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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Dual Axis Controller for Extreme Environments

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Dual Axis Controller for Extreme Environments, Phase I
NASA's Exploration road map contains an expanded portfolio of destinations including asteroids, comets, Phobos and Deimos, Titan, Ganymede, Mars and the Moon. The environmental volatility of these locations is extreme, yet the fiscal challenges to explore these remote celestial landmarks suggests that traditional support systems and spacecraft architecture are not available and only through the development of more environmentally robust and survivable subsystems can these exploration goals be achieved. Large temperature swings are commonplace in these environments and seeing extreme cold environments of -180 degrees C or beyond can be expected at the surface of asteroids, comets, the moon, and Titan. While the objective is to gather science, NASA's spacecraft and probes need to have lightweight, compact, smart, radiation tolerant, motion control power electronics that enable scientific discovery and maximize the data returned during what are often very small windows of opportunity. The Dual Axis Controller for Extreme Environments (DACEE) addresses these challenges for future remote space exploration. Leveraging almost a decade in the area of architecting low temperature operating electronics and mechanisms for programs like MUSES-CN and MSL's cold actuator electronics technology development program, Greg Levanas will design a dual brushless/stepper, 30V, 3A motor drive system inclusive of a RS-485 communication channel and capable of delivering moderate health status including onboard voltages, current and temperature. By leveraging primarily 3.3V/5V CMOS 100krad tolerant elements, the DACEE will fit a compact form factor of approximately 2"x3"x0.5". This system will be able to start up from cold soak at -180 degrees C and survive operation thru +100 degrees C. The Phase I activity will conclude with a design, parts list, build documentation and analysis for an article ready to be produced and tested as part of a Phase II activity. More »

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