Manufacturing & Prototyping

The Thermal Hogan — A Means of Surviving the Lunar Night

A document describes the Thermal Hogan, a new shelter concept that would be used on the Moon to moderate the extreme nighttime temperatures, allowing survival of equipment with minimal heater power. It is lightweight, has few mechanical parts, and would be relatively easy to deploy on the Moon.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Phase Change Material Thermal Power Generator

An innovative modification has been made to a previously patented design for the Phase Change Material (PCM) Thermal Generator, which works in water where ocean temperature alternatively melts wax in canisters, or allows the wax to re-solidify, causing high-pressure oil to flow through a hydraulic generator, thus creating electricity to charge a battery that powers the vehicle. In this modification, a similar thermal PCM device has been created that is heated and cooled by the air and solar radiation instead of using ocean temperature differences to change the PCM from solid to liquid. This innovation allows the device to use thermal energy to generate electricity on land, instead of just in the ocean.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Advanced Materials and Fabrication Techniques for the Orion Attitude Control Motor

Rhenium is ideally suited for high-temperature applications. Rhenium, with its high melting temperature, excellent elevated temperature properties, and lack of a ductile-to-brittle transition temperature (DBTT), is ideally suited for the hot gas components of the ACM (Attitude Control Motor), and other hightemperature applications. However, the high cost of rhenium makes fabricating these components using conventional fabrication techniques prohibitive. Therefore, near-net-shape forming techniques were investigated for producing cost-effective rhenium and rhenium alloy components for the ACM and other propulsion applications.

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Silicon/Carbon Nanotube Photocathode for Splitting Water

The combination of materials is expected to increase the efficiency of the redox reaction. A proof-of-concept device is being developed (see figure) for hydrogen gas production based on water-splitting redox reactions facilitated by cobalt tetra-aryl porphyrins (Co[TArP]) catalysts stacked on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that are grown on n-doped silicon substrates. The operational principle of the proposed device is based on conversion of photoelectron energy from sunlight into chemical energy, which at a later point, can be turned into electrical and mechanical power.

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Circularly Polarized Microwave Antenna Element With Very Low Off-Axis Cross-Polarization

The goal of this work was to improve offaxis cross-polarization performance and ease of assembly of a circularly polarized microwave antenna element. To ease assembly, the initial design requirement of Hexweb support for the internal circuit part, as well as the radiating disks, was eliminated.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Flash Cracking Reactor for Waste Plastic Processing

Conversion of waste plastic to energy is a growing problem that is especially acute in space exploration applications. Moreover, utilization of heavy hydrocarbon resources (wastes, waxes, etc.) as fuels and chemicals will be a growing need in the future. Existing technologies require a trade-off between product selectivity and feedstock conversion. The objective of this work was to maintain high plastic-to-fuel conversion without sacrificing the liquid yield. The developed technology accomplishes this goal with a combined understanding of thermodynamics, reaction rates, and mass transport to achieve high feed conversion without sacrificing product selectivity.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Ultra-Low Heat- Leak, High- Temperature Superconducting Current Leads for Space Applications

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has a need for current leads used in an adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (ADR) for space applications. These leads must comply with stringent requirements such as a heat leak of approximately 100 μW or less while conducting up to 10 A of electric current, from more than 90 K down to 10 K. Additionally, a length constraint of < 300 mm length and < 50 mm diameter is to be maintained.

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