NASA SBIR 2020-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 20-1- Z13.02-6350
 Dust Tolerant Mechanisms
 High Power Near-Field Wireless Transfer for Dust Intensive Applications
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
912 Fort Duquesne Boulevard, 3rd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 682-3282

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Michael Provenzano
912 Fort Duquesne Blvd Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(845) 399-0843

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Michael Provenzano
912 Fort Duquesne Blvd Pittsburgh, PA 15222 - 4613
(845) 399-0843
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 1
End: 4
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

A great challenge with power management is the way power is transmitted to other devices. Traditional space systems operate through nuclear, solar, or tethered power mechanisms that require great complexity and process to qualify and operate. Tethered systems are hindered tremendously by mechanically mated components that are prone to regolith incursion and that require large robotically generated forces for interconnection. Furthermore, astronauts suffer from limited suit dexterity to manipulate and manage such systems. Nuclear powered systems require intensive handling procedures, and in many cases, presidential authority to launch—greatly increasing the cost and schedule of such missions. Solar powered systems require continuous access to the Sun and must follow predicated operational plans to maximize sunlight exposure and limit system duty cycles, ultimately constraining system performance. A wireless charging system would mitigate these challenges for standalone systems that don’t have the resources to generate power independently through the traditional methods listed above and would in many cases eliminate the need for some quick disconnect technologies used in static joints. Furthermore, a charging technology such as this could have great utility not only on the Moon, but also in critical space applications on Mars, in orbit, and beyond.

The proposing team of Astrobotic and WiBotic, are developing a charging solution that can satisfy these needs. The performance and specifications of the proposed wireless charging system are summarized as follows:

  • Dust tolerant design for 1 µm lunar regolith particles
  • Charging rate of 1-1.5 kW
  • Charging range of 0-4cm (horizontal spacing), +/-5cm (lateral misalignment), 0-70deg (angular misalignment)
  • Mass of 10kg
  • Compact base station size of 29 x 37 x 33 cm and power receiver size of 12 x 18 x 3 cm
  • Operational temperature range of -200C to +86C to enable operations at the lunar pole and equator
Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

There are several applications that necessitate proximity chargers in space. In relation to the Moon, these activities include supporting marsupial roving missions, enabling robotic systems that do not contain onboard nuclear or solar power generators, charging toolkits on crewed lunar terrain vehicles, and powering the heaters of critical devices to survive the lunar night. Near-field wireless power transmitters are important tools to reduce regolith incursion in mechanically mated systems and static joints.

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

Robotic systems are increasingly utilized in warehouses, energy/utility plants, construction sites, mines, and for last mile delivery applications. Underwater robotic systems enable ocean research for aquaculture, ocean mapping and maritime trade security inspections. All of these systems are battery powered and require recharging to maintain a high level of reliability and automation.

Duration: 6

Form Generated on 06/29/2020 21:00:43