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NASA Langley to Work With Three STTR Program Teams on Aircraft Structure Technology

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Two of 21 selected research and project proposals for the 2015 Phase II portion of NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program will work with NASA Langley researchers to develop structural health monitoring technology for NASA aircraft. The teams chosen are Prime Photonics, LC and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 

NASA’s work with these two small business and research institution teams is projected to take two years, and will be focused on the agency’s future missions into the solar system as well as advancing our country’s technology-driven economy. Of the 21 proposals selected, 41 U.S. firms and institutions in 20 states will be collaborating to help NASA achieve its mission and further space innovation.

When discussing the specific parameters of the NASA Langley project, the contract’s technical monitor stated, “This contract will provide new hardware for testing structures. Further, if their concept for structural health monitoring proves successful, this contract will provide us with a system that generates a prognosis of a structural system enabling us to identify and prioritize needed inspections and maintenance. The intent is to improve on the current process of conducting numerous periodic visual ground based inspections.”

There are numerous potential commercial applications that can come from these specific Langley STTR Phase II proposals, such as improving infrastructure in bridges and railways. If the projects are successful in Phase II of the program, Phase III, or the commercialization of the technology, will be explored.

Other selected proposal projects will work in such areas as 3D terrain mapping the surface of Mars, and ShortWave Infrared Focal plane Technology for Close-Range Active Mineralogy Mapping (SWIFT-CAMM) for use on Mars rover-type platforms or robotic vehicles for collecting samples.

For more information on NASA’s SBIR and STTR Programs and to view a list of the selected Phase II proposals, visit http://sbir.nasa.gov/prg_selection/node/56313.

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