Proposed Facility Overview
The Electro-Motive Drop Tower (EMDT) is a proposed upgrade to the existing Zero Gravity Research Facility (ZGF) – NASA GRC’s 5.2-second drop tower. The initiative aims to improve the ZGF; increasing test throughput, low gravity duration, and providing intermediate gravity levels, such as lunar and Martian gravity. The concept is similar to what has been built at Leibniz University in Hannover Germany. The feasibility of constructing an Electro-Motive Drop Tower in the ZGF shaft has been studied extensively during the past few years. The rail guided, linear motor driven EMDT concept shows promise for nearly doubling the facility test time, increasing facility test throughput by an order of magnitude, and offering the possibility of performing tests in alternate gravity levels; all important to advancing NASA’s mission.
To provide inexpensive, reliable, and flexible access to 10 seconds of zero-gravity or partial-gravity to facilitate fundamental research, technology development, and flight hardware risk mitigation testing.
Convert the existing 5.2-second GRC Zero Gravity Research Facility to a state-of-the-art 10-second, 0 to 0.5g, test facility using a vertical rail and linear synchronous motor system to provide a revolutionary capability in testing at low and partial gravity at a significantly lower operating cost. It is estimated that the cost per test will be reduced by 90% compared to the current facility. And the annual facility costs will be reduced by an estimated 20%
- 10-second micro-gravity duration
- 10-5 g below 20 Hz
- Launch/landing 4 g avg to 6 g max
- Payload size: 1 m x 1 m x 1.8 m
- Payload mass: 455 kg
- 20 tests/day (increase of one order of magnitude)
- Two orders of magnitude cost reduction per test
- Fundamental Physics (quantum, dark matter)
- Fluid Physics
- Fire Safety
- Thermal Control
- Fluid Acquisition/Control
- Dust Behavior
- Plant Thermal Model
In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU)
- Reactor Design
- Regolith Acquisition/Handling
- Asteroid Sampling
- Soil Physics
Zero Gravity Research Facility
Facility Manager: Thomas Hoffman
Low-Gravity Exploration Technology Branch
Branch Chief: David Urban
ISS and Human Health Office
Project Manager: Daniel Brown
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