Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2014
ABSTRACT: The Air Force seeks to improve the accuracy of orbit specification and of 72-h orbit predictions beyond present capabilities. Thermospheric neutral density and satellite ballistic coefficient strongly impact satellite drag estimation, which is a leading source of error in orbit predictions in LEO. The goal of this Phase II project is to develop a satellite drag specification capability that will outperform the current JB08 and HASDM models. To address the proposal objectives, we propose to: a) Use full-physics models (TIMEGCM, CTIPe, and TIEGCM) to improve thermospheric density and wind forecasting to better capture storms and other anomalous conditions affecting satellite drag predictions. b) Use ensemble assimilation and dynamic tuning of model boundary conditions to produce best solutions of satellite drag and improved forecasting capability. c) Use state-of-the art forecast models, measurements, and indices for specifying solar, geomagnetic, and lower boundary conditions 72 hours in the future. d) Utilize multiple state of the art full-physics, independently assimilated, models in a super-ensemble framework to provide skill scores of drag and density predictions. Phase II deliverables include: (a) Comprehensive nowcast and forecast system for the thermosphere and satellite drag (Atmospheric Density Assimilation Model, or ADAM); (b) Model Evaluation and Validation Estimate (EVE). BENEFIT: At the end of the proposed Phase-II work, we will have a number of important accomplishments. In particular, we will have developed and validated a state-of-the-art atmospheric density and aerodynamic drag nowcast and forecast system based on three first-principles full-physics models and data assimilation techniques. The proposed ADAM framework will improve neutral density nowcast accuracy by 13-18% RMS over the Jacchia Bowman 2008 (JB08) model and 8%-12% over the High Accuracy Satellite Drag Model (HADSM) and will provide neutral density forecasts within 5% over a 72 hour period, a requirement not currently met with the present prediction models. The Phase II effort will bring together subject matter experts in atmospheric modeling, data assimilation, and satellite drag to develop an operational full-physics assimilative code for neutral density and satellite drag nowcast and forecast. The ADAM system will benefit commercial satellite operators for their own risk-mitigation exercises, including the reduction of the prediction errors of satellite positions. Primary areas for applications include satellite orbit determination, space hazard avoidance, SSA, and post-flight space-based science data analysis.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 824.94K | Year: 2013
ABSTRACT: The Air Force and other DoD organizations require accurate knowledge of the ionospheric environment to understand and predict its impacts on vital radio-based systems, including communications, navigation, and surveillance systems. The DoD has placed requirements in the IORD-II document for measurements of the ionosphere that include specification of ionospheric properties such as electric fields and electron density profiles (EDP). The objective of this work is to investigate the development of a next- generation, advanced, miniature, topside ionospheric sounder (TIS) that is compatible with nano-satellite infrastructures and can be integrated with a Double-Probe E-field instrument. To address this objective we propose to: i) Design, build, and test a 3-axis topside ionospheric sounder with loop antenna system that is 6U-CubeSat compatible. ii) Design, build, and test a prototype rigid boom double probe electric field sensor that is CubeSat compatible. iii) Integrate and test the TIS and DP to deliver a single CubeSat sized instrument package that can provide both the capability of traditional ionospheric sounding (remote sensing) and in-situ electric field measurements. iv) Develop analysis software for the topside ionograms. BENEFIT: At the end of Phase-II, we will deliver a prototype combined Topside Sounder and Dual Probe Electric Field instrument package suitable for bench-top evaluation. Phase II work will have demonstrated the feasibility of combining and operating a topside sounder with a Dual Probe E-field instrument in a resource constrained CubeSat platform. The resulting design would provide AFRL with a new capability for space weather monitoring fulfilling critical SSAEM ionospheric objectives. The work complements the proposal teams existing effort on the development of DIME E-field probe and expertise in the low-power FMCW systems for ionospheric sounding. The observations most needed to advance space weather for the DoD are distributed multipoint measurements of the electric field and EDP in the space environment. The combined TIS/DP instrument will enable the DoD to affordably achieve these observations by flying this low-power instrument package on a constellation of miniature satellites.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.93K | Year: 2015
ABSTRACT:Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) sensors are a key part of a developing mission area supported by the Air Force and the Intelligence Community to provide worldwide, persistent surveillance of missile launches and other operations. These sensors operate in the SWIR and MWIR spectral regions. While this spectral range has been valuable for decades to the meteorological community, it is always used in combination with visible, longwave IR, or thermal IR observations to characterize clouds. The meteorological community may benefit from the OPIR technology as it offers the potential to cover more of the globe and its higher temporal resolution may allow for better characterization of some environmental phenomena. In addition to these operational specifications, the addition of spectral information could augment the current suite of meteorological satellites. With a combined modeling and algorithm development effort, we propose to investigate the SWIR/MWIR region with the goal of identifying an optimal standalone OPIR channel set that maximizes the information content in support of cloud property retrievals. The spectral characteristics of the channels chosen for the proposed algorithm will become the starting point for the definition of the initial collection requirements for the OPIR sensor and the platform it is deployed on.BENEFIT:The US Government Accounting Office (GAO), in their latest High Risk Report titled Mitigating Gaps in Weather Satellite Data, says that the continuity in US weather-satellite data is at risk. The programs intended to replace aging satellite systems have had to reduce functionality and slip planned launch dates due, in part, to cost increases, missed milestones, technical problems, and management challenges. With concerns surrounding our weather and climatological observations, new technologies have an opportunity to make an impact. It has been shown many times through Observational System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) studies that improved cloud and water vapor retrievals dramatically improve the skill scores of weather forecasts. We anticipate, through the development of an accurate cloud retrieval algorithm applicable to OPIR data, the generation of improved inputs to forecasting models such as, CDFS-II. The real-time and persistent nature of the OPIR data stream will provide improved cloud products for forecasting models through OPIRs improved temporal resolution and wider global coverage. Commercial applications will come in the form of providing improved cloud observations to the meteorological community who use this environmental intelligence data in their forecasting models.
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2014
The IDA4D and AMIE data assimilation methods are currently of limited use for real-time space weather applications because either they don't run in real-time (IDA4D) or the real-time version (AMIE) does not ingest the full complement of data needed to provide high fidelity outputs. To correct this situation, in Phase-I, we propose to demonstrate the feasibility of augmenting these algorithms so that they run in real-time, with the full complement of available data for ingestion. In Phase-I we will establish detailed system performance requirements and conceptual designs that will drive the development efforts to be performed in Phase-II. This will include constraints such as the size and resource expectations for the codes, as well as the necessary interfaces and resources for the collection and storage of data sets to be used in the assimilation, and how to respond to missing or corrupted data. An assessment of costs to build a real-time assimilative modeling capability using IDA4D and AMIE, and the cost to maintain and upgrade in the future will also be provided. The research conducted in phase-i will show a clear path towards a phase II prototype demonstration. In future Phase-II work, ASTRA will implement the augmentation of the existing IDA4D and AMIE algorithms to real-time operations, based on the conceptual designs and requirements established in Phase-I. Each requirement will be associated with a method of verification to be implemented in Phase II. The resulting data assimilative algorithms will be transferred to NASA, where they will be transformative for space weather operations. This innovation will enable the development of near real-time data-assimilative models and tools, for both solar quiet and active times, which allow for precise specification and forecasts of the space environment, beginning with solar eruptions and propagation, and including ionospheric electron density specification.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 748.69K | Year: 2013
ABSTRACT: Ionospheric scintillation and TEC are required by the IORD. We propose a GPS Autonomous Micro-Monitor ("GAMMA") that makes measurements of Ionospheric scintillation and TEC. GAMMA will be remotely deployable, such as on an ocean buoy or in a battlefield. It will send data to the user via the Iridium satellite network in near real-time. GAMMA will make use of ASTRA"s existing Connected Autonomous Space Environment Sensor (CASES) GPS software receiver design, with significant reductions in size, weight and power, and the addition of solar panels and battery for extended autonomous remote operation. Deliverables include a prototype GAMMA for remote operation on land, and a buoy-ready system. Software and documentation will also be provided. We anticipate a broad customer base, including Department of Defense agencies as well as researchers in the field of space weather, both commercial and educational. BENEFIT: The IORD requirements specify TEC and scintillation.. GPS data are generally not available from remote or ocean locations. GAMMA will provide remote autonomous operation, and will provide a high accuracy low cost solution for global monitoring.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.99K | Year: 2013
ABSTRACT: The ionosphere has significant effects on DoD radio systems. The Air Force needs electric field measurements in order to nowcast and forecast ionospheric behavior. SBIR Topic AF112-083"Electric Field Instrument for Cube- or Nano-sized Satellites"called for the development of"a cubesat- or nanosat-scale Direct Current Electrical Field instrument for measuring high precision electric fields at both high and low inclination Low Earth Orbit orbits."In Phase-I we developed a conceptual design for a miniature, low-cost, lightweight, high sensitivity E-field instrument using the double probe technique to provide in-situ measurements of ionospheric E-fields. The name of the new instrument is DIME (Double-probe Instrumentation for Measuring E-fields). The work proposed for Phase-II is to"build technology that demonstrates the Phase-I design". Specifically, we will build the new DIME instrument, based on our Phase-I designs, and integrate it into a candidate flight CubeSat. We propose to deliver an almost complete CubeSat bus containing the DIME E-field instrument, together with two Langmuir Probes and a magnetometer, which if flown will raise the TRL level of the DIME instrument to 9. The Phase-II proposal team consists of key members of the same team that developed and flew the DICE mission, which launched October 2011. BENEFIT: The ionospheric electric field is a key parameter required by the IORD. The DIME (Double-probe Instrumentation for Measuring E-fields) instrument is a miniature, low-cost, lightweight, high sensitivity E-field instrument using the double probe technique to provide in-situ measurements of ionospheric E-fields. It is suitable for many satellite buses including Cubesats.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Space Weather Research | Award Amount: 199.54K | Year: 2016
This is a short-term (less than one-year) effort to complete the construction, functional testing, and instrument calibration of a CubeSat with the capability to measure electric fields in the upper atmosphere. The DIME (Double-probe Instrumentation for Measuring Electric-fields) CubeSat concept builds on and further develops the NSF-funded Dynamic Ionosphere CubeSat Experiment (DICE) project aimed at measuring major space weather disturbances in the upper atmosphere. DICE was one of the first NSF CubeSat missions to be selected and flown. The DICE project consisted of two CubeSats weighing less than 2.2 kg each. They were launched into a low Earth orbit in October 2011 and collected data in space for two years. Each DICE satellite carried a suite of three scientific instruments. However, only two of them functioned successfully in space. Due to difficulties accurately controlling the spin of the spacecraft on orbit it was not possible to deploy the long wire booms that made up the electric field instruments. Thus, the DICE spacecraft could not provide measurements of the electric field. Fulfilling the need for continuous global measurements of this critical parameter in upper atmosphere dynamics remains a key goal and challenge for aeronomy and space weather research. The goal of the DIME project is to continue the development of an innovative approach to space-based measurement of the electric field. Leveraging the successes and lessons learned from the DICE mission DIME is envisioned as the next generation low cost, highly capable ionospheric sensor-sat observatory. New developments include improvements in the spin stabilization and control of the CubeSat, as well as improvements to the DICE electric field deployment mechanism. The DIME development so far has been funded under the Air Force SBIR program but falls short of delivering a fully equipped satellite that is ready to be launched and provide scientific data. Support for the purchase of the remaining parts and completion of the full flight assembly of the DIME CubeSat, and also for the completion of the satellite functional testing and calibration, while the present workforce and expertise is in place is the subject of this RAPID award. Delivery of a fully launch-ready DIME CubeSat, will enlist support from the Air Force for the launch and operation on orbit of the satellite. A newly graduated engineer, who worked as a student on the DICE project, in collaboration with a postdoctoral researcher, who with this project is offered a unique experimental research opportunity, will carry out most of the work under this effort. The project also continues to foster valuable collaboration between industry, academia, and government, involving ASTRA (a small business), the Air Force Research Laboratory, and Utah State University.
There are three fundamental drivers of global ionosphere-thermosphere (IT) behavior: solar UV/EUV radiation, high latitude forcing from solar wind-magnetosphere interaction and coupling to the ionosphere and thermosphere, and forcing by waves and tides from the lower atmosphere. While the principles of IT behavior are generally accepted, a complete understanding of the fully coupled ionosphere-thermosphere-magnetosphere system requires extensive measurements of environmental parameters that are not currently available. What are needed are simultaneous multipoint measurements of the electric field in the ionosphere. Focus here is on the high latitude forcing. While E-field measurements have been available from NSF-funded ground-based radars and the DMSP satellites, there is insufficient data to enable a comprehensive specification of the key high latitude potential pattern, electric fields, and their variability in space and time. The DIME sensor-sat has a unique potential to be a pathfinder that will pave the way for low-cost, very capable, next generation space weather CubeSat platforms from which to observe the system-driving electric field and other parameters in the Earth?s ionosphere. Future constellations of DIME platforms could provide networked, global measurements of the electric field. The DIME design additionally includes instrumentation to provide complementary magnetic field and plasma parameter measurements. In this way, DIME constitutes a key step in enabling large-return Geospace science missions using CubeSat technologies, targeting outstanding unanswered system-science and space weather questions.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.55K | Year: 2015
ABSTRACT:The DoD requires accurate real-time knowledge of ionospheric variability in order to reduce one of the biggest error sources inherent in the use of critical systems such as Over the Horizon Radar (OTHR). OTHR is particularly susceptible to TIDs which are underspecified by current methods. In the proposed work, we will develop physics-based models for generation of 3D coherent and random density irregularities with long range spatial correlation properties associated with and driven by Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances. We will study the feasibility of a numerical toolbox for evaluation of TID impacts on the performance of NGOTH radars. This work will leverage ASTRAs existing coordinate registration software tool (CRICKET) by augmenting the ionospheric specification with electron density structures from a physics-based model and measured TID characteristics. We will also augment an existing ray tracing capability by adding a wave-optics approach. A preliminary wave-optics-based HF propagation model will be developed to investigate the importance of diffractive effects compared to refractive ray tracing for radio waves propagating through the plasma structures.BENEFIT:At the conclusion of our proposed Phase I effort, we will have investigated all of the critical technology areas necessary for successfully developing a fully mature software environment and validated user toolkit. The benefits of the proposed effort are that it uses a physics-based model of the ionosphere (PBMOD). This model permits not only the simulation of coherent TID wave structures, but also for the first time the coupling of the TIDs to bulk, field-aligned structures in the ionosphere, and the cascading of random plasma turbulence to scale sizes smaller than the mesoscale TID waves themselves. The work also benefits from the inclusion of wave-optics solutions to HF oblique propagation through these structured plasma volumes versus the standard ray tracing methods that have several shortcomings discussed in the proposal. By the end of Phase-I, we will have integrated the new plasma structure and propagation models into a prototype user support tool for improving OTHR coordinate registration and reducing geolocation errors. Potential commercial applications include DoD for OTHR and other applications, other agencies such as IARPA for geolocation, as well as commercial HF operators.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: AERONOMY | Award Amount: 45.06K | Year: 2016
This grant will support an effort to enhance the understanding of the formation processes for ionospheric plasma wave structures seen in regional distributions of Total Electron Content (TEC) events that exhibit circular patterns. These events are believed to be generated by deep convective processes within thunderstorm systems that launch gravity wave structures into the upper atmosphere region of 60 to 100 km where strong viscous dissipation of these wave packets occurs. Part of the wave energy of these primary waves is transformed into the production of secondary waves that are able to propagate higher into the region of atmospheric heights above 200 km. Here, the interaction of these waves with the ionospheric plasma (pushing or pulling plasma along magnetic field lines) would then generate structures called Traveling Ionosphere Disturbances (TIDs) that are so often seen in TEC data. The primary objective of the research is to compare the observed concentric TEC perturbations with those calculated from realistic modeling of the primary and secondary GWs from deep convection in order to strengthen and validate the models for the calculation of these TID structures. A secondary objective would be to utilize the amplitudes and scales of the observed secondary GWs to probe the dynamics of the dark (but highly variable) region near 125-225 km where most of the primary GWs dissipate. A satisfactory explanation of these TID events in terms of gravity wave processes by reference to the successful modeling of the formation of these structures has never been achieved. Thus, the funded research has a significant potential for providing an enhanced understanding of the properties of these circular TID events that relate to the heating and cooling processes associated with the dissipation and transformation of the primary wave structure into the secondary wave output.
Significant societal impact and transformative research outcomes for this award are expected to be achieved as a result of the success in modeling these circular TID events. Because GWs cause scintillation and plasma bubbles that can disrupt satellite communication and GPS signals, this study may lead to better predictions for the occurrence of these phenomena, which is nationally relevant. In order to enhance scientific understanding for the general public, the researcher will disseminate broadly the results via a web site, conference talks, and journal publications. Finally, this project would support the research of a woman scientist (PI).
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.97K | Year: 2016
To date, most CubeSat designs have been 6U or smaller and have operated within power budgets in the 10s of W or less. However, as the demand grows for greater CubeSat performance for all forms of research, operational, and commercial applications in upcoming years, these sensor-sats will require higher levels of power generation and power management. Low-cost access to space, fueled by the agile and ever more capable CubeSat supply, will consume a larger and larger portion of the space market in the near future for Earth and solar system targeted missions. As described in the NASA SBIR S3.03, ?Power Systems Management? solicitation, NASA is preparing for this opportunity and condition by seeking development of high power (100W) management systems that are compatible with 3U and larger volumes and that minimize impact of the on-orbit operations and orientation of the spacecraft. In response to this call, ASTRA proposes to develop a next generation, high power CubeSat-compatible electrical power sub-system (EPS) called the High Power CubeSat Control Sub-System (HPoCCS). The HPoCCS design will include consideration for both the volume and thermal compatibility that a high power management system will require in a CubeSat. It will enable > 100W peak high power generation from deployed solar panels, charging and monitoring of a 100W orbit average power (OAP) capable battery stack, conditioning and distribution of the battery bus voltage and converted voltages to the spacecraft, and thermal management of the incoming, stored, and distributed path power. The baseline HPoCCS EPS design will include a > 100W power charge and management board, a power conditioning and distribution board, modular battery boards to increase or decrease on-board storage levels, and will include both active and passive thermal control options for the power management board. The design will build on a prior ground-based EPS developed by ASTRA for the Air Force.