NASA SBIR 2018-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 18-1- S1.10-4983
 Atomic Interferometry
 Compact, Long-Lifetime Atom Source for Space (CLASS)
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Vector Atomic, Inc.
3733 Randolph Ave
Oakland , CA 94602-1231
(510) 520-1579

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Matthew Cashen
3733 Randolph Ave Oakland, CA 94602 - 1231
(310) 614-9385

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jamil Abo-Shaeer
3733 Randolph Ave Oakland, CA 94602 - 1231
(510) 520-1579
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 2
End: 3
Technical Abstract

The goal of CLASS is to develop a compact, low power, long-lifetime cold atom source for inertial sensors and clocks. CLASS will be designed to produce high cold atom fluxes over a temperature range suitable for commercial- and space-grade atomic devices. Projected loading rates are sufficient to support state-of-the-art atomic sensor performance.

In Phase I, Vector Atomic will design the full CLASS vacuum package, which consists of an atomic source, MOT cooling optics, and electrical and optical feedthroughs. The CLASS design will be validated and de-risked by building and testing the prototype atomic source. 

Potential NASA Applications

High spatial and temporal resolution mapping of Earth’s gravity to determine changes in polar ice sheets and sea level; Deep space navigation using on-board IMUs or one-way time transfer with precise onboard clocks; Direct measurement and correction of satellite ephemeris errors to eliminate costly ranging and updates from ground stations; space-based atomic gravitational wave detectors; and high resolution radar imaging using a coherent constellation of small-aperture CubeSats.

Potential Non-NASA Applications

GPS is an essential asset that underpins much of our modern infrastructure. Transportation, telecommunications, and financial sectors are now fundamentally reliant on GPS for accurate location and timing services. Similarly, the US military is critically dependent on GPS for everything from dismounted soldier missions, to guided munitions, to navigating nuclear submarines.

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