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Steering Toward the Future

Faced with rising fuel prices and growing environmental concerns, the automotive industry is reinventing itself — and simulation is playing a critical role. The global automotive industry faces incredible pressures today. The skyrocketing costs of traditional fuels — along with worldwide supply uncertainties — are forcing automakers to not only increase the efficiency of current fuels, but to explore new fuel sources and engine designs that will drive increased efficiency.

Posted in: Articles

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Thrusters Support Communications Satellite Launch

Monopropellant (hydrazine) thrustersAerojet RocketdyneSacramento, CA 916-355-4000 www.rocket.com Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp company, played a vital role in placing the second of three next-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS-L) into orbit for NASA. In the second stage of launch, a single RL10A-4-2 engine ignited to place the TDRS-L into orbit, helped by 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters in four modules on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V Centaur upper stage, providing roll, pitch, and yaw control, as well as propellant settling burns during ascent. The RL10A-4-2 engine delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper-stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants during its operation. ARDe, a New Jersey-based subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne, provides the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle. TDRS-L will use a single R-4D 100-lbf thruster for orbit insertion.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Spectrometer Gratings Enable Mars Sample Analysis

Volume-phase, holographic-grating Raman spectrometer Wasatch Photonics Logan, UT 435-752-4301 www.wasatchphotonics.com Raman laser spectroscopy technology from Wasatch Photonics will be used to detect possible evidence of past or present life on Mars, and to garner insights into the history of water on the Red Planet.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Oxygen Containers Transport Tank Assembly to ISS

Oxygen shipping containers Americase Waxahachie, TX 800-972-2737 www.americase.biz Americase designed, developed, and completed the first HM224B/DOT31FP shipping containers for the NORS (Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System) program, a part of NASA’s Orbital Replacement Unit Project. Working in concert with The Boeing Company in Huntsville, AL, Americase created containers that will resupply the International Space Station with nitrogen and oxygen.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Laser Spider Web Sensor Used With Portable Handheld Devices

This device can be used for monitoring of greenhouse gases and tailpipe emissions, and for breath analysis. A powerful tool in understanding the role that greenhouse gasses play in climate change would be real-time data from laser chemical sensors providing concentrations and locations of key gasses. The adoption and widespread use of smart mobile phones is an ideal platform on which to create an international web of data collection devices. Because long path lengths often mean more space, many precision instruments are too large to be useful anywhere outside of a lab or test bench environment. A more compact method of achieving long path lengths is needed to advance the field of trace chemical detection.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Sensors, Briefs

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Adaptive Periodic-Correlation Algorithm for Shack-Hartmann Wavefront Sensing

Conventional Shack-Hartmann Wavefront Sensing requires a point source such as a star to perform wavefront sensing. This software allows one to conduct such sensing using an extended-scene or scene-based image. The software allows a Shack-Hartmann Wavefront Sensor (SH-WFS) to be used with an extended scene. It estimates the shift between the positions of a reference and test extended-scene sub-images or cells.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Electronics & Computers, Sensors, Briefs

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Self-Aligning Lug for Adapting Carbon Fiber Rods to a Bolted Metallic Connection

Joint strength is controlled through precise bond line control. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California The enormous strength of unidirectional carbon fiber composite rods is difficult to take advantage of at their ends because of inadequate joining technology. Bolting does not work with unidirectional composites, and bonding is difficult due to stiffness mismatches between the metallic and composite connections. Ideally, a thick bond is desired so that the relatively softer adhesive can shear and distribute shear stresses instead of peaking at the ends of the bond. Thick bonds are difficult to obtain and repeatedly control with conventional methods of beads, bonding wire, shim, or tooling. Most of these methods control the minimum thickness of the bond, but do not control the maximum thickness. In addition, traditional joint types such as lap, strap, and scarf are not ideal for this application.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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