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Innovative, High-Pressure, Cryogenic Control Valve: Short Face-to-Face, Reduced Cost

This design includes several improvements over prior designs. A control valve that can throttle high-pressure cryogenic fluid embodies several design features that distinguish it over conventional valves designed for similar applications. Field and design engineers worked together to create a valve that would simplify installation, trim changes, and maintenance, thus reducing overall cost. The seals and plug stem packing were designed to perform optimally in cryogenic temperature ranges. Unlike conventional high-pressure cryogenic valves, the trim size can be changed independent of the body.

Posted in: Mechanics, Briefs

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From Planetary Imaging to Enzyme Screening

To work in NASA’s Mission Control Center and share in the excitement of seeing the very first close-up images of Saturn being piped back to Earth (from the Pioneer 11 spacecraft in 1979) is not a sensation that most high school students get to experience. However, as part of an internship in NASA’s Space Biology Program , Mary M. Yang had the opportunity to do just that.

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Space-Proven Medical Monitor: The Total Patient-Care Package

By mid-1963, American astronauts had visited space on six different occasions, all as part of NASA’s first human space flight program, the Mercury Program . During the final Mercury mission, launched on May 15, 1963, astronaut Leroy Gordon Cooper logged 34 hours in orbit, the longest an American had spent in space to that point. Still, very little was known about the impact that space would have on humans and spacecraft that were subjected to long-duration missions. With this in mind, NASA decided to follow the Mercury Program with a new initiative called the Gemini Program.

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Miniature Wireless Sensors Size Up to Big Applications

Like the environment of space, the undersea world is a hostile, alien place for humans to live. But far beneath the waves near Key Largo, Florida, an underwater laboratory called Aquarius provides a safe harbor for scientists to live and work for weeks at a time.

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Spatial Phase Imaging

In 1928, Alexander Fleming, a young Scottish scientist with a side practice of discretely treating the syphilis infections of prominent Londoners, was researching agents that could be used to combat such bacterial infections. He left his practice for a 2-week vacation, inadvertently leaving several bacterial culture plates unwashed and out of the incubator. When he returned, what immediately struck him was that the plates had grown mold, but the bacteria Fleming had been working with was being fended off by the mold, which he called penicillin, after the mold Penicillium notatum. Although unable to refine or purify the penicillin, Fleming had discovered the archetype of modern antibiotics.

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Electrical Conductivity in Textiles

Copper is the most widely used electrical conductor. Like most metals, though, it has several drawbacks: it is heavy, expensive, and can break. Fibers that conduct electricity could be the solutions to these problems, and they are of great interest to NASA.

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Laser Mapping for Visual Inspection and Measurement

Each space shuttle orbiter has 38 Primary Reaction Control System (PRCS) thrusters to help power and position the vehicle for maneuvers in space, including reentry and establishing Earth orbit. Minor flaws in the ceramic lining of a thruster, such as a chip or crack, can cripple the operations of an orbiter in space and jeopardize a mission. The ability to locate, measure, and monitor tiny features in difficult-to-inspect PRCS thrusters improves their overall safety and lifespan.

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