NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 X2.02-8931
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Autonomous Precision Landing and Hazard Detection and Avoidance
PROPOSAL TITLE: Efficient 3-D Ladar Source

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Q-Peak, Inc.
135 South Road
Bedford, MA 01730 - 2307
(781) 275-9535

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Glen Rines
135 South Road
Bedford, MA 01730 - 2307
(781) 275-9535

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4 to 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In the Phase I program we demonstrated the efficacy of the proposed innovation by experimentally demonstrating an improvement in slope efficiency of ~11% by changing the pump wavelength from 806-nm to the 863-nm, which directly pumps the upper laser level of the 1047-nm laser transition in Nd:YLF. This level of improvement in efficiency is significant for space-based systems where overall efficiency is of great value. In addition to the optical-to-optical efficiency improvement, there is a lower heat load in the gain medium reducing the cooling requirements.

In this work we take advantage of our broad experience with Nd:YLF and the unique advantages of the MPS(TM) design to develop an all-solid-state, compact, conductively-cooled laser system operating in 1-μm region with an output energy of nominally 30 mJ and a pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of 30 Hz. The specific goal of this project will be to produce a laser design that is suitable for use in 3-D flash ladar systems housed in spacecraft and used for automated landing and hazard avoidance in difficult terrain and to deliver to NASA LaRC a working prototype of this laser design that is suitable for use in terrestrial testing of flash ladar systems when it is integrated with a suitable ladar receiver.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed work has direct application to NASA programs for entry, descent and landing (EDL) systems in future lunar and planetary exploration missions. In particular, flash ladar systems that can provide real-time, three-dimensional terrain mapping capability would be useful for automation of terminal descent of unmanned vehicles. For this application the emphasis must be placed on compactness, reliability, efficiency, low weight, and high performance. The system concept we propose provides improved performance, due to higher efficiency, scalability, and modularity and the potential for improvement in overall system efficiency and the reduction in the required number of diode pump lasers.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed high-efficiency, high-energy MPS technology to be developed in this Phase II program would be an extension of our existing diode-pumped product line and would offer a step-up in efficiency and energy from our existing products. A MPS Nd:YLF laser with 10 to 100 mJ/pulse fundamental energy, and high beam quality, with the addition of harmonic generation for some systems, could provide a relatively low-cost solution for precision machining applications such as marking, cutting, welding and drilling, of interest to the electronics, automotive and medical-device industry.

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
Telemetry, Tracking and Control

Form Generated on 10-23-08 13:36