NASA STTR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 T4.02-9942
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Regolith Resource Robotic
PROPOSAL TITLE: The World is Not Enough (WINE): Harvesting Local Resources for Eternal Exploration of Space

NAME: Honeybee Robotics, Ltd. NAME: University of Central Florida
STREET: Building 3, Suite 1005 63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150 STREET: 4000 Central Florida Blvd
CITY: Brooklyn CITY: Orlando
STATE/ZIP: NY  11205 - 1070 STATE/ZIP: FL  32816 - 3246
PHONE: (212) 966-0661 PHONE: (407) 823-2000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Philip Metzger
4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816 - 3246
(407) 823-5450

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Kris Zacny
398 West Washington Blvd, Suite 200
Pasadena, CA 91105 - 2000
(510) 207-4555

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Regolith Resource Robotic 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 paradigm of exploration is changing. Smaller, smarter, and more efficient systems are being developed that could do as well as large, expensive, and heavy systems in the past. The 'science' fiction becomes reality fueled by advances in computing, materials, and nano-technology. These new technologies found their way into CubeSats – a booming business in the 21st century. CubeSats are no longer restricted to aerospace companies. Universities and even High Schools can develop them.

The World is Not Enough (WINE) is a new generation of CubeSats that take advantage of ISRU to explore space for ever. The WINE takes advantage of existing CubeSat technology and combines it with 3D printing technology and a water extraction system developed under NASA SBIR, called MISWE . 3D printing enables development of cold gas thrusters as well as tanks that fit perfectly within the available space within the CubeSat. The MISWE allows capture and extraction of water, and takes advantage of the heat generated by the CubeSat electronics system. The water is stored in a cold gas thruster's tank and used for propulsion. Thus, the system can use the water that it has just extracted for prospecting to refuel and fly to another location. This replenishing of propellants extends the mission by doing ISRU (living off the land) even during the prospecting phase.

In Phase 1, we plan to test and investigate critical technologies such as (1) sample acquisition, (2) volatiles capture, and (3) 3D-printed cold gas thrusters that use water vapor including the organic and particulate contaminants that are inevitable during the early stages of asteroid mining. The engine is similar to a Solar Thermal Engine but scaled for a CubeSat. In Phase 2, we propose to develop a testbed of the critical systems and to demonstrate these onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA can use this system to prospect for mining that will support Mars exploration missions. It can also use the system for any planetary exploration when there is a known water resource close to the surface. It can be used to explore the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, Main Belt Asteroids including protoplanet Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, Mars, Europa, Titan, etc. The water propulsion technology can be adapted by NASA for its Extreme Access project to mine the permanently shadowed craters on the Moon. NASA can also use the system to test water/thermal propulsion at ISS. The results of that testing may lead to a new class of space tugs to help accomplish missions in cis-lunar space until a full water electrolysis capability has been established.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The 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. Bringing water from the asteroids could be very profitable given that launching water from space costs ~$20,000/liter. The major market for water could be human consumption and radiation shielding (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 in space.
The technology could also be applied to the Moon and used by Shackleton Energy Corp., company interested in mining water and delivering it for refueling spacecrafts at Geostationary Orbit and Geotransfer Orbit. The International Space University 2012 Summer School demonstrated the commercial viability of boosting spacecraft to Geostationary Orbit via water-based propulsion.
With the advent of small satellites (nanosats and CubeSats) one can imagine that these satellites could be able to stop at an Asteroid, refueling, and continue exploring.

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.)
Analytical Methods
Isolation/Protection/Shielding (Acoustic, Ballistic, Dust, Radiation, Thermal)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Resource Extraction
Simulation & Modeling
Sources (Renewable, Nonrenewable)

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37