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19 Phase I Selections from the 06.3 Solicitation

(In Topic Number Order)
NANOSONIC, INC.
P.O. Box 618
Christiansburg, VA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(540) 953-1785
Mrs. M. Berg
AF 06-002      Awarded: 15DEC06
Title:Nanostructured Radiation Hard Optical Coatings for Star Trackers
Abstract:During the proposed Phase I SBIR program, NanoSonic will fabricate novel multilayered self-assembled anti-reflective coatings onto the surface of space-based detector substrates that will impart improved durability and broadband transmission exceeding the current treatment technology. NanoSonic will demonstrate improvements to broadband transmission by targeting the desired waveband and optical transmission specifications. The requirements for this technology will demonstrate the utility of our patented electrostatic self assembly method, which can be tailored to provide an array of coating properties to a substrate of interest, with controlled thicknesses in the range of several to hundreds of nanometers, with minimal variation and exceptional surface roughness control. The anti-reflective coating of the detector aperture is subjected to a variety of damaging environmental conditions, including extreme temperature variations and exposure to solar radiation. This damage cannot be remotely repaired which renders the detector inoperable, thus unable to communicate accurate information to the interceptors. Substantial improvements to the current coating technology will elevate the performance of the detector and can be achieved through refined control of optical transmission through a longer wavelength, as well as enhanced durability, by employing the ESA method using select materials.

OPTICAL PHYSICS CO.
26610 Agoura Road, Suite 240Suite 240
Calabasas, CA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(818) 880-2907
Dr. Richard A. Hutchin
AF 06-002      Awarded: 15DEC07
Title:High Slew Rate Radiation Hardened Star Tracker
Abstract:Optical Physics Company (OPC) is proposing to investigate a novel interferometric star tracker design with end-of-life measurement error of 0.13 arcseconds at a spacecraft slew rate of 2 deg/sec. The interferometer design is inherently rad-hard and athermal, easily capable of operating in the orbital temperature range (-65 to 65 degrees C) and radiation dose (300 krad). Furthermore the full star tracker has lost in space recovery capability similar to most high end star trackers. One proposed option adds an interferometric front end to a more traditional star tracker design, thereby building upon proven technology and leveraging the substantial investment in star trackers to date. The project will be conducted in cooperation with subcontractor Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, who will keep the technical goals aligned with customer needs. During Phase I a lab breadboard of the star interferometer with a white light simulated star source will be built and tested. In addition, an end-to-end analytic performance model will be developed and anchored to a wave-optic simulation of the system including radiation, thermal, vibration and slew disturbances plus data processing. The Phase I project will conclude with a blueprint of the Phase II prototype design and test plan.

SPACE MICRO, INC.
10401 Roselle Street, Ste. 400Ste. 400
San Diego, CA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(858) 332-0702
Mr. David J. Strobel
AF 06-002      Awarded: 14DEC06
Title:Radiation Hard High Precision Agile Star Tracker
Abstract:Space Micro, teamed with SAIC and Octant, propose a high performance, rad hard star tracker based on proven CMOS APS device technology. The approach that the Space Micro team will use in developing and demonstrating a radiation hardened star tracker that meets the AFRL SBIR performance goals is to highly leverage and integrate existing R&D at all three companies. Combination of new CMOS APS sensor and camera,, Octant's "lost in space" LIS algorithms, and Space Micro's high performance DSP rad hard processing, enables breakthrough DoD star tracker performance. In addition to our baseline concept, we will monitor other DoD SBIR activities and insert if they appear to viable and producible.

HITTITE MICROWAVE CORP.
20 Alpha Road
Chelmsford, MA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(719) 590-1112
Mr. Donald L. Herman, Jr.
AF 06-004      Awarded: 15DEC06
Title:High-Speed, Low-Power ADC (9728)
Abstract:Hittite proposes to develop a radiation-resistant, high-speed (> 2 Gs/s), high-resolution (12-bit), low-power (< 3 W) analog to digital converter (ADC) for satellite communications and other wide band digital receiver applications. No available ADC offers this combination of performance, power, and radiation tolerance. A combination of innovative design and advanced SiGe BiCMOS technology will be used to meet the performance and power goals in an ADC that is radiation resistant by design and technology. The ADC will reduce the size, weight, power, and cost of digital receivers by moving data conversion closer to the antenna, eliminating intermediate RF/IF stages. During Phase I a conceptual design will be developed and key cells simulated. Prototype ADCs will be designed during Phase II for use in satellites for the Air Force and other military and commercial applications.

TIALINX, INC.
8 Halley
Irvine, CA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(949) 285-6255
Dr. Fred Mohamadi
AF 06-004      Awarded: 15DEC06
Title:High Data Rate, Low Power Analog to Digital Converter
Abstract:In response to the phase I SBIR proposal, various methods of using flash and folding analaog to digital conversion designs have been proposed to address feasibility of design of an ADC with the minimum requirement of: ERBW > 1 GHz (sample rate >2 GSPS), ENOB >10 bits, Power dissipation <3 W, radiation total dose tolerance > 1 Mrad, Operating temperature range -40 to +80 deg C Gain flatness <0.1 dB, linearity <=0.5 LSB, and channel-to-channel isolation >80 dB. Favorable process technologies and devices have been elaborated.

AZNA CORP.
36 Jonspin Road
Wilmington, MA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(978) 642-2095
Dr. Daniel Magherefteh
AF 06-005      Awarded: 15DEC06
Title:Satellite Optical Communications Module
Abstract:Here we propose a compact tunable transmitter based on Azna's established directly modulated chirp managed laser (CMLT) technology that exceeds LaserComm requirements. The transmitter comprises a tunable directly modulated semiconductor laser and a passive optical spectrum reshaping filter. The tunable semiconductor laser is integrated with a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) to generate > 10 dBm output power over 30 nm. This CML transmitter will be capable of generating a variety of modulation formats including standard NRZ, RZ, and RZ-DPSK. The tunable CML transmitter will fit in a standard 14 pin butterfly package, and consume < 3 W power, and require < 2 Vpp driver voltage. Compared to the conventional lithium niobate transmitter, the CML transmitter will be 6 -10 times smaller, consume 3 times less power, with similar performance.

MICROCOSM, INC.
401 Coral Circle
El Segundo, CA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(310) 726-4100
Mr. Paul Graven
AF 06-006      Awarded: 01FEB07
Title:Generic Adaptive Approaches for Orbit and Attitude Determination on Earth Pointing Spacecraft
Abstract:Many critical space assets include imaging payloads that keep vigilant watch over the Earth's surface. The navigation (NAV) and attitude determination and control (ADCS) approaches traditionally used to control these assets rely on the use of GPS (Global Positioning System) and a variety of ADCS sensors as primary inputs for control. However, GPS and ADCS sensors are at some risk of loss, outage, or degradation. Microcosm, with partner HRP Systems, proposes to develop innovative NAV and ADCS approaches, derived from Plug and Play (PnP) avionics and software development concepts, to provide primary and back-up NAV/ADCS operations for these critical Earth pointing space assets. The team will analyze discrete NAV and ADCS mode changes based on sensor performance and availability, as well as the development of a flexible Kalman Filter that seamlessly transitions as the complement and/or quality of inputs changes. These frameworks allow for a broad array of traditional NAV and ADCS sensors, as well as the integration of "synthetic sensor inputs" which could come from specialized payloads, communication devices, or ground interaction. The team will draw from their involvement in the PnP ADCS/NAV activities of AFRL's Responsive Space Testbed (RST) and PnPSat to develop the proposed capabilities.

PHYSICAL OPTICS CORP.
Electro-Optics and Holography Division, 20600 Gram20600 Gramercy Place, Bldg. 100
Torrance, CA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(310) 320-3088
Dr. Russell Kurtz
AF 06-006      Awarded: 15DEC06
Title:Multispectral Synthetic Aperture Satellite Attitude Sensor System
Abstract:To address the Air Force need for backup sensor capability for earth pointing and attitude determination, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Multispectral Synthetic Aperture Satellite Attitude (MUSAA) sensor system that fuses data from multiple infrared spectral bands into a synthetic aperture system for accurate location of beacons and/or geographic features. This system consists of an all-reflective telescope coupled to a 6 in. x 6 in. x 4 in. box containing space-qualified electronics and optics. The MUSAA system will achieve earth pointing accuracy better than 1 arc second by implementing the first satellite-based combination of synthetic aperture, multiple distributed beacons, and multispectral imaging. It will have high reliability as a result of sensor and multispectral redundancy, robustness from proprietary POC reflection control, the capability of rejecting spurious signals within the imaging band, automatic gain control, and correction latency of <1 ms in all modes. In Phase I POC will demonstrate the feasibility of MUSAA by building a theoretical model, fabricating a benchtop prototype, and conducting laboratory testing and evaluation. In Phase II we plan to develop an optimized prototype system with integrated optics, electronics, and software, and will demonstrate real-time earth pointing.

CHARLES RIVER ANALYTICS, INC.
625 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(617) 491-3474
Mr. Andrew Young
AF 06-007      Awarded: 10JAN07
Title:Impact Assessment for Defensive Counterspace (IA4DCS)
Abstract:A key element to supporting Space Situation Awareness (SSA) and Defensive Counterspace (DCS) operations is to develop capabilities that address the characterization and the impact assessment that attacks and environmental effects have on our military space infrastructure. The Space Vehicles directorate of the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL/VS) has funded several programs in recent years studying the application of data fusion theory to automated abnormality and threat detection and characterization. As a member of the AFRL/VS Data Fusion Research Team, Charles River Analytics is currently working on Situation Assessment for Defensive Counterspace (SA4DCS), a suite of relationship and situation assessment algorithms within a large-scale, multi-level Space Awareness and Response System (SARS). In order to estimate and predict the implications of the assessed relationship and situational states generated by SA4DCS, we propose to develop an Impact Assessment System for Defensive Counterspace (IA4DCS). IA4DCS aims to extend current research and development efforts within AFRL/VS's SARS to include Level 3 data fusion impact assessment processing in order to achieve the necessary discrimination and mission impact and appropriate response generation to man-made events, space weather occurrences, and satellite abnormalities.

INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION, INC.
15400 Calhoun Drive, Suite 400Suite 400
Rockville, MD
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(301) 294-5250
Dr. Leonard Haynes
AF 06-007      Awarded: 18DEC06
Title:A Markov Game Theoretic High Level Data Fusion Approach for Defensive Counterspace
Abstract:We propose a highly innovative Markov (stochastic) game theoretic level-3 data fusion approach for defensive counterspace. It is known that Bayesian Network is an insightful approach to determine optimal strategies against adversarial opponent. However, it lacks the essential adversarial decision processes perspective and has the following disadvantages: 1) it needs prior information (or details specific to an unidentified adversary), and 2) assumes only one player. Since game theory is more realistic for addressing the presence of intelligent adversary in decision making, Markov (Stochastic) game model is used to estimate the belief of each possible enemy COA (ECOA), which is proposed here to represent the effect of satellite threats such as space weather and man-made threats. Our multiplayer non-zero sum game theoretic approach is more effective because it takes into account the fact that both the adversary and the neutral players (normal spacecrafts) are intelligent. We integrate the deception concept in our game approach to model the action of purposely rendering partial information to hide the space attackers. With the consideration that an attacker may act like a neutral or white object (normal spacecrafts), we also model the actions of white objects in our non-zero sum Markov game framework.

REFERENTIA SYSTEMS, INC.
550 Paiea Street , Suite #236Suite #236
Honolulu, HI
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(303) 328-1245
Dr. Gary Haith
AF 06-007      Awarded: 15DEC06
Title:Satellite Threat and Environmental Effects Assessments for Defensive Counterspace
Abstract:Satellites and other spacecraft are a key asset and critical vulnerability in our communications, surveillance and defense infrastructure. Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and Defensive Counterspace (DCS) efforts are aimed at leveraging the massive amounts of data gathered from ground, air and space based sensors to monitor and ideally protect these assets. While there has been much work on data fusion in this area, the efforts to date have not yielded estimates of impact and cost of a given situation or suggested courses of action (level 3 data fusion). This gap is largely due to an absence of historical data relevant to hostile threat scenarios and other anomalous conditions that require countermeasures to ensure continued satellite functioning. The proposed technology leverages Automatic Red Teaming (ART) agent based simulation techniques to generate realistic data relevant to likely threat scenarios - including estimated impact and course of action evaluations. This simulated data can then be analyzed (akin to lower level data fusion approaches) in order to support automatic detection, categorization, and countermeasure suggestion for future satellite data.

FIREHOLE TECHNOLOGIES
1000 E University Ave, Dept. 3011Dept. 3011
Laramie, WY
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(307) 766-3656
Dr. Don Robbins
AF 06-009      Awarded: 19JAN07
Title:Advanced, Lightweight Structural Materials
Abstract:The extreme operating environment and high performance requirements of space vehicles and structures necessitate designs that simultaneously optimize mass efficiency and reliability. These criteria are in direct opposition since reliability comes with a weight penalty and, conversely, extreme mass efficiency leads to reduced reliability. These conflicting goals, in the unforgiving, expensive operating environment of space, require that designers have access to sophisticated analytical tools to predict the behavior of these structures. This project will further develop an innovative composite structures analysis approach known as Multicontinuum Technology (MCT). MCT is a finite element based multiscale technology that is accurate, extremely efficient, and highly accessible to the structural analyst. Evidence from the Worldwide Failure Exercise suggests that MCT is poised to become one of the premier numerical analysis tools for composite structures For verification, an experimental program consisting of combined thermal and multi-axial loading of composite cylinders will be included. Finally, in the second phase of the program, we intend to illustrate the value of the improved analytical techniques by leveraging MCT and our proprietary variable-kinematic finite element technology (VKFE), to perform for the first time an accurate and efficient progressive failure analysis of advanced grid stiffened composite structural components.

KAZAK COMPOSITES, INC.
10F GIll Street
Woburn, MA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(781) 932-5667
Dr. Pavel Bystricky
AF 06-009      Awarded: 15DEC06
Title:Advanced Architecture, Super Lightweight Structural Composites for Space Applications
Abstract:Future communication satellites require advances in materials and structures to increase vehicle payload ratio. Traditional metal- and composite-based approaches have matured to the point that meaningful improvements in structural efficiency are difficult to achieve. KaZaK proposes to develop and demonstrate a unique composite reinforcement architecture based on novel carbon fiber preforms in combination with matrices optimized specifically for spacecraft applications. Carbon/epoxy composites manufactured by techniques proposed here have already demonstrated surprising improvements in mechanical properties over conventional composites, including a 30% increase in tensile strength, an order of magnitude improvement in fatigue life, increased stiffness and reduction in delamination damage. KaZaK will show that expanding this revolutionary reinforcement architecture from epoxy to include novel high performance matrices tailored for space environments will provide higher temperature capability and lower outgassing. In addition, the proposed technology will enable production of thinner-walled composite parts with mechanical properties equivalent to conventional thickness structures, leading to super lightweight components. In addition to demonstrating improved material properties in Phase I, KaZaK will work with a commercial satellite company to develop a new satellite structure that takes maximum advantage of our improved composite technology, then compare this composite alternative to a current technology aluminum satellite baseline.

MATERIALS & ELECTROCHEMICAL RESEARCH (MER) CORP.
7960 S. Kolb Rd.
Tucson, AZ
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(520) 574-1980
Dr. R.O.Loutfy
AF 06-009      Awarded: 15DEC06
Title:Advanced Carbon Nanotubes- based Polymer Matrix Composites for Satellites
Abstract:Significant reductions in structural weight are urgently required in order to create higher payload communication satellites. Reductions are commonly sought through the use of strong, stiff and lightweight composite materials that sometimes possess as an additional advantage good thermal, electrical and radiation protection properties. Carbon nanotubes are promising reinforcements for Polymer Matrix Composites (PMCs), but the problems experienced when attempting to incorporate them at high or even moderate loading into a polymer matrix are not yet resolved to the extent of being able to take full advantage of the great potential of nanotubes. The problem of selecting a polymer and then using it to create a composite with a desired set of properties will be addressed by developing a new technique for incorporating the nanotubes into the polymer matrix, consisting of stacking thin uniform large area nanotube mats in alternation with polymer films and then consolidating them into a laminated composite by applying an appropriate thermobaric treatment. In Phase I, laminate PMCs with high loadings of large area mats of double walled carbon nanotubes (DWNTs) and based on high-performance polymers will be manufactured, and their mechanical, thermal and electric properties evaluated for compliance with communication satellite specifications.

BECK ENGINEERING
3319 21st Ave NW
Gig Harbor, WA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(360) 876-9710
Dr. Douglas S. Beck
AF 06-011      Awarded: 12FEB07
Title:Drill End-Effector for Robotic Drilling in Confined Space Aircraft Inlet Ducts
Abstract:The Air Force needs a Robotic Drilling System (RDS) for drilling and countersinking holes in JSF inlet ducts. We propose a team to develop all elements of a complete RDS: Robot/Robotic Application; Drill End-Effector (DEE); Metrology System; Cutting Tools; and an Automatic Tool Changer. This proposal focuses on the DEE. We propose to develop a Vacuum Nose-Lock/DEE (VNL/DEE). Robots can accurately position drills, but robots lack rigidity required during drilling, so hole quality can be poor. Positive clamp-up forces can be used to increase structural rigidity. However, maximum allowable forces on ducts limit positive clamp-up forces and, therefore, rigidity and hole quality. Our VNL/DEE provides negative clamp-up forces that subtract from drilling forces to produce: small (or even NET-ZERO) forces on ducts; rigid structures; and precise holes. Our VNL/DEE has compact dimensions to access a high percentage of holes in JSF inlet ducts. In Phase I, we will demonstrate our VNL/DEE. In Phase II, we will: implement needed improvements; and fully develop our VNL/DEE and RDS for initial pilot production capability. In Phase III, our team will integrate our RDS for lab and full-scale milestones and production floor cell integration.

COMPOSITE CUTTER TECHNOLOGY
31632 N. Ellis Dr Unit 210
Volo, IL
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(847) 740-6875
Mr. Glenn Isaacson
AF 06-011      Awarded: 12FEB07
Title:Terminally Guided Robots and Robotic Applications in Confined Spaces
Abstract:This proposal focuses on the need to develop a cutting tool for the robotic drilling process. We have enlisted ComauPico as a partner in this venture and all testing shall be carried out in their robotic drilling testing cell by their engineers. This will allow us to get first hand information in robotic drilling that we would not have otherwise been available. In ComauPico's recent testing, it was observed that there can be a point where the thrust exerted by the drill exceeds the force of pressure foot. In talks with ComauPico we have identified this as the root cause that has led to the inaccuracies reported in their testing. Composite Cutter Technology's proposal is to develop a drill bit comprised of state of the art materials while incorporating advanced, patent pending cutting geometry to enhance the initial cutter-to-material engagement, which will reduce the forces on the material and the robotic system. Without the development of a cutter of this type, the thrust forces from the drilling process exceed the levels required for robot stability and consistent hole quality that are required by today's aerospace industry.

INFOSCITEX CORP.
303 Bear Hill Road
Waltham, MA
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(781) 890-1338
Mr. James H. Goldie
AF 06-011      Awarded: 12FEB07
Title:Flange edge-location metrology sensor for robotic drilling in the JSF inlet ducts
Abstract:A sensor is proposed that will allow the robotic system to "see" the frame mounting flange through the inlet duct wall. The ability to directly perceive the location of the flange circumvents the stackup of a number of metrology errors, alleviating the problem of holes in violation of edge margin requirements and potentially offering designers with the option of reducing frame mounting flange widths. Northrop Grumman's own study indicates that accurate kinematic modeling is not enough to solve this problem, and they are seeking new metrology approaches. Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility of the sensor by testing it in a manner that closely emulates its use in the real application. The objective will be to prove that the sensor can locate the flange to the necessary accuracy in the presence of representative manufacturing and material tolerances. In addition, Phase I will both define the integration of the sensor function into the robotic drilling metrology process and incorporate the sensor design into the overall robotic system design, including packaging, signals, and electrical and mechanical interfaces. Phase II would undertake integration of the sensor systems into manufacturing robots and demonstrate their use with test articles and subsequently in pilot production.

PAR SYSTEMS
899 Highway 96 West
Shoreview, MN
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(651) 528-5210
Mr. Jim Cunov
AF 06-011      Awarded: 12FEB07
Title:Terminally Guided Robots and Robotic Applications in Confined Spaces
Abstract:This research will develop designs and new technologies needed for the first two critical system elements; (1) the robot system application and (2) drill end effector as defined in SBIR solicitation AF063C-011 entitled "Terminally Guided Robots and Robotic Application in Confined Spaces". This work will extend the reach and accuracy to successfully drill inside highly contoured JSF/F-35 air inlet ducts. The primary objective is by using low cost commercially available pedestal robots to demonstrate the feasibility of achieving; (a) robot placement accuracy of 0.007" (b) drilled hole diameter accuracies of 0.0015" (c) counter sink diameter accuracies of 0.012" (d) minimal manual intervention (e) support a 20 hour ship set cycle time. Specific areas that will be studied in the robot application are: pose optimization, real-time collision detection, system layout, drill accessibility, interfaces and future enhancements, Specific areas in the drill effector that will be studied include packaging and validation of performance measures. PaR Systems (PaR) will leverage our extensive experience of fielding proven automation systems which have solved many of these similar problems in the production of larger complex aircraft components.

VARIATION REDUCTION SOLUTIONS, INC.
47019 Five Mile Road
Plymouth, MI
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(734) 414-0035
Mr. Brett Bordyn
AF 06-011      Awarded: 12FEB07
Title:Terminally Guided Robots and Robotic Applications in Confined Spaces
Abstract:Variation Reduction Solutions, Inc. (VRSI) has created a partnership with Comau Pico to address the Air Force's stated desire to increase the use of robotics in aerospace manufacturing. Standard articulating arm robots are not currently in widespread use due to their inability to hold aerospace manufacturing tolerances. The current industry trend to create perfect robots through the use of correction modeling and software can be expensive while resulting in complex systems with no in-process positional verification. The robot arm that can fit in and reach through the confined space will likely have deflection under gravity and drilling loads. Additionally, many commercial guidance packages can't meet the accuracy requirements or won't fit the confined space application. To address these issues and meet the aggressive Phase 1 timeline and production schedule for the F-35, VRSI proposes a method to utilize off-the-shelf robots and existing metrology industry hardware in an innovative solution that provides the required accuracy, process control, validation, and robustness. Together with our partner Comau Pico, we offer a comprehensive metrology-based system solution for inlet duct robotic drilling with a technology approach that will meet the process requirements and enable the broader use of robots in aerospace manufacturing.