NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 A1.04-9335
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Aviation External Hazard Sensor Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low-Cost LIDAR for Wake Vortex Detection

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Q-Peak, Inc.
135 South Road
Bedford, MA 01730 - 2355
(781) 275-9535

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John H Flint
135 South Rd
Bedford, MA 01730 - 2355
(781) 275-9535

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA has been tasked with supporting the development of key technologies to facilitate the evolution of the National Airspace System to NextGen, the Next Generation Air Transportation System. One of these key technologies is the detection of wake vortices generated by other aircraft. This is of particular concern during take-off and landing, both because the danger is particularly acute, and because of the large economic impact of having to widely space the aircraft. About $5 billion of revenue is lost each year due to delays and lower throughput in our nation's airports. Ground-based lidars have the ability to detect and track wake vortices, but mounting similar systems on aircraft would be prohibitively expensive. We propose to develop an intrinsically low-cost lidar that would be suitable for deployment on commercial airliners. Costs are kept low through an extremely simple design: a passively Q-switched single-frequency laser that uses a fiber delay-line in place of a local oscillator. The Phase I effort will also include a modeling task to explore detecting wake vortices using an on-axis lidar instead of imaging from the side. Since the primary flow components will be perpendicular to the lidar beam, we anticipate that looking for an increase in the width of the coherent return may prove to be the best approach.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA applications of coherent lidar relate to flight safety (clear air turbulence, wind shear) and Earth sensing (wind sensing for weather, as well as wind sensing for pollution and CO2 source/sink studies). Low-cost laser technology has much broader appeal to lasers for deep-space communication, automated docking, and DIAL.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA commercial applications of coherent lidar also relate to flight safety (clear air turbulence, wind shear) and to Earth sensing activities, but not from space. These include wind sensing for pollution tracking (especially if a pollution credit market develops) and for wind-farm site assessment. Low-cost laser technology has many applications including communication, materials processing, process control, and medical.

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.

Airport Infrastructure and Safety

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56