NASA SBIR 2018-II Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 18-2- Z4.02-2682
 In-Space Sub-Modular Assembly
 MagTag Modular Interfaces for Palletized Subsystems and Satellites
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Altius Space Machines, Inc.
3001 Industrial Lane, Unit #5
Broomfield, CO 80020
(801) 362-2310

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Geoffrey Licciardello
3001 Industrial Lane, Unit #5
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 7153
(401) 595-8937

BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jonathan Goff
3001 Industrial Lane, Unit #5
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 7153
(801) 362-2310

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 5
End: 7
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

To enable serviceable satellites and persistent orbital platforms, the need exists for simple, robust and lightweight modular interfaces. Such interfaces allow for a variety of functions to be upgraded at low-cost using affordable commercial satellite servicing vehicles. Given the large number of LEO constellations in development, such modular interfaces provide a low-cost way of restoring degraded functionality, enabling constellation operators to extend the productive lifetime of their satellites (e.g. plug-and-play modules for replacement batteries, reaction wheels, etc). This eliminates the need to de-orbit and replace satellites which otherwise may be completely functional.

Altius has developed an electropermanent-magnetically coupled electrical and/or fluid connection “MagTag™” interface that is robust and lightweight. The proposed MagTag interface provides the following benefits:

  • Robust: Electropermanent magnets (EPMs) offer a bi-stable latching mechanical connection with no moving parts. Magnetic coupling reduces strain due to thermal conditions at the interface boundary
  • Latching: EPMs only require power to change gripping states from on-to-off, they can hold an attached payload indefinitely without consuming power.
  • Lightweight: Without heavy mechanical connections, the overall interface can be produced within a small footprint saving on mass and volume.
  • Low-Profile: Each interface half can fit within an approximately 7.5 x 7.5 x 2 cm envelope.
  • Reconfigurable: Allows for a highly configurable interface suited to a wide array of general customer needs and allows for development of specialized interfaces for specific payloads and sub assemblies.
  • Scalable: Usable for full subassembly interfaces to satellites or component level interfaces to larger subassemblies. The general concept can be scaled up to support larger modules.

These interfaces will allow for enhanced serviceability and upgradability of future space assets for NASA, DoD, and commercial interests.

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

The MagTag offers a highly modular, lightweight, and capable interface that is suited for the following NASA applications:

  • A sub-module interface for in-Space Assembly (iSA) of space telescopes, habitats, or other persistent space platforms
  • An IVR/EVR interface for the Lunar Gateway and future orbital constructions
  • A modular upgrade / maintenance / repair interface for habitats 
  • A life-extension and capability enabler for upgrade / maintenance / repair of future earth science satellites 
Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
  • Dual-use cubesat/smallsat deployer interfaces that leave behind servicing ports
  • Swappable hosted-payload ports for condosats, commercial LEO stations and LEO constellations
  • Upgrade/repair ports for larger LEO/MEO/GEO satellites
  • Sensor or droppable payload interfaces for UAVs
  • End-effector interfaces for robotic manipulators for satellite servicing and in-Space Assembly (iSA)
Duration: 24

Form Generated on 05/13/2019 13:34:20