NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 S3.03-8882
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Power Generation and Storage
PROPOSAL TITLE: Motor Controller for Extreme Environments Based on SiGe

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
GPD Optoelectronics Corporation
7 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079 - 2842
(603) 894-6865

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Rufus Ward
7 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079 - 2842
(603) 894-6865

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The proposed innovation is a motor-control subsystem capable of operation in extreme environments, including those to be encountered on the Moon and Mars. Specifically, we will demonstrate operation over the environmental range from +130ºC down to –230ºC during Phase 1, and from +200ºC down to –230ºC during Phase 2. The switching transistors for the controller will be based on silicon-germanium (SiGe) because of its demonstrated ability to operate well at extreme temperatures. The outcome of this project will be an operating hardware system, not a simulation.
This innovation will be applicable to upcoming NASA missions to the surface of the Moon and Mars, as well as to other missions that need controllers for motors and actuators operating directly in extreme environments. Motor-control systems are also needed for space-based observatories, for example for the deformable cryogenic optical systems on the James Webb Space Telescope. Moreover, there are potential applications for extreme-temperature power electronics in the industrial, commercial and defense sectors. The Phase 1 demonstration target is an H-bridge control circuit, pulse-width modulated, for controlling the speed and direction of a 20 W dc motor. The circuit will incorporate four silicon-germanium (SiGe) HBTs, because of their demonstrated advantages for extreme-temperature operation. In addition, the proposing organization, GPD Optoelectronics Corp., has developed SiGe power transistors that operate down to –230ºC. The drive circuitry will use optoelectronic coupling. Suitable packaging technologies for the extreme environment will be developed and reliability testing will be performed. A complete prototype system will be delivered at the conclusion of each Phase.
The proposed motor-control subsystem is an innovation because there are presently no such subsystems capable of operation over the extreme-environment range from +130ºC or +200ºC down to –230ºC.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Examples of NASA application areas for extreme-environment motor/actuator controllers and other power electronics include
1) Spacecraft—rovers, probes and penetrators as well as orbiting and fly-by communication and imaging spacecraft for Solar System missions—will encounter extreme environments. They will require drive electronics for motors and actuators (for movement or sample extraction).
2) Observatories will need cryogenic motors, servos or other actuators for aiming, control, filter wheels, shutters or other mechanisms. Space-based optical systems are one category and a prime example is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Its telescope is planned to incorporate numerous actuators for deformable mirror control operating at about 230ºC .
3) Long-term surface installations on the Moon, Mars, asteroids or other cold bodies will need controllers for motors and actuators capable of operating in extreme environments.
4) Electric propulsion systems for spacecraft will likely incorporate extreme temperatures and could benefit from power electronics capable of extreme-temperature operation.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Satellites where motors and actuators operate at cryogenic temperatures. Motors and generators operating at cryogenic temperatures or based on superconductors; for example, ship propulsion and power systems. High-power energy generation operating at cryogenic temperatures or employing superconducting components or machinery, such as for radar systems. Vehicles that use cryogenic fuels or that require reduction in size or mass of the control systems.

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
Large Antennas and Telescopes
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56