NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 O4.02-9730
SUBTOPIC TITLE: PNT (Positioning, Navigation, and Timing) Sensors and Components
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Spacecraft Navigation and Timing Using Celestial Gamma-Ray Sources

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ASTER Labs, Inc.
155 East Owasso Lane
Shoreview, MN 55126 - 3034
(651) 484-2084

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Suneel Sheikh
155 East Owasso Lane
Shoreview, MN 55126 - 3034
(651) 484-2084

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The proposed novel program will use measurements of the high-energy photon output from gamma-ray celestial sources to design a new, unique navigation system. This Gamma-ray source Localization-Induced Navigation and Timing, or "GLINT", concept provides deep-space vehicles the capability for self-navigation based upon measurements from observations of these source signals. In the past, gamma-ray sources have been coarsely localized on the sky. The Swift mission now provides high-precision source localizations, allowing the potential inversion of the differential timing problem to independently constrain the positions of spacecraft with gamma-ray detection equipment. A comprehensive study is proposed of the necessary characteristics for navigation of the high-energy (Ephoton > 20 keV) celestial sources and the associated detectors used to collect their signal, detailed development of the algorithms and filters used to process the source signals and vehicle trajectory data, architecture design of an operational system, and an assessment of the potential performance and benefits directly for future deep-space exploration missions. Both on-board self-navigation techniques and post-processed techniques will be studied. Extensive simulation incorporating existing source observational data and orbit trajectory programs, including publicly available NASA software tools will provide a basis for our analysis and performance assessment.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA applications primarily involve deep-space self-navigation of interplanetary vehicles. Additionally, improved space weather detection can be achieved, as GLINT detectors on multiple spacecraft would provide a solar system-wide early warning system for solar storms and intense celestial gamma-ray bursts. Detection of such events provides notification for safe harboring of personnel and hardware, monitoring of EVA high-energy radiation dosages, or post-burst analysis of data from sensitive instruments. Advanced GLINT detectors with fast timing electronics and high sensitivity would be directly applicable to future exploration mission instruments. Components designed for navigation would be future extensions to the Inter-Planetary Network of cosmic gamma-ray burst detection, as there is a widespread need for gamma-ray instrumentation on both astrophysics and planetary-science missions. Adding GLINT to these future missions would likely incur marginal increases in cost and complexity, while gaining a new channel of navigation information, whether processed on-board or on the ground.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA applications include future DoD and commercial missions that will venture into deep-space. Since GLINT can provide navigation above and beyond Earth orbit, military assets that rise above the GPS constellation gain added utility. Covert operation is secure by allowing vehicles to self-navigate to their destination, since no two-way transmissions are required during an orbit injection phase. For commercial ventures out of low-Earth orbit, even into interplanetary, missions, these new cost-efficient sensors contribute to assisting with the overall success on such missions. These include commercial communication vehicles in geosynchronous or supersynchronous orbits, ventures to the Moon or asteroids, or on interplanetary solar sails. GLINT capabilities include reduced operations cost, as well as reduced reliance on the NASA DSN system. The high-energy detection capabilities would help monitor general space weather for commercial and military EVA crewmembers. GLINT high-energy detectors also contribute to advanced medical and diagnostic imaging capabilities on Earth.

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
Attitude Determination & Control
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Navigation & Guidance
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)
Relative Navigation (Interception, Docking, Formation Flying; see also Control & Monitoring; Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Space Transportation & Safety
Spacecraft Instrumentation & Astrionics (see also Communications; Control & Monitoring; Information Systems)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
X-rays/Gamma Rays

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43