NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Precision Navigation and Tracking
PROPOSAL TITLE:X-Ray Pulsar Based Navigation and Time Determination

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Microcosm, Inc.
401 Coral Circle
El Segundo, CA 90245-4622
(310) 726-4100

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Paul   Graven
401 Coral Circle
El Segundo, CA  90245-4622
(310) 726-4100

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Microcosm will build on the Phase I X-ray pulsar-based navigation and timing (XNAV) feasibility assessment to develop a detailed XNAV simulation capability to evaluate navigation performance for specific missions of interest, and create an XNAV flight software experiment ready to integrate on an appropriate near-term flight demonstration mission in Phase III. Phase I demonstrated achievable XNAV accuracy, developed a preliminary source catalog, constructed an XNAV error budget, and laid out potential implementation options for XNAV, focusing on an Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point mission. Brighter, less stable, non-traditional X-ray sources were also considered for possible XNAV application with promising initial results, especially for formation flying applications. Taking advantage of concurrent XNAV efforts at DARPA to the maximum extent possible, Phase II will develop and validate XNAV algorithms via a simulation which will be targeted for integration with Goddard Space Flight Center's GPS Enhanced Onboard Navigation System (GEONS) software. The error budget will be developed in more detail to support the algorithm and simulation work. XNAV holds great potential for NASA as an enabling technology for fully autonomous interplanetary navigation and could provide a significant mission enhancement as an adjunct to the Deep Space Network (DSN) and ground based navigation.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are several promising NASA applications for XNAV, including missions beyond Jupiter as an enabling technology for autonomous navigation, potentially providing improved performance over standard DSN tracking capability for very far missions. Examples include the Pioneer Anomaly mission or 500 AU mission. XNAV provides fully autonomous interplanetary navigation capability, potentially reducing the demands on DSN for increasing tracking requirements for future missions. XNAV can supplement DSN service and enhance DSN navigation performance. XNAV can also provide a backup navigation capability for manned and unmanned near-Earth, lunar, and Mars missions. Further, it can provide higher redundancy for manned missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The primary non-NASA XNAV applications would be to provide primary or secondary navigation services for DoD missions. For MEO, GEO, HEO, and even cis-lunar missions where GPS has limited availability, XNAV can provide primary autonomous navigation capability. In addition, XNAV could provide an essential backup navigation capability for missions which normally rely on GPS but have a need for continuity of operations in the event of loss or denial of GPS. These applications are being actively studied through DARPA's XNAV program, and the Microcosm team has strong ties to that program.

The near-term potential is limited for traditional commercial missions (e.g., GEO Communications). Many system providers are interested in the potential of autonomous station-keeping, the cost, complexity and immaturity of XNAV make it unlikely to be attractive for the commercial market in the near term. This may change after XNAV matures sufficiently and is demonstrated on orbit.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Telemetry, Tracking and Control

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04