Manufacturing & Prototyping

Archway for Radiation and Micrometeorite Occurrence Resistance

This technology can be used where there is a need to rapidly deploy large, rugged structures including military, emergency services and disaster relief, and camping. The environmental conditions of the Moon require mitigation if a long-term human presence is to be achieved for extended periods of time. Radiation, micrometeoroid impacts, high-velocity debris, and thermal cycling represent threats to crew, equipment, and facilities. For decades, local regolith has been suggested as a candidate material to use in the construction of protective barriers. A thickness of roughly 3 m is sufficient protection from both direct and secondary radiation from cosmic rays and solar protons; this thickness is sufficient to reduce radiation exposure even during solar flares. NASA has previously identified a need for innovations that will support lunar habitats using lightweight structures because the reduction of structural mass translates directly into additional up and down mass capability that would facilitate additional logistics capacity and increased science return for all mission phases. The development of non-pressurized primary structures that have synergy with the development of pressurized structures is also of interest. The use of indigenous or in situ materials is also a well-known and active area of research that could drastically improve the practicality of human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.

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Process for Patterning Indium for Bump Bonding

An innovation was created for the Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor for integration of low-temperature detector chips with a silicon backshort and a silicon photonic choke through flip-chip bonding. Indium bumps are typically patterned using liftoff processes, which require thick resist. In some applications, it is necessary to locate the bumps close to high-aspect-ratio structures such as wafer through-holes. In those cases, liftoff processes are challenging, and require complicated and time-consuming spray coating technology if the high-aspect-ratio structures are delineated prior to the indium bump process. Alternatively, processing the indium bumps first is limited by compatibility of the indium with subsequent processing. The present invention allows for locating bumps arbitrarily close to multiple-level high-aspect-ratio structures, and for indium bumps to be formed without liftoff resist.

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Composite With In Situ Plenums

A document describes a high-performance thermal distribution panel (TDP) concept using high-conductivity (>800 W/mK) macro composite skin with in situ heat pipes. The processing technologies proposed to build such a panel result in a one-piece, inseparable assembly with high conductance in both the X and Y planes. The TDP configuration can also be used to produce panels with high structural stiffness. The one-piece construction of the TDP eliminates the thermal interface between the cooling plenums and the heat spreader base, and obviates the need for bulky mounting flanges and thick heat spreaders used on baseline designs. The conductivity of the TDP can be configured to exceed 800 W/mK with a mass density below 2.5 g/cm3. This material can provide efficient conductive heat transfer between the in situ heat plenums, permitting the use of thinner panel thicknesses. The plenums may be used as heat pipes, loop heat pipes, or liquid cooling channels.

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Pneumatic System for Concentration of Micrometer-Size Lunar Soil

A report describes a size-sorting method to separate and concentrate micrometer-size dust from a broad size range of particles without using sieves, fluids, or other processes that may modify the composition or the surface properties of the dust.

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FACT, Mega-ROSA, SOLAROSA

These technologies have applications in fixed and mobile large-area photovoltaic renewable energy systems. The Flexible Array Concentrator Technology (FACT) is a lightweight, high-performance reflective concentrator blanket assembly that can be used on flexible solar array blankets. The FACT concentrator replaces every other row of solar cells on a solar array blanket, significantly reducing the cost of the array. The modular design is highly scalable for the array system designer, and exhibits compact stowage, good offpointing acceptance, and mass/cost savings. The assembly’s relatively low concentration ratio, accompanied by a large radiative area, provides for a low cell operating temperature, and eliminates many of the thermal problems inherent in high-concentration-ratio designs. Unlike other reflector technologies, the FACT concentrator modules function on both z-fold and rolled flexible solar array blankets, as well as rigid array systems.

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Buckyball Nucleation of HiPco Tubes

The purpose of this innovation is to enhance nucleation of single-wall nanotubes (SWNTs) in the HiPco process, selectively producing 10,10 tubes, something which until now has not been thought possible.

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Fabrication of Single Crystal MgO Capsules

A method has been developed for machining MgO crystal blocks into forms for containing metallic and silicate liquids at temperatures up to 2,400 ºC, and pressures up to at least 320 kilobars. Possible custom shapes include tubes, rods, insulators, capsules, and guides. Key differences in this innovative method include drilling along the crystallographic zone axes, use of a vibration minimizing material to secure the workpiece, and constant flushing of material swarf with a cooling medium/lubricant (water).

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