NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 S4.02-9202
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling
PROPOSAL TITLE: Extended Length Marsupial Rover Sensing Tether

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st Street Southwest, Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011 - 1921
(540) 769-8400

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ms. Emily H. Templeton
3155 State Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060 - 6604
(540) 953-4529

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ms. Shirley D. Evans
301 1st Street Southwest, Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011 - 1921
(540) 961-6724

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling 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)
Luna proposes to continue development of its marsupial rover sensing tether (MaRS Tether) technology by extending the length of the sensing technology out to nearly a kilometer. Luna's revolutionary technology monitors the distributed tension and curvature of a tether that connects a marsupial rover to its base station by turning a passive cable for power and communication into a powerful tool that provides information about the health and state of both the rover and the tether. The MaRS Tether can alert the base station to possible pinch points, snagged cables, or high tension due to poor traction or steep slope. Luna recently completed a Phase II SBIR with NASA JPL that introduced the first MaRS tether, identifying a snag location on a 50m tether with JPL's Axel rover and showing operation on a 100m tether. A related Phase I SBIR developed a road map for miniaturizing the tether's acquisition system. In this Phase I effort, Luna will prove the feasibility of extending the length of the sensing capabilities of the MaRS Tether through a focus on the tension measurement. This will greatly increase the operating range of lightweight, highly mobile rovers enabling more complex missions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The NASA market for self-sensing tethers is focused on missions featuring robotic exploration, especially using the Axel rover. NASA is planning specific missions including Mid-Size Rovers, Astrobiology Field Lab, Network Landers, Europa Explorer, and Titan-Enceladus Explorer to bring back samples from comets, asteroids, and the lunar south polar basin, and Mars. Market opportunities for tethered rovers within NASA often coincide with Mars exploration missions that are launched every 26 months. Prime contractors supporting NASA's rover missions include Lockheed Martin Astronautics. Extending the range of the sensing technology will increase the scope of missions where these sensing tethers can be used. For example, missions to explore the large Martian craters that show evidence of liquid water through recurring slope lineae will require tether lengths of several hundreds of meters.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Sensing tether technology has particular application in robotics, where tethered robots range from search and rescue rovers to underwater vehicles, and from tethered military robots to energy sector inspection robots. This technology has the potential to transform tethers from a necessary but cumbersome umbilical cord into a dynamic sensor that can aid in monitoring the health and position of the robot. Extending the length of this technology will increase the types of robots where this technology can be applied.

In addition to sensing tethers, extending the length of Luna's strain sensing technology will transfer to increased length for temperature sensing, curvature sensing, and full 3-D distributed position sensing, opening markets in NDE tool location, and path measurement markets. Extended length strain sensing will increase the market in aerospace distributed strain sensing to be applicable to larger aircraft.

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.)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Fiber (see also Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Photonics)
Lasers (Measuring/Sensing)
Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE; NDT)
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)
Telemetry (see also Control & Monitoring)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59