Low–design-Impact Inspection Vehicle (LIIVe)
Very close autonomous proximity operations with a host spacecraft is an enabling
ability for many kinds of space missions, including orbital debris disposal, spacecraft
inspection, servicing, and space situational awareness (SSA). Such operations have,
however, never been demonstrated on orbit. NRL’s Low–design-Impact Inspection Vehicle
(LIIVe) program is developing the sensors, algorithms, and concepts of operations
(ConOps) necessary to safely operate a small inspection vehicle at single–meter
distances from a host spacecraft. LIIVe is based on MIT’s SPHERES vehicle, to which
it adds an expansion board with cameras, lighting, and a powerful flight processor.
In preparation for a full orbital demonstration, NRL proposes to fly the LIIVe expansion
board to ISS and use it to demonstrate a SPHERES vehicle flying autonomously through
the interior of the space station.
Synthetic Imaging Maneuver Optimization (SIMO)
Space-based interferometry missions have the potential to revolutionize imaging
and astrometry, providing observations of unprecedented accuracy. Realizing the
full potential of these interferometers poses several significant technological
challenges. SIMO will develop a methodology, calibrated through hardware-in-the-loop
testing, to optimize spacecraft maneuvers to more efficiently synthesize images
for space-based astronomy missions such as Stellar Imager. Time and fuel-optimal
maneuvers, maneuver waypoints (number and location), number of spacecraft, the size
of the sub-apertures, and the type of propulsion system will be modeled and comprehensively
traded. Selected architectures will be tested using the SPHERES test bed augmented
with custom designed instrumentation.