NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 S1.02-8466
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Active Microwave Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Novel Low-cost, Ka-band, High Altitude, Multi-Baseline Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Sensor for Surface Water Ocean Topography

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc.
3179 Main Street, Unit 3, P.O. Box 1092
Barnstable, MA 02630 - 1105
(508) 362-9400

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Delwyn K Moller
3179 Main Street, Unit 3
Barnstable, MA 02630 - 1105
(626) 921-5212

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 6 to 7

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This proposal presents the Ka-band SWOT Phenomenology Airborne Radar (KaSPAR) to support the surface water ocean topography (SWOT) mission for science and algorithm development and calibration and validation. KaSPAR is a modular system with multiple temporal and cross-track baselines to fully characterize the scattering and statistics expected from SWOT, provide data for developing classification algorithms, and understanding instrument performance and limitations over the vast variety of scenes that SWOT will encounter (ie sea-ice, vegetation covered water, frozen/partially frozen rivers etc). Furthermore a wide-swath (>5km) high-accuracy elevation mapping capability provides the necessary framework to translate traditional point or profile calibration/validation measurements to the spatial framework that SWOT will measure. Beyond SWOT, KaSPAR's unique 4D imaging capability (2D intensity, elevation and velocity mapping) can be uniquely applied to topography applications, local water resource management and monitoring, weather reconnaissance (e.g. floods & storm surge), electronic vision applications and much more.
The Phase II activities will build out a complete multichannel radar system to realize the potential of KaSPAR. Key developments include the highly phase-stable high-bandwidth receivers, low-sidelobe antennas and integration with a high power (40W) solid-state power amplifier. The modular, compact design will be compatible between platforms and is directly compatible without modification with two NASA King Air aircraft. Long-term KaSPAR is designed to support unpressurized high altitude operations.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In contrast with previous implementations at lower frequencies (L-, C- and X-band), millimeter-wave interferometry (Ka-band for KaSPAR) enables improved accuracy with a constrained antenna and baseline size. These advantages make the KaSPAR development applicable to potential solution for interplanetary ice mapping missions (e.g. Europa) and planetary topography mapping missions. KaSPAR componentry, integrated subsystems and techniques including the phase-stable receivers and calibration methodologies could readily be integrated, or adapted for specific system requirements.
A key element of KaSPAR is that it will utilize a solid-state power amplifier (SSPA) (rather than a tube amplifier). The 40W state-of-the-art SSPA KaSPAR will use would enable an operational airborne ice-surface topography mapper that would not only improve performance over that previously achieved, but also be capable of operating on long-range UAV's to enable ice surface topography mapping of remote, yet critical regions of Antarctica. This is highly relevant to NASA's ongoing IceBridge activities.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The KaSPAR and its technology also fill technology gaps that exist in several other commercial and governmental applications. US Coast Guard and US Geological Survey have expressed interest in using KaSPAR to build such a data base for high use (recreational and navigation) rivers. This would improve the performance of models used to predict discharge rate and flow patterns of rivers that use stage level data from in situ river gauges, and in the future, from SWOT elevation. In turn, this would aid navigation and would provide critical information to search and rescue operations. KaSPAR could also be deployed rapidly during time-critical events such as flooding, or to provide storm surge spatial measurements prior to land-fall.
Ka-band interferometry has the potential to provide 3D mapping of scenes during limited low visibility conditions (i.e. fog, drizzle, etc). The technology developed for KaSPAR may be used to realize Ka-band radar interferometer electronic vision systems that would complement existing infrared systems. The aircraft industry has expressed significant interest in this area. Although designed for mapping rivers and oceans, a KaSPAR system could be used to provide 3D terrestrial imaging. However, it is significant that the high-bandwidth phase-stable multichannel architecture and processing techniques are applicable and transferable to other geometries (for example off-nadir viewing for dedicated terrain mapping).

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.

Data Acquisition and End-to-End-Management
Data Input/Output Devices
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
On-Board Computing and Data Management
Pilot Support Systems
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors

Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26