Young scientists testing hardware for NASA mission

Honeybee Robotics, Pasadena, CA

A group of engineers from Honeybee Robotics (from left to right: Philip Chu, Kathryn Luczek and Steven Ford) pose in front of the Sample Acquisition System after a successful vibration test. Vibration testing is used to ensure that hardware would survive the rigorous launch environment experienced as a spacecraft leaves the Earth’s surface.

Honeybee personnel testing sampling device

NASA Glenn Zero G Facility

From left to right, Andrew Peekema, Justin Spring and Kathryn Luczek, engineers at Honeybee Robotics, recover an early prototype of the Sample Acquisition System after a microgravity test at the Zero Gravity Research Facility. This early design was rapidly prototyped from plastic material to save cost, and reduce the time required to build the system.

Spacecraft device suspended over rocks

NASA Glenn Zero G Facility

Justin Spring, Project Engineer at Honeybee Robotics prepares the Sample Acquisition System for a zero gravity test at NASA Glenn’s Zero Gravity Research Facility. The sampler includes a number of “ripper tines” which are spring-loaded pivoting spikes specifically designed to break up particles in the path of the sampler that may be cohesively bonded together. Once broken up, these particles can be collected by the sampler using the compressed gas system. The Zero Gravity Research Facility provides 5.18 seconds of microgravity by allowing an experiment vehicle to freefall in a vacuum chamber to a distance of 432 feet (132 meters). Testing is performed in microgravity to closely simulate conditions at the comet’s surface.