NASA STTR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 T4.01-9919
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Innovative Sensors, Support Subsystems and Detectors for Small Satellite Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: Multi-functional Optical Subsystem Enabling Laser Communication on Small Satellites

NAME: Arkyd Astronautics, Inc. NAME: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
STREET: 1331 118TH AVE SE STE 100 STREET: 77 Massachusetts Avenue
CITY: Bellevue CITY: Cambridge
STATE/ZIP: WA  98005 - 3876 STATE/ZIP: MA  02139 - 4307
PHONE: (425) 336-2448 PHONE: (617) 253-3906

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Chris Lewicki
1331 118TH AVE SE STE 100
Bellevue, WA 98005 - 3876
(425) 336-2442

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Advancements in technology and contractions in budgets are driving constant increases in spacecraft "capability density." These factors are motivating the design of small spacecraft capable of generating and communicating large amounts of data, over great distances, at low cost. Arkyd Astronautics is a provider of robotic space exploration services and is developing microspacecraft to conduct low cost deep-space missions. Arkyd is currently developing the technology required for implementing small satellite optical communication as a key enabler of our commercial business model.

Arkyd proposes to determine the feasibility of developing a novel multi-functional optical subsystem used for attitude determination, stability control, scientific observation and high-precision optical communication on small satellites. If successful, the proposed optical subsystem design design will result in small satellite attitude control and communication performance improvements of several orders of magnitude over the current state-of-the-art. The proposed effort will leverage technology under development for the MIT/Draper Lab ExoplanetSat to design a TRL 4 system demonstrator capable of sub-arcsecond pointing stability by the completion of Phase I work. Phase II follow-on work will focus on fabrication, assembly, and system testing of a demonstrator for the proposed system. It is the expectation of the proposing team to achieve TRL 6 by the end of Phase II work.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The development of a multi-functional optical subsystem enabling high-precision optical communication on small satellites has the potential to enable progress toward several NASA Strategic Goals, Grand Challenges, and Technology Roadmaps:

Increasing the capabilities of small spacecraft in LEO through this proposed effort will lower the bar for budgets required to conduct space-based Earth Science, Solar Science, Astronomy, or commercial research, increasing the quantity and quality of scientific output as well as opening the door for commercial space exploration.
* NASA Strategic Goal 2: Expand scientific understanding of the Earth and the universe in which we live
* NASA Strategic Goal 3: Create the innovative new space technologies for our exploration, science, and economic future
* Grand Challenges: Economical space access
* Technology Roadmap: Science instruments, observatories and sensor systems

The development of the proposed capability for small spacecraft is an enabling step toward allowing these spacecraft to perform the initial robotic exploration required to gather intelligence as part of an integrated architecture to support follow-on human exploration missions.
* NASA Strategic Goal 1: Extend and sustain human activities across the solar system
* Grand Challenges: NEO detection and mitigation, telepresence in space, new tools of discovery
* Technology Roadmap: Communication and navigation systems, Human exploration destination systems

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
As communication capability is a common infrastructure element to any meaningful remotely operated platform, there are innumerable potential applications for a low mass, low power optical communications system of the type enabled by the proposed work. A brief list of a few especially attractive applications include:

High bandwidth applications for small satellites in LEO
* Satellite crosslink communications
* HD video from orbit
* Low cost Earth observation constellations
* Real-time disaster monitoring
* Data-rich scientific payloads

Low bandwidth applications for small spacecraft in deep-space
* NEO detection and exploration
* Solar observation
* Astronomy observation

Terrestrial high-bandwidth data communication
* UAVs
* Robots/Vehicles

These commercial applications can be enabled through direct sales of the multi-functional optical subsystems, licensing of the design for inclusion in other systems, and sales of fully integrated small spacecraft.

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.)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Isolation/Protection/Shielding (Acoustic, Ballistic, Dust, Radiation, Thermal)
Lasers (Communication)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)
Spacecraft Instrumentation & Astrionics (see also Communications; Control & Monitoring; Information Systems)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:44