Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

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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

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Novel Feedthrough for Instrumentation Lead Wires

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida This invention is a method and design for the conveyance of instrumentation lead wires from one pressure boundary to another pressure boundary in cryogenic process systems. Such a device or article is commonly referred to as a feedthrough. The novelty of the present invention is the extreme low-temperature conditions commensurate with extreme leak-tightness requirements that are managed by a relatively simple and economical approach. The design is directly applicable to any process system or instrumentation device operating below approximately 300°F. The novel feedthrough design is very cost-effective and easy to produce, yet provides solutions to sealing problems under severe conditions or for extremely demanding requirements.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components

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Pneumatic Conveying of Lunar Regolith Simulant

Closed-loop conveying may be desirable in terrestrial applications where the motive gas is scarce or expensive, such as helium. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida Planetary regolith (dust) is an aggregation of various minerals and different particle sizes. Collection, storage, processing, and disposal of this material are very challenging in the harsh planetary environment. Extraterrestrial operations involving In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) require conveying of regolith. The regolith needs to be transported from the planetary surface to chemical/thermal reaction vessels, and spent (processed) regolith needs to be conveyed to a disposal area.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components

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Low-Cost, Portable Platform for Mounting Multiple Antennas for Automatic UAV Tracking

This continuous-rotation platform holds ~60 pounds of antennas to track any line-of-sight object carrying multiple radio frequency sources. Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed an innovative antenna-mounting platform that addresses an unmet need in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components

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DC Transformer

This transformer can fill a role in which DC conversion potential, coupled with power filtering/storage capability, is required in high-DC power transmission. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida A component-level DC transformer was developed in which no alternating currents or voltages are present. It operates by combining features of a homopolar motor and a homopolar generator, both DC devices, such that the output voltage of a DC power supply can be stepped up (or down) with a corresponding step down (or up) in current. The DC transformer should be scalable to low-megawatt levels, but is more suited to high-current than high-voltage applications.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components

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Wallops Flight Facility 6U Advanced CubeSat Ejector (ACE)

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Six-unit (6U) CubeSats are recognized as the next nanosatellite to be considered for standardization. The CubeSat standard established by California Polytechnic University (Cal Poly), which applies to 1U–3U sizes, has proven to be a valuable asset to the community. It has both provided design guidelines to CubeSat developers and a consistent, low-risk interface to launch service providers. This has ultimately led to more flight opportunities for CubeSats. A similar path is desired for the 6U CubeSat. Through this process of standardization, a consistent, low-risk interface for the 6U needs to be established.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics

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