NASA Enters DoD Auto Parts Business

NASA Sources Sought Notice: Oil Free Turbochargers for U.S. Army Ground Vehicles

"This notice is issued by the NASA/GRC to post a Request for Information (RFI) and solicit responses from interested parties relative to the development of a future requirement for oil-free turbochargers. At this time, the Government requires Oil-Free turbochargers sized as direct replacements for the oil-lubricated version (Borg Warner S300) being used on Caterpillar's I6, 7-Litre, C7 diesel engine that powers the U.S. Army Stryker and FMTV's (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles)."

Editor's note: Will someone please tell me what this procurement could possibly have to do with space exploration?

Editor's update: Prompt, informative relies from several NASA Watch have once again reaffirmed my ignorance as to some of the various things NASA does - and why.


I read this morning's lead posting regarding NASA Glenn's request for information for Oil-Free Turbochargers for ARMY diesel engines and am honoring your request for a rationale. NASA and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) have a long standing collaborative relationship to develop advanced power and propulsion technology of mutual interest. A common example includes commercial aircraft engines and rotorcraft turbines. For more than a decade, a team of research engineers has been developing Oil-Free turbomachinery systems, based upon air bearing technology, for both NASA and Army applications. An Oil-Free turbocharger is an excellent nearer term technology development tool for future engines. Therefore its development and field evaluation is highly relevant to both NASA's and the ARL's research efforts.

For more information please take a look at our Oil-Free Turbomachinery web site ( On this site you'll find information about foil gas bearing technology, NASA's high temperature solid lubricants, demonstration projects and links to research publications and bearing suppliers.

You may be further interested to know that a leading concept for space power generation is the use of Closed Cycle Brayton turbines coupled to nuclear or other heat sources. These turbines use the same foil gas bearings in lieu of oil and thus can operate reliably without maintenance attributes essential for long term missions. The Oil-Free turbomachinery research effort here at Glenn represents just one good example of a positive NASA-DOD cooperative effort.

If you have any questions please contact me.

Keep up the good work with NASAWATCH. It is a very good resource.


Dr. Christopher DellaCorte
Oil-Free Turbomachinery Technical Lead
NASA, Glenn

The U.S. Army has for some number of years maintained a small group of people that conduct research into areas of joint research. Mostly things like gearboxes for helicopters and other technologies that have use for both military vehicles, rotorcraft and aircraft. All good stuff. Different parts of the government trying to cooperate where it makes sense. I think the Army guys here at GRC are tied to TACOM. The RFQ is likely part of this army group.

This is legitimate. GRC has had an Army Office here for decades. It currently shows up on the org chart as Code Z Vehicle Technology Center. Mechanical drive systems is what they do.

This is only the beginning of other research you will see the Aeronautics Centers - Langley, Glenn and Ames - involved in in the future. Engineering and Research organizations, not just scientists anymore, are actively seeking partnerships and outside pay-for-service opportunities in order to stave off reductions in force as a result of the cuts in Aeronautics budget. In the future, the fan in your computer or a muffler on your vacuum cleaner to make them more quiet might have been developed by NASA. Now, what does THAT have to do with Space or Aeronautics research!

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on April 26, 2005 8:31 AM.

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