NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 S2.01-8707
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Precision Spacecraft Formations for Telescope Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Novel Approaches for Spacecraft Formation Robustness and Performance using Distributed Estimation, Control and Communication

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scientific Systems Company, Inc.
500 West Cummings Park, Suite 3000
Woburn, MA 01801 - 6503
(781) 933-5355

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Lingji Chen
500 W. Cummings Park
Woburn, MA 01801 - 6503
(781) 933-5355

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 2 to 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Formation flight can provide the benefits of a large effective telescope using precision formation flying of smaller, lower cost, collaborating telescopes. A decentralized architecture for estimation and control provides several key advantages including reduced communication and processing overheads as well as increased tolerance to a single point of failure. Since a decentralized design relies on communicating information between individual spacecraft, it becomes critical to enumerate and quantify the effect of information sharing on estimation, control and guidance systems performance for the entire formation. The goal of this project is to analyze these interactions between information communication, estimation, control and guidance systems as well as to develop analysis tools to help the TPFI team evaluate various trade-offs involved in designing these systems. During the proposed effort, we will bring together new advances in the fields of Robust Control, Risk Sensitive Optimal (RSO) control, and Covariance Intersection (CI) to combine information shared across the formation. We will study the impact of communications topologies on estimation performance, develop methods to reduce disagreements between parallel estimators, design control and guidance laws that are robust to estimation disagreements and study scalability issues for formations with large number of spacecraft. Phase I effort will also deliver a software analysis tool to help the NASA TPFI team evaluate trade-offs for candidate TPFI architectures.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Directly addresses issues and concerns of formation flying spacecraft missions.
Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF), NASA's first space-based mission to directly observe planets outside our own solar system, will rely on formation flying to achieve the functionality and benefits of a large instrument using multiple lower cost smaller spacecraft. Aqua mission of the Goddard Space Flight Center will use formation flying concepts (``A-Train'') to collaborate with multiple Earth observing spacecraft.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Formation flying is a major area of interest for both NASA as well as military applications. DoD and large prime contractors have invested resources in developing autonomous capabilities for collaboration between unmanned vehicle teams. Analysis tools to aid in trade-off studies become necessary as various distributed agent architectures are considered for increasingly complex mission capabilities.

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Guidance, Navigation, and Control

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50