Mechanical Components

Optimized Radiator Geometries for Hot Lunar Thermal Environments

The optimum radiator configuration in hot lunar thermal environments is one in which the radiator is parallel to the ground and has no view to the hot lunar surface. However, typical spacecraft configurations have limited real estate available for top-mounted radiators, resulting in a desire to use the spacecraft’s vertically oriented sides. Vertically oriented, flat panel radiators will have a large view factor to the lunar surface, and thus will be subjected to significant incident lunar infrared heat. Consequently, radiator fluid temperatures will need to exceed ≈325 K (assuming standard spacecraft radiator optical properties) in order to provide positive heat rejection at lunar noon. Such temperatures are too high for crewed spacecraft applications in which a heat pump is to be avoided.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Lexan Linear Shaped Charge Holder With Magnets and Backing Plate

A method was developed for cutting a fabric structural member in an inflatable module, without damaging the internal structure of the module, using linear shaped charge. Lexan and magnets are used in a charge holder to precisely position the linear shaped charge over the desired cut area. Two types of charge holders have been designed, each with its own backing plate. One holder cuts fabric straps in the vertical configuration, and the other charge holder cuts fabric straps in the horizontal configuration.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Robotic Ankle for Omnidirectional Rock Anchors

This mechanism could provide mobility for military robots on vertical cliff faces or on ceilings. Future robotic exploration of near- Earth asteroids and the vertical and inverted rock walls of lava caves and cliff faces on Mars and other planetary bodies would require a method of gripping their rocky surfaces to allow mobility without gravitational assistance. In order to successfully navigate this terrain and drill for samples, the grippers must be able to produce anchoring forces in excess of 100 N. Additionally, the grippers must be able to support the inertial forces of a moving robot, as well gravitational forces for demonstrations on Earth. One possible solution would be to use microspine arrays to anchor to rock surfaces and provide the necessary load-bearing abilities for robotic exploration of asteroids.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Waterless Clothes-Cleaning Machine

This machine can be used wherever water is at a premium, or to minimize washing with water. A waterless clothes-cleaning machine has been developed that removes loose particulates and deodorizes dirty laundry with regenerative chemical processes to make the clothes more comfortable to wear and have a fresher smell. This system was initially developed for use in zero-g, but could be altered for 1-g environments where water or other re sources are scarce. Some of these processes include, but are not limited to, airflow, filtration, ozone generation, heat, ultraviolet light, and photocatalytic titanium oxide.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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An Active Heater Control Concept to Meet IXO Type Mirror Module Thermal-Structural Distortion Requirement

This innovation offers a number of advantages in terms of reduced mass, problem of routing, and the risk of x-ray attenuation. Flight mirror assemblies (FMAs) of large telescopes, such as the International X-ray Observatory (IXO), have very stringent thermal-structural distortion requirements. The spatial temperature gradient requirement within a FMA could be as small as 0.05 °C. Conventionally, heaters and thermistors are attached to the stray light baffle (SLB), and centralized heater controllers (i.e., heater controller boards located in a large electronics box) are used. Due to the large number of heater harnesses, accommodating and routing them is extremely difficult. The total harness length/mass is very large. This innovation uses a thermally conductive pre-collimator to accommodate heaters and a distributed heater controller approach. It minimizes the harness length and mass, and reduces the problem of routing and accommodating them.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Wind, Wave, and Tidal Energy Without Power Conditioning

Most present wind, wave, and tidal energy systems require expensive power conditioning systems that reduce overall efficiency. This new design eliminates power conditioning all, or nearly all, of the time.

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Integrated Electrical Wire Insulation Repair System

An integrated system tool will allow a technician to easily and quickly repair damaged high-performance electrical wire insulation in the field. Low-melt polyimides have been developed that can be processed into thin films that work well in the repair of damaged polyimide or fluoropolymer insulated electrical wiring. Such thin films can be used in wire insulation repairs by affixing a film of this lowmelt polyimide to the damaged wire, and heating the film to effect melting, flow, and cure of the film. The resulting repair is robust, lightweight, and small in volume. The heating of this repair film is accomplished with the use of a common electrical soldering tool that has been modified with a special head or tip that can accommodate the size of wire being repaired.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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