Mechanical Components

Mars Science Laboratory Drill

This device also has applications for drilling in mines and other dangerous areas. This drill (see Figure 1) is the primary sample acquisition element of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) that collects powdered samples from various types of rock (from clays to massive basalts) at depths up to 50 mm below the surface. A rotary-percussive sample acquisition device was developed with an emphasis on toughness and robustness to handle the harsh environment on Mars. It is the first rover-based sample acquisition device to be flight-qualified (see Figure 2). This drill features an autonomous tool change-out on a mobile robot, and novel voice-coilbased percussion.

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Shape Memory Composite Hybrid Hinge

The hinge can be used for in-space deployment of antennas, reflectors, cameras, solar panels, and sunshields, as well as in any structure requiring hinges. There are two conventional types of hinges for in-space deployment applications. The first type is mechanically deploying hinges. A typical mechanically deploying hinge is usually composed of several tens of components. It is complicated, heavy, and bulky. More components imply higher deployment failure probability. Due to the existence of relatively moving components among a mechanically deploying hinge, it unavoidably has microdynamic problems. The second type of conventional hinge relies on strain energy for deployment. A tape-spring hinge is a typical strain energy hinge. A fundamental problem of a strain energy hinge is that its deployment dynamic is uncontrollable. Usually, its deployment is associated with a large impact, which is unacceptable for many space applications. Some damping technologies have been experimented with to reduce the impact, but they increased the risks of an unsuccessful deployment.

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Ultra-Compact Motor Controller

Applications include industrial robotic arms, industrial machinery, and automobiles. This invention is an electronically commutated brushless motor controller that incorporates Hall-array sensing in a small, 42-gram package that provides 4096 absolute counts per motor revolution position sensing. The unit is the size of a miniature hockey puck, and is a 44-pin male connector that provides many I/O channels, including CANbus, RS-232 communications, general-purpose analog and digital I/O (GPIO), analog and digital Hall inputs, DC power input (18–90 VDC, 0–l0 A), three-phase motor outputs, and a strain gauge amplifier.

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Binding Causes of Printed Wiring Assemblies With Card-Loks

A document discusses a study that presents the first documented extraction loads, both nominal and worstcase, and presents the first comprehensive evaluation of extraction techniques, methodologies, and tool requirements relating to extracting printed wiring assemblies (PWAs) with Card-Loks during EVA (extra vehicular activity). This task was performed for the first time during HST (Hubble Space Telescope) Servicing Mission 4.

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A Reversible Thermally Driven Pump for Use in a Sub-Kelvin Magnetic Refrigerator

A document describes a continuous magnetic refrigerator that is suited for cooling astrophysics detectors. This refrigerator has the potential to provide efficient, continuous cooling to temperatures below 50 mK for detectors, and has the benefits over existing magnetic coolers of reduced mass because of faster cycle times, the ability to pump the cooled fluid to remote cooling locations away from the magnetic field created by the superconducting magnet, elimination of the added complexity and mass of heat switches, and elimination of the need for a thermal bus and single crystal paramagnetic materials due to the good thermal contact between the fluid and the paramagnetic material.

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Coring Sample Acquisition Tool

A sample acquisition tool (SAT) has been developed that can be used autonomously to sample drill and capture rock cores. The tool is designed to accommodate core transfer using a sample tube to the IMSAH (integrated Mars sample acquisition and handling) SHEC (sample handling, encapsulation, and containerization) without ever touching the pristine core sample in the transfer process.

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Robust Tensioned Kevlar Suspension Design

A suite of compact design elements improves the reliability of Kevlar suspension systems. One common but challenging problem in cryogenic engineering is to produce a mount that has excellent thermal isolation but is also rigid. Such mounts can be achieved by suspending the load from a network of fibers or strings held in tension. Kevlar fibers are often used for this purpose owing to their high strength and low thermal conductivity. However, Kevlar presents challenges since it expands on cooling and tends to creep after initial tensioning, causing reductions in the resonant frequencies and a shift in the position of the suspended element, which can lead to misalignment and thermal short circuits. With existing designs, such as the Kevlar suspension used on the Herschel SPIRE instrument, it is difficult to re-tension the Kevlar or measure the tension because parts of the Kevlar string are staked with epoxy. Non-cryogenic designs used on a larger scale, such as tensioning reels on sailboats, use turnbuckles and fixed eyebolts that cannot be scaled down to a small-scale structure without a significant addition of mass.

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