Low-Cost Suite of COTS GNC Sensors for Precision Lunar Lander

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX09CA12C
Agency Tracking Number: 075693
Amount: $599,977.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: S4.06
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
174 Suburban Road Suite 120, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401-7518
DUNS: 073466828
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Tomas Svitek
 Principal Investigator
 (805) 549-8200
 charles@stellar-exploration.com
Business Contact
 Tomas Svitek
Title: President
Phone: (805) 549-8200
Email: tomas@stellar-exploration.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
We are proposing to exploit (in an innovative way) existing, readily available, GNC sensors for the purpose of precision lunar landing. Majority of previous lunar lander concepts with the precision/pinpoint landing capability required expensive and risky development of new GNC and landing sensors (scanning lidars, multi-beam mm-ww radar, etc.). Our proposed alternative consists solely of existing and low-cost sensors that synergistically leverage each capability and compensate for individual sensor weaknesses. For example, we can use a simple single-beam low-frequency radar altimeter (available at low-cost off-the-shelf, and proven on several Mars lander missions). The low-frequency radar can meet the maximum slant range requirements much easier than the mm-wave sensor but it does not have the adequate multiple narrow beam capability of the Apollo LM or Viking lander radar. However, the optical descent imaging measurement (using DSMAC-type sensor) can supplement the single beam radar measurement and obtain the same information about the complete state vector. There are several similar concepts implemented in this sensor suite of complementing strengths and weakness of individual sensors.

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

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