Scalable Gravity Offload System

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CC65C
Agency Tracking Number: 090088
Amount: $599,259.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2011
Solitcitation Year: 2009
Solitcitation Topic Code: T6.02
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
PA, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213-3524
Duns: 019738852
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 William Whittaker
 Principal Investigator
 (412) 268-6559
 red@cmu.edu
Business Contact
 David Gump
Title: Business Official
Phone: (412) 682-3282
Email: david.gump@astrobotictech.com
Research Institution
 Carnegie Mellon University
 Kim Basile
 5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15213-3815
 () -
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
A scalable gravity offload device simulates reduced gravity for the testing of various surface system elements such as mobile robots, excavators, habitats, and deployables in a relevant environment. The device is capable of simulating reduced gravity over an arbitrary terrain including such features as slopes, obstacles, and varying surface concavity. The device consists of a linear movement system, a 2 degree-of-freedom manipulator, a passive force application mechanism, and a position tracking mechanism. The manipulator travels along the linear movement system and is positioned perpendicular to the linear movement system's direction of travel. The result is a rectangular working area whereby the gravity offload device can simulate reduced gravity in the area defined by the length of the linear movement system by the width (reach) of the 2 degree-of-freedom manipulator. The force application mechanism is principled upon precision maintenance of a pressure in an air cylinder. Precision regulation of supply pressure enables constant force over the throw of the air cylinder. Varying the regulator supply pressure to the air cylinder(s) modifies the force experienced by the test article and therefore enables a gravity offload device to simulate a range of gravity fields proportional to the ability to regulate pressure.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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