NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 22.02-8732 (Chron: 001269 )
PROJECT TITLE
Software for Simulation and Control of Tethered Satellite Clusters



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
There is currently considerable interest in flying many small satellites in a cluster. Indeed, satellite formation flight offers many advantages in allowing high-resolution interferometry, permitting multiple distributed measurements, reducing mission cost and increasing flexibility. Unfortunately, there are long-term perturbation effects that tend to cause satellites in the constellation to be pulled apart. These can be countered by propulsive means at the cost of reducing the lifetime of the cluster. An alternative approach to this problem is to link them together by a system of flexible tethers, held taut by rotation of the entire system. This eliminates the relative navigation problem, and avoids having to keep satellites in the correct relative positions propulsively. In addition, it allows configurations that are not achievable by free-flying spacecraft, limited as they are by the nature of orbital mechanics. The objective of the proposed Phase I work is to develop analysis techniques that will allow tethered satellite systems to be considered for clustered satellite missions; at present, such tools are not available.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The recent interest in satellite formation flying missions has created potential demand for new products to support research and development in this area. However, no software exists for the analysis of multiple tether systems. Our goal is to develop a commercial product similar to FreeFlyer, which can be used to plan tethered missions, giving to mission planners the capability to be able to consider the tradeoff between tethered and formation constellation missions. In addition, control
system concepts based on tension control may be applicable to other engineering problems such as heavy cranes, support cables, and underwater arrays.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Kenneth Moore
Sheet Dynamics Ltd
1776 Mentor Ave Suite 170
Cincinnati , OH   45212 - 3571



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Sheet Dynamics, Ltd.,
1776 Mentor Avenue
Cincinnati , OH   45212 - 3571