NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-2 S4.05-9420
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Contamination Control and Planetary Protection
PROPOSAL TITLE: Development of a Hermetically Sealed Canister for Sample Return Missions

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
Building 3, Suite 1005 63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150
Brooklyn, NY 11205 - 1070
(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
(646) 459-7809

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Contamination Control and Planetary Protection 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)
The goal of this project is to develop hermetic sealing technologies which can be used for the return of samples from planetary bodies such as Mars, the Moon, Comets and Asteroids, with a primary focus on induction brazing as a means of sealing a Mars Sample Return Orbiting Sample (OS) after it has been recovered by the MSR Orbiter spacecraft.

During Phase 1, Honeybee Robotics investigated several techniques for providing hermetic sealing such as Knife Edge, Shape Memory Alloy, C-ring, O-ring and Induction Brazing. These were identified as promising hermetic sealing approaches which can be applied to Sample Return (SR) missions, such as the Flagship Mars SR, New Frontiers (NF) Comet SR and the Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin SR, identified by the NRC Decadal Survey as the primary missions for the next decade. The sealing system would be used to store samples of rocks, soils, atmospheric gas, ice or icy-soil.

Based on Phase 1, we determined that a brazing approach is the optimum method of sealing planetary samples and should be used as a primary seal. Knife edges and O-rings should be pursued as secondary and redundant (backup) seals, respectively. Therefore, we propose to design and fabricate hermetic sealing canisters and test their hermeticity to achieve leak rates of 10-7 atm cc/sec He. The canisters will be exposed to dust and thermal cycles to reach TRL 5/6 at the end of the Phase 2.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Future robotic astrobiology and geology missions such as Mars Sample Return, as well as Lunar, Comet and Asteroid sample return missions will benefit greatly from the ability to hermetically seal samples in a dusty environment. A robust sample canister that is dust tolerant will greatly reduce the complexity of support equipment that may otherwise be required to clean containment vessels prior to sealing.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Terrestrial uses of robust hermetically sealed containers might include telerobotic inspection and sampling of hazardous materials: chemical, biological, or nuclear. Tele-operated robots can go into many hazardous areas which humans cannot. These robots could be outfitted with canisters with hermetic seals which function in the presence of dirt, dust and chemicals. The canisters could be robotically filled with hazardous material, and hermetically sealed using the induction brazing technique. For example, when using a double walled cylinder approach, the outer contaminated sleeve could be separated, leaving the internal chamber sealed and safe for human handling and laboratory analysis.

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.)
Heat Exchange
Joining (Adhesion, Welding)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Process Monitoring & Control
Simulation & Modeling

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