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Making Space Travel to Jupiter PossibleFrom man landing on the moon to a simple satellite being launched into orbit, many incredible space accomplishments have been witnessed by us all. However, what goes un-noticed to the common man is the extensive research and testing that lasts months, years, and even decades. Much of this required research just so happens to take place in the corridors of the Glen Research Center building number 49. In the Advanced Materials division of G.R.C., a number of researchers have the responsibility of discovering which metal, ceramic, or polymer is best for a specific application. Under the guidance of mentor extraordinaire Frank Ritzert, I am involved in many critical projects dealing with refractory metals, two of which I will mention in this report. The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) project actually was under full swing back in the 50's and early 60's. To enable the 14 year trek to the icy moons of Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede, nuclear propulsion methods were selected. Due to the extreme temperature of the reactor and the extended time period, a refractory metal would need to be implemented. After years of research and progress, the program was suddenly canceled. About a decade ago, the JIMO project was re-instated and now has a goal for departure around 2014. However, a few obstacles lie in our way concerning the use of refractory metals. In certain areas of the orbiter a joint is required between the refractories and other less dense metals. Two of these joints are with nickel based super alloys. Being an intern for Frank Ritzert, the refractory metals expert, I have the opportunity to develop the best method to braze refractory metals to Nickel 201. This involves the actual brazing, electron microscopy and reporting the results. My second project involves a certain part of the orbiter where Niobium 1Zirconium, a refractory metal, is joined with Hastelloy-X a Ni based metal. Small quantities of oxygen, helium and other impurities in the Ni alloy could diffuse into the Nb1Zr causing imbrittlement and possibly major failure. I will be testing the effects of Hast-X on Nb1Zr in a high temperature for 10, 50, 100, and 500 hours. After the samples are run through the heat treatment, strength and chemistry will be tested and reported. My appreciation for the research that goes behind every project has and will continue to grow. By digging through old documents written in the 50's and 60's, scouring through forgotten closets, and learning from those with experience in the refractory metals, I am bound to have an incredible learning experience here at NASA.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Barker, Samuel P.
(Brigham Young Univ. ID, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Metals And Metallic Materials
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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