Fiber Optic Shape Sensing for Tethered Marsupial Rovers

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX13CP33P
Agency Tracking Number: 125236
Amount: $124,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: S4.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
VA, Roanoke, VA, 24016-4962
DUNS: 627132913
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Emily Horrell
 Principal Investigator
 (540) 953-4259
Business Contact
 Shirley Evans
Title: Business Official
Phone: (540) 961-6724
Research Institution
Luna Innovations Incorporated is proposing to design, build, and test a shape, length, and tension sensing tether for robotic exploration and sample-gathering missions on remote planets and moons. The proposed tether system is capable of determining the location and orientation of marsupial robots as they navigate difficult terrain. The tether system will also provide shape and tension information along the entire tether, distinguishing elevation changes, tension due to snags, and potential points of harm. The tension feedback is particularly crucial, as it can be used to determine whether the rover has fallen down a slope or cliff, lost traction, or whether it is still moving under its own power. The system is based on Luna's unique fiber optic position and shape sensing technology, and is an enabling technology for obtaining images, data, and samples in areas with difficult terrain. In addition to providing new, vital feedback, the fiber optic shape sensor within the tether is lightweight, small, and flexible. Luna's unique shape sensing fiber also has the potential to provide both communication and power through the same fiber, further reducing the size and weight of the total tether package.

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

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