Mechanical & Fluid Systems

MEMS Micro-Translation Stage with Large Linear Travel Capability

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama A MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) micro-translation stage (MTS) with large linear travel capability was developed that uses capacitive electrostatic forces created by stators arranged linearly on both sides of a channel, and matching rotors on a moveable shuttle for precise movement of the shuttle. The device, which is essentially a linear motor built from silicon base with microfabrication techniques, will be able to rapidly translate across large distances using only three-phase power. The moveable shuttle can be as small as 100 mm and can house a variety of elements including lenses and mirrors. The shuttle can be tailored to travel distances as small as 10 mm and as large as 300 mm, with as little as 10 mm between adjacent shuttle stops.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Optics

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Planar and Non-Planar Multi-Bifurcating Stacked Radial Diffusing Valve Cages

This technology is applicable in systems and devices where high-pressure-differential valves are used. A valve cage consists of a stackable planar structure design with paths that are azimuthally cut out and connected radially. The pattern causes the flow to move azimuthally and impinge on each other when moving to the next path, thereby reducing the fluid momentum and energy that reduces the erosion capability. The maze-like structure is easy to machine with standard machining techniques.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Parts

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Editor's Choice: May 2015 - NASA Tech Briefs

A MEMS micro-translation stage features large linear travel capability, and can translate across long distances using just three-phase power. Essentially a linear motor built from a silicon base using microfabrication techniques, the device can be as small as 100 mm and can house lenses, mirrors, absorbers, and sampling compartments for applications in optics, communications, sensors, and biotechnology. Find out more here.

Posted in: UpFront, MEMs

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MEMS Gyroscope with Dual Interferometric Sense Elements

This sensing technique enables the use of a large proof mass with very low thermomechanical noise. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida High-performance inertial sensors, such as ring laser gyroscopes or fiber optic gyroscopes, have sufficient performance to enable “dead reckoning” navigation for adequate periods of time. Smaller microelectromechanical system (MEMS) inertial sensors, such as MEMS gyroscopes and MEMS accelerometers, typically have relevant performance characteristics that are 10 or 100 times worse than high-performance inertial sensors. As a result, these small MEMS inertial sensors must be aided by a global positioning system (GPS) if they are to be used for navigation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, MEMs, Sensors, Sensors and actuators

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ACS Anchor Guide Stud and Caddy

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland An alignment guide and a mounting interface for two of the repair tools on orbit during the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 4 (see http://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/archive/hubble/missions/sm4.html) were developed. This design can be installed in a timely manner, and was specifically developed for a worksite with minimal access and minimal visual line-of-sight to the worksite. In addition, this technology was specifically designed for on-orbit work by astronauts, and can be used for any space-related work where an alignment aid or mounting interface is required.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aerospace, Fastening, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, Tools and equipment

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Next-Generation, Lightweight Hard Upper Torso/Hatch Assembly

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The current MK-III carbon-graphite/epoxy Hard Upper Torso (HUT)/hatch assembly represented an 8.3 psi (≈57 kPa) technology demonstrator model of a zero pre-breathe suit. In this configuration, the MK-III suit weighed about 120 lb (≈54 kg). Since future lunar/planetary suits will need to operate under the influence of gravity, as well as operate at 4.3 psi (≈30 kPa), the weight of the suit had to be reduced to a minimum of 79 lb (≈36 kg) with the incorporation of lightweight structural materials and slight HUT/hatch assembly geometric redesign.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aerospace, Mechanical Components, Lightweight materials, Protective clothing, Lightweighting

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Elastic Deployable Composite Tubular Roll-Out Boom

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The objective of this work was to develop an innovative deployable boom/structure technology that is ultra-lightweight (<30-grams/meter potential), and has extremely compact stowage volume (>100:1 compaction ratio), broad scalability (no size limits envisioned), high deployed frequency, high deployed strength, good thermal/dimensional stability, reliable/immediate and repeatable controlled deployment, high stiffness maintained during the entire deployment sequence, affordability (simple, easily produced tubular structure, very low parts count, and proven tube manufacture provides low cost and rapid assembly), space environmental survivability, and broad mission applicability.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aerospace, Mechanical Components, Composite materials, Lightweighting

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