Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts

Friday, August 20, 2021

Forge Nano and Mineral Commodities Enter Into MOU to Produce ALD-Coated Natural Graphite Anode Powders

[News Forge Nano, LINK] Forge Nano, a global leader in surface engineering and precision nano-coating technology, is proud to announce the successful launch of high-energy, Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries into orbit aboard the SpaceX Transporter-2 rideshare mission on June 20, 2021. The Li-ion batteries, featuring Forge Nano Particle ALD (PALD) technology and Enersys Zero Volt™ technology, were integrated into Spire Global®, Inc.’s LEMUR-2 satellite. The batteries used 100 percent domestically sourced electrode materials from Pyrotek® and Forge Nano®.

Lemur satellites in the Clean Room (image credit: Spire Global)

Paul Lichty, CEO of Forge Nano, explains “This is the first ALD-enabled space battery we know of and it’s mostly made with US materials! As world leaders in battery materials, we’re excited to be pushing limits of performance for various applications including space. This partnership with EnerSys, Pyrotek, and Spire Global is just one of many commercial battery projects we’re working on, and we look forward to sharing these other projects with the world soon.”

Forge Nano’s Particle Atomic Layer Deposition (PALD) technology, developed by Forge Nano founders while at the University of Colorado Boulder, allows batteries to survive longer and perform better across a variety of metrics. PALD is applicable and cost-effective for most cathodes, anodes, separators, and solid-state battery materials. Forge Nano works with companies from across the globe to enhance their materials with PALD.

The battery cells sent to space incorporated domestically sourced anode material from Pyrotek, headquartered in Spokane, Washington, and cathode material from Forge Nano. Both electrode materials utilized Forge Nano’s Particle Atomic Layer Deposition (PALD) coatings and combined with EnerSys® ZeroVolt™ technology to enhance cycle life stability, energy density, and low temperature performance. The batteries were sent to space aboard a Spire Global®, Inc. LEMUR-2 satellite and will be electrically cycled in-orbit at specific Depth of Discharge (DOD) levels to determine their electrical performance in a space environment as part of the battery qualification process.

“By integrating the various parties’ technologies into Spire’s LEMUR-2 satellite, we are able to gather relevant performance data in a spaceflight application and advance the use of this technology more broadly within the space industry.” said Keith E. Johnson, Vice President and General Manager, Federal at Spire Global, Inc.

“These new US-made batteries pave the way for a fully integrated US battery supply chain at a critical time in the domestication of the battery industry,” said Mark Matthews, EnerSys Senior Vice President, Specialty – Global.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Picosun is part of world's first wooden satellite coated by ALD

Picosun is part of world's first wooden satellite, Wisa Woodsat, launched to space during this year. The wood used in the satellite is ALD coated with Picosun tools to make the wood impermeable and meet the requirements of the most demanding environment.

WISA WOODSAT is a nanosatellite based on the popular CubeSat standard. The satellite measures roughly 10 x 10 x 10 cm, which is equivalent of 1U CubeSat. The satellite is designed and built in Finland and it will be launched to space during the fall of 2021 with a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the Mahia Peninsula launch complex in New Zealand.

The mission of the satellite is to test the applicability of wooden materials, especially WISA-Birch plywood in spacecraft structures and expose it to extreme space conditions, such as heat, cold, vacuum and radiation, for an extended period of time.


Monday, May 18, 2020

NASA to Demonstrate First-of-its-Kind In-Space Manufacturing Technique for Telescope Mirrors using ALD

[NASA Nwes, LINK] Large telescopes that could be used for detecting and analyzing Earth-like planets in orbit around other stars or for peering back in time to observe the very early universe may not necessarily have to be built and assembled on the ground. In the future, NASA could construct them in space.

A NASA engineer was selected for a flight opportunity to show that an advanced thin-film manufacturing technique called atomic layer deposition, or ALD, could apply wavelength-specific reflective coatings onto a sample in space — one of the first steps in ultimately realizing the vision of constructing and assembling large telescopes in microgravity.

“We technologists think next-generation telescopes larger than 20 meters in diameter will be built and assembled in orbit,” said Vivek Dwivedi, an engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and an expert in ALD technology. “Instead of manufacturing the mirrors on the ground, why not print them in space? But you don’t have a telescope mirror unless you coat it with a highly reflective material. Our idea is to show that we could coat an optic in space using this technique, which we’ve used on the ground and understand the processes,” Dwivedi said.

He and his collaborator, University of Maryland professor Raymond Adomaitis, will now have a chance to demonstrate the concept in space for the first time.

Blue Origin Suborbital Flight Test

Recently, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Flight Opportunities program selected Dwivedi and Adomaitis to fly a football-sized ALD chamber aboard a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket. The launch will provide three minutes of microgravity, long enough for the automated payload to apply a thin film of a well-known ALD material, alumina, onto a two-inch silicon wafer. “Alumina is a bread-and-butter material in ALD applications,” Dwivedi said. “It’s been extensively researched.”

Commonly used by industry, ALD involves placing a substrate or sample inside an oven-like reactor chamber and pulsing different types of gases to create a smooth, highly uniform film whose layers are no thicker than a single atom.

ALD-coated Samples in Space

ALD may also have applications for dust mitigation, another challenge NASA is working to solve. Currently, ALD-coated samples are being exposed to plasma from an experiment pallet aboard the International Space Station. Dwivedi and Goddard technologist Mark Hasegawa created these samples to test whether indium tin oxide — an effective compound for dissipating electrical charges — might be applied to paints and other materials to prevent lunar dust from adhering to rovers, instruments, and spacesuits.

Mitigating the dust problem is considered one of NASA’s thorniest challenges as the agency plans to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon under the Artemis program.

If scientists scaled a silicon wafer to the size of the Washington metropolitan area and placed it inside an atomic layer deposition chamber, they could apply a layer of material that varied no more than 60 microns in thickness, as shown in this illustration.
Credits: NASA

For in-space manufacturing, ALD offers a distinct advantage, Dwivedi said. ALD chambers scale to any size and can consistently apply smooth layers over very large areas. “If we scaled a silicon wafer to the size of the Washington metropolitan area and placed it inside an ALD chamber, for example, we could deposit a layer of material that varied no more than 60 microns in thickness,” Dwivedi said, illustrating the technique’s precision, which would be essential for developing sensitive optics.

Although Dwivedi and Adomaitis have built several ALD chambers using Goddard Internal Research and Development program funding, they’ve decided to fly a chamber made of commercial off-the-shelf parts during the suborbital test flight.

Dwivedi said he and Adomaitis conceived the idea about two years ago. A Goddard colleague, Franklin Robinson, secured a test via Flight Opportunities also on a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket and proved a groundbreaking technology for effectively cooling tightly packed instrument electronics.

“We worked very hard to get this opportunity,” Dwivedi said. We can’t wait to get the payload launched to see how well this technique works in space.”

About Flight Opportunities

The Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Flight Opportunities program is managed at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley manages the solicitation and evaluation of technologies to be tested and demonstrated on commercial flight vehicles.

For more information about Goddard technology, go to: ​

Thursday, November 7, 2019

NASA ALD coating to protect Lunar Astronauts and their equipment

"Constructing a large-volume atomic layer deposition system to create kits that can coat large surface areas, such as rover surfaces, for testing can further benefit technologies for lunar exploration,"

NASA's coating technology could help resolve lunar dust challenge

(Text re-published from: Goddard Space Flight Center LINK

An advanced coating now being tested aboard the International Space Station for use on satellite components could also help NASA solve one of its thorniest challenges: how to keep the Moon's irregularly shaped, razor-sharp dust grains from adhering to virtually everything they touch, including astronauts' spacesuits. 

Although the coating wasn't originally conceived for lunar dust busting, "it's compelling for this application," said Bill Farrell, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who heads a NASA-sponsored research organization, Dynamic Response of the Environments at Asteroids, the Moon, and moons of Mars, or DREAM2, which studies the lunar and Martian environments. The agency considers lunar dust to be among the top challenges to mitigate as it aims to establish sustainable exploration of the Moon by 2028 under its Artemis Program.

Mitigating Electrical Build-Up

Goddard technologists Vivek Dwivedi and Mark Hasegawa originally created the coating for an equally important job: they wanted to create a coating that would help "bleed off" the build-up of electrical charges that can destroy spacecraft electronics. These potentially mission-ending build-ups occur when spacecraft fly through plasma found within Earth's magnetosphere. Plasma contains trapped charged particles that conduct electricity, contributing to the build-up.

Hasegawa's idea was to use an advanced technology called atomic layer deposition to apply super-thin films of indium tin oxide—an effective compound for dissipating electrical charges—onto dry pigments of paint. Once mixed, the paint could then be coated on radiators and other spacecraft components to help mitigate the build-up of electrical charges.

Used ubiquitously by industry, atomic layer deposition involves placing a substrate or sample inside a reactor chamber, which is like an oven, and pulsing different types of gases to create an ultra-thin film whose layers are literally no thicker than a single atom. The beauty of this technique is the fact that it can be applied on virtually anything, including three-dimensional objects.

To test the effectiveness of the pigment-treated paint, Dwivedi and his team then prepared a handful of coated coupons or wafers, which are now being exposed to plasma from an experiment pallet aboard the International Space Station. Hasegawa and Dwivedi expect to get their samples later this year for analysis.

Same Plasma, Same Trouble

As it turns out, the plasma that can damage electronics as spacecraft fly through Earth's magnetosphere is also the source of the Moon's dust problem.

The Moon's dust is made up of ultra-tiny grains—formed by millions of years of meteorite impacts that repeatedly crushed and melted rocks, creating tiny shards of glass and mineral fragments. Not only can they travel at hurricane-like speeds, but they also cling to all types of surfaces, not only because of their jagged edges, but also because of their electrostatic charge.

On the day side of the Moon, harsh, unshielded ultraviolet radiation from the Sun kicks electrons off the dust particles in the upper layers of the lunar regolith or soil, giving the surface of each dust particle a net positive charge. On the dark side as well as in the polar regions, the situation is a little different. Plasma flowing out from the Sun also charges the lunar surface, but, in this case, it deposits electrons and creates a net negative charge. It gets more complex at the terminator where the two sides meet and even stronger electric fields develop—all of which could affect humans or technology that land on the Moon.

For astronauts, the situation will be made worse because they carry their own charge and, as the Apollo missions proved, will attract dust as they rove about the Moon. Because NASA has eyed the Moon's southern pole for possible human habitation, it's especially important that NASA develop efficient ways to dissipate these charges, Dwivedi said.

That got Dwivedi thinking. Why not apply the coating to Moon rovers and even habitats, or use atomic layer deposition to treat the fibers in spacesuit material?

"We have conducted a number of studies investigating lunar dust. A key finding is to make the outer skin of the spacesuits and other human systems conductive or dissipative," Farrell said. "We, in fact, have strict conductivity requirements on spacecraft due to plasma. The same ideas apply to spacesuits. A future goal is for the technology to produce conductive skin materials, and this is currently being developed."

More Research Underway

Working in collaboration with Farrell, Dwivedi and his team, including University of Maryland researcher Raymond Adomaitis, now plan to further enhance their atomic layer deposition capabilities. The team plans to construct a larger reactor, or oven, to increase the yield of the charge-mitigating pigment, which they would then apply to coupons and spacesuit material for testing.

"Constructing a large-volume atomic layer deposition system to create kits that can coat large surface areas, such as rover surfaces, for testing can further benefit technologies for lunar exploration," Farrell said.