NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 S4.01-8172
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unique Mission Architectures Using Small Spacecraft
PROPOSAL TITLE: Lasercom for Intra-Nanosat Communication (LINC)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Honeybee Robotics Ltd.
460 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 2320
(212) 966-0661

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Erik Mumm
515 Kimbark Street Suite 107
Longmont, CO 80501 - 5549
(720) 340-4491

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Earth orbiting spacecraft, deep space science missions, and unmanned aerial vehicles are facing increasing data volumes to be transmitted to ground stations. Laser Communication (Laser Com) terminals are necessary to handle the demand. Additionally, nano class satellites have emerged as desirable platforms due to their low cost, shorter build, and multitude of available launch configurations.
Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corp. proposes to develop a LaserCom terminal for a small satellite. We will focus the effort within the constraints of a 6U CubeSat. The Phase 1 effort will define a lasercom system architecture which satisfies the challenging packaging and resource constraints evident with nanosatellites. We will leverage our nano-sat based attitude control actuator technology (TORC) to ameliorate packaging challenges for the pointing mechanisms. Analysis and simulation of the optical subsystem will enable design and down-selection of components to a system which can provide the necessary line-of-sight stability and link margin to maintain a 2Gb/sec link with less than 10-6 BER. A prototype fine pointing mechanism will be built and tested to demonstrate proof-of-concept of a miniaturized pointing subsystem. Ultimately a lasercom system will be defined to be built in Phase II to arrive at a minimum TRL6 during the Phase 2 effort.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Over the next decade and half, NASA bandwidth needs are expected to rise dramatically due to high data volume missions such as hyperspectral and SAR Earth and Mars observation missions, multiple coordinated complex robotic missions to Mars, NEO's and possibly the Moon, Mars Sample Return and Outer Planets flagship mission, Earth Sensor Web, etc.
High data rate communication with inexpensive spacecraft offers enhanced data collection and information exchange within a constellation of small satellites as well as reduced size, weight, and power for deep space science platforms. Smaller, cheaper spacecraft will enable NASA to meet the agency's science goals even with austere budgets. A small satellite capable of transmitting data at Gb/sec rates offers the science community an opportunity to launch smaller, cheaper spacecraft more often. A constellation of cross-linked satellites could monitor weather, ocean temperatures & salinity, and the polar ice caps. Deep space missions would no longer be $500M+ missions. Small satellites capable of collecting and returning large amounts of data could be deployed to Near Earth Objects, Mars, and even the outer planets and their moons. Imagers and remote sensing instruments are actively being miniaturized in response to the Nanosat revolution. The opportunities for a small satellite lasercom terminal within NASA are vast.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The commercial in-flight broadband market is undergoing a remarkable increase with an increase of plane deployments from 25 units in 2008 to 2000 units in 2010 as reported by This sector is expected to grow well beyond $1 billion annually by 2012.
Worldwide, military organizations are in the process of transforming into network-centric, information-based forces. New requirements are re-defining the need and use of communications. Innovations are shaped by new operational concepts and weapon and sensor trends. In the new paradigm, communication is not only an enabler but is directly affecting the outcomes of wars. Tactical use of MILSATCOM play a pivotal role in providing the interoperable, robust, "network-centric" communications needed for future operations.
Based on historical data and market projections, Honeybee conservatively estimates that the combined commercial and military market for optical communication enabled nano, micro, and small satellites is worth on the order of $250-400 million over the next 10 years. This may represent somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-10 system orders per year.

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.)
Actuators & Motors
Lasers (Communication)
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43