Application Briefs

Smoothing the Wave for High-Power Lasers

For years, laser manufacturers have promised the ability to produce very high-power, cost-effective lasers that are stable outside of a laboratory environment. Recent requirements in aerospace and defense applications, such as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), IR countermeasures, and laser targeting, are now calling on these manufacturers to deliver.

Posted in: ptb catchall, Applications, Photonics, Application Briefs

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Improving Microinverter Performance in Photovoltaic Systems

We have known for decades that the sun radiates enough energy to meet the world’s needs for power, both now and in the future. As in any energy conversion from original source to a “usable” form, however, the various stages of adaptation introduce efficiency losses. In the case of the photovoltaic system, this has limited what could be exponential growth. In fact, the best performance available from solar cells of any kind (excluding the concentrated approach) never rose above 15% efficiency. In cascade to the solar cell itself, a classical centralized inverter would add barely more than 90% efficiency to the chain. This “poor” performance and the obvious lack of large successes has also helped to keep the installation costs very high.

Posted in: ptb catchall, Applications, Photonics, Application Briefs

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Capacitive Pressure Sensor Enables Better Combustor Design

Pressure sensor Sporian® Microsystems Lafayette, CO 303-516-9116 www.sporian.comSporian Microsystems has been awarded a NASA contract to develop a capacitive pressure sensor. The sensor must survive extremely harsh conditions, including temperatures in excess of 1000 °C (1832 °F), pressures in excess of 500 PSI (34 bars), as well as exposure to corrosive and oxidizing gasses.

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Launch Escape System Advances Commercial Human Spaceflight

Launch escape system Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Hawthorne, CA 310-363-6000 www.spacex.comDue to the recent retirement of the space shuttle, NASA now depends on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

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Heat Exchanger Coils Control Temperature in NASA Icing Tunnel

Heat exchanger coilsSuper Radiator CoilsChaska, MN952-556-3330superradiatorcoils.comA 25-foot-high wall of heat exchanger coils manufactured by Super Radiator Coils will replace the coils in the Icing Research Tunnel (IRT) at NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH. When installed and commissioned, the new coils will enable the IRT to lower the air temperature faster and more efficiently to -40 °F, which will be 15 degrees colder than its current capacity.

Posted in: Features, Application Briefs

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Laser Systems Will Enable NASA Satellite to Measure Sea Ice

Flight lasers and test laserFibertekHerndon, VA703-471-7671www.fibertek.comManaged by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission is scheduled to launch in 2016. The satellite will replace the original ICESat observatory, which was decommissioned in 2010. Four flight lasers and one test laser for ICESat-2’s Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System instrument will be provided by Fibertek.

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Modeling Design Software Gets the International Space Station Moving

Creo Direct v17 modeling design softwarePTC Corp.Needham, MA781-370-5000www.ptc.comThere are several robotic arms on the International Space Station (ISS), but the two that NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) robotics analysts deal with the most are the Space Station Remote Manipulator (SSRMS), known as the Canada Arm 2, and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), appropriately named Dextre. Both are operated by the United States and Canada.

Posted in: Features, Application Briefs

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