Development of a Hermetically Sealed Canister for Sample Return Missions

Period of Performance: 06/17/2015 - 12/17/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Honeybee Robotics
Building 3, Suite 1005 Array
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


The goal of the Phase I is to perform breadboarding and testing of the promising sealing techniques as well as perform a system level study to determine implementation challenges within actual mission architectures. The tests will be conducted on clean and 'dirty' seals. The results of the Phase I will be one or more options for hermetic sealing. During some approaches (Shape memory Alloy and brazing) additional data will be acquired to determine the temperature rise of the inner sample chamber. In the follow on Phase II of the proposed investigation, we will design and fabricate multiple high fidelity prototypes of the hermetic sealing canister and sealing system. The size and shape of the canisters will be designed to fit the requirements of any proposed or current sample return missions, such as Mars 2020. These canisters will include thermal insulation to protect and preserve volatile material within the samples, and will be optimized for mass reduction. We will test the hermeticity of the canister seal when exposed to dust accumulation, as well as thermal cycling, shock and vibration environments. This testing will result in a technology readiness level for the sample canister and sealing of TRL6 at the end of the Phase II investigation. We will also develop preliminary spacecraft requirements (mass, power, volume, etc.) for the sealing system.