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New York, NY, United States

Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 737.98K | Year: 2015

In Phase 2 we will develop a fully integrated, autonomous free-flying robotic system based on a commercial SkyJib quadcopter, and demonstrate flying straight and level to a target location, acquisition of rock and regolith samples, and return to the point of origin. The work plan for Phase 2 is as follows: 1. Completion of the Guidance, Navigation, Control, Vision, and Sample Acquisition subsystems. 2. Integration of all the payload elements at ERAU and system level check out 3. Demonstration of the entire system at NASA KSC 4. Field deployment at analog location


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 732.85K | Year: 2015

Under Phase 1, we investigated HT Drill, HT Trencher, and Pneumatic Sample Delivery. We found that HT Trencher and Blower-based pneumatic system won't be feasible or carried high risk associated with development of HT cutter materials. Rotary drill also did not penetrate hard rocks. For Phase 2, we propose HT Rotary-Percussive drill and 'suction' based pneumatic sample delivery. Honeybee is also submitting a separate Phase 2 for 3 DOF HT arm. If that proposal gets selected, the arm will deploy the drill and deposit the sample. The pneumatic system would still be needed to move the sample into an instrument. We plan to design and build TRL 5 system and incorporate HT motors developed by Honeybee under prior SBIR projects. The demonstration will be done in a HT chamber. We will investigate possibility of testing at NASA JPL's Venus chamber. The demo will include drilling into hard rocks and sample transfer to a mock up instrument.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 730.91K | Year: 2015

During Phase 1, we investigated a number of blade designs for 2, 3, and 4 blade sampler geometries. We found that blades with small apex angles can penetrate harder formations with much lower energies. We propose to develop a 3 or 4 blade design for sampling much harder (4 MPa and more) material. During Phase 2 we will initially perform more extensive blade testing to determine optimum design, we will also investigate use of pyros to deploy blades, breadboard and test force neutral deployment and investigate One Resettable vs Multiple Samplers architectures. These studies will lead to 3 vs 4 blade architecture study (Tetrahedron Comet Sampler or TeCos and Pyramid Comet Sampler or PyCoS) and downselection. The TRL 4 TeCoS or PyCoS will then be build and tested. The results will be used to design TRL 5 system. The TRL prototype will then be build and tested in a range of analog materials from 5 DOF arm to mimic 2-3 DOF TAG arm and spacecraft movement.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.33K | Year: 2015

The goal of the Phase I is to perform breadboarding and testing of the promising sealing techniques as well as perform a system level study to determine implementation challenges within actual mission architectures. The tests will be conducted on clean and 'dirty' seals. The results of the Phase I will be one or more options for hermetic sealing. During some approaches (Shape memory Alloy and brazing) additional data will be acquired to determine the temperature rise of the inner sample chamber. In the follow on Phase II of the proposed investigation, we will design and fabricate multiple high fidelity prototypes of the hermetic sealing canister and sealing system. The size and shape of the canisters will be designed to fit the requirements of any proposed or current sample return missions, such as Mars 2020. These canisters will include thermal insulation to protect and preserve volatile material within the samples, and will be optimized for mass reduction. We will test the hermeticity of the canister seal when exposed to dust accumulation, as well as thermal cycling, shock and vibration environments. This testing will result in a technology readiness level for the sample canister and sealing of TRL6 at the end of the Phase II investigation. We will also develop preliminary spacecraft requirements (mass, power, volume, etc.) for the sealing system.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.42K | Year: 2015

Under previous SBIR Phase 1, we demonstrated MISME system to TRL 3. This system can be used on Mars, the Moon, as well as Asteroids (a Spider concept with self- anchoring approach was developed). We propose to focus this Phase I on the two approaches of water extraction: Sniffer and Corer. At the end of the Phase 1, we will trade all 3: Sniffer, Corer, MISME and select one for further development in Phase 2. After the Sniffer and the Corer tests, a trade study will be conducted to compare Sniffer vs Corer vs MISME approaches. The trade study will include figure of merits (e.g. extraction efficiency etc), potential for scaling production up, easy of deploying on more than one planetary body, as well as mission implementation challenges and risks. During this time we will also work closely with our COTR to determine mission preferences. The end result will be selection of the best approach. During this trade study we will also consider different properties of planetary regoliths as well as environmental conditions that would affect excavation and processing (e.g. poorly sorted particle size distribution and agglutinates on the Moon which make regolith very cohesive, perchlorates and clays on Mars which make soil very sticky etc).

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