Distributed surface networks can provide regional sensing, communications, position, navigation, and timing (PNT), and power distribution. However, it’s often not possible to install such networks with a delicate human touch. The Rapid Lunar Lander is a remotely-emplaced, hardened electronics package to service this need.
The US government is seeking a technology to securely export data from isolated environments, where traditional data links are unavailable, to data processing centers, central decision makers, and other locations. Small satellites have the potential to rapidly provide such solutions at Low Earth Orbits (LEO) to meet existing needs. Solutions should be capable of transmitting/receiving 1Gb in less than 10 minutes utilizing Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology
Small satellites have the potential to rapidly collect a variety of data types over an area of interest. The proliferation of small satellite constellations in recent years has made it such that satellite data are now accessible to anyone with internet access and a credit card. The US government is seeking technologies that enable analysis of data from multiple and various space-based sensors (including but not limited to Visual, Hyperspectral, RF, and large-scale media). Of particular interest are solutions that can process data from multiple sensors collecting continually over a large portion of the Earth yielding analytic output from which pattern of life information may be inferred. Solutions should be capable of processing and analyzing data from two or more aforementioned sensor types and generating solutions that at the minimum identify changes in behaviors over the area of interest.
Future missions need better and more innovative communications systems for small spacecraft. As missions look beyond the inner solar system, communications requires more powerful antennas and optical links to send data back to Earth. Current small spacecraft systems are inadequate for the demands of deep space, and will need to be rethought.
As missions look beyond the inner solar systems, solar flux drops off immensely, requiring solar-powered missions to have enormous solar arrays. As small spacecraft are fundamentally volume limited, solar arrays for U-Class and small spacecraft provide insufficient power for deep-space (beyond Jupiter) missions. NASA needs new power systems in order for small spacecraft to expand their use for proposed deep space missions.
In order to achieve reliable cislunar access, U-Class spacecraft will need sufficient Delta-V to reach cislunar orbits with their own propulsion capabilities. Additionally, higher delta-V propulsion systems on small spacecraft is required to increase their capability to conduct exploration missions outside of the Earth-Moon system. Current small propulsion systems have insufficient Delta-V and longevity for U-Class spacecraft to extend beyond current mission profiles. Higher thrust is not necessarily the most important performance parameter if a system has a very long lifetime.
Distributed small satellites networks can range from a few to hundreds of spacecraft. The utility of distributed satellite networks depends upon the ability of each individual spacecraft in the network to act as an informed, but independent, node. As these networks grow, traditional human-in-the-loop operations becomes cumbersome, if not impossible. The US government is seeking technologies to support autonomous, self-organizing distributed satellite networks. The objective is safe, autonomously (human-off-the-loop) flight utilizing sensors and technologies that are hosted and/or can be hosted on a small satellite. Solutions should be capable of re-configuring the distributed satellite network autonomously based on evolving operational user defined mission set(s). Current or emerging capabilities to support this objective are sought.
Search and Rescue Techniques, Tactics and Procedures are outdated and do not leverage advances in Computer Vision, AI, ML powered Geospatial Analytics, and other emerging technologies to locate Isolated Personnel (IP) in the open ocean environment.