NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 X6.01-9794
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Robotic Systems for Human Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE: Parametric Optimization and Prediction Tool for Excavation and Prospecting Tasks

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Honeybee Robotics Ltd.
460 W. 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 2320
(212) 966-0661

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kris Zacny
460 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 - 2320
(510) 207-4555

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Honeybee Robotics therefore proposed to develop a software tool for facilitating prospecting and excavation system trades in support of selecting an optimal architecture for the Moon. The tool could serve as a starting platform for excavation software for Mars or asteroids. The tool will provide engineers with the ability to quickly examine "What if?" scenarios within a trade space by specifying a surface system architecture (e.g. lander or rover based, digging for ice or building burms) and receiving reliable data and graphs evaluating that architecture's performance in terms relevant metrics, such as total energy used or total duration.

The proposed software aims to be (a) user friendly, (b) relevant to NASA excavation priorities (xPRP: digging icy regolith for ISRU or LSS: outpost preparation), and (c) accurate for lunar excavation (equations verified by testing in relevant environment and scaled for gravity).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The software developed under this SBIR effort is specifically intended to facilitate system and architecture trades related to excavation activities on the lunar surface (either dry compacted regolith or icy-soil). At transportation costs of $50K-$100K per kilogram to the surface of the Moon, it is economically imperative that lunar excavation and ISRU tasks be accomplished as efficiently as possible.
Doing so requires not just minimizing the mass of individual systems, such as an ISRU reactor or a rover, but maximizing the efficiency of the overall architecture. This is no mean feat, and will require many trade studies as different architectures are devised to make use of the landed resources available. This software will speed the process, enabling quicker turnaround on trade studies and providing the best information available for decision making.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Honeybee has witnessed the interest of major international mining concerns in introducing robotics to industrial surface mines. The issues of maintaining trained and trusted personnel in increasingly remote and sometimes conflict-prone locations makes autonomous, semi-autonomous, and teleoperated mining equipment very attractive. In some cases, applying robotics to the mine is as simple as automating a formerly manual procedure. In other cases, the issues are more complex and require careful consideration of multiple alternative architectures. It is actually rather similar to the challenge of selecting appropriate excavation architecture for the Moon, with the added wrinkle of interfacing with legacy logistics and processing architecture.
With appropriate modifications, this software could provide a means to facilitate trade studies for commercial mining concerns increasing the use of robotics in the mine. This software will be especially well-suited to high-investment, high-payoff automation projects that introduce a completely new architecture as opposed to simply automating the existing equipment.

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 Resource Utilization
Integrated Robotic Concepts and Systems
Operations Concepts and Requirements
Software Tools for Distributed Analysis and Simulation

Form Generated on 08-06-10 17:29