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Cross-cutting Capabilities

Enabling development of advanced technologies and flight systems with cross-cutting capabilities in controls, sensors, thermal management, avionics, and computational models.


We provide avionic systems designs for conceptual missions, early breadboarding of systems under development, and full hardware engineering and testing for spaceflight missions. For more information, contact Charles Doxley.

Quantum Communications Laboratory free space transmitter receiver demonstration.

Optics and Photonics

Our data and instrumentation help designers understand the fundamental physics of new systems, validate aeronautics computational and life models, and improve optical space communications for human and robotic explorations.

curves from data visualization.

Computational Modeling and Analysis

Our research advances computational modeling and analysis methods for aerospace propulsion components and systems. We develop physical models for turbulence, concentrating on scale-resolving approaches such as large-eddy simulation; combustion, including advanced kinetics and turbulence-chemistry interactions; and heat transfer. Using multi-physics analyses, we investigate turbomachinery aerodynamic-structural interactions, active film cooling of propulsion components, and aircraft icing. … Read the rest ⇢

Single aisle turboelectric aircraft concept diagram

Intelligent Control and Autonomy

We are developing, demonstrating, and maturing innovative control and systems health management technologies to substantially improve the performance, safety, environmental compatibility, reliability, durability, and intelligence of aerospace systems.

Fabrication of sensors, in a dark purple light.

Sensors and Electronics

We research and develop adaptable sensing systems and instrumentation for operation in or exposure in a wide range of temperatures, pressures, chemical/caustic environments or application requirements far beyond conventional instrumentation technology.

Systems Analysis

Our multidisciplinary team conducts systems analysis for a wide variety of aeronautical and space concepts.  We perform trade studies and technology assessments to identify the vehicle- or system-level performance characteristics.  Leveraging our unique aerospace engineering capabilities, we assess the potential benefits and challenges of future aircraft and spacecraft.  Our system analysis results help guide decision-makers and stakeholders in the development of new aerospace technologies and concepts. For more information, contact Xiao-yen Wang or Chris Steffen.

Multidisciplinary Design, Analysis, & Optimization

NASA Glenn Research Center leads research on the development and application of Multidisciplinary Design, Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) methods and software tools for solving complex engineering problems.  These MDAO methods and tools, specifically those focused on gradient-based optimization with analytic derivatives, are applied to NASA aeronautical and space systems in the design of new aircraft concepts, air traffic management systems and spacecraft missions.  These techniques have broad utility and have been adopted by a wide variety of industries to tackle complex engineering problems resulting in better product designs with less development time. For more information, contact Xiao-yen Wang.

Spacecraft Concept Design

Compass is a concurrent engineering team that creates innovative spacecraft conceptual designs.  The multidisciplinary team conducts mission, spacecraft, and trajectory designs.  They perform integrated vehicle systems analysis and trade studies, often focusing on integrating new technologies and imagining missions that are simpler and have greater impact than state of the art. For more information, contact Steve Oleson.

Thermal Management Systems

Our engineers design and analyze thermal systems throughout the development lifecycle of a mission.  We develop thermal requirements and define thermal environments.  We perform thermal design, development, analysis and testing for spacecraft, advanced aircraft, and in-situ resource (ISRU) systems for planetary surfaces. For more information, contact Susan Jansen.

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