Honeybee Robotics Receives Six NASA Awards for Technology Development

May 1, 2014 – Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corporation announced that it has received six NASA awards for technology development through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The awards will fund new approaches to planetary sampling systems, spacecraft mechanisms, and unmanned ground vehicles for Earth and Lunar applications.

“Securing these SBIR and STTR awards is a vote of confidence from NASA about the quality and innovation that Honeybee delivers,” said Stephen Gorevan, chairman and co-founder of Honeybee Robotics. “We’re excited to be building on our heritage of planetary sample collection and processing with several new projects aimed at Venus, the moon, and comets, in addition to new technologies to enhance autonomous ground vehicles for Earth and Lunar applications. And above all, these awards are a testament to the energy and creativity of our engineering teams across all three Honeybee offices.”

The six awards cover the following research areas:

  • Adaptive LIDAR Vision System for Advanced Robotics (SBIR Select Phase I project) to create a new compact technology for navigation of unmanned ground vehicles.
  • High Temperature Venus Drill and Sample Delivery System (SBIR Phase I project), which will create a hybrid system combining a Venus Drill and Trencher capable of acquiring surface and subsurface regolith as well as pulverized rocks (i.e. cuttings) for scientific analysis.
  • Pyramid Comet Sampler (SBIR Phase I project) to develop an Inverted Pyramid sampling system, in which each face of the pyramid includes an independently-actuated cutting blade to pierce into the surface of a comet at a steep angle and sample the material with minimal tangential forces.
  • Extreme Environment Sampling System Deployment Mechanism (SBIR Phase I project), which will integrate previously-developed extreme temperature actuators with functional elements to demonstrate a complete multi-DOF deployment mechanism suitable for candidate surface missions to Venus or a comet.
  • Flywheel Energy Storage for Lunar Rovers & Other Small Spacecraft (SBIR Phase I project), a project to explore alternatives to radiological thermal control systems, instead using an extreme environment flywheel energy storage system that could supply enough power to heat the critical electronics during the Lunar night.
  • Free-Flying Unmanned Robotic Spacecraft for Asteroid Resource Prospecting and Characterization (STTR Phase I project), under development with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) to create an integrated autonomous free-flyer robotic spacecraft system that supports the exploration and subsequent resource utilization of asteroids and other planetary bodies and moons.