August – November
• After hammering out the finer points of our experimental concept, we submitted our project proposal to NSA for review. The full proposal can be downloaded here.
• Our proposal was accepted! We are one of 14 teams selected this year!
• Started work on the final design, began organizing outreach activities, and worked to secure funding.
• Began preliminary testing with a deconstructed bicycle and sorting containers constructed from cardboard and chicken wire.
• Developed a DEM simulation using the open source software LIGGGHTS. Results agreed with preliminary testing that a slanted screen orientation will return the best results
• Completed the final design. The experiment is housed in an air-tight glove box that will be modular in nature to allow for flexibility. The gloves are used to transport sorting containers to and from the storage racks so that multiple tests can be conducted per reduced gravity flight.
• Researched physical components to determine the best way to create the glove-box, sorting containers, electronics, centrifuge, and storage racks.
• Construction began with ordering components, and machining custom components.
• Lots of brainstorming on how the sorting containers should be manufactured. Ultimately, a 3D printed mold was utilized to create the large number of sorting containers. Sieves were purchased from WS Tyler and slightly modified to work with RV waste-water valves to open and shut-off flow through the sieves between tests.
• Put finishing touches on the glove-box and other major structures.
• Installed and calibrated electronics.
• Submitted TEDP Report to NASA showing structural verification of the experiment, which can be accessed here.
• Cast sorting containers and incorporated the valves and sieves. Many iterations and lots of gasket were used to improve tolerances and prevent leaking.
• Experiment was packed up and shipped to Houston at the end of May.
• On June 7th, our team traveled to Huston for low gravity testing!!
• Before flying, final assembly and some minor troubleshooting were completed in the hangar. Also solved problems related to the sorting containers, and electronics.
• Also, a linear actuator design for raising the valve handles was developed, but will not fly with the rest of the experiment due to reliability concerns.
For more photos on the ground and in the air visit our gallery. For even more details about the project download our reports here.