Tiger Innovations Wins NASA SBIR Contract to Develop Automated Break-Out Box for Spacecraft Integration

(16 November 2007) Tiger Innovations has been selected to receive a Phase 1 research contract as part of the NASA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. Tiger submitted its proposal (Automated Break-Out Box for use with Low Cost Spacecraft Integration and Test) in response to the 2007 SBIR solicitation. As part of this research, Tiger Innovations will design, fabricate, and test a prototype automated break-out box (Auto-BOB) for use during spacecraft integration and test activities. The Auto-BOB has the potential to reduce the time and complexity of integration activities, saving programs cost and schedule. The proposal abstract can be found below:

Electrical checkout and testing is a critical part of the overall spacecraft integration and test flow. Verifying proper harness and connector signal interfaces is key to ensuring component health and overall system functionality. Break-Out Boxes (BOB) are used to give test personnel access to electrical signals for probing, voltage injection, isolation checks, safe-to-mate checks, and voltage/current measurements. Currently this involves manually attaching multimeters and oscilloscopes to banana jacks on the BOB, taking measurements and comparing to expected results. Tiger Innovations proposes designing an automated break-out box to make electrical integration activities more efficient, repeatable, and safe by introducing software controlled test sequences and reducing human errors. Additionally, significant schedule and cost reductions are realized by improving the speed and reliability of integration operations. Our software controlled BOB would allow isolation and safe-to-mate checks to be accomplished in a fraction of the time required for a human operator. Voltage and current measurements would be analyzed in the software for pass/fail criteria and reported to the user for inclusion in the test log. Automating test sequences through the use of an automated BOB has the potential to significantly streamline spacecraft, payload and launch site electrical integration and test activities.

About NASA SBIRs

NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs are a three phased approach for the small business concern to develop a technology in response to a specific set of NASA mission driven needs as presented in the NASA SBIR/STTR Annual Solicitation. The SBIR/STTR program provides the small business researcher, or research institution, with a technology or idea, the opportunity to adapt or apply that technology towards a specific subtopic for NASA mission needs.

Auto-BOB SBIR Summary