NASA STTR 2022-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

Proposal Information

Proposal Number:
22-1- T7.04-1162
Subtopic Title:
Lunar Surface Site Preparation
Proposal Title:
Novel Payload Conveyance System - Demonstration in Planetary Berm Construction

Small Business Concern

Contour Crafting Corporation
215 South Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA 90245 - 4626
(310) 430-5255                                                                                                                                                                                

Research Institution:

University of Southern California
3720 S. Flower St. 3rd Floor, CA 90089 - 0701
(213) 740-6064                                                                                                                                                                                

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis
13900 Panay Way #R211, CA 90292 - 4128
(310) 430-5255                                                                                                                                                                                

Business Official:

Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis
13900 Panay Way #R211, CA 90292 - 4128
(310) 430-5255                                                                                                                                                                                

Summary Details:

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :                                                                                                                                                          
Begin: 2
End: 4
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words):

The focus of this STTR solicitation is construction of lunar infrastructure elements using bulk regolith and rock. The key requirement of all such construction operations will be a practical and versatile technology for effective regolith and rock conveyance which can operate in a variety of conditions and for a variety of lunar applications at highest possible energy efficiency.

All material conveyance equipment for Earth work are generally too large, and heavy and hence their design is not suitable for being flown to the Moon and operated there. Furthermore, such equipment are power-hungry and infeasible to operate using the limited energy sources accessible on the Moon. While traditional loader or truck would have to make return trips empty, CrafTram would eliminate the need for such back and forth transport of a vehicle. It is expected that CrafTram's low energy demand would allow for this continuous production.

Proposed is a novel autonomous material conveyance system called CrafTram, offering the following advantages: 

  • Is super lightweight and compact as compared to alternative to other material conveyance options,
  • It folds to a compact size to take minimal space in the rocket cargo compartment,
  • Is self-expanding upon deployment on lunar surface,
  • Is capable of transporting material to and from different elevations including sharp uphill or downhill trajectories
  • Uses the least possible amount of energy among all other alternatives for material conveyance.
  • Operates smoothly with minimum wear, regardless of sandy or rocky terrains,
  • Can convey material along sharp uphill or downhill trajectories.

The proposed effort includes analysis and design of the novel CrafTram system, and creation of a TRL 4 functioning 1/3 scale prototype of the technology. The proposed effort at the RI further includes analysis and design of a berm as the choice for demonstration structure. The CrafTram prototype is also expected to be tested in constructing a 1/3 scale berm section.

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words):

The proposed technology is a generic material conveyance system applicable to all regolith work activities, including the following NASA priorities:

  • Bulk regolith-based launch/landing zones 
  • Rocket PSI ejecta and blast protection structures (e.g., berms)
  • Regolith base and subgrade for hardened landing pads
  • Pathways for improved trafficability
  • Radiation shielding structures.
Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words):

Other applications are all terrestrial construction activities such as wet concrete delivery from concrete trucks or mixers to multiple desired locations. CrafTram also eliminates the need for energy hungry concrete pumps and long pipes which result in significant loss of material at the end of operation.

Another application is in automated storage and retrieval system as practiced in warehousing.

Duration:     13

Form Generated on 05/25/2022 16:21:00