Mechanical Components

Designing Reliable Robots for Moon Exploration

Simulation plays a key role in developing robots to explore the Moon. Astrobotic Technology, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Equipment for space exploration is almost impossible to test on Earth. Testing is expensive and cannot replicate the conditions of launch, cruise, landing, and travel across a planetary surface. As space exploration shifts to the private sector, Astrobotic Technology, Inc. is taking the lead in delivering affordable robotic technology. The company uses ANSYS technology to stay competitive, virtually testing its lunar robots on time and under budget.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Software, Briefs

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Composite Sports Car Body Design

KTM Technologies quickly and reliably designs a composite sports car using ANSYS technology. KTM Technologies GmbH, Salzburg, Austria The use of composites is rapidly growing across many industries, fostering the need for new design, analysis, and optimization technologies. Every industry feels increasing pressure to launch breakthrough products that outperform competitors and meet market needs. For many design applications that require strong, yet lightweight materials, layered composites are ideal. Even so, faster, more frequent product introductions and new technologies cannot compromise ultimate product quality, reliability, and speed to market.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Software, Briefs

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Development of an Analytical Parameterized Linear Lateral Dynamic Model for an Aerobot Airship

The method relies on the use of aircraft stability derivative methods with the basic geometric and aerodynamic properties of the airship. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Saturn’s moon Titan is of high interest for in situ study due to its many intriguing features. This moon has a dense atmosphere; rough, icy terrain; and low surface winds that make it the ideal place to send a controlled aerial robotic platform, such as a conceptual Aerobot Airship. An important feature of a self-propelled, lighter-than-air aerial vehicle is that it must be autonomously controlled to navigate and avoid obstacles because of a 2.6-hour communication delay between the Earth and Titan. Developing a dynamic model that can be tuned will enable robust and reliable control of the Aerobot Airship.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Software, Briefs

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Algorithm Enhancements to Powered Descent Guidance Software

The solutions guarantee minimum fuel usage, satisfaction of position constraints, and adherence to thrust magnitudes that are within physical minimum and maximum limits. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The Powered Descent Guidance (PDG) software provides a computationally efficient guidance algorithm for powered descent that ensures satisfaction of the governing dynamics, along with adherence to physical control and state constraints, such as avoid the surface, limit thrust magnitude and pointing, and divert based on available fuel. The software can generate guidance profiles for precision landing (or pinpoint landing when feasible) and also incorporate smart diverts to avoid the backshell landing corridor.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Software, Briefs

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Using Describing Functions for Aeroservoelastic Models with Free-Play

The effect of free-play in a system can be accurately estimated without the need for simulation. Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California Aerodynamic control surfaces, with excessive free-play, can cause limit cycle oscillations (LCO), a sustained vibration of constant amplitude. The LCO is caused by a combination of aeroservoelastic effects and free-play. If the amplitude is sufficiently large, it can impact handling qualities, ride quality, and can cause structural fatigue, ultimately leading to structural failure. Free-play is typically distributed throughout the actuator and control surface, with contributions from actuator mounting bearings as well as the surface hinge.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Software, Briefs

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Design Environment for Multi-Fidelity and Multi-Disciplinary Components

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Many of the most challenging aspects of propulsion system development are related to the prediction of interacting effects among fluid loads, thermal loads, and structural deflection. A typical design practice might ignore the interaction between the physical phenomena where the outcome of each analysis can be heavily dependent on the inputs. Such a rigid design process also lacks the flexibility to employ multiple levels of fidelity in the analysis of each of the components.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Software, Briefs

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Shipping Foam Designer Software

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas An easy-to-use design tool was developed in response to a large number of documented cases of critical (flight and ground) hardware failing after experiencing drops during commercial shipment. By entering the mass of the hardware to be protected, and the drop height, the software helps the user select the type and dimensions of the shock attenuating foam needed. Hundreds of drop tests were conducted with metal plates instrumented with accelerometers that were protected by common shipping foams of different thicknesses, along with foam compression tests conducted at various speeds to develop mathematical material models for these foams. The foam drops were video recorded at a very high rate of speed to capture foam deformation due to drop.

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