Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - 36

Manufacturing & Prototyping
Modular Artificial-Gravity Orbital Refinery Spacecraft
A new approach to space mining and in-situ resource utilization.
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
T
he Modular Artificial-Gravity Orbital
Refinery Spacecraft (MAGORS) is a
technology from NASA Ames Research
Center for in-situ refining or recycling of
materials in space, including mass from
asteroids, Mars moons, orbiting " space
junk " debris, and for in-situ creation of
products from operations in low or microgravity
environments.
There has been considerable interest
in the exploration and mining of asteroids
with spacecraft as well as mitigating
the growing threat of space debris. Refining
operations, such as centrifugal refining
processes, introduce challenges
for operating in space that are not relevant
on Earth, including the need for
gravity to refine operations to function
properly. This technology provides an
effective and efficient approach to address
these needs and challenges.
The spacecraft is coupled with refining
modules for refining and recycling
different types of materials. It generates
artificial gravity for operation in low-gravity
environments.
The spacecraft is comprised of rotating
rings, each generating artificial gravity
and angular momentum. When the
rotating rings are combined on the
MPTV
(undocks as needed)
Storage Ring Segment
(rotates as needed to zero
total angular momentum)
Refinery Ring 2
Segment
(rotates counter-clockwise)
Refinery Ring 1
Excavator Segment
(with legs for anchoring)
Segment
(rotates counter-clockwise)
Asteroid surface
Subsurface Boring
Element
(creates tunnel as it
excavates material
transported to Excavator)
An illustration of the MAGORS system overview deployed on an asteroid surface. (Image: NASA)
spacecraft platform, however, they have
a net near-zero angular momentum such
that the spacecraft can change its attitude
with minimal propellant or rotate
at the rate of the object the spacecraft
platform is attached to.
The spacecraft platform can self-balance
to accommodate different sized
modules and modules with moving
loads. The refined and recycled materials
can be used to create products in-situas
well as products too large to launch
from Earth, such as construction of orbiting
space habitats, large spacecraft,
solar-power stations, and observatories.
NASA is actively seeking licensees to comthis
technology. Please contact
mercialize
NASA's Licensing Concierge at Agency-PatentLicensing@mail.nasa.gov
or call at 202-3587432
to initiate licensing discussions. For
more information, visit https://technology.
nasa.gov/patent/TOP2-299.
Fully Automated High-Throughput Additive Manufacturing
The technology eliminates the need for humans in the loop for high-throughput applications.
Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA
T
he automation of additive manufacturing
(AM) is limited and usually
still requires human labor workflows, including
the fundamental step of removing
the finished object from the printer
platform. NASA Ames Research Center
has developed a novel method to increase
automation of AM by embedding
additional instructions into the manufacturing
tool path to create manufacturing
tools in-situ, such as linear springs on
the printer platform, and to instruct
movement of the printer parts to auton36
omously
move the finished object off the
platform. The technology eliminates the
need for humans in the loop for
high-throughput applications. Testing
can also be integrated into the manufacturing
toolpath.
The technology is a method to increase
AM automation through augmentation
of the Fused Filament Fabrication
process. It can significantly
increase the speed of 3D printing by automating
the removal of printed components
from the build platform without
www.techbriefs.com
the need for additional hardware, which
increases printing throughput.
The method can also be leveraged to
perform automated object testing and
characterization, design space exploration,
and to provide the general ability to
embed dynamic variables into the manufacturing
instructions.
The method includes embedding
into the manufacturing instructions
methods to fabricate directly onto the
build platform an actuator tool, such as
a linear spring. The deposition head
Tech Briefs, June 2022
TB Manufacturing Prototyping 0622_1.indd 36
Cov
ToC
5/19/22 1:30 PM
https://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TOP2-299 http://www.techbriefs.com http://info.hotims.com/82322-850

Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022

Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Band1
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Band2
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Cov2
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Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Cov3
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Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - MD-Cov1
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Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Sensor-Cov1
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Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Sensor-1
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