$40 million NASA award to scale campus-wide rotorcraft vertical lift technology


A new NASA award will give Georgia Tech researchers easier and faster access to research and engineering funds over the next five years to support advances in rotorcraft vertical lift technology. The team, led by Professor Marilyn Smith, is one of six selected by NASA and the only institution of higher education selected as a leader.

Georgia Tech will provide resources and technical expertise to support the development of rotorcraft vertical lift technology through task orders in areas such as advanced rotorcraft technologies, testing, flight controls and management. of health. Most of the work will be done on campus, with some taking place at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.

The Rotorcraft Vertical Lift Technology Development (RVLTD) award is an IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract) with a total cap of $40 million. It allows Georgia Tech to quickly propose, apply and learn if selected for NASA research projects which could also include code development, access to models for validationand more.

“Instead of writing a 30-page research proposal and waiting up to a year for a decision, this contract vehicle allows us to submit a brief statement of work in response to NASA requests for support. We’ll know in a few weeks if NASA selects our team for each request,” said Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering (AE School) faculty member Smith. “This is a significant advantage that allows us to collaborate more closely with NASA.”

The Georgia Tech group includes the GTRI (Georgia Tech Research Institute) and the University of Texas at Arlington. It also includes a number of private businesses across the country, with a focus on small businesses and organizations run by veterans and women. One of them is Laser Aviation in Duluth, Georgia, which specializes in 3D laser scanning and modeling.

Of the six accepted submissions, Georgia Tech’s proposal was ranked first by the Source Evaluation Board (SEB).

The AE School was one of the nation’s first helicopter rotorcraft research and education institutions. Montgomery Knight became the school’s first principal in 1942 and developed one of the first helicopter jet rotors. He was one of the nation’s first top researchers in helicopter design.

Over the decades, Georgia Tech has expanded its research to fit today’s definition of rotorcraft, which also includes tiltrotors, unmanned aerial vehicles, and advanced urban air mobility. Georgia Tech has been a center of excellence for vertical elevator research (VLRCOE) since 1982, managing basic research focused on scientific barriers in technologies that support current and future vertical lifting capabilities.

The RVLTD award is not limited to AE researchers. Any Georgia Tech faculty member supporting vertical lift technology can apply to be on the list of faculty who will respond to every request from NASA. Interested persons should send their contact details and areas of research interest to Smith.

“Georgia Tech faculty and students contribute to rotorcraft technology research in a variety of ways,” said Smith, who serves as director of the VLRCOE, which receives funds from the US Army, US Navy and NASA. “This not only includes vehicle design and analysis in AE, but also air traffic control, cyber-physical security, vertiport design, public policy, robotics, and sustainability. We have the faculty and students across the Institute to lead this field. This depth of research, along with our excellent student base, is what makes us more competitive.

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