DOD SBIR 24.2 Annual

Active
No
Status
Open
Release Date
April 17th, 2024
Open Date
May 15th, 2024
Due Date(s)
June 12th, 2024
Close Date
June 12th, 2024
Topic No.
SF242-0016

Topic

Neuromorphic Camera for Space Domain Awareness

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for a neuromorphic camera for space domain awareness. This technology offers the potential to collect continuous data, allowing for instantaneous determination of an object's angle and rate, and reducing initial orbit determination time. The camera will be designed to detect and track satellites in geosynchronous orbit, taking into consideration the low signal-to-noise and low photon environments of space. The camera should be capable of bench-top and on-sky testing with a one meter class telescope system. In Phase I, a design will be created for the camera, including estimated performance information. Phase II will involve creating a prototype based on the Phase I design, which will be delivered to the government for testing and evaluation. In Phase III, the Department of the Air Force may consider ordering several prototypes for research and operational space domain awareness sensors. The results of the prototype evaluation will be shared with the customer base, and the decision to purchase additional units will be left to the various customer program managers. This solicitation is open until June 12, 2024. For more information and to submit a proposal, visit the DOD SBIR 24.2 Annual solicitation page on grants.gov: link.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Microelectronics; Space Technology

 

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

 

OBJECTIVE: Neuromorphic or event camera technology can be applied to space domain awareness and offers the possibility of collecting data continuously, allowing an object's angle and rate to be determined instantaneously and significantly reducing initial orbit determination time. This topic seeks to develop a neuromorphic camera for the low signal-to-noise and low photon environments seen in space domain awareness that is capable of detecting and tracking satellites in geosynchronous orbit.

 

DESCRIPTION: This topic seeks to produce a neuromorphic camera for space domain awareness. A camera will be designed and manufactured that is capable of observing and tracking satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The low signal-to-noise environment consistent with astrometric observations will be considered, along with the overall capability of the sensor such as focal plane size, pixel count, read noise, and detection threshold. The camera will be designed so that it can be used for both bench-top and on-sky testing with a one meter class telescope system.

 

PHASE I: In Phase I a design will be created for the camera. A sensor will be designed using a combination of in-house and procured components, and a design up to PDR will be produced that includes estimated performance information when coupled with a one meter class telescope. Specific consideration should be given to the sensor's size, read noise, detection threshold, and uniformity. The design should include a comparison to other available cameras, including both U.S. and foreign produced.

 

PHASE II: In Phase II a prototype will be created based off the design produced in Phase I. The prototype should be deliverable to the government for bench-top testing and evaluation. Post-delivery the sensor will be characterized by the government and compared to other similar cameras.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: In Phase III the Department of the Air Force will consider ordering several of the produced prototypes, with or without modification, for research and operational space domain awareness sensors. The results of the prototype evaluation will be shared with the customer base and the decision to purchase additional units will be left to the various customer program managers.

 

REFERENCES:

Bacon, Joseph G. Jr., "Satellite Tracking with Neuromorphic Cameras for Space Domain Awareness" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 4968.;

 

KEYWORDS: Space Domain Awareness; Neuromorphic Cameras

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