NASA Selects ISRU Projects for SBIR Awards

NASA LOGONASA has selected eight research projects focused on in-situ resource utilization for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research Phase I program.

The selected projects include:

  • Extraterrestrial Metals Processing — Pioneer Astronautics
  • Robotic ISRU Construction of Planetary Landing and Launch Pad — Honeybee Robotics
  • Extruded Clay-Based Regoliths for Construction on Mars, Phobos and NEAs — Deep Space Industries
  • In-Situ Generation of Polymer Concrete Construction Materials — Luna Innovations
  • ISP3: In-Situ Printing Plastic Production System for Space Additive Manufacturing — Altius Space Machines
  • Compact In-Situ Polyethylene Production from Carbon Dioxide — Opus 12
  • Micro-Channel Reactor for Processing Carbon Dioxide to Ethylene — Reactive Innovations
  • OpenSWIFT-SDR for STRS Polyethylene Production from In-Situ Resources in Microchannel Reactors — TDA Research

Full descriptions of the projects are below.

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NASA Selects CubeSat & NanoSat Proposals for SBIR & STTR Awards

Two ESA CubeSats, the student-built AAUSat-5 and the professional technology demonstrator GomX-3, were deployed together from the International Space Station on 5 October 2015, going on to separate to begin their missions. (Credit: NASA)
Two ESA CubeSats, the student-built AAUSat-5 and the professional technology demonstrator GomX-3, were deployed together from the International Space Station on 5 October 2015, going on to separate to begin their missions. (Credit: NASA)

NASA has selected at at least 28 proposals involving Cube-, nano- and micro-sats for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I awards.

The total includes 23 SBIR and five STTR projects. Companies are partnered with university researchers for the STTR awards.

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NASA Selects Altius Space Machines for 3 SBIR Awards

Altius_logo_newNASA has selected Altius Space Machines of Broomfield, Colo., for three Small Business Innovation Research Phase I awards for advanced propulsion in-situ resource utilization technologies.

The three proposals selected for contract negotiations include:

  • Solar Cube 2U: A Heliogyro Propulsion System for CubeSats
  • High-Flow, Low Connection-Force, In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Coupling
  • ISP3: In-Situ Printing Plastic Production System for Space Additive Manufacturing.

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Altius Space Machines Selected for SBIR Phase I Award

LISA Manipulators attached to a free-flying robot. (Credit: Altius Space Machines)
LISA Manipulators attached to a free-flying robot. (Credit: Altius Space Machines)

NASA has selected Altius Space Machines for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award to develop a system that would allow International Space Station (ISS) crew members to off-load some of their menial tasks to robots.

Altius is developing low-inertia STEM arm (LISA) manipulators for use on SPHERES robots that are now being used aboard the space station. SPHERES are currently being used as testbeds for relative navigation and proximity operations, but NASA is interested in developing them to assist astronauts with various tasks.

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A Closer Look at Altius Space Machines Projects — Part II

Altius_logo_newBy Jonathan Goff
CEO and President
Altius Space Machines

Part 2 of 2

In the last post, I introduced the two SBIR Select Phase 1 contracts that Altius has commenced work on. This blog post will focus on the other two Asteroid Redirect Mission contracts which mentioned there. These have been selected for contract negotiation, but aren’t active contracts yet, so I will try to be a little more high-level in this blog post.

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NASA Selects 18 Proposals for Asteroid Redirect Mission Studies

In this concept image, the robotic vehicle deploys an inflatable bag to envelop a free-flying small asteroid before redirecting it to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)
In this concept image, the robotic vehicle deploys an inflatable bag to envelop a free-flying small asteroid before redirecting it to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 18 proposals for studies under the Asteroid Redirect Mission Broad Agency Announcement (BAA).  These six-month studies will mature system concepts and key technologies and assess the feasibility of potential commercial partnerships to support the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, a key part of the agency’s stepping stone path to send humans to Mars.

The agency is working on two concepts for the mission. The first concept would fully capture a very small asteroid in free space and the other would retrieve a boulder off of a much larger asteroid. Both concepts would redirect an asteroid mass less than 10 meters in size to orbit the moon. Astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft launched on the Space Launch System (SLS) would rendezvous with the captured asteroid mass in lunar orbit and collect samples for return to Earth.

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Altius Space Machines Displays MIDAS Touch with Deep Space CubeSats

altiusBy Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected Jon Goff’s Altius Space Machines for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)  grant to develop an aerobraking and aerocapture system using an electromagnetic coil that would allow CubeSats to explore other planets and their moons.

The project, which is being done in cooperation with MSNW LLC of Redmond, Wash., involves technology that can be scaled up for larger robotic and human missions to Mars and other worlds. The electromagnetic systems would allow for significant mass savings in the size of the spacecraft.

Altius’ work focuses on the Multi-Purpose Interplanetary Deployable Aerocapture System (MIDAS), which could be packaged into 6U CubeSats sent to Mars, Venus, or Jupiter’s moon Europa.

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NASA Eyes Sending CubeSats into Deep Space

CubeSat
CubeSat

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

So far, CubeSats have been used exclusively in Earth orbit. But, imagine a fleet of these tiny spacecraft fanning out to the moon and other deep-space destinations.

That’s what NASA has in mind. The space agency has just committed about $1.1 million to fund nine research projects that address different deep-space cubesat technologies. The funding is part of the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Select Phase 1 grants announced earlier this week.

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This Week on The Space Show

spaceshowlogo
This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, March 11, 2013: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome the return of DAVID HOOK to discuss updates with aviation security and the new General Aviation Security Magazine.

2. Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome MARK WHITTINGTON back to the show to discuss the current state of affairs regarding space and his new space related novella available on Amazon, “Dreams of Barry’s Stepfather.”

3. Thursday, March 14, 2013:, 9:30-10:30 AM PDT (12:30-1:30 PM EDT, 11;30 AM-12:30 PM CDT). We welcome JANET STEVENS of the Space Foundation to discuss the upcoming National Space Symposium

4. Friday, March 15, 2013, 9:30-11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT, 11:30AM-1PM CDT): We welcome back JON GOFF of Altius for company updates plus a discussion of his lunar patent idea.

5. Sunday, March 17, 2013, 12-1:30 PM PDT, 3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT. We welcome back DR. JIM WERTZ to continue the discussion regarding reducing space mission costs. Dr. Wertz will also discuss what seems to work and not to work based on practical experiences.

Altius Space Machines Wins Contract to Develop Touch-to-Grasp Gripper with JPL

Louisville, CO September 19, 2012 (Altius PR) — Altius Space Machines is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Pasadena, CA. to provide engineering services as part of the DARPA Phoenix Program. The goal of the DARPA Phoenix Program is to develop and demonstrate technologies to cooperatively repurpose valuable components from retired, nonworking satellites and demonstrate the ability to create new space systems at greatly reduced cost.

Altius Space Machines will work with JPL to develop a Gecko Gripper Touch-to-Grasp tool incorporating JPL’s synthetic Gecko adhesive technology that mimics the ability of Gecko lizards to adhere to walls. This effort will leverage previous work done by Altius on uncooperative capture mechanisms.

About Altius Space Machines, Inc.

Altius Space Machines is a Louisville, Colorado based space technology company founded with the goal of reducing barriers to space commerce. Altius is currently developing rendezvous and docking solutions using its Sticky BoomTM non-cooperative capture technology, for space stations and propellant depots, manned spaceflight, satellite servicing, and other applications. For more information visit www.altius-space.com

Altius Signs Space Act Agreement with NASA Langley

Louisville, CO, September 4, 2012 (Altius PR) — Altius Space Machines of Louisville, CO is pleased to announce that we have signed a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA Langley Research Center of Hampton, Va., to develop concepts for a new series of compactly-stowable, long-reach spacecraft robotic manipulators.
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Altius Space Machines Wins DARPA ZombieSat Contract

Phoenix satellite concept. (Credit: DARPA)

Louisville, CO, July 30th, 2012 (Altius PR) — Altius Space Machines of Louisville, CO is delighted to announce that we have signed a contract with DARPA to provide engineering services as part of the DARPA Phoenix Program. Associated with Altius Space Machines in this contract is ROCCOR LLC. of Louisville, CO., Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation of Pasadena, CA, and The University of Colorado at Boulder, CO.

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Altius Space Machines Gets Seed Funding From Orrery Group

Bellevue, Washington – May 23, 2011 – Space Angels Network, LLC, a national network of seed‐ and early‐stage investors focused on aerospace‐related ventures, today announced that Richard M. David, a Space Angels Network member and managing member of the Orrery Group, LLC, led a seed‐stage investment in Altius Space Machines (ASM) of Louisville, Colorado. The investment corresponds with ASM’s successful testing of its “Sticky Boom” electro‐adhesive rendezvous and capture technology on a microgravity flight provided by the Zero Gravity Corporation on May 14, 2011. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

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Altius Space Machines Snags Investment

Congratulations are in order for Jon Goff. His start-up, Altius Space Machines, has snagged a round of investment.

Joe Landon of the Space Angels Network made an announcement about the funding during a presentation this morning at the International Space Development Conference in Huntsville. The group helps connect entrepreneurs with investors who fund early-stage start-ups.

Details of the investment are set to be announced shortly in a press release.

Goff founded Altius after leaving Masten Space Systems. The company is working on “sticky boom,” which is a new system for rendezvous and docking in space that can be used for Mars sample return missions, orbital debris removal, and other activities. NASA awarded Altius a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to develop the technology.

Video: Micro-G Test of “Sticky Boom” Docking Tech

Video Caption: This video is the first Zero-G flight test of Altius Space Machine’s Electroadhesive “Sticky Boom” rendezvous and docking technology. This test was carried out by Altius engineer Mike Judson and Altius CEO Jonathan Goff on May 14th 2011, on a parabolic aircraft flight run by the Zero Gravity Corporation.

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