Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Effective Packing of Large Panels via Scrolling and Origami Folding

The packing mechanism employs an origami configuration that may have sport and military applications. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California There is a need for large mirrors that can be launched to various bodies in the solar system in a packed form and unfolded to provide the required dimensions. The solution to the need for foldable panels that can be made as mirrors or other structures including antennas, etc. has been conceived using an origami configuration that is folded in two dimensions. The foldable panel configuration, if made as a mirror, allows supporting rover operation in craters and caves that are shadowed and inaccessible to direct sunlight. The benefits of its use include providing light to the solar cells of the rover, providing a heating source using sunlight, and illuminating the area of operation where the rover is located.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Antennas, Solar energy, Spacecraft


Six-Degree-of-Freedom Control With Only Eight Thrusters

Even as few as eight thrusters can provide six-degree-of-freedom control of a spacecraft and do so without undesired coupling between torque and translational force generation functions. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Typical spacecraft thruster configurations are often unable to provide full six-degree-of-freedom control and may have unwanted interaction between their attitude control and trajectory control functions, have undesirably high instantaneous electrical power demands, and use more thrusters than desirable. These last two potential problems gain increased significance if a spacecraft is required to have especially small size and mass, and have very low cost.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Attitude control, Spacecraft


Precise Direct Control of Pressure or Vacuum Using a Digitally Controlled Actuator

A closed/semi-open pressure or vacuum system uses an electric screw mechanical actuator that can be digitally controlled and monitored, and which receives feedback directly from an external or internal source. This innovation can adjust for media temperature changes, expansion, and contraction in a constant volume and pressure system. This is done by extending or retracting a leak-free, high-pressure, or vacuum-sealed piston that is controlling pressure or vacuum.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Sensors and actuators, Pistons


Irreversible Entropy Production Rate in High-Pressure Turbulent Reactive Flows

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California To model high-pressure reactive flows, the most promising methodology is large eddy simulation (LES) in which one solves the large scales of the problem and models the small scales. There is currently no guidance as to the relative importance of small scales originating from different phenomena.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Simulation and modeling


Piezoelectric Actuator for a 2-inch Isolation Cryogenic Valve

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This project is focused on the development of a high-force, high-speed piezoelectric actuator for control of a 2-inch (≈5-cm) isolation valve application in a cryogenic vacuum environment. The piezo motor actuators on the two cryogenic isolation valves were successfully tested at NASA MSFC at 300 to 400 psi (≈2.07 to 2.76 MPa) flow pressure. The testing did not expose the piezo elements to temperatures below 0 °C. Iceramic piezo material has not failed under cryogenic testing to the date of this reporting.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Sensors and actuators, Ceramics, Parts


Torque Plug Actuator Design for Sample Return Sample Tubes

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California During the transportation of any sample material, it is important to ensure that no damage or contamination of the sample occurs while in transit. This concept is extremely important within the sample caching rover sample return architecture. Adequately sealing the sample tubes is important because inorganic contamination of sample material will affect any potential science experiment upon return.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Seals and gaskets


Habitat Water Wall for Water, Solids, and Atmosphere Recycle and Reuse

This technology can be used in wastewater treatment plants. A method was developed that allows water recycling, air treatment, thermal control, and solid residuals treatment and recycle to be removed from the usable habitat volume and placed in the walls of a radiation-shielding water wall. This design also provides a mechanism to recover and reuse water treatment (solid) residuals to strengthen the habitat shell.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Recycling Technologies, Mechanical Components, Waste management, Water reclamation, Passenger compartments, Thermal management, Spacecraft


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