NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Intelligent Modular Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:Self-Assembling Wireless Autonomous Reconfigurable Modules (SWARM)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Payload Systems, Inc.
247 Third Street
Cambridge, MA 02142-1129
(617) 868-8086

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joseph   Parrish
247 Third Street
Cambridge, MA  02142-1129
(617) 868-8086

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Payload Systems Inc. and the MIT Space Systems Laboratory propose Self-assembling, Wireless, Autonomous, Reconfigurable Modules (SWARM) as an innovative approach to modular fabrication and in-space robotic assembly of large scale systems. Fabrication of modular components yields fabrication savings associated with large production volume and automated integration and test. In-space assembly permits staged deployment on an as-needed, as-afforded basis. It also decouples stowed launch geometry from deployed operational geometry. The SWARM concept uses formation flown spacecraft, containing multiple universal docking ports, to dock with modular elements and maneuver them to dock with other, similar elements. In the process, systems can be assembled that are much larger than what can be fit or folded into a launch vehicle fairing, or what can be launched on a single vehicle. Furthermore, such modularity will allow jettison of failed components, upgrade of obsolete technology, and amortization of design costs across multiple missions. In Phase I, we demonstrated the feasibility of this approach for a simplified telescope assembly on the flat-floor at MSFC. In Phase II, we will develop the hardware and software elements necessary to demonstrate, on a flat-floor, the modular assembly and reconfiguration of systems representative of trans-planetary spacecraft and large telescope assembly.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Clearly the prime commercial application for the SWARM system is for modular spacecraft system development within NASA's scope of activity. The SWARM system is wholly novel in its capabilities and flexibility for multiple operational regimes, including terrestrial laboratory testing, parabolic flight aircraft, and spaceflight, making it a relevant development product for the evaluation of operational strategies and design of modular spacecraft and self-assembling systems capable of on-orbit servicing, maintenance and reconfiguration.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This product would have immediate relevance to developers of intelligent modular spacecraft systems, who could purchase a series of modules to assemble a complete spacecraft bus model or, at a lesser scale, component elements (e.g., docking ports). Also because it is inexpensive relative to other associated flight systems, we believe that there could be multiple sales opportunities for the system in the commercial satellite market. DoD applications include the Fractionated Spacecraft Program (F6) and the Tiny independent Coordinating Spacecraft (TICS) program.

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.

Controls-Structures Interaction (CSI)
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Modular Interconnects

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04