NASA SBIR 2021-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

Proposal Number:          21-1- Z3.05-2626
Subtopic Title:
      Satellite Servicing Technologies
Proposal Title:
      Robotic Arm Force Torque Sensing System (RAFTSS)

Small Business Concern

Motiv Space Systems, Inc.
350 North Halstead Street, Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 737-5988                                                                                                                                                                                

Principal Investigator:

Chris Schad
350 North Halstead Street, CA 91107 - 3122
(626) 737-5974                                                                                                                                                                                

Business Official:

Tom McCarthy
350 North Halstead Street, CA 91107 - 3122
(626) 389-5783                                                                                                                                                                                

Summary Details:

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

Motiv Space Systems (Motiv) proposes a novel, space-rated, load sensing system that will enable the next generation of space-borne robotic end effectors:  The Robotic Arm Force Sensor Torque Sensing System (RAFTSS). 

Because the RAFTSS is designed with robotic, space-based applications as the primary application, it will advance the current state of the art in on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing.  The novel solutions in the RAFTSS system includes:

  1. Wide-Range 6-Degree-of-Freedom (W6D) FTS.  This sensor can be conceptually thought of as the “wrist” sensor. It can sense a broad range of imparted loads incurred during servicing and contact/capture operations (tens to hundreds of Newtons) with overload capabilities of 100 times the sensing range. 
  2. Point of Application (POA) 3-DOF load sensors.  These sensors can be thought of as the “fingertip” sensors of RAFTSS that are integrated directly into a tool or end effector gripper.  Their load sensing ranges and axes can be tailor designed to directly measure minute loads imparted by delicate servicing operations or low mass payload acquisition operations (tens of Newtons).
  3. Co-located electronics that not only condition the RAFTSS signals, but also processes and resolves the loads into meaningful operational loads at the point of interest (i.e. at the end effector).

This collaborative sensing approach addresses the primary challenges typically associated with force torque sensing systems. More specifically, designing systems capable of achieving accuracies and sensitivities at levels sufficient to support mission objectives while being robust enough to handle overload conditions typically associated with launch environmments and large masses integrated at the distal end of robotics has been challenging.

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

Force torque sensors are critical components in autonomous, or semi-autonomous, robotic systems.  As NASA pushes towards an increased use of autonomous robots in space, the RAFTSS will solve the pressing need for high sensitivity with high overload capability seen in almost every space robotics application.   The NASA based market includes a broad swath of mission applications from on-orbit manipulation including assembly and sample transfer operations to mobile rovers on the surface of the Moon or Mars driving exploration and science.  

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

The non-NASA space market includes both private space companies and foreign space agencies.  Private companies are increasingly taking roles in on-orbit assembly, debris removal, and satellite servicing tasks.  These tasks require the use of advanced robotic systems which could benefit from the inclusion of the RAFTSS system.  

Duration:     6

Form Generated on 04/06/2021 12:22:34