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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Stable Platform for Optical Communications (SPOC)

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Stable Platform for Optical Communications (SPOC), Phase I
NASA is seeking innovative compact, lightweight, space-qualifiable vibration isolation platforms for payloads massing between 3 and 25 kg that require less than 5 W of power and mass less than 3 kg that will attenuate an integrated angular disturbance of 150 micro-radians to less than 0.15 micro-radians (1-sigma). ATA has a long track record of producing stabilized platforms to host small optical payloads. Building on a previous NASA SBIR, ATA now produces the stable platform used in NASA's Lunar Lasercomm Space Terminal (LLST) and Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) programs. ATA will create a Stable Platform for Optical Communications (SPOC) that could host the laser communications collimator telescope and provide a stabilized platform to prevent the 150-microradian spacecraft disturbance environment from reaching the laser communications terminal. Advances in the suspension flexure, the platform structure, and actuators will be required to meet the size, weight and power requirements. One challenging requirement is that an angular-motion sensor is required for the control system. Gyros exist that can measure adequately but they are too heavy, too large, and use too much power. ATA will develop a small, lightweight, nanoradian-noise class angular rate sensor based on our proven MHD technology to meet the challenging angular disturbance attenuation requirement. More »

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