Long Life, Fault Tolerant, Spacecraft Sensor Gimbal/Bearing System

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Air Force
Amount:
$99,639.00
Award Year:
1998
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
n/a
Award Id:
40697
Agency Tracking Number:
40697
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Route 108, Dover, NH, 03820
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
n/a
Principal Investigator:
David J. Carroll
(603) 742-3703
Business Contact:
() -
Research Institute:
n/a
Abstract
Current DoD sensor systems employ mechanical bearings in their gimbals to provide slow scan functionality. Mechanical bearings inherently possess a finite life and commonly suffer decreased reliability due to mechanical wear, excessive vibration and inadequate lubrication. The vacuum and temperature extremes of space provide significant technical challenges to these devices in life and pointing accuracy requirements due to stiction and non-repeatable runouts. Furthermore, they are completely unable to provide any vibration isolation to sensitive payloads.Recent advances in electromagnetic suspension and drive technology clearly lend themselves to application for significant improvement in gimbal mounting, promising greater gimbal life, lower weight and power, fault tolerance and vibration isolation. In particular, Airex Corporation, in a previous Phase I effort, has recently demonstrated the viability of two axis pointing using an electromagnetic suspension and integral motor bearing technology. Further, Airex has shown that integral motor-bearings, which use a single electromagnetic actuator to perform both the bearing and rotary pointing (motoring) functions, point the way to new gimbals that are highly reliable, low power, lubricant free, and long life. Such functional sophistication from a novel technology can expand performance in space-borne platforms from commercial or military spacecraft in communications, pointing or optical links.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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