Solving the problem of extreme conditions in space
PASADENA, Calif., March 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Motiv Space Systems is proud to announce a key contract with NASA that will continue to fuel the future of space exploration and innovation, with its eyes on NASA’s Artemis program.
Motiva recently received a $5 million contract to begin the development of the Distributed Drive System for Extreme Environments (DEEDS) under the sequential Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II program. This breakthrough technology has applications in a wide range of missions, including in situ resource utilization systems, robotics, payload offload systems, and mobility systems on lunar and Martian surfaces.
“DEEDS specifically addresses the challenges of NASA’s “Survive and Operate During Lunar Night” goals by producing a modular and scalable actuation system that will fundamentally enable sustained operations on the Moon or Mars for long-range operations in extreme environments,” said Tom McCarthy, vice president of business development at Motiv. “This technology will become an essential asset for developers of landers, rovers and tools looking to help future planetary surface explorer astronauts.”
Today’s actuation systems must be kept warm to function and survive the extreme environments found on extraterrestrial surfaces, where temperatures can drop to minus 180 degrees Celsius. DEEDS will require no external heating to operate or survive, which will reduce a huge load of power – and ultimately mass – on a lander or rover. Some of this technology is already used by NASA COLD Arm project, and DEEDS will extend these cold usable capabilities to enable broader system operations.
As a modular and scalable system, DEEDS can be easily adapted to a wide variety of applications. These include driving large lunar vehicle mobility systems that carry astronauts. as well as autonomous robots performing specialized tasks, such as building structures on the lunar surface. Together, these unique capabilities and functions are among many that will be needed for a long-term human presence on the Moon under NASA’s Artemis program.
“As lunar exploration evolves, we expect to see the lifetime requirements of landers and mobility systems grow rapidly beyond a single lunar cycle,” McCarthy said. “Creating new technologies designed to – rather than be shielded from – the Moon’s environmental extremes will benefit a subsequent human exploration program on Mars.”
Under the SBIR Sequential Phase II contract, the DEEDS project will span two years to accelerate the development of technology to be qualified for future flight missions. Motiv is collaborating with two other companies in this effort, including Amorphology Inc. (responsible for manufacturing bulk metal glass gears for the actuator) and SEPAC Inc. (developing next-generation cryogenic braking systems).
Motiv Space Systems was founded in 2014 to bring innovative robotics and motion control solutions to the space market.
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SOURCE Motiv Space Systems