Picosats for Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Technology Demonstration

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX09CF68P
Agency Tracking Number: 080057
Amount: $99,944.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: T6.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 720, Greenbelt, MD, 20770-6330
DUNS: 101537046
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Elfego Pinon
 Principal Investigator
 () -
 elfego.pinon@emergentspace.com
Business Contact
 George Davis
Title: Business Official
Phone: (301) 345-1535
Email: george.davis@emergentspace.com
Research Institution
 The University of Texas at Austin
 Not Available
 P.O. Box 7726
Austin, TX, 78713
 (512) 471-6424
 Domestic nonprofit research organization
Abstract
Over the next decade, a host of new technologies and capabilities will be needed by NASA to support Project Constellation. For risk reduction considerations, it is desirable that they be flown on other missions prior to use on vehicles such as Orion or Altair. An innovative and cost-effective approach to doing so is to use picosats, which are miniaturized spacecraft with masses on the order of a few kilograms. Because of their size, weight and power requirements, they are ideal for low-cost, quick-turn-around technology demonstration missions. Picosats are now being developed at universities by teams of students for "hands on" experience with real space hardware. The University of Texas at Austin (UT) and Texas A&M University (TAMU), for example, are working with NASA Johnson Space Center to implement a series of four picosat missions that would culminate in an on-orbit demonstration of autonomous rendezvous and docking (AR&D). This is a mission-critical, system-level technology needed by Project Constellation, especially Orion. Accordingly, Emergent Space Technologies, Inc. (Emergent) proposes to team with UT to move the Platform for Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking with Innovative GN&C Methods (PARADIGM) picosats out of the university research realm and into the commercial marketplace. These spacecraft are being built by UT students to fly in concert with the picosats being built by their TAMU counterparts. The Flight 1 spacecraft are being readied for launch in early 2009 and are primed for transition to industry. Emergent will work with UT and TAMU in Phase 1 to design the 3 missions that will follow Flight 1. In Phase 2, we will use our considerable engineering expertise and AR&D spaceflight experience to help achieve a successful Flight 2. In Phase 3, we will successfully implement Flights 3 and 4 and in the process develop a picosat product line that can be applied to a variety of commercial space applications.

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

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