Lunar Surface EVA Operations – Sample Container Dispensing Device
NASA plans to go to the Moon by 2024 with their Artemis Program. On the lunar surface, astronauts would collect geological samples during extravehicular activities (spacewalks), and store Lunar Samples in sample bags. In this challenge, we are designing a simple and reliable design that can dispense sample bags during a lunar spacewalk to aid in geological sampling operations.
Who it's for:
NASA Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams
September 1st, 2020 - June 2021
Team: 11 people
Video Production Co-Lead
Core Designer & Researcher of NASA Micro-G team:
Helped Idealized the design.
1 of the 4 main designers responsible for the challenge's product design, model building, hands-on engineering, and testing of the Sample Container Dispensing Device.
Project planning: create project proposal timeline & milestones
Researcher: Application to Lunar Environment,
The Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS),
Manufacturing of Carbon Nanotube.
Testing on EDS & Carbon Nanotube,
Unforeseen areas of concern for the project.
Design a sample bag dispenser for use during lunar surface sampling operations.
- Focus on the ease of use with limited hand dexterity in the spacesuit
- A dispenser that can hold multiple sample bags and dispense one bag at a time during sampling operations.
- Allow solo sampling operations, the sample bag dispenser will be carried by hand or mounted to the spacesuit or tool carrier.
The Proposed Design
Feedback & Design Iterations
Our design was 1 of the 4 designs selected to move forward from the 30 universities that participated in the challenge!
- The heat-treated self metal rim is an interesting idea
Positive aspects of the design:
1. The comb will keep the undeployed bags constrained and prevent tangling.
2. Push tab provides a method of deploying a single bag while keeping the others contained.
3. Simple lightweight design.
4. Seemingly one-handed operation.
Challenges with this proposal:
1. Is modifying the sample bags within the allowed trade space? If not, bags may be difficult to deploy.
2. What prevents inadvertent actuation of the push tab?
There is a decent chance that the push tab would be hit accidentally.
3. How are the bags constrained once they are opened? The crew will be attempting to drop samples in the bags from sampling tools, and there is a chance the bag will get bumped or snagged during that process.
4. How are bags reloaded into the dispenser?
Iteration Goals from NASA:
- Control the way the bag opens
- Control the speed the bag opens at and where it opens to
- Constrain the bag once it is opened
- Create a design for reloading the dispenser
- Minimize dispenser's weight
- Minimize horizontal space taken up by the dispenser when attached to the astronaut's body (vertical space is not a major concern, it is attached to a tall belt)
- AIm for 1 hand continuous action for the opening and the closing of the dispenser bag
- Avoid putting stress on the hand
- Avoid Pinch points
Iteration Stage 1
- Iterated through a number of methods on how the dispenser bag would be opened and secured in place
- Explored how the bags would be stored in the dispenser when not in use.
- Reconsidered the shape of the dispenser
Iteration Stage 2
- Designed a mechanism to secure the bags that are not being pulled by hand.
- Create a 1 bag at a time system
- Redesign the dispenser to have a reduced weight and volume
- Start thinking about having the bags in a refill pack rather than being stored individually
Iteration Stage 3
- Designed the way the refill is attached.
- Strived for single-action dispensing
- Re-iterated to get rid of pinch points
- Looked for the simplest mechanism that is error-free and easy to manufacture
- Iterated on the way the bags are being moved from the container to the open position.
Final Design Before Initial Prototyping
We are still working on this!
- 3 D Print Prototype
- Testing & Iteration
- Testing & Iteration
- Metal final prototype
- Handing over to NASA for testing operations done in a simulated microgravity environment at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston