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Universal Brushless-DC Motor Controller for Space Applications

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2006 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Barrett Technology Inc
625 Mount Auburn Street Cambridge, MA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2006
Title: Universal Brushless-DC Motor Controller for Space Applications
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNC06CB39C
Award Amount: $70,000.00


The goal of this SBIR is to adapt an initial prototype ultra-miniature high-performance brushless-DC-motor controller, code named 'Puck', for use by NASA across a wide range of motor drives. The Puck was recently developed by Barrett for terrestrial mobile-manipulation uses where efficiency, low mass, and robustness are critical factors. While quite small (<50 grams), the controller can pump from milliamps to several amps continuous. Several features of this controller make it a candidate for NASA's wide range of needs for servomotor control in the demanding environments of extra-terrestrial and interplanetary exploration. One of the key enabling design strategies that led to the Puck is elimination of transmission lines through total integration of power conditioning, rotor-position optics, and commutation into a single tiny module. The module is small and energy efficient enough to make casting within high-heat-conduction plastic feasible. Pure conduction cooling, a distinct advantage for NASA applications, is unusual for motor amplifiers which are generally cooled by natural convection or forced air. The hermetically-sealed packaging also excludes lunar or Martian dust from affecting robustness. The primary strategy for this technology to avail for NASA will be to minimize the effects of radiation while enabling self-diagnosis, self-repair, and ultimately easy change-out.

Principal Investigator:

William Townsend
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

David Wilkinson
Director of Engineering
Small Business Information at Submission:

Barrett Technology
625 Mount Auburn St. Cambridge, MA 02138

EIN/Tax ID: 043072253
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No