NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 S4.06-8307
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Avionics
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low-Cost Suite of COTS GNC Sensors for Precision Lunar Lander

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stellar Exploration, Inc.
174 Suburban Rd Suite 120
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 - 7518
(805) 549-8200

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Tomas Svitek
174 Suburban Road, Suite 120
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 - 7518
(805) 549-8200

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 7

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We are proposing to exploit (in an innovative way) existing, readily available, GNC sensors for the purpose of precision lunar landing. Majority of previous lunar lander concepts with the precision/pinpoint landing capability required expensive and risky development of new GNC and landing sensors (scanning lidars, multi-beam mm-ww radar, etc.). Our proposed alternative consists solely of existing and low-cost sensors that synergistically leverage each capability and compensate for individual sensor weaknesses. For example, we can use a simple single-beam low-frequency radar altimeter (available at low-cost off-the-shelf, and proven on several Mars lander missions). The low-frequency radar can meet the maximum slant range requirements much easier than the mm-wave sensor but it does not have the adequate multiple narrow beam capability of the Apollo LM or Viking lander radar. However, the optical descent imaging measurement (using DSMAC-type sensor) can supplement the single beam radar measurement and obtain the same information about the complete state vector. There are several similar concepts implemented in this sensor suite of complementing strengths and weakness of individual sensors.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The successful integration of low-cost GNC suite would open wide area for sales of that system for several other applications besides the lunar lander (Mars and asteroids mission, and proximity and rendezvous operations in LEO). The preliminary cost estimate for such integrated sensor suite is between $450K and $800K (depending on the software complexity and level of testing required). We anticipate that the first sale of the integrated sensor suite module would occur realistically within 24 months after the completion of Phase 2. Eventually, we estimate that flight rate of these integrated modules could approach 2-3 units per year (mostly in the US market, with minor potential in an international market). For the first ten years, the realistic (conservative) estimate of the total market potential is between 10-16 units, resulting in the total potential market of $5-7M.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Additional non-NASA (eg, privately funded) missions can use this technology.

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.

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