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 provide a variety of data types over an area of interest. Multiple proliferated small satellite constellations offer data which is accessible to anyone with internet and a credit card. The US government is seeking technologies to analyze data from various space-based sensors (including but not limited to Visual, Hyperspectral, RF, and large-scale media). This data can be provided nearly persistently over a large portion of the Earth enabling access to data that can be distilled into pattern of life information. Solutions should be capable of processing and analyzing data from two or more aforementioned sensor types and generate solutions that 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.
Small satellites are allowing for easier development of distributed satellite networks: groups of spacecraft working together towards common goals that may be networked through both ground data exchange and on-orbit satellite-to-satellite data exchange. These distributed satellites systems can range from a few to hundreds of spacecraft and can be spatially close together or separated over multiple orbit planes. As these networks grow, traditional human-in-the-loop operations becomes cumbersome, if not impossible. The US government is seeking technologies to create autonomous, self-organizing distributed satellite networks; are there current or emerging capabilities in the space, or other industries that have similar capabilities that can be leveraged to solve this problem?
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.