NASA STTR 2015 Solicitation
FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY
|PROPOSAL NUMBER:||15-2 T4.02-9942|
|PHASE 1 CONTRACT NUMBER:||NNX15CK13P|
|RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE:||Regolith Resource Robotic|
|PROPOSAL TITLE:||The World is Not Enough (WINE): Harvesting Local Resources for Eternal Exploration of Space|
|SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC):||RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):|
|NAME:||Honeybee Robotics, Ltd.||NAME:||University of Central Florida|
|STREET:||Building 3, Suite 1005 63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150||STREET:||4000 Central Florida Boulevard|
|STATE/ZIP:||NY 11205 - 1070||STATE/ZIP:||FL 32816 - 8005|
|PHONE:||(212) 966-0661||PHONE:||(407) 882-0262|
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Philip Metzger
12354 Research Parkway, Partnership 1 Building, Suite 214
Orlando, FL 32826 - 0650
CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Building 3, Suite 1005 63 Flushing Avenue Unit 150
Brooklyn, NY 11205 - 1070
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Regolith Resource Robotic 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)
The World is Not Enough (WINE) is a new generation of CubeSats that take advantage of ISRU to explore space. The WINE takes advantage of existing CubeSat technology and combines it with 3D printing technology and an In Situ Resource utilization (ISRU) water extraction system. 3D printing enables development of steam thrusters (higher Isp than cold gas) as well as tanks that fit within the available space within the CubeSat. The ISRU module captures and extracts water, and takes advantage of the heat generated by the CubeSat electronics system with supplemental power from solar charged batteries. The water is stored in a steam thruster tank and used for propulsion. Thus, the system can use the water that it has just extracted as fuel to fly to another location. The WINE is ideally suited as a prospecting mission and reconnaissance mission before the mining/exploration missions are launched.
In Phase 1, we demonstrated critical technologies such as (1) sample acquisition, (2) volatiles capture, and (3) various CubeSat designs. In Phase 2, we propose to develop a testbed of the critical ISRU/propulsion system (regolith -> volatiles -> tank -> thruster) and GNC technology, and in Phase 3 we will demonstrate it in space as a hitchhiker payload on a mission such as EM-1 or EM-2, or onboard the International Space Station (ISS). An ISS demonstration can extract water from a meteorite analog (brought up to ISS), use the water to fuel a WINE CubeSat, eject it into LEO, and measure propulsion performance to improve the technology as it demonstrates a change in Delta-V from asteroid-mined water.
The main objective of this effort is to develop a WINE spacecraft with capability to prospect planetary bodies using its instruments, perform ISRU to extract volatiles (water), and use water in a thermal steam propulsion system to keep exploring the Solar System.
POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA can use this system to prospect for mining that will support Mars exploration missions. It can also use the system for any planetary exploration when there is a known water resource close to the surface. It can be used to explore the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, Main Belt Asteroids including protoplanet Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, Mars, Europa, Titan, etc.
A water-based cold-gas propulsion system is planned for development by the KSC Swamp Works for the Extreme Access vehicle, so all the progress made here will directly help NASA advance that project. Mars mission architects will see the reality of space-mined water and begin to build it into their architectures. Investors in commercial space activity will see that asteroid mining is real, and that transporting spacecraft from LEO to GEO is a viable business worthy of funding, which will create customers for space mining. Space mining companies may also gain investors and make more progress that furthers the confidence of NASA mission architects. Establishing a testbed for these activities in Space Station will result in great interest from the public, greater awareness of the reality that space industry will solve problems on Earth, and ongoing support from policymakers and NASA decision makers to advance the relevant technologies via Space Station. It may also advance the vision of utilizing Station for additional space mining and space industry activities.
POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The system could be used by several commercial companies that are interested in In Situ Resource Utilization for financial gain. These include Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries targeting asteroids. Bringing water from the asteroids could be very profitable given that launching water from space costs ~$20,000/liter. The major market for water could be human consumption and radiation shielding (e.g. once Bigelow Space Hotels are established) or refueling of existing satellites. The latter is of particular interest, since satellites come to the end of their life not because of electronics, or power, but because there are running out of fuel for station keeping. NASA and industry have been developing in space refueling technology, the first step in enabling refueling of satellites in space.
The technology could also be applied to the Moon and used by Shackleton Energy Corp., company interested in mining water and delivering it for refueling spacecrafts at Geostationary Orbit and Geotransfer Orbit. The International Space University 2012 Summer School demonstrated the commercial viability of boosting spacecraft to Geostationary Orbit via water-based propulsion.
With the advent of small satellites (nanosats and CubeSats) one can imagine that these satellites could be able to stop at an asteroid, refuel, and continue exploring.
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 Astronautics)
Navigation & Guidance
Relative Navigation (Interception, Docking, Formation Flying; see also Control & Monitoring; Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Simulation & Modeling
Spacecraft Design, Construction, Testing, & Performance (see also Engineering; Testing & Evaluation)
Spacecraft Main Engine