NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X5.01-9850
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lunar Surface Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Lunar Navigator - A Miniature, Fully Autonomous, Lunar Navigation, Surveyor, and Range Finder System

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Microcosm, Inc.
4940 W. 147th Street
Hawthorne, CA 90250 - 6708
(310) 219-2700

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James R Wertz
4940 W. 147th St.
Hawthorne, CA 90250 - 6708
(310) 219-2700

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 2 to 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Microcosm proposes to design and develop a fully autonomous Lunar Navigator based on our MicroMak miniature star sensor and a gravity gradiometer similar to one on a ship-board celestial navigation system designed by Microcosm for the Navy. The new sensor will provide surface navigation on the Moon or Mars with accuracies comparable to state-of-the-art precision celestial navigation systems on Earth. The system can rapidly determine its location anywhere on the Moon or Mars where a large portion of the sky is visible, day or night. With the unique three field-of-view star sensor design, the sensor can also be used to provide precise surveying of surrounding terrain and, in either of two modes, can provide passive range-finding to artificial or natural objects. The entire package will be less than 10 cm on a side, weigh less than 1 kg, draw less than 10 W of power, and work in a wide range of temperature and illumination conditions. Phase I will focus on the system requirements, a preliminary navigator design, and initial performance estimate. Phase II will focus on fabricating and testing a functioning prototype of the Lunar Navigator, including ground testing with real stars at night.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This lunar navigator technology is applicable for navigation of landers, rovers, balloons, or airplanes on or above the surface of any planets, asteroids, or moons for which stars can be seen from the surface. The navigator device is potentially low cost, light weight, and exceptionally robust in that it does not depend on any external resources for navigation. A modified form of this technology (replacing the gradiometer with a set of Earth sensors) could also be used for robust spacecraft navigation in low planetary orbits. This system, with initial operational success on the Moon, is directly applicable to surface navigation on Mars both day and night.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This technology is applicable for air, sea, and land navigation on the Earth as a back-up to GPS. There is an identified Navy need for comparable technology (with, of course, different structural, qualification, and environmental constraints). It could also be used for many types of commercial transportation systems as an alternative to GPS.

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.

Guidance, Navigation, and Control

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56