NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 O1.03-9516
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Game Changing Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Innovative X-ray Star Scanner for Spin Stabilized Microsatellites

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CrossTrac Engineering, inc.
2730 St. Giles Ln
Mountain View, CA 94040 - 4437
(408) 898-0376

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John Hanson
2730 St. Giles Ln
Mountain View, CA 94040 - 4437
(408) 898-0376

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Recent advances in the design of microsatellites have led to renewed interest in the missions that can be flown with small spacecraft and small payloads. The CubeSat platform and the Plug-and-Play concept have prompted the development of attitude determination hardware typical of larger, more sophisticated, three axis stabilized spacecraft, including miniature gyroscopes and star cameras. The X-ray Star Scanner is a new class of attitude sensor, designed to support precision spin-stabilized CubeSat missions by providing arcminute attitude accuracy in a size compatible with a CubeSat, in fact occupying less than half of a 1U CubeSat module. The scientific and technological advances necessary to make this instrument possible are in place. A robust catalog of x-ray guide stars is available through several all-sky surveys performed in x-rays. Solid state x-ray detectors and their related support electronics have been flown. The concept of using guide stars to determine the attitude of a spinning vehicle has been demonstrated using flight data. The XSS fills the need created by the CubeSat and Plug-and-Play platforms for accurate attitude determination on a spin stabilized platform provided in a small package.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The X-ray Star Scanner will provide a precision attitude reference for spin-stabilized spacecraft with a design targeting CubeSat class spacecraft. However, this attitude sensor will be useful to any spin-stabilize spacecraft requiring arcminute level attitude determination accuracy such that the X-ray Star Scanner will be useful on other small spacecraft platforms being developed at NASA. This instrument will enable new missions by providing arcminute level point accuracies for spacecraft supporting key NASA missions such as: Earth mapping and observing missions; solar and astronomical observatories; space weather missions; and planetary, lunar and asteroid mapping and observing missions. Finally, the instrument developed for the XSS can be used as the basis for the development of an X-ray Navigation (XNAV) instrument. The XSS will have at least 50 cm2 of collecting area, a collimator and hardware for the collection and time-tagging of photons from the instrument. While an XNAV instrument will likely require more collecting area, higher precision photon time-tagging and different navigation algorithms, the XSS hardware represents a good starting point for the development of the XNAV instrument.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The X-ray Star Scanner will find users outside of NASA in the smallsat and CubeSat communities in general, but more specifically, with organizations such as the Air Force Robotics Laboratory and the National Reconnaissance Office. As the CubeSat concept becomes more accepted, the potential uses for, and users of, the XSS will grow. For example, AFRL has been developing a 6U size "Cubesat" that could be used as the basis for a spin-stabilized spacecraft. There are several obvious DoD applications for precision spin stabilized spacecraft, including electronic intelligence, space weather observations, rapid responsive space communications satellites and earth observing spacecraft in Thompson Spinner configurations, in which the spacecraft spin axis is aligned with the orbit normal. This allows a simple linear array to be swept over the Earth, imaging a swath of the Earth's surface as the spacecraft orbits. These spacecraft could produce detailed multispectral images of the Earth's surface on a recurring basis, with image registration on the order of 100 m from an altitude of 400 km, all in a compact CubeSat form factor and capable of quick turn-around and launch on an as-needed basis.

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.)
Attitude Determination & Control
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12