Lightweight Low Force Rotary Percussive Coring Tool for Planetary Applications

Award Information
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Alliance Spacesystems, LLC
1250 Lincoln Blvd., Suite 100, Pasadena, CA, 91103-2466
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Scott Stanley
Principal Investigator
(626) 296-1373
Business Contact:
Scott Stanley
Director, Advanced Programs
(626) 296-1373
Research Institution:
Alliance Spacesystems, LLC produced a rotary percussive drill designed for space use under a NASA-funded Mars Instrument Development Program (MIDP) project – the Low-force Sample Acquisition System (LSAS). The flight-like drill prototype that was the end result of the project successfully drilled and acquired 1 cm³ samples from a variety of rocks and soils including the hardest anticipated Martian rock (basalt) and frozen soil. This ability was demonstrated not only in ambient conditions but also in a thermal/vacuum chamber replicating Mars pressure and extreme temperatures. The rotary percussive approach is simple, robust, and highly efficient with regards to power and mass. During the SBIR 2006 Phase I effort, Alliance took this heritage device and expanded its potential to include coring against a variety of rock materials anticipated to be encountered on Mars. Through the use of a breadboard fixture, coring bit designs and coring parameters were evaluated to identify optimum combinations. At the completion of test a conceptual design was generated taking this coring experience into account and adding core retention, break and ejection features. A bit change mechanism, identified as a requirement for successful operation while maintaining design robustness and simplicity, was added as well. A Phase II effort is now proposed that will take this conceptual design into prototype form. Primary activities to be performed during Phase II will include: • Additional coring test runs to work out final details of detail bit design • Detail design and prototyping of core handling mechanisms • Prototype testing of core handling mechanisms • Design and manufacture of full prototype LSAS Corer system • Testing of prototype LSAS corer • Integration of LSAS corer onto robotic platform and functional demonstration

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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