On-Orbit Chipless Cutting and Tube Welding in Space Station Freedom

by William R. Wessels, Ebasco Services Inc, Huntsville, United States,
Mitchell D. Mulder, Ebasco Services Inc, Huntsville, United States,
Brace B. Daniel, Ebasco Services Inc, Huntsville, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


Micro-gravity and strict environmental constraints of the laboratory, Habitation and other manned structures which comprise Space Station Freedom demand investigation into innovative processes for performing tube cutting and welding for valve replacement while on-orbit. Technically feasible and cost effective design modifications to Electrostatic Discharge Machining and Orbital Tube Welding systems have been identified which will provide quality performance of cutting and welding requirements. Potential applications of shape memory metal might provide an alternative to on-orbit welding requirements. A flexible bladder-like pressurized glove box will permit cutting and welding operations within the tight dimensional constraints of the standoffs and provide for containment and disposal of cutting particles and welding fumes.

Subject Headings: Space stations | Welding | Space structures | Tubes (structure) | Orbits | Innovation | Smart materials | Metals (material)

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