NASA SBIR 2014 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 14-1 S4.03-9175
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions
PROPOSAL TITLE: Highly Capable Micropump-Fed Propulsion System for Proximity Operations, Landing and Ascent

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Flight Works, Inc.
17905 Sky Park Circle, Suite F
Irvine, CA 92614 - 6707
(949) 387-9552

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Andrea Celeste Besnard
17905 Sky Park Circle, Suite F
Irvine, CA 92614 - 6395
(949) 387-9552

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Eric Besnard
17905 Sky Park Circle, Suite F
Irvine, CA 92614 - 6395
(949) 387-9552

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Flight Works is proposing to expand its work in micro-gear-pumps for propulsion applications in order to provide a highly capable propulsion and attitude control system (ACS) for asteroid proximity operations, landers and return capsules. In traditional systems, larger thrusters, specific to each mission, must be employed to counter the gravity field of the target. Also, throttling these larger thrusters for proximity operations and landing is not a trivial task. With the pump, the need for these larger, more expensive thrusters is eliminated. Instead the pump allows increasing (or decreasing) and controlling the thrust of the attitude control thrusters to the levels required for operating in the target's gravity field by modulating the pump RPM/power. Typically, only a few tens of watts are needed for pump operations. Flight Works is prepared to develop and demonstrate a low cost micro-pump capable of significantly increasing pressure and flow rate to the thrusters, to define a roadmap for larger increases if warranted, and to plan Phase II activities in order to reach a TRL 7 by the end of that phase. The technology builds on Aerojet Rocketdyne's work for NASA's on-going Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) and use the non-toxic hydroxyl ammonium-nitrate (HAN) -based propellant AF-M315E which provides 50% greater density-ISP than hydrazine. The micropump leverages the Air Force Research Lab's (AFRL) investments in pump-fed technologies for small spacecraft propulsion applications, which have led to steady state and pulsed hot fire tests with hydrazine and demonstrations with other propellants.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The technology is an enabler for missions where the gravity fields of the targets are weak but need to be countered by propulsion while the guidance, navigation and control (GN&C) system performs the necessary analyses to determine suitable landing sites. The pump provides a simple mechanism for controlling that thrust which, potentially can be varied from thruster to thruster for accurate attitude control (if one pump is used per thruster). It also removes the need for a second set of larger thrusters needed to counter that gravity. As such, the low cost sample return missions envisioned by NASA and recently formed asteroid mining private companies could be direct benefactors of the technology.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The technology can be used to eliminate the pressurization system altogether and transform it into a low-pressure, low cost, more compact and lighter system. As such it has applications in any other government and commercial missions with propulsion needs. These extend to the multitude of projects relying on nanosat constellations that are currently being funded by the private sector. They include, to name just a few, Planet Labs, Skybox Imaging and Rapid, all focused on the imaging market. Many other potential applications are being considered, including low through-put communications, earthquake monitoring, etc. The list is becoming endless as the potential for Nanosats to become a commodity is being realized.

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
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Relative Navigation (Interception, Docking, Formation Flying; see also Control & Monitoring; Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Surface Propulsion

Form Generated on 04-23-14 17:37