Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (Click image to see a
model demonstration of ARED) (BOTH - Credit: NASA Johnson).
NASA’s Glenn Research Center designed and
built ground support equipment and internal components for the
Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). Once onboard the International
Space Station (ISS), crew members will use ARED as part of their
exercise routine, which involves about 2.5 hours of physical exercise
Since the beginning of 2006, Glenn’s Space Operations Project
Office, Engineering Directorate, and System Safety, Quality and
Reliability Division have been providing ISS ARED systems design
and manufacturing support to Johnson Space Center. In 2006, Glenn’s
Engineering Directorate Team designed and manufactured the ultra-lightweight
Processing and Lifting Fixture (PLF) for the ARED system. The effort
was managed by the Space Operations Project Office and supported
by the System Safety, Quality and Reliability Division. Johnson
Space Center is using the PLF in the assembly and ground operations
of ARED as well as to maneuver the device in the Orbiter Processing
Facility at Kennedy Space Center.
Processing/Lifting Fixture for the ARED (Credit: NASA Glenn).
Glenn also produced the ARED piston assemblies.
These components provide resistance and are the heart of the exercise
device. The primary challenge was to produce a component that is
relatively large (18” x 9”), yet still lightweight enough
to meet the strict weight requirements for spaceflight.
Processing/Lifting Fixture integrated with the ARED (Credit:
To produce the lightweight piston assemblies, Glenn
utilized its unique manufacturing capabilities that include a microfinishing
machine. This machine puts a mirror finish on the piston cylinder
hardware to provide a good seal while reducing friction between the
cylinder and piston, which extends the life of the hardware.
Micromachining uses precise mechanical machine tool technology to
produce super smooth finishes for lenses, mirrors, reflectors and
mini concentrators. The ultra smooth finish enables an uninterrupted
flow of electrons.
Glenn shipped the ARED hardware to Johnson in fall 2006. Johnson
is currently using the PLF to hold the ARED while processing of the
device is performed. These activities include the build-up, fabrication,
testing, transportation and placing of ARED in the shuttle at Kennedy.
The ARED is scheduled to launch in June 2009 on the STS-128 mission.
By supporting mission critical components of the ARED project, Glenn
demonstrated their valuable skills in flight hardware manufacturing.
Glenn’s micromachining work may have extended application to
materials used in implantable micro medical devices or for creating
electronic prototype lifters that are used to suspend different forms