NASA Kennedy Space Center seeks partners interested in the commercial application of the Quick Disconnect for High Pressure Mate/De-Mate. Designed at KSC, this technology is intended for use in dusty environments where dust particles can contaminate high-pressure connectors, resulting in wear on connector surfaces and unreliable connections. The Quick Disconnect (QD) utilizes the gas supplied by the umbilical to spray on, entrain, and remove dust from the connector surfaces prior to mating.
Dusty, dirty environments can be very tough on connectors. The abrasive nature of dust and dirt particles can rub and wear down connector surfaces through friction, and have a negative effect on coatings used on gaskets to seal equipment. Dust on umbilical connections can also make mating and de-mating electrical and fluid connections difficult, hazardous, and unreliable.
The QD uses a novel dual-poppet design and springs that balance forces on umbilical components. This allows a controlled release of gas to clear away dust from the end of the connector before it is inserted in the supply umbilical. The connector assembly is capable of mating and de-mating under 3,500 psi fluid/gas. One poppet seals the QD while de-mated, and automatically cleans the front surface of the QD during mating. A second poppet seals the QD while de-mated, and automatically cleans the cylindrical surface of the QD during mating. The internal cavity of the QD is specifically designed such that the pressure in the line is reduced from 3,500 psi to 450 psi while surface cleaning occurs. Finally, all exterior connector surfaces are designed to minimize the entrapment of dust while in the de-mated position.