Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on mechanical and fluid systems, from engineering experts at NASA and government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultra-Compact Transputer-Based Controller for High-Level, Multi-Axis Coordination

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetically Actuated Seal

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.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot Excavator

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 (

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Electrostatic/ Flextensional Mir ror for Lightweight, Large-Aperture, and Cr yogenic Space Telescopes

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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).

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Next-Generation Tumbleweed Rover

A document describes a next-generation tumbleweed rover that involves a split balloon system that is made up of two half-spherical air bladders with a disc between them. This disc contains all the electronics and instruments. By deflating only the bottom balloon, the rover can sit, bringing the surface probe into...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Robots have been a valuable tool for providing a remote presence in areas that are either inaccessible or too dangerous for humans. Having a robot with a high degree of adaptability...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

There is no convenient way to demonstrate mechanically, as an outreach (or inreach) topic, the angular momentum trade-offs and the conservation of angular momentum associated with...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Concept for Hydrogen-Impregnated Nanofiber/Photovoltaic Cargo Stowage System

A stowage system was conceived that consists of collapsible, reconfigurable stowage bags, rigid polyethylene or metal inserts, stainless-steel hooks, flexible photovoltaic materials, and webbing curtains that provide power generation, thermal stabilization, impact...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The moball is envisioned to be a round, self-powered, and wind-driven multifunctioning sensor used in the Gone with the Wind ON-Mars (GOWON) [http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A high-strength, low-weight pressure vessel dome was designed specifically to house a high-pressure [2,000 psi (≈13.8 MPa)] electrolyzer. In operation, the dome is filled with an inert gas...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Actuators are critical to all the robotic and manipulation mechanisms that are used in current and future NASA missions, and are also needed for many other industrial, aeronautical, and space...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Ultra-Compact Motor Controller

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cascading Tesla Oscillating Flow Diode for Stirling Engine Gas Bearings

Replacing the mechanical check-valve in a Stirling engine with a micromachined, non-moving-part flow diode eliminates moving parts and reduces the risk of microparticle clogging.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Superfluid Pulse Tube Refrigerator Without Moving Parts for Sub-Kelvin Cooling

A report describes a pulse tube refrigerator that uses a mixture of 3He and superfluid 4He to cool to temperatures below 300 mK, while rejecting heat at temperatures up to 1.7 K. The refrigerator is driven by a novel thermodynamically...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sapphire Viewports for a Venus Probe

A document discusses the creation of a viewport suitable for use on the surface of Venus. These viewports are rated for 500 °C and 100 atm pressure with appropriate safety factors and reliability required for incorporation into a Venus Lander. Sapphire windows should easily withstand the chemical, pressure,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Actuators are critical to all the robotic and manipulation mechanisms that are used in current and future NASA missions, and are also needed for many other industrial, aeronautical, and space...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Future lunar landers and rovers will require variable thermal links that allow for heat rejection during the lunar daytime and passively prevent heat rejection during the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Modular, Rapid Propellant Loading System/Cryogenic Testbed

The Cryogenic Test Laboratory (CTL) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has designed, fabricated, and installed a modular, rapid propellant-loading system to simulate rapid loading of a launch-vehicle composite or standard cryogenic tank. The system will also function as a cryogenic testbed...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Over-center mechanisms were used in the orbiter payload bay to lock down the robotic arm during the launch of the space shuttle. These mechanisms were unlocked while in orbit in order to release...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mars Technology Rover with Arm-Mounted Percussive Coring Tool, Microimager, and Sample-Handling Encapsulation Containerization Subsystem

A report describes the PLuto (programmable logic) Mars Technology Rover, a mid-sized FIDO (field integrated design and operations) class rover with six fully drivable and steerable cleated wheels, a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultra-Compact Motor Controller

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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)...

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