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Lunar Truss Design and Construction

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC23PB375
Agency Tracking Number: 232324
Amount: $145,958.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: Z14
Solicitation Number: SBIR_23_P1
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-11
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-02-02
Small Business Information
1353 Wade Drive
Elkhart, IN 46514-8229
United States
DUNS: 029334499
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Arnold Wright
 (574) 327-6730
Business Contact
 Dave Hofferbert
Phone: (574) 327-6730
Research Institution

This project will advance technology for the automated assembly of large truss towers.nbsp; Assembly of truss-based structures is one of the leading candidates for establishing some of the early lunar infrastructure.nbsp; Specifically, joining technologies and robotic tools are required to enable autonomous/automated assembly of tall towers as well as shelters, domes and habitats.nbsp; Automated assembly using fasteners presents challenges related to the management of the large quantity of small parts, whereas an integral joining technique such as Friction Stir Welding (FSW) can reduce the need for a material handling system that feeds rivets or bolts.nbsp; FSW be more easily integrated into an autonomous assembly process.nbsp; With a FSW solution for robots, parts can be assembled on 7 axes (as opposed to 3 or 5 on a machining center machine), allowing the entire surface of large parts to be covered and welded in 3 dimensions.nbsp;A variant of traditional FSW, Refill Friction Stir Spot Welding (RFSSW) was developed for making spot joints in overlapped materials, similar to joints made using fasteners like bolts or rivets.nbsp;nbsp;Some work has been done in design of space-based trusses, and also in robotic assembly of space-based structures, but an integrated solution for the assembly and joining process is still needed.nbsp; This proposal addresses the opportunity to perform automated assembly of tall towers using the energy efficient, low parts count and high joint strength method of RFSSW.nbsp; It is expected that this project will raise the TRL from 2 to 4.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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