Manufacturing & Prototyping

Microwave Sinterator Freeform Additive Construction System (MS-FACS)

This system can create hard surfaces for walkways, roadways, or landing pads. The harmful properties of lunar dust, such as small size, glass composition, abnormal surface area, and coatings of imbedded nanophase iron, lead to a unique coupling of the dust with microwave radiation. This coupling can be exploited for rapid sintering of lunar soil for use as a construction material that can be formed to take on an infinite number of shapes and sizes.

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Development of a Centrifugal Technique for the Microbial Bioburden Analysis of Freon (CFC-11)

Commercial applications include pharmaceutical development and quality assurance, and chemical manufacturing. NASA Procedural Requirement 8020.12C entitled “Planetary Protection Provisions for Robotic Extraterrestrial Missions” states that the source-specific encapsulated microbial density for encapsulated organisms (div(0)) in nonmetallic materials ranges from 1-30 spores/cm3. The standard laboratory procedure, NASA Standard Procedures for the Microbial Examination of Space Hardware, NHB 5340.1B, does not provide any direction into the methodologies to understand the bioburden within such a fluid as CFC-11 (Freon). This general specification value for the Freon would be applicable to the Freon charged within the Mars Science Laboratory’s (MSL’s) Heat Rejection System. Due to the large volume required to fill this system, MSL could not afford to conservatively allocate 55.8% of the total spore budget of the entire laboratory system (rover, descent stage, cruise stage, and aeroshell) of 5.00 × 105 spores at launch.

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Advanced Materials and Manufacturing for Low- Cost, High-Performance Liquid Rocket Combustion Chambers

A document describes the low-cost manufacturing of C103 niobium alloy combustion chambers, and the use of a high-temperature, oxidation-resistant coating that is superior to the standard silicide coating. The manufacturing process involved low-temperature spray deposition of C103 on removable plastic mandrels produced by rapid prototyping. Thin, vapor-deposited platinumindium coatings were shown to substantially improve oxidation resistance relative to the standard silicide coating.

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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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