In this proposal we will develop key enabling components of, environmentally ruggedized, smaller size, radiation hardened and higher precision inertial navigations sensors. Such sensors are necessary for various future NASA applications. These applications include scientific exploration of earth, the planets, moons, comets, and asteroids of our solar system using smaller and lower cost spacecraft to meet multiple mission requirements. We propose a new approach for the design and fabrication of miniaturized Fiber Optical Gyroscopes (FOGs) that can operate without degradation of performance during exposure to extreme space environmental conditions, including 10 M-rad total dose as expected in the Jovian mission, as well as the high vibration experienced during launch, landing and surface explorations. Our proposed gyros enable the production of an environmentally robust, radiation hardened IMU, with enhanced bias performance and substantially reduced noise (ARW) of 0.002 deg/rt-hr at a volume smaller than 33 cubic inche and 0.02 deg/rt-hr with < 20 cubic inch IMU
NASA missions such as JUICE (ESA), Europa, LWS, Sun Orbiter (PARKER), SDO, IRIS, Van Allen probes, DAWN and more require a prolong exposure to radiation. Other missions may encounter severe vibration and shock operational environment (SLS, Orion). Our system offers the possibility of supporting such missions with smaller size, higher performance inertial system offering significant performance improvements over the state of the art for spacecraft navigation, attitude determination and control.
The technology can benefit many commercial programs, supporting smaller size space-crafts and longer mission duration. The DoD Navigational and high-end tactical market is also an expanding constantly pushing for higher performance and smaller size. The radiation hardened, ruggedized solution could be especially advantageous for various MDA applications such as CKV, THAAD, MKV and AEGIS.