NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-1 H9.01-9621
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Long Range Optical Communications
PROPOSAL TITLE: Compact, Lightweight Isolation Platform (CLIP)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Applied Technology Associates
1300 Britt Street SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123 - 3353
(505) 767-1214

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Rick Walter
1300 Britt St. SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123 - 3353
(505) 767-1200

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Tom B. Edmondson
1300 Britt Street SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123 - 3353
(505) 767-1214

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Long Range Optical Communications is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA has a critical need for improved bi-directional data transmission rates from a variety of spacecraft to Earth. NASA estimates that the current Mars to Earth transfer rate of 6 Mbps might be increased to 600Mbps using a laser comm (LC) system. Because the LC beam is less than 10 microradians wide and the Earth at apogee is 32 microradians wide, as seen from Mars, LC beam jitter caused by spacecraft base motion must be reduced to sub-microradian levels to enable beaconless optical beam pointing. To meet the need, NASA is seeking innovative compact, lightweight, space-qualifiable vibration isolation platforms for payloads massing between 3 and 50 kg that require less than 15 W of power and mass less than 3 kg that will attenuate an integrated angular disturbance of 150 ur to less than 0.5 microradians (1-sigma), from <0.1 Hz to ~500 Hz. ATA has a long track record of producing stabilized platforms to host small optical payloads. Building on a previous NASA SBIR, ATA now produces the stable platform used in NASA's LLST and LCRD programs. ATA will create a Compact, Lightweight Isolation Platform (CLIP) that could host the LC collimator telescope and provide a stabilized platform to prevent the 150-microradian spacecraft disturbance environment from reaching the LC terminal. Advances in the suspension flexure, the platform structure, and actuators will be required to meet the size, weight and power requirements. One challenging requirement is that an angular-motion sensor is required for the control system. Gyros exist that can measure adequately but they are too heavy, too large, and use too much power. ATA will develop a small, lightweight, nanoradian-class angular noise Capacitive Angular Position Sensor (CAPS). The sensor will have low power and high reliability, which ATA will demonstrate by producing TRL 4 prototypes in Phase I. ATA will develop the CLIP, a 0.5 microradian residual motion stable platform, in Phase II for programs like iROC.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Laser Comm is currently being demonstrated between the TerraSAR-X and NFIRE satellites in low-earth orbit using LC terminals built by TESAT, a German company, for the European Space Agency. Relatively short range and the ability to mutually track the other beacon allows relaxation of pointing requirements on that system. As the amount of data that must be transmitted increases and the distance to transmit the data increases, beaconless pointing will be required to communicate by laser. ATA's proposed Compact Lightweight Stable Platform (CLIP) and Capacitive Angular Position Sensor (CAPS) could host the laser collimator for NASA's integrated Radio and Optical Communications (iROC) program, which seeks to implement beaconless laser communication to and from Mars by 2025. Beginning with a NASA funded Phase I SBIR, ATA developed the stable platform concept that serves as the basis for the laser comm terminal that NASA will be flying on the Lunar Laser Comm Demonstration (LLCD) on the LADEE spacecraft and is planned for the Laser Comm Relay Demonstration (LCRD) program that will be hosted on a Loral communication satellite. Similarly, under this NASA SBIR the CLIP could be developed to meet the need for beaconless pointing and propel NASA to the forefront of laser communication. The CAPS will ultimately find other applications in base motion measurement aboard other spacecraft to assist with image stabilization and correction.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
ATA is committed to commercializing NASA SBIRs, as evidenced by our recently delivered space-qualified inertially stable platform to a government customer for a laser communication application. The original NASA SBIR program was called Magnetohydrodynamic Stable Reference (MSTAR) and was designed to provide a stable optical reference for line-of-sight jitter removal. Multiple commercial and SBIR awards matured the technology. ATA is on contract to deliver an additional seven units for that program.
ATA has been active in discussions with numerous primes for their DoD programs and with other organizations for laser communications programs to advocate the technology and performance aspects of the ATA IRU and stable platform developments. Near term opportunities to commercialize and apply the ATA IRU and stabilized platform technology exists with the following programs:
Space Laser Communication Terminal (SLCT) – Air Force
LWSM (Laser Weapon System Module) – DARPA
SpOT (Space Optical Tracking facility) – Lockheed Martin
LaWS (Laser Weapon System) – Navy
GBAD (Ground Based Air Defense ) – Marines
ATA will continue discussions and advocate for the insertion of the OIRU and stabilized platform technology into systems at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Company, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Boeing Directed Energy Systems, BAE, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

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.)
Inertial (see also Sensors)
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)
Spacecraft Instrumentation & Astrionics (see also Communications; Control & Monitoring; Information Systems)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)

Form Generated on 03-28-13 15:21