NASA STTR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-T1.01-9877 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 030123)
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE:Information Technologies for System Health Management, Autonomy and Scientific Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE:SPHERES Autonomy and Identification Testbed

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC): RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):
NAME: PAYLOAD SYSTEMS INC. NAME:Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ADDRESS:247 Third Street ADDRESS:77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building E19-750
CITY:Cambridge CITY:Cambridge
STATE/ZIP:MA  02142-0000 STATE/ZIP:MA  02139-0000
PHONE: (617) 868-8086 PHONE: (617) 253-3922

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name,Email)
Javier   deluis
deluis@payload.com
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
As space missions become increasingly complex, they demand increased reliance on spacecraft to adjust to unexpected or unfamiliar events without the assistance of real-time human-in-the-loop control. Such conditions as a thruster failure moments before an automated docking, or imprecise or unknown inertial properties due to fuel slosh, partially deployed appendages, etc., can cause controllers to become unstable or otherwise unable to complete their objectives. Based on our prior work in control systems and specifically in developing the existing Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, & Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) ISS testbed, we propose to analytically characterize the requirements to implement algorithms for autonomous thruster fault identification, fuel slosh and online inertia property estimation on the SPHERES system. This Phase I effort will focus on the necessary software architecture changes and any hardware modifications required to implement these algorithms using SPHERES. Successful completion of this effort will produce specifications and preliminary designs for all necessary components, and pending a manifest opportunity, lead to testing the new algorithms in ISS within Phase II. This proposal offers valuable innovation in three respects: creation of novel spacecraft control algorithms, rapid advancement from concept to spaceflight demonstration, and low-cost/high-return use of existing spaceflight resources.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The market for the SPHERES-AIT testbed has two components. NASA JPL is the primary customer in the context of developing and operating the TPF mission. The second component are government agencies, including the USAF and DARPA, which also have in development missions that utilize multiple spacecraft, such as the DARPA Orbital Express program. These programs will have need for many of the technologies that will be developed as part of SPHERES-AIT. Because SPHERES-AIT is extraordinarily inexpensive relative to other spaceflight and associated ground research systems, we believe that these programs would find it a useful technology development tool.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The major application for the proposed SPHERES-AIT technology is the NASA JPL Terrestrial Planet Finder program. Other potential applications exist for any NASA program involved with on-orbit cooperative spacecraft, including distributed spacecraft systems and on-orbit rendezvous and docking. This testbed has the potential for numerous missions on the ISS, and experiment time (or even additional testbeds) may be provided under cooperative arrangements between the developers and sponsoring agencies.