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T0077-S Facility for Microgravity Research and Submicroradian Stabilization using sRLVs (VIP)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

T0077-S Facility for Microgravity Research and Submicroradian Stabilization using sRLVs

This study proposes the development of an economical, high-performance facility for both microgravity research and submicroradian stabilization by integrating a Shuttle-proven vibration isolation technology into suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLVs). By integrating the spaceflight-proven vibration isolation technology into sRLVs, a reduction in the ambient flight environment by over two orders of magnitude during operation is witnessed. Using a combination of non-contact isolation and active attenuation, quiescent environments for the research payload on the order of 1 micro-g rms or better over a broadband frequency range (>0.1Hz) during the coast phase of the sRLV flight will be provided.

The Vibration Isolation Platform (VIP) provides a sustained microgravity environment to research payloads flying on orbital and suborbital vehicles. The VIP is a payload mounting interface which includes active stabilization and 6-DOF non-contact isolation. During launch, re-entry, and landing, the research payload is mechanically secured to the vehicle. During parabolic coast or in orbit, the research payload is automatically released on a 6-DOF free-floating platform. The payload is caged to follow the low-frequency inertial motion of the host vehicle, but otherwise left undisturbed to float freely in the sway space of the VIP. A “μg OK” discrete signal is provided to the payload when the acceleration environment is acceptable for conducting microgravity research. 

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