NASA SBIR 01-1 Solicitation

FORM 9B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: H5.01-9446 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 012553 )
PROPOSAL TITLE:
Docking Sensor and Guidance System for Unmanned Micro-Satellites

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
One of the issues most fundamental to the design of an autonomous satellite docking system is the ability to be able to accurately and robustly estimate relative position, velocity, attitude and angular velocity, in all six degrees of freedom (DOF) between the transfer vehicle (chaser) and target spacecraft from ranges of 50-100km down to 100mts of the final approach. The proposed innovation in this SBIR effort is the development a low cost autonomous satellite-docking sensor based on Time Modulated Ultra-Wideband (TM-UWB) technology integrated with a supervised intelligent control approach for steering during the final approach. The proposed docking sensor will precisely determine relative position and attitude (RPA), in all six degrees of freedom, between the target spacecraft and the transfer vehicle. In our Phase I effort we will also develop a nonlinear controller to robustly track a 6DOF final approach trajectory. Techniques based on feedback linearization and backstepping will be exploited in the design of our controller. The sensor and the controller will be integrated into an autonomous intelligent guidance and control system for docking that will handle the tasks of optimal trajectory generation, fault tolerance, collision avoidance and interaction with a ground based controller.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The proposed innovation for precisely determining relative position and attitude using TM-UWB radios will have a large commercial market. With the increase in the number of satellites for various commercial and research missions, it is anticipated that for servicing and re-supply missions, unmanned micro shuttles will begin to play an increasing significant role, thus making autonomous docking an enabling technology. Significantly reduced operation costs, increased repeatability, reliability, and safety are a few of the benefits that autonomous docking offers. The primary customers of the technology developed in this effort are the commercial communication and navigation satellite industries such as Motorola and Teledesic. In the government sector our primary customers will be DOD (surveillance and reconnaissance satellites) and NASA (docking with Space Station Freedom, Telescope Repair etc.) where autonomous docking for repair and resupply using both large and micro satellite will soon become a routine part of their operations. The relative positioning and sensing technology developed in this effort will also be of direct relevance to space missions where two or more spacecraft are required to maintain a close formation. Potential customers for this market include NASA?s New Millennium Program and the US Air Force?s TechSat 21 program. Other applications include use of the sensor for autonomous landing of unmanned air vehicles, especially shipboard landing in areas where GPS can be easily jammed. The proposed innovation will also have applications to autonomous materials handling where precise relative distance and attitude between the two parts that are being mated has always been a bottleneck. v

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Vikram Manikonda
Intelligent Automation, Inc.
7519 Standish Place, Suite 200
Rockville , MD   20855 - 2785

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Intelligent Automation, Inc.
7519 Standish Place, Suite 200
Rockville , MD   20855 - 2785


Form Printed on 06-19-01 15:44