NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 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 Street
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: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Microcosm, with partners Space Micro and HRP Systems, will design, build, and test a plug-and play (PnP) star sensor for small satellites, achieving TRL 6 at the completion of Phase II. All three companies are very experienced in developing PnP systems. On a recent Phase II Air Force SBIR program, Microcosm built and tested a prototype miniature star sensor called MicroMakTM, and is building a prototype radiation hard star sensor under a new Phase II Air Force SBIR. The new star sensor proposed here will focus on PnP compatibility for NASA missions of interest, with a mass goal of 0.5 to 0.75 kg. Anticipated NASA applications necessitate a modified version of the baseline MicroMakTM sensor, including: 1) Interfaces compatible with a new PnP avionics architecture, 2) radiation-hardened CMOS focal plane arrays (FPAs), and 3) processing electronics to enable longer mission life. The baseline MicroMakTM sensor was designed with inherent radiation-tolerant features: FPAs with no direct view of space, and all-reflective optical elements. The PnP star sensor will leverage MicroMakTM heritage, providing a modular, PnP, long-life star sensor for NASA missions, providing a cost and mass reduction of a factor of 2 or more over existing star sensors.

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, and various classes of missions, including: longer-life missions, such as outer planets missions; long life libration point astronomy missions; and lunar and Mars exploration. This sensor can also support multiple applications, including spacecraft attitude determination, formation flying, and rendezvous and docking. The expected PnP compatibility and low mass, power, and cost will fill the near term need for improved, low cost attitude sensing technology with lower cost, complexity, mass, and power than traditional solutions. When combined with other sensors, such as an IMU, the new star sensor will have additional capabilities. Microcosm's precision navigation with integrated attitude determination sensor is directly applicable, providing an opportunity to enhance the new star sensor by adding a low-cost micro-electromechanical IMU and 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)
The sensor will also have applications for other government systems with similar PnP, attitude accuracy, mission lifetime, and radiation tolerance requirements. Programs seeking rapid spacecraft integration cycles, employing PnP architectures, will also benefit from this new sensor. The Air Force Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program may be a customer. Microcosm is currently selling components in the satellite attitude determination and control system market, and the MicroMakTM star sensor should be ready for market in the next two to three years. The proposed new PnP star sensor could be ready for operational flight status in this same time frame, if its development is pursued aggressively in parallel with the baseline MicroMakTM sensor. Both LEO and GEO satellites could take advantage of such a sensor as well, facilitating rapid, low-cost 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 10-23-08 13:36