Mechanical Components

Ultra-Compact Transputer-Based Controller for High-Level, Multi-Axis Coordination

Features include reduction in flex wear, streamlining of robotic structures, survivability, and uniformity in handling various types of servos. The design of machines that rely on arrays of servomotors such as robotic arms, orbital platforms, and combinations of both, imposes a heavy computational burden to coordinate their actions to perform coherent tasks. For example, the robotic equivalent of a person tracing a straight line in space requires enormously complex kinematics calculations, and complexity increases with the number of servo nodes. The conventional method of executing these calculations is with a PC-style set of electronics including a powerful CPU (central processing unit) microprocessor, operating system, power supply, a number of peripherals, connectors to support each servo node, and a web of startopology wiring across the machine (including flexing joints), generally exceeding 100 conductors. In industry, the most common implementation is one or more dedicated PC cards mounted on an ISA (Industry Standard Architecture), PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect), or VME bus. These cards provide the I/O connectors and supplement the CPU to execute the massive kinematic calculations in real time.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Magnetically Actuated Seal

Design replaces existing pressure-actuated lift-off seals in turbopumps and eliminates low pressure drains, thereby increasing overall efficiency. This invention is a magnetically actuated seal in which either a single electromagnet, or multiple electromagnets, are used to control the seal’s position. This system can either be an open/close type of system or an actively controlled system.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot Excavator

This design enables new ways of excavating for resources on planetary bodies. The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) excavator robot is a teleoperated mobility platform with a space regolith excavation capability. This more compact, lightweight design (

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Hybrid Electrostatic/ Flextensional Mir ror for Lightweight, Large-Aperture, and Cr yogenic Space Telescopes

A much lighter-weight structure with higher correction range uses polymer-based membrane mirror technology. A lightweight, cryogenically capable, scalable, deformable mirror has been developed for space telescopes. This innovation makes use of polymer-based membrane mirror technology to enable large-aperture mirrors that can be easily launched and deployed. The key component of this innovation is a lightweight, large-stroke, cryogenic actuator array that combines the high degree of mirror figure control needed with a large actuator influence function. The latter aspect of the innovation allows membrane mirror figure correction with a relatively low actuator density, preserving the lightweight attributes of the system.

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Sheet Membrane Spacesuit Water Membrane Evaporator

A document describes a sheet membrane spacesuit water membrane evaporator (SWME), which allows for the use of one common water tank that can supply cooling water to the astronaut and to the evaporator. Test data showed that heat rejection performance dropped only 6 percent after being subjected to highly contaminated water. It also exhibited robustness with respect to freezing and Martian atmospheric simulation testing. Water was allowed to freeze in the water channels during testing that simulated a water loop failure and vapor backpressure valve failure. Upon closing the backpressure valve and energizing the pump, the ice eventually thawed and water began to flow with no apparent damage to the sheet membrane.

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Motor Qualification for Long-Duration Mars Missions

Qualification of motors for deep space under extreme thermal environments to be encountered during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is required to verify the reliability and validate mission assurance requirements. The motor assembly must survive all ground operations, plus the nominal 670 Martian-day (or sol) mission that includes summer and winter seasons of the Mars environment. The motor assembly was tested and characterized under extreme temperature conditions with reference to hardware requirements. The motor assembly has been proved to be remarkably robust and displayed no sign of degradation due to the 3× (three times per JPL design principles) thermal environmental exposure to the punishing Mars surface operations cycles. The motor characteristics obtained before, during, and post-test comparisons for the surface operations cycles are within measurement error of one another.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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JWST Lifting System

A document describes designing, building, testing, and certifying a customized crane (Lifting Device — LD) with a strong back (cradle) to facilitate the installation of long wall panels and short door panels for the GHe phase of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

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