NASA Glenn Zero G Facility

Spacecraft device suspended over rocks

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.