NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S5.04-9001
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Rendezvous and Docking Technologies for Orbiting Sample Capture
PROPOSAL TITLE: An ElectroAdhesive "Stick Boom" for Mars Sample Return Orbiting Sample Capture

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Altius Space Machines, Inc.
P.O. Box 270610
Louisville, CO 80027 - 5010
(801) 362-2310

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jonathan A Goff
P.O. Box 270610
Louisville, CO 80027 - 5010
(801) 362-2310

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The Electroadhesive "Sticky Boom", an innovative method for rendezvous and docking, is proposed for the Orbiting Sample Capture (OSC) portion of the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. This technology carries the advantages of greatly reducing the probability of accidental colisions, high inherent reliability from mechanical and guidance simplicity, lower propellant consumption, avoidance of plume impingement, high tolerance for relative spacecraft misalignment, very low mass and volume requirements, and reliable non-mechanical contact and proximity detection. The system consists of an electrically activated electroadhesive pad used for spacecraft capture, mounted flexibly on the end of a low volume/weight retractable boom. The research proposed in phase 1 aims to design a system optimized for MSR mission and demonstrate the reliable functionality of the system in simulated space environments raising the TRL from a 2 to a 3. This effort ends with a system design for a flight testbed for testing during Phase 2, thus further elevating the TRL to 5-6. Also covered are numerous other applications of the technology, which allows for docking with spacecraft not design for docking as well as capture of uncooperative targets and debris. Interest in application of this technology has been show by industry entities such as ULA.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to the Mars Sample Return OSC retrieval mission, technology based on the Sticky Boom concept has applications in:
-Any of the Flagship Technology Demonstrator missions which focus on autonomous rendezvous and docking
-Propellant depots, as reliable docking will be key to mission success
-Capture devices for active removal of orbital debris

The electrostatic adhesion pad itself, once proven for use in the space environment also has other applications separate from boom rendezvous:
-Robotic systems such as Robonaut which could benefit from more flexible means of movement on space stations rather than current rail bases systems
-Gripping surfaces for boots and gloves to improve EVA safety and flexibility.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Outside NASA, there is significant interest in rendezvous and docking systems that do not require the target vehicle to be predesigned for the mission, cooperative, or even controlled at all. Applications of this sort include:
-Space tugs for refueling or servicing existing space craft
-"Uncooperative" rendezvous and docking efforts, which DoD is interested in
-Debris capture for paid orbital debris removal services.
-"Life-extension" services or "orbital rescue" services, where a satellite that has either lost control, or is near the end of its propellant reserves can have its life extended by a servicing satellite.
-Other orbital servicing missions including ORU replacement
-A docking system enabling high-tempo delivery of propellants to propellant depots using "dumb" propellant tankers
-Simplification of the rendezvous/docking process for crew/cargo deliveries to orbital facilities.

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.)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12