NASA STTR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 T6.01-9972
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Formation Flying and Automated Rendezvous and Docking
PROPOSAL TITLE: AggieSat: Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Technology Demonstrator

NAME: Physics, Materials, and Applied Mathematics Research, LLC NAME: Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
STREET: 1665 E. 18th Street, Suite 112 STREET: 1470 William D. Fitch Parkway
CITY: Tucson CITY: College Station
STATE/ZIP: AZ  85719 - 6808 STATE/ZIP: TX  77843 - 4645
PHONE: (520) 903-2345 PHONE: (979) 458-7616

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Helen Reed
Texas A&M University, College Station
College Station, TX 77843 - 4645
(979) 589-1321

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Current autonomous rendezvous and docking (AR&D) capability in low Earth orbit (LEO) is constrained by sensor and effector mass, power, and accuracy limits. To this end, NASA Johnson Space Center has developed a GPS receiver, called DRAGON (Dual RF Astrodynamic GPS Orbital Navigator), specifically to address the sensor constraints. The proposed innovation includes creating a small, low-cost, and versatile technology demonstrator to validate and increase the technology readiness level of DRAGON and other state-of-the-art miniaturized sensors and effectors in an on-orbit AR&D operational scenario. For Phase 1, a demonstration platform was developed that utilizes two picosatellites in LEO, and relative GPS as the primary sensor. These satellites were launched as a single unit from the SSPL (Space Shuttle Payload Launcher) on STS 127, to separate and transmit DRAGON data. The picosatellite technology demonstrator was at a TRL of 7 at the end of Phase 1. For Phase 2, NASA plans a second flight, and the technical objectives are to further characterize the DRAGON receiver and develop navigational solutions using DRAGON data. Additional technologies addressed include the development of a simple low-cost, low-mass three-axis stabilization and pointing system for small satellites, WiMax transceiver capabilities, and video camera capabilities. The technologies should be at a TRL of 6 at the end of Phase 2.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Autonomous rendezvous and docking will be utilized in the Constellation Program for unmanned cargo vehicles and in space assembly. The proposed technology demonstrator platform is being designed to specifically validate enabling devices and other critically needed technologies for Constellation, such as NASA Johnson Space Center's DRAGON GPS system, docking mechanisms, miniaturized sensors and control effectors, control algorithms, and navigation solutions. Moreover, it is anticipated that the technology demonstrator platform itself will be plug and play, and available and adaptable to further mission validations.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The validated miniaturized sensors and effectors will be applicable to a variety of missions for DoD, companies, and universities, and the demonstrator platform itself will be plug and play, and available and adaptable to other mission validations. As an example, PM&AM Research has been working in laser-based micro-space propulsion with the AFRL Space Propulsion Directorate for many years, which has led to a number of applications of distributed systems based on picosats. Our concept will help realize such distributed systems. The communities with immediate interest include: responsive space, midcourse ballistic missile defense, and space situational awareness. PM&AM Research is working with DoD in each of these, and a suitable platform for specific test scenarios will allow us to perform test and evaluation measurements/scenarios attractive to these customers. These anticipated development efforts are expected to lead to follow-on efforts and eventual products, which may require the involvement of the large integrators.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Architectures and Networks
Attitude Determination and Control
Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Autonomous Reasoning/Artificial Intelligence
Computer System Architectures
Control Instrumentation
Controls-Structures Interaction (CSI)
Data Acquisition and End-to-End-Management
Data Input/Output Devices
Energy Storage
General Public Outreach
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
K-12 Outreach
Launch and Flight Vehicle
Micro Thrusters
Mission Training
On-Board Computing and Data Management
Operations Concepts and Requirements
Photovoltaic Conversion
Portable Data Acquisition or Analysis Tools
Power Management and Distribution
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors
Simulation Modeling Environment
Software Development Environments
Software Tools for Distributed Analysis and Simulation
Structural Modeling and Tools
Telemetry, Tracking and Control
Testing Facilities
Testing Requirements and Architectures
Thermal Insulating Materials
Training Concepts and Architectures

Form Generated on 05-25-10 13:36