NASA Funding Research on Self-Repairing Composite Materials

NASA LOGONASA is funding two research programs focused on developing advanced carbon composite materials that can detect and repair damage they suffer.

The space agency is funding the research under its Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.  It recently selected two projects for continued funding under Phase II of the program, which provides contracts for up $750,000 apiece.

One project selected for negotiations is being undertaken by Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation of Manassas, Va., and the University of Massachusetts — Lowell. The research proposal is for the automated manufacturing of damage detecting, self-healing composite cryogenic pressure vessels.


NASA Selects New Suborbital Technology Payloads, Total Tops 130

NASA LOGOEDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected 13 space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, and a commercial parabolic aircraft. These flights provide cutting-edge technologies with a valuable platform to conduct tests, before they enter use in the harsh environment of space.


DARPA Selects Aurora Flight Sciences for ZombieSat Program

Phoenix satellite concept. (Credit: DARPA)

Cambridge, MA (Aurora PR) – Aurora Flight Sciences was recently selected by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) for the Phoenix program to explore development of a new satellite morphology through creation of “satlets” capable of harvesting key components from retired spacecraft in earth orbit.

The goal of the DARPA Phoenix program is to develop technologies to cooperatively harvest and re-use valuable components from retired, nonworking satellites in geostationary orbit and to demonstrate the ability to create new spacecraft systems at greatly reduced cost.


Aurora Wins SBIR, STTR Awards for Mars and CubeSat Sample Return Technology

Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation was one of the big winners when NASA announced its intention to negotiate SBIR and STTR agreements earlier this month. Four of the company’s SBIR proposals were among those chosen for negotiations along with an STTR proposal.

One of the SBIRs involves a collaboration with MIT to develop a system to capture a Martian sample return capsule launched from the surface of the Red Planet for a NASA mission. The STTR proposal is a collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology Center for Space Systems to develop a system to allow small small probes to return experiments from Earth orbit.

Details for both projects are shown below. I’ve also included information about three other SBIR projects that include an ISS battery recharging system, catalytic combustors for very high altitude air-breathing propulsion, and propulsion control sampling algorithms.


Aurora Flight Systems Wins NASA Deal for Space Nuclear Reactors


Aurora Flight Sciences announced today that the company has been selected for a NASA Phase II award to develop technology to support autonomous control and protection of space-based nuclear reactor systems.

Aurora will be developing an advanced reactor instrumentation and control system (RICS) for robotic and manned space vehicles and planetary surface systems.


Aurora Wins Contract for Mobile Robot Planetary Exploration Software


Aurora Flight Sciences announced today that the company, MIT’s Manned Vehicle Laboratory (MVL), and the MIT Humans and Automation Laboratory (HAL) recently won a NASA Small-Business Technology Transfer Research proposal to develop a software system that performs command and control of a diverse team of mobile robots, operating in a variety of control modes, to perform multi-agent planetary exploration.