Honeybee Robotics and mPower Technology Selected by NASA to Provide Lunar Power Grid for Artemis Exploration
Portable, flexible, and deployable solar array to support human and robotic exploration
ALTADENA, Calif. and ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – August 30, 2022 – Honeybee Robotics, LLC., a leader in technology and product development for advanced planetary surface robotics and spacecraft systems, together with innovative solar company, mPower Technology, Inc., announced today that NASA has awarded the companies a $7M contract to build prototypes and complete environmental testing of a Lunar vertically deployable solar array. This program is in preparation for a future technology demonstration mission at the Moon’s South Pole, as part of the NASA Artemis program.
Through the Artemis missions, NASA will return humans to the Moon as the first step towards permanent Lunar habitation and Martian exploration. NASA’s Space Technology and Mission Directorate (STMD) is working with private industry to provide solutions to power this next phase of Lunar expansion.
Honeybee Robotics’ innovative design, called the Lunar Array Mast and Power System (LAMPS), will utilize Honeybee Robotics’ DIABLO (Deployable Interlocking Actuated Band for Linear Operations) mast technology, Honeybee Robotics’ Dust Tolerant Connector, and mPower’s DragonSCALES™ silicon solar modules to create a Lunar power station to provide sustainable energy to rovers, battery packs, and other electrical equipment used by spacecraft and astronauts. “When you think of LAMPS, think of Transformers robots. LAMPS has been designed to be easily maneuverable, folding up into a ‘fridge-size’ volume for ease of transportation between charging sites,” said Hunter Williams, Principal Investigator of the project for Honeybee Robotics. “LAMPS can work as a stand-alone system or connect with other power systems to form a movable electrical grid.”
“We are thrilled to have been selected to build a power system for Artemis. Technologies that make up LAMPS have been in the works at Honeybee for decades; these were funded by numerous NASA grants including SBIRs. We are very thankful for NASA’s continued support and trust in our technologies,” added Kris Zacny, VP of Honeybee Robotics.
“mPower’s DragonSCALES has been space-tested and currently provides reliable, resilient, and scalable power, which is a perfect match for the rigorous demands of a re-deployable solar solution in a cold lunar environment,” said Kevin Hell, mPower’s chief executive officer. “We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with Honeybee and demonstrating LAMPS at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Chamber A.”
About Honeybee Robotics
Honeybee Robotics, subsidiary of Blue Origin, builds robots for the Solar System’s most demanding environments and applications. Honeybee’s 400 employees cover two divisions: Motion Control in Longmont, CO and Exploration Systems in Altadena, CA. Motion Control provides unique spacecraft solutions including Solar Array Drives, Actuators, and Motor Controllers. Exploration Systems’ three pillars: Explore, Mine the Sky, and Touch Life, are focused on providing space infrastructure, resources, and technologies to find life in the Solar System. To date, we have launched over 1,000 robotic systems and mechanisms to space, across robotic and human-rated missions, and are building large robotic systems for exploration of the Moon, Titan, Phobos, and more. For more information visit www.honeybeerobotics.com.
About mPower Technology
mPower Technology is shaping the future of solar power with a revolutionary new technology called DragonSCALES™, a completely flexible, interconnected mesh of miniature solar cells. Leveraging well-established and affordable materials, processes, and tools from the silicon photovoltaic (PV) and microelectronics industries, DragonSCALES enable completely new design options for solar power, removing the constraints of existing silicon and gallium arsenide solar solutions, and enabling highly flexible, resilient, light-weight designs that can be rapidly deployed at extremely low cost. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.mpowertech.com.