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Products of Tomorrow: July 2014

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Products

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The Modern Industrial Workhorse: PID Controllers

Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) controllers are used in most automatic process control applications in industry today to regulate flow, temperature, pressure, level, and many other industrial process variables.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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Standards Help Protect Technology and Life in Orbit or on Earth

A recent conversation with engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston revealed that there’s often “a world of difference” between the standards for circuit protection components for a typical Earthbound electronics engineering application, and those intended for use in spacecraft. However, for both environments, engineers have essentially the same goals: safeguarding life and protecting technology. Carlton Faller, a NASA electrical, electronic, and electromechanical (EEE) parts engineer, and Paul Delaune, Deputy Branch Chief - Command and Data Handling, shared some insights on the differing requirements associated with creating circuit designs for use in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and beyond.

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Torque Sensors Provide Force Feedback for Robotic Applications

Torque sensing technology ATI Industrial Automation Apex, NC 919-772-0115 www.ati-ia.com ATI Industrial Automation is developing multi-axis, force/torque sensing technology to be used in space exploration, including future Mars missions. Currently under development, the new technology will enable fabrication of a force/torque sensor for the Mars rover’s robotic arm. Sensor feedback allows the arm to guide its coring tool into rocks, and then safely place the rock samples in the rover’s canisters.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Heat Pipe Assembly Passes NASA Hypersonic Tests

Embedded heat pipe assembly Thermacore Lancaster, PA 717-569-6551 www.thermacore.com A Thermacore heat pipe assembly recently completed testing at the NASA Ames Arc Jet Complex, operating at very high temperatures in a hypersonic leading-edge simulation.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Liquid Flow Sensor Launches into Space

LS16 liquid flow sensor Sensirion Westlake Village, CA 805-409-4900 www.sensirion.com A liquid flow sensor from Sensirion will measure the impact of microgravity on the effectiveness of liquid flow. Among other potential findings, the project aims to shed light on the effects of weightlessness on the circulatory system.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Spacecraft Seat Standards Lead to Comfort in Your Car

NASA standards for optimum neutral body posture in spacecraft have led to ergonomic car seats. In the beginning, safety outweighed comfort in spacecraft designs for human space travel. Capsules like Gemini and Apollo were small, and most of the flight activities were performed while the crew was strapped to their seats. Later, NASA devoted more attention to understanding how a spacecraft could provide comfort as well as safety and function to astronauts. NASA examined the neutral body posture (NBP), or the posture the human body naturally assumes in microgravity.

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff

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