NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 O4.03-8803
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Flight Dynamics Software and Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Flexible Particle Filter Navigation System for Analysis and Operations

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Odyssey Space Research
1120 NASA Parkway, Suite 505
Houston, TX 77058 - 3320
(281) 488-7953

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Blair Thompson, PhD
1120 Nasa Parkway, Suite 505
Houston, TX 77058 - 3320
(281) 488-7953

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Odyssey Space Research proposes to develop a modular navigation software package to provide precise state information for offline analysis and real-time applications. This navigation package will use particle filter methodology to process discrete observation data and maintain an accurate state. This navigation system will leverage several NASA products to rapidly prototype and demonstrate the feasibility of this software during Phase I, including the General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT) and Trick, taking it from TRL 2 past TRL 3. Phase II will deliver an expanded modular software product integrated into several other software packages demonstrating different estimation capabilities (TRL 5-6). This system will function as a standalone estimation package that can be easily integrated into other software packages, or as the basis for embedded flight software algorithms.
This navigation package will be designed to meet the position, velocity, and time estimation requirements for space missions. It will contain an expanded state vector used to estimate non-Gaussian forcing functions perturbing the vehicle's dynamics. This navigator will integrate the measurements from diverse sensors running at different rates. And it will demonstrate accurate estimation of uncertain dynamics parameters that are affecting the vehicle's state such as the gravitation field of small bodies.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The navigation system offered will be available as a "plugin" for several simulation analysis platforms including GMAT, GIPSY, and GEONS (potentially others), to provide users of these existing NASA tools with its advanced filtering capabilities. By providing this function to designers in an easily integrated package, users can benefit from the expanded capability provided during all phases of vehicle design, analysis, test and flight. This will be particularly useful during the early design stage when major decisions and trades are being made whose impacts are historically difficult to assess. The system can also be utilized during verification and assessment of designs brought forward by commercial providers to reliably ascertain the performance expected from a given hardware configuration and identify areas of weakness early in the design when they are most easily addressed.

The product can also be utilized by those currently operating an on-orbit spacecraft or analyzing flight data to expand the capabilities of their navigation system. The proposed filtering package can be used to provide improved estimates of difficult to measure real-time effects like the gravitational potential of a small body or ionospheric error in a GPS measurement. The system can also be used as an inline analysis tool to provide a vehicle's position based on observation data or as a ground-analysis tool to verify the function of onboard algorithms and solutions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Multiple applications for this type of particle filter software package exist in the broader spaceflight community and outside of the aerospace industry entirely. The proposed particle filter based navigation system can serve any entity developing or operating space vehicles by providing positioning and timing estimates. This could be as a ground based analysis tool, an onboard flight software element, or both. In fact, the proposed software package could also easily support any other application where dynamic states must be estimated and is not limited to spaceflight dynamics problems. These potential applications for the navigator include providing solutions for ground-based GPS applications or for coupled rotation/translation filters on an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Although this product will be developed primarily with the aerospace user in mind, the elements of PEP could be utilized in any application requiring particle filter capabilities. Particle filters are currently applied in many fields where the response of a highly complex system must be estimated from a wide variety of inputs. Such problems commonly arise in fields as diverse as economics, sociology, ecology and even epidemiology. This tool could be implemented by analysts at a variety of research institutions to enhance their capabilities with state-of-the-art particle filtering methods. This project has the capability to be an enabling technology for a wide range of technical estimation problems.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY 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.)
Analytical Methods
GPS/Radiometric (see also Sensors)
Inertial (see also Sensors)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Navigation & Guidance
Simulation & Modeling
Software Tools (Analysis, Design)
Verification/Validation Tools

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12