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Efficient Propagators and Gravity Models in non-Cartesian Coordinate Systems

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-10-C-0085
Agency Tracking Number: F09B-T02-0166
Amount: $99,766.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF09-BT02
Solicitation Number: 2009.B
Solicitation Year: 2009
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2010-05-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2011-01-31
Small Business Information
4850 Hahns Peak Drive Suite 200
Loveland, CO 80538
United States
DUNS: 956324362
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Nick Coult
 Program Director
 (970) 461-2000
Business Contact
 Jeff Poore
Title: President
Phone: (970) 461-2000
Research Institution
 University of Colorado
 Randall W Draper
Office of Contracts and Grants 3100 Marine Street, Room 479
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

 (303) 492-2695
 Nonprofit College or University

Accurate and timely surveillance of objects in the near-Earth space environment is becoming increasingly critical to US national security. One of the main difficulties in this domain is efficiently and accurately modeling trajectories of the vast number of objects in orbit around the Earth. The orbital trajectory of a single object is typically modeled as a second-order system of equations which includes a force term. The force term incorporates Newton''s laws of motion, the gravity force model, and any other external forces such as atmospheric drag, solar wind or plasma forces, etc. Even if the forces are modeled to the accuracy desired, the system of equations must still be solved numerically. The choice of algorithms and representation of the relevant digital information affects the efficiency and accuracy of such computations. The proposed research will explore using a novel combination of ODE solvers, gravity models, and coordinate systems to improve computational efficiency without loss of accuracy over existing technology. BENEFIT: Currently, the market for the technology is primarily government-based, as no private entities have the sensor resources available to adequately monitor tens of thousands of space objects in Earth orbit. The United States government is one of the few which actively tracks and monitors such objects, through the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) space surveillance effort and related efforts. As such, US government customers such as AFSPC form the main audience for the technology. The basic research conducted under this proposed effort will identify robust candidate technology that can then be further developed through additional research and engineering to provide enhanced computational efficiency for orbital calculation, allowing higher fidelity and/or lower computational resources for computing the trajectories of tens of thousands of objects in real-time. The software components that will eventually result from this research will be adapted for integration into existing US DOD and civilian systems. As part of a potential Phase II effort, Numerica will seek out appropriate government customers and prime contractors that make up the core market for the technology.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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