Honeybee Robotics Secures Two Phase II SBIR Awards from NASA

  • -

Further development planned for on-orbit structures assembly technology and planetary surface scouting systems

Honeybee Robotics today announced it has received two NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards for new approaches to on-orbit structures assembly and planetary geotechnical characterization.

The Strut Attachment System for In-Space Robotic Assembly project will provide a common electromechanical connection architecture for robotic on-orbit structures. Concepts for future on-orbit assembly strategies envision the creation of networked strut/node space frame, as well as the ability to dock to those structures for power and data transfer. The Strut Attachment System will facilitate modular designs that reduce manufacturing and launch costs, as well as provide greater mission flexibility and upgradeability on-orbit. Following development in Phase 1, Honeybee now plans to create a robotic assembly demonstration of a networked structure with power and data network connectivity.

The Stinger project is a geotechnical sensing package for robotic scouting on a small planetary rover. The Stinger is designed to fill the current gap in geotechnical instrument capabilities with a percussive shear vane penetrometer capable of measuring near-surface and subsurface soil properties to a depth of 50 cm or greater. Detailed understanding of soil properties is critical for future surface operations including reliable operation of mobility systems, excavation, mining and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) operations, and regolith transport, all of which will be important for exploration missions and commercial ventures. During Phase 2, Honeybee plans to create a prototype system that can be integrated with existing planetary mobility platforms for testing in martian and lunar soil simulants.

Honeybee has over two decades of experience developing a range of on-orbit and planetary sampling and processing systems.