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Arm-Deployed Rotary-Percussive Coring Drill

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Honeybee Robotics
460 West 34th Street New York, NY 10001-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Arm-Deployed Rotary-Percussive Coring Drill
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CB27C
Award Amount: $599,401.00


The continued development of automated sample acquisition and handling tools is of critical importance to future robotic missions on Mars, the Moon, Venus, and other planetary bodies. In response to the need for a compact, low mass, low power, and low weight-on-bit coring device, Honeybee Robotics proposes to continue development of an arm-deployed and arm-stabilized rotary-percussive coring tool. By using a robotic arm to deploy the coring tool into rock or soil targets and stabilize the tool while operating, the coring tool's internal deployment (or "z") axis and external stabilization devices can be removed, resulting in a more compact, lower mass device. Also, adding percussion to the coring tool will reduce average weight-on-bit and energy consumption over the duration of the coring operation. The flexibility afforded from a rover or lander arm to target outcroppings, and the relatively higher TRL of surface coring tools (vs. deeper subsurface drills), make surface coring, especially with an arm-deployed coring tool, a particularly attractive option for near term planetary exploration.During Phase I, a preliminary coring tool design was developed that weighs less than 5 kg and meets all of the current MSR requirements. Breadboard testing also demonstrated the feasibility of arm-deployed and stabilized coring. The objectives of Phase II are to further develop, demonstrate andcharacterize a TRL 5/6 MSR-compatible coring tool. The rotary-percussive coring tool will weigh less than 5 kg, be arm-deployed and stabilized, include a passive linear feed device, require less than 50 N weight-on-bit, produce and capture 1 cm diameter by 5 cm long cores, accommodate active bit change-out and passive bit release, and positively retain cores in core tubes when removed from the bit. The coring tool will be fully demonstrated and characterized at ambient and Mars conditions.

Principal Investigator:

Jack Wilson
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Chris Chapman
Small Business Information at Submission:

Honeybee Robotics Ltd.
460 West 34th Street New York, NY -

EIN/Tax ID: 880193033
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No