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Micro-Space Funding Breakthrough

Published by Matt on Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:53 pm
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Micro-Space SBIR proposal, “Automatic Solar and Celestial Navigation on the Moon and Mars”, has been selected by NASA for Phase I funding.



This proposal taps Micro-Space’s long history of high resolution image processing and capture, used for example in our DOD automated inspection systems for aircraft HUD and HMD displays and in machine vision systems. The very low mass system proposed can also be adapted for use as a “Star Camera” in CubeSats and NanoSpacecraft including to guide planetary approach for aerobraking and atmospheric entry.

This is of course a very important part of the manned and unmanned Mars Missions I have proposed. Lunar missions have a similar need for Lunar Orbit Insertion if orbit is desired to setup for landing, or to retain hardware in orbit to sustain communication with a rover. Thus it is relevant for both GLXP and manned lunar missions. Our GLXP prototypes use similar technology for initial altitude determination (before our LIDAR system locks onto the optical surface return) and verification of zero lateral velocity as touchdown approaches. The reduction of mass and cost of critical systems continues.

An STTR proposal, teaming with Bob Twiggs – of CubeSat fame – and his university is still pending. This proposal uses Micro-Space, electromagnetic 6DOF position sensing and force generation systems to assemble and stabilize untethered small satellite formations. Professor Twiggs has previously led teams which successfully flew tethered PicoSats in orbit. The proposed orbital demonstration would clear the way for much more complex formations to be flown, with no necessary maneuvering fuel.

Feel free to discuss this story further with the Micro-Space team in the Official Micro-Space Forum.

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