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Vector Signal Analyzer

National Instruments (Austin, TX) introduced the PXIe-5668R 26.5-GHz microwave vector signal analyzer (VSA) and a 20-GHz continuous wave signal generator. The VSA delivers low noise floor, high linearity, and low phase noise, and delivers up to 765 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. Engineers can analyze wide-bandwidth signals in a single acquisition including radar pulses, LTE-Advanced transmissions, and 802.11ac waveforms. Users can program the VSA’s user-programmable FPGA with LabVIEW system design software to customize instrument behavior. The 20-GHz signal generator features fast tuning time of 100 μs for applications such as blocking/interferer generation, high-performance intermodulation distortion test benches, and various electronic warfare applications.

Posted in: Products, RF & Microwave Electronics, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

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Data Acquisition Card

Innovative Integration (Simi Valley, CA) introduced Atropos, an XMC I/O module with low-noise clock generation and distribution for data acquisition and communications timing applications. The module has four output clocks and four output triggers, as well as a clock/reference input and a trigger input. Multiple cards can be cascaded to synthesize dozens of phase-synchronous, ultra-low-jitter clocks and triggers within radar, beam steering, and MIMO applications. In the sample clock generation mode, the card can generate clocks from 74.06 to 3080 MHz. All clock outputs may be referenced to an on-card 280-ppb temperature-compensated oscillator, or an external clock input. In distribution mode, a supplied clock and trigger are buffered and distributed 1:4. The PLL circuit is fully programmable. Example code supports control of all card features. Software tools for host development include C++ libraries, and drivers for Windows and Linux.

Posted in: Products, Electronics & Computers, Data Acquisition, Test & Measurement

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Detection Scanner

The R2000 Detection laser scanner from Pepperl+Fuchs (Twinsburg, OH) features a 360-degree gapless measurement angle with angular resolution within 0.071 degrees, scan frequency to 30 Hz, and object detection to 1 mm. An eye-safe visible red laser enables alignment and detection of very small objects or reflectors. The scanner can detect objects up to 10 m away and reflectors up to 30 m away, with measurement repeatability within 12 mm of true distance value. The scanner is suited for detecting protrusions or obstacles over a large area, collision avoidance on overhead monorails, detecting small overhangs such as damaged pallets, monitoring entryways and exits, controlling the height of pallets on palletizers, and verifying empty, full, or overfilled cartons on conveyors. The IP65 rated scanner has an anticipated operating life of 20 years in operating temperatures from -10 to 50 °C, and offers four digital I/O channels that can each be configured as an input or as an output (NPN or PNP).

Posted in: Products, Detectors, Measuring Instruments

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Testing Devices Garner Data on Insulation Performance

A NASA-developed instrument tests insulation for everything from racecars to refrigerators. According to James Fesmire, senior principal investigator of the Cryogenics Test Laboratory at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, “When we talk about cryogenic tanks and deep spacecraft protection, we can easily talk about hot water heaters and engine compartments for NASCAR at the same time.”

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff, Research Lab, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

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Method for Performing GPS L1 C/A Measurements in Wideband Jamming and Interference

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida For effective range safety, global positioning system (GPS) metric tracking must be robust to interference with, and jamming of, GPS signals. The conventional approach to mitigating interference and jamming is to use a Controlled Reception Pattern Antenna (CRPA). These few-element phased arrays are used to steer nulls in the directions of interference sources, and/or to point beams in the directions of GPS satellites. The use of CRPAs is limited by their cost and size, as well as the difficulties of integrating the array into a platform. The problems are compounded for a launch vehicle, which must acquire and track GPS signals at high speed and acceleration, and undergo vibration and temperature conditions not common to CRPA use.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs, TSP, Communications, Test & Measurement

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JWST IV&V Simulation and Test (JIST) RT Logic T501 Emulator

Emulator using only software implements the behavior of a processor. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland In order to develop a software-only test environment for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mission, a solution was needed to send commands and receive telemetry between the TCTS (Telemetry and Command Test Set) and CMM-S card. The as-is solution requires the utilization of commercial off-the-shelf hardware (RT Logic Telemetrix T501 processor) and custom CMM-S hardware.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Software, Test & Measurement

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Cooling Test Samples With a Combined Convective and Conductive System to Rapidly Reach 77 K

This innovation enables rapid cooling to 77 K of James Webb Space Telescope shields, which enables hypervelocity impact testing with micro-particle spheres. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas In this innovation, a team successfully developed and implemented a combined convective and conductive cooling system that permits rapid cooling. Using a spray system, liquid nitrogen (LN2) was injected into a test article enclosure located in the target tank that was evacuated to a lower pressure than the surrounding ambient pressure of the White Sands Test Facility (WSTF). According to the saturation curve for nitrogen, temperatures lower than 77 K can be achieved by using the evaporative process as long as the pressure remains above the triple point where nitrogen ice is formed.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Test & Measurement

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