A high precision continuous time compact navigation module for cislunar/lunar missions

PI: Chee Wei Wong, University of California - Los Angeles

The High-Precision Continuous-Time PNT Compact Module for the LunaNet Small Spacecraft demonstration will assess the performance of this optomechanical accelerometer under real flight conditions. Accelerometers are motion and rotation sensors that are essential in inertial navigation systems to calculate the location, orientation, and velocity of a spacecraft. Developed in support of the LunaNet positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) system, this high-precision, chip-scale optomechanical accelerometer improves upon the performance of existing technologies and precisely determines the position of a space vehicle without needing external signals.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

Inertial navigation systems (INSs) are important to space exploration as they can calculate the location, orientation, and velocity of a moving object such as a spacecraft. INS devices typically use accelerometers, which are motion and rotation sensors, to communicate with a computer and translate the data into actionable controls. UCLA’s optomechanical accelerometer precisely determines the position of a space vehicle without needing external signals. By operating with noise floor levels close to the thermomechanical theoretical limit, this accelerometer provides an order of magnitude performance increase over existing technologies. It also has internal optical feedback, meaning that there is no need for an electrical feedback loop. Finally, the small size of the optomechanical accelerometer allows for further integration and miniaturization of the navigation sensor assembly.

Technology Maturation

Flight tests are expected to demonstrate the technology for the first time on a high-altitude balloon flight, providing the researchers with valuable data on its performance under real flight and environmental conditions. Additionally, the ability to follow a flight trajectory and the integration with the navigation algorithms is expected be assessed.

Future Customers

• Spacecraft, aircraft, and ship navigation • Aerospace defense industry (smart ammunition) • Smartphone location and tracking • Health tracking

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 Balloon

Development Team

  • PI
    Chee Wei Wong
  • Organization
    University of California - Los Angeles
  • Sponsor

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