Aerodynamic Fluid Physics Research Facility (AFPRF)

Period of Performance: 01/01/2000 - 12/31/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Orbital Technologies Corp.(orbitec)
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI 53717
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


ORBITEC proposes to conduct innovative research and development that would culminate in an Aerodynamic Fluid Physics Research Facility (AFPRF) technology demonstration on the International Space Station serving one or more critical experimental needs of the NASA mg Program. The AFPRF would serve as an innovative microgravity apparatus that would virtually eliminate g-jitter and provide a gently controlled acceleration environment. The innovation is based on: the use of a new type of gas-flow generator, an expert system software architecture concept, a non-contact approach for on-orbit position control of spherical liquid samples, and a non-contact fluid motion exciter. Prescribed acceleration levels can be accurately introduced through controlled pulses/oscillations or spin/rotation/vibration of the large and small floating fluid samples. We propose to develop a prototype flight unit to be tested on a reduced-gravity parabolic aircraft in Phase I. In Phase II, we will develop a space-qualifiable AFPRF system that can be used on the International Space Station to satisfy current and future fluid physics flight experiments. The AFPRF would become a powerful research tool with a very low-g, vibrationally isolated, float zone capability combined with a controllable acceleration and disturbance levels that would enhance future fluid physics experiments.