NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 Z4.01-9708
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In-Space Structural Assembly and Construction
PROPOSAL TITLE: The Automated X-Link for Orbital Networking (AXON) Connector

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 North Creek Parkway South, Suite D113
Bothell, WA 98011 - 8808
(425) 486-0100

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Blaine Levedahl
1711 N. Creek Pkwy S., D113
Bothell, WA 98011 - 8808
(425) 486-0100

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Robert Hoyt
11711 North Creek Parkway South, Suite D113
Bothell, WA 98011 - 8808
(425) 486-0100

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In-Space Structural Assembly and Construction 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)
NASA has identified the need for a joining technologies to support the ability to connect spacecraft components autonomously in-space. The joining technology should be modular, reversible, have an open-architecture, and allow "plug-and-play" functionality for maximum flexibility and utilize simple approaches amenable to robotic assembly and disassembly. TUI has been working on structural truss joining (Class 1 joints) and robotic connection approaches through separate efforts and has several ongoing and future efforts that will require in-space joining of modular systems (Class 2 joints).
TUI proposes to develop and demonstrate an open-architecture Class 2 joining solution called the Automated X-Linked for Orbital Networking (AXON) connector. The AXON connector will be a reversible module-to-module connector that minimizes mass and complexity while maximizing assembled stiffness, strength, power transfer, and data communications. The development of the AXON connector will leverage TUI's existing programs and place emphasize automated robotic mating and de-mating.
In the Phase I effort, we will identify a complete set of requirements, develop a concept design, fabricate the concept using TUI's 3D printing and rapid prototyping capabilities, and test the AXON connector using TUI's Baxter robot. In the Phase II effort, TUI will mature the Phase I design and perform reliability testing.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The AXON connector will facilitate in-space assembly of satellites, exploration probes, and habitats for robotic and manned missions to the moon, Mars, and deep space destinations. Specific NASA Technology Roadmap topic areas that can benefit from the AXON connector include very large solar array structure (, reusable modular components (, deployables, docking, and interfaces (12.3.1), power management and distribution (3.3), structures and antennas for observatories (8.2.2), and systems engineering for robotic and autonomous systems (4.7).

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Beyond spacecraft applications, the advancements the AXON connector enables for in-space structural construction technologies will be directly applicable to constructing large structures in-space and enabling new missions in both the commercial space industry and the DoD. TUI is already developing complementary in-space manufacturing technologies with both the DoD and commercial partners.

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.)
In Situ Manufacturing
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Passive Systems
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Spacecraft Design, Construction, Testing, & Performance (see also Engineering; Testing & Evaluation)
Waveguides/Optical Fiber (see also Optics)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59