NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 S4.03-8382
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Low-Cost, Rapid Spacecraft Design and Multi-Subsystem Functionality
PROPOSAL TITLE: Wireless Data and Power Transfer on Small Spacecraft

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
AeroAstro Corporation
20145 Ashbrook Place
Ashburn, VA 20147 - 3373
(703) 723-9800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Bill Seng
20145 Ashbrook Place
Ashburn, VA 20147 - 3373
(703) 723-9800

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3 to 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Achieving low-cost space missions implies lowering all phases of mission development, including spacecraft design, assembly, integration and test. The concept of the wireless spacecraft bus is something most technical people are at least half familiar with - the half which includes wireless data transfer, something available on every computer laptop today. But wireless is not really wireless if the power is delivered through wires. Both power and data need to be delivered wirelessly for the true potential impact of wireless to be made on spacecraft design, build, integration, and test.
Integrating today's commonplace wireless data systems into spacecraft would seem to be a logical step in spacecraft development, but to date has not been implemented widely if at all. AeroAstro proposes an innovative solution to design and build micro-spacecraft (and spacecraft components) harnessing the true promise of wireless systems. The overall objective of the proposal is to develop and demonstrate a truly wireless spacecraft bus - exhibiting not only wireless data, but also wireless power distribution. By definition, this wireless approach is inherently modular, and alleviates the need for wire harnesses of any type while simultaneously making staged built-in-test possible concurrently during spacecraft assembly.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The ability to eliminate long wires - along with the failure mechanisms of chafing, sparking, ageing, and connector issues with which all spacecraft and payload manufacturers struggle - has the potential to revolutionize spacecraft and payload design. Removing the constraints of placement of components on a spacecraft due to the wiring routing frees the designer to concentrate on the best placement of the subsystem, and not limit the design simply to where power and data access points are located.
Further, reliability is enhanced be removing failure mechanisms long understood but tolerated because previously there was no way to perform what wires could - efficient, directed flow of energy.
The expectation is that NASA spacecraft, aircraft, and sensor networks in particular would benefit from this concept.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Wireless sensors based on energy harvesting are already making their first appearance in the marketplace, but actually beaming energy directly to sensors is in its infancy. The ability to emplace sensors in places best suited for the sensor - and not for either the power or data connections - will open new uses for low power, data hungry sensor networks.
Wireless power transfer can be used for all kinds of small devices - cell phones, hand-held computers, laptops, flashlights, radios, etc. - anything that needs a charge and would benefit from the removal of the "power brick". Connector woes are not unique to spacecraft, as many cell phone and computer owners know from experience. The ability to remove another connector would again eliminate another failure mechanism.

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.

Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors
Wireless Distribution

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50