Exoterra has been awarded multiple NASA and AF SBIR Phase 1 and Phase 2 Awards. Most of these have focused on miniaturization of satellites, high-efficiency electric propulsion, advanced spacecraft architectures, and in-situ resource utilization.
Through our CubeSat work, we have fit large solar arrays and powerful electric thrusters into small volumes, while squeezing the associated high-capacity power processing card into the commonly-used CubeSat PC104 form factor and designing tiny mechanisms for retention-and-release, array pointing, and thrust vectoring.
Our CubeSat Solar Electric Propulsion systems have won several NASA SBIRs to further mature the associated technology. These SEP systems have figured prominently in numerous studies for commercial constellations, lunar, asteroid, and Mars missions.
Advanced Spacecraft Architectures
ExoTerra was the lead member of one of 4 teams selected to develop mission and vehicle concepts for NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission. Our concept would not only return an asteroid, but provide a versatile, modular, and reusable SEP “tug boat” to reduce the cost of transportation between Earth and the Moon or Mars.
In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU)
Under a NASA Advanced Innovative Concepts award, ExoTerra designed a micro-ISRU system that could be sent as part of a miniature lander to harvest local water and convert it into propellants. The device minimized lander mass by allowing on-surface refueling, vastly reducing the cost of sample return missions.
Our SEP system is currently undergoing testing, and is scheduled to have multiple units flight qualified in 2019. We anticipate multiple flights beginning in 2020.