NASA SBIR 2020-II Solicitation

Proposal Summary

Proposal Information

Proposal Number:
20-2- S5.06-5636
Phase 1 Contract #:
Subtopic Title:
Space Weather R2O/O2R Technology Development
Proposal Title:
Space-Weather CubeSat Array for 24/7 Prompt Global Coverage Experiment (SWAP-E)

Small Business Concern

NearSpace Launch, Inc.
8702 East 825 South , Upland, IN 46989
(765) 998-8942                                                                                                                                                                                

Principal Investigator:

Henry Voss
8702 East 825 South , 46989 - 9765
(765) 618-3813                                                                                                                                                                                

Business Official:

Matthew Voss
8702 E. 825 S. , IN 46989 - 9765
(765) 618-3814                                                                                                                                                                                

Summary Details:

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :                                                                                                                                                          
Begin: 5
End: 7
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words):

SWAP-E addresses NASA R2O/O2R Strategic Action Plan for S5.06 SBIR area: Space Weather Instrumentation. A Space Weather (SW) array of 4 dual CubeSats released from a standard 6U deployer are each linked through the Globalstar constellation to provide near real-time ionospheric forecasting for 1000’s of satellites. Each CubeSat provides low-latency connections via space-space links in a redundant, time-ordered, and common database (O2R) for prompt 24/7 data with a delay of seconds.  Improved Gen-2 links with GPS are available to ThinSats  and  LEO NASA missions with strong national commercialization growth.

The Phase 2 effort provides an innovative satellite platform to improve sensors in space with compact innovative  instrumentation designed to validate SW models:  energetic particle suite, plasma probes,  sensors, and GPS.   Each CubeSat strings include foldouts that separate the relatively noisy ThinSat Bus section from the quiet and cooled ThinSat Payload section to improve sensor performance. The SWAP-E 6U array of 4 CubeSats give pole-to-pole orbit data every 12 minutes on average in the underexplored SW region 100 to 400 km. Prompt and multipoint SW sensors improve rapid forecasting and understanding new energy transfer with the goal to deliver end-user action (2018 Space Weather Phase 1 Benchmarks Report from the Presidents National Science and Technology Council).

Feasibility: NSL has successfully flown 50 CubeSat (ThinSat) constellations with particle detectors, IMU, IR array, and Globalstar links as a demonstration project in 2019 (SSC19-S2-08, 2019).  Currently most of the SWAP-E Bus subsystems and sensors are manifested on two SpaceX rideshare flights in 2021 for SWAP-E risk reduction and radiation testing.   NSL has flown 450 commercial subsystems in orbit with 100% success and currently delivering 10 CubeSats for launch in 2021.  The SWAP-E Prototype will be completed through TRL =5- 7 (with MRR for demonstration in the space environment). 

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words):
  1. Will provide new data-driven operational forecasting tools to validate models
  2. Will pioneer a new spacecraft architecture with ThinSat “Strings” or “trains”
  3. Will provide radiation environment to improve aircraft safety.
  4. Underexplored Sun-Earth coupling region explored between 100 to 350 km
  5. Forecasting atmospheric drag with direct measurements above 100km.
  6. Study reentry region above 100km
Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words):

1. Potential blackout impulses (large solar flare energetic particles, geomagnetic storms, meteors, or an EMP pulse). SWAP-E adds new prompt real-time data and critical mapping

2. SWAP-E ThinSat Sat array is ideal for lunar orbit and planetary experiments

3. Advanced Manufacture of ThinSat “String" or "Trains” using solar panels to separate sections of the satellite opens up novel architectures

Duration:     18

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