NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 S4.06-9411
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Avionics
PROPOSAL TITLE: Plug-and-Play Star Sensor for Rapid Spacecraft Integration

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Microcosm, Inc.
4940 W. 147th St.
Hawthorne, CA 90250 - 6708
(310) 219-2700

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James R Wertz
4940 W. 147th St.
Hawthorne, CA 90250 - 6708
(310) 219-2700

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Microcosm, with Space Micro., and HRP Systems will design a plug-and-play (PnP) star sensor for small satellites. All three companies are well experienced in developing PnP systems for the U. S. Air Force during the past 6 years. On an existing Phase II Air Force SBIR program, Microcosm built a prototype star sensor called MicroMak. The sensor proposed here will focus on PnP compatibility for NASA missions of interest. The PnP star sensor recurring cost target is $150 K to $200 K, with a mass between 0.5 and 1 kg. Expected NASA mission applications necessitate a modified version of the baseline MicroMak sensor, including: 1) Interfaces compatible with a new PnP avionics architecture, 2) radiation-hardened focal plane arrays (FPAs) and processing electronics to enable longer mission life. The baseline MicroMak sensor was designed with inherent radiation-tolerant features: complimentary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) FPAs with no direct space view, and all-reflective optical elements. The new PnP star sensor will build on MicroMak heritage and provide a modular, PnP-compatible, long-life star sensor for NASA missions, at low cost compared with traditional star sensors. A cost and mass reduction of a factor of 2 or more over traditional sensors is expected.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed star sensor will directly support NASA rapid spacecraft development efforts involving PnP architectures. Also, the proposed sensor can support various classes of NASA missions, including: longer-life missions, such as outer planets missions; long life libration point astronomy missions; and lunar and Mars exploration missions. This sensor can also support multiple applications, such as single-spacecraft attitude determination, formation flying, and rendezvous and docking. The expected PnP compatibility, low mass, low power, and low cost will fill the near term need for improved attitude sensing technology with lower cost, complexity, mass and power than with traditional solutions.

When combined with other sensors, such as an inertial measurement unit (IMU), the new star sensor will have additional capabilities. Microcosm's precision navigation with integrated attitude determination effort is directly applicable, providing an opportunity to enhance the new star sensor by adding a low-cost microelectromechanical IMU and/or software GPS receiver. This device can provide higher attitude output rates, up to 100 Hz, supporting additional applications.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to NASA applications, the sensor will also have applications in other government systems with similar accuracy, longer lifetime, and increased radiation tolerance requirements. Other programs seeking rapid spacecraft integration cycles, employing PnP architectures will also benefit from this new sensor. Microcosm is currently selling into the satellite attitude determination and control system market, and the basic low cost MicroMak star sensor should be ready for market in the next two to three years. The proposed new star sensor could also be ready for operational flight status in this same time frame, if its development is pursued aggressively in parallel with the baseline MicroMak sensor.
Communications satellites for both geosynchronous and low Earth orbit systems could take advantage of such a low cost PnP star sensor as well. It would facilitate rapid integration, and possible new applications, such as mounting directly to a communications antenna to get significantly improved determination of antenna pointing.

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.

Attitude Determination and Control
Guidance, Navigation, and Control

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50