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December 6, 2007

Dryden Flight Research Center
P.O. Box 273
Edwards, California 93523
Phone 661/276-3449
FAX 661/276-3566

Alan Brown
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

NASA Selects Dryden Project for IPP Seed Fund Award

EDWARDS, Calif. – NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program recently awarded a "Seed Fund" grant to Tao Systems, of Hampton, Va., for development of a compact aerodynamic sensing system that will help validate aircraft flight performance.

The one-year grant will fund the Distributed Aerodynamic Sensing and Processing (DASP) Toolbox project that was proposed by aerospace engineers Marty Brenner and Dave Voracek at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center through the center's Innovative Partnerships Program office. The project leverages previous work from NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects with Tao Systems.

"Tao will perform design optimization and system integration of a distributed aerodynamic sensing and processing (DASP) toolbox using aerodynamic 'observables' for technology validation with patented hot film sensors, which are mounted at flexure points on aircraft lifting surfaces," Brenner explained.

"The DASP Toolbox monitors and processes the aerodynamics with the structural dynamics," he added. "This unique and powerful aerodynamic measurement tool would benefit many current and future programs devoted to gust load alleviation, body freedom flutter suppression, buffet control, improvement of aerodynamic efficiency through cruise control, supersonic wave drag reduction through shock control, etc. Feedback of these sensor measurements can then be used for distributed control of lifting surfaces."

The DASP techniques may aid health monitoring in a number of non-aerospace applications, such as tall buildings or bridges, structural and control components of sailboats, ship masts and tall ship deck structures, and control and propulsion subsystems on submarines.

Tao Systems will receive $238,000 in this cost-shared, joint-development project that will integrate previous investments from their Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts with Dryden and the Air Force Research laboratory (AFRL). The project will ultimately provide a compact system that will minimize power requirements and then validate performance in flight. Partnership contributions from Tao Systems will include sensors, software and multiple data acquisition system components.

NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program Seed Fund addresses technology barriers with cost-shared, joint-development programs designed to advance key technologies to meet critical needs for NASA's mission. The Seed Fund project at Dryden is one of 38 partnerships that span 30 states and include nine universities, 23 small to medium-sized businesses, 17 large corporations and participation by all 10 NASA field centers.

The one-year projects involve collaboration among three principal partners: a NASA partnership manager at a field center; a co-principal investigator within a NASA program or project office; and an external co-principal investigator from the private sector, academia or other government laboratory. The maximum Seed Fund awards are for $250,000.

NASA's Innovative Partnership Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington is contributing $9 million in funding from its Technology Transfer Partnerships budget, $13 million is being provided by NASA sources in programs, projects, or field centers, and $12 million from external partners for a total combined financial commitment of $34 million.

For a complete list of selected organizations and information about NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program Seed Fund, visit:


For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:


For more information about NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and its research projects, visit:


BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY EDITORS: Further information about Tao Systems and their NASA IPP Seed Fund research project can be obtained by contacting Siva Mangalam, president and principal investigator, Tao Systems, at 757-220-5040, e-mail siva@taosystem.com.


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