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Orion's Launch Abort System Motor Exceeds Expectations

NASA has tested the attitude control motor of the Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) to prove that its material can survive not only the intense temperatures, pressures, noise, and vibrations experienced during a launch emergency, but also 40 percent beyond. The LAS is being designed to bring a crew to safety should there be a problem in the launch pad or during ascent. Built by Orbital ATK, the motor consists of a solid propellant gas generator with eight proportional valves equally spaced around the outside of the three-foot-diameter motor. Together, the valves can exert up to 7,000 pounds of steering force to the vehicle in any direction upon command from the Orion. The motor would be used to keep the LAS, with the crew module, on a controlled flight path if it needed to jettison and steer away from the launch vehicle in an emergency. It also reorients the module for parachute deployment and landing.  Source:

Posted in: News

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RR1P Rugged ATR Pluggable Canister RAID Data Storage Delivers Continuous Data Recording for ISR

RR1P removable canister RAID data storage system enables military ISR data to be removed from a plane, ship or ground vehicle in under two minutes. The canister connects to the ¾ ATR chassis with a military grade connector designed for 10,000 insertion cycles. It weighs only 25 pounds including a five pound removable canister with up to 19.2 TB of compact, rugged, high performance mobile RAID data storage.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Electronics & Computers

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The Less is More Approach to Robotic Cable Management

In recent years, cable management has come into the limelight because machine reliability has increased dramatically, even though robots have grown more complex. Unfortunately, the methods used to attach and guide cables have not quite followed suit. While managing cables and hoses is often an afterthought in most designs, it is truly a vital part of any well-functioning robot.

Posted in: White Papers

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Energy Chain® Cable Carriers: The Right Material for Any Application

Cable carriers are often an afterthought for many design engineers, but many times, they are the key to protecting vital cables and hoses on automated machinery. Cable carriers can be considered the lifeline that keeps a machine running. They not only guide the cables and hoses, but protect against harsh external elements, including dirt and dust, flying debris, chemicals and excessive heat.

Posted in: White Papers

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TechTalk Design Advice Series: The Cable Distribution Rules You Need To Obey

The key advantage of a cable carrier is that bus and motor cables, pneumatics, electrics and hydraulics can all be guided safely in one system. However, correctly arranging each cable and hose within your chosen cable carrier according to the recommended spacing requirements is vital if you want to prolong the service life of your system.

Posted in: White Papers

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Researchers Turn Packing Peanuts into Battery Parts

While setting up their new lab, Purdue University researchers ended up with piles of packing peanuts. Professor Vilas Pol suggested an environmentally friendly way to reuse the waste.The team converted their lab's extra packing peanuts into high-performance carbon electrodes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The batteries outperform conventional graphite electrodes. Carbon-nanoparticle and microsheet anodes were built from polystyrene and starch-based packing peanuts, respectively.Packing peanuts, though valuable for shipping, are difficult to break down and often end up in landfills. The polystyrene peanuts also contain chemicals and detergents that can contaminate soil and aquatic ecosystems.With the Purdue method, the peanuts are heated between 500 and 900 degrees Celsius in a furnace under inert atmosphere, and in the presence or absence of a transition metal salt catalyst. The resulting material is then processed into the anodes.Commercial anode particles are about 10 times thicker than the new anodes and have higher electrical resistance, which increase charging time. The Purdue method is potentially practical for large-scale manufacturing."In our case, if we are lithiating this material during the charging of a battery it has to travel only 1 micrometer distance, so you can charge and discharge a battery faster than your commercially available material," Pol said.Future work will include steps to potentially improve performance by increasing the surface area and pore size to improve the electrochemical performance.SourceAlso: Learn about an Optical Fiber for Solar Cells.

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Carolyn Parcheta, NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

     A geologist by training, Carolyn Parcheta had an idea in July of 2013 to develop a robot that explores and measures the shape of volcanic fissures. She worked with engineering teams at JPL to develop the VolcanoBot. In May 2014, the robot explored Mauna Ulu on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone in Hawaii. A smaller, more compact version, VolcanoBot 2, will return early this month.

Posted in: Who's Who

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