An ElectroAdhesive "Stick Boom" for Mars Sample Return Orbiting Sample Capture
The Electroadhesive "Sticky Boom", an innovative method for rendezvous and docking, is proposed for the Orbiting Sample Capture (OSC) portion of the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. This technology carries the advantages of greatly reducing the probability of accidental colisions, high inherent reliability from mechanical and guidance simplicity, lower propellant consumption, avoidance of plume impingement, high tolerance for relative spacecraft misalignment, very low mass and volume requirements, and reliable non-mechanical contact and proximity detection. The system consists of an electrically activated electroadhesive pad used for spacecraft capture, mounted flexibly on the end of a low volume/weight retractable boom. The research proposed in phase 1 aims to design a system optimized for MSR mission and demonstrate the reliable functionality of the system in simulated space environments raising the TRL from a 2 to a 3. This effort ends with a system design for a flight testbed for testing during Phase 2, thus further elevating the TRL to 5-6. Also covered are numerous other applications of the technology, which allows for docking with spacecraft not design for docking as well as capture of uncooperative targets and debris. Interest in application of this technology has been show by industry entities such as ULA.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Altius Space Machines, Inc.
P.O. Box 270610 Louisville, CO 80027-5010
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