NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Extreme Environment and Aerial Mobility
PROPOSAL TITLE:Extreme Temperature Motor and Drill System

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Honeybee Robotics Ltd.
460 W 34th Street
New York ,NY 10001 - 4236
(212) 459 - 7802

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jerri   Ji
460 W 34th Street
New York, NY  10001 -4236
(646) 459 - 7810

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In response to the need for motors, actuators and drilling systems that can operate in the harsh venusian environment for extended periods of time, on the order of several hours to days, Honeybee Robotics proposes continued development of an extreme temperature motor and an extreme temperature drill system and demonstration of both in simulated Venus surface conditions. A first-generation prototype motor was designed, built and tested in Venus-like conditions (460oC temperature, mostly CO2 gas environment) during Phase I. The Phase I tests demonstrated the feasibility of the design through verification that the motor can operate at 460oC for an extended period of time. A further developed and optimized version of this motor could be used to actuate drills, robotic arms, and other devices outside of an environment-controlled landed platform on the surface of Venus. The motor's capability to survive for hours (and potentially longer) in that environment is a major benefit to future Venus science missions since it would allow time for communication ground loops to optimize drill target selection and allow for multiple samples to be acquired from the subsurface. An extreme temperature motor would therefore revolutionize the exploration of Venus. In Phase II, both an extreme environment motor and an extreme environment drill system will be developed to TRL 6. Aside from Venus exploration, other potential NASA and non-NASA applications for an extreme temperature motor include actuation of fluid pumps, gimbals, robotic joints and manipulation systems, as well as turbine, expendable launch vehicle and furnace tending system components.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
An extreme temperature motor a drill system developed to TRL would be a great asset to the Venus exploration program. Such a motor would allow actuation of robotic devices such as drilling and sampling systems, sample manipulation and comminution devices, robotic arms, and any other devices that require actuation outside of an environment-controlled landed pressure vessel. Operation of devices for extended durations outside of the landed vessel, particularly a 30 centimeter (or greater) depth drilling system, would revolutionize Venus surface exploration. Applicable missions include the Venus In Situ Explorer identified at a New Frontiers mission candidate and subsequent Venus Surface Sample Return missions. Also, technologies developed under the Prometheus program could employ extreme temperature motors, for example to actuate pumps and valves for liquid metal cooling systems. In addition to these applications, terrestrial robotic exploration of volcanoes and deep ocean hydrothermal vents could employ extreme temperature motors. These extreme environments are of scientific interest to both NASA and non-NASA agencies because insight into active earth processes and the origin and survivability of life would be gained. Also, the science gathered and technologies demonstrated could be applied to analog sites across the solar system. Other potential applications include motors for gimbal systems or other devices on spacecraft that orbit close to the sun or Mercury.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The most promising non-NASA application is actuation of electrical submersible pumps used in oil and geothermal wells to lift material to the surface. The temperature limit of these pumps essentially limits the depth at which they can be used, since temperature generally increases with increase in well depth. Therefore a pump that can operate at temperatures beyond what is currently achievable (300oC) would allow material transport from deeper wells. Other potential applications identified include (1) gas turbine starter/generators for aircraft engines, (2) actuators for turbine fuel and steam control, inlet guide vane positioning, bleed heat valve control and remote sub-sea system actuation, (3) high temperature electromechanical actuation systems for expendable launch vehicle thrust vector control and gimbaling of engines and adaptable aerodynamic surfaces, and (4) furnace tending for glass/ceramic manufacturing (for example, loading and unloading of castings, glass furnaces and hot or heavy metal, glass or ceramic parts.)

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52