NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 S2.01-9130
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Precision Spacecraft Formations for Telescope Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Distributed Control Architectures for Precision Spacecraft Formations

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
LaunchPoint Technologies, Inc.
5735 Hollister Avenue, Suite B
Goleta, CA 93117 - 3420
(805) 683-9659

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Maksim Subbotin
5735 Hollister Avenue, Suite B
Goleta, CA 93117 - 3420
(805) 683-9659 Extension :237

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
LaunchPoint Technologies, Inc. (LaunchPoint) proposes to develop synthesis methods and design architectures for distributed control systems in precision spacecraft formations. Implementation of precision spacecraft formations requires distribution of sensing, communication, and actuation capabilities between the spacecraft composing formation. Distributed architecture demands that each spacecraft maintains an estimate of states of other members of the formation for mission coordination, reconfiguration, and collision avoidance. We propose to design distributed estimation architectures that are able to provide a formation control system with reliable formation state estimates and monitor the formation components for faults and failures. LaunchPoint will extend the existing state-of-the-art techniques and tailor them to the specific NASA needs. The proposed design methods will provide the distributed estimators with a well-defined level of accuracy and guarantee stability of the complete distributed closed-loop system. Communication constraints and uncertainties for inter-spacecraft communication links will be explicitly considered and the developed design methods will allow trade-off between communication complexity and the formation performance. The developed methods will be applied for design of the distributed system for one of the NASA missions. The designed estimator will be tested in simulations for the practical mission scenarios and with the presence of realistic disturbances, communication, and sensor noises.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A variety of future NASA science missions require utilization of space deployable instruments with baselines and apertures much higher than achievable physical structures. The only practical approach for implementation of these missions is with precision spacecraft flying formations. Precision spacecraft formation implements a virtual structure where the sensing capabilities of the mission instrumentation are distributed between the spacecraft of the formation. Such missions as Terrestrial Planet Finder, X-ray interferometer, and Laser Interferometer Space Antenna can be implemented only with the precision spacecraft formation control technologies. Resolution capabilities of several Earth science missions designed for collection of terrestrial data from the Earth's orbit would also significantly increase with the implementation of synthetic aperture radars. The distributed nature of the spacecraft formation offers unique advantages, but imposes demanding requirements on the formation control system which synthesizes individual spacecraft in one instrument. LaunchPoint proposes to develop the distributed architecture for formation control systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Design methods for distributed formation control architectures can find their applications in many commercial and military technologies. Precision flying formation spacecraft can be used in synthetic aperture radars for high-resolution surveillance of ground targets. They can also implement synthetic communication satellites for high-quality service of specified geographical regions. Synthetic formation implemented with several satellites will offer a unique flexibility in implementation of various data collection tasks. The distributed sensing nature of the spacecraft formation will increase system robustness, allow replacement, reconfiguration, and upgrades of new functional units to the synthetic data collection instrument. It will further increase mission life and allow for a graceful degradation of the system performance.

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
Telemetry, Tracking and Control

Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14