Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Precision Geolocation

Period of Performance: 02/23/2007 - 05/22/2009


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Space Photonics, Inc.
700 Research Center Blvd.
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Principal Investigator


In order to realize the benefits of formation flying multi-spacecraft clusters, four key elements must be present: 1. Broadband inter-spacecraft communications to enable the transport of high resolution sensor data. 2. Precision inter-spacecraft timing synchronization to enable precise multi-sensor sampling throughout the cluster. 3. Precision inter-spacecraft relative range to enable the determination of precise spacecraft and sensor spacing within the cluster. 4. Precision inter-spacecraft relative position to enable the determination of precise cluster and sensor plane orientation. An inter-spacecraft laser communications network is the only integrated subsystem that can provide all four of these key elements. The proposed SBIR Phase II effort will leverage several existing SPI programs to extend the models and designs from the Phase I effort, and produce fully-functional prototype hardware at a minimum cost. Space Photonics will develop the algorithms, calibration processes, and VHDL code for the inter-spacecraft ranging, timing synchronization and inter-spacecraft position determination; and, will demonstrate these functions in our gimbal-less, free space optical, lasercom testbed. However, the algorithms, calibration processes, and VHDL code developed for this program can be applied to any gimbaled or gimbal-less lasercom crosslink system.