NASA SBIR 2021-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

Proposal Number:          21-1- Z3.03-1339
Subtopic Title:
      Development of Advanced Joining Technologies, Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing Processes, and Metal Recycling Technologies for On-Orbit Manufacturing
Proposal Title:
      In-Space Recycling System Using Electromagnetic Levitation and Induction to Process Metal into Rods

Small Business Concern

CisLunar Industries USA, Inc.
1040 South Gaylord Street, Suite 78, Denver, CO 80209
(303) 995-0733                                                                                                                                                                                

Principal Investigator:

Mr. Joseph Pawelski
1040 S Gaylord St, Suite 78, CO 80209 - 4682
(970) 556-2560                                                                                                                                                                                

Business Official:

Gary Calnan
1040 S Gaylord St, Suite 78, CO 80209 - 4682
(303) 995-0733                                                                                                                                                                                

Summary Details:

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :                                                                                                                                                          
Begin: 2
End: 3
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words):

The proposed In-Space Recycling System builds upon the proven terrestrial application of electromagnetic levitation furnace technologies and the ISS Materials Science Laboratory - Electromagnetic Levitator heritage with the intent to reduce contact (with some aspects fully contactless) in metal recycling and reuse. Per the noted NASA TX12.4.6 Repurpose Processes gap and need for on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (OSAM) our approach transforms spent components and larger structures into repurposed, useful products for on-orbit additive manufacturing, construction, and refueling.

We propose the use of multiple, software-controlled electromagnetic induction coils for the generation of gradients and minimums for 3 axis positioning control, movement through the heating elements, and into a desired shape. An array of sensors will determine accuracy of shape and position, enabling contactless heating and transport of the metal sample through the entire process.

Eight critical steps define the technical workflow:

  1. Delivery of cold heterogeneous material by 3rd parties (space tugs, cutting spent stages not simulated in this proposal).
  2. Introduction of heterogeneous material to foundry.
  3. Heating, melting 
  4. Control of molten material in 3 axis space
  5. Refining and alloying of varied metal types and materials (post Phase I).
  6. mixing of material to a homogenous state.
  7. Movement from levitation furnace to adjacent chamber(s) (post Phase 1).
  8. Manipulation of molten metal and cooling into ingot or rod (post Phase 1).

The input simulants will represent the varied dimensions and mass of rough-cut raw materials from spent upper stage or structure-scale space debris. The output will be a uniform metal rod or ingot as feedstock for use in multiple potential applications such as construction, additive manufacturing, and as a propellant for spacecraft.

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

Our proposed solution enables NASA to directly support on-orbit development of the stated OSAM Missions, provide construction materials for persistent platforms, support Moon to Mars vehicle assembly, and provide fuel for any mission that makes use of metal-based fuel. In addition, the proposed solution builds upon the ISS MSL-EML, therein advancing the technology of this legacy experiment for future researchers and experimentalists.

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

Our solution enables ADR (Astroscale, Altius, Northrop Grumman) spacecraft to use propellant produced from captured debris, thus removing propellant capacity as a lifespan constraint while dramatically lowering cost per removal mission. We will supply platform builders and operators (Nanoracks, Axiom, DoD) with feedstock for construction, additive manufacturing, and an on-orbit source for fuel.

Duration:     6

Form Generated on 04/06/2021 12:26:42