HP3 MOLE

Hammering Mechanism for DLR’s HP3 penetrator
NASA InSight mission

ASTRONIKA Sp. z o.o. is a DLR (German Space Agency) subcontractor for redesign and development of the HP3 penetrator’s hammering mechanism, one of the three instruments in the NASA InSight mission. The mechanism constitutes a drive for the penetrator and will make it possible to transport the HP3 thermal probe up to five meters below the surface of Mars. The probe will be equipped with active and passive sensors measuring the soil temperature and its gradient. The instrument will address a variety of fundamental questions on planetary development, habitability and geological stratification through weathering.
In general, ASTRONIKA’s contribution involves mechanism design, optimization, performance and efficiency improvement, as well as further assembly and integration. Mechanical solutions and consultancy provided by ASTRONIKA have been beneficial in the following fields:

  • Limitation of power consumption and increase of system efficiency;
  • Increase of stroke energy of the hammering mechanism and proper adjustment of the system resulting in the improvement of its progress per stroke and, hence, increased reliability (shorter work cycle needed to achieve a goal of five meters);
  • Implementation of reliable relocking of the drive launch lock system;
  • Load reduction of the system to lower the possibility of DC motor failure.

Working on the HP3 project we cooperate with the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences (CBK PAN), the parts manufacturer, and the Warsaw University of Technology, the provider of tribological surfaces.