NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 17-2 H2.01-8820
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lunar Resources
PROPOSAL TITLE: Cuberover for Lunar Science and Exploration

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
2515 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(412) 682-3282

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Andrew De Salle Horchler
2515 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(216) 272-3882

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Fraser Kitchell
2515 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(206) 470-9055

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Lunar Resources 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)

CubeRover is a robust miniaturized rover for built for lunar science and exploration. With its 2-kg mass, the robot would be the smallest (and likely the least costly) planetary rover ever deployed. CubeRover’s mobility, power and sensing enable 0.5 km traverses, or greater, even over challenging lunar terrain. The rover is based on a highly-integrated single board computer (rover-on-a-board) with reliable flight software, has integrated lander stowage and deployment capability, and uses WiFi for teleoperation and shared computation between rover and lander. The system incorporates a flexible thermal design and includes mass and power allocation for small science instruments, opening up a range of novel applications, landing sites, and mission concepts. Finally, the design offers an approach toward standardization and commercialization of CubeRover parts and designs.

This proposal describes a detailed plan for the development, testing, and delivery of flight hardware by the end of the contract in 2020. Phase II work will mature the Phase I design and retire risks in pursuit of developing and delivering a flight-ready CubeRover. The proposed program consists of five technical objectives that address the key challenges of small size and mass, the harsh lunar environment, and broad applicability and flexibility for future missions and payloads. Work will mature subsystems to develop the final flight configuration to environmental specifications, build flight hardware, and perform qualification and acceptance testing. The key artifacts that will result include: a flight-qualified version of the single board computer, several prototype rovers for testing, and a flight-qualified CubeRover that can survive the trip to the Moon and perform its mission.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
CubeRover is designed for robustness and could be infused into any NASA mission to the Moon. To date, the team has identified six Lunar SKGs that could be studied using CubeRover and small, relevant scientific instruments with a clear path to flight.

Due to its relatively low deployment and development cost, CubeRovers will be excellent platforms for technology demonstration missions. Specific technologies that might be tested include rover batteries that could withstand high temperatures, space computing, novel materials or sensors, motors, power systems, or dust mitigating technologies. CubeRover will allow developers an affordable route through which to increase the Technology Readiness Level of their technology, and lower a barrier to technology development (and, while these technologies will be demonstrated on CubeRovers, the components that are validated and developed are likely to be relevant to rovers of all sizes).
Additionally, small rovers will allow engineers, entrepreneurs, and scientists to test novel, exciting, and high-risk concepts of operations. CubeRovers will be the first to demonstrate recharging from a centralized power source in a regolith environment, repair of surface assets, and establish a local communication infrastructure network. Demonstrating these concepts will be critical to enabling the establishment of long-term habitats on the Moon, but they are neither relevant nor economically feasible for investigation with a larger rover.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Astrobotic intends to commercialize CubeRover to allow entrepreneurs to develop tools and components for the platform. The hope is that the release of a standard will lead to increased development interest and investment in affordable, compatible parts for CubeRovers in the same way that CubeSats drove industry to centralize around common standards and components. The goal, long term, is that these rovers are well suited to technology demonstrations and a range of commercial endeavors on the lunar surface, including lunar volatiles prospecting, habitat building, monitoring and repair, and the establishment of local infrastructure (such as communication relay).

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.)
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Lifetime Testing
Mission Training
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)

Form Generated on 03-05-18 17:24