NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Long Range Optical Telecommunications
PROPOSAL TITLE:Wide-Bandwidth, Ultra-Accurate, Composite Inertial Reference Sensor

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Applied Technology Associates
1300 Britt Street SE
Albuquerque ,NM 87123 - 3353
(505) 767 - 1200

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Darren   Laughlin
1300 Britt Street SE
Albuquerque, NM  87123 -3353
(505) 767 - 1224

Applied Technology Associates (ATA) proposes to develop a new inertial sensor by combining two sensing phenomena in a single device. ATA has patented an advanced inertial sensing technology based on magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). Numerous researchers have patented and developed micro-electromechanical sensors (MEMS) that measures inertial angular motions. We believe that a composite sensor based on the best characteristics of both of these technologies is a promising new advancement. Our innovation is denoted the Hybrid Sensor (HYSENS) owing to its origins in two distinct inertial angle rate sensing principles. The MHD technology offers wide bandwidth, high sensitivity, with reasonable size and power. The MEMS offers small size and power. Initial analysis done by ATA and our MEMS technology partners indicates that it is possible to achieve performance goals that are at or near the state-of-the-art for inertial reference sensors. The proposed composite sensor fulfills the need for lightweight, compact, high-precision, high-bandwidth (0-2KHz) inertial reference sensors for use onboard spacecraft with optical communications payloads. The predicted noise performance for HYSENS is less than 0.1 microrad. Volume for this advanced sensor is expected to be under 2 cubic in; its weight under 150 grams; and its power draw under 200 mW.

The immediate NASA application for which the HYSENS is proposed is in the context of an inertial reference sensor for long range optical telecommunication. In this application, the inertial reference sensor is used as a feedback sensor to guide the telecommunications receiver or transmitter to the correct orientation that allows a small laser beam to be received at the opposite terminal of the link. There are many other NASA applications in which a precise, small, and low-cost inertial attitude sensor is a requirement. Ones that come immediately to mind are precise pointing and stabilization of large aperture imaging telescopes. Spacecraft attitude determination and control is another area of widespread application.

The Department of Defense (DoD) also has many applications in which HYSENS will fit a broad range of applications. DoD is actively pursuing transformational communication technologies that need space, airborne, and ground nodes (transmitter/receiver sets) to acquire and stabilize laser communication links. A small, low-cost, but accurate inertial reference is a priority technology for these systems. High energy laser (HEL) systems for military missions in a number of categories are being actively pursued, many of which require a high quality inertial reference sensor. Defense technology for protecting aircraft against man portable air defense missiles (manpads), for instance, is benefited by precise, low-cost inertial reference sensors. More mundane applications such as stabilization of video cameras on helicopter or ground vehicles are also a user of inertial reference sensors.

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.

Attitude Determination and Control
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Large Antennas and Telescopes
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors
Telemetry, Tracking and Control

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12