NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-1 S4.03-9269
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions
PROPOSAL TITLE: Anchoring a lander on an asteroid using foam stabilization

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Adherent Technologies, Inc.
5505 Foothills Canyon Road Northeast
Albuquerque, NM 87111 - 8346
(505) 346-1685

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jan-Michael Gosau
11208 Cochiti Rd SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123 - 3361
(505) 346-1688

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Susan Switzer
5505 Foothills Canyon Road Northeast
Albuquerque, NM 87111 - 8346
(505) 346-1685

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Spacecraft Technology for Sample Return Missions 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 proposed several missions to land a craft on an asteroid and potentially to return samples from it. While large asteroids in the asteroid belt can exhibit a significant amount of gravity, most near-earth asteroids are small and show a surface gravity of less than 0.1% of earth. Landing, and staying on the surface of such a small object is a challenge, especially for manned missions. Just the movement of an astronaut in and out of the lander during excursions would most likely dislodge the vehicle. Similarly, drilling for a sample return mission requires the ability to exert force onto the surface without pushing the lander off the surface. A solid anchoring system is required, but made difficult due to the potentially rubble-like consistency of small asteroids, which makes classic mechanical anchoring difficult.
Adherent Technologies, Inc. (ATI) has developed innovative materials for space use for over a decade. These include inflatable structures, self-sealing membranes, coatings for satellites and solar sails, and vacuum-deployable foams. The proposed program will combine these technologies to produce an anchoring system that deploys either a sticky screen that can attach to a solid rock formation or a foam injection anchor that can bind a large amount of rubble as an anchoring point. The system is modular, and a decision which anchoring method to use only needs to be made on location.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
With the potentially large commercial potential of asteroid mining, the anchoring system is not a one-shot application. Multiple "path finder" missions will be needed to identify lucrative asteroids, and a modular anchoring system capable of supporting a variety of mission profiles have the potential for series production, at least by space mission standards.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A second space application is the removal of orbital debris using the anchor screen to capture objects in space and de-orbit them using a small rocket motor. The large number of identified orbital debris parts will again require a long-term production of such units to clear commercially or militarily important orbits. Additionally, the same type of units could be attached to newly launched satellites or the space station to provide a close in debris defense mechanism when changes to the space craft orbit are too energy intensive or would bring the space craft into the trajectory of other debris.
The foams developed for this program also have applications in emergency ground stabilization, remediation of mining tailings and in the stabilization of asbestos prior to removal.

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.)
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Resource Extraction
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 03-28-13 15:21