A high-technology firm in Harford, N.Y., has won a NASA research grant under the aerospace agency's Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research program to develop computational models for nonlinear aeroelastic systems such as flexible aircraft wings.
Clear Science Corp., working with Duke University's Department of Mechanical Engineering, will receive one of two grants that will be awarded by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif., under an STTR Phase II research and development proposal in late May. The firm's proposal was one of 27 funded by NASA under the agency's 2003 STTR program, and is valued at up to $600,000 over a two-year performance period.
"This proposal would develop novel computerized methods and tools that could result in significant reduction of the time and effort required for analysis of aircraft designs, traditionally a lengthy and expensive process. The company proposes to improve the efficiency of this process by using less complex models that are computationally simpler, while retaining their accuracy to yield results more quickly at less cost," said Rodney Bogue, STTR program manager at NASA Dryden. "The code resulting from this effort is expected to streamline and integrate the results for a broad range of engineering disciplines, which could reduce the number of certification flight tests required for both current and future aircraft."
Clear Science's principal investigator Henry Carlson said flexible aircraft wings interact with the air flowing around them in ways that are often hard to predict and sometimes dangerous. The computational models will enable engineers to predict the complex, coupled responses of the wing and flow, facilitating the design of aircraft that are safe and reliable.
Bogue said Clear Science's proposal was chosen based upon technical merit and innovation, value to NASA, commercial potential, company capabilities, and the firm's performance under an earlier Phase I STTR grant.
"Phase I awards are for the purpose of proving a proposed concept, and are funded up to a maximum of $70,000 for a six-month period," Bogue explained. "Phase II selections are made from high-performing Phase I projects, and are oriented to development of a marketable product. Between 40 and 50 percent of Phase I contracts are selected for the Phase II follow-on."
Overall, 24 small, high-technology firms in 15 states will share in about $16 million in STTR Phase II grants awarded by NASA this year, with a couple receiving more than one contract. The 27 projects funded were selected from 41 proposals submitted by firms completing STTR Phase I projects. Each proposal was evaluated to determine if it met STTR Phase I objectives and if it was a feasible research innovation to meet the aerospace agency's needs.
The NASA STTR program is intended to stimulate technological innovation, increase the use of small business – including women-owned and disadvantaged firms – in meeting federal research and development needs, and increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federally funded research. The program is managed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., with oversight from NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. Individual STTR projects are selected and managed by each of NASA's 10 field centers.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Further information about Clear Science Corp. and its NASA STTR project can be obtained by contacting Henry Carlson at (607) 844-9171. The firm is located at 663 Owego Hill Road, Harford, N.Y. 13784-0233.
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