Special Coverage

Active Aircraft Pylon Noise Control System
Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management
Method of Bonding Dissimilar Materials
Sonar Inspection Robot System
Applying the Dynamic Inertia Measurement Method to Full-Scale Aerospace Vehicles
Method and Apparatus for Measuring Surface Air Pressure
Fully Premixed, Low-Emission, High-Pressure, Multi-Fuel Burner
Self-Healing Wire Insulation
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Plasmoid Thruster for High Specific-Impulse Propulsion

A report discusses a new multi-turn, multi-lead design for the first generation PT-1 (Plasmoid Thruster) that produces thrust by expelling plasmas with embedded magnetic fields (plasmoids) at high velocities. This thruster is completely electrodeless, capable of using in-situ resources, and offers efficiencies as high as 70 percent at a specific impulse, Isp, of up to 8,000 s. This unit consists of drive and bias coils wound around a ceramic form, and the capacitor bank and switches are an integral part of the assembly. Multiple thrusters may be ganged to inductively recapture unused energy to boost efficiency and to increase the repetition rate, which, in turn increases the average thrust of the system.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics

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Analysis Method for Quantifying Vehicle Design Goals

A document discusses a method for using Design Structure Matrices (DSM), coupled with high-level tools representing important life-cycle parameters, to comprehensively conceptualize a flight/ground space transportation system design by dealing with such variables as performance, up-front costs, downstream operations costs, and reliability. This approach also weighs operational approaches based on their effect on upstream design variables so that it is possible to readily, yet defensibly, establish linkages between operations and these upstream variables.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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Improved Tracking of Targets by Cameras on a Mars Rover

A paper describes a method devised to increase the robustness and accuracy of tracking of targets by means of three stereoscopic pairs of video cameras on a Mars-rover-type exploratory robotic vehicle. Two of the camera pairs are mounted on a mast that can be adjusted in pan and tilt; the third camera pair is mounted on the main vehicle body. Elements of the method include a mast calibration, a camera-pointing algorithm, and a purely geometric technique for handing off tracking between different camera pairs at critical distances as the rover approaches a target of interest.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences

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Sample Caching Subsystem

A paper describes the Sample Caching Subsystem (SCS), a method for storing planetary core and soil samples in a container that seals the samples away from the environment to protect the integrity of the samples and any organics they might contain. This process places samples in individual sleeves that are sealed within a container for use by either the current mission or by following missions.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics

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Multistage Passive Cooler for Spaceborne Instruments

A document describes a three-stage passive radiative cooler for a cryogenic spectrometer to be launched into a low orbit around the Moon. This cooler is relatively lightweight and compact, and its basic design is scalable and otherwise adaptable to other applications in which there are requirements for cooling instrumentation in orbit about planets.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics

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GVIPS Models and Software

Two reports discuss, respectively, (1) the generalized viscoplasticity with potential structure (GVIPS) class of mathematical models and (2) the Constitutive Material Parameter Estimator (COMPARE) computer program. GVIPS models are constructed within a thermodynamics- and potential-based theoretical framework, wherein one uses internal state variables and derives constitutive equations for both the reversible (elastic) and the irreversible (viscoplastic) behaviors of materials. Because of the underlying potential structure, GVIPS models not only capture a variety of material behaviors but also are very computationally efficient.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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Stowable Energy-Absorbing Rocker-Bogie Suspensions

A report discusses the design of the rocker-bogie suspensions of the Mars Exploration Rover vehicles, which were landed on Mars in January 2004. Going beyond the basic requirements regarding mobility on uneven terrain, the design had to satisfy requirements (1) to enable each suspension to contort so that the rover could be stowed within limited space in a tetrahedral lander prior to deployment and (2) that the suspension be able to absorb appreciable impact loads, with limited deflection, during egress from the lander and traversal of terrain.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics

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