NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 S4.01-8340
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Planetary Entry, Descent and Landing and Small Body Proximity Operation Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: An Enhanced Modular Terminal Descent Sensor for Landing on Planetary Bodies

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc.
3179 Main Street, Unit 3, P.O. Box 1092
Barnstable, MA 02630 - 1105
(508) 362-9400

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. James R Carswell
3179 Main Street, Unit 3, PO Box 1092
Barnstable, MA 02630 - 1105
(508) 362-9400

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James Canniff
3179 Main Street, Unit 3, P.O. Box 1092
Barnstable, MA 02630 - 1105
(508) 362-9400

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Planetary Entry, Descent and Landing and Small Body Proximity Operation Technology 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)
Remote Sensing Solutions (RSS) proposes to fill a critical niche in Entry, Descent, and Landing with the design and subsequent development of a terrain relative radar altimeter/velocimeter in support of missions to planetary bodies. This sensor, similar to that of the successful Mars Science Laboratory's Terminal Descent Sensor (MSL-TDS) will 1) expand the range of operation over that of the MSL-TDS and 2) mitigate identified risks due to dust and anomalously low backscatter areas. We will achieve this in part by establishing a Ku-band TDS design. In Phase 1 we will explore compact multi-beam shared aperture antenna designs and system trades to minimize antenna aperture size. In addition, the design approach for the system back-end electronics will be modular, compact, reproducible, and highly versatile. Utilizing RSS' novel, modular reconfigurable digital subsystem will enable us to produce reconfigurable architectures and pulse-timing/geometry. Such a solution is independent of the eventual transmit frequency of operation. As such, Ka-band or even W-band sensors could be produced based on this design for landing scenarios where velocity accuracy or size is a premium, and dust or airborne particulates are not a concern.
The Phase 1 will establish a design that not only meets the stated MSL-TDS requirements but exceeds them in terms of sensitivity and range of altitudes of operation. We will simulate the sensor capability over the full range of altitude, velocity, and backscatter ranges. A path for demonstration and space-qualification of critical subsystems and components will be evaluated. At the termination of the Phase 1 we will have a design with of the Ku-band TDS, recommendations for a prototype in the Phase 2, a system weight and power estimate and a path-to-space.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Every major landing mission since Surveyor has used radar as the key component for delivering range and velocity information. The JPL TDS proved highly successful but was not designed to be reproducible. It may be possible to reconstruct the TDS out of spare parts from the original mission for the 2020 mission to MARS, but this approach will be expensive and for further missions is likely cost prohibitive, as well as size prohibitive for smaller class missions. A reproducible, low-cost landing radar system would fill an immediate need for upcoming landing missions, including Discovery class through flagship concepts like a Europa lander, and Ku-band would be appropriate for all solar-system bodies, including lunar landing, due to its ability to operate independent of sun illumination, lack of need for coherent surface features (required for an incoherent imaging system to measure horizontal velocity), and far superior performance compared to lidar in the presence of dust and other particulates. Such a sensor thus solves a key, critical long term NASA need post-Mars2020, enabling numerous classes of planned and future robotic and crewed missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Federal Aviation Administration released its 2016 report on commercial space transportation. They reported the global space industry in 2015 was approximately $324B. Countries, like China, are expanding their programs and the industry is expected to grow. Within this industry, the sector related to launch services was approximately $6B. In this decade, what had been primarily an activity limited to a small sector, mainly governments, has seen the growth of private industry. New companies, such as Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) with its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy platforms, are offering competitive capabilities at lower costs. Other companies, like Arianespace, have offered launch services for decades. Still other companies, such Rocket Lab and Virgin Galactic are expected to offer new platforms. As cost to space becomes lower and more companies enter, there are several efforts to develop reusable launch vehicles. One example is Blue Origins' new Shepard vehicle that demonstrated successful vertical landing capabilities after ascending 100.5 km. A key technology will be a cost effective, reconfigurable landing system for these platforms. In addition to Earth returning launches, the United States, European, China and other governments are planning missions to the Moon, Mars and other planets and bodies. A space qualified Ku-band landing system would have immediate applicability to these efforts.

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.)
Air Transportation & Safety
Avionics (see also Control and Monitoring)
Command & Control
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Astronautics)
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
GPS/Radiometric (see also Sensors)
Navigation & Guidance
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59