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Modification of a Limbed Robot to Favor Climbing

A kinematically simplified design affords several benefits. The figure shows the LEMUR IIb, which is a modified version of the LEMUR II — the second generation of the Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot (LEMUR). Except as described below, the LEMUR IIb hardware is mostly the same as that of the LEMUR II. The IIb and II versions differ in their kinematic configurations and characteristics associated with their kinematic configurations. The differences are such that relative to the LEMUR II, the LEMUR IIb is simpler and is better suited to climbing on inclined surfaces.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Spacecraft Escape Capsule

A report discusses the Gumdrop capsule — a conceptual spacecraft that would enable the crew to escape safely in the event of a major equipment failure at any time from launch through atmospheric re-entry. The scaleable Gumdrop capsule would comprise a command module (CM), a service module (SM), and a crew escape system (CES). The CM would contain a pressurized crew environment that would include avionic, life-support, thermal control, propulsive attitude control, and recovery systems. The SM would provide the primary propulsion and would also supply electrical power, life-support resources, and active thermal control to the CM. The CES would include a solid rocket motor, embedded within the SM, for pushing the CM away from the SM in the event of a critical thermal-protection system failure or loss of control. The CM and SM would normally remain integrated with each other from launch through recovery, but could be separated using the CES, if necessary, to enable the safe recovery of the crew in the CM. The crew escape motor could be used, alternatively, as a redundant means of de-orbit propulsion for the CM in the event of a major system failure in the SM.

Posted in: Machinery & Automation, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Tool for Two Types of Friction Stir Welding

The same mechanism could be used for conventional or selfreacting FSW. A tool that would be useable in both conventional and self-reacting friction stir welding (FSW) has been proposed. The tool would embody both a prior tooling concept for self-reacting FSW and an auto-adjustable pin-tool (APT) capability developed previously as an augmentation for conventional FSW.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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System for Continuous Deaeration of Hydraulic Oil

The proportion of dissolved air is reliably maintained below 1 volume percent. A system for continuous, rapid deaeration of hydraulic oil has been built to replace a prior system that effected deaeration more slowly in a cyclic pressure/vacuum process. Such systems are needed because (1) hydraulic oil has an affinity for air, typically containing between 10 and 15 volume percent of air and (2) in the original application for which these systems were built, there is a requirement to keep the proportion of dissolved air below 1 volume percent because a greater proportion can lead to pump cavitation and excessive softness in hydraulic-actuator force-versus-displacement characteristics. In addition to overcoming several deficiencies of the prior deaeration system, the present system removes water from the oil.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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A Concept for Run-Time Support of the Chapel Language

A document presents a concept for run-time implementation of other concepts embodied in the Chapel programming language. (Now undergoing development, Chapel is intended to become a standard language for parallel computing that would surpass older such languages in both computational performance in the efficiency with which pre-existing code can be reused and new code written.) The aforementioned other concepts are those of distributions, domains, allocations, and access, as defined in a separate document called “A Semantic Framework for Domains and Distributions in Chapel” and linked to a language specification defined in another separate document called “Chapel Specification 0.3.” The concept presented in the instant report is recognition that a data domain that was invented for Chapel offers a novel approach to distributing and processing data in a massively parallel environment. The concept is offered as a starting point for development of working descriptions of functions and data structures that would be necessary to implement interfaces to a compiler for transforming the aforementioned other concepts from their representations in Chapel source code to their run-time implementations.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Exploiting Quantum Resonance to Solve Combinatorial Problems

Quantum resonance would be exploited in a proposed quantum-computing approach to the solution of combinatorial optimization problems. In quantum computing in general, one takes advantage of the fact that an algorithm cannot be decoupled from the physical effects available to implement it. Prior approaches to quantum computing have involved exploitation of only a subset of known quantum physical effects, notably including parallelism and entanglement, but not including resonance. In the proposed approach, one would utilize the combinatorial properties of tensor-product decomposability of unitary evolution of many-particle quantum systems for physically simulating solutions to NP-complete problems (a class of problems that are intractable with respect to classical methods of computation). In this approach, reinforcement and selection of a desired solution would be executed by means of quantum resonance. Classes of NP-complete problems that are important in practice and could be solved by the proposed approach include planning, scheduling, search, and optimal design.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Algorithm for Automated Detection of Edges of Clouds

The algorithm has been shown to be reliable and robust. An algorithm processes cloud-physics data gathered in situ by an aircraft, along with reflectivity data gathered by ground-based radar, to determine whether the aircraft is inside or outside a cloud at a given time. A cloud edge is deemed to be detected when the in/out state changes, subject to a hysteresis constraint. Such determinations are important in continuing research on relationships among lightning, electric charges in clouds, and decay of electric fields with distance from cloud edges.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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