News Article

NanoEye - Low Cost Space Surveillance
Date: Jan 01, 2012
Source: ARMY SBIR Success Story ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Microcosm Inc of Hawthorne, CA

For over forty years the United States has used high resolution satellite systems for many different purposes, but these are very expensive systems. Their availability and flexibility is limited, and useable data can take time to become available. Situational awareness is paramount for our deployed Soldiers and the Army's objective is to develop rapid and tactically knowledgeable imaging systems to meet the present and future needs of Soldiers.

Microcosm Incorporated has createdthe NanoEye satellite, a highly responsive and maneuverablespace observation system to provide very low cost images with a sub-meter resolution at nadir. Additional NanoEye features are the ability to be tasked directly from the field andto temporarily lower its orbital altitude to improve its nominal 1.5 m resolution to sub-meter. Requested battlefield views can be part of planning and execution of military operations including a desired angle before, during, or after a planned operation. NanoEye will provide Army commanders with control of space resources and immediate, real-time access to the collected data.

The primary benefit of this technology is the ability to deliver low-cost, low risk, and low-mass orbital systems while providing strategic area coverage with many passes in a given day. NanoEye has the potential to be used by the Department of Defense as well as throughout the Federal government including the Department of homeland Security (DhS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) for natural and man-made disaster monitoring and response as well as environmental monitoring.

Technology Transition:
Microcosm has received $2M to develop electro-optical/ infrared payload and propulsion for the full NanoEye™ configuration. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is providing $780K in Phase III funding towards future system advancement of sensors and information processes. Prospective sources for furthertransition include the Army, SOCOM,DARPA, and the Air Force. Microcosm developed other new innovations to enablethis satellite and reduce cost including all-composite propellant tanks and satellite platformand autonomous orbit control. In addition, they are developing a small launch vehicle to enable responsive andaffordable access to space for tactical satellites.