AggieSat: Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Technology Demonstrator

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$599,999.00
Award Year:
2010
Program:
STTR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
NNX10CB65C
Agency Tracking Number:
080028
Solicitation Year:
2008
Solicitation Topic Code:
T6.01
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Physics, Materials, and Applied Mathematics Research, LLC
1665 E. 18th Street, Suite 112, Tucson, AZ, 85719-6808
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
058268652
Principal Investigator:
Helen Reed
Principal Investigator
(979) 589-1321
helen.reed@tamu.edu
Business Contact:
Kevin Kremeyer
Business Official
(520) 520-2345
kremeyer@physics-math.com
Research Institution:
Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
Helen Reed
1470 William D. Fitch Parkway
College Station, TX, 77843
(979) 458-7616
Domestic nonprofit research organization
Abstract
Current autonomous rendezvous and docking (AR&D) capability in low Earth orbit (LEO) is constrained by sensor and effector mass, power, and accuracy limits. To this end, NASA Johnson Space Center has developed a GPS receiver, called DRAGON (Dual RF Astrodynamic GPS Orbital Navigator), specifically to address the sensor constraints. The proposed innovation includes creating a small, low-cost, and versatile technology demonstrator to validate and increase the technology readiness level of DRAGON and other state-of-the-art miniaturized sensors and effectors in an on-orbit AR&D operational scenario. For Phase 1, a demonstration platform was developed that utilizes two picosatellites in LEO, and relative GPS as the primary sensor. These satellites were launched as a single unit from the SSPL (Space Shuttle Payload Launcher) on STS 127, to separate and transmit DRAGON data. The picosatellite technology demonstrator was at a TRL of 7 at the end of Phase 1. For Phase 2, NASA plans a second flight, and the technical objectives are to further characterize the DRAGON receiver and develop navigational solutions using DRAGON data. Additional technologies addressed include the development of a simple low-cost, low-mass three-axis stabilization and pointing system for small satellites, WiMax transceiver capabilities, and video camera capabilities. The technologies should be at a TRL of 6 at the end of Phase 2.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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