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SkyPASS Celestial Navigation for Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessels

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: M67854-22-C-6623
Agency Tracking Number: N222-089-0160
Amount: $139,859.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N222-089
Solicitation Number: 22.2
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-09-26
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-07-26
Small Business Information
200 Westside Square Suite 320
Huntsville, AL 35801-4875
United States
DUNS: 129074840
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Laura Eshelman
 (256) 562-0087
Business Contact
 Greg Tucker
Phone: (256) 562-0087
Research Institution

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the standard source of navigation and positioning for civilian platforms and a source for military systems. GPS jammers and other forms of signal denial are becoming increasingly cheap and effective, making GPS failure a reality and a critical risk for navigation, localization, and targeting applications. Polaris has developed a technology called SkyPASS which utilizes a polarization map of the sky, the position of the sun/moon, and star tracking to determine high accurate heading (<2mils) with a confidence metric that predicts the RMS heading error to within ±1 milliradians in good conditions (non-overcast skies). The celestial technology utilized in SkyPASS, in combination with a novel Celestial Positioning Algorithm developed by Polaris, can provide an estimate of fixed global position by constraining position using SkyPASS and INS inputs. This hybrid system, called the SkyPASS Celestial Positioning System (SkyPASS-CPS), fully constrains position error. The SkyPASS celestial navigation system developed in this SBIR effort shall provide position updates to a 40-ft Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessel (LRUSV), operate in Wilbur Marks Sea State 3 conditions, and operate during the day and at night. The SkyPASS-CPS system will utilize multiple celestial technologies (sun tracking, moon tracking, star tracking, and sky polarization mapping) to provide heading accuracies less than 0.1° and position accuracies less than 100m. The system shall provide an accurate estimate of position errors, and time updates shall also be provided to the LRUSV INS. A feasibility study for operation in all weather conditions shall be delivered at the end of the Phase I effort. Polaris shall explore updating the hardware/software on SkyPASS to increase system availability for the Navy’s LRUSV. In Phase II, Polaris shall develop a scaled prototype that shall be evaluated through deployment cycles. The prototype design shall be refined based on evaluation results into an initial design that meets Marine Corps requirements. SkyPASS’ technology is passive, does not increase the probability of detection and it cannot be spoofed or jammed.  The resulting system will be 24-hour capable and operate in various cloud conditions.

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

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