NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-2 H1.01-9667
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Regolith ISRU for Mission Consumable Production
PROPOSAL TITLE: Planetary Volatiles Extractor for In-Situ Resource Utilization

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Honeybee Robotics, Ltd.
Building 3, Suite 1005 63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150
Brooklyn, NY 11205 - 1070
(212) 966-0661

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kris Zacny
398 W Washington Ave. Suite 200
Pasadena, CA 91103 - 2000
(510) 207-4555

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Chris Chapman
Building 3, Suite 1005 63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150
Brooklyn, NY 11205 - 1070
(510) 207-4555

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 6

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Regolith ISRU for Mission Consumable Production is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) or ?living off the land relies on exploiting local resources and in turn reducing burden of transporting supplies. NASA has determined through various studies that ISRU will be critical for both robotic and human exploration of the Solar System. ISRU is also viewed by commercial Space companies as a significant source of revenue; volatiles (mainly water) could be mined and sold as Hydrogen/Oxygen fuel to satellite operators to extend spacecraft life.

Traditional ISRU architecture follows methods employed in the mining industry on earth: material is mined, crushed, transported, crushed again, processed, and waste is disposed of. However, mining concrete-hard ice and icy-soil is difficult without using explosives. Volatiles will get lost during crushing and transportation, and robotic material handling, as shown by the 2008 Mars Phoenix mission, is difficult. For these reasons, we propose the Planetary Volatiles Extractor (PVEx) Corer, which uses a drill based excavation approach and an integrated volatiles extraction plant. PVEx successfully addresses several aspects: drills can penetrate hard materials, there is no need for material crushing and transfer, if volatiles sublime, they will flow directly into the capture system. PVEx can also work with hydrated minerals.

Under the SBIR Phase 2 we propose to mature the technology from TRL 4 to TRL 5/6, and in turn ready the system for NASA's next HEOMD and SMD missions, as well as commercial planetary missions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA applications would satisfy goals of HEOMD and SMD. In particular, the Planetary Volatiles Extractor could be initially used as a reconnaissance tool to map and characterize volatiles distribution around the area before deploying ISRU plants. Depending on the required water (or other volatiles) production levels per day, the PVEx could be used to extract water and other volatiles to support human habitats,for LOX/LH2 propulsion systems to enable return of humans or samples back to Earth or for a journey to the outer reaches of Space.
Because of the system's flexibility, the PVEx could be deployed on any extraterrestrial body that contains volatiles or hydrated minerals: Mars, the Moon, Europa, Enceladus, Asteroids, Comets, Phobos and Deimos. If the system were to be deployed on the Moon or NEOs, the water produced by the system could be returned to the ISS.
NASA's near term goal is to send humans to Mars. As such, PVEx could not only be used as a reconnaissance system, but also as a production plant to mine and process water and other volatiles. These would need to be mined and stored before human arrival to the surface.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The PVEx system could be used by several commercial companies that are interested in In Situ Resource Utilization for financial gain. These include Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries targeting Asteroids and Shackleton Energy Corp, targeting the Moon (see letter of interest from Shackleton Energy section 13). The ultimate goal of SpaceX is to establish human presence on Mars. As such, SpaceX would also benefit from mature volatile extraction technology.
Brining water from the Moon or NEOs could be very profitable given that launching water from Space costs ~$20,000/liter. The major market for water could be human consumption (e.g. once Bigelow Space Hotels are established) or refueling of existing satellites. The latter is of particular interest, since satellites come to the end of their life not because of electronics, or power, but because there are running out of fuel for station keeping. NASA and industry have been developing in space refueling technology, the first step in enabling refueling of satellites.
Other non-NASA applications include robotic acquisition of volatiles as well as soil and liquid samples from hazardous environments: chemical spills, nuclear waste, oil spills.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Heat Exchange
In Situ Manufacturing
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Resource Extraction
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Spacecraft Instrumentation & Astrionics (see also Communications; Control & Monitoring; Information Systems)

Form Generated on 03-10-16 12:21