enhancements to the chemistry of the technology would likely be necessary to achieve this increased speed of repair.

    The patent numbers for KSC’s Self-Healing Wire Insulation are:
    U.S. Patent #7,285,306
    U.S. Patent #8,119,238

  • NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is seeking to further develop its patent pending DC-DC Transformer technology for commercial and NASA applications. The DC-DC Transformer operates by combining features of a homopolar motor and a homopolar generator, both DC devices, such that the output voltage of a DC power supply can be stepped up (or down) with a corresponding step down (or up) in current. This Transformer should be scalable to low megawatt levels, but it is more suited to high current than high voltage applications. This technology is a DC counterpart to the well-known AC transformer.

    While the initial tests were promising, the DC-DC Transformer would need additional work to improve its commercial viability, including optimization and scale-up for specific commercial applications. Currently, this DC-DC Transformer cannot compete with off-the-shelf, switching based, DC-DC converters in low power systems, but it may be a preferable alternative for use in high power applications. Significant additional development would be required to develop a Megawatt capable device, but for applications such as up-converting the voltage from a solar energy farm, it may outperform semi-conductor based devices in both cost and efficiency. However, analysis has shown that this DC-DC Transformer is better suited as a high current device. As a result, applications such as a high current interface for motors or magnets may be easier to meet than trying to reach the high voltages needed for power transmission.

    Patent pending. Patent application can be provided upon request but will require a Non-Discloser Agreement.