Extreme Diagnostics and the University of Michigan propose to fly the nanosatellite we built under this JPL SBIR technical topic. We are ready to launch.
The MARIO (Measurement of Actuator Response In Orbit) project demonstrates active submicron optomechanical control for the robotic assembly of large telescopes on our existing 3U CubeSat in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). MARIO matures this technology to TRL 8/9 through closed loop control demos based on Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) piezocomposite actuators. MFCs are rugged piezoelectrics developed at NASA LaRC specifically for space.
Phase I establishes flight feasibility by using the same techniques to be validated in LEO to assemble mirror elements in ground-based tests. Phase II conducts an actual flight mission where MARIO will robotically deploy, control and regulate—with submicron precision—set point positioning of active structures on a deployable module.
While MFCs have flown, their performance has not been quantified under minimal thermal protection. Data is needed to show the viability of piezocomposites as optomechanical control actuators.
Phases I/II will mature optomechanical control through these LEO activities:
Phase I establishes the ability of MARIO to robotically deploy and control telescope modules. This sets the stage for flying MARIO.
Phase I determines feasibility through:
Phase I uses MARIO technology to assemble mirror elements. Phase II conducts a 6–12 month LEO mission demonstrating active submicron optomechanical control. Phase II also explores multi-dimensional actuators using new 3D printing methods and leveraging MARIO flight data.
Potential customers include FIR, Large UV Optical Infrared, and X-ray Surveyors (Formative Era) and the Cosmic Dawn and ExoEarth Mappers (Visionary Era). Thermally stable actuators may also be useful in certain ground-based telescopes like the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope. Applications include active shape distortion compensation in non-reflector surfaces, e.g., struts, bipods, etc. MARIO enables Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). Mission-capable SHM furthers crew safety, deep-space missions, mass reduction, and lunar/Mars exploration.
Non-NASA applications include small aperture adaptive optics for nanosatellite telescopes. Hypersonic vehicles encounter structural deformation addressable by active control. Other applications include health sensing for reusable vehicles, homeland security structural analysis to mitigate threats (preparedness) and assess damage (response), and SHM of wind turbines (alternative/renewable energy).