NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, has awarded a trio of Cooperative Agreements geared to aid development of advanced technologies vital to the achievement of NASA's goals in space and designed to enhance commercial partnerships and technology innovation back home on Earth.
Recipients of fiscal year 2014 Cooperative Agreements are The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Mississippi State University in Starkville, which made two successful proposals.
In late 2013, the Marshall Center issued the 2014 Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) for Dual-use Technology Development -- the first of its kind at Marshall. The agreement notice solicited unique, mutually beneficial technology development proposals from potential American industry and academic partners outside government, targeting specific technology areas that align with Marshall's current technology focus and strategic business endeavors. Its purpose was twofold: furthering development of next-generation NASA spacecraft and space systems, and enhancing Marshall's position as a critical industry partner and resource.
"This new initiative enhances Marshall's ability to collaborate with industry and academic partners in the cooperative pursuit of high-technology solutions critical to NASA's long-term goals in space and our joint endeavors here on Earth," said Dale Thomas, associate director-technical at the Marshall Center. "While the individual projects may be relatively small, they have real potential for strategic impact in terms of fostering long-term partnerships, breakthroughs in technology or both."
Winning proposals are those that augment Marshall’s own internal research and development activities, achieve the desired technical development objectives of the proposing partner and potentially enhance American technological competitiveness, said Scott Hutchins, the technical lead for the CAN activity in the Marshall Center's Strategic Development & Integration Office. They typically involve up to a 50-50 sharing of project resource expenditures between NASA and the partner, whether in terms of cash funding, labor and technical expertise resources, facility use or a combination of any of these.
"In most organizations, resources for internal research and development projects are at a premium," Hutchins said. "Marshall’s Dual-use Technology Development CAN provides the opportunity for industry and universities to propose projects that combine their research and development resources with those at Marshall to pursue technology development projects of interest to both parties. That partnership, which pools resources and expertise, boosts the project's potential for advancing the targeted technology."
The awards range from $20,000 to $90,000. Recipients match approximately 50 percent. The three winning proposals are detailed below:
"Improving Interlaminar Shear Strength of Out-of-Autoclave Composites": Mississippi State University’s Mechanical Engineering Department/Raspet Flight Research Lab will partner with the Marshall Engineering Directorate's Nonmetallic Manufacturing Branch to develop a scalable approach to increase the interlaminar strength -- or strength between layers -- of composite laminates. The proposed innovation could lead to a low-cost, scalable method to improve bonded joint strength in large-scale composite structures.
"Additive Manufacturing Processes for Fabrication of Large Aerospace Structures": Mississippi State University’s Mechanical Engineering Department will partner with Marshall's Combustion Devices Design & Development Branch and Nonmetallic Manufacturing Branch to develop fabrication process parameters and validation data needed for large-scale additive manufacturing using the gas metal arc welding process. The project builds on the university's reputation for world-class welding technologies, and will enhance Marshall's current use of additive manufacturing to deliver large aerospace components and other structures.
"Engineering Model Development and Testing of Interplanetary Radiation and Fault Tolerant Mini-Star Tracker System": The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. will partner with the Marshall Engineering Directorate's Avionics Design Division and Flight Mechanics & Analysis Division to develop and test a prototype small, low-weight, low-power, radiation-hardened, fault-tolerant mini-star tracker. The project is expected to help Draper Laboratory and its small-business partner, L-1 Standards and Technologies, Inc., develop a new product for the growing smallsat technology market, and addresses Marshall's need for sophisticated smallsat technologies to support a variety of science missions in Earth orbit and beyond.
Marshall's Dual-use Technology Cooperative Agreement Notice for fiscal year 2015 is posted on NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) website:
U.S. commercial and academic organizations may respond through June 3, 2015.
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