Aerospace Electronics


Experiments of all types at Aurora RDC are supported with hardware and software development in-house. In addition, some dedicated research projects are centered on the area of aerospace electronics, and leverage experience in both space technologies and autonomy and control.


CTC-REF is a NASA SBIR Phase 2 project, sponsored by the Ames Research Center. This project uses two key systems to improve radiobiology research capabilities at NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL): an Automated Sample Changer for higher throughput (using a robot and robot compatible incubator), and an On-line Assay System for automated biological sample processing capability in the Radiation Target Room (including sample fixation and medium change).


Autonomous Control of Space Nuclear Reactors (ACSNR)

Many future missions (both manned and robotic) targeting the Moon, Mars and beyond, will need nuclear vehicle and surface power systems to provide their energy needs. It is imperative that these systems be able to operate nuclear facilities reliably and autonomously, with the added requirement for fail-safe protection in the case of manned missions. Funded under the NASA SBIR program, the Autonomous Control of Space Nuclear Reactors Phase II began in February 2009. The goal is to develop a prototype of an advanced Reactor Instrumentation and Control System (RICS) for space-nuclear reactors that addresses both aspects of autonomous operation and safety. Through the successful completion of our Phase I feasibility study, we have identified the operational and safety functions of Earth-based reactors that are applicable to the space environment, while focusing on the stringent constraints for space applications. Results show that significant cost, mass, power and volume savings can be achieved in a highly reliable, autonomous reactor control and protection system that is viable for space applications.


Rule-based Asset Management for Space Exploration Systems (RAMSES)

Aurora and MIT have developed a Rule-based Analytic Asset Management for Space Exploration System (RAMSES), a system that utilizes a modular layered architecture to enable automated multi-level asset tracking and management for both space and ground applications based on state-of-the-art RFID technology. The main advantages of this system over current bar-code based asset tracking are: (i) significant time-savings through automation, (ii) real-time remote status monitoring through the internet, and (iii) rule-based analytics for proactive asset management.