Vertiport Assessment and Mobility Operations System (VAMOS!)
The term Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) refers to a new mode of transportation utilizing highly automated airborne vehicles for transporting goods and/or people. The adoption of widespread use of AAM vehicles will necessitate a network of vertiports located throughout a geographical region. A vertiport refers to a physical structure for the departure, arrival, and parking/storage of AAM vehicles. NASA-developed Vertiport Assessment and Mobility Operations System (VAMOS!) enables identifying geographical locations suitable for locating a vertiport or assessing suitability of pre-selected locations. For example, suitability evaluation factors include zoning, land use, transit stations, fire stations, noise, and time-varying factors like congestion and demand. The vertiport assessment system assigns suitability values to these factors based on user-input, and types, including location-based (e.g., proximity to mass transit stations), level-based (e.g., noise levels), characteristic-based (e.g., residential zoning), and time-based (e.g., demand). Based on user input, the system spreads a grid over the geographical area, specifies importance criteria and weights for scaling the impact of the suitability factors, and identifies specific sub-regions as candidate locations. The candidate sub-regions are shown on a user interface map overlay in a color-coded gradient that reflects the suitability strength for a sub-region. Vertiport locations are selected within these sub-regions. These candidate vertiport locations are refined by establishing feasibility of flight between them. VAMOS! includes a modeling component and a simulation component. The modeling component assists a user to identify one or more geographical locations at which a vertiport may be physically built. The simulation component of the technology displays, in real-time, the simulated operational behavior of AAM vehicles and in the context of their projected flight paths combined with data dynamically obtained from live sources. These data sources can be from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or other private or public governing bodies, from one or more AAM vehicles in flight, and from weather sources.
power generation and storage
Next Generation Closed Strayton Engine Design
The core Strayton generator technology consists of a gas turbine engine with short, axial pistons installed inside the hollow turbine shaft. These pistons form a Stirling engine that cycles via thermo-acoustic waves, transferring heat from the turbine blades to the compressor stage, which improves overall engine performance. Power to an alternator is, thus, delivered from both turbine shaft rotation and the oscillation of the internal pistons. This synergistic relationship is markedly enhanced in a closed-cycle system, where the sealed turbine engine recirculates a working fluid heated via an external source, such as a hydrogen fuel cell and combustor. This system supports higher compression ratios, reduces the turbine diameter to less than 4, and eliminates the need for large recuperators. Operational efficiency is projected to extend into the low temperature range (750 C), reducing the need for advanced materials and providing cleaner combustion for hydrogen-based applications. Pressurized, inert working fluids also replace mechanical bearings and gearboxes, enabling years of maintenance-free operation. The fuel cell and Stirling cycle produce 10% of the total system energy, while the Brayton cycle produces 90%. Other external heat sources could include nuclear, solar, or biogas. Conservative estimates for the hydrogen fuel-cell configuration lifetime are in the 100,000 hour range.