NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 O4.04-8416
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Flight Dynamics Technologies and Software
PROPOSAL TITLE: Continuation Methods and Non-linear/Non-Gaussian Estimation for Flight Dynamics

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Numerica Corporation
4850 Hahns Peak Drive, Suite 200
Loveland, CO 80538 - 6010
(970) 461-2000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Randy Paffenroth
4850 Hahns Peak Drive, Suite 200
Loveland, CO 80538 - 6010
(970) 461-2000 Extension :233

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We propose herein to augment current NASA spaceflight dynamics
programs with algorithms and software from two domains. First, we
propose to use numerical parameter continuation methods to assist in
computation of trajectories in complicated dynamical situations.
Numerical parameter continuation methods have been used extensively to
compute a menagerie of structures in dynamical systems including fixed
points, periodic orbits, simple bifurcations (where the structure of
the dynamics changes), Hopf bifurcations (where periodic orbits are
created), invariant manifolds, hetero/homoclinic connections between
invariant manifolds, etc. Perhaps more importantly for the current
work, such methods have already proven their worth in flight dynamics
problems, especially those having to do with the complicated dynamics
near libration points. Second, we propose to use advanced filtering
techniques and representations of probability density functions to
appropriately compute and manage the uncertainty in the trajectories.
While advanced methods for understanding and leveraging the underlying
dynamics are clearly necessary for effective mission design, planning,
and analysis, we contend that they do not suffice. In particular,
they do not, in and of themselves, address the issue of uncertainty.
Herein we discuss methods that balance the accuracy of the uncertainty
representation against computational tractability, including a
discussion of the notorious ``curse of dimensionality'' for problems
with large state vectors. We propose approachs that revolve around
modifications of algorithms such as ``log homotopy'' particle filters
and especially Gaussian sum filters. Finally, we propose to integrate
all of the above algorithms into standard NASA software packages

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are several current state-of-the-art software packages that
are clear and direct transition paths for the proposed work.
In particular, there are the GPS-Enhanced Onboard Navigation Software
(GEONS), the GPS-Inferred Positioning System and Orbit Analysis
Software (GIPSY), and the General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT).
Of the various packages, GMAT is the most directly applicable and will
be the focus of the Phase I effort.

Accordingly, these algorithms will find applicability in any
pre-flight mission design, planning, and analysis activities that
utilize these software. One domain of particular note is space craft
missions in the neighborhood of libration points, where the underlying
dynamics are rather complicated and the effect of the dynamics on the
trajectory uncertainty is important. Another domain that we see of
prime importance is that of spacecraft formation flying (such as the
Terrestrial Planet Finder mission) where, again, the dynamics and the
uncertainty play a key role.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The satellite market is large and growing. For example, analysis firm
Forecast International is projecting worldwide deliveries of about 262
geostationary or medium-Earth orbit commercial communications
satellites by 2019. This implies a strong market for the technology
described in this proposal. In particular, as space becomes more
crowded with commercial and government spacecraft, not to mention the
large number of ``junk'' objects currently in the space catalogue, the
robust calculation of trajectories along with accurate estimates
of uncertainty can only become more important.

The space and satellite market is expected to reach $158 Billion by
2010 and is a multi-billion dollar industry both in the US and around
the world. This market involves numerous government agencies and
permeates many parts of the U.S. Military as well as numerous
commercial entities. In particular, large players in this market
include Boeing, TerreStar, and Northrop Grumman to name but a few.
The algorithms and software proposed herein will find applicability to
many challenging problems for both the DoD and commercial entities
where complicated dynamics and uncertainty play a role.

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
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors
Telemetry, Tracking and Control

Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14