Geolocation and Attitude Determination from Laser Communication Systems

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-07-M-0101
Agency Tracking Number: F071-276-1731
Amount: $99,939.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: AF071-276
Solicitation Number: 2007.1
Small Business Information
700 Research Center Blvd., Fayetteville, AR, 72701
DUNS: 044870363
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Sr. Research Specialist
 (479) 251-8229
Business Contact
 Chuck Chalfant
Title: CEO
Phone: (479) 575-5316
Research Institution
To realize the benefits of formation flying multi-spacecraft clusters, four key elements must be present: 1. Broadband inter-spacecraft communications to enable the transport of high resolution sensor data. 2. Precision inter-spacecraft timing synchronization to enable precise multi-sensor sampling throughout the cluster. 3. Precision inter-spacecraft relative range to enable the determination of spacecraft and sensor spacing within the cluster. 4. Precision inter-spacecraft relative position and attitude determination to enable geolocation of cluster craft and sensor planes. An inter-spacecraft laser communications network is the only integrated subsystem that can provide all four of these key elements. The proposed SBIR Phase I effort will leverage several existing SPI programs to extend the resulting models, analyses, and designs beyond the normal scope of a Phase I effort, and--should a follow-on Phase II be awarded--produce fully-functional prototype hardware at a minimum cost. Space Photonics and its subcontractors will develop the analytical models, algorithms, calibration processes, and VHDL code for the inter-spacecraft ranging, timing synchronization and inter-spacecraft position and attitude determination; and will (sub-scale) demonstrate these functions in our gimbal-less, free space optical, lasercom testbed (LaserFire® testbed). However, the algorithms, calibration processes, and VHDL code developed for this SBIR Phase I program can be applied to any gimbaled or gimbal-less lasercom crosslink system. These functions can even be applied to RF crosslink systems (the RF implementation will suffer significant loss of inter-spacecraft position accuracy due to the larger RF beamwidths).

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

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