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Development of Space Platform Local Area Sensors and Data Processing & Fusion Algorithms for Threat Detection, Indication, Tracking, and Characterization


OBJECTIVE: Develop low size, weight, and power (SWaP), low-integration-risk sensors, sensor suites, sensor algorithms, and/or sensor data manager to support threat detection, tracking, characterization, notification, and anomaly tip-off and resolution. DESCRIPTION: The DoD is pursuing technologies that afford space system owners/operators the ability to detect, track, and characterize potential threats and hazards to space platforms. This requires development of new sensors and/or the modification of existing sensors to actively or passively understand phenomena in the spacecraft"s local area. ("Local area"includes the nearby space surrounding the spacecraft as well as the physical and digital space on-board the spacecraft). It will also require the development of tools and methods for local area sensor (LAS) data management, processing, and fusion. Ideally, a LAS suite would be comprised of various sensor types collecting data pertaining to potential threats along with a sensor manager to process sensor data and produce information on the potential threat that is meaningful to the system owner/operator. The Space Vehicles Directorate is investigating several sensing categories to meet these goals. 1. Object sensing: Senses presence and external characteristics of nearby objects. 2. Emission sensing: Sense emissions occurring in the local area allowing the user to infer the presence and/or characteristics of nearby objects (emitted electromagnetic radiation or effluents). 3. Effect sensing: Sense the effect caused by the nearby object on the system and/or its operations that will not necessarily be detected by standard health and status sensors (localized temperature increase, vibration sensors, etc.). Sensors considered for development may include new or novel designs but it is typically considered more desirable to investigate the possibility of modifying sensors currently used for other applications. An example of this type of modification is the use of bolometers for detection of approaching objects. Individual sensor proposals must indicate whether the goal of the effort is to research and demonstrate a specific sensing technology or to develop a complete sensor package with filters, data interfaces, and associated algorithms. The proposal must also describe the intended method for sensing the targeted object, emission, or effect. This may include rejection of contamination by out-of-band spectral, abd off-axis solar, irradiance through solar occultation, baffling, smart optical design, specialized filters and coatings, or any other means that meet the requirement. It is also important to indicate expected sensor requirements (power, location, etc.) and conditions under which the sensor will not be able to perform its intended function. Of secondary interest is the characterization of sensor degradation over an expected operating lifetime of 15 years. Sensor suite proposals must describe the overall sensing capabilities that the various sensors would provide. Special consideration should be given to understanding the data output of the sensor suite in order to recommend future work developing a sensor data manager. Some thought should also be given to how processed data will be transmitted to the ground and what automated actions the sensor suite might enable. The sensor suite proposal must include an assessment of SWaP requirements, data processing needs, and other constraints (ability to process and correlate data from multiple sensors simultaneously, location restrictions, sensing limits, cooling requirements, etc.) A LAS package is intended to provide additional information to the owner/operator but it is not the primary payload. It must be low SWaP, present minimal integration risk, and must not interfere with on-orbit operations of the payload or the supporting platform (i.e. interference with other sensors, interruption/disturbance of command and data handling, etc., should be avoided). The prior state-of-the-art has not led to acceptable conditions for the hosting of LAS by spacecraft program offices, arising from a combination of non-negligible SWaP or risk of impacting primary payload performance. Commercial spacecraft (e.g. communication and media broadcast) may benefit from this technology to help aid in on-orbit anomaly resolution. Diagnostic information helping to distinguish between natural causes and manufacturer defects as the source of a problem on orbit might help facilitate recovery. The substantial cost of insuring such commercial spacecraft strongly suggests that the spacecraft insurance industry would be interested in the results of this SBIR. PHASE I: This will depend on exactly what research is proposed, but at the end of Phase I, a well-researched concept and preliminary design is expected. PHASE II: This will depend on exactly what research is proposed, but at the end of Phase II, we will expect a final design (including modeling) and a breadboard built. Phase II may include laboratory testing of the breadboard. PHASE III: This will depend on exactly what research is proposed, but at the end of Phase III, a demonstrated prototype is expected. REFERENCES: 1. Hilland, D. H.,"Satellite threat warning and attack reporting,"Aerospace Conference, 1998 IEEE, Volume 2, p 207-217, 21-28 Mar 1998. 2. Andreas, N. S.,"Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) system of systems,"Aerospace Conference, 1997 Proceedings IEEE, Volume 4, p 429-438, 1-8 Feb 1997. 3. Wilson, Tom,"Threats to United States Space Capabilities,"Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, 2001 (Global website).
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