NASA STTR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 T4.03-9829
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Coordination and Control of Swarms of Space Vehicles
PROPOSAL TITLE: DISCUS: Distributed Intelligent Swarm Control & Utilization System

NAME: Scientific Systems Company, Inc. NAME: University of Washington
STREET: 500 West Cummings Park, Suite 3000 STREET: 4333 Brooklyn Avenue NE Box 359472
CITY: Woburn CITY: Seattle
STATE/ZIP: MA  01801 - 6562 STATE/ZIP: WA  98195 - 9472
PHONE: (781) 933-5355 PHONE: (206) 543-4043

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

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ms. Nicole Withers
500 West Cummings Park, Suite 3000
Woburn, MA 01801 - 6562
(781) 933-5355 Extension :286

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Coordination and Control of Swarms of Space Vehicles 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)
SSCI and University of Washington (Prof. Behcet Acikmese) propose to develop, integrate and test an innovative Distributed Intelligent Swarm Control & Utilization System (DISCUS). The DISCUS will be based on advanced distributed state estimation techniques, probabilistic guidance and control under collision avoidance and other relevant mission constraints, real-time contingency management including reactive collision avoidance with un-responsive team members, and low-level fault-tolerant control robust to subsystem and component failures. Decentralized estimation is based on using RSS (Received Signal strength) and TOA (Time of Arrival) sensors, and fusion of information from EO (Electro-Optical) sensors. Guidance and Control (G&C) is based on extensions of an innovative approach to swarm density control using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) approach with guaranteed satisfaction of the ergodicity, motion, and safety constraints. Reactive collision avoidance will be based on extensions of a suite of SAA algorithms previously developed or under development by SSCI, while fault tolerance will be achieved by combining SSCI's approach to Fault detection, Identification and Accommodation (FDIA) with low-level baseline control. Focus on Phase I will be on the requirements and algorithm development, initial integration of a diverse suite of GNC algorithms, and feasibility demonstration on a simplified swarm simulation. Phase II will involve further maturation and full integration of DISCUS algorithms, and their demonstration under realistic conditions through hardware experiments.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The main role of large swarms of Smallsats is to replace the functionality of current monolithic spacecraft while increasing the system flexibility and robustness. Such swarms, operating in LEO (Low Earth Oribit) and GEO (Geostationary Orbit), have many potential NASA applications. For instance, Smallsat swarms replacing current space implementations of Synthetic Aperture Radars can substantially decrease the launch cost and cost of deployment. Other applications of Smallsat swarms include sparse aperture sensing, stellar interferometry, and global broadband internet via satellite swarms. Swarms of Smallsats could also 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 Smallsat 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 lower costs of development and launch, several future commercial applications of Smallsat swarms such as remote sensing, on-orbit servicing, and sparse aperture imaging are viable. Smallsat 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 are viable as a result of having low-cost and rapid access to space with focus on mission flexibility and scalability.

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)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Relative Navigation (Interception, Docking, Formation Flying; see also Control & Monitoring; Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:45