NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 17.03-4242A

PROJECT TITLE: Micro-Dynamic Shock Absorber

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Future spacecraft science instruments must hold position with sufficient stability to image planets around distant stars. These instruments must either passively tolerate, or actively compensate for, the dynamic disturbances created by the rest of the spacecraft. Recent ground research and spaceflight experimentation has shown that any onboard mechanism can be a significant source of transient, micro-strain level shocks, sufficient to prevent even actively controlled instruments from functioning properly. Traditional means of passive shock dissipation are unreliable at these levels because of the greatly reduced material damping at nanometer scale motions. The proposed innovation combines carefully controlled ball bearing interfaces with precision springs to form a micro-dynamic shock absorber. Bearings provide a predictable means of dissipating unwanted transient shocks and springs provide a restoring force ensuring the component is dimensionally stable to the nanometer level. The use of ball bearings as damping elements provides two advantages to the proposed innovation; its performance can be tuned for specific structural performance and can be modeled accurately enough to include in detailed control system designs. The proposed micro-dynamic shock absorber will provide an easily integrated means of reducing the effects of transient shocks and persistent disturbances on passive and active science instruments.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

Commercial Apps: The micro-dynamic shock absorber is an easily integrated component that will provide a well modeled and custom tuned level of vibration and shock attenuation to any optical or high frequency detector. In addition to the wide range of high gain communications antennas on commercial satellites, several of the next generation constellations are considering the use of high bandwidth optical links. The proposed innovation would be ideally suited for these applications because of its low cost and ease of integration. For terrestrial applications, the innovation would provide shock isolation and absorption for optical benches, interferometers, and laser mounts. The semiconductor industry alone has spent many millions of dollars on vibration suppression equipment for photo lithography tools.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Peter A. Warren
Foster-Miller, Inc.
350 Second Avenue
Waltham , MA 02154

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

Foster-Miller, Inc.
350 Second Avenue
Waltham , MA 02154