Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Pyrotechnically Actuated Gas Generator Using Aqueous Methanol

This gas generator ensures successful inflation of a supersonic pilot ballute. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The largest supersonic parachute ever developed is one of the test articles on the Supersonic Flight Dynamics Test (SFDT) vehicle of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project. The typical method for deploying a supersonic parachute from an entry vehicle, by firing it from a mortar, is not viable for this application due to its noncentral location on the vehicle and the associated high reaction force. Instead, the parachute is pulled off the vehicle using the Parachute Deployment Device (PDD). The PDD uses a ballute, a smaller, balloon-like, soft-good drag body that maintains positive internal pressure by ingesting air at supersonic speeds through a set of ram-air inlets. The PDD, being significantly smaller than the supersonic parachute, is deployed using a mortar.

Posted in: Briefs

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Deployable Perimeter Truss with Blade Reel Deployment Mechanism

Applications include pop-up tents, deployable deck awnings, and pop-up lawn chairs. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Solar sail technology depends heavily on the total surface area of the sail. In other words, minimizing mass and volume of its support structure is the main objective, particularly when it comes to launch configuration, i.e. mass, volume constraints, etc. There is a need to develop a low-cost concept of a deployable support structure that can stow in the EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) volume, and carries as much sail material as possible. This structure must then be able to deploy the sail material out, and provide the surface area needed.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Cantera Integration with T-MATS

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio The Toolbox for the Modeling and Analysis of Thermodynamic Systems (TMATS) software package is a library of building blocks that can be assembled to represent any thermodynamic system in the Simulink® (MathWorks, Inc.) environment. These elements, along with a Newton Raphson solver (also provided as part of the T-MATS package), enable users to create models of a wide variety of systems. The updated version of T-MATS (v1.1.1) includes the integration of Cantera, an open source thermodynamic simulation tool. T-MATS was initially described in detail in LEW-19165-1, "Toolbox for Modeling and Analysis of Thermodynamic Systems (T-MATS)", Software Tech Briefs (September 2014), p. 11.

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Rocket Sled Parachute Design Verification

This test architecture helps verify parachute designs for Mars and Earth applications that are too large to fit inside existing wind tunnels. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Historically, parachutes have been load-tested by various methods including release from an aircraft, deploying in a wind tunnel, dragging through water, and shooting out of an air cannon. Each type of testing has its own advantages and drawbacks. Due to the loading mechanics particular to parachutes deploying in a very thin atmosphere, none of the testing methods was appropriate for testing the next generation of Mars’ full-scale parachutes.

Posted in: Briefs

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NEO Hunter Seeker Micro-Spacecraft and Mission Concept

Spacecraft mass and mission cost can be drastically reduced, including the ability to not only discover, but visit near Earth objects. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The area of research known as “Planetary Defense” is largely concerned with identifying and tracking asteroids that could impact Earth. The vast majority of asteroids that pose such a risk are known as “Near Earth Asteroids/Objects” or NEAs and NEOs. Some of them are unknown, un-cataloged, and untracked, but are presumed to orbit in Earth-like orbits, and periodically cross Earth’s orbit in a possibly threatening manner.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Multipath, Multistage, Erosion-Resistive Valve for Downhole Flow Control

This valve can sustain the extremely high pressure of deep oil wells. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Multipath, multistage, erosion-resistant flow control valves have been developed that can sustain the extremely high pressure of deep oil wells. Fitting in the restricted available space and operating using limited power with a long lifetime are challenges for choke valves in the downhole environment of oil wells. These valves must control the flow rate from high-pressure oil reservoirs in the presence of fluids that have non-zero sand concentrations. This design consists of a digitized flow control valve with multipath and multistage pressure reduction structures. Specifically, the valve is configured as a set of parallel flow paths from the inlet to the outlet.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Passive Close-Off Feature for Sample Acquisition and Retention

This design has applications in the oil and gas field, and in coring to collect samples from human internal organs for medical applications. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The current coring bit and percussive drilling style works very well for strong rocks; however, when coring into weak, crumbling rock, the core tends to break apart and simply fall out of the bit. These rocks, powder, and other debris can have useful information that is lost when they fall out of the bit after the core has been made, as there is no retention feature in place. A retention mechanism for coring into weak rocks was developed.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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