NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X3.03-9724
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lunar ISRU Development and Precursor Activities
PROPOSAL TITLE: Vacuum Compatible Percussive Dynamic Cone Penetrometer

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Honeybee Robotics Ltd.
460 W 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 2320
(212) 966-0661

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kris Zacny
460 W 34th Street
te: New York , NY 10001 - 2320
(646) 459-7836

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Honeybee Robotics proposes to develop a vacuum compatible percussive dynamic cone penetrometer (PDCP), for establishing soil bin characteristics, with the ultimate intent of taking it to a flight system level. Penetrometers are used to determine the Cone index (CI), which is a composite index influenced by both soil compressibility and shear strength. A dynamic cone penetrometer is used to estimate bearing strength, soil compressibility, and shear strength (when compared with calibration data), consisting of a percussive actuator and a rod with a sharp 60 degree cone at the end. The penetrometer is driven into the soil under constant load and the penetration, converted to California Bearing Ratio (CBR), which gives an indication of soil trafficability. The Honeybee-developed percussive dynamic cone penetrometer offers the significant advantage of being a low mass, low power, low force, stand alone device that requires limited to no human intervention to operate, as opposed to heavy and cumbersome manual Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) widely used today. This percussive system is also of further advantage with its capability to reach much greater depths than typical surface tools such as Bevameter. The high-frequency vibration of the percussive rod also reduces the force required for pushing a rod into regolith by almost two orders of magnitude. This translates directly into smaller rover/lander or less effort on behalf of an Astronaut.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The vacuum compatible PDCP will enable surveying of extra terrestrial sites to determine their candidacy for establishment of site preparation and outpost infrastructure emplacement, and it will provide vital characteristics for efficient design and future development of all related components, mechanisms, and systems, set up resource mining operations, and survey exploration sites, and routes. In addition, soil physical properties are used to help interpret surface geologic processes and to constrain the origins and formation processes of the soils. This vacuum compatible PDCP is, therefore, not only a necessary surveying, and exploratory tool, but a valuable scientific instrument as well, which would prove to be most useful for lunar missions and for ongoing exploration on Mars. It is also very simple, quick, and efficient way of reaching significant depth. This would be useful to any application ranging from, burying sensory equipment to digging a post-hole.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Within the scope of a flight ready system is going to be the task of making this system not only vacuum compatible, but reliable, heat resistant, and capable of coping with lunar dust. It will also have to be compact and light weight. All of the scientific and technological advances obtained from this project will translate directly to development of a technically advanced, and robust terrestrial surveying tool ideal for commercial, scientific, and defense applications, where its portability and ease of use with minimum user input will be most valuable assets.

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.

In-situ Resource Utilization
Integrated Robotic Concepts and Systems
Spaceport Infrastructure and Safety
Structural Modeling and Tools

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56