NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 S2.01-8366
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Precision Spacecraft Formations for Telescope Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Femto-satellite Swarm State and Density Estimation

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scientific Systems Company, Inc.
500 West Cummings Park, Suite 3000
Woburn, MA 01801 - 6562
(781) 933-5355

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jovan Boskovic
500 West Cummings Park Suite 3000
Woburn, MA 01801 - 6562
(781) 933-5355 Extension :250

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA is planning future missions involving fleets of small satellites in LEO and GEO that can exhibit autonomous collective behavior. Such a "swarm of femto-satellites" can complete complex tasks that are difficult or impossible for large single satellites to achieve. Swarm state estimation can be achieved using the available GPS measurements, and local range and bearing measurements between the satellites. Due to the large size of the swarms and processing constraints on-board each femto-satellite, distributed estimation algorithms are necessary for successful implementation of estimation algorithms. However, measurements of range and bearing are nonlinear and couple the states of neighboring satellites, hence requiring nonlinear filtering algorithms that complicate the process of decentralizing the estimator. The objective of this project is to determine efficient estimator architectures and algorithms for distributed state estimation of femtosat swarms in LEO. SSCI has designed estimators and performed trade studies for unbounded swarms in deep-space as part of a DARPA study at NASA JPL. The proposed Phase-I project extends our previous works to state estimation for bounded swarms in LEO where swarm dynamics are nonlinear.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Swarms of femto-satellites in LEO and GEO have many potentials for NASA applications. Swarms of femto-satellites could provide global real-time space weather monitoring in a way that is presently not possible from a single satellite. A swarm of satellites in orbit can provide a survey of the geomagnetic field and its temporal evolution, and gain new insights into improving our knowledge of the Earth's interior and climate. This will be a great improvement on the current method of extrapolation based on statistics and ground observations. Other applications of femto-sat swarms could be on-orbit visual inspection of larger spacecraft to provide rapid feedback capability for decision making, and protection of large satellites of critical importance.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Due to having lower costs of development and launch, commercial applications of femto-sat swarms such as remote sensing, on-orbit service, and sparse aperture imaging are viable. Femto-sat swarms can be used for rapid communication and imaging tasks to provide situational awareness solutions needed by Department of Defense, National Reconnaissance Office, and Department of Homeland Security. New commercial space applications can be realized as a result of having low-cost and rapid access to space.

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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43