Moderate Spectral Resolution Spectrometer

Navy SBIR 21.2 - Topic N212-134
SSP - Strategic Systems Programs
Opens: May 19, 2021 - Closes: June 17, 2021 (12:00pm edt)

N212-134 TITLE: Moderate Spectral Resolution Spectrometer

RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics;Materials / Processes;Sensors

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 section 3.5 of 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: Develop and demonstrate a Moderate Spectral Resolution Spectrometer that can be deployed on telescopes currently in use or being considered for future use by the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) to collect data. The spectrometer will have a moderate resolution (R ~ 500), be capable of observing wavelengths in the range of 0.5-1.6 micrometer, and be able to be deployed on moderate-aperture (D = 20-40 cm) telescopes.

DESCRIPTION: Currently, USNO collects photometric data, including bright star spectra, which is converted into artificial stellar spectra. This photometric data must be measured and monitored periodically to ensure weapon system utility and performance. The data measured by USNO at present contains gaps that inhibit a comprehensive formulation of stellar spectra. A Moderate Spectral Resolution Spectrometer would enable the tailoring of data collection through direct monitoring of spectral ranges of interest to the Navy, thereby reducing both costs and scheduling impacts, and increasing reliability and accuracy of current and future star catalogs within the FC subsystem. Such an instrument would be useful to the larger DoD community, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), astronomical situational awareness communities, and commercial providers of such data; thus, the commercialization potential for this spectrometer is assessed to be high. All work executed under this topic will be unclassified.

PHASE I: Develop and define a concept design for a Moderate Resolution Spectrometer that can be deployed to moderate aperture-class (D = 20-40 cm) Navy telescopes. The deployed spectrometer will be used to collect the stellar data needed by the Navy. Work with the Navy in understanding size, function, and interface requirements for the spectrometer. Construct measures that ensure data and network connection integrity and USNO software application.

Specific threshold requirements/goals are as follows:

  • Fiber-fed: Threshold, spectral range - lambda: 800-1000 nm
  • Goal, spectral range - lambda: 500-1600 nm
  • Spectral resolution, R: Threshold - 200-500 (R =lambda/delta lambda)
  • Goal, functionality: switchable between "modes":
  • Goal, mode 1: 1000-2000
  • Goal, mode 2: 5000-20000

Identify risks to the proposed concept and develop Phase II plans that include ways to mitigate those risks for Phase II. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Produce and deliver a prototype Moderate Resolution Spectrometer. Work with the Navy to fully understand the data and interface requirements and to understand hardware and integration standards to be deployed with moderate aperture-class (D = 20-40 cm) telescopes currently used by the USNO. Provide testing scenarios that ensure Navy operational use with the telescope designed to show data collection efficiencies compared to current practice. Establish a feedback loop with the Navy for implementing changes due to prototype testing. All the work under this Phase II effort will be unclassified.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Deliver a Moderate Resolution Spectrometer for telescopes deployed by USNO in a manner that fulfills bright star photometric data requirements and are usable by NSWCDD FC capabilities. Provide design and test cases that demonstrate integration of the spectrometer in photometric data collections. Support remote field qualification testing with a spectrometer deployed on off-site telescopes. Work with the Navy to set up a Moderate Resolution Spectrometer with deployed telescopes to include troubleshooting and resolving implementation/execution issues at various Navy, DoD, and civilian telescope observatories.


  1. Bohlin, R. C., Gordon, K. D., and Tremblay, P. "Perfecting the Photometric Calibration of the ACS CCD Cameras." E. 2014, PASP, 126, 711.
  2. Han, W.; Mack, P.; Lee, C.-U. et al., "Development of a 1-m Robotic Telescope System." Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, Vol.57, No.5, October 2005, pp. 821-826.
  3. Keel, W. C.; Oswalt, T.; Mack, P. et al. "The Remote Observatories of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA)." Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Volume 129, Issue 971, January 2017, pp. 015002.
  4. Palmer, C. " Diffraction Grating Handbook." Diffraction Grating Handbook, Eighth Edition, 2020.

KEYWORDS: Moderate Resolution Spectrometer; Telescope; Data Collection; Photometric; Stellar Spectra; Moderate Aperture


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 21.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

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