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AggieSat: Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Technology Demonstrator

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Physics, Materials & Applied Math Research, L.L.C.
1665 E. 18th Street, Suite 112 Tucson, AZ 85719-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: AggieSat: Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Technology Demonstrator
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX10CB65C
Award Amount: $599,999.00


Current autonomous rendezvous and docking (AR&D) capability in low Earth orbit (LEO) is constrained by sensor and effector mass, power, and accuracy limits. To this end, NASA Johnson Space Center has developed a GPS receiver, called DRAGON (Dual RF Astrodynamic GPS Orbital Navigator), specifically to address the sensor constraints. The proposed innovation includes creating a small, low-cost, and versatile technology demonstrator to validate and increase the technology readiness level of DRAGON and other state-of-the-art miniaturized sensors and effectors in an on-orbit AR&D operational scenario. For Phase 1, a demonstration platform was developed that utilizes two picosatellites in LEO, and relative GPS as the primary sensor. These satellites were launched as a single unit from the SSPL (Space Shuttle Payload Launcher) on STS 127, to separate and transmit DRAGON data. The picosatellite technology demonstrator was at a TRL of 7 at the end of Phase 1. For Phase 2, NASA plans a second flight, and the technical objectives are to further characterize the DRAGON receiver and develop navigational solutions using DRAGON data. Additional technologies addressed include the development of a simple low-cost, low-mass three-axis stabilization and pointing system for small satellites, WiMax transceiver capabilities, and video camera capabilities. The technologies should be at a TRL of 6 at the end of Phase 2.

Principal Investigator:

Helen Reed
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Kevin Kremeyer
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

Physics, Materials, and Applied Mathematics Research, LLC
1665 E. 18th Street, Suite 112 Tucson, AZ 85719

EIN/Tax ID: 860986177
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
1470 William D. Fitch Parkway
College Station, TX 77843
Contact Phone: 9794587616