Motiv Space Systems Announces NASA Contract For DEEDS

(Pasadena, California – March 22, 2022)

Motiv Space Systems has announced a major contract with NASA that will power the future of space exploration and innovation in extreme environments. Under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Sequential Phase II Program, Motiv has been awarded a $5 million contract to begin development of DEEDS (Distributed Extreme Environments Drive System) in collaboration with Amorphology Inc. (responsible for manufacturing Bulk Metallic Glass Gears for the actuator) and SEPAC Inc. (developing next-generation cryogenic braking systems). Under this contract, the DEEDS project will span two years to accelerate the development of technology for future flight missions, including NASA’s Artemis program.

“DEEDS specifically addresses the challenges of NASA’s ‘Survive and Operate Through the Lunar Night’ objectives by producing a modular, scalable actuation system that will fundamentally enable sustained operations on the Moon or Mars for long-term extreme environment operations,” said Tom McCarthy, Vice President for Business Development at Motiv. “This technology will become a critical asset for developers of landers, rovers, and tool developers looking to aid future astronaut planetary surface explorers.”

In space, temperatures can dip as low as minus 180 degrees Celsius. Current actuation systems must be kept warm in order to function and survive these extreme environments. But DEEDS will be built to withstand the extreme cold and heat, requiring no external heaters to operate or survive, reducing a tremendous power burden— and mass—on a lander or rover. Some of this technology is already being used on NASA’s COLDArm project and DEEDS will expand these cold-operable capabilities to enable broader system operations and power visionary missions, such as in-situ resource utilization systems, robotics, payload offloading systems and mobility systems on the Lunar and Martian surfaces.

With unprecedented adaptability and modularity, DEEDS will allow for groundbreaking operations including transporting astronauts via lunar vehicle mobility systems and building structures on the lunar surface. These unique capabilities and functions of DEEDS are just some of 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 rapidly grow beyond a single lunar cycle,” McCarthy said. “Creating new technologies that are designed for — as opposed to be protected from — the environmental extremes of the Moon will deliver benefits to a subsequent human exploration program on Mars.”

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