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Technical Paper

The Applicability of Past Innovative Concepts to the Technology for New Extremely Large Space Antenna/Telescope Structures

Early development of concepts for space structures up to 1000 meters in size was initiated in the early 1960's and carried through the 1970's. The enabling technologies were self-deployables, on-orbit assembly, and on-orbit manufacturing. Because of the lack of interest due to the astronomical cost associated with advancing the on-orbit assembly and manufacturing technologies, only self-deployable concepts were subsequently pursued. However, for over 50 years, potential users of deployable antennas for radar, radiometers, planar arrays, VLBF and others, are still interested and constantly revising the requirements for larger and higher precision structures. This trend persists today. An excellent example of this trend is the current DARPA/SPO ISAT Program that applies self-deployable structures technology to a 300 meter long active planar array radar antenna. This ongoing program has created a rare opportunity for innovative advancement of state-of-the-art concepts.
Technical Paper

The Thermal Design Evolution of the Phoenix Robotic Arm

Phoenix, NASA's first Mars Scouts mission, will be launched in 2007 and will soft-land inside the Martian Arctic Circle, between north 65° and 72° North latitude, in 2008 to study the water history and to search for habitable zones. Similar to the IDD (Instrument Deployment Device) on the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), Phoenix has a Robotic Arm (RA) which is equipped with a scoop to dig into the icy soil and to deliver the soil samples to instruments for scientific observations and measurements. As with MER, the actuators and the bearings of the Phoenix RA in a non-operating condition can survive the cold Martian night without any electrical power or any thermal insulation. The RA actuators have a minimum operating allowable flight temperature (AFT) limit of -55°C, so, warm-up heaters are required to bring the temperatures of all the RA actuators above the operating AFT limit prior to early morning operation.
Journal Article

Start-Up Characteristics and Gravity Effects on a Medium/High-Lift Heat Pump using Advanced Hybrid Loop Technology

Thermal characterization was performed on a vapor compression heat pump using a novel, hybrid two phase loop design. Previous work on this technology has demonstrated its ability to provide passive phase separation and flow control based on capillary action. This provides high quality vapor to the compressor without relying on gravity-based phase separation or other active devices. This paper describes the subsequent work done to characterize evaporator performance under various startup scenarios, tilt angles, and heat loads. The use of a thermal expansion valve as a method to regulate operation was investigated. The effect of past history of use on startup behavior was also studied. Testing under various tilt angles showed evaporator performance to be affected by both adverse and favorable tilts for the given compressor. And depending on the distribution of liquid in the system upon startup, markedly different performance can result for the same system settings and heat loads.
Technical Paper

Overview of the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor, a Miniature Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer for Trace Contamination Monitoring on the ISS and CEV

Work is underway to deliver an instrument for analysis of the atmosphere aboard the International Space Station. The Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor (VCAM) is based on a low-mass, low-power miniature preconcentrator gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (PCGC/MS) capable of providing sub-ppm measurements of volatile constituents in a space vehicle or outpost. VCAM is designed to operate autonomously, maintenance-free, once per day, with its own carrier and calibration gas supplies sufficient for a one-year lifetime. VCAM performance is sufficient to detect and identify 90% of the target compounds specified at their 180-day Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) levels. The flight units will be delivered in mid-2008 and be operated in the ISS EXPRESS rack.
Technical Paper

The CEV Smart Buyer Team Effort: A Summary of the Crew Module & Service Module Thermal Design Architecture

The NASA-wide CEV Smart Buyer Team (SBT) was assembled in January 2006 and was tasked with the development of a NASA in-house design for the CEV Crew Module (CM), Service Module (SM), and Launch Abort System (LAS). This effort drew upon over 250 engineers from all of the 10 NASA Centers. In 6 weeks, this in-house design was developed. The Thermal Systems Team was responsible for the definition of the active and passive design architecture. The SBT effort for Thermal Systems can be best characterized as a design architecting activity. Proof-of-concepts were assessed through system-level trade studies and analyses using simplified modeling. This nimble design approach permitted definition of a point design and assessing its design robustness in a timely fashion. This paper will describe the architecting process and present trade studies and proposed thermal designs
Technical Paper

Development of the Surface Thermal Environment for the Mars Scout Phoenix Mission

Phoenix is NASA's first Mars Scouts Mission that will place a soft-lander on the Martian surface at a high northern latitude. Much of the Mars surface environmental flight data from landed missions pertains to the near-equatorial regions. However, orbital observations have yielded very useful data about the surface environment. These data along with a simple, but highly effective one-dimensional atmospheric model was used to develop the Phoenix surface thermal environment. As candidate landing sites were identified, parametric studies including statistical variations were conducted to prescribe minimum nighttime and maximum daytime temperature design Sols (a Martian day). Atmospheric effects such as clouds and ice were considered. Finally, recent candidate landing site imaging conducted by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter revealed that the prime site contained a much higher rock density than first thought.
Technical Paper

Slow Reversible and Quasi-Reversible Performance Changes in AMTEC Electrodes and Electrolytes

This paper reports several slow reversible and quasi-reversible processes which occur in the porous electrode/solid electrolyte combination at AMTEC operating temperatures. These processes help to elucidate the evolution of the electrode and electrolyte characteristics with time. They also demonstrate that the atomic constituents of the electrode/electrolyte engage in significant dynamic motion. We report the stability of the sodium beta“-alumina phase in low pressure sodium vapor at 1173K up to 3000 hours, and the decomposition of the sodium meta-aluminate (NaAlO2) phase present at about 1% in the BASE ceramic, which gives rise to transient local increases in the solid electrolyte resistivity due to local micro-cracking. We also report slow apparent morphological changes, possibly surface or grain boundary reconstruction, in TiN and RhW electrodes driven by changes in the local sodium activity.