Metis Receives NASA SBIR Phase II Award for Autonomous Robotics Software

Technology Solutions’ innovative software service known as Astrobee Localization and Collaborative Multi-Layered Mapping (A-LCMM) has been selected by NASA for Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding. Walter Harper is the Principal Investigator on the project, which is a continuation of Metis’s successful Phase I SBIR-funded Collaborative Sensing and Mapping for IVA Robots project. A-LCMM will utilize sensor data from Intra-Vehicular Activity (IVA) robots, like the Astrobees currently servicing the International Space Station (ISS), to publish real-time vision-based maps and co-registered sensor data layers. This data can then be used for visualization, analysis, or input into autonomy stacks that can enable autonomous caretaking and state assessment operations. By performing autonomous state assessment, surveillance, and reconnaissance of space stations, A-LCMM will significantly reduce the human and financial resources required to maintain spacecraft.

astrobee free-flying robots aboard the international space station
Astrobee free-flying robots aboard the International Space Station.

“Whether they are assisting astronauts aboard ISS or, in the near future, tourists staying in commercial space habitats, IVA robots, and their users will benefit greatly from A-LCMM,” said Joy Colucci, founder, and CEO of Metis Technology Solutions. “Metis is honored that NASA has selected our Collaborative Sensing and Mapping for IVA Robots project for phase II SBIR funding and that the agency will assist in making the integral functions provided by A-LCMM widely available for both governmental and commercial uses.”

In addition to their current roles on ISS, IVA robots are slated to perform significant maintenance duties on the Gateway spacecraft, NASA’s forthcoming moon-orbiting space station. A-LCMM was one of only 123 total projects selected by NASA for Phase II SBIR funding. NASA supports projects selected for phase II SBIR funding for a duration of 24 months and with up to $1 million total funding.

Metis Technology Solutions is a woman-owned small business based in Albuquerque, NM and providing science and engineering services to NASA, the US Air Force, and other Federal agencies. Company capabilities and experience include satellite and ground systems development and operations, modeling and simulation in support of aviation and aerospace research, and test facility operations and sustaining engineering. 

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