Friday, February 12, 2010

XSAS Thermal Testing and Prototype Fabrication

Hey XSAS followers, in this entry I'm going to be talking about what we've been up to this week on the Payload subsystem.

We recently completed a test rig of our scissor structure that will be used on XSAS.  Since this is only a test, we didn't use anything fancy, we made the panels out of polycarbonate and mounted the setup to a scrap aluminum plate.  This rig allows us to study the deployment of our scissor.  We wrap a line of dyneema around the scissor to compress it, which is shown below:

To deploy the scissor, we stuck a resistor on the wire and ran current through it to heat it up.  This melts the wire and allows the structure to open up.  We end up with the deployed configuration shown below:

We're currently in the process of running this test in an oven at 100°C to see if thermal expansion affects the deployment (i.e. if the hinges get stuck).

We also started fabrication of the XSAS microgravity prototype this week.  So far we've completed the panels, which are identical to the ones seen in the pictures above in the test rig, and we should be done with the scissor pieces very soon (also similar to what is shown above). 

We have a long way to go with fabrication, but we should have completed something that looks like this by the end of this month:



 That's what's new this week for XSAS!

Joshua Robinson
XSAS Payload Team Lead

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