NIAC Conference Notes

2017 NIAC Symposium Boulder CO: target, Fall 2017

Space Technology Portfolio

Transcription: Paul Fischer


9 programs

-Transformative and Crosscutting Technology Breakthroughs

   Tech Demo Missions

   Small Spacecraft Tech Program

   Game Changing Dev.

-Pioneering Concepts/Developing Innovation Community

   NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

   Space Tech Research Grants

   Center Innovation Fund

-Creating Markets and Growing Innovation Economy

    Centennial Challenges

    Flight Opp

    Small Business Innovation Research and Small Bus. Tech. Transfer

Three stage portfolio

Other Student programs are research programs

Civil Service and Education

Challenge Program

Innovative Electrical Airplanes

Space Elevators

??? Planned?? Helicopters

**Governmentwide program

Widget to design overall program architecture


Early Stage

-NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

-Space Tech Research Grants

-Center Innovation Fund


Game Changing Development ie. Small Spacecraft Tech.??

Comm Partnerships


Flight Opp

Cent Challenges


Astroid Retrieval Mission


Supersonic retropropulsion

surface power


STMD Thrust Areas

Critical towards sustainable life on Mars


Analogy for low TRI funding in general – a turkey on Thanksgiving

Small turkeys have a higher number of units per pound (energy)

So for NASA, taking larger percentages of small investments will make more sense

The budget has been constrained by bulky contracts

In order to have a larger budget, looking at smaller projects over greater time will have a greater impact and a greater value for researchers

Phase ones and Phase twos

encouraging outreach and sharing, the coming symposium in Boulder

Pathways, 508 compliance (NASA comm needs ORIGINAL file to convert)

PDF format on the NIAC website

sensitive information must be protected (e.g. separate appendix

Final clients produce views, ITAR Compliance is important

Essential parts of a presentation include a table, graph, and even cards

Something like sugar….?

Please credit NASA and NIAC in all products or articles associated with NIAC studies (include logos)

Mention your NIAC award as funding/contributing to your effort

Please notify Kathy Reilly – ideas and presentation

Please… ???

Associate Director ???

Sputnik story absolutely riveting: Roger D. Launius National aerospace Museum

Working for the Air Force to Director of aerospace program, ownership of the museum (joke)

DO NOT touch the actual spacecraft, just the plexiglass

1950s – The Space Exploration Advocate’s Agenda (painting)

Space transportation system part of an aggressive agenda partially to Mars

Replication in 2001 A Space Odyssey

Environment, imprint

Advocates for Space exploration, German Immigre


[Insert and return to notes here]

Slamming together of Agencies >> clash and fight over ideas

Sputnik Crisis moves into NASA

Army efforts – jet propulsion lab

Low budget and attempt to create an Agency

-> NASA with early opposition from Eisenhower

DARPA creation and his concern was that we were behind, no necessity to create a bureaucracy existed for him

There will not be a space race with the Chinese as there was from Russia

There is no mutual desire for nuclear war

There are some rivalries, but there is not the death struggle fight with the Chinese as there was with Russia, children used to crawl under the desks many days, this was the environment of the space race

Remaining Incentives for Spaceflight

-Nat. Security and Military Applications

-Scientific Discovery and Understanding

-Economic Competitiveness and Commercial Activities (making $ in space), Jeff Bosen – “I’m not doing this for myself, I want to make money” without this there was the potential to pull the plug

-Geopolitics and national prestige

Mapping the schedule of American Independence with Space Exploration

Christopher Columbus >>> Yuri Gagarin

Lost Colony of Roanoke >>>> Apollo 11

Jamestown >>>> 1st Mars Colony

US Independence >>>> 1st Off-World Republic

Keeping in mind the long periods of centuries involved

Challenges for Future of Human Spaceflight

Exploit historical rationales

Build on initial experiences; broaden international activities

Enhance national security, exploration, science, technology development, commerce, and infrastructure

Step 2: “then a miracle occurs”

Scientist says, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”



What will we do now that there is no space program? Need?

  1. Weather security
  2. Military Aggression
  3. Necessity to make $, comm. success
  4. Extension of human frontier in knowledge, education, and culture: What do you mean there is no space frontier? As the correct response to the above question

Robot program out in Pluto, Shuttle program, only wakes up in event of disaster, without the shuttle program, mainstream appeal should be appropriate

What would have happened if Niel Armstrong had planted a flag and claimed territory in the name of the United States?

Outer Space treaty of 1967 we were party to, so this was prohibited in any case.

What if the first words had been drink Coca-Cola? That was an offer that was refused as well.

The only thing with economic value is a photon or an electron, how to get back to moving atoms rather than bits? The grand transit of a material transportation industry? [ie how to get results rather than spreading information only]

If you ran a train from Chicago to New York and threw away the train for tardiness, then the train would be late every time!

We are biologically entities and we do not cognitively articulate specific intellectual approach towards our personal behavior, biological processes might transcend our needs individually and importance of extending our frontiers to fulfill biological needs.


Colonization of America success?

Spanish actually did have success

But the North American Colonies?

Successful in production of tobacco

So a product to kickstart space that could be tied to resources or knowledge or non-physical items, the challenge is: What is the product we will tie to space and create a profit from?


Increasing rate of shipwrecks, raising money for an expedition from Spain or Portugal, using JFK’s warning about roaming, unsettled, throughout space to move out capabilities and the approved program for a watch vehicle which proceeds as necessitated. Scientists should not wring hands about the expediency of work, but quality


The remarkable nature of these people who are daring enough (got the cahones) to take museum spaceships once upon a time, and the importance of keeping this at the forefront of public awareness (these older ships)… stimulation of program from initial Soviet Space Program and the launch of Sputnik, what was Eisenhower’s knowledge on the topic?

He did not know, in 1952 (‘62?) the Soviet Union shot down U2, with a K[L?]-007 with the correct oversight legislation and Sputnik established for the first time legal oversight precedent

MOL – Apollo initial program Director: I am giving the stamp of approval on all of the things which have been said, and the MOL program has now been declassified

Last Question

Colonization in the last 1000 years, brings the issue of novel resources, not just things like gold, known about, but coffee, spices [indies?], which had not before been known about?


Gift of a 3D printed NIAC logo


10 Minute [Break]

E-Glider (electrostatic glider)

Some static electricity allows the balloon to fly around

Properties found in spider silk, electified in teh presence of the earth’s static atmospheric electric field (-120 V/m negative)

Observed flight pattern in spiders can be seen

Benefits to NASA:

Exploration of comets, asteroids, moons and planetary bodies is limited by mobility


Phase 1 approach

Analyze a mission scenario using an electrostatic glider


Challenges of small bodies

Physics at airless bodies

Microgravity – challenging for locomotion

Cohesions forces – dominate partical interaction through vdW (?) forces

Solar radiation – Constantly in action

Electrostatics – [power source]

Day/night charging environment

Differences on dark side of asteroids vs. the illuminated side (+5V to -1000V)

Effects of solar wind and UV

The environment near the surface of airless bodies is electrically charged due to interactions with the solar  wind plasma and UV radiation

Moon dust fountains

On the Moon, electric fields can reach 50-150 kV [kW?]

Particle ballistics under charging

Still needs to be reached and investigated,

E-glider equilibrium creates a field and static electricity

Electric fields of E`1 kV/m could take place on asteroids and and electric field fo E = -10V

Debye Shielded Force

In a plasma environment an oppositely charged sheath forms about a charged space object

The electron deby length [formula]

Example JPL 150 m Solar Sail Chargin Analysis

Solar sail front -aluminum back -kapton H, 150m

Spacecraft body aluminum

Solar arrays front – solar cells

Solar array back -black kapton

Boom connecting spacecraft and solar array craft -kapton

Prliminary designs

[atom design]

[butterfly design]

Articulating the wings would lead to electrostatic flight

Electrified tehter strands to harvest energy

May need to generate local charges artificially (ion thrusters)

Telecom etc…

Preliminary levitation analyses

Looking at the level of charge necessary to reach zero force, dependent on geometry

With a computation of the charge, we know the power needed to carry in order to obtain that charge

Simulation of small body missions

Landing control

Station keeping

Soil mechanics

NEO capture

E-Glider DSENDS simulations

Autonomy >< Environment ??

Polyhedron graphic model of ??

Electro static Inflation Experiments

0 kV 3 kV 4 kV 5 kV 9 kV

Field sensor: Langmuir probe

-Solar wind causes charge neutralization within a fraction of a second around the….

Electro-cartographic navigation

Measure the charge and attemtp to identify the potential and path of minimum resistence

E-Glider risk-based mobility analysis

JPL’s CEMAT = Combined EDL-Mobility A_ Tech

Inflation of the wings can be seen in animation, and movement along astroid can be seen

E-gliders in mission context






Science grade instruments are becoming smaller

From mass spectrometers to communications

Conclusions and future work

Getting sight into the physics, and to further develop simulation models, necessity of plasma physics


This work was done in a laboratory in the 70s, earth does have a net electric field

Positive charges were pushed away, but if the field is conductive, there is no guarantee about the charges redistributing themselves

One critical feature is the conductive nature of asteroids, level of propensity might be needed

This has not yet been fully investigated

Control factors of craft?

There is no answer to this, but a minimum level of control necessitated

Substantial transfer of charge – Inbuilt power supply?

Dual-use cables

Solar wind rider cable, could be found in other supplies



Bruce Wiegmann, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
HERTS/Electric Sail background information
tether and deployment specifications
and spacecraft design
Contributions from universities, labs, and technical schools across the country
Distinction of a solar sail from an e-sail
E-sail converts sun’s energy through electrostatic repulsion
wire sheath extends and pushes positively charged protons through
these positively charged tethers are quite different in punch and design from an e-sail
thrust drops by 1/r^2 for the solar sail and 1/r^1.16… for an e-sail
e-sail will provide higher velocity, and have a slower degradation of thrust in dark spots
Voyager took 35 years to reach edge of the solar system, an e-sail could shorten that time significantly
How to recreate a tether deployment in an area with a flat floor, should be ready shortly
the cost came to 50,000 for this research
Results of the particle and sail deployment simulations
data generated was reproducible, a charged wire repulsion
ion source and charged box there >>> tunnel without a wire
deflection of protons creates an angle and temperature which will be discovered with these simulations
diagnostic suite to measure ion flow, has yielded good data
Updating MALTO model (Mission Analysis Low Thrust Optimization)
the idea is to change the thrust drop ratio and ??/ ratio
Extra space designers were put to work on a couple billion dollar mission, requiring RTG propulsion
creating a box-set proof that the e-sail can actually work
Can we package it into a 12U box?
three conditions for potential success, the project had failed two years before
acceleration goal is triple that of competing research and many times that of any existing system
Hub and Spoke > Hybrid > Barbell
neither the first nor the third would be feasible at a full scale
Initial issues with the 12U system propellant mass and combinations of 6 U systems which violated maximum spin rates
the hybrid of 10U and two 1U units did not burn out
Use of the NEA scout 6U design with a 6 kV power supply and other modifications
development of a tether trade tree, for advantages of different materials
synthetic > organic > metallic
Miralon (CNT)
amber strand leading contender
SOS is the vehicle of choice for deployment, because not many NASA vehicles are outside of orbit
Upper stage> 10 or 11 rideshare payloads, which will eject from this stage
Detumble – drives propellant to spin out, 800 grams of cubesets
200 watts of electricity total for solar array deployment, 16 km in approximately 6 hours>> 8 rotations per day
when spacecraft is 30 degrees out of the ecliptic plane, a solar array can be conceivable
As the model is expanded to actual size, the forces at work will also grow, so the 1/r^1.16… is correct
Scale of animation yields questions about the tether system…
It is outside of the Earth’s magnetosphere 2 different electron transmission cables are provided
Initial skepticism was overwhelmed by personal model on a small scale which proved that this actually did work! Would the solar field be guided by the field lines of the magnetic charges which [exist in space or from craft?] are extant
Yuri Millner and interstellar team are interested in this
Transfers for Lunar extreme environments: Adrian Stoica
Project is currently in phase 2
concept of transformers –
autonomous reflectors deployed from small surface to large surface projects
provide continuous solar illumination into permanently shaded craters
creates an infrastructure that provides power and thermal control to robots as a service
Shape changing robotic space systems that redirect energy
on the rim, can also serve as communication relays
This is not a new thought, but the story of how to bring the sun into the dark place sparked this thought >> Norway in Rio Kant, reflectors provide 50 meters sun exposure
Space mirrors starting with Almond Albet and later Ehricke have been explored conceptually
1) deposits of hydrogen and oxygen are extant
2) tech to power ISRU is permanently shaded areas is lacking
3) locations on the rim of Shackleton crater have long, yet discontinuous, periods of illumination …at most there might only be 3 days (2.5ish) of darkness, so this is also a period which will have to be dealt with
Phase 1 Findings: relatively large reflectors, will necessitate light and small packing
RTG may be ok for prospector rover, but not enough to power ISRU
The rover must survive periodic shortages in hibernation mode
re-usable data
ISRU of icy regolith necessary to extract water, hydrogen, and oxygen
evaluate the possibility to obtain continuous illumination
develop concept and reduce uncertainties, inc. material, unfolding of TF from compact to full sized
Develop a Lunar Pole South Illumination ???…
capacity of the SPI
Lunar ISRU potential to fuel travel to Mars
Lunar LH2/LO2 propellant from Shackleton Crater may be sufficient
Sustainable and affordable human-mars exploration architecture using self-propelled tanks refueled on Moon
five hundred days of Mars exploration enabled
Deep-Space habitat will use some tanks of fuel
one full tank will be waiting at Leo, while four empty tanks return to Moon for refueling
10 tons of water can be generated per day, and produce 7.5 tons of propellant
Regolith water resource: one meter depth with 5-10% of ice
Total power needs for ISRU
6MW for extraction of water, 50 kJ/g, 24kJ per gram for electrolysis 10 t/day
13MW solar power, 3 MW direct heat and 10 MW energy
Summation of results
LOLA data and 3D models for computer generation
tools allow pretty good comparison of Ray-Tracing and Horizon measurements
Redirection from a region into a two flat mirror system >>>complete illumination along the rim>>> actual illumination through the transformer
should the reflectors be pure or should they be concentrated into lasers?
eg origami opening>>> properties of Spiral and Concentric Crease Patterns
composing solar panel infrastructure, and importance of taking advantage of the Moon before traveling to Mars…
QA No clues on the amount of harvestable ice which might be there, and whether that ice might be needed for lunar settlement
there appears to be enough water for 3000 years of travel to Mars using this method, but technical issues remain
it could be 2000 years, but yeah…
Access remains an issue, shackelton several kilometers across and deep
actual landing and launch will occur from crater.
Michael Paul, presented by Dr. Timothy Miller
Why: Stored Chemical Energy System
continuation of a phase II project
Power for spacecraft in sunless regions
battery-power leads to short missions (hours)
Not enough plutonium to go around
is there a sweet spot in the design space of missions for combustion?
Combustion of Lithium fuel where a Navy research station did work with power systems
use of all sorts of metals as oxidizers and products are more dense than the actual fuel, which will allow those metals to stay in the system [unlike leaded gasoline, which leaked and combusted into family homes with indoor generators]
Phase two effort follows design for five-days (120-hrs) on the surface of Venus
8Lithium +Sulfuric hexa-Flouride>6dilithiumiSulfite+Heat
standard heat of reaction at 298K is ?? kW
prior stirling demonstration system:
fully integrated system (~.5m diameter)
3kW Stirling Engine
37% efficiency
80 hour Wick Combustor Operation (Fuel exhaustion)
Horizontal, Cylindrical Tank when used has a void space from the Lithium which was present, as products of combustion freeze at a different temperature than Lithium, which can create cracks and breaks in the containment chamber
Lithium Oxide has the highest temperature reaction, so the necessity to create lithium carbide presents
96.5% CO2 and 3.5% N2
in order to obtain clean Lithium, these products must fall away completely
a little over 4 times the system specific energy over a Nitrogen/sulfur based battery
9” by 14” combustion model
1000 degrees fahrenheit yields the blue flame
at 1250 degrees, a scarlet flame is demonstrated which allows some smaller byproducts to form
Li and CO2 yields alot of crap along the top, as the temperatures run began to fluctuate dramatically
a nice sustained combustion process occurs for about 100 minutes before the lithium level sinks below thermal couple one, and proceeds through couple two into couple three
Lithium oxide melts or freezes at a very high temperature, where lithium separates from the crud
this necessitates a wider combuster… will be accomplished shortly
circumferential defraction??? as lithium runs up the sides of lithium oxide and carbide
time progression yields the progression of free carbon
moles products vs. moles CO2
trying this with Nitrogen will be the next goal
For an application on the lunar South Pole, with the engine operating at 2 kW and rejecting heat to only 50 K a run time of 150 hours can be expected.
QA Occupational safety concerns about Lithium, fire safety?
No government body on earth is more restrictive about fuel than US Navy systems, so solid lithium is actually quite benign, unless it accumulates hydrogen… must be used with caution, but is much safer than plutonium or other products
fairly large body of data using no-gravity simulations, but in the third system with the products falling away there may be complications, but there is no indication that the reaction will not occur in zero gravity.
combustion products could sink, but carbon dioxide lithium success does depend on keeping these by-products from sticking to the wall
the holy grail of not having to take an oxidizer
This is the first time of running this project with a Stirling Engine
dependence on segregation has been displayed to be not entirely present


The Navy system was deployed as a steam system

Thank you

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