Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applicationst
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection

Space-Frame Lunar Lander

This structure would deform itself to sit stably on rough terrain. The space-frame lunar lander is a conceptual spacecraft or spacecraftlike system based largely on the same principles as those of the amorphous rover and the space-frame antenna described in the two immediately preceding articles. The space-frame lunar lander was originally intended to (1) land on rough lunar terrain, (2) deform itself to conform to the terrain so as to be able to remain there in a stable position and orientation, and (3) if required, further deform itself to perform various functions. In principle, the space-frame lunar lander could be used in the same way on Earth, as might be required, for example, to place meteorological sensors or a radio-communication relay station on an otherwise inaccessible mountain peak.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Aircraft structures, Airframes, Attitude control, Spacecraft


In-Situ Focusing Inside a Thermal Vacuum Chamber

This method would enable less expensive, faster focusing for IR imaging cameras and spectrometers.Traditionally, infrared (IR) space instruments have been focused by iterating with a number of different thickness shim rings in a thermal vacuum chamber until the focus meets requirements. This has required a number of thermal cycles that are very expensive as they tie up many integration and test (I&T)/ environmental technicians/engineers working three shifts for weeks. Rather than creating a test shim for each iteration, this innovation replaces the test shim and can focus the instrument while in the thermal vacuum chamber.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Optics, Systems engineering, Mountings, Test equipment and instrumentation


Gear-Driven Turnbuckle Actuator

This tool allows for continued adjustments to turnbuckles without the need to remove them.This actuator design allows the extension and contraction of turnbuckle assemblies. It can be operated manually or remotely, and is extremely compact. It is ideal for turnbuckles that are hard to reach by conventional tools. The tool assembly design solves the problem of making accurate adjustments to the variable geometry guide vanes without having to remove and reinstall the actuator system back on the engine. The actuator does this easily by adjusting the length of the turnbuckles while they are still attached to the engine.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Downsizing, Sensors and actuators, Tools and equipment, Gears, Engine components


CAD and Virtual Prototyping Software: Continuous Development in a Challenging Economy

In our annual poll of executives at leading design and virtual prototyping software companies, we found that in difficult economic times, providing customers with easy-to-use, value-added products is even more important. We asked executives to give their views on the importance of 2D to 3D, upfront simulation, and trends that will affect the software market in 2010.

Posted in: Articles, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Software


Aircraft Modification and Integration Enables SOFIA to Fly

Aircraft and airborne system development and modification L-3 Communications Integrated Systems Waco, TX 254-799-5533 www.l-3com.com/is/

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace


NASA Reproduces a Building Block of Life in Laboratory

NASA scientists studying the origin of life have reproduced uracil, a key component of our hereditary material, in the laboratory. They discovered that an ice sample containing pyrimidine exposed to ultraviolet radiation under space-like conditions produces this essential ingredient of life. Pyrimidine is a ring-shaped molecule made up of carbon and nitrogen and is the basic structure for uracil, part of a genetic code found in ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Posted in: UpFront


Xyloy™ Injection-Molded Zinc/Aluminum Alloy

Cool Polymers Xyloy™ is an injection-molded zinc/aluminum alloy processed in conventional plastic injection-molding equipment and molds. The Xyloy technology enables 3D netshaped metal parts right from the mold. Xyloy requires no carriers or binders, and — unlike die-cast metal parts — imposes no secondary processing steps for out-of-the-mold finished parts. Strong, lightweight parts with walls as thin as 0.010" are obtainable, with no porosity, and are dimensionally stable to machined tolerances. The Xyloy technology enables existing plastic injection molding businesses to build new metal-based business within their existing injection-molding infrastructure.

Posted in: Techs for License


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