NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 06-2 S2.02-8528
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Planetary Atmospheric Measurement Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Brushless DC Motor and Resolver for Venusian Environment

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Honeybee Robotics Ltd.
460 W 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 4236
(646) 459-7856

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jerri Ji
460 W 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 4236
(212) 966-0661

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In response to the need for motors, actuators and sample acquisition system that can operate in the harsh Venusian environment for extended periods of time, on the order of several hours to days, Honeybee Robotics proposes development of high temperature scoop and joint; and continued development of an extreme temperature brushless DC motor and a resolver. All hardware will be demonstrated in simulated Venus surface conditions. During Phase I, a first-generation prototype BLDC motor and resolver were designed, built and tested in Venus-like conditions (460oC temperature, mostly CO2 gas environment). The Phase I tests demonstrated the feasibility of the design through verification that the motor and the resolver can operate at 460oC for an extended period of time. A further developed and optimized version of this motor and resolver could be used to actuate sample acquisition systems, robotic arms, and other devices outside of an environment-controlled landed platform on the surface of Venus. The motor and resolver'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 sample target selection and allow for multiple samples to be acquired from the surface. The extreme temperature motor and resolver would therefore revolutionize the exploration of Venus. In Phase II, an extreme temperature resolver and a suite of different size of extreme environment brushless motor will be developed to TRL 6. High temperature scoop and joint will also be developed to TL 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)
Electrical submersible pumps (ESP) are down-hole pumps used in oil and geothermal applications such as steam floods (used in many fields to improve mobility of heavy oil and bitumen), geothermal wells, and other high temperature/ poor cooling applications. ESPs have been identified by Schlumberger to be the most efficient and economical material lift method on a cost-per-barrel basis. The trend in the application of ESPs has been toward installation in higher temperature reservoirs. These higher temperature reservoirs are typically found as the operation depths become deeper. Baker-Hughes and Schlumberger are the main manufacturers of high temperature ESPs. Schlumberger's HOTLINE series and Baker-Hughes Centrilift series ESPs can operate at temperatures approaching 300oC. An extreme temperature motor could potentially allow oil and water pump operation at greater depths than those attainable using these existing ESPs. 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 subsea 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.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The most promising and immediate application for the high temperature BLDC motor, resolver and the high temperature joint is on future exploration missions to Venus' surface. This application is the main driver for the development funded under this SBIR award. Currently, an extreme temperature motor, resolver and joint that can operate at Venus surface temperatures does not exist. Most high-temperature terrestrial motors can operate at a maximum temperature of 250oC, with a few that can reach 300oC for short durations. None of these motors could operate on Venus, where temperatures can reach 486oC. Based on the Phase I test results, Honeybee believes that the feasibility of designing an extreme temperature motor capable of operating for extended periods on the Venus surface has been demonstrated. A high temperature resolver as the output feedback can give us precision control. The high temperature joint can be used in the rover arm for any Venus surface operation.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Control Instrumentation
Integrated Robotic Concepts and Systems
Superconductors and Magnetic

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