Luna, teamed with Ms. Sue O’Brien at The University of Alabama Huntsville, is proposing to utilize High-Definition Shape Sensing (HD-Shape) to optimize the control of solar and electric sails. Solar and electric sails use lightweight material with large cross-sections to transfer momentum of solar radiation into directional thrust. Control is performed by adjusting the center of mass (CM) with respect to the center of pressure (CP). Utilizing the technology proposed here, the shape of a sail can be controlled using feedback regarding its actual position to align CM and CP and achieve the desired direction of thrust. HD-Shape enables the position and orientation of a multi-core optical fiber to be measured independent of the structure it is attached to, with the advantage of being immune to the electromagnetic and radiation environment present in space. During Phase I the team will demonstrate boom arm curvature measurements for providing active feedback to boom controls systems and begin designing an architecture for a low mass, low power system suitable for space deployment. Phase II will begin prototyping the electronics resulting in a system that can be tested by NASA.
The proposed solution will provide NASA with solar and electric sail embedded fiber-optic sensors for control and ancillary functions. The fiber system used to measure curvature in this Phase I is expected to be advanced to provide full 3-D shape along the fiber length for Phase II. This technology has many applications for NASA in tether management and endpoint identification for marsupial robots, non-destructive inspection, and human space walks.
Under water tethered diving for both divers and unmanned underwater vehicles.
Tether management and endpoint identification for marsupial robots.
End point identification for automation of non-destructive inspection systems