Matching Items (4)

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Inflatable parabolic reflectors for small satellite communication

Description

CubeSats offer a compelling pathway towards lowering the cost of interplanetary exploration missions thanks to their low mass and volume. This has been possible due to miniaturization of electronics

CubeSats offer a compelling pathway towards lowering the cost of interplanetary exploration missions thanks to their low mass and volume. This has been possible due to miniaturization of electronics and sensors and increased efficiency of photovoltaics. Interplanetary communication using radio signals requires large parabolic antennas on the spacecraft and this often exceeds the total volume of CubeSat spacecraft. Mechanical deployable antennas have been proposed that would unfurl to form a large parabolic dish. These antennas much like an umbrella has many mechanical moving parts, are complex and are prone to jamming. An alternative are inflatables, due to their tenfold savings in mass, large surface area and very high packing efficiency of 20:1. The present work describes the process of designing and building inflatable parabolic reflectors for small satellite radio communications in the X band.

Tests show these inflatable reflectors to provide significantly higher gain characteristics as compared to conventional antennas. This would lead to much higher data rates from low earth orbits and would provide enabling communication capabilities for small satellites in deeper space. This technology is critical to lowering costs of small satellites while enhancing their capabilities.

Principle design challenges with inflatable membranes are maintaining accurate desired shape, reliable deployment mechanism and outer space environment protection. The present work tackles each of the mentioned challenges and provides an

understanding towards future work. In the course of our experimentation we have been able to address these challenges using building techniques that evolved out of a matured understanding of the inflation process.

Our design is based on low cost chemical sublimates as inflation substances that use a simple mechanism for inflation. To improve the reliability of the inflated shape, we use UV radiation hardened polymer support structures. The novelty of the design lies in its simplicity, low cost and high reliability. The design and development work provides an understanding towards extending these concepts to much larger deployable structures such as solar sails, inflatable truss structures for orbit servicing and large surface area inflatables for deceleration from hypersonic speeds when re-entering the atmosphere.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Doppler Lidar Vector Retrievals and Atmospheric Data Visualization in Mixed/Augmented Reality

Description

Environmental remote sensing has seen rapid growth in the recent years and Doppler wind lidars have gained popularity primarily due to their non-intrusive, high spatial and temporal measurement capabilities.

Environmental remote sensing has seen rapid growth in the recent years and Doppler wind lidars have gained popularity primarily due to their non-intrusive, high spatial and temporal measurement capabilities. While lidar applications early on, relied on the radial velocity measurements alone, most of the practical applications in wind farm control and short term wind prediction require knowledge of the vector wind field. Over the past couple of years, multiple works on lidars have explored three primary methods of retrieving wind vectors viz., using homogeneous windfield assumption, computationally extensive variational methods and the use of multiple Doppler lidars.

Building on prior research, the current three-part study, first demonstrates the capabilities of single and dual Doppler lidar retrievals in capturing downslope windstorm-type flows occurring at Arizona’s Barringer Meteor Crater as a part of the METCRAX II field experiment. Next, to address the need for a reliable and computationally efficient vector retrieval for adaptive wind farm control applications, a novel 2D vector retrieval based on a variational formulation was developed and applied on lidar scans from an offshore wind farm and validated with data from a cup and vane anemometer installed on a nearby research platform. Finally, a novel data visualization technique using Mixed Reality (MR)/ Augmented Reality (AR) technology is presented to visualize data from atmospheric sensors. MR is an environment in which the user's visual perception of the real world is enhanced with live, interactive, computer generated sensory input (in this case, data from atmospheric sensors like Doppler lidars). A methodology using modern game development platforms is presented and demonstrated with lidar retrieved wind fields. In the current study, the possibility of using this technology to visualize data from atmospheric sensors in mixed reality is explored and demonstrated with lidar retrieved wind fields as well as a few earth science datasets for education and outreach activities.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Passive thermochemical energy storage system for low power sensor modules for space applications

Description

Surface exploration of the Moon and Asteroids can provide important information to scientists regarding the origins of the solar-system and life . Small robots and sensor modules can enable low-cost

Surface exploration of the Moon and Asteroids can provide important information to scientists regarding the origins of the solar-system and life . Small robots and sensor modules can enable low-cost surface exploration. In the near future, they are the main machines providing these answers. Advanced in electronics, sensors and actuators enable ever smaller platforms, with compromising functionality. However similar advances haven’t taken place for power supplies and thermal control system. The lunar south pole has temperatures in the range of -100 to -150 oC. Similarly, asteroid surfaces can encounter temperatures of -150 oC. Most electronics and batteries do not work below -40 oC. An effective thermal control system is critical towards making small robots and sensors module for extreme environments feasible.

In this work, the feasibility of using thermochemical storage materials as a possible thermal control solution is analyzed for small robots and sensor modules for lunar and asteroid surface environments. The presented technology will focus on using resources that is readily generated as waste product aboard a spacecraft or is available off-world through In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU).

In this work, a sensor module for extreme environment has been designed and prototyped. Our intention is to have a network of tens or hundreds of sensor modules that can communicate and interact with each other while also gathering science data. The design contains environmental sensors like temperature sensors and IMU (containing accelerometer, gyro and magnetometer) to gather data. The sensor module would nominally contain an electrical heater and insulation. The thermal heating effect provided by this active heater is compared with the proposed technology that utilizes thermochemical storage chemicals.

Our results show that a thermochemical storage-based thermal control system is feasible for use in extreme temperatures. A performance increase of 80% is predicted for the sensor modules on the asteroid Eros using thermochemical based storage system. At laboratory level, a performance increase of 8 to 9 % is observed at ambient temperatures of -32oC and -40 oC.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Performance evaluation and characterization of lithium-ion cells under simulated PHEVs' drive cycles

Description

Increasing demand for reducing the stress on fossil fuels has motivated automotive industries to shift towards sustainable modes of transport through electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Most fuel efficient cars

Increasing demand for reducing the stress on fossil fuels has motivated automotive industries to shift towards sustainable modes of transport through electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Most fuel efficient cars of year 2016 are hybrid vehicles as reported by environmental protection agency. Hybrid vehicles operate with internal combustion engine and electric motors powered by batteries, and can significantly improve fuel economy due to downsizing of the engine. Whereas, Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) have an additional feature compared to hybrid vehicles i.e. recharging batteries through external power outlets. Among hybrid powertrains, lithium-ion batteries have emerged as a major electrochemical storage source for propulsion of vehicles.

In PHEVs, batteries operate under charge sustaining and charge depleting mode based on torque requirement and state of charge. In the current article, 26650 lithium-ion cells were cycled extensively at 25 and 50 oC under charge sustaining mode to monitor capacity and cell impedance values followed by analyzing the Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cathode material by X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD). High frequency resistance measured by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy was found to increase significantly under high temperature cycling, leading to power fading. No phase change in LiFePO4 cathode material is observed after 330 cycles at elevated temperature under charge sustaining mode from the XRD analysis. However, there was significant change in crystallite size of the cathode active material after charge/discharge cycling with charge sustaining mode. Additionally, 18650 lithium-ion cells were tested under charge depleting mode to monitor capacity values.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016