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Autonomous Control System for High-Altitude Data Relay Stations

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2005 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Princeton Satellite Systems
6 Market St. Suite 926 Plainsboro, NJ 08536
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2005
Title: Autonomous Control System for High-Altitude Data Relay Stations
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA9302-05-M-1020
Award Amount: $99,875.00


Lighter-than-air vehicles are an attractive solution to the military's need for a long-endurance, mobile data relay station. By sustaining its lift primarily through buoyancy, the airship requires much less energy than a traditional dynamic-lift aircraft. This makes it possible for renewable energy sources to provide all required power, thereby extending the vehicle's endurance. The unmanned airship must operate in extreme environmental conditions with autonomous software and a host of new technologies. Given the high priority of minimizing down-time, it is important to develop a control system for the airship that is robust for all operating conditions, minimizes power consumption, and provides maximum visibility and control for the remote operator. This proposal is for the development of a comprehensive system for the control and monitoring of a high-altitude data relay station. The proposed concept combines three key innovations: (1) a robust, gain-scheduled control law that spans the entire flight envelope and accommodates different levels of autonomy, (2) online trajectory optimization that utilizes the wind and sun-angle to enhance energy efficiency, and (3) a highly adaptable software architecture that provides a flexible command and control interface and enables run-time modifications to be made safely from a remote location.

Principal Investigator:

Joseph Mueller
Senior Technical Staff

Business Contact:

Michael Paluszek
Small Business Information at Submission:

33 Witherspoon Street Princeton, NJ 08542

EIN/Tax ID: 223192263
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No