NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 B4.03-8163
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Market Driven Space Infrastructure
PROPOSAL TITLE: Automated Rendezvous and Docking Infrastructure to Support Commercial Space Development

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Odyssey Space Research
2525 Bay Area Blvd., Suite 460
Houston, TX 77058-1572

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David Strack
2525 Bay Area Blvd., Suite 460
Houston, TX 77058-1572

NASA's safety mandate for crewed and high value spacecraft currently necessitates design requirements that create a cost barrier for commercial companies trying to provide on-orbit logistics services for NASA. The proposed innovation offers a means to facilitate commercial involvement in on-orbit servicing by developing a spacecraft that removes this burden from commercial vehicles. The spacecraft will:
? Perform automated rendezvous and capture to ferry commercial spacecraft to target spacecraft
? Provide a safe interface between simple, low cost, commercial spacecraft and high value targets (ISS, CEV, Lunar Lander, propellant depot, or high value satellites)

This will serve as key infrastructure element to enable emerging commercial space companies and other developers of low cost systems to play significant roles in NASA's Exploration program and/or ISS re-supply activities. This infrastructure will:
? Prevent restrictive and extremely expensive fault tolerance, safety, and Human Rating requirements from being levied on the commercial vehicles,
? Remove the need for commercial vehicles to design, develop, and test independent automated rendezvous and docking (AR&D) systems,
? Reduce the amount of expensive AR&D and safety related hardware launched and discarded on each flight, and
? Reduce the cost of integrating each spacecraft through standardized interfaces.

The primary purpose of the SBIR project is to create a new element of NASA's infrastructure that will enable the use of low cost commercial spacecraft in NASA's overall development strategy. Some examples are:
? Low cost ISS re-supply using commercial launch and spacecraft developers
? Unique solutions to some of the mission challenges for the exploration program
? Support and servicing of NASA satellites

The use of the spacecraft does not need to be limited to low cost commercial spacecraft. It can also be used for:
? Any automated rendezvous and docking program
? Test platform for Exploration program

Any infrastructure that supports the introduction of low cost commercial spacecraft will have longer term commercial applications. Some of these include:
? On-orbit spacecraft servicing
? Commercial support of NASA's exploration mission or ISS re-supply