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Technical Paper

A Discrete-Event Simulation of the NASA Fuel Production Plant on Mars

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing for a manned mission to Mars to test the sustainment of civilization on the planet Mars. This research explores the requirements and feasibility of autonomously producing fuel on Mars for a return trip back to Earth. As a part of NASA’s initiative for a manned trip to Mars, our team’s work creates and analyzes the allocation of resources necessary in deploying a fuel station on this foreign soil. Previous research has addressed concerns with a number individual components of this mission such as power required for fuel station and tools; however, the interactions between these components and the effects they would have on the overall requirements for the fuel station are still unknown to NASA. By creating a baseline discrete-event simulation model in a simulation software environment, the research team has been able to simulate the fuel production process on Mars.
Technical Paper

A Distributed Environment for Analysis of Events Related to Range Safety

This paper features a distributed environment and the steps taken to incorporate the Virtual Range model into the Virtual Test Bed (VTB) infrastructure. The VTB is a prototype of a virtual engineering environment to study operations of current and future space vehicles, spaceports, and ranges. The High-Level Architecture (HLA) is the main environment. The VTB/HLA implementation described here represents different systems that interact in the simulation of a Space Shuttle liftoff. An example implementation displays the collaboration of a simplified version of the Space Shuttle Simulation Model and a simulation of the Launch Scrub Evaluation Model.
Technical Paper

A Distributed Environment for Spaceports

This paper describes the development of a distributed environment for spaceport simulation modeling. This distributed environment is the result of the applications of the High-Level Architecture (HLA) and integration frameworks based on software agents and XML. This distributed environment is called the Virtual Test Bed (VTB). A distributed environment is needed due to the nature of the different models needed to represent a spaceport. This paper provides two case studies: one related to the translation of a model from its native environment and the other one related to the integration of real-time weather.
Technical Paper

A Distributed Simulation of a Martian Fuel Production Facility

The future of human exploration in the solar system is contingent on the ability to exploit resources in-situ to produce mission consumables. Specifically, it has become clear that the success of a manned mission to Mars will likely depend on fuel components created on the Martian surface. While several architectures for an unmanned fuel production surface facility on Mars exist in theory, a simulation of the performance and operation of these architectures has not been created. In this paper, the framework describing a simulation of one such architecture is defined. Within this architecture, each component of the base is implemented as a state machine, with the ability to communicate with other base elements as well as a supervisor. An environment supervisor is also created which governs low level aspects of the simulation such as movement and resource distribution, in addition to higher-level aspects such as location selection with respect to operations specific behavior.
Journal Article

A Methodology on Guiding Effectiveness-Focused Training of the Weapon Operator Using Big Data and VC Simulations

Operator training using a weapon in a real-world environment is risky, expensive, time-consuming, and restricted to the given environment. In addition, governments are under intense scrutiny to provide security, yet they must also strive for efficiency and reduce spending. In other words, they must do more with less. Virtual simulation, is usually employed to solve these limitations. As the operator is trained to maximize weapon effectiveness, the effectiveness-focused training can be completed in an economical manner. Unfortunately, the training is completed in limited scenarios without objective levels of training factors for an individual operator to optimize the weapon effectiveness. Thus, the training will not be effective. For overcoming this problem, we suggest a methodology on guiding effectiveness-focused training of the weapon operator through usability assessments, big data, and Virtual and Constructive (VC) simulations.
Technical Paper

A Model-Based Fault Diagnostic and Control System for Spacecraft Power

This paper describes a model-based approach to diagnosing electrical faults in electrical power systems. Until recently, model-based reasoning has only been applied to physical systems with static, persistent states, and with parts whose behavior can be expressed combinatorially, such as digital circuits. Our research is one of a handful of recent efforts to apply model-based reasoning to more complex systems, those whose behavior is difficult or impossible to express combinatorially, and whose states change continuously over time. The chosen approach to representation is loosely based on the idea of the equation network proposed in [6]. This requires a more complex component and behavior model than for simpler physical devices. The resulting system is being tested on fault data from the SSM/PMAD power system breadboard being developed at NASA-MSFC [9].
Journal Article

An Architecture for Monitoring and Anomaly Detection for Space Systems

Complex aerospace engineering systems require innovative methods for performance monitoring and anomaly detection. The interface of a real-time data stream to a system for analysis, pattern recognition, and anomaly detection can require distributed system architectures and sophisticated custom programming. This paper presents a case study of a simplified interface between Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) real-time data output, signal processing, cloud computing, and tablet systems. The discussed approach consists of three parts: First, the connectivity of real-time data from PLCs to the signal processing algorithms, using standard communication technologies. Second, the interface of legacy routines, such as NASA's Inductive Monitoring System (IMS), with a hybrid signal processing system. Third, the connectivity and interaction of the signal processing system with a wireless and distributed tablet, (iPhone/iPad) in a hybrid system configuration using cloud computing.
Technical Paper

An Expert System/Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry Approach for Life Support Systems Monitoring

Efforts to develop sensor and control system technology to monitor air quality for life support have resulted in the development and preliminary testing of a concept based on expert systems and ion trap mass spectrometry (ITMS). An ITMS instrument provides the capability to identify and quantitate a large number of suspected contaminants at trace levels through the use of a variety of multidimensional experiments. An expert system provides specialized knowledge for control, analysis, and decision making. The system is intended for real-time, on-line, autonomous monitoring of air quality. The key characteristics of the system, performance data and analytical capabilities of the ITMS instrument, the design and operation of the expert system, and results from preliminary testing of the system for trace contaminant monitoring are described.
Technical Paper

Building Multiple Resolution Modeling Systems Using the High-Level Architecture

The modeling and simulation pyramid in defense states it clearly: Multi-Level modeling and simulation are required. Models and simulations are often classified by the US Department of Defense into four levels-campaign, mission, engagement, and engineering. Campaign simulation models are applied for evaluation; mission-level simulations to experiment with the integration of several macro agents; engagement simulations in engineered systems development; and engineering-level simulation models with a solid foundation in structural physics and components. Models operating at one level must be able to interact with models at another level. Therefore, the cure (“silver bullet”) is very clear: a comprehensive framework for Multiple Resolution Modeling (MRM) is needed. In this paper, we discuss our research about how to construct MRM environments.
Technical Paper

Development of the Multi-Resolution Modeling Environment through Aircraft Scenarios

Multi-Resolution Modeling (MRM) is one of the key technologies for building complex and large-scale simulations using legacy simulators. MRM has been developed continuously, especially in military fields. MRM plays a crucial role to describe the battlefield and gathering the desired information efficiently by linking various levels of resolution. The simulation models interact across different local and/or distance area networks using the High Level Architecture (HLA) regardless of their operating systems and hardware. The HLA is a standard architecture developed by the US Department of Defense (DoD) and is meant to create interoperability among different types of simulators. Therefore, MRM implementations are very dependent on Interoperability and Composability. This paper summarizes the definition of MRM-related terminology and proposes a basic form of MRM system using Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) simulators and HLA.
Technical Paper

Dynamic Target State Estimation for Autonomous Aerial Vehicles using a Monocular Camera System

Operations involving autonomous vehicles require knowledge of the surrounding environment including other moving vehicles. The use of vision has been regarded as an enabling technology that can provide such information. Several important applications that would benefit from this technology is autonomous aerial refueling (AAR) and target tracking. This paper considers a sensor fusion approach using traditional IMU/GPS sensors with vision to facilitate the state estimation problem of moving targets. The proposed method makes use of a moving monocular camera to estimate the relative position and orientation of targets within the image by exploiting a known reference motion. The vision state estimation problem is solved using an homography approach that employs images containing both the reference and target vehicles. A simulation involving an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and two ground vehicles is documented in this paper to demonstrate the algorithm and its accuracy.
Technical Paper

Effect of Catalyst Support on the Photocatalytic Destruction of VOCs in a Packed-Bed Reactor

The removal of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air aboard spacecrafts is necessary to maintain the health of crewmembers. The use of photocatalysis has proven effective for the removal of VOCs. A majority of studies have focused on thin films, which have a low adsorption capacity for contaminants and intermediate oxidation byproducts. Thus, this study investigates the use of adsorbent materials impregnated or coated with titania to: (1) provide a system that can remove VOCs for a period of time in the absence of UV irradiation to reduce power requirements and/or offer contaminant removal in the event of lamp failure and (2) improve the photocatalytic oxidation efficiency by concentrating VOCs and intermediate oxidation byproducts near the surface of the photocatalyst. Two adsorbent materials (porous silica gel and BioNuchar120 activated carbon) and glass beads were tested as catalyst supports for the destruction of a target VOC, in this case methanol (Co = 50 ppmv).
Technical Paper

Effect of Inventory Storage on Automotive Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries

The battery is a central part of the vehicle’s electrical system and has to undergo cycling in a wide variety of conditions while providing an acceptable service life. Within a typical distribution chain, automotive lead-acid batteries can sit in storage for months before delivery to the consumer. During storage, batteries are subjected to a wide variety of temperature profiles depending on facility-specific characteristics. Additionally, batteries typically do not receive any type of maintenance charge before delivery. Effects of storage time, temperature, and maintenance charging are explored. Flooded lead-acid batteries were examined immediately after storage and after installation in vehicles subjected to normal drive patterns. While phase composition is a major consideration, additional differences in positive active material (PAM) were observed with respect to storage parameters.
Technical Paper

Enabling Much Higher Power Densities in Aerospace Power Electronics with High Temperature Evaporative Spray Cooling

A power electronics module was equipped with an evaporative spray cooling nozzle assembly that served to remove waste heat from the silicon devices. The spray cooling nozzle assembly took the place of the standard heat sink, which uses single phase convection. The purpose of this work was to test the ability of spray cooling to enable higher power density in power electronics with high temperature coolant, and to be an effective and lightweight system level solution to the thermal management needs of aerospace vehicles. The spray cooling work done here was with 95 °C water, and this data is compared to 100 °C water/ propylene glycol spray cooling data from a previous paper so as to compare the spray cooling performance of a single component liquid to that of a binary liquid such as WPG. The module used during this work was a COTS module manufactured by Semikron, Inc., with a maximum DC power input of 180 kW (450 VDC and 400 A).
Journal Article

Heat Transfer Performance of a Dual Latent Heat Sink for Pulsed Heat Loads

This paper presents the concept of a dual latent heat sink for thermal management of pulse heat generating electronic systems. The focus of this work is to verify the effectiveness of the concept during charging through experimentation. Accordingly, custom components were built and a prototype version of the heat sink was fabricated. Experiments were performed to investigate the implementation feasibility and heat transfer performance. It is shown that this heat sink is practicable and helps in arresting the system temperature rise during charging (period of pulse heat load).
Technical Paper

Mission Planning for UAV Sensing Tasks in Close Proximity Environments

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) stand to play a significant role in future sensing and information gathering missions. The scope of these mission scenarios is expanding to include those missions for which the sensor and carrier vehicle will be in close proximity to the surrounding environment, such as in urban operations. Several unique problems related to guidance, navigation and control are introduced that separate these tasks from the existing paradigm for information gathering missions at standoff range. This paper examines the challenges related to autonomous sensor planning missions in these close proximity environments and discusses solution strategies to achieve maximal sensing effectiveness. Specifically, results from vision-based navigation research are discussed and the concept of a geometric sensing effectiveness criterion is introduced and subsequently utilized for motion planning.
Technical Paper

Modeling and Design of Piezoelectric Actuators for Fluid Flow Control

A theoretical and experimental investigation into the modeling and design of piezoelectric flap actuators is described. The motivation for this study is to develop design tools for piezoelectric actuators in active flow control systems. In line with this goal, structural dynamic models of varying complexity must first be assessed. Theoretical modeling of the flaps is carried out using finite element analysis. For comparison, a companion experimental parametric study is executed in which ten otherwise identical piezo flaps with varying piezo patch sizes are fabricated in the Dynamics and Controls Laboratory at the University of Florida. The flaps are characterized using a laser displacement sensor and a scanning laser vibrometer to obtain the frequency response functions between the input voltage signal and the tip displacement and velocity of the flaps.
Technical Paper

Monitoring and Control for Artificial Climate Design

The monitoring and control of an artificial climate is necessitated by the Mars Dome Project (MDP) [ref 1]. MDP is designed to grow plants in an enclosed structure under reduced pressure. This system includes a dome enclosure, an environmental control system, a plant growth system, a data logging system, and an external vacuum vessel [ref 2]. Each of these systems is integrated by the use of a solid-state control device located inside the base of the Atmospheric Tower Management System (ATMS). Details of the controller follow a short summary of the major components of the MDP.
Technical Paper

Multi-Sensor System for Vehicle Positioning in Dense Urban Areas

Cooperative vehicle safety can help prevent vehicle collisions by providing timely warnings to the driver or initiating automatic preventive actions based on vehicle dynamics information exchanged between vehicles. The information is shared wirelessly through the emerging DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communication) standards. The vehicle dynamics information that is shared, such as vehicle velocity and location, is collected from the vehicle's internal sensor communication network and from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), which includes the Global Positioning System (GPS). GNSS is a critical component of this safety system since it has the needed ability to accurately determine a vehicle's location coordinates in most driving environments. However, its performance can suffer from obstructions in dense urban areas. Deficiencies of GNSS can be overcome by complimenting GNSS with other sensors.