Additively Manufactured Bipropellant Rocket Engines
ARC is taking traditional engine design methods into the future. Utilizing artificial intelligence, ARC designs mission-specific engines tailored to the needs of the customer. This rapidly iterative design reduces engineering hours required, reducing time, weight, and cost. ARC’s intellectual property describes a biomimetic fuel injection mechanism that reduces pressure loss during fluid flow and improves combustion stability and efficiency. Computational fluid dynamic and finite element simulations can be performed to optimize the geometry of the entire engine prior to manufacturing, providing efficiency improvements that directly lead to dollars saved on and off the launch pad. ARC’s technology allows for robust testing in silico, allowing for more focused testing after printing. Blending design and advanced manufacturing is in ARC’s core. Metal additive manufacturing techniques (DMLS) create opportunities for features impossible to create with traditional machining techniques, such as embedded regenerative cooling channels. Compared to traditional machining, additive manufacturing is economical, fast, lowers the scrap rate, and significantly lessens tolerance error buildup. These benefits allow ARC to provide high-performance, low-cost engines with one-fourth the lead time. This translates to more frequent launches at lower costs to customers, fulfilling ARC’s goal of democratizing access to space.
Erosion-resistant ultra-thin anti-fouling coating for finned heat exchangers
The technology behind this innovation is a thin erosion-resistant oleophobic coating for improving cleanability of finned heat exchangers without sacrificing thermal performance. The coating is significantly more oleophobic than existing erosion-resistant coatings and is able to cleanly shed drops of hydrocarbon liquid that would leave streaks even on PTFE. This technology is also significantly more erosion-resistant than existing oleophobic coatings and is able to maintain oleophobicity even after prolonged periods of aggressive abrasive sandblasting. The coating is also thinner than existing erosion-resistant coatings at less than 10 µm and presents negligible additional thermal resistance. The application process for the coating allows uniform coating thicknesses even when applied to finned heat exchangers with high aspect-ratio air channels. The coating enables substantially improved cleanability of hydrocarbon and mixed organic/inorganic sand-based fouling. Even thick paste substances lodged within high aspect ratio channels can be flushed with a low-pressure water stream without the use of solvents.
Veritrek thermal modeling software
Veritrek enables 1000s of simulations in seconds. Leveraging its speed, this technology allows for more optimized designs in a shorter time span. The software utilizes a reduced-order modeling (ROM) approach by converting a high-fidelity thermal model into a reduced-order form, and then performing analyses on the reduced-order form to obtain accurate results in near real-time. The thermal modeling tool was designed and utilized to conduct trade studies which were used to quickly evaluate and analyze different design approaches. The result is an engineering analysis workspace that enables rapid and accurate design, analysis, and optimization of spacecraft. Veritrek is currently commercially available, for more information please visit veritrek.com.
Advanced Payload Adapter for Small Satellites (APASS)
LoadPath’s Advanced Payload Adapter for Small Satellites (APASS) will be developed to maximize its utility across numerous small launch vehicle (LV) platforms for a wide range of small satellites. There is currently a unique opportunity for universal payload adapters due to the 50+ emerging small LVs worldwide. Traditionally, each of these LVs would develop a suite of payload adapters specific to their LV, a costly endeavor for each of these entities to tackle in an already highly competitive market. APASS will engage these emerging LVs to develop a single, universal suite of payload adapters that can be readily integrated into their launch operations. This will reduce costs to the LV by both eliminating their non-recurring development costs and by providing payload adapters that are cheaper to produce. In addition, APASS will be a high-quality product that leverages LoadPath’s ten years of payload adapter development experience.
Makai Thin-Foil Heat Exchanger (TFHX) Technology
This technology delivers a step-change in heat exchanger performance and requires a much smaller space claim than current state-of-the-art heat exchangers. Heat transfer surface area densities in excess of 2000 m2/m3 have been achieved with high air convection and low pressure drops compared to traditional plate frame and microchannel heat exchangers. These compact heat exchangers consists of two thin, titanium foil layers, orders of magnitude thinner than conventional titanium plates, bonded together at varying locations and configurations across the sheets and expanded and form a flow channel between the two sheets of thin foil. Makai’s novel manufacturing methods and optimized fluid flow designs enable the economical production of these new class of heat exchangers. These plates are highly effective for heat transfer because the working fluid is separated from the cooling air or liquid by very thin foil, with ultra-high heat transfer area and no thermal resistance from intermediary fins. Low material consumption enables use of titanium foil which is strong, lightweight and highly corrosion resistant.
Global Bi-Directional IoT Coverage
The technology involves deploying a constellation of nanosatellites that are designed for IoT applications. Nanosatellites are small satellites the size of shoe boxes which cost 100 times cheaper than large conventional satellites to build and launch. By deploying hundreds of nanosatellites to form a constellation, global 24/7 coverage, 2 way communication can be provided for IoT devices to relay data anytime. Put it simply, at any one time at any location on earth, there will always be one of our nanosatellite in the sky ready to relay data. Existing IoT connectivity rely on terrestrial networks to provide communication backhaul, of which many places on Earth lack. These can be in rural farms and plantations or in the middle of the open ocean. Existing satellite connectivity solutions are not optimized for IoT applications which makes them costly to use and hence the lack of IoT solutions deployed in these areas. By providing affordable global IoT connectivity, more IoT solutions can be readily adopted in areas previously not practical; optimizing plantations to achieve better yield, large-scale monitoring of fishing vessels to prevent illegal fishing, early tsunami warning systems to give coastal villages a better survival chance and many other possible applications.
Prototyping to Integration Kit for Microwave Circuits (PIKMCs)
A hardware set that takes commercial microwave circuits from a bench top prototype to a rapidly deployable payload by providing control, communications, and power through a standardized electrical and mechanical interface.
A fast, high resolution and wide area airborne gimbal imaging system.
An accurate, efficient, and versatile gimballed imaging system is developed to collect fast, high-resolution, and immediately visualizable geospatial information over a wide area. Aboard a Cessna 182, NGIT’s gimballed imaging accomplishes a 2-mile swathwidth with a 10cm resolution per flypass; while this used to take ten flipasses of fixed-Nadir-imaging. Traditional gimballed systems, such as L3-WESCAM turrets, have sophisticated mechanics/electronics and inflexibility to host sensors. NGIT’s gimballed imaging embodiments feature simplified mechanism, which are easily adaptable to host advanced sensors and optics for various fixed-/rotor-wing, airship, orbit platform operations. For example, a pair of latest mid-format cameras, a Falcon4 86MP CMOS and an SVS-Vistec 47MP CCD, attached with 80mm and 210mm lenses respectively, have been adapted onto a NGIT’s gimballed embodiment. NGIT’s gimballed imaging incorporates precise and agile roll, pitch, yaw actuations to steer its payload imaging at a sub-pixel angular pointing accuracy even using super-telephotos. The agile-and-precise-imaging-beam-angular-steering efficiently exploits fast frame resources of modern sensors, e.g. making Falcon4 2.7GB/s throughput sensing much wider. This unprecedent performance impacts modern remote sensing applications, including rapid mapping, ISR, change detection, persistent surveillance, homeland security, emergence response, search-and-rescue, demanded by decisionmakers, policymakers, and military/civilian agencies.
Hybrid Powertrain for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
The prototype system is a 1kW hybrid powertrain designed to provide improved efficiency and mission flexibility for fixed wing vertical takeoff and landing UAVs as well as multi-rotor UAVs. The powertrain combines an internal combustion engine and electric motor/generator with optimized controllers, tested and optimized on a custom built test bed. The result was a UAV with significantly longer flight time.
Skin friction sensor for real-world aerodynamics
A micromachined floating element array sensor that integrates floating shear sensors to detect shear stress (and thus skin friction) and a controller to provide error correction to shear stress from the effect of pressure gradients in the flow. This correction is determined numerically from the capacitance change measured using two or more laminar flow cells with different slot heights at different flow rates. This pressure gradient calibration method is protected by US Patent 9,964,476. It is the first shear sensor that can be calibrated for pressure gradients in high-shear (sonic/supersonic) flows. The system is small, factory calibrated, directional, rejects pressure gradient effects, and has direct electronic readout. It is easy to use, avoids errors from potential misalignment and not susceptible to particle or water impingement while offering higher resolution and range. It could significantly reduce cost, reduce cycle-time and improve accuracy of predicting the potential for major reductions in drag with new aircraft designs to achieve to produce substantial improvements in fuel efficiency (e.g. NASA Environmentally Responsible Aviation goals).