To meet the NASA need for low mass low power proximity sensor which can be mounted at the end of a robotic arm, RC Integrated Systems LLC (RISL) proposes to develop a new Miniature Optical Proximity Sensor (MOPS), capable of providing micrometer range resolution for measurement of an arbitrary target ranging from contact to 20cm. This new sensor will achieve over 1 kHz frequency response, consume less than 55mW power, weigh about 7.1 grams, and cost less than 100 dollars. In Phase I, RISL will perform a feasibility study of MOPS through design, modeling and simulation, and laboratory prototype testing to provide evidence that MOPS can meet the NASA requirements. RISL will identify the equipment and resources needed to prototype MOPS, as well as initial MOPS designs and unit cost estimates. In Phase II, RISL will develop the complete MOPS design and refine the design through several iterations to meet all the NASA requirements. Based on iterations of the designs, several generations of the prototypes will be fabricated and tested. In Phase II, performance of the MOPS sensor will be demonstrated through simulated flight tests. A technology readiness level (TRL)-4 and TRL-6 prototype will be demonstrated by the end of Phase I and Phase II respectively.
MOPS addresses the major NASA requirements of a low mass low power proximity sensor for a robotic arm to enhance satellite servicing. MOPS will for the first time provide a lightweight sensor measuring the distance from the end of the robotic arm to the adjacent free flying satellite which would reduce the risk of a collision or missed capture. It could be applicable to the Restore-L mission as well as other potential servicing missions, platform demonstrations, or smallsats. It could also be applicable to refueling at Artemis.
Military applications include proximity fuzes for a wide range of munitions platforms from 155-mm artillery shells to 40-mm grenades and 30-mm projectiles. Commercial applications include proximity fuzing for nonlethal munitions, which can be attractive for law enforcement organizations. MOPS can also be used for obstacle detection for collision avoidance and facility security.